Making an Impact
November 2020 - Volume 8 - Issue 2
Federal Traffic Fatality Data Shows Positive Gains, But Serious Concerns Persist 
During the COVID-19 Era
Pandemic Prompting Speeding, Lack of Seat Belt Use
Statement for attribution to Jonathan Adkins, Executive Director, 
Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The release of new data and special reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one of the deepest analyses to date of driver behavior during the pandemic, provides some good news for traffic safety but also cause for significant concern about road user behavior during the public health emergency.

GHSA is heartened to see traffic fatalities fell two percent in 2019 – the third straight year of declines. While this is progress, the 36,096 lives lost in 2019 are unacceptable, as any single individual killed in a traffic crash represents unspeakable loss and tragedy for those left to mourn.

NHTSA’s early estimates of motor vehicle fatalities for the first half of 2020 show an additional two percent decline. Again, this is welcome news, but vehicle miles traveled during this same time period dropped 16.6 percent compared to 2019. Why isn’t the reduction in traffic fatalities far greater?

NHTSA’s in-depth analyses of highway safety data during the COVID-19 pandemic affirm concerns voiced by GHSA in April based on trends reported in the spring by state highway safety offices. Far too many drivers saw open roads as an invitation to engage in risky behaviors like speeding, driving under the influence and driving unrestrained. GHSA’s members have daily reported speeding violations of 100 miles per hour and higher on highways and local roads throughout the country. For too long, speeding has been the forgotten traffic safety issue, even though it is a factor in nearly a third of all roadway deaths.

One of the most effective strategies to reduce speeding and encourage seat belt use is consistent and conspicuous traffic enforcement. However, reports from NHTSA and GHSA’s members suggest that in the earliest days of the pandemic, states and communities took steps to reduce health risks for law enforcement officers by limiting traffic stops. This may have led some motorists to believe they could get away with dangerous and aggressive driving, despite the threat to themselves and everyone on the road.

The COVID-19 pandemic is dramatically impacting all aspects of American life, including a greater willingness on the part of some to engage in risky driving behaviors. It is absolutely critical that all levels of government and the private sector work together to address these trends or more families will tragically lose loved ones to traffic crashes that are entirely preventable. We appreciate NHTSA leading this important collaborative effort.

Prineville police conducting traffic safety enforcement operations

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Prineville Police Department will be conducting several traffic safety enforcement actions throughout the months of October and November.

These operations will take place in high-traffic areas or areas where traffic-related complaints are frequent.

Enforcement and education will be for cell phone and electronic device use while driving, crosswalk and pedestrian safety, speeding, safety belt and child safety seat use. However, officers will continue to enforce and educate about all traffic laws. 

We want to remind everyone about school traffic and rapidly changing road conditions as we move into the fall and winter months.  

The Prineville Police Department encourages all drivers to make a conscious effort to drive responsibly and safely.

If you are curious about seat belt laws check out this link.

Tips for driving in the rain

Use these rainy weather safety tips to help you when driving in the rain.

Most of us will drive in the rain many times throughout our life. However, many people attempt to drive in wet conditions as if it were warm and dry.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation , there are on average more than 900,000 automobile crashes each year due to wet pavement, resulting in approximately 4,400 deaths and 352,000 injuries.

Follow these rainy weather safety tips to help you when driving in the rain:

Go Slow

The first few hours during and after a rainstorm are the most dangerous. The grease and oil from cars produces a film on roads during dry conditions and when it rains, this layer becomes extremely slippery. Drive defensively in the rain and reduce your speed to below the speed limit to prevent the chance of hydroplaning.

Stay Alert

When conditions are less than ideal, drivers need to stay alert and focused on what's going on around them.

Brake Cautiously

One primary reason cars collide during rainstorms is because drivers slam on their brakes as if it were dry, but the wet road causes the car to slide forward, often into the rear of another car. Brake gently and early to alert the driver behind you that you are slowing down.

Avoid the Splash

The big splash you get when you drive through a huge puddle can be costly. If water enters the engine compartment of your vehicle, it can damage the internal systems. Drive around large puddles, and avoid running water. Once you have safely passed, tap lightly on your brake pedal to dry off your brake rotors.

Beware of Hydroplaning

If you begin to hydroplane in slick conditions, take your foot off the gas and steer steadily in the direction of the skid. Wait for your car to regain control with the road and either continue with your trip or find a safe place to pull over to recover from the event.

Increase Your Visibility

It's the law in all states to turn on headlights when visibility is low, and many states also require having the headlights on when the windshield wipers are in use. Drive in the middle lane as much as possible to increase visibility and also avoid deep water, which tends to run off to the sides of the road.

Check Your Tire Tread

If your tires have less than 1/16″ of tread remaining, proceed with extra caution when driving in the rain. Tire performance is significantly reduced with the combination of wet roads and little tire tread, which can lead to hydroplaning, especially at high speeds and around turns.

No Cruise Control

Driving in the rain demands an extra level of concentration and less distraction. If the vehicle starts to hydroplane while cruise control is on, drivers may get confused on whether or not to turn it off. Avoid the extra distraction by leaving it disabled.

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Event speakers. No cost.
In 2008, a crash caused by a distracted driver left Jacy partially paralyzed and took the lives of her parents.

With Hang Up and Drive, Jacy Good and Steve Johnson advocate for distraction-free roads and provide education on the dangers of using a phone while behind the wheel.

ODOT is bringing Hang Up and Drive to Oregon for virtual or in person Distracted Driving Awareness Presentations.

Bring this important message and these special guest speakers to your Oregon school, employer or organization. 

Contact us

Jacy Good and Steve Johnson
We are always here to help with traffic safety education. We currently have these three images on yard signs available. If you know anyone that would like to have them on display in their community please let us know. We will be glad to ship them to you free of charge.
Car Seat Check Up Events

We know that car seat safety is very important, as it should be, for many new parents. We want you to know are here to help.
We are currently making appointments for car seat education sessions, along with other local partners. Please contact us for more information at 503-899-2220 or via email at