Sunday, March 18, 2012

Google This -Does Daylight Savings Time Help Keep Kids Alive?

Shaye Martin, Age 8, struck by speeding motorist 
while walking on the sidewalk in a school zone. 
Shaye died of his injuries.

Each day I receive a "Google Alert" entitled "Child dies in traffic accident." It is dis-heartening to receive dozens of stories each week about children of all ages who die because they...

...weren't buckled in
...were waiting for a school bus when struck
...were hit on their bike or skateboard
...were backed over in a driveway or parking lot
...were hit while walking on the sidewalk in a school zone by a speeding driver who jumps the curb
...were hit while crossing in a marked crosswalk, often accompanied by a stop sign that a motorist drove right through

There are dozens of other accounts that can be added, but you get the picture - children are needlessly dying.

This brings me to the story of  9 year -old Tyala Marie Frazier, who died as a result of being hit twice while crossing the street to talk to a friend. She was waiting for her school bus in the dark after the recent change to daylight savings time - see Girl, 9, dies after being struck by car, then bus

Tyala's death begs the questions:

-Would the first driver have spotted Tyala if it were light out, as it would have been prior to the time change?
-What cautions are in place - signage, flashing lights, etc. to alert motorists that they are entering an early morning school bus pick-up zone?
-Should school bus pick-up and drop-off zones be afforded the same protections in place in "school zones," since in a manner they are school zones in that students are present for the sole purpose of going to or returning from school?

As we seek to create safer roadway/roadside environments to benefit children of all ages, along with motorists, traffic engineering, law enforcement, and educational entities - including Keep Kids Alive Drive 25, must work together to realize progress in school zones and on neighborhood streets. One death is one too many. Every family, who like the Frazier's, experience the death of a loved one due to a traffic incident would undoubtedly echo this truth.

Find out how to make a difference today by visiting - Get Started - Keep Kids Alive!

"It's About Kids! It's About Safety!

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Do High Tech Gadgets Help Keep Kids Alive?

Brooke Kerwin of Distracted Driving Help is our guest blogger this week. Please comment to get a discussion going on the effects of technology on our driving behaviors.

Technology’s Role in Driving Magnified in 2012

As a mobile technology boom has come upon the United States and the rest of the world over the last few years, cases of distracted driving have also seemingly been increasing. In many people’s eyes, the primary reason for these cases has been use of text messaging, but lawmakers are starting to place some of the blame on the automobile makers.

Just as tablets and smart phones have found their way into people’s hands, new lines of automobiles have made significant upgrades to their dashboards. The development of complex GPS systems, as well as top of the line sound systems has certainly become a separate distraction to drivers in their own right. Now, these automakers are facing pressure with potential guidelines from the Transportation Department.

The new regulations that are being proposed by the Department of Transportation are similar to those which were proposed by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers nearly 10 years ago. While the regulations are logical, there seems to be conflict over the fact that many devices such as smart phones, portable GPS systems and tablets face little to no action from lawmakers.

Still, there’s no doubt that in car features have played a role in cases of distracted driving in the last few years. The proposed guidelines are something that would help keep the in car features from transforming too rapidly, as complex systems would certainly lead to more drivers diverting attention away from the road.

The new guidelines are expected to be the first in an elongated series of attempts to help make the roads as safe as possible from distracted drivers. There’s a possibility that cars could be rated by a government system based on their safety, as major car ranking publications have already done in the past.

Certainly there are a number of different factors that play into distracted driving and helping to keep kids safe. Technology is one of the biggest issues we face in road safety today and it’s good to know lawmakers are continuing to put pressure on the automakers in an effort to focus concentration for drivers. Hopefully dialogue continues to take place between the automakers and lawmakers which will be fair for both sides.