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Distractions Now Join Alcohol and Speeding as Leading Factors in Fatal and Serious Injury Crashes

Multitasking Impairs Performance

We can safely walk while chewing gum in a city crowded with motor vehicles and other hazards. That is because one of those tasks – chewing gum – is not a cognitively demanding task.

People do not perform as well when trying to perform two attention-demanding tasks at the same time. Research shows even pedestrians don’t effectively monitor their environment for safety while talking on cell phones. The challenge is managing two tasks demanding our cognitive attention.

Certainly most would agree that driving a vehicle involves a more complex set of tasks than walking. The brain is behind all tasks needed for driving: visual, auditory, manual and cognitive. Recent developments in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) now allow researchers to see the brain’s reactions to specific challenges and tasks.

What are possible prevention steps?

Eliminating driver distraction due to cell phone use faces significant challenges, even headIcon_v2_combo3_iconsbeyond combating drivers’ desire to be connected and productive. Drivers can
help avoid this by informing frequent callers that they will not participate in phone conversations while driving. When facing multiple demands for their cognitive attention, drivers may not be aware they are missing critical visual information, and they may not be aware of the full impact of that oversight. This lack of awareness of the distraction could prolong it. Widespread education is needed about the risks of hands-free devices, conversation and cognitive distraction.

But even when people are aware of the risks, they tend to believe they are more skilled than other drivers, and many still engage in driving behaviors they know are potentially dangerous. Prevention strategies should consider how people behave in reality, not only how they should behave. We know from other traffic safety issues – impaired driving, safety belts, speeding – that consistent enforcement of laws is the single most important effective strategy in changing behavior. Therefore, prevention strategies that may show the most promise are legislative and corporate policies, coupled with high-visibility enforcement and strict consequences. Technology solutions can go even further by preventing calls and messages from being sent or received by drivers in moving vehicles. To provide safety benefits and provide a positive influence on reducing crashes, injuries and deaths, these efforts – including education, policies, laws and technology – must address the prevention of both handheld and hands-free cell phone use by drivers.

Information From: http://www.nsc.org/DistractedDrivingDocuments/Cognitive-Distraction-White-Paper.pdf

To learn more traffic safety tips visit the Safe Communities Website.

AAA Aims to Reduce Distracted Driving

multi-taskingDistracted driving is one of the most pressing issues in today’s traffic safety. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than 80 percent of drivers have admitted to feeling less safe on the roads, citing distracted driving as a serious cause. Nearly half of those people say they felt safer on the roads five years ago due to decreased distracted driving opportunities.

Distraction today contributes to 16 percent of all fatal crashes, leading to around 5,000 deaths every year. The recent focus regarding distracted driving has to do with latency. Latency suggests that even after drivers put their cellphones down or stop the distracting behavior, it takes an average of 27 seconds to fully engage with the driving task again.

The AAA Foundation is dedicated to the belief that knowledge is power, and educating citizens is the first step in reducing distracted driving. One way is to help others understand the mental and physical distractions that can impair drivers and educate drivers on how to avoid the distractions. Such education efforts are an attempt to eliminate needless deaths due to distracted driving.

To learn more traffic safety tips visit the Safe Communities Website.

U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

Wood County Safe Communities announced today that there have been five fatal crashes in Wood County for calendar year 2017, compared to four for the same time frame in 2016.

At some point, you have probably seen someone driving distracted; it’s pretty easy to spot. You may even be guilty of distracted driving yourself. With so many people constantly tuned in to their smartphones, texting from behind the wheel is all too common, but it is one of the most common causes of fatalities on the roads.

That’s why Safe Communities of Wood County is teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to reach all drivers with an important warning: U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

According to NHTSA, in 2015 3,477 people were killed, and an estimated 391,000 were injured, in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. That was a 9-percent increase in fatalities as compared to the previous year.

Everyone knows that texting while driving is distracting and dangerous, but people often ignore the risks and do it anyway. Driving while distracted is more than just personally risky. When you text and drive, you become a danger to everyone on the road around you.

Remind your family and friends to never text and drive:

  • No one likes criticism from a friend, but being caught by law enforcement and paying a fine is even worse.
  • Do not follow the pack, be a leader. When you get behind the wheel, be an example to your family and friends by putting away your phone.
  • Speak up: If your friends text while driving, tell them to stop. Listen to your passengers; if they catch you texting while driving, put away your phone.

Texting while driving is dangerous and being caught can be expensive. Save your money, and maybe save a life—your text message can wait. Remember: U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

For More Information:

  • William Bowers, Ohio State Highway Patrol: 419-352-2481
  • Sandy Wiechman, Safe Communities Coordinator: 419-372-9353 or swiechm@bgsu.edu

Checking in with Older Adult Fitness

Hello All,

The weather is getting nice, and the active older adults participating in our Water Exercise Training (WET) are shaking off the cold at Andrews Pool in the Student Recreation Center. The Department of Recreation and Wellness is proud to be partnering with the Healthways SilverSneackers® Fitness program to offer a variety of activities designed especially for older adults.

Participants are building muscular endurance and joint flexibility in our WET class, and learning breathing exercises and different meditation styles in our Gentle Chair Yoga class.

The ever changing Bowling Green weather does not stop our members from getting in their daily exercise, Older Adult Fitness participants are also enjoying walks around the track at the Perry Filed House, a swimming during open pool hours, along with Pickleball with friends.

Exercise has a variety of health benefits including help in improving your balance, managing and improving diseases and helping to reduce feelings of depression.

Take advantage of these specially designed classes and activities, best of all if you are a SilverSneakers member, all of these activities are at no charge to you. We look forward to seeing you at the next class.

For more information, class times, or registration details: Older Adult FitnessYoga_Twitter

Driving Simulator Acquired by Safe Communities

Safe Communities of Wood County is thrilled to announce the purchase a Simple Decision dVT29 Portable Desktop Simulator made possible through donations received from Dancing with the BG Stars and the Rossford Police Department.

Driving simulators allow active learning by making it possible to give immediate feedback on driver performance. The experience of using a simulator is as close as a person can come to training on actual roads with a licensed driving instructor, but without the crash risk. A simulator provides the opportunity for a driver to attempt distractions such as texting and driving, talking on a phone, eating, and other activities, and to learn and experience the consequences. When using the simulator, participants are asked to obey all the traffic laws, use turn signals, and concentrate. The simulator shows both youth and adults just how hard it is to perform multiple actions at once.

If you wish to experience the simulator, contact Sandy today.

For More Information:

  • Angel Burgos, Ohio State Highway Patrol: 419-352-2481
  • Sandy Wiechman, Safe Communities Coordinator:
    419-372-9353 or swiechm@bgsu.edu
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