More Kids Hit at Bus Stops, 6 Accidents in 3 Days

The number of accidents at school bus stops is on the rise as drivers continue to ignore safety rules.

More children have been hit by cars while waiting for a school bus, this time in Florida and Pennsylvania. That makes six accidents at school bus stops in three days across the country.

According to station WTSP, five children and two adults were all hit by a car while waiting at a school bus stop in Tampa. Three of the children were 6 years old, one was 9 and the other was 12. The adults were both in their early 30s. All the people hit by the car were hospitalized AND two children remained in the hospital, according to WTSP. Investigators say the 47-year-old Tampa man driving the car that hit the group did not seem impaired at the time of the incident.

Also, a 7-year-old child was found on the ground with fatal injuries by a school bus driver at a bus stop in Pennsylvania. Tyrone Area School District Superintendent Cathy Harlow said on Facebook that the apparent hit-and-run happened before school. She also said, “the bus driver on route arrived at the stop discovering the situation, contacted 911 and remained at the scene until first-responders arrived.” State police are still looking for the driver, according to NBC 10.

An 11-year-old and a 13-year-old were hit in Louisville, Kentucky around 6:30 a.m. The two young brothers were hit by an unknown driver while crossing a busy intersection. Kentucky police are still looking for the driver.

Two other incidents happened in Florida and Mississippi. Twin boys and their big sister were hit by a car while boarding a school bus in Indiana. A fourth child was struck as well. Xzavier and Mason Ingle, both 6, and Alivia Stahl, 9, were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash in Fulton County. The fourth child, 11-year-old Maverik Lowe, was airlifted to Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne with life-threatening injuries.

Sgt. Tony Slocum of the Indiana State Police said that the Tippecanoe Valley School corporation students were hit by a pick-up truck even though the bus was stopped with its lights flashing and its “STOP” arm extended. The pickup truck’s driver, 24-year-old Alyssa Shepherd, was arrested at her job just after 4 p.m., Indiana State Police said in a news release. Shepherd remained at the scene after the crash and cooperated with investigators. Her blood test did not indicate that alcohol or drugs played a factor, according to Gannett. Shepherd was charged with multiple felony counts of reckless homicide and one misdemeanor count of passing a school bus when an arm signal device is extended, causing bodily injury, court records show.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were about 1,300 people killed in school transportation-related accidents between 2006 and 2015. About 100 of those victims were classified as school-age pedestrians. 64 percent of the children killed were stuck by a bus or a vehicle serving as a bus, while 36 percent were hit by other vehicles, the administration said.

What if these were your children or family members? It’s up to each one of us to ensure our children make it to school and back safely. Remove distractions from your driving and pay attention to what’s happening all around you. These kids are victims because drivers are putting on makeup, holding a cellphone, reading or performing other distracting activities. None of these reasons is worth a life.

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Federal Government Spends $172K on Fighting Distracted Pedestrians


New York State is considering a ban on the use of electronic devices while crossing streets. Above, a jogger in New York City. Credit Richard Perry/The New York Times

The National Institutes of Health is spending over $170,000 studying how to crack down on distracted pedestrians looking at their phones when crossing the street by sending people warning messages on their phones to look at while they cross the street.

The study, being conducted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, also involves tracking what college students are doing on their smartphones when they are near an intersection.

Researchers said an uptick in pedestrian deaths is likely linked to increased cell phone use. The proposed solution is sending an alert to the pedestrian’s phone, which would then prompt them to look at the phone just as they are about to cross a busy intersection.

“Unlike most medical conditions, the pedestrian injury rate is currently increasing in the United States,” according to the grant for the project. “This project will study the efficacy of an intervention to reduce distracted pedestrian behavior using smartphone technology.”

“Over 4,800 American pedestrians die annually, a figure that is currently increasing,” the grant states. “One hypothesized reason for the increasing trend in pedestrian injuries and deaths is the role of mobile technology in distracting both pedestrians and drivers. Existing behavioral interventions to reduce distracted pedestrian behavior are few.”

“We propose to develop and then evaluate Bluetooth beacon technology as a means to alert and warn pedestrians when they are approaching dangerous intersections, reminding them to attend to the traffic environment and cross the street safely rather than engaging with mobile technology,” the grant explains.

Bluetooth technology will be placed at intersection corners that will send college students an alert through an app, with a message, sound, or vibrating warning. The app might also freeze a user’s cell phone screen when crossing the street.

For research purposes, the app also will download data concerning the users’ behavior while crossing the street,” the grant states, including if a user stops using their phone, puts it in their pocket, or leaves music on.

The project began on Sept. 1 and has received $172,321 from taxpayers. Research will continue through August 2020. Check out this article from The New York Times on how “States; Lawmakers Turn Attention to the Dangers of Distracted Pedestrians”
https://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/26/us/26runners.html

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Safety Issues and Recalls


The car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) is the identifying code for a SPECIFIC automobile. The VIN serves as the car’s fingerprint, as no two vehicles in operation have the same VIN. A VIN is composed of 17 characters (digits and capital letters) that act as a unique identifier for the vehicle.

Here at the American Safety Institute we want you to be as safe on the road as possible. There’s a lot that happens during driving that is outside our control and the mechanical conditions of your car can be one. Sometimes there are issues with our vehicles that we are unaware of. If you bought your car from a major dealer, they will probably alert you of any recalls or updates. Older vehicles or those bought from a used car lot can’t count on the same notifications. Sometimes you have to do your own homework.

Two of our favorite and accredited websites have pages dedicated to informing the public of any safety issues and recalls. Make sure your car doesn’t have an issue that the manufacturer will pay to have fixed, but moreover could cause you serious problems if not addressed.

Two of our favorite and accredited websites have pages dedicated to informing the public of any safety issues and recalls. Make sure your car doesn’t have an issue that the manufacturer will pay to have fixed, but moreover could cause you serious problems if not addressed.

www.nhtsa.gov/recalls

www.recalls.gov/nhtsa.html

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Senior Driver Safety

Seniors are outliving their ability to drive safely by an average of 7-10 years and for the first time in history.

Older Americans today are healthier and more active than ever before. The aging baby boomer generation is the fastest-growing demographic in the U.S. By 2030, there will be more than 70 million people age 65 and older, and approximately 85-90 percent of them will be licensed to drive. In fact, seniors are outliving their ability to drive safely by an average of 7-10 years and for the first time in history, we must plan for our “driving retirement” just as we plan for our financial retirement.

Senior drivers are among the safest drivers on the road and often reduce their risk of injury by wearing safety belts, not drinking and driving and by observing speed limits; however, seniors are more likely to be injured or killed in a crash due to age-related fragility. With the exception of teenagers, seniors have the highest crash death rate per mile driven. As we age, our ability to drive safely is affected by natural changes to our bodies over time.

In recognition of these changing demographics, AAA launched “Lifelong Safe Mobility.” This association-wide priority initiative is dedicated to keeping seniors safe and mobile and driving as long as safely possible. Senior safety and mobility is a quality of life issue. By working to protect and promote it, you can help maintain confidence and independence among seniors, and foster a society where older adults can live to their full potential.

To learn more, visit SeniorDriving.AAA.com.

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Tips for Drivers During a Solar Eclipse

The next total eclipse for North America will come on April 8, 2024.

On August 21, 2017, millions across the U.S. witnessed an awe-inspiring total solar eclipse. While the excitement surrounding them is understandable, and as a reminder, eclipse-seekers should map out their viewing location in advance, and to be safely off the roadways while gazing at the skies.

When will we see the next one? The next total eclipse for North America will come on April 8, 2024. That makes it seem as if eclipses are rare, when, in fact, they’re not. They happen about every 18 months as seen from somewhere in the world. However, for any given spot on Earth’s surface, total solar eclipses don’t happen very often.

ASI also offers the following tips for drivers during the 2024 solar eclipse:

  • Do not attempt to watch the eclipse while driving. Exit the roadway and park in a safe area away from traffic. The peak darkness phase will last just 2-3 minutes.
  • According to NASA, you should avoid looking directly at the sun without proper eye protection. The only safe way to look at the uneclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or hand-held solar viewers.
  • Drive safely. Eagerness to view the event is not an acceptable reason to drive aggressively or while distracted.
  • Drive with your headlights on. Not only will you be more visible to other drivers, your forward vision will be improved.
  • Watch out for pedestrians. There may be people standing in or along the roadway watching the eclipse.
  • Be on the alert for distracted drivers.
  • Other drivers may attempt to watch the eclipse and drive at the same time.
  • Keep additional space between you and other vehicles.
  • Reduce your speed so you have more time to make an emergency maneuver, if needed
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Dangers of Driving Into Sun

Driving on a beautiful sunny day can provide stunning scenery, but it can also create a hazard if the driver’s view is compromised by a glaring sun.

Just after sunrise and before sunset the sun can shine directly into drivers’ eyes, leaving many motorists driving with a glare. This glare can make it much harder to see the road ahead and potential hazards creating an added risk to drivers. When sun glare is an issue slow down and use extra caution especially while driving through school zones.

So how can you protect yourself? Here are some tips for motorists when driving into the sun:

  • Invest in polarized sunglasses – they can help reduce glare.
  • Utilize your sun visor – it can help to block out the sun.
  • Leave more following room – when the sun is in your eyes it can be hard to see what the car ahead is doing. This is one more time when it pays to leave more room between you and the next vehicle.
  • Drive with your headlights on to increase your visibility to other drivers

Additional tips:

  • Keep your windshield clean, inside and out
  • Check your windshield for pitting and cracks
  • Avoid storing papers or other items on the dashboard
  • If having a difficult time seeing the road, use lane markings to help guide you.

Rarely will visibility be absolutely perfect while driving, but if motorists know this and make the proper adjustments, you can minimize any additional risks that come with less-than-optimal visual conditions.

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When Visibility is Low, Drive Slow

Keep the windshield and headlights clean to reduce glare and increase visibility.

Smoke, fog and heavy rain can all lower visibility on roads. To ensure safety, follow these important safe driving rules:

DRIVE WITH LIGHTS ON LOW BEAM. High beams will reflect back off of precipitation, smoke or fog and further impair visibility. Keep all vehicle lights in good working order to avoid collisions.

SLOW DOWN. Keep a safe stopping distance between vehicles and avoid passing and/or changing lanes. Wet pavement can result in skidding and hydroplaning. Be patient and stay alert. Use the right edge of the road or painted road markings as a guide.

SIGNAL TURNS well in advance and brake early when approaching a stop. Braking distances should be increased in low visibility conditions.

REDUCE DISTRACTIONS. Turn off the radio and cell phone and keep conversations to a minimum. Focus your full attention on driving.

USE WIPERS AND DEFROSTERS. Keeping the windshield, windows and mirrors clean and clear is critical for maximum visibility. Wipers should be replaced at least once a year to guarantee best performance.

NEVER STOP ON THE ROAD, it may result in a chain-reaction collision. If you must pull off the road, signal first and carefully pull off as far as possible. After pulling completely off the road, turn on hazard flashers.

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Spring Driving

Warmer weather doesn’t mean the roads are safer for drivers.

Now that you’ve survived driving in one of the most brutal winters in our nation’s history, getting around in spring should be a breeze, right? Not exactly.

Spring presents its own unique challenges to motorists, experts say. For starters, there can be a “letting your guard down” mentality that sets in as the ice and snow have melted away, and pure giddiness over rising temperatures prompts a sense of abandonment. But there are special, seasonal challenges that drivers need to keep in mind.

With that, here are some tips:

  • Realize that a wet road can be just as slick as an icy one. Tires will hydroplane and lose contact with the road, which is as dangerous as hitting pure ice. Also, rain causes oil dripped from passing vehicles to rise to the top of the water surface, increasing the slick factor. Stay in the middle lanes as water tends to pool in the outside ones, according to SmartMotorist, a nonprofit that seeks to promote safe driving.
  • Increase the distance between you and the vehicle you’re following in the rain. Three seconds is considered a safe distance in normal circumstances. During a storm, increase this to eight seconds. The three second rule is a simple way to double-check that you are driving at a safe following distance. Choose a fixed point (like a road sign or a building) that is even with the car in front of you. If you reach that same fixed point before you can count to three, then you’re driving too close to the car in front of you and you need to fall back a bit.
  • Replace worn tires. Worn treads will cause a loss of traction, increasing your chances of sliding. Also, even if the tread is fine, you need to make sure the tires are properly inflated. An easy way to check that your tire has an acceptable tread is to do the penny test. Simply put a penny into the groove of the tread. If you can see Lincoln’s head, your tire needs repairing. Find out more about tire safety here: http://tampabaydrivingschool.com/?p=2625
  • Check wiper blades. A winter’s worth of snow, ice and salt can beat down the wipers, so you may need to replace those, too. Also, clean your windshield with good window washer to improve wiper performance. This will also remove oily film that can reduce visibility, according to CarJunky.com, an automotive parts and maintenance site. You should also clean the inside of the glass to remove film that increases moisture buildup.
  • Be on the lookout. Spring is also Pothole Season. In places that snow and ice have dominated the winter months, the spring thaw can cause dangerous potholes. Avoid them if you can, but if not, don’t brake while traveling over them. Slow down, release the brake before impact and go over the pothole. Braking causes your tire to slam into the edge of the pothole with more force than if you’re rolling over the hole.
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Tire Safety

Remember, these are the only things between your car and the road.

Tire Safety

The last thing most people consider in the new car buying process is the set of tires that come with the vehicle. We tend to gravitate towards the style and performance, the color, whether it fits our lifestyle or not, the ergonomic comfort of its interior, the sound system, and if it’ll fit into our budget.

We unconsciously assume if the car is new that the tires are fine and don’t give them a second thought nor do most of us ever take the time to ask questions or read the manual about tire care and safety. Yet our lives, and those of our children and other loved ones, ride on them every day. How important are all those extra goodies that you added on if you get a flat on the side of the freeway at midnight and you’re by yourself? If you’re lucky someone will stop to help.

The most important feature on a vehicle that you must consider is tires. Turning, stopping and emergency maneuvers all depend on your tires being in good condition and properly inflated. Great drivers can walk up to their vehicle and notice an under-inflated tire and others can get in a vehicle with a flat tire and drive away. Which are you?

TIRE INFORMATION

  • TIRE TREAD The amount of tread remaining on a tire impacts handling, traction, and stopping distance. As a tire wears and the tread depth is reduced, these characteristics begin to diminish.
  • TIRE AGING When it comes to tire aging, it is very simple: the older the tires are, the higher the risk for failure.
  • TIRE INFLATION A tire must be able to hold the weight of not only the vehicle, but also any additional load the vehicle might be carrying such as fuel, passengers, and payload.
  • TIRE MAINTENANCE Proper and Timely tire maintenance is crucial to safety. All of the tires on your vehicle should be inspected, inflated, and rotated on a routine basis.

The more you know about your tire’s health, the better off you will be driving.

Here are 4 more reasons tires are so important: https://www.mccluskeychevrolet.com/reasons-your-cars-tires-are-so-important/

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Road Rage: When Stress Hits the Highway

In Truckee, California, 25-year-old Timothy Brooks flew into a rage after another car cut him off on the highway. He followed the offending car to a bagel shop where the driver, 47-year-old Robert Ash, had stopped to eat. After yelling at the older man, Brooks attacked him, stabbing him to death with a knife. Brooks was convicted of second-degree murder.

In Little Falls, New Jersey, May Lee and her two children were run off the road by Milton Aganon, 25, who’d been tailgating her at 80 miles an hour and gesticulating at Lee to get out of the way. When Aganon finally passed Lee, he cut her off so suddenly that she was forced to swerve to the shoulder lane, flipped over a median and landed in a ditch. Both of Lee’s legs were broken, and the children suffered minor injuries. Aganon served nine months in jail.

These may sound like unusually violent or rare incidents. However, studies from the AAA research arm show that at least 1,700 people are injured or killed in road rage incidents each year.

So who are these lunatics on the road? Are they normal people in their daily lives who convert to maniacs behind the wheel? Or is there a certain type of person who is more prone to go ballistic on the beltway?

Psychiatrists have an actual name for the kind of seething rage that goes beyond the speeding, tailgating, honking, or passing on the right that many aggressive drivers regularly do when they drive. People who experience road rage so violent that it leads to an assault against another driver, passenger, or car may be suffering from “intermittent explosive disorder” (IED), according to a report in the Archives of General Psychiatry. This disorder could affect up to 7 percent of the population, or about 16 million Americans over their lifetimes, according to the authors. This disease — the psychiatric disorder most closely linked to impulsive violence — usually begins in childhood or adolescence and includes repeated aggressive outbursts involving property destruction and/or injury over many years.

That’s not great news for those of us on the road. Although no agency keeps official statistics on road rage events across the country, reports of so-called “aggressive driving” incidents have increased by about 30 percent since 2010, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The “reasons” given for violent disputes that ended in injury or death include:

  • “He cut me off …”
  • “She wouldn’t let me pass …”
  • “It was an argument over a parking space …”
  • “Nobody gives me the finger …”

“The so-called ‘reasons’ for disputes are actually triggers,” an AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report observes. “While the event that sparks the incident may be trivial, in every case there exists some reservoir of anger, hostility, or frustration.”

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