A recent press release from our friends at ODOT Transportation Safety Division and an article in the Oregonian on January 9, 2015 remind us of the importance of being safe on the road.
Looking back on the past year, Oregon traffic fatalities increased by 12.5 percent from 2013 to 2014 (according to preliminary figures). Oregon pedestrian, motorcyclist and bicyclists deaths all increased during 2014.
Generally, Oregon traffic fatalities have been trending downward over the last 10 years and are approximately half the number of fatalities experienced in the late 1980s.
Oregon Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities, 2005-2014 (preliminary)
There are a variety of factors that may contribute to the increase in fatalities:
- People were driving more. The rebounding economy as well as lower gas prices helped put more vehicles on the road.
Every year, after crash reports are analyzed, “driver errors” top the list of reason for crashes – things like driving too fast for conditions, not using a safety belt, driving impaired, failing to yield right of way, passing illegally, and inattentive driving.
The state’s goal is zero fatalities on Oregon’s roads, and our fatality rate (the number of people who are killed compared to the number of vehicle miles traveled) is below the national average. It should also be noted that the number of people bicycling has increased; meaning that the incident rate per trip has in fact gone down, and by a lot. Here are a number of steps to take to stay safe:
Obey the speed limit. Excessive speed is a factor in many crashes and the most common one in crashes that result in fatalities.
Don’t drive, walk or ride impaired. Alcohol, illegal drugs and even some legal drugs can reduce the ability to use good judgment.
Buckle up, every trip, every time. Safety belts, child safety seats are the biggest contributors to saving lives in crashes.
Be alert. Pay attention to the complex task of using the road.
- Be Visible. When walking or biking, carry lights and wear reflective clothing to see and be seen by others.
Safe Kids Oregon reminds you to always practice safety. And we encourage you to remind children and teens to be safe too!
Safe Kids Oregon works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the number one cause of death for children in the United States. Safe Kids Oregon is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Oregon was founded in 1995 and is led by Oregon Public Health. Click here for information on other Injury Areas.