NEWS

Thanksgiving Travel Starts With Buckling Up

November 14, 2019

Washington, D.C. –

 

         Millions of people will hit the roads this Thanksgiving, traveling to see family and friends to spend time with loved ones and eat turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.  If you are excited about the holiday, make sure you take the first step in getting to the Thanksgiving table safely – Buckle Up. 

         It’s one of the busiest travel times of the year and more people on the roads means the potential for more crashes. To keep drivers and their passengers safe, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reminding everyone to: Buckle Up—Every Trip. Every Time.

         During the 2016 Thanksgiving weekend, nearly 350 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes across the country. Almost half of those killed were unbuckled, representing a decrease in seat belt use compared to the same weekend in 2015, when 52 percent of those killed in traffic crashes were unrestrained. Nighttime was even more deadly, with 55 percent of Thanksgiving weekend crashes occurring after dark. Many of these deaths may have been prevented if seat belts were used. 

         NHTSA estimates that correct seat belt use reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate-to-serious injury by 50 percent. In 2016, about 14,668 people survived crashes because they were buckled up. If everyone had worn their seat belts that year, an additional 2,456 lives could have been saved. 

         In addition, younger people and men are neglecting to buckle up. Among 13- to 15-year-olds killed in crashes in 2016, 62 percent weren’t wearing seat belts. In addition, 59 percent of 25- to 34-year olds killed in crashes were also not wearing seat belts. During the same year slightly more than half of men killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts, compared with 40 percent of women.

        Whether you are driving cross country or just down the road for Thanksgiving, remember to buckle up. Buckle Up—Every Trip. Every Time.

 

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Stay Safe:
Know the Rules of the Road

October 21, 2019

National Teen Driver Safety Week, which is Oct. 20-26th, is a good time to for parents to have conversations with their teens about the importance of safe driving and following the rules of the road. 

            Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (15-18 years old) in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Teens are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers, per mile driven. In fact, there were 2,247 people killed in crashes involving a teen driver in 2017. Out of this number, 755 deaths were the teen driver. 

            Parents can be the biggest influencers on teens' choices while behind the wheel. It’s important that parents take the time to talk with their teens about safe driving and driving risks. Research shows that conversations must occur frequently to make the biggest impact. 

Laws are not enough to protect teens on the road. Rules should be set before parents hand the keys over to help keep their teen safe on the roads.

NHTSA has outlined six basic rules of the road to help teens stay safe.

  1. Distracted Driving: Driver distraction is the leading factor in most crashes, according to NHTSA. Almost 60 percent of all teen crashes are caused by distracted driving, with the top distraction being other passengers in the car. Talking or texting on cell phones, talking to passengers, adjusting the radio, and eating or drinking while driving are all examples of distractions.  

  2. Seat Belts: Wearing a seat belt is the best protection against injury and death. However, teens are less likely to be buckled up than any other age group, according to NHTSA. Properly fastened seat belts contact the strongest parts of the body, such as the chest, hips, and shoulders.  A seat belt spreads the force of a crash over a wide area of the body, putting less stress on any one part and allows the body to slow down with the crash, extending the time when the crash forces are felt by the occupant.

  3. Passengers: Passengers in a teen’s car are distracting to the driver and can lead to disastrous consequences. NHTSA research shows that the risk of a fatal crash goes up dramatically in direct relation to the number of passengers in a car. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behavior triples when traveling with multiple passengers.

  4. Speed Limits: Speed limits are put in place to protect drivers, passengers, pedestrians and anyone on the roads.  Driving over the speed limit greatly reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely and to brake in time.  Young males are most likely to be involved in speed-related fatal crashes.

  5. Impaired Driving: Teens are too young to legally buy, possess, or consume alcohol, but they are still at risk. Alcohol affects a driver’s ability to safely react to their surroundings.

  6. Driving Drowsy: Between school and extracurricular activities, teens are busier than ever and tend to compromise something very important: sleep. Drowsy drivers are twice as likely to make performance errors in a crash as compared to drivers who are not fatigued, according to NHTSA’s National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Study.

Seat belts - The most effective way to protect yourself.

October 14, 2019

Despite all of the advancements in car safety in recent years, buckling up is still the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash. Traffic crashes are a leading cause of death in the US—someone is killed every 13 minutes and injured every 9 seconds. One of the safest choices drivers and passengers can make is to buckle up.

            Seat belts are the best defense against impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers. Being buckled up dramatically increases your chance of surviving a crash. According to NHTSA, seat belt usage reduces the chance of being injured by up to 50 percent.

            Of the 37,133 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, 47% were not wearing seat belts. In 2017 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives and could have saved an additional 2,549 people if they had been wearing seat belts. 

            NHTSA estimates that correct seat belt use reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate-to-serious injury by 50 percent. People not wearing a seat belt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash.

            D.C.'s seat belt law requires the driver and all passengers to be properly buckled up at all times, in the front and back seats. This requirement applies to passengers in all vehicles, including taxicabs. District law allows police to stop a vehicle solely because its drivers and passengers are not properly buckled up. Failure to comply with adult seat belt laws can result in a $50 fine and two points on the driver's license for a first offense, and a $150 fine for fourth and subsequent offenses.

            NHTSA’s research shows that males are more likely to be unbuckled than females in a fatal crash, and that younger drivers are also at greater risk of being unbuckled. In 2016, 52 percent of the males killed in crashes were not buckled up at the time of the crash, compared to 40 percent of females.

            The 13- to 15-year-old and 18- to 34-year-old age groups had the highest percentages (62% and 59%, respectively) of occupants killed who were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the fatal crash. It’s really important for parents to continually remind their teens and young adult children about the importance of always buckling up.

            In addition, motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death among children ages 1 to 19. It’s important to make sure children are in a proper car seat or booster seat based on their age, weight and height. DC law requires that any child up to 16 years of age must be in a properly installed child safety seat or restrained in a seat belt. Children under 8 years of age must be properly seated in an installed infant, convertible (toddler) or booster child seat. The penalty for violating DC's child safety seat law is a fine of at least $75 and two points on the driver's license.

Free rides from SoberRide

June 28, 2019

The July 4 holiday is time when many Americans socialize with friends, go to parties and watch fireworks with family and friends to celebrate Independence Day. It’s also a time when many people drink more alcoholic drinks than planned. One thing that should be planned before you go out is how you will get home safely.

            Independence Day is also one of the deadliest days of the year due to impaired driving crashes. Over the 4thof July period in 2017, 601 people died in motor vehicle crashes and 39 percent (237) of those fatalities occurred in alcohol-impaired crashes. This is a 23 percent increase from 2016. Sixty percent of those who died in alcohol-impaired crashes were in a crash involving at least one driver or motorcyclist with a BAC of .15 or higher.

            Not only can impaired driving have devastating and deadly consequences, it also puts you in a position to get a DUI. The legal and financial costs of getting a DUI are significant. People who get a DUI often face jail time, the loss of their driver's license, increased insurance rates, and many other expenses, including attorney fees, court costs, car towing and repairs and lost wages due to time off from work. All in all, the estimated cost of a DUI is between $10,000 and $15,000. 

            Make a plan for a ride home before you go out.  With ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft, it is easier than ever to avoid driving impaired. 

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program and Lyft are teaming up for their SoberRide program.WRAP's 2019 July 4 SoberRide program, in partnership with Lyft, will be offered from 7pm Thursday, July 4 until 2am Friday, July 5. To use this service, download the Lyft app to your phone and enter the applicable code in the app’s ‘Promo’ section.  The SoberRide code will be released to the public at 6pm on July 4. Valid for up to $15 off one ride home. This offer is valid for new and existing Lyft users. You must be 21 or older to use the SoberRide service.

Do your part to keep law enforcement officers and first responders safe, Move Over 

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have "Move Over" laws to protect law enforcement officers and other first responders stopped on roadways. These laws were put into effect to save the lives of law enforcement officers, emergency responders and drivers.

However, it is estimated that only 71 percent of the public are aware of these laws, and traffic-related incidents continue to be the number one cause of death among on-duty law enforcement officers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is working to increase awareness of these important life-saving "Move Over" laws and to emphasize the need to help protect public safety officers who place their lives at risk to protect motorists. Law enforcement officers will pull over and ticket drivers who fail to follow Move Over laws.

The penalty for failing to move over or proceed with caution when an authorized emergency vehicle is stopped on the side of the road is 6 points in the District.

According to recent data from NHTSA, 47 law enforcement officers were killed in traffic-related incidents in 2017. Of the officers killed in 2017, nine officers were struck and killed outside their vehicles. In addition, from 2007-2017, there were 1,641 officers killed in the line of duty and 39 percent of those fatalities were traffic-related.

These are startling statistics. They show that making traffic or emergency stops on the side of the road or highway is very dangerous for law enforcement officers. 

When an emergency vehicle with its emergency lights on is stopped or parked on the side of a roadway, drivers approaching the emergency vehicle should try to make a lane change into a lane not next to the emergency vehicle. If unable to safely make a lane change, drivers should slow down.

It’s important to be aware of ways to help law enforcement officers and emergency responders do their jobs while keeping them safe. When approaching an emergency vehicle with its emergency lights on, always try to move over if you can or slow down if moving over isn’t possible. 

 

Protecting law enforcement and first responders is first priority. Move over. It’s the law.

The Biggest Lifesaver When Driving

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C. 

Vehicles have become significantly safer and smarter in the past few years – including collision avoidance and automatic brakes, lane departure warning systems, increased usage of airbags and electronic stability control. Despite these advances, wearing a seat belt is still the best way to stay safe while in a car. When used properly, wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45 percent, and cuts the risk of critical injury by 50 percent.

During the Memorial Day holiday, about 10,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide will be out on the roads from May 13 through June 2 to remind drivers and passengers to buckle their seat belts. The annual Click It or Ticket campaign reminds travelers to use their seat belt every time they get into the car. 

Seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017, according to stats from NHTSA. If all passenger vehicle occupants five and older had worn their seat belts that same year, it’s estimated an additional 2,549 lives could have been saved. Fifty-five percent of those fatalities that year happened at night. Law enforcement will be writing citations to drivers and passengers who are not buckled up. 

The Metropolitan Police Department officers will also be cracking down on drivers and passengers who are not wearing seat belts. The local Click It or Ticket campaign - The Biggest Thing You Can Use to Save Your Life – focuses on safety education, seat belt laws, and officers enforcing laws and saving lives.

D.C.'s seat belt law requires the driver and all passengers to be properly buckled up in the front and back seats. This requirement applies to passengers in all vehicles, including taxicabs. Failure to comply with adult seat belt laws can result in a $50 fine and two points on the driver's license for a first offense, and a $150 fine for fourth and subsequent offenses

It's important that children are in the right car seat and buckled properly to ensure their safety. A child weighing 30 pounds can be ejected in a crash when the vehicle is going just 30 miles per hour. 

Babies and children must be properly restrained in a car based on their age, height and weight. With small children in a seatbelt instead of a car seat or booster seat, the lap band of an adult seat belt can press into their stomachs and sever their internal organs and spine.

Teens and young adults also have to be reminded of the importance of always buckling up as well. Data shows among passengers aged 18 to 34 who have been killed in crashes, 63 percent weren’t buckled up at the time of the crash. And, teens aged 13 to 15 have a 67 percent risk of dying in crashes when they aren’t wearing seat belts 

Before Summer starts and your teens may be in vehicles without you, be sure to remind them that buckling up is the most important safety measure they can take to protect themselves in a crash. Seat belts are also the best defense against impaired, aggressive and distracted drivers.

 

Remember to buckle up every trip, every time. Help make Vision Zero a reality in the District.

DDOT Launches Crachdown on

Impaired Drivers Over St. Patrick's Day Weekend.

 

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C. - 

            Every year, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated with parades, leprechaun hats and mustaches, and green beer. Unfortunately, the fun often ends with drunk drivers getting behind the wheel. St. Patrick’s Day is one of the deadliest holidays on our country’s roads. During the 2013-2017 St. Patrick’s Day holiday period (6 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18), 234 lives were lost due to drunk-driving crashes. In 2017, drunk driving killed more than 10,000 people in the U.S. Drunk driving accounts for about one-third of vehicle-related fatalities in the country. Before you go out this St. Patrick’s Day weekend, remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

            The Metropolitan Police Department will be out this weekend arresting impaired drivers. If you are planning to go out and celebrate, make sure you refrain from drinking and driving.

Arrange for a sober ride home through Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s (WRAP) SoberRide program with Lyft. SoberRide offers party goers a free ride home on St. Patrick’s Day. Visit www.SoberRide.com for more information.

            NHTSA and the Metropolitan Police Department are asking that the public and the media help to spread the message and to take other precautions including:

  • Making a plan and arranging for a ride home before going out.

  • Using public transportation to get home safely.

  • Contacting local law enforcement if you see an impaired driver on the road.

  • Buckling up every time you get into a vehicle.

Make it to the Table This Thanksgiving Eve.

 

Don't Drink and Drive

 

November 16, 2018

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C. - 

As millions of Americans plan to travel on the roads this Thanksgiving holiday, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is reminding drivers to “Make It to the Table: Don’t Drink and Drive this Thanksgiving Eve.”

Thanksgiving has become one of the deadliest times of the year on America’s roads because “Thanksgiving Eve,” the Wednesday before the holiday, has become one of the year’s biggest drinking days. Whether it’s young people home from college and connecting with friends or older adults who have the next day off work, Thanksgiving Eve has contributed to an increase in impaired driving and deaths around the holiday.  

NHTSA hopes to make the roads safer around Thanksgiving by organizing a one-day highway safety community media blitz starting Friday, Nov. 17that 11 a.m.  The traffic safety organization hopes that warning Americans about the dangers of drinking and driving ahead of Thanksgiving may reduce the number of people who drive impaired around the holiday. 

The message, “Make It to the Table: Don’t Drink and Drive this Thanksgiving Eve”will be shared on social media and through traditional media. If you are planning to go out and celebrate with friends and family, don’t drive after you have been drinking. Make a plan before you go out. Getting behind the wheel after drinking can lead to an empty chair at Thanksgiving dinner. 

            NHTSA and the Metropolitan Police Department are asking that the public and the media help to spread the message and to take other precautions including:

  • Making a plan and designating a sober driver or arranging for a ride home before going out.

  • Using public transportation to get home safely.

  • Contacting local law enforcement if you see an impaired driver on the road.

  • Buckling up every time you get into a vehicle.

Hitting the road for Thanksgiving?

 

Buckle up - Every Trip.
Every Time.

 

November 12, 2018

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C. - Millions of travelers will hit the roads this Thanksgiving, traveling to family and friends’ homes to spend time with loved ones and eat turkey and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.  It’s one of the busiest travel times of the year and more people on the roadways means the potential for more crashes. To keep drivers and their passengers safe, theDistrict Department of Transportation is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to share an important lifesaving reminder: Buckle Up—Every Trip. Every Time.

Just two years ago, during the 2016 Thanksgiving weekend, nearly 350 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes across the country. Almost half of those killed were unbuckled, representing a decrease in seat belt use compared to the same weekend in 2015, when 52 percent of those killed in traffic crashes were unrestrained. Nighttime was even more deadly, with 55 percent of Thanksgiving weekend crashes occurring at after dark. Many of these deaths may have been prevented if seat belts were used. 

NHTSA estimates that correct seat belt use reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate-to-serious injury by 50 percent. In 2016, about 14,668 people survived crashes because they were buckled up. If everyone had worn their seat belts that year, an additional 2,456 lives could have been saved. 

NHTSA’s research also reveals that males are more likely to be unbuckled than females in a fatal crash, and that younger drivers are also at greater risk of being unbuckled. In 2016, 52 percent of the males killed in crashes were not buckled up at the time of the crash, compared to 40 percent of females. The 13- to 15-year-old and 18- to 34-year-old age groups had the highest percentages (62% and 59%, respectively) of occupants killed who were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the fatal crash.  

Drivers and passengers need to remember to buckle up. Doing so ensures everyone arrives safely to their Thanksgiving destinations. Remember: Buckle Up—Every Trip. Every Time.

For more information about traveling safely this Thanksgiving, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/seat-belts.

DDOT Focuses on Impaired Drivers on Halloween

 

Impaired drivers will be
pulled over and arrested.

October 26, 2018

Copy to come

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C. - To combat the often deadly consequences of impaired driving, the Metropolitan Police Department will ramp up enforcement of impaired-driving laws this weekend through Halloween.

DDOT is reminding motorists how dangerous impaired driving is, especially as Halloween trick-or-treating brings more kids out into the neighborhoods and busy streets. Those planning to celebrate Halloween should designate a driver or make a plan for a safe ride home before going out.

 

Fatal crashes involving a drunk driver occur three times more often on Halloween than on New Year’s Eve, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  Thousands die in impaired-driving crashes every year, while other face jail time, loss of license, and spend thousands of dollars on attorney’s fees, fines and lost wages.

 

In the District, as well as in the rest of the country, anyone 21 or older driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter or higher and anyone under the age of 21 with a BAC of .02 or higher is considered legally impaired. Many impaired drivers refuse to submit to BAC testing in an attempt to avoid—or have reduced—the criminal sanctions they could face upon conviction.

 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were almost 10,000 alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities in the United States in 2014.

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Free rides from SoberRide

October 24, 2018

#Makeaplan before you go out to celebrate Halloween! WRAP's 2018 Halloween SoberRide® program, in partnership with Lyft, will be offered from 10:00 PM Saturday, October 27 until 4:00 AM Saturday, October 28, 2018. To use this service, download the Lyft app to your phone and enter the applicable code in the app’s ‘Promo’ section.  Valid for up to $15 off one ride home. This offer is valid for new and existing Lyft users. You must be 21 or older to use the SoberRide® service.

Make it to the Table - 

Don’t Drive Impaired This Thanksgiving. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 18, 2019

 

 Washington, D.C. –  

 

The best part of Thanksgiving is not the food, but who is around the table.  This Thanksgiving holiday, make it a point to remind your family members and friends not to drive impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Over the past 5 years, more people have died in car crashes involving alcohol around the Thanksgiving holiday than over any other holiday period. This includes the Fourth of July, Christmas, and even New Year’s Eve, which are more commonly associated with alcohol consumption. There has also been an increasing number of people driving when impaired by marijuana and other drugs.

One reason for the large number of Thanksgiving impaired-driving deaths may be that the days around the holiday are increasingly seen as a time to reconnect with family and friends, drink alcohol and use drugs, specifically marijuana. Whether it’s young people home from college and hanging out with friends or adults socializing with family and friends, there is an increase in impaired driving and deaths around the holiday.  

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hopes to make the roads safer around Thanksgiving by running a social media blitz - Make it to the Table. Don’t Drive Impaired This Thanksgiving - leading up to Thanksgiving on Instagram and Twitter. 

NHTSA will be sharing content on the importance of planning a sober ride home before going out.  Social media posts will be hashtagged #BoycottBlackoutWednesday and #DitchDanksgiving. The traffic safety organization hopes that warning Americans about the dangers of drinking and driving ahead of Thanksgiving may reduce the number of people who drive impaired around the holiday. 

If you are planning to go out and celebrate with friends and family, don’t drive after you have been drinking or using drugs. #Makeaplan before you go out. Getting behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs can lead to an empty chair at the Thanksgiving dinner table. 

NHTSA and the Metropolitan Police Department are asking that the public and the media help to spread the message and to take other precautions including:

  • Making a plan and designating a sober driver or arranging for a ride home before going out.

  • Using public transportation to get home safely.

  • Contacting local law enforcement if you see an impaired driver on the road.

  • Buckling up every time you get into a vehicle.

The District is committed to protecting the lives of those traveling on city roads.

VisionZero represents the city's goal of reducing traffic fatalities to zero. Traffic deaths are preventable.

District Department of Transportation

55 M Street, SE • Washington, DC 20003

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