The dangers of distracted driving

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By , April 30, 2010 8:43 am

FACT:

According to the NHTSA, nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted driver, and more than half a million were injured.

Quite a sobering statistic, as the country marks the first ever national No Phone Zone Day today, a day created by talk show host Oprah Winfrey to promote driver safety. Governmental agencies and the media, including the Today Show, have joined in the effort.

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Texting and cell phone use behind the wheel are two of the most dangerous driving habits. Drive Safe Cedar Valley is on a mission to get local drivers to put their cell phones down in order to save lives and prevent injuries. And we’re not alone. The U.S. Department of Transportation has a similar initiative. Read more about it here.

Here are some more sobering statistics about distracted driving, according to Distracted.gov:

  • Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent. (Source: Carnegie Mellon)
  • The younger, inexperienced drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.
  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
  • Using a cell phone use while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah)

We want to know: do you text while driving? Leave a comment, or cast your vote in our latest poll.

Has a drinking and driving incident changed your life?

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By , April 26, 2010 10:00 am

Nick Anderson has responded to many preventable tragedies on the road as an EMT in the Cedar Valley.

Without a doubt, drinking and driving is a dangerous – and oftentimes deadly – combination. As a firefighter and EMT for Waterloo Fire Rescue, I’ve seen first-hand the tragedies caused by unsafe driving habits.

One incident I’ll never forget happened during one of my shifts. We were dispatched to the scene of a crash that involved a young drunk driver who was killed after running their vehicle off of the road.

Another incident I responded to involved a motorcycle crash that resulted in a fatality. It was later determined that alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Too often, drivers and innocent passengers and bystanders lose their lives due to drunk driving. But these tragedies can be prevented. Together, by practicing safe driving habits, we can change the culture of driving in the Cedar Valley.

Do you know someone who has been involved in or affected by a crash caused by alcohol? How has it changed your life? Leave a comment and share your story.

April 30th is “No Phone Zone Day”

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By , April 23, 2010 9:00 am

Attention Cedar Valley drivers!

One week from today – Friday, April 30th – will mark the first national No Phone Zone Day. Oprah Winfrey, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), U.S Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and other safe driving organizations and advocates have partnered to launch a new public service announcement campaign and declare April 30th a national day of awareness to end distracted driving. The initiative is designed to educate and activate Americans to end the deadly driving habits that kill nearly 6,000 Americans a year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to a news release, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” will present a special live episode devoted to ending distracted driving. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will be one of the guests. “No Phone Zone Day” viewing rallies will also be held in Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

So, Cedar Valley – celebrate safe driving and join in the effort to end distracted driving on Friday, April 30th – and beyond!

Media spotlight shines on driving safety

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By , April 21, 2010 4:40 pm

The word is out. Drive Safe Cedar Valley – and new campaign spokesperson Nick Anderson – are on a mission to save lives. The Courier shared that news with the Cedar Valley this week. Read the article here – and help us spread the word to encourage safe driving habits!

As part of his commitment to safety awareness, Nick wants to know what worries you most – whether it’s texting, drinking and driving, or pedestrian and bike safety in the Cedar Valley. Is there a busy intersection or street in the Cedar Valley that concerns you? What kind of safety measures do you take behind the wheel? Leave a comment. Share your ideas. Because our lives are in your hands. And together, we can make the Cedar Valley a safer place to drive and live.

Poll: Unsafe driving practices

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By , April 19, 2010 7:58 pm

Which unsafe driving practice do you think is the biggest problem in the Cedar Valley? Weigh in and cast your vote in our poll! We’ll reveal the results here on our blog, as well as on Facebook and Twitter, on Friday, April 23!

Be safe on the road this spring

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By , April 14, 2010 3:20 pm

Nick Anderson, a Waterloo firefighter, EMT and new spokesperson for Drive Safe Cedar Valley, talks about the importance of safety awareness on the roads – and how you can help the campaign continue into the future.