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Safe Communities

Program Manager

Phone Number:  503 986-4187
FAX:  503 986-3143
 
ODOT - Transportation Safety Division - MS 3
4040 Fairview Industrial Drive SE
Salem, OR 97302-1142
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Program Introduction

Safe Communities  
What is a safe community?
 
Remember when living in a community meant everyone banding together when something needed to be done?  Today, that same tradition is part of Safe Communities.
 
The Safe Communities program is a proven model that works in many different settings.  Each community sets priorities based on its specific safety issues.
 
Safe Communities rely on a big-picture approach to injury prevention:
  • Citizen input and participation;
  • Collaboration, especially with business and health care;
  • Data collection and analysis; and
  • Combined injury prevention efforts
 
Safety is a community affair.
How do Safe Communities get started?  They often begin with concerned neighbors gathering to talk about traffic safety issues.  When the conversation turns to action, residents and businesses form committees or other safety groups to work with local government and neighborhood associations.  Through ongoing collaboration and new partnerships, Safe Communities evolve into coalitions of citizens, law enforcement, public health, medical, government, business, and civic and service groups. 
 
Coalition members meet regularly to share injury data, and plan and carry out local injury prevention activities.  When community members share a commitment to promote safety, injuries and their costs decrease while the quality of life increases.
 
Who pays for Safe Communities?
Oregon Safe Communities are collaborations of the National Safety Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Oregon Department of Transportation, local communities and many other partners.  Funding and technical support from NHTSA helps communities leverage additional resources from other public and private partners.
 
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Local Transportation Safety in Oregon

The Transportation Safety Division works with local governments and volunteers to promote safety in numerous ways.  One of the most effective ways to make things happen is to bring together people from a wide range of interests and backgrounds, and ask them to employ their skills and knowledge to improve safety problems.
 
Over the years, this approach has blossomed into the forming of a number of different types of groups – each having a different scale and approach to the transportation safety problem.
 
The primary group types can be summarized as follows:
 
Safe Communities:  This is a coalition of government and private sector staff with an interest in safety.  The group takes a big picture approach to injury prevention, and combines the various parties interested in injury prevention into a single, effective group.  These groups emphasize using data and analysis to guide collaborative efforts in the non-profit, business, health, and government sectors of the economy.  In Oregon, Baker, Clackamas, Grant, Harney, Jackson, Malheur, Umatilla , Union Counties, plus the City of Portland take this approach to varying levels of effort.  ODOT supports these groups with grants large and small, technical assistance, training, and data support.
 
Traffic Safety Committees: These groups focus their energies on improving the safety of the highway system in their community.  Most often a chartered part of local government, Local Traffic Safety Committees are most often appointed, and formally assigned the task of overseeing issues that impact the safety of the driving public in Oregon’s communities by the local city council or county commission.    They serve the critical role of sounding board, exploring transportation safety problems and opportunities much more deeply than the elected body can in a typical meeting.  Members of these groups work with local and state staff to explore solutions to safety problems.  Their meetings are typically open to the public, and are exciting places to be when working well.  As one example, in Columbia County the group includes ODOT, County, and city public works staff, city, county and state law enforcement, local and state level elected officials, health officials, and school officials.  This group often learns about a problem, gathers information, and is able to move ahead with decisions rapidly.  For ODOT officials particularly, these groups can save a great deal of time – at a single meeting the problem can be framed, proposed solutions identified, and any barriers flagged, and often eliminated.  ODOT supports these groups with small grants, staff attendance, information including data, training, and conferences or other gatherings.
 
Neighborhood Associations:  It has been said that all traffic safety is local.  What better way to solve transportation safety problems than at the most local of levels – the neighborhood association.  In Oregon, many of these groups are incorporated 501c3 organizations able to receive grants, and most are recognized as an important part of the community.  In some communities, they are actually a part of the government body.  ODOT works with these groups by providing data, information and training to make them more effective at identifying and tackling community level transportation safety problems. 
 
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Some Traffic Safety History




Click on the image below to view the document.

Ancient and Modern MeetOregonian article September 28, 1901

Coroner Tells Office History - Oregonian article November 2, 1952​

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​Click on the images below to enlarge. 
 
               



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Radio





Listen to the following radio message as an example of what local volunteers can do.  This spot was aired courtesy of KBZY 1490 Radio.  (Right click on the link below and select "Save Target As" to save the media file to your computer for viewing or forwarding.)
 
Radio PSA (MP3 1.0 MB)

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Oregon Impact 
Provides educational experiences to end impaired and distracted driving
 
Building Safe Communities 
Community Traffic Safety Resource Guide 
 
Drowsy Driving
What You Can Do 
 
Best Practice for Safe Communities 
NHTSA Driving Safety Resource Page 
 
CROET (Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology) at OHSU 
 
CROET Transportation Topic resources

SafetyLit is a free service of the Center for Injury Prevention Policy
and Practice at San Diego State University in cooperation with the
World Health Organization.

The Australasian College is a significant highway safety group for this area of the world.
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