August is National Traffic Awareness Month

National Traffic Awareness Month aims to shed light on the safety rules that can help prevent major or minor accidents from taking place. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year more than one million people become victims of fatal traffic accidents. The organization also reports that about 20 to 50 million people are injured in traffic-related incidents.

As the summer season presses on, more and more motorists will be on the roadways. With an increased amount of vehicle traffic, so comes an increased amount of motor vehicle crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) refers to the period from Memorial Day through Labor Day each year as the 100 deadliest days due to the staggering increase of motor vehicle crash fatalities during that time frame.

The city, in partnership with the West Plains Police Department would like to give some reminders to ensure you and those who ride with you stay safe on the roadway this summer.

1) Buckle Up. According to the most recent data from NHTSA seat belt use saved over 14,000 lives. Before leaving in your vehicle, make sure you and your passenger(s) are using proper safety devices (seat belts, car seats, etc.) It’s also the law.

2) Say No to the Cell Phone. According to NHTSA sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. If it cannot wait, pull off the roadway before using your phone.

3) Slow Down. As of 2017, according to the Bureau of Transportation, speeding is the number one driver-related factor in highway fatal crashes.

4) Take A Breather. For those traveling long distances, the road can sometimes be a weary place. If you begin to feel tired or even start falling asleep behind the wheel; pull off, take a break, stretch your legs, and, if possible, switch drivers.

5) Do Not Drive Drunk or High. The dangers of intoxicated/impaired driving are well known yet every year, people are killed on the roadway across the nation because of intoxicated or impaired driving. By designating a driver or using a taxi or ride share service, you are potentially saving your own life as well as the lives of all motorists.

Chief Stephen Monticelli wants to remind everyone that School Opens on August 23rd in West Plains.

“Extra traffic awareness needs to be followed as we will have lots of kids on the roadways and on bikes traveling to and from school,” said Monticelli. “Please follow the School Bus Stop Sign indicators, it’s the law and it is enforced.”