Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It appears most of us like a good belt!

Contributed by Norm Nyhuis, Safety Trainer, Evergreen Safety Council

What do all of the following have in common?

  • The launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger, explodes shortly after take off.
  • The worst ever Nuclear Disaster occurs as the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station Explodes causing the release of radioactive material across much of Europe.
  • In the UK mad cow disease is identified
  • The 386 series of microprocessor is introduced by Intel.

Each of these events took place in 1986. Another fact from that year is that only 36% of drivers in Washington State used their seat belts.

The most recent numbers published by the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission indicate that in 2009 the state wide use of seat belts was 96.4% and the numbers for 2010 are even higher – 97.6%! This is the highest percentage of use, anywhere in the USA. Using seat belts is one of the most effective ways to increase your chances of surviving a motor vehicle collision, primarily by preventing you from being ejected from the vehicle by the forces of the crash.

Washington State has embarked on an aggressive campaign to reduce and eventually eliminate fatalities from motor vehicle collisions. The project is called Target Zero, and as the name implies, the goal to have no motor vehicle collision fatalities by the year 2030.

The numbers are “going in the right direction”: In 2006 there were 470 collision fatalities, 415 in 2007, 364 in 2008, 346 in 2009 and 212 year-to-date, in 2010. The target is attainable, but it will take all of us making good decisions, while in our cars, decisions like always using your seat belts, never driving after consuming alcohol or after having taken medications that make you drowsy, and eliminating distractions that take your attention away from the road.

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