When people picture the vulnerable, they probably imagine the needy or disabled. But everyone, every day, is a pedestrian at some point. And that means that everyone is sometimes a vulnerable user. October is Pedestrian Safety Month and is a great time to analyze your city’s efforts to protect pedestrians. October also includes National Teen Driver Safety Week. Teens are another vulnerable population. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for today’s teenagers. What are you doing to slow teenagers down and promote safer driving?
How Vulnerable Are Pedestrians and Teen Drivers?
In the last year with available data, over 6,000 people died when they were simply walking our nation’s streets. Pedestrian fatalities are most common in urban areas and occur most frequently during the evening hours. But slowing cars down and ensuring dedicated spaces for pedestrians can help prevent crashes and protect your streets and everyone who uses them.
Teens are ten times more likely to be in a fatal accident than adults. Car crashes are the number one cause of death for U.S. teenagers. And most fatal teen crashes happen within six months of teens getting their licenses. Parent education is probably the best way to prevent teen crashes. But engineering safer streets and alerting drivers when they speed can also both help prevent teen crashes before they happen.
Keeping Pedestrians Safe On Your Streets
NHTSA highlights some of the top ways to protect pedestrians on your streets. Two of these are safe speeds and safe roads. Slower speeds save lives. If a driver is suddenly confronted with a pedestrian, they are far more likely to have enough time to stop if they are driving slowly. And when a pedestrian is hit, lower speeds drastically increase the chance of survival. Radar speed signs are a great tool to slow cars and protect pedestrians. Safe roads are also key to protecting pedestrians. These can be engineered with solutions like dedicated lanes for different users, road narrowing, or rubber traffic calming to slow cars down.
Educating and Protecting Teen Drivers
Many people think the best way to improve teen drivers is to scare them. Research shows this is not effective and actually tends to overwhelm teens. Instead, teaching teens to understand how to drive safely and how to keep their friends safe is far more effective. And encouraging teens to observe speed limits and stay focused on driving are some of the key elements to safety behind the wheel. One effective way to teach teens to drive at safe speeds is with radar speed signs, which alert them when they’re speeding and remind them to slow down. The simple, visual reminder has proven to be an effective tool to return driver focus to the road and to keep them driving at safe speeds, even miles down the road.