March 28, 2018

Hands-Free is Not Risk-Free
Hands-Free is Not Risk-Free.
Distracted Driving Awareness Month
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month (DDAM). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as "any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system -----anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving." Multi-tasking is often perceived as an achievable and desirable status of operating, but the human brain cannot do two things at the same time (PDF) and current information recognizes that multi-tasking has a detrimental effect on the brain's cognitive (PDF) abilities. When we try to combine driving with multi-tasking, it results in distracted driving.
While the percentage of drivers who were observed holding cell phones to their ears decreased from 4.8% in 2006 to 3.8% in 2015, this still indicates that approximately 542,000 passenger vehicles were on the road at any moment in 2015 being operated by someone using a cell phone. More troublesome, statistics (PDF) show an increase in the visible manipulation of handheld electronic devices from .4% to 2.2% in the same time frame and according to NHTSA, "texting is the most alarming distraction. 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." Additionally, there is a prevalent myth that utilizing hands-free devices while driving is safe, which is inaccurate (PDF). Even while utilizing hands-free devices, the driver is cognitively distracted, taking their mind off the road. The National Safety Council (NSC) has compiled more than 30 research studies and reports by scientists around the world that used a variety of research methods, to compare driver performance with handheld and hands-free phones. All of these studies show hands-free phones offer no safety benefit when driving.
The NSC provides information on DDAM, including how to be safe at work, and on the road. Specifically in regards to safety on the road, they provide information on employers taking action, defensive driving safety training, and educating teen drivers.
End Distracted Driving (End DD) a project of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation, has statistics, information, and a collection of resources available on their site. Of interest are the winners of the 2017 SADD Distracted Driving Video and Meme Contest, in which 170 individual entries were submitted. End DD said of this "The awe-inspiring number of entries and their powerful messages have proven that teens truly have the power to keep their friends safe through caring, speaking up and creating positive peer pressure." The 2018 video and meme contest results will be released in early April.
While we focus on distracted driving, it's important to remember distracted walking is part of the issue. In 1995, children ages 5 to 9 were more at risk than any other age group under 19 for being struck by a vehicle while walking. The good news is, the death rate for kids of all ages in this category declined more than 50 percent in the last 20 years. There has been a noticeable demographic shift - it is now much more likely a car will hit a teenager than their younger counterpart. According to the NSC's  Heads Up, Phones Down page, of the 484 pedestrians ages 19 and younger who died after being hit by a motor vehicle in 2013, 47 percent were age 15 to 19 and 16,000 pedestrians 19 and younger were injured in 2013. That's 44 per day. Safe Kids Worldwide conducted research into distracted driving and walking and shared some alarming dangers in school zones, including wearing headphone or texting while walking. They also provide a Take Action Toolkit that includes strategies, advocacy tips, model documents and resources such as Take Action Against Distraction (PDF).

Campus Safety and Security Summit
Register Today for the Free Campus Safety and Security Summit!
Northeastern University, in collaboration with several partners, is hosting a summit on campus and event crisis prevention, protection, and response. The Campus Safety and Security Summit will take place May 15-16, 2018 in Boston, MA and registration is free. Registration is limited to no more than two people per agency/organization due to the limited space.
The current threats to centers of higher education associated with ideologically motivated violence and volatile mass protest, while not new, are unprecedented. Strategies and planning for prevention and mitigation must reflect the current threats, tactics, and institutional realities faced on the modern campus. Methods for engaging, communicating, and safeguarding campus communities have changed significantly in a very short period of time. Campus law enforcement, public safety, and emergency management agencies share these challenges across the country. Many have found innovative approaches to tackle these challenges, and others have had their plans and strategies tested by massive, violent protests and terrorist attacks specifically targeting their campus communities.
This two-day summit will include presentations on:
  • Lessons learned from recent critical events on campuses
  • Examples of tools and resources currently available to help prevent violence associated with campus threats
  • Strategies to mitigate the impact where prevention fails
  • Information sharing among campus public safety officials, local public safety agencies, and a national network for sharing critical threat information
  • Mechanisms for public outreach and anonymous reporting of student safety concerns
  • The warning signs - behavioral characteristics of mass casualty attackers
  • Addressing hate crimes on campus 
View the Campus Safety and Security Summit flyer and agenda (PDF) for additional information and register online.

NCVRW 2018
Access the NCVRW Resource Guide.
National Crime Victims' Rights Week: 
April 8-14, 2018
Efforts to further crime victims' rights in America (PDF) began over 50 years ago. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan established the first national "Crime Victims Week" to be held in April. During this week in April 1982 he proclaimed, "The innocent victims of crime have frequently been overlooked by our criminal justice system, and their pleas for justice have gone unheeded and their wounds -----personal, emotional, and financial -----have gone unattended." Now referred to as National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW), NCVRW creates an opportunity to learn about victimization; the effect victimization has on individuals, families, friends, and the communities; and to promote laws, policies, and programs to help victims of crime. This year NCVRW will be commemorated April 8-14, 2018 and the theme, Expand the Circle: Reach All Victims, emphasizes the importance of inclusion in victim services. The theme addresses how the crime victims field can better ensure that every crime victim has access to services and support and how professionals, organizations, and communities can work in tandem to reach all victims.

Established in 1988 through an amendment to the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) of 1984,
the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) annually leads communities in raising awareness of victims' rights and services, highlighting local programs, celebrating progress achieved, and honoring victims and the professionals who serve them. Their 2018 NCVRC Resource Guide is a suite of resources that includes user-friendly sample materials, fact sheets on crime and victimization, professional artwork, and media tips and tools for implementing and developing public awareness campaigns on your campus and in your community. Read the frequently asked questions (PDF) for more information and view the additional resources (PDF) for a directory of sources on crime victim issues and a list of national organizations that have partnered with OVC to promote this year's guide.
One of these partner organization is the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA), a 501(c)(3) membership organization that provides training and professional credentialing for service providers and crisis responders as well as resources and referrals for victims/survivors. This year, NOVA is hosting several events designed to unite and inspire communities and college campus in the ongoing march for victims' rights:
  • Tuesday, April 10: NOVA is hosting Coordinated Community Response to Incidents of Mass Violence: Lessons Learned from Las Vegas and Orlando, a free, interactive panel-discussion webinar that will focus on challenges and lessons learned by advocates and crisis responders in the aftermath of the mass violence shooting incidents at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and during the outdoor concert in Las Vegas.
  • Thursday, April 12: NOVA Executive Director, Chief Justice Richard Barajas (ret.) is presenting "Careers in Victim Advocacy" as part of a Facebook Live Event at Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall, Ft. Myer, VA.
  • Thursday, April 12: THE AMENDMENT is the true story of Brooks Douglass and his sister, who in 1979 survived a devastating crime that rocked their community and took their parents' lives. Brooks became Oklahoma's youngest state senator and championed important victims' rights legislation. This movie will be showcased in theaters nationwide, April 12th, for one night only.
  • Friday, April 13 and Saturday, April 14: Anyone can participate in this 5K Virtual Walk. There is no time or location limitation and individuals or groups can design their own path to walk, run, or bike to raise awareness and engage in promoting and enforcing victims' rights. 
Visit NOVA's NCVRW web page to learn more about their annual observation of NCVRW.

Professional Development Opportunities

Title: Suicide Contagion and Safe Messaging
Organization: The Jed Foundation
Date: April 5, 2018 at 1:00PM ET
Location: Online
Fee: Free
Title: HSTI Live - Cyber Security
Organization: Homeland Security Training Institute
Date: April 27, 2018 at 10:00AM CT
Location: Glen Ellyn, IL or Online
Fee: Free
Title: HazingPrevention.Org Institute
Organization: HazingPrevention.Org
Dates: June 18-20 2018
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Fee: Registration fee
For additional trainings and events, access our searchable online calendar

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This project was supported by Grant No. 2013-MU-BX-K011 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the US Department of Justice.
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