This weekend, the US Department of Transportation (DOT), state agencies, and safety advocates across the country will mark an auspicious day. Sunday, October 10, 2010 (yes, it’s 10-10-10) is the 10th anniversary of “Put the Brakes on Fatalities” Day.
This is a day when we focus public awareness on driver behavior, vehicle safety, and roadway improvement in an effort to reduce traffic deaths across America. And these efforts are working.
As was announced last month at DOT, traffic fatalities in 2009 were down considerably from the previous year–even though the number of miles driven went up during the same period. In fact, last year saw the lowest number of traffic fatalities since 1950.
The numbers from the first six months of 2010 are even more encouraging. Road fatalities from January to June of this year are down another 9.2% compared to the same period last year. And we’ve now been able to sustain 17 straight quarters of year-to-year declines.
Now, America’s roads may be safer today than they’ve ever been, but that is little consolation to those who have lost parents, children, brothers, and sisters to traffic crashes. If you know one of the nearly 34,000 people killed on our roadways in 2009–if you lost a loved one–then you know that number is still too high.
So Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day is an opportunity for the safety community to highlight important initiatives like Work Zones Need Our Undivided Attention; Click it, Or Ticket; Under the Limit, Over Arrest; and Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other. And it’s a chance for us to remind people that everyone has a personal responsibility to make safe decisions when you get behind the wheel.