Friday, April 26, 2013

Bicycle Safety

With warmer temperatures - kids and bikes can be seen in most neighborhoods.

Biking is fun, healthy, and a great way to get around and be independent. But your bike is a vehicle, not a toy. Some bike crashes can cause serious injuries and most are related to the behavior of you (the bicyclist) or the motorist. There are a number of things you can teach your children to prevent a crash, and protect your brain if a crash occurs.

Remind your rider to:
  • Always wear a Bike Helmet. Helmets protect your brain, and can save your life.
  • Make sure the bike fits the rider. When standing over your bike, there should be 1 to 2 inches between the rider and the top tube (bar) if using a road bike and 3 to 4 inches if using a mountain bicycle. The seat should be level front to back, and the height should be adjusted to allow a slight bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended. The handlebar height should be at the same level with the seat.
  • Check Your Bike. Before riding, inflate tires properly and check that the brakes work.
  • See and Be Seen. Whether daytime, dawn, dusk, foul weather, or at night, make yourself visible. Wear neon, fluorescent or other bright colors when riding, to make yourselves the most visible to others. Also wear something that reflects light, such as reflective tape or markings, or flashing lights. Remember, just because you can see a driver doesn’t mean the driver can see you.
  • TWO HANDS! Ride with two hands on the handlebars unless signaling a turn. Place books and other items in a bike carrier or backpack.
  • Watch for and Avoid Road Hazards. Look for hazards that may make you crash, such as potholes, broken glass, gravel, puddles, leaves, and dogs.
  • Use Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication. This includes eye contact with drivers, turn signals, pointing to road hazards for bicyclists behind you, and stating “passing on your left,” or “on your left.”
  • Avoid Riding at Night. It’s harder for other road users to see bicyclists at dusk, dawn or nighttime. Use reflectors on the front and rear of the bike. White lights and red rear reflectors or lights are required by law in all States.
Visit NHTSA Bicycles for more bicycle safety information.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Keeping Yourself Safe

As recent news events illustrate - you cannot remove all the safety hazards from your life, but you can reduce them.

You can avoid major hazards and prepare for emergencies by taking the following steps:
  • Keep emergency phone numbers by your telephones
  • Make a first aid kit for your home
  • Make a family emergency plan
  • Install and maintain smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Keep guns unloaded and locked up. Lock up the ammunition separately.
  • Follow the directions carefully when using tools or equipment

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Daydream Believer

According the John Lennon -"You may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one."  According to recent research released by the Erie Insurance Group, daydreaming while driving may be is five times as dangerous than texting or talking on your phone.

 “The results were disturbing,” Erie Senior Vice President Doug Smith, told NBC News. According to Erie’s findings some 62 percent of all distracted driving accidents in the U.S. each year that resulted in fatalities were blamed on the seemingly innocuous act of being “lost in thought.” By comparison, only 12 percent of distracted driving fatalities resulted from driving while using mobile phones.

"Distracted driving is any activity that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off your primary task of driving safely," Smith told NBC. "We looked at what law enforcement officers across the country reported when they filled out reports on fatal crashes and the results were disturbing. We hope the data will encourage people to avoid these high-risk behaviors that needlessly increase their risk of being involved in a fatal crash."

Friday, April 12, 2013

Are you Using an Electronic Device while Driving?

According to the NHTSA  - data from the 2011 National Occupant Protection Use Survey on Driver Electronics Use indicates that at any given daylight moment across America, there are about 660,000 drivers using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.

To prevent distracted driving, the Department of Transportation recommends that drivers:
  • Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive.
  • Be good role models for young drivers and set a good example. Talk with your teens about responsible driving.
  • Speak up when you are a passenger and your driver uses an electronic device while driving. Offer to make the call for the driver, so his or her full attention stays on the driving task.
  • Always wear your seat belt. Seat belts are the best defense against other unsafe drivers.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

ATV Safety Bulletin

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2011 Annual Report of ATV-Related Deaths and Injuries, Nebraska ranked 36th for reported ATV deaths from 1982-2007; with 86 total deaths or an average of 5 deaths per year. Since 2007, the state has averaged 7.5 deaths per year for 30 ATV related fatalities. This upward trend is concerning.

Through its ATV Safety Training Program, the Nebraska Safety Center hopes to reverse the upward trend in ATV fatalities through basic safety training for youth and adult riders. According to Dennis Holtz, CDL/AG Safety Pillar Manager, “As ATV use continues to rise in popularity both in the work place and as a recreation vehicle, safety education is important for all riders, especially youth in reducing fatalities.” Insurance costs may be less for riders that have taken an ATV safety course. Contact your insurance provider to see if this would apply to you.

The Nebraska Safety Center is committed to providing affordable ATV safety training for all ages. Classes are being scheduled for this summer and dates, times, and locations will be announced soon.

When riding an ATV remember these GOLDEN RULES:
  • Always wear protective gear – especially a helmet – when riding ATVs. Many ATV injuries are head injuries. Wearing a helmet may reduce the severity of these injuries. Select a helmet that is certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and/or the Snell Memorial Foundation. Wear over-the-ankle boots, goggles, gloves, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt to protect against cuts, abrasions, and other injuries from rocks, trees, and other debris.
  • Do not drive ATVs with a passenger or ride as a passenger. ATVs are designed for interactive riding – drivers must be able to shift their weight freely in all directions, depending on the situation and terrain. Interactive riding is critical to maintaining safe control of an ATV especially on varying terrain. Passengers can make it difficult for drivers to control the ATV.
  • Do not drive ATVs on paved roads. ATVs are difficult to control on paved roads. Collisions with cars and other vehicles also can be deadly. According to the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety, since 2004, 26 fatalities have occurred on public roadways.
  • Do not permit children to drive or ride adult ATVs. Nationwide, children are involved in about one-third of all ATV-related deaths and hospital emergency room injuries. Most of these deaths and injuries occur when a child is driving or riding on an adult ATV. Children under 16 on adult ATVs are twice as likely to be injured as those riding youth ATVs.
  • Do not drive ATVs while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol and drugs impair reaction time and judgment, two essential skills for safe ATV use.
  • Take a hands-on safety-training course. Formal training teaches drivers how to control ATVs in typical situations. Drivers with formal, hands-on ATV training have a lower injury risk than drivers with no formal training.
For more information on ATV Safety Courses offered by the Nebraska Safety Center, contact Dennis Holtz (308) 865-8562 or

Monday, April 8, 2013

Distracted Driving Awareness

Think sending or receiving a text while driving isn't a big deal? After all you only take your eyes off the road for few seconds.

Try this little test.
Walk across your office. How long did that take you? 4 maybe 5 seconds.
Now close your eyes and walk the same route. No problem right - you know know where everything is and can navigate your office blindfolded. Now walk in a busy public area for 4 - 5 seconds. Did you bump into furniture? Another person? Have a near miss? Did you feel uncomfortable?

When operating a motor vehicle at 55mph - you will drive the length of a football field in 4.6 seconds. Do you really think it is no big deal to drive down the highway, blind for the length of a football field?

Remember the fight to end distracted driving starts with you. Join the Nebraska Safety Center and make the commitment to drive phone-free today!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Distracted Driving

How many times in the last week did you use your cell phone, eat a snack, change the radio station, or do any other task while you were driving? For most of us, driving isn’t our only focus when we’re behind the wheel.

“Distracted driving” was the 2009 word of the year according to Webster’s Dictionary. Unfortunately, Distracted Driving is no passing fad. Distracted driving has become a trend with deadly, real consequences. According to data collected by the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety, in 2011, 11% of all crashes involved a Distracted Driver.

The goal of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) “One Text or Call Could Wreck it All” campaign is to help drivers understand that texting, cell phone use, and other distractions behind the wheel can have dangerous consequences.You can find more information about the campaign at

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Alcohol Free Weekend: April 5-7, 2013

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) has decalred the first weekend of Arpil (April 5-7, 2013) to be Alcohol-Free Weekend.

The goal of this weekend is to raise public awareness about the use of alcohol and how it may be affecting individuals, families, businesses and our communities.

During Alcohol-Free Weekend, NCADD extends an open invitation to all Americans to engage in three alcohol-free days. Any individual or family member who finds it difficult to get through the 72-hour experiment is urged to contact local NCADD Affiliates, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Al-Anon Family Groups to learn more about alcoholism and its early symptoms.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Distracted driving is an epidemic on America's roadways. We see it every day: Drivers swerving in their lanes, stopping at green lights, running red ones, or narrowly missing a pedestrian because they have their eyes and minds on their phones instead of the road. Yet, people continue to assume that they can drive and text or talk at the same time.

What is Distracted Driving?  Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:
Because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.

Throughout the month of April we will highlight the facts about distracted driving and  how YOU can help end this epidemic.