April – Distracted Driving Awareness Month

The “I GDL Because…” Campaign is happening now through April 30th!  The goals of the campaign are to increase protective factors of positive social norms and connectedness and also to harness the power of youth advocacy to increase awareness of and adherence to GDL.

43 Crashes per Day Involve Distracted Drivers in Colorado

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

STATEWIDE — Every day in Colorado, distracted drivers are involved in an average of 43 crashes — many leading to serious injury or death. April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is leading the statewide charge to address this issue, which accounts for nearly 13 percent of all crashes on Colorado roads.

In 2018, 53 fatalities and 6,269 injuries were attributed to 15,673 crashes involving distracted drivers in Colorado, according to preliminary data from CDOT. Despite the serious consequences, more than 90 percent of people reported driving distracted in the previous seven days, according to a recent survey of Colorado drivers conducted by CDOT. In fact, in Colorado alone, there are an average of 2,380 intersection-related crashes and more than 9,000 rear-end crashes every year associated with distracted driving.
 “Driving is a significant responsibility and demands our full concentration” said CDOT Director Shoshana Lew. “When you fail to pay attention behind the wheel, you put yourself and other travelers at serious risk — our data show that 43 crashes per day in Colorado involve distracted driving.”
Launching this week in conjunction with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, CDOT’s Get Turned On campaign urges drivers with iPhones to turn on “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode to prevent incoming distractions. Once enabled, the feature works by blocking incoming text messages and other notifications when connected to a car’s Bluetooth or when the phone detects the vehicle is in motion. Drivers without Bluetooth can also manually turn on “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode. Android phones offer a similar function, and there are also other third-party apps designed to achieve the same goal regardless of the type of phone a person uses. CDOT has a list of these apps on its website at distracted.codot.gov.

“Do Not Disturb While Driving is a simple tool to help drivers turn off distractions and take back their focus,” said Darrell Lingk, director of CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety. “It helps eliminate the temptation of quickly checking a text message or alert – a seemingly harmless habit but one that can have serious consequences.”

CDOT offers a variety of resources and app suggestions on its website to help Coloradans become distraction-free drivers, no matter what type of phone they use. The agency aims to educate motorists about the dangers of distracted driving through statewide education and outreach. For more information about distracted driving in Colorado and to learn more about the Get Turned On campaign, visit distracted.codot.gov.

CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees statewide located at its Denver headquarters and in regional offices throughout Colorado, and manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway and 3,429 bridges. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of other agencies including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments, and airports, and administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated interregional express service.  Governor Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.

Crossing Guards, Our Unsung Heroes

Many of our schools depend on crossing guards to get children across the street safely, and many of those crossing guards go above and beyond the basic job description. Some bring extra winter hats, just in case. Some stop bullying before it begins. And some can coax a laugh out of even the shyest child. In freezing or stormy weather, they are on duty – making sure our kids get to and from school safely.

The work our crossing guards are doing is more important than ever. A 2016 research report by Safe Kids Worldwide revealed that nearly 80% of students do not cross the street safely. Don’t forget to thank your crossing guard today!

Safe Kids Worldwide, with support from FedEx, held the third annual America’s Favorite Crossing Guard this year. This was the first year Larimer County participated and we had FIVE nominations which is incredible! Although they did not ultimately win the contest, they all represented Larimer County and made us all proud. We are excited to introduce them below.

Danny Kenny, Truscott Elementary

Danny has been with us for a couple of years now. He is here bright and early, earlier than he has to be. He makes eye contact with everyone who drives by, waves and makes sure they are slowing down in our safety zones. He also connects with the students and families as they journey to and from school. Danny was sick a year ago and it was pretty serious. He had a hard go of it, but what motivated him was getting back to his job, his work of keeping the students safe at Truscott. We are so glad to have him at his post. He has helped to educate the local drivers on safe use of the calming round-a-bout that we have at his intersection. Before he was there, drivers would blast threw in the north south direction thinking they still had the right of way. His calm, but firm presence, has been enough to slow drivers down to a safe and alert speed. 

Dorothy Fuller, Ivy Stockwell Elementary

Ms. Dorothy is an incredible crossing guard, an amazing part of our school family, and a friend to all students. Every morning – whether it is 90 degrees or 10 degrees – Ms. Dorothy helps our students arrive at school safely. Families look forward to seeing her each morning at the crosswalk. She takes the time to get to know each student (and parent) by name and kids love her personal greetings and great sense of humor. Located on a busy street, our school, students, and Ms. Dorothy would benefit greatly from a safety grant allowing us to purchase additional signage, materials, and safety education.

Doug Money, High Plains School

The fact that he gives of his personal time 3 days a week to make sure our students can cross safely through a very busy intersection is amazing enough. He also volunteers his time in other ways too. He comes in and works in the classroom and visits his grandchildren at lunch. He is always kind, pleasant, and super dependable.

Alex Martin, Carrie Martin Elementary

With a new neighborhood our students had no safe crossing across a busy county road. Staff worked hard lobbying city and county officials to put in a crosswalk over a month and a half. We eventually got a crossing installed, however our county/city does not provide crossing guards. Teachers, staff, and Principal rallied everyday to make sure kids got to school safe (even on Halloween). Staff continue to man crosswalk with the help of two building volunteers.

Eric Velasco, Monroe Elementary

Eric is one of the most dedicated and friendly crossing guards our school has ever had. He is assigned to be at his post for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. Staff members consistently see him staying for longer than his assigned time. Eric always smiles and waves to each car, whether they are families affiliated with our school or just people driving by. He brightens everyone’s day, students and adults alike

Holiday Cooking Safety Tips

Cooking brings family and friends together. With the holiday season around the corner, you may find yourself spending more time in the kitchen cooking for family gatherings and holiday parties. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. Follow these fire-safe tips to prevent cooking fires and keep your family and friends safe this holiday season.

Check yourself and your surroundings.
• Never wear loose or baggy clothing while cooking. If you have long hair, be sure to tie it back.
• Keep objects that can catch fire away from your stovetop.
• Make sure sharp objects and containers with hot liquids are away from the edge of the counter.
• Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.

Be alert while cooking.
• Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
• If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.

Have a Kid-Free Zone.
• When cooking with kids in the home, have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

Working smoke alarms save lives.
• Most importantly, remember to test and check your smoke alarms. Replace any smoke alarm that is 10 years old.

Safety tips brought to you by Wellington Fire Protection District.

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Wellington Fire Protection District
8130 3RD ST., P.O. BOX 10, WELLINGTON, CO 80549
Phone: (970) 568-3232 Website: http://www.WFPD.org

Teen Drivers – What’s a Parent to Do?

Written by Heidi McBroome, Insurance Agent at All About Insurance.

Because teenagers are new drivers, they simply don’t have the behind-the-wheel experience necessary to understand the dynamics associated with driving a motor vehicle. There’s a vast difference between riding in the passenger seat and being behind the wheel. By teaching teenagers responsible driving behavior, you can help prevent crashes. Here are a few ways to help your teenager through the Graduated Driver’s Licensing period.

  • Choose vehicles for safety, not image. Ask if the car has airbags and antilock brakes? Make sure it is not brand new, but has 4 doors, front wheel or all-wheel drive for good all-around practical safety on the road.
  • Provide new drivers with plenty of supervised driving practice, even after they have obtained a license, including night driving and driving under hazardous road conditions. Go above the required amount of driving instruction. And have them drive you around even after they are licensed.
  • Mandate safety belt usage. It is a primary offense and the ticket is going to impact more than just the points they lose. It will raise insurance rates and cause a disruption to daily routine if you have to go to court.
  • Restrict the number of passengers allowed to ride with your teenage driver. Crash rates increase sharply when a teenage driver has passengers, particularly other teenagers.
  • Enforce “no drinking and driving” rules. I would add no eating either.
  • Emphasize that safe driving requires your teen’s full attention. Distractions such as cell phone use, navigation, social media, radio, and text messaging will greatly increase his or her risk of motor vehicle-related injury.
  • Place restrictions on nighttime driving to enforce curfews.
  • Enroll new drivers in a driving school to educate them about cars, driving conditions and driving techniques. This will prepare teenagers for the road, and it could reduce crashes.
  • Discuss and reinforce responsible driving behavior with teenagers.
  • Have a contract between you to create the discussion. (Here is an example of one you can use: https://www.cdc.gov/MotorVehicleSafety/pdf/Driving_Contract-a.pdf)plain logo

Car Seat Safety Outside of Your Car

Written by Gregory Colton, EMT/Child Passenger Safety Coordinator, UCHealth Emergency Medical Services.

Ambulance crews across the country respond to thousands of pediatric calls every day.  Of all those calls nothing will make us push our ambulance to the limits like responding to a call for a baby who has fallen asleep and does not wake up.  Sleep related incidents are a leading cause of death for infants and we all know it too well.

We frequently talk about safe use of car seats in your car, but what about car seat safety outside of your car?  A properly installed and adjusted car seat can protect your child from many dangers, but when used incorrectly a car seat can become a potential hazard.

Rear-facing-only or ‘infant’ car seats often have two parts, a base that stays inside the vehicle and a carrier that caregivers can take with them.  Many parents opt for these systems due to their convenience and ability to be used in a stroller.  This may give parents the impression that their car seat carrier is a handy multifunctional device.  However, it is important to remember that your child’s car seat was designed to be just that, a car seat.  Car seat carriers are engineered for safe riding in cars and compatible strollers.  They are not intended for napping or extended use outside of a vehicle.

We all want our baby to be happy and comfortable.  As a result it can be tempting to keep them happy by letting them continue sleeping in their car seat and let them be comfortable by loosening the harness straps.  It seems innocent enough, but this actually creates a very dangerous situation for a child.

Two of the most important ways a car seat carrier keeps your child safe are through proper recline angle and proper positioning.

  • Recline angle – A baby’s head is heavier than its brand-new neck is ready to hold up. At an incorrect recline angle a baby’s head can drop forward and block off their airway.
  • Positioning – Babies are squirmy little worms. Without something to stabilize them in place a baby can roll onto their side or their face and suffocate or slide down and be strangled by the harness straps.

We strongly recommend using the car seat carrier outside of the vehicle or stroller as little as possible.  That said, we do understand that the ideal world is not always achievable.  If you do have to use the carrier by itself please keep the following points in mind:

  • Always keep the harness buckled and snugged down tight. – This will keep your baby safely positioned. Remember the pinch test and the chest clip at armpit level.
  • Place the carrier on a firm, hard surface low to the ground. – This will help prevent the carrier from toppling over or resting at an incorrect angle.
  • Keep the baby under constant supervision. – A baby’s blood oxygen levels can drop dangerously low when their airway is blocked even for a brief time.
  • Transition the baby from the car seat to the crib as soon as possible. ­– A firm, flat crib free of potential suffocation hazards is the safest place for a baby to sleep.

If you need help with your car seat or have any questions there are a number of EMS, law enforcement, and fire professionals who are passionate about child passenger safety and here to help.  Please click here for a list of available resources in your community.

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