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Here's how it should feel: secure, safe and familiar. It is easy enough to feel that way. Whenever you get into a car, just buckle your seatbelt. Unfortunately, too many of us don't. Here's what we know:
Seatbelts save lives. About 40,000 people die each year in car accidents, the leading cause of death for people under the age of 35. Seatbelts can prevent death in about half of these accidents. Even short trips and lower speeds are risky. 80% of traffic fatalities occur within 25 miles of home and less than 40 miles an hour.
It is easy to overlook everyday risk, but faculty, staff and students do have accidents - good drivers and bad. University vehicles are involved in about 150 accidents each year. About 2-3 of them result in a serious injury to UNC staff. Seatbelts reduce the severity of injuries.
It's the law. In North Carolina, police officers - including UNC Public Safety - can and do issue tickets and a $25 fine to drivers and passengers who are not wearing a seat belt. Any vehicle, any time.
Too many of us fail to use a seatbelt. Only 71% of drivers and passengers in the U.S. use their seatbelts, while North Carolina's "Click It or Ticket" program has raised seatbelt usage to over 80% here. Still, seatbelt usage is over 90% in Australia, Germany, France, Canada and the United Kingdom - and those countries have much lower traffic fatality rates. You need to use a seat belt even in cars with air bags. Although air bags increase the effectiveness of a seatbelt by 40 percent, they were never meant to be used without a seatbelt.
On campus, UNC Public Safety officers regularly observe drivers and passengers who are not wearing a seat belt. Campus visitors notice when employees drive UNC vehicles while not wearing their seatbelts. They point out our poor example.
You can change that. When you get into a car - before you do anything else - get in the habit of buckling up. Tie a ribbon on your wiper knob as a reminder. Set a good example. In a few weeks it'll feel strange to sit in a car not while wearing a seat belt. That's how it should feel.
For more information, contact Environment, Health and Safety.
Risk Management Services
Campus Box 1100
104 Airport Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-1100
From: Steve Kenny, Director of Risk Management Services
Subject: 15-Passenger Van Warning
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a Consumer Advisory warning users of 15-passenger vans of an increased rollover risk under certain conditions. Please read this carefully.
While the University has not eliminated these vans, we believe it is imperative that departments operating them: 1) are made aware of the Consumer Advisory and 2) implement loss prevention measures that will minimize this potential problem. Of course, if your transportation needs can be met without using one of these vans, you are strongly encouraged to do so.
As a departmental owner of a University 15-passenger van, you and your drivers are responsible to make sure all safety and operating policies are followed and to make appropriate judgment calls in the interest of safety. At a minimum, the following guidelines must be adhered to in order to operate a van:
Departments that operate 15-passenger vans should select one or two experienced drivers to drive on a regular basis. These drivers will gain valuable experience handling the van. By driving conservatively, following these basic guidelines and remaining aware of this Consumer Advisory, you and your occupants will experience a safer and more enjoyable trip.
Please contact me for additional information regarding this or other travel risk management needs.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians:
Safety Tips for Drivers:
Information on pedestrian access and safety at UNC from the UNC Department of Public safety.
Road Vogue: Information about biking from the North Carolina Coalition for Bicycle Driving (NCCBD).
Bicycling Street Smarts: A guide to riding confidently, legally and safely from bikexprt.com