Emergency Responder Safety Institute and NSC Urge Americans to Just Drive

Emergency Responder Safety Institute and NSC Urge Americans to Just Drive

Distraction-free driving also helps protect first responders at emergency scenes on the road.

With motor vehicle deaths rising 6% in the last two years, the Emergency Responder Safety Institute joins the National Safety Council to help raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving not only to motorists, but also to first responders operating on America’s roadways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving led to 3,477 deaths and 391,000 injuries in 2015 alone.

A group that has a unique focus on this issue is the NSC Government and Public-Sector Division. Division Chair and former Fire Chief I. David Daniels said the vast majority of the first responder community work and volunteer for the public sector.

“When they are injured and killed on roadways, not only do their families suffer, the community that they serve suffers as well,” he said. “The focus on #justdrive is an important component in efforts to keep both first responders and the public safe.”

In honor of Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, the National Safety Council and Emergency Responder Safety Institute – or ERSI – remind motorists to put the phone away and give their full attention to the road whenever they get behind the wheel. This is particularly important when approaching and passing an emergency scene on the roadway where responders are working hard to help injured victims and clear roadway obstructions. Distraction-free driving protects drivers, their passengers, other motorists, pedestrians and first responders, who risk their lives to keep others from being injured or killed on the road.

“Motor vehicle crashes result in an injury every seven seconds and a death every 13 minutes, and everyone recognizes that distracted driving is a significant risk,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Distracted Driving Awareness Month is focused on convincing motorists to put away their phones and #justdrive.”

ERSI, an advisory group of public safety leaders and transportation experts committed to reducing deaths and injuries to America's emergency responders, shares this concern.

“Distracted driving threatens not only motorists on our nation’s roadways, but also the first responders who seek to help them when crashes and other emergencies occur,” said Steve Austin, project manager for ERSI. “First responders and towing professionals are trained to handle roadway incidents with the utmost safety. But these brave men and women are at the mercy of the public, whose unsafe driving practices put them at risk of death and severe injury every time they answer these calls and set foot on the roadway.”

Visit nsc.org/justdrive for information and resources.

About The Emergency Responder Safety Institute

The Emergency Responder Safety Institute – or ERSI – is an advisory group of public safety leaders and transportation experts committed to reducing deaths and injuries to America's emergency responders. ERSI engages in and promotes activities that include developing training materials to support responder safety; promoting the National Unified Goal for Traffic Incident Management; encouraging the development of TIM Teams; promoting collaboration, communication and cooperation among the nation’s emergency responders; and keeping emergency responders up to date on national standards, regulations, and recommended practices related to safe roadway incident operations. ERSI’s flagship projects include Respondersafety.com and The Responder Safety Learning Network. ERSI is a committee of the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Fireman’s Association.

About the National Safety Council

The National Safety Council is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact.

The NSC formed the Government and Public-Sector Division in 2015. The division is made up of safety professionals who work in and around federal, state and local government. Its mission is to facilitate the identification, evaluation and provision of safety resources and best practices through the collaboration of Division members.

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