Nebraska Injury Prevention and Control News
   Issue #82                                                                      May 2018
In the News
U Drive. U Text. U Pay
Research says drivers age 18 to 34 are most likely to die in distraction-affected crashes. “Cell phones have a place in our lives, but not while driving,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King. “Everyone should understand the very real dangers of texting while driving. Taking your eyes off the road for a moment is all it takes to cause a crash and change lives forever. Remember, no text or call is worth a life.”
In 2016, new NHTSA data shows that at least 3,450 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, including those who were texting and driving. Key statistical findings in NHTSA’s new  2016 Distracted Driving Research Note  and  Teen Distracted Driver Fact Sheet   include:
  • Nine percent of fatal crashes in 2016 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.
  • Six percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. 
  • Nine percent of drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the times of the fatal crashes.
  • In 2016, there were 562 non-occupants (pedestrians, bicyclists, and others) killed in distraction-affected crashes.
  • In 2016, 70 percent of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes were male, as compared to 74 percent of drivers in all fatal crashes.
  • Hand-held cell phone use while driving is highest among 15- to 29-year-old drivers. 
  • Female drivers with a cell phone have been more likely to be involved in fatal distracted-driving crashes as compared to male drivers every year since 2012.
Tips on avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning
You’ll never smell it or see it, which makes carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning a deadly foe. Anytime fossil fuel such as gas, propane, natural gas, oil or wood burns, CO is produced. Find out how to protect yourself and your family, with tips on avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning.
Upcoming Events
Child Passenger Safety Technician Training

There are still plenty of spots open for both Lincoln classes!

Lincoln, June 6-8

Lincoln, August 1-4

Scottsbluff, October

Get help at the links below.
Safe Kids Nebraska
New Fire Safety PSA Videos

The Safe Kids and Tobacco Free Nebraska programs at the Lincoln Lancaster County Health Department partnered with Lincoln Fire Department and LNKTV to produce new smoking related fire prevention PSAs. They focus on proper cigarette disposal and smoke-free housing, two in English and two in Spanish. They have been shared with the local media outlets and will be posted to social media this week.

Here's a link to the videos:
Heat Stroke Awareness

Heatstroke kills children left in vehicles, and it does not have to be hot outside. NHTSA has a fact sheet on tips about heatstroke in vehicles and how to prevent it. 
Bicycle Safety Month

May is National Bike Month, and Wednesday, May 9th, is Bike to School Day. Many children ages 5 to 14 are seen in emergency rooms for injuries related to biking. Helmets reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88%. Only 45% of children under 14 wear bike helmets.

Visit to learn tips to keep kids safe when they are biking. 

Safety in Seconds: Bike Helmet Fit Test
The video below teaches you how to properly fit a bike helmet for a child or adult.
Motor Vehicle Safety
Nebraska Schools Win Teen Driver Safety Award
April 5, 2018 Seven Nebraska high schools were recognized on April 4, 2018, for their dedication to improving teen driver safety with the TDS Cup and Outstanding School awarded by Teens in the Driver Seat® (TDS).
  1. Norfolk High School in Norfolk ($1,000 cash award)
  2. Centura High School in Cairo ($500 cash award)
  3. Malcolm High School in Malcolm ($250 cash award)

Outstanding schools- Gering High School, Central Valley High School, Arlington High School and Howells-Dodge Consolidated.

Teens in the Driver Seat believes that young drivers are more effective at communicating to their peers than anyone else. The TDS Cup competition motivates teens to compete with one another to help get the word out about positive driving behaviors.
Awarded annually, the TDS Cup is the ultimate reward for individual TDS schools to prove that their teens have the best program in their respective states. Each TDS team entering the competition is awarded points for every safe-driving activity promoted in its school and community about the top five driving risks: driving at night; speeding and street racing; distractions, such as cell phones and teen passengers; not wearing a seat belt; and alcohol/drug use.

A final tally ranks winners each spring. There are three placements within each state competition, with first-place cup winners earning $1,000 for their school, second place earning $500 and third place earning $250. Schools that reach a minimum required number of activity points are recognized as an Outstanding TDS School.
There are thirty-one schools across Nebraska working on reducing teen related crashes, injuries and deaths through the use of the Teens in the Driver Seat program. For more information, contact Jeanne Bietz, state coordinator, at or 402-471-0361.
Nebraska Teens in the Driver Seat 2018-2019
What is Teens in the Driver Seat?  Teens in the Driver Seat® is a teen-driven peer-to-peer educational program that focuses solely on traffic safety and addresses all major driving risks for this age group. Teens, along with a sponsor, help shape the program and are responsible for implementing it.

How do schools participate?  Through generous funding from the Nebraska Highway Safety Office and Drive Smart Nebraska Coalition partners, this program is available at no cost to Nebraska high schools. Schools just need to fill out an application to be considered. Participating schools are provided technical assistance, materials and grant opportunities to support their TDS program. Schools will be supported in every way possible to have a successful program. 

This program is proudly supported by the Drive Smart Nebraska Coalition, Nebraska Highway Safety Office, AAA Nebraska and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Injury Prevention Program. 

For more information or questions, please contact Jeanne Bietz, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Injury Prevention Program, at or 402-471-0361.
Can Loud Music Affect Driving Performance?
While there isn’t much evidence to support the argument that loud music can actually impair vision, one study [1] conducted by researchers at the Ear Institute of University College London found that shifting visual gaze a few degrees away from a sound source can result in slower reaction times and increased brain activity needed to concentrate on a laboratory task. This indicates that dividing attention between hearing and vision might be bad. But what about the task of driving? Find out how loud music can affect driving.
Drive Smart Nebraska
The Drive Smart Nebraska Coalition was convened by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Injury Prevention Program in August of 2012. The Drive Smart Nebraska Coalition is dedicated to eliminating injuries and deaths on Nebraska roads. Through a coalition of public and private partners, we promote and carry out proven road safety policies and activities..

Vision: All drivers and passengers are safe on Nebraska roads.

For more information contact:
Jeanne Bietz
Graduated Drivers Licensing
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Injury Prevention program, through participation in the Child Safety Collaborative Innovation and Improvement Network, created, tested, and distributed a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) education card for parents and teens.

The card contains information about important elements of the GDL law, such as prohibitions on teen drivers using cell phones, driving under the influence of alcohol, and engaging in nighttime driving from midnight to 6 am unless the teen driver is going to or from school activities or work. The card also explains limitations that the law places on the number and age of passengers that teen drivers are allowed to transport and a requirement that all occupants riding with a GDL permit holder must wear a seat belt.

The  GDL card  has shown to increase parent and teen knowledge about GDL driving restrictions, leading to better enforcement of the law by parents and better compliance by teens, which all leads to safer Nebraska teen drivers. Through this work, the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs is recognizing it as a  Cutting Edge Practice  and will be included on their  Innovation Station  best practice and evidence-based resources website.
 Older Adult Falls 
Older Adults and In-Home Safety – Falls Prevention
In an ongoing effort to support local programs in their work to ensure their senior clients remain healthy and safe, Meals on Wheels America conducted an assessment of the most prevalent home hazards, as well as a review of what is being done to make homes more livable to keep seniors safer and prevent falls. Seniors continue living in their own homes as they age; however, many of those homes were not built to accommodate aging in place. Factors like outdated electrical work, uneven floors and poor lighting can create an unsafe environment that places seniors at a greater risk of injury or a fall, and the ability and/or finances to make home safety modifications may be out of reach for seniors in need.  Older Adults and In-Home Safety is a report seeking to further explore these safety hazards seniors face in their own homes, as well as solutions and interventions to improve in-home safety and falls prevention. The report:

  • Explores the primary safety challenges seniors face in their own homes;
  • Synthesizes interviews and publicly available research and information about solutions and interventions to improve in-home safety;
  • Examines groups and organizations that are involved in improving home safety and livability for seniors; and
  • Looks ahead at trends within the in-home safety space to consider what can be done to fill existing knowledge and implementation gaps in the future.

Executive Summary

Home Modification Websites 

*Older Adults and In-Home Safety was produced by Meals on Wheels America and made possible by a grant from the Home Depot Foundation. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of Meals on Wheels America.
Fall Prevention Guide – Making rooms and homes safe for seniors
A Fall Prevention resource designed to help you proactively assess the aging senior’s house for anything that might be a health risk or contribute to tripping, slipping, and loss of balance. The guide outlines potential risks and preventative strategies for older adults engaged in the following activities:

  • Getting out of bed, reaching/bending for closet items and getting up from beds or chairs
  • Getting in/out of the tub/shower
  • Using the toilet
  • Walking about rooms in the house
  • Getting up from sofas/easy chairs
  • Walking up/down steps
  • Reaching/bending for objects on shelves, slipping on wet flooring and getting up from kitchen chairs that slide/aren’t equipped with arm-rest support
  • Walking about outside the home and the greater outdoors
It’s Not Just Contact Sports: Youth Concussions Result from Broad Range of Activities
A new study from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that activities children engage in on a daily basis can result in concussions. While the majority of concussions were related to sports and recreational activity (70 percent), 30 percent were due to non-sports and non-recreational mechanisms. Of importance, only 40 percent of all concussions were from contact sports.

The study was published today in the  Journal of Pediatrics. Researchers examined the mechanism of injury for concussion among more than 1,500 children ages 0-17 who were seen for medical evaluation at CHOP, a large and diverse pediatric healthcare system. 

The  Concussion Care for Kids: Minds Matter website  from CHOP contains free resources for learning about signs of concussion, recovery and prevention strategies. Additional resources for healthcare providers and others involved in the care of children are available from CDC through  HEADS UP to Youth Sports .

Share the infographic.
Prescription Drug Overdose
Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine Becoming A Deadly Problem Among Drug Users

This is an interesting article on how illicit fentanyl is now being laced into cocaine and meth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fentanyl, which is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin, was found in more than half of overdose deaths last year in 10 states. Now, there's concern as it creeps into cocaine. The complete story can be found here.
More than 199,800 Americans die annually as a result of traumatic injuries. Injuries are the leading cause of death among people ages 1-44 years of age in the U.S., according to the National Center for Health Statistics (2015).

May is National Trauma Awareness Month. The American Trauma Society, in collaboration with the Society of Trauma Nurses, are proud to present their theme “Injury is no accident: 30 years of making a difference."
All-terrain vehicles (ATV), can be both enjoyable for recreation and can make hard work more enjoyable but this does not come without safety risks. Data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that in 2016, there were 337 ATV-related fatalities and an estimated 101,200 ATV-related emergency-department-treated injuries in the United States. An estimated 26% of these involved children younger than 16 years of age.

These risks can be reduced by following these Golden Rules from the ATV Safety Institute:

  • Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves
  • Never ride on paved roads except to cross when done safely
  • Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Never carry a passenger
  • Ride an ATV that’s right for your age
  • Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys

ATV safety courses are available in both on-line and hands-on formats from many agencies. For more information on attending or hosting an ATV safety course, or about the Nebraska Statewide Trauma System contact: Clay Jordan, RN, NRP, Trauma Nurse Specialist, DHHS Office of Emergency Health Systems at or 402-289-7431.  
  Safety Observances

Quick Links
Contact Information

Peg Ogea-Ginsburg, MA         
Injury Prevention Program Coordinator  

Jason Kerkman, MPH 
Safe Kids Nebraska Coordinator 

Amy Reynoldson
Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Coordinator

Jeanne Bietz, MA 
Motor Vehicle Safety Coordinator

Ashley Newmyer, MPH, CPH
Epidemiology Surveillance Coordinator

Felicia Quintana-Zinn, MS, MBA
Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Epidemiologist

Celeste Illian, MPH                        
Crash Outcome Data Evaluation Data Analyst  
Injury Prevention and Control E-News is a monthly newsletter distributed to partners of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Injury Prevention and Control Program.