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Traffic Safety During Back-to-school Season

Also, Get the Latest World Day of Remembrance Details

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August 23, 2023

August is Back to School Safety Month, and we’re focused on safe transportation options for students of all ages. This is a particularly deadly time for road users but proven Safe System interventions can ensure everyone, especially our youngest road users, can travel safely, joyfully and independently.

Check out these resources and updates to help improve traffic safety for kids during this back-to-school season:

Get a full rundown of back-to-school traffic safety tips and resources from the California Active Transportation Safety Information Pages. These resources include useful guidebooks, toolkits and more – check them out!

The Safe Routes Partnership is hosting a webinar on Sept. 20, 2023, on how a Safe System approach can be applied to school settings. Register now to attend this timely session.

School buses remain one of the safest vehicles on our roads, but young road users still face risks when approaching or leaving them. Get the latest details on school bus safety from NHTSA and look ahead to National School Bus Safety Week in October.

The National Child Passenger Safety Board also recently released their Child Passenger Safety on School Buses National Training. Learn more and register now!

Sept. 17-23, 2023, is Child Passenger Safety Week. See new research from AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah, along with the National Safety Council, that sheds light on the extent to which parents and caregivers in the U.S. are informed about car seat installation and use

New data from Cambridge Mobile Telematics shows a consistent rise in distracted driving from early August until Labor Day, creating additional risks for new students heading to class. Dig into the data to see how these trends have shifted over the past several years.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is trying out an exciting new strategy for improving traffic safety for young kids: free bike-riding lessons for Bostonians between the ages of 4 and 13. Learn more about this innovative new program that can help kids bike safely!

New research contends auto-centric community design can severely restrict opportunities for children to engage in active transportation and outdoor free play. Get more details about the importance of independent mobility for children in this new article.  

Automated speed enforcement is another tool that, when supported by other safety countermeasures and considering racial equity implications, has been shown to reduce speed violations in school zones.

Planning for World Day of Remembrance

Nov. 19, 2023, marks World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims in the U.S. (WDoR). 

On Sept. 13, 2023, WDoR event organizers can join a special media training session. This event is open to WDoR observance organizers only. Anyone can host an observance, and events can be as small as a single person or family. Sign up here to access these trainings and resources for organizers.

Each month between now and November we will work with Families for Safe Streets and It Could Be Me to feature a first-hand account of someone whose life has been permanently altered due to traffic violence. We hope that these stories will add an element of humanity to our traffic safety focus: 

What happens when a loved one’s fatal crash happens far from home? Distance and lack of connection to local politicians and other decision-makers can make it difficult to memorialize loved ones and work for change at crash sites. Difficult - but not impossible. 

After her beloved son Josh was killed by a speeding, impaired driver in Los Angeles in February 2021, Lori Markowitz began the painful and complicated process of memorializing Josh and calling attention to the conditions that created this tragic event. Read Lori's story here.

Upcoming Webinars

Register for these upcoming webinars to stay in the loop on all things traffic safety.

2022 Road to Zero Community Traffic Safety Grantee Showcase (1 of 2)
2 p.m. (ET) Sept. 6
Join this webinar for a project showcase from some of our 2022 Road to Zero Community Traffic Safety grantees. This session will feature:

● Health by Design – Change at the Crossroads of America: Indiana's Road to Zero
● Children's Hospital of Philadelphia – The New Jersey Community Traffic Safety Profiles: Utilizing Data Integration and Visualization to Support Equitable Advancement of Road to Zero Pillars
● Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) with Howard University Transportation Research Center and Safe Routes Partnership – Youth Centered Near Miss and Crash Reporting Tool

Don’t miss your chance to hear from these grantees about their projects, ask questions and get tips for replicating their efforts in your own community. Register.

2022 Road to Zero Community Traffic Safety Grantee Showcase (2 of 2)
2 p.m. (ET) Sept. 26
Learn about projects from our 2022 Road to Zero Community Traffic Safety grantees. This session will feature:

● Portland Bureau of Transportation – Beyond Traffic Safety: Advancing Personal Safety, Security and Sense of Belonging for BIPOC Portlanders
● Northwestern Center – Prioritizing Accessible Transportation, Health & Safety (PATHS) 4 Belmont Cragin
● Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy – Partnering to Bring Safe Systems to Tribal Communities


See the Latest from Our Road to Zero Partners

Secretary Buttigieg and USDOT announced the appointment of 24 members to the Advisory Committee on Transportation Equity. These experts will advise the Secretary on issues related to civil rights and expanding access to jobs and economic opportunities in transportation for all communities.

On Sept. 7, 2023, join Vision Zero Network’s next webinar, Performance Metrics: Transparency, Accountability & Evaluation. Register now to learn essential strategies for monitoring and evaluating the impact of your roadway safety projects within the context of Vision Zero Action Planning.

Congratulations to the new AAMVA President and CEO, Ian Grossman, who also serves as a member of the Road to Zero Coalition Steering Group. A national leader in transportation safety who has served with AAMVA since 2009, we wish Ian great success!

Our Driving Concern, an initiative of the National Safety Council, recently recognized nine Texas employers for their efforts to promote driving safety. See the full list of winners for the 2023 Our Driving Concern Texas Employer Traffic Safety awards.

VERITY Now is committed to improving traffic safety for all road users. Check out their recent statements in support of including language on equality in crash testing and adding pedestrian protection to the NCAP safety program.

Driver death rates calculations from IIHS show the dangers of muscle cars in addition to the minicars and small cars that usually dominate the list. IIHS VP of Statistical Services Chuck Farmer discusses the recently released data and why IIHS also looked at other-driver death rates for the first time.

A new report from the Trucking Alliance compares the DOT-required urinalysis with optional hair drug test results of commercial truck drivers. Check out the report for the full findings from comparisons of nearly one million drug tests.  

NHTSA is in the midst of its national enforcement mobilization, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, through September 4 and is looking ahead to Pedestrian Safety Month this October. NHTSA has also released several new resources on pressing issues, check them out here:

Seat Belt Use in 2022
Low-Cost Pedestrian Safety Zones: An Eight-Step Handbook
Best Practices for Increasing Seat Belt Use in Rural Communities

A training program operated by the National League of Cities helps small cities apply directly for federal infrastructure funding; participating cities have won $428 million since last summer. Learn more about this program and how you can get involved.

The Safe Routes Partnership is looking for leaders who are interested in trying new approaches for high-impact outcomes improving safe, convenient and equitable access to local parks. Get more information on the 2024 Safe Routes to Parks State Accelerator Program.

Bridges are often built without accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists, exposing these vulnerable road users to serious risks. Check out this new report on practices for adding bicycle and pedestrian access to existing vehicle bridges.

Work Zone Awareness Week is a crucial campaign each April to improve highway work zone safety. Watch this new video from AASHTO highlighting this year’s campaign and efforts to use new tools to make work zones safer for everyone.  

U.S. infrastructure costs are high and rising, and the procurement process is one potential cost driver. Take a look at this new paper for data on the two items that may be most responsible for driving these costs.

A new NSC report calls for use of the National Digital Car Seat Check Form by all certified child passenger safety technicians. Read the full report to learn more about how this wider adoption could help save more young lives on our roads.  

The National Child Passenger Safety Board is accepting applications for three membership positions. The application period closes on Sept. 30, 2023 – learn more and apply now!

September is Baby Safety Month, sponsored annually by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). This year, JPMA is helping educate parents and caregivers on the safe selection and use of juvenile products, while encouraging others to become safety ambassadors.

A new report from Smart Growth America looks at why we should invest in multimodal transportation for rural communities and small towns. Read the full report for best practices in rural mobility.

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