Caltrans honored for Strategic Highway Safety Plan
In 2008, for the third year, DUI deaths declined in California. The drop was 9.1 percent, from 1,132 in 2007 to 1,029 in 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The 2008 figure marks a total decrease of nearly 21 percent from the most recent high point in 2005. “Reducing Impaired Driving Related Fatalities” is one of the 16 Safety Challenge Areas included in California’s SHSP.
Fatalities involving unlicensed drivers (expired, suspended, revoked, or not properly licensed for the type of vehicle) peaked in 2003 at 1,179. Each year since then, California has seen a decrease due to combined efforts to communicate the need for proper licensing, educating drivers, and increased enforcement. “Ensuring Drivers are Properly Licensed” is another of the 16 Safety Challenge Areas included in California’s SHSP.
From 2004 through 2008, safety belt usage in California increased steadily from 90.4 percent to 95.7 percent of vehicle occupants, which is significantly better than the national average of 83 percent. This means 356,697 more people buckled up in 2008. In California 1,920 people are alive today because they used seatbelts, child safety seats, motorcycle helmets, or had cars equipped with air bags in 2008. The estimates from NHTSA are calculated using the effectiveness of each device. “Increase Use of Safety Seat Belts and Child Safety Seats” is also one of the 16 Safety Challenge Areas included in California’s SHSP.
The Roadway Safety Award is presented biennially to programs and projects across the nation exhibiting excellence in roadway design. Recipients were evaluated on their innovation, effectiveness and efficient use of resources.
“By making a firm commitment to action that will better protect motorists, Caltrans has made a top priority out of highway safety and should be commended,” said Greg Cohen, Executive Director of the Roadway Safety Foundation, in a press statement. “The Safety Plan’s outstanding results showcase the value to everyone of good planning in making our highways safer for us all.”