Advocacy, ridesharing

#What’sMyName ride-sharing campaign aims for rider safety


Uber is partnering with universities throughout the country to launch a national effort to help students learn how to safely use #ridesharing services. In addition to campuses designating pickup zones for riders, both Uber and Lyft have instituted new safety features on their ridesharing app and user policies. The initiative was inspired by the death of Samantha Josephson, a student who was kidnapped and murdered in March after getting into a vehicle that she believed to be her Uber ride.  The man charged with that horrendous crime was not affiliated with Uber.  Her death has raised awareness of safety concerns when people use ride-hailing services.

The “What’s My Name” campaign was launched in partnership with Josephson’s alma mater, the University of South Carolina.  Ride services provide the rider’s name to the driver while also providing the driver’s name and license plate number to the rider. Uber also features a push notification system to its app that will remind riders of the “Check Your Ride” steps just before their car arrives. The steps alert riders of the ways to make sure they are getting into the right car with the right driver by matching the license plate, make, model and color of the vehicle, and the driver’s name and photo to the details in the app.

What's my name video

Also being piloted at the University of South Carolina is a rides voucher program being developed by Uber to provide discounted services for students at times when other transportation options are limited or not available. The ride-sharing giant has also teamed up with the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators to invest $100,000 in a partnership to educate college students about safety and “Check Your Ride” tips.

Advocacy, car crashes, Collisions, Crashes and Collisions, Distracted Driving, driving behaviors, fatalities, Head-on Collisions, Hit and Run, Multi-Vehicle Crashes, NHTSA, Rear-End Crashes, Road Safety Research, Texting and Driving, traffic fatalities, Traffic Safety

Put Your Phone Away or Get Ready to Pay – U Drive. U Text. U Pay.


Distracted driving has become a national epidemic—endangering passengers, adjacent vehicle occupants, motorcyclists and bicyclists, and nearby pedestrians. Distracted driving involves a range of activities, from texting or talking on the cell phone to adjusting the radio station, applying makeup, eating, chatting with other passengers, smoking or taking a sip of your drink…. anything that can distract a driver from the essential task of safe driving.

Texting has become one of the most common, pervasive forms of distracted driving, and too many drivers are succumbing to this deadly habit, illegal in all states and the District of Columbia except Arizona, Montana, and Missouri. April is DISTRACTED DRIVING AWARENESS MONTH and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is partnering with state and local officials to step up enforcement and catch distracted drivers.  From April 11 to April 15, the U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign will in full force as a national high-visibility effort to enforce distracted-driving laws. Consider the frightening statistics behind this dangerous trend:

• Between 2012-2017, nearly 20,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver.
• According to NHTSA, there were 3,166 people killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2017. While this reflects a 9 percent decrease from 2016 to 2017, there is still much work to be done. In the last six years, 9.5 percent of all fatal crashes involved a distracted driver.
• Texting while driving has become an especially problematic trend among younger drivers. In fact, in 2017, 8 percent of people killed in teen (15-19) driving crashes died when the teen drivers were distracted at the times of the crashes.
• According to NHTSA, young drivers 16- to 24-years-old have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers since 2007.
• Female drivers with a cell phone have been more likely to be involved in fatal distracted driving crashes as compared to male drivers every year since 2012.
Safety Tips for Driving
• If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location. Once you are safely off the road and parked, it is safe to text.
• Designate your passenger as your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
• Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving. Cell phone use can be habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Put the cell phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of the vehicle until you arrive at your destination.
Put Your Phone Away or Get Ready to Pay
• When you get behind the wheel, be an example to your family and friends by putting your phone away. Texting and driving isn’t trendy “normal” behavior—it’s a selfish, deadly and, oftentimes, illegal activity that could kill you, a loved one, a friend, or a stranger.
• In 47 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, texting while driving is an illegal, ticketable offense. You could end up paying a hefty fine, and could get points on your license.
• If you see something, say something. If your friends text while driving, tell them to stop. Listen to your passengers: If they catch you texting while driving and tell you to put your phone away, put it down.

Remember, when you get behind the wheel, put your phone away and don’t get caught in the U Drive. U Text. U Pay. dragnet focused on making our roads safer for all.
For more information, visit


Source:  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation

Advocacy, car crashes, Collisions, Crashes and Collisions, Distracted Driving, driving behaviors, fatalities, Property Damage, Rear-End Crashes, Road Safety Research, teen drivers, traffic fatalities, Traffic Safety

Distracted Driving Deaths Have No Regard for Age

distracted_driving_monthDistracted Driving Awareness Month is a united effort among government agencies, public safety organizations and driver improvement enterprises to recognize the dangers of and eliminate preventable deaths from distracted driving.
Distracted Driving among Teens: How Can We Educate and Protect
Our Youth?“cited 3,000 teen deaths occur every year from texting and driving nationwide,  in addition to 300,000 injuries per year resulting from crashes involving texting while driving.  In fact, car crashes are the leading cause of death in drivers ages 16-19. Anything that causes a driver to take his or her focus off the tasks of driving  is a distraction.


Visual distraction –  taking your eyes are off the road, even for a few seconds
Manual distraction –  taking your hands are off the wheel
Cognitive distraction –  focusing on something other than driving


Texting while driving is a combination of all three of distractions. For a visualization of how far you can travel in five seconds, think the length of a football field – that’s a long distance to cover when you aren’t looking where you’re going.

Forty-seven states and Washington, D.C. have made texting while driving illegal. Besides avoiding a hefty fine, some as high as $500, resisting the urge to text can save lives. Even using a hands-free device is distracting for the driver, as it still limits a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle properly.  In the 2017 volume of Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, the “Mobile phone use while driving” literary review found 60 studies on mobile phone use, concluding that hands-free mobile phones do not provide greater safety than hand-held mobile phones. Additionally, the review identified four phases in the process of understanding the impacts of mobile phone while driving  including evidence that conversations with the driver are also deterrents to safe driving.  Much of the research points to the fact that it is equally important to have your mind free of distractions while driving.

To avoid distracted driving:

  • Set your phone or app to “driving” mode. This will automatically respond with a message while you’re driving.
  • Be mindful of when you contact your friends and family – don’t text or call someone if you know they are or could be driving.
  • Pull off to the side of the road if a cellphone must be handled (absolutely must respond to a text, GPS navigation tasks, etc.).


Advocacy, Drug-Impaired Driving, Drunk Driving, DUI/DWI/OWI/OWAI, Ignition Interlock, Road Safety Research, Traffic Safety

Spotlight on TIRF

The Traffic Injury Research Foundation USA focuses on road user behaviors to deliver high-quality road safety research services. It is an expansion into the U.S. of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation of Canada, established in 1964 and internationally recognized for its accomplishments in a wide range of subject related to identifying the causes of road crashes and developing programs and policies to address them effectively. ]

tirf-logo8TIRF recently published its 51st annual report with interesting statistics on teenage driving, women driving while intoxicated, and information on the development a multi-disciplinary knowledge transfer (KT) model that can accommodate the complexities of the road safety environment and the diverse practitioners that work within it. TIRF USA is about to embark on an evaluation of the ignition interlock program in Minnesota. The goal of this project is to examine the effectiveness of the ignition interlock program in Minnesota and to provide a comprehensive report to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety. Following the implementation of a pilot ignition interlock program, Minnesota implemented a statewide ignition interlock program in 2011. The two primary goals of the program are to prevent impaired driving and reduce DWI re-offenses. This evaluation is critical as it represents the first evaluation of the program since its statewide implementation. The evaluation will include advanced statistical analysis to determine if the program is having the desired effect of deterring motorists from driving while impaired and thereby enhancing road safety. Program participation rates as well as profiles of program participants will be explored. The evaluation will identify characteristics of those drivers most likely to complete the program successfully and those who are most likely to continue to attempt to drive while intoxicated despite the interlock being placed on their vehicle. The study will also provide information on recidivism rates for those all individuals who are eligible for the interlock program. The evaluation is expected to be completed in September 2015. For further information, visit the TIRF website at


Advocacy, Jaywalking, NHTSA, Pedestrian Safety, Traffic Safety, Vulnerable Road Users

Jaywalking and Pedestrian Safety


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrians continue to experience an increase in fatalities in the United States – in 2015, 5,376 died as a result of their injuries as pedestrians. On average, a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every seven minutes in traffic crashesFourteen percent of all traffic fatalities and an estimated 3% percent of those injured in traffic crashes were pedestrians.”

Pedestrian and bicyclist safety have been among the Department of Transportation’s priorities which led to the launch of the U.S. DOT Safer People, Safer Streets Initiative – Under the Department’s leadership and the Safer People, Safer Streets initiative, road safety assessments were conducted in every State, and more than 230 cities have joined the Mayors’ Challenge to improve walking and biking.

Is Jaywalking illegal?

While most cities have ordinances that prohibit crossing the street except at designated areas, most law enforcement agents do not issue tickets for violating the ordinances. Violating pedestrian traffic laws is referred to as “jaywalking”, most often by crossing a street illegally. While jaywalking is a low level offense, it can draw fines in most if not all jurisdictions. States define jaywalking differently. Major hot spots for jaywalking tickets include Las Vegas, Seattle, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Portland[OR], Austin and Honolulu.

Here are a few publications from NHTSA regarding pedestrian safety:

  • A Kid’s Guide To Safe Walking
    This colorful pamphlet will help you teach young children safety tips for crossing the street and things to remember when walking.
  • U.S. DOT Safer People, Safer Street Initiative
    U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has declared pedestrian and bicyclist safety as a top priority for the department. Under his leadership and the Safer People, Safer Streets initiative, road safety assessments were conducted in every State and more than 230 cities have joined the Mayors’ Challenge to improve walking and biking.
  • Focused Approach to Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety
    This FHWA strategic approach provides technical assistance to States and cities with the most critical pedestrian and bicycle safety issues and helps them address these issues at their city level. Focus cities have been calculated based on the 20 cities with the largest number of pedestrian/bicyclist fatalities and any city having a population higher than the average of the top 50 cities. NHTSA follows FHWA lead in this focused approach to pedestrian and bicycle safety.
  • Tips for Preteens & Teens: Prevent Pedestrian Crashes
    Walking around traffic requires the same critical thinking skills as riding your bike and driving a car. Apply the same walking skills you learned as a kid: stop, look left-right-left for traffic and be safe, be seen. Use these skills when you walk, and encourage others to do the same.
  • Traffic Safety Facts – Pedestrians
    4,280 pedestrians died in traffic crashes in 2010, a 4-percent increase from the number reported in 2009.
  • Traffic Safety Facts – Children
    In 2011, an estimated 69,000 pedestrians were injured, 11,000 of those injured were age 14 and younger, and males accounted for 65 percent (7,000) of those 11,000 injured.
  • Highway Safety Program Guideline No. 14
    Each State should develop and implement a comprehensive pedestrian safety program that promotes safe pedestrian practices, and educates drivers to share the road safely with other road users.

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