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Making an Impact

October 2023

In this issue:

  • October is Pedestrian Safety Month.
  • National School Bus Safety Week / October 16-20, 2023.
  • Halloween is creeping up: October 31, 2023.
  • The Cost of Drunk Driving.
  • Plan Ahead for a Safe Celebration.
  • Rain, rain, is here to stay. Checklist for Safety.
  • Rainy Weather Facts and Recommendations.

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October is

Pedestrian Safety Month

Every October, NHTSA celebrates National Pedestrian Safety Month. States, local leaders, traffic safety professionals, transportation planners and engineers, other stakeholders and concerned residents are invited to join us in helping to create a transportation system for all people to easily and safely walk. 

NHTSA is strengthening its efforts to improve safety for pedestrians and other vulnerable road users by suggesting activities and providing sample social media posts and messages, free infographics and other resources.

The personal, physical, and environmental benefits of walking can lead to healthier, quieter, cleaner, and safer streets. Walking can also improve local economies and enhance social and community engagement, which can lead to more vibrant, resilient, and livable spaces.

Unfortunately, in 2021 there were 7,388 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes, a 12.5- percent increase from the 6,565 pedestrian fatalities in 2020. This is the highest since 1981 when 7,837 pedestrians died in traffic crashes. In 2021 there were an estimated 60,577 pedestrians injured in traffic crashes, an 11-percent increase from 54,771 pedestrians injured in 2020.

On average, a pedestrian was killed every 71 minutes and injured every 9 minutes in traffic crashes in 2021. Please use these materials to increase awareness about how we can combat pedestrian crashes in our communities.

Download a copy of Safe Walking Tips for Youth, to help encourage safe behavior.

National School Bus Safety Week October 16-20, 2023

Statistically, school buses are the safest way to transport school children. Yet more injuries and fatalities occur outside of or near a school bus because a motorist has failed to obey the stop-arm warning or to follow local traffic laws.

From 2011 and 2020, there were 1.6 times more fatalities among pedestrians (183) than occupants of school buses (113) in school-bus-related crashes.

A total of 218 school-age children (18 and younger) died in school-bus-related crashes during that period, either as occupants of school buses or other vehicles, or on foot or bike.

Of the 218 deaths, 85 were children who were walking.

Respect the Danger Zone

The school bus loading and unloading area is called the “Danger Zone”. Specifically, this is any side of the bus where a child may not be seen by the bus driver and, therefore, is in the most danger. Let’s work together to keep our children safe as they wait to ride the bus to and from school. 

Halloween is creeping up!

October 31, 2023

This Halloween, let’s make happy memories, not tragic nightmares. The only thing scarier than zombies and witches loose on the streets is an impaired driver. This year, NHTSA is teaming up with local officials to help spread the message that:

Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving

Even one alcoholic beverage could be one too many for some drivers. So, if you plan to drive, plan to refrain from alcohol. If you do plan to enjoy some witch’s brew, be sure to arrange a sober ride home in advance. Stay safe on Halloween night, and every night.

2023 Halloween Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving

Fact Sheet and Talking Points

This Halloween, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is helping to keep the local community safe by spreading the message that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. If you plan to enjoy some witch’s brew, be sure to plan for a sober ride home. Read these scary stats and commit to sober driving today. 

  • During Halloween night (6 p.m. October 31 to 5:59 a.m. November 1) during the years 2017-2021, there were 159 people killed in drunk-driving crashes.

  • In 2021, 38 people were killed on Halloween night in drunk-driving crashes, a decrease from the 58 people killed on Halloween night in 2020.

  • Adults between the ages of 21 and 34 had the highest percentage (55%) of fatalities in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night in 2021.

  • Nationally, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher, except in Utah, where the limit is .05 g/dL.

  • Although it’s illegal to drive when impaired by alcohol, in 2021 one person was killed every 39 minutes in a drunk-driving crash on our nation’s roads.

  • The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2021 was 2.8 times higher at night than during the day.

  • Males are more likely than females to be driving drunk when involved in fatal crashes. In 2021, 22% of males were drunk, compared to 17% of females.

The Cost of Drunk Driving

  • The financial impact from impaired-driving crashes is devastating: Based on 2019 numbers (the most recent year for which cost data is available), impaired-driving crashes cost the United States $58 billion annually.

  • Drinking and driving is a risk no one should take. Doing so can cause injury or death to the driver, passengers, and others on the road. The consequences of drunk driving could be life-altering.
  • The financial impact from impaired-driving crashes is devastating: Based on 2019 numbers (the most recent year for which cost data is available), impaired-driving crashes cost the United States $58 billion annually.

  • Drinking and driving is a risk no one should take. Doing so can cause injury or death to the driver, passengers, and others on the road. The consequences of drunk driving could be life-altering.

Plan Ahead for a Safe Celebration

  • Always drive 100% sober. Even one alcoholic beverage could be one too many.  

  • Plan ahead: Before you have even one drink, designate a sober driver to get you home safely. If you wait until you’ve been drinking to make this decision, you might not make the best one. 

  • You have options to get home safely: designate a sober driver or call a taxi or rideshare. Getting home safely is always worth it. Some communities even have a sober ride program.
  • If it’s your turn to be the designated driver, take your job seriously and don’t drink. 

  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact *OCP (*677) or 9-1-1 for emergencies.

  • If you have a friend who is about to drink and drive, take the keys away and let a sober driver get your friend home safely. 

The Sober Ride program in Oregon is an initiative that provides safe transportation options for individuals who have been drinking and need a ride home. Here are some details about the program:

  1. Romano Law Free Sober Rides: Romano Law offers free sober rides during select holidays, including Halloween and New Year’s Eve. To qualify, the ride must be in the Portland or Bend metro areas and originate from a bar, restaurant, or place where alcohol is served. Rides must be taken between 5:00 PM on the day of the holiday and 10:00 AM the next morning. Participants must be of legal drinking age (21 and over) and rides are valid for one, one-way trip home. The maximum value of the ride is $30, including a tip of up to 10%.
  2. SoberRide by WRAP: SoberRide operates during the December/January holiday season, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Independence Day, and Halloween. The program provides a free Lyft ride home up to $15. Users are responsible for any charges exceeding $152.

Please note that these programs may have specific eligibility requirements and limitations. It’s advisable to check their respective websites or contact them directly for more information.

Rain, rain, is here to stay.

Checklist for Safety

Simple steps can help you make your car perform better in wet weather and help you stay safer on the road.

Schedule routine vehicle maintenance.

A big part of staying safe on wet roads is keeping your vehicle in proper working order. “Modern vehicles keep getting easier to maintain,” says Jarrett Kerrigan, general manager of AAA Auto Repair. “That’s great, of course. But it also gives us a greater opportunity to ignore them.”

Take nothing for granted, Kerrigan advises. Make sure you’re keeping pace with the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals and bringing your car in to a trusted auto shop for bumper-to-bumper inspections.

Check the tire treads and pressure.

As the only parts of your vehicle in constant contact with the road, tires have a major effect on ride, handling, and braking. To perform safely on wet roads, they need to have at least 4/32-inch of tread depth. 

One simple way to check this is to insert a quarter into a tread groove with the top of Washington’s head facing down. If the top of his head is not visible, your tires have at least 4/32-inch of tread. Conduct this test in multiple places around the tire as it may have worn unevenly. If your treads are worn beyond 4/32 inch, they are no longer safe for wet weather and need to be replaced.

Maintaining proper tire pressure is another important precaution. All vehicles manufactured after 2008 have automatic tire pressure monitoring systems that alert you when your tires are low (the symbol is a dashboard light showing an exclamation point framed by the walls of a tire). If the alert comes on, bring your car to a filling station as soon as it’s safely possible.

However, you should check your tire pressure at least once a month to ensure they are in the proper range. And don't forget to check your spare tire, if your vehicle has one.

When you fill your tires, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, which are written on a placard on the jamb of the driver’s door. “Even if you have a custom tire and wheel package, your safest bet is to follow the pressure on the placard,” Kerrigan says.

Changes in the weather can affect tire pressure. AAA has found that for every 10 degrees change in temperature, a tire’s pressure can change by around 1-2 pounds per square inch (PSI). The colder it gets, the lower your tire pressure will fall. 

If you’d rather leave tire checks to the pros, any qualified mechanic can examine tire pressure and tread wear. While they’re at it, they should also look at the inside, outside, and center of your tires to see if it’s time for a rotation. “Anytime you get your oil changed, make sure they check your tires,” Kerrigan says. 

Rainy Weather Facts and Recommendations

Rain impairs your ability to see ahead and increases the braking distance needed to stop your vehicle. When roads are wet, apply the brakes sooner and more gently than usual. Even summer showers can cause slippery roads when rain mixes with oil and dirt.

Increase your visibility to other motorists by turning on your headlights when your windshield wipers are on. Do not use cruise control in wet conditions. Keep windows clear of moisture.

Vehicle tires sometimes hydroplane (skim or float) over a wet road surface. The ability to steer and stop can be reduced or lost. Slow down when roads are wet.

If you drive through water and the brakes get wet, gently apply the brakes while driving slowly until they begin to respond. It is best to do this as soon as you can after driving through water.

Do not drive through flooded areas. High water may cause loss of control or engine stalling.

Drive Sober, Safe, and Happy!

from your

Friends at Oregon Impact