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Safe and Courteous Driving

Program Manager

Kelly Kapri 
Phone Number:  503 986-3293
FAX:  503 986-3143   
ODOT - Transportation Safety Division - MS-3 
4040 SE Fairview Industrial Drive
Salem, OR 97302-1142

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Program Introduction

There are lots of things you can do to be a safer, more courteous driver.  The Transportation Safety Division has set up special programs to address the most significant causes of crashes – for example we dedicate resources to encouraging people to not drive drowsy, or not to follow too closely. 
In addition to these established transportation safety issues, there are several issues that we refer to as emerging, like distracted driving – either due to new technology, or increasing recognition of the problem due to changes in the state of driving in Oregon.
Below you will find a bit of information about these topics, along with selected links to agencies and organizations that are trying to make a difference with these problems.
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Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a driving problem that Oregon has been working on for many years. We've aired radio and television messages, outdoor ads, and more to try and raise awareness of the problems associated with distraction.
Distracted Driving is a behavior dangerous to drivers, passengers, and non-occupants alike. Distraction is a specific type of inattention that occurs when drivers divert their attention from the driving task to focus on some other activity instead (per NHTSA). Distracted Driving crashes rate 7 in the most common driver errors in Oregon for 2011, according to Oregon’s Crash Analysis Unit.
Watch a video about Teen Distracted Driving, provided by the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office: 
Do the Math - wmv 
-Cell Phone Ad  - pdf        
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Following Distance

Safe Following Distance, for example, everyone should know that it is an important consideration for safe motor vehicle operation. Although following distance related crashes rate 6 in the most common driver errors in Oregon for 2011, according to Oregon’s Crash Analysis Unit, the issues around following distance received infrequent attention in the media, perhaps due to the seemingly everyday nature of this type of crash. Rear end collisions are also a major source of property damage claims every year.

There is some dispute about what constitutes a safe following distance.  One measure is to identify a fixed point along the roadway, such as a pole or sign.  To determine the timing for your following distance, note when the vehicle ahead passes the object, then start counting one thousand one, one thousand two and so on until the front of your vehicle is even with the object.  You should have been able, at minimum to get to one thousand two.  We at safety would like to see you get to one thousand four, to allow that extra cushion of space.

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Red Light Running

Red light running is a significant cause of serious injury in Oregon.  Importantly, red light running is also a significant cause of debilitating brain injury, and death.  It is essential that every driver in Oregon heed the warning to stop on Red.   To address this serious problem, many communities have asked for, and received permission from the Oregon legislature to place special camera equipment at the worst of the worst intersections in the state.
See Red 
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Lights and Swipes

The Oregon legislature felt so strongly about the need to raise citizen awareness of the need for using your headlights in inclement or low visibility weather that they passed a special law requiring an awareness campaign.  As you might guess, headlights help your vehicle to be seen more easily.  While there is some quibbling about exactly how much, major studies show that using your lights during the day, especially in bad weather, helps you to be seen a LOT.  These findings have been confirmed by the Canadian experience with daytime running lights.  Won’t you take two seconds to turn on your headlights when you need your windshield wipers?

Get Noticed 
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Drowsy Driving

Sadly, every year Oregon loses citizens to suspected or confirmed incidences of drivers falling asleep at the wheel.  Sometimes the loss of life is only to the driver.  All too often the loss of life is to a child passenger, or passing motorist who had the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  The key to preventing these unnecessary collisions is to never drive drowsy.
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