Written by Jeff Larason
Friday, 19 August 2011 14:21
The sad fact is that Massachusetts pays millions of dollars more in healthcare dollars each year simply because one quarter of us are not wearing seat belts. Massachusetts is embarrassingly near the bottom in seatbelt usage, ranking 48th out of 50 states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that nationwide, 85 percent of us are buckling up, and in many states, more than ninety percent of drivers wear seat belts—resulting in fewer fatalities and injuries, and significant healthcare cost savings.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says Massachusetts’ low belt usage costs the state an estimated $170 million annually in medical, property, and lost productivity costs. If Massachusetts were to boost seat belt use to 85 percent, we would save $55 million per year in health insurance costs alone.
The national highway fatality rate is the lowest it’s been in 60 years, largely due to safer cars coupled with a gradual but dramatic increase in seat belt use during those years. The CDC reported last week a decline of more than 15 percent in non-fatal vehicle crash injuries from 2001 to 2009 – a period during which seat-belt use has increased.
“A simple step that most drivers and passengers in the United States already take—buckling their seat belts—cuts in half the chance of being seriously injured or killed in a crash,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH. “Yet, about one in seven adults do not wear a seat belt on every trip. If everyone in the vehicle buckled up every time, we could further reduce one of the leading causes of death.”
Statistical evidence indicates that passage of a primary seat belt law in Massachusetts would boost usage to the national average of 85%. As of 2008, one in three U.S. adults lives in states with only secondary enforcement laws. Residents of these states account for 49 percent of the unbelted drivers and passengers on U.S. roads. Nineteen states do not have primary enforcement seat belt laws – including the Commonwealth.
Massachusetts can benefit greatly from a primary seat belt law. Those who claim that opting not to wear a belt harms no one but themselves are wrong. Unbelted crashes cost all of us in the form of higher insurance fees, lost productivity, and most of all, through the heavy emotional toll that these needless deaths take on family, friends, and the community.
The absolute most important thing you can do to stay safe in your car is to wear your seat belt. This is a fact. No matter what your opinion is about the law, it is simply fact.
Safe Roads Alliance supports the effort in Massachuset to pass a primary seat belt law. Those who claim that opting not to wear a belt harms no one but themselves are wrong. Unbelted crashes cost all of us in the form of higher insurance fees, lost productivity, and most of all, through the heavy emotional toll that these needless deaths take on family, friends, and the community.
If you support this effort, please "like" our Facebook page "I Support a Primary Seat Belt Law in Massachusetts".
Last Updated on Friday, 06 March 2015 17:40
Written by Jeff Larason
Safe Roads Alliance is aware of the importance of good driving. We exist solely in an effort to improve driving and to promote driving excellence. While driver’s education provides a foundation for young and new drivers, experience and continuing education are the keys to driving smart.
We recommend that the driving experience be honed in a safe, hands-on, closed-course environment. Advanced driver training takes the student beyond their learning experience into skills that surpass traditional driver education. Professional drivers guide students through a series of drills. These drills include panic stops, emergency lane changes, and tailgating exercises and prepare drivers for real-life emergencies by keeping the experience safe, before the need arises in a real-life situation.
Written by Jeff Larason
- At least 77% of traffic crashes are the result of driver error.
- Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 cause of death for 16-24 year olds at 48.5%.
- Nationwide, 43% of first-year drivers and 37% of second-year drivers are involved in car crashes.
- Advanced driver training has reduced that rate to 4.6% of first-year drivers, as determined in a four-year study.
- Get Advanced Driver Training for all ages
- Smart driving position: hands at 9 and 3 o’clock
- Speed appropriate to laws and conditions
- Follow the 3-second rule (Watch Video)
- Look as far ahead as possible
- Know ABS (anti-lock braking system) operation
- Drive a safe, well maintained car
- Drive a vehicle with a low center of gravity
- If you are using your wipers, your headlights should be on as well
Be a Healthy Driver
- No impairment from alcohol, drugs, or sleep deprivation
Drowsy Driving: www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/prof/sleep/drsy_drv.pdf
- Don’t tailgate
- Keep calm
- Back off from road rage: Learn to let go of anger and move on.
How do you deal with road rage? It is essential to keep calm while driving, and dealing with road rage is no exception. There are two main components when road rage is in-volved: you and the other driver. By maintaining a courteous mindset, we can make our roads safer by remaining confident and controlled and ultimately, safe on the road. Losing control of your emotions behind the wheel can mean losing control of your vehicle. It is important to learn to ‘let go’ when another driver becomes angry or angers us. Avoiding eye contact is a good start.
Studies on aggressive driving: AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety website
What to do when confronted with road rage: www.drivers.com and Prevent Road Rage
- Do not use cell phones while driving; pull over, if necessary
Driving distractions are serious and have become an increasingly problematic issue, par-ticularly with the ongoing use of cell phones and blackberries. At the least, a cell phone conversation while driving takes away much of your attention. More serious, and recently with fatal consequences, is text messaging while driving. Texting not only distracts drivers from the mental processes required for driving, but it forces drivers to look away from the road, often for extended periods.
- Music can be helpful to a driver, particularly on long journeys, however, it should be kept in mind that your focus is to be on the road at all times
- Do not allow extraneous distractions such as eating, reading, applying makeup, or using a PDA or game console
- Do not allow disruptive passengers to ride with you
In addition, the combination of loud music and chattering passengers can take our focus off the road. Things happen fast while we’re driving, and keeping this in mind can reduce acci-dents and prevent the potential for tragic events that all too often occur due to driving dis-tractions.
- Ensure that all seatbelts are fastened
- Wear your seatbelt:
It is safer. Seat belts save lives. You are less likely to be injured in a crash and will be better prepared to deal with an emergency situation if you are wearing your seat belt. If you need to take emergency action while driving, a seat belt can help to keep you better posi-tioned behind the wheel so that you can more effectively maintain control of your vehicle. More information: buckleupamerica.org