Brazos Valley Injury Prevention Coalition
The Brazos Valley Injury Prevention Coalition has been active since 2000. The coalition is made up of concerned citizens, parents, caregivers, medical providers, educators, and safety experts joining together to reduce preventable injuries and deaths in our community. In addition to traffic safety, we address fire safety, gun safety, water safety and general child safety. We are also active in promoting the Buckle Up In Your Truck campaign and programming to prevent college age drinking and driving.
At present, the membership represents Texas Cooperative Extension, the Texas Department of Transportation, the College Station Medical Center, the College Station and Bryan Police Departments, Texas A&M University Police Department, College Station Fire Department, The Texas Department of Public Safety, Brazos County Health Department, the Texas Transportation Institute, the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office, and our state representative who serves as honorary chairperson.
During National Child Passenger Safety Week in February 2007 over 9,400 booster seat information packets were distributed to all Bryan/College Station Head Start through third grade students. Coalition members worked together to make sure that all schools were presented with this material for placement in the student take-home packets to help get out the booster seat message. Law enforcement coalition members were present at some of the campuses to personally greet parents and handout additional booster seat information.
The coalition collaborates each year with the College Station Fire Department on the Safety ‘Sparktakular’ event to reach citizens with information on the importance of safety belts. Other supported programs include local health fairs, bicycle rodeos and the annual State Farm Child Safety Seat Checkup Event. This year was our biggest checkup event ever with 141 inspections conducted by 21 certified child passenger safety technicians.
Currently, the coalition is promoting the Please Be Seated, Brazos Valley! program to encourage the public to report drivers that are seen transporting unrestrained children. The drivers are sent educational materials to help them understand the dangers of not properly restraining children in vehicles. They are also provided with local contacts to get help with properly restraining their children.
The Brazos Valley Injury Prevention Coalition is an ongoing partnership with members collaborating on programming as well as supporting each other’s efforts to educate the public on preventable injuries and deaths. We have been working towards self-sufficiency over the past seven years with the Texas Department of Transportation providing funding for two years.
As Ohio’s most populous county, with a population of 1.3 million, it is no surprise that Cuyahoga County has one of the state’s highest crash rates. Funded by a grant from the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Governor’s Highway Safety Office (ODPS/GHSO) and led by University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, the Greater Cleveland Safe Communities Coalition is a cooperative effort of more than 200 community partner agencies and organizations—including law enforcement, prosecutors, local governments, health care personnel, educators, and other interested parties—that work together to achieve safer, healthier communities in Northeast Ohio and to reduce the costs associated with traffic-related injuries and fatalities.
The Greater Cleveland Safe Communities Coalition is unique in Ohio in that one agency, Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, is home to three ODPS grants—Safe Communities, Occupant Protection, and DUI—in addition to being the lead agency for the area’s Safe Kids Coalition. Being able to bring this range of traffic safety programs and resources under one umbrella allows us to capitalize on a strong and diverse coalition and to find ways to keep successful or promising programs going when the grantor’s funding formula for any individual grant changes. In previous years, for example, the state’s Safe Communities priorities allowed funding for child passenger safety and pedestrian safety activities; the FY 2008 grant formula does not, however, instead prioritizing seat belt promotion, impaired driving prevention, and motorcycle safety. Whereas many Safe Communities Coalitions in this situation would be in the position of losing funding for valuable and much needed programs for bicyclists and pedestrians, we fortunately have other options for keeping these programs afloat, allowing for a greater continuity of programming and less stress on our member agencies.
Decades of research has shown that traffic safety problems are most effectively addressed through a combination of aggressive law enforcement and public information and education. The Greater Cleveland Safe Communities Coalition focuses on both areas, leading a law enforcement coalition that has been repeatedly recognized as one of the best in the nation for deterring dangerous and impaired driving, working hands-on with the public at schools and community events, and creating and facilitating media opportunities and press events to change attitudes and practices related to seat belt use and dangerous or impaired driving. One of the Coalition’s new PI&E efforts for 2007 was a law enforcement breakfast and press conference to educate police officers and the public about changes in the state’s child passenger safety law. We crafted a story that was covered by all of Greater Cleveland’s major television and print media outlets. Representing children 4 to15 years of age, a story was staged around a highly visual demonstration representing the lives that could have been saved in Ohio over a multiyear period if booster seats and seat belt use had been at 100 percent. This year also saw the launch of a new seat belt promotion program for preteens in Greater Cleveland, the continuation and growth of a seat belt promotion program for teen drivers, and the creation of a new booster seat promotion campaign. The state of Iowa, which developed the concept and artwork on which our campaign is based, used the program to educate the public about their state’s new booster seat law; because Ohio’s law lacks a booster seat provision, the Greater Cleveland Safe Communities Coalition is using an expanded and redesigned version of the Boost Your Booty concept to educate parents about the need for boosters to protect young passengers who are too big for car seats but too small for seat belts alone.
While enforcement is a cornerstone of any traffic safety program, the state’s initial efforts to improve traffic safety in Cuyahoga County were hampered by a demographically and geographically diverse collection of police departments in 59 political subdivisions that largely worked in isolation. Since its founding in 2002, the Greater Cleveland Safe Communities Coalition’s Speed, Reckless & Aggressive Driving/DUI Reduction Task Force has been highly successful in forging partnerships and creating an unprecedented level of cooperation and camaraderie among the 45 member police departments. Where once there was little or no communication or cooperation between agencies, these 45 departments now readily share information, resources, and expertise and have been tremendously successful in planning and carrying out coordinated, countywide efforts to reduce DUI and aggressive driving and increase compliance with the state’s restraint laws. In 2005, the Task Force was recognized by NHTSA as one of the best DUI deterrence programs in the country. In 2007, for the third year in a row, the Task Force placed first in the multi-jurisdictional category of the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s National Law Enforcement Challenge. Stopping dangerous or impaired driving involves more than just issuing citations, however—it also requires a judicial system that takes issues like restraint use and impaired driving seriously and holds violators accountable for their actions. To ensure that our Task Force members’ hard work is not in vain, the Greater Cleveland Safe Communities Coalition also hosts training sessions throughout the year for prosecutors and judges on adjudication issues related to impaired and aggressive driving.
By designing and implementing carefully coordinated campaigns that incorporate both enforcement and PI&E centered on synchronized, thoughtfully designed messages, the Greater Cleveland Safe Communities Coalition has been successful in getting the word out to Northeast Ohioans that traffic safety is a priority, while changing attitudes and changing behavior in ways that make our roads safer for all of us.
For more information, visit injurypreventioncenter.com or contact us at 216-983-1108.
Traffic Safe Communities Network in Santa Clara County is excited to be moving into its 10th year of traffic safety planning. TSCN started in 1997 when professionals and community members acknowledged that a comprehensive countywide program was needed to address the traffic challenges that faced its 1.6 million residents in 15 cities.
With support from the California Office of Traffic Safety, Santa Clara County became a pilot site for implementing the Safe Communities Model using an injury prevention approach headed by the county’s Public Health Department. TSCN has received strong support from multiple agencies and jurisdictions across the county from the beginning. Over the last decade, TSCN’s partners have include law enforcement, transportation engineers, public health advocates, injury prevention specialists, elected officials, educators, court officials, emergency medical services, bicycle advocates, and community based organizations. The Network’s co-chairs, the county’s health officer and a county board member, have provided consistent leadership over the past decade. Just recently the original board member resigned as TSCN’s co-chair as he was elected to the State Assembly where he continues to fight for traffic safety issues and leverage funding for TSCN.
Currently TSCN supports three workgroups – Alcohol and Impaired Driving, Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety, and Roadway Safety. Past workgroups have included Traffic Safety Data and Assessment and Child Passenger Safety. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety group has been diligently working at increasing the number of young people wearing helmets and wearing them correctly. The group also teaches youth about seat belt use and safe movement in traffic as a precursor to their future role as drivers of automobiles.
Most recently, the workgroup has undertaken an innovative Juvenile Traffic Diversion program where youth under the age of 18 who are cited for failure to wear a helmet or other non-motor vehicle traffic related offense are offered the opportunity to attend a traffic safety class in lieu of paying a fine. The youth’s parent or guardian must also attend the class which is taught by a police officer and an individual affected by a brain injury. Preliminary results indicate the class is beneficial for both parents and their children, and officers are more open to citing young violators because they know the youth will have an opportunity to be educated rather than receive a fine.
The Alcohol and Impaired Driving Workgroup has implemented the DUI Court in the Schools project which has gained national and international attention. The project moves the venue of a real DUI case from the courthouse to a high school and students learn about the consequences of drinking and driving while experiencing the judicial system at work. An interactive discussion between the court officials, the defendant and the students occurs immediately following the trial. Designed to compliment the DUI Court in the Schools project, the Underage Drinking and Driving: A Parent and Teen Guide was developed as a resource for parents and teens to use as a basis for discussing underage drinking and driving. The booklet is available in English, Spanish, and soon in Vietnamese.
Speeding and red light running are two areas of countywide concern that the Roadway Safety Workgroup addresses. Together traffic safety engineers and law enforcement agencies develop and apply innovative approaches to decrease crashes and injuries associated with these violations. Projects have included installing red light enforcement indicators (aka, rat boxes) at 100 high risk intersections to prevent red light running, and installing nearly 50 speed feedback signs near school zones to reduce speeding. In 2006, the group launched a media campaign to educate drivers about the dangers associated with red light running. Increased enforcement complimented the campaign and yielded an additional 344 citations over a one week period.
Over the past decade, the rates of crashes, fatalities, and injuries have decreased despite the increasing number of residents in the county. Although there are many factors that contribute to the decline, Traffic Safe Communities Network believes that the support and dedication of its members have been instrumental in developing successful projects and a safer Santa Clara County.
For more information visit www.sccphd.org/traffic or contact 408.792.3744.
Safer New Mexico Now (SAFER)