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Directions in Highway Safety, Spring 2007 Cover Page Download Newsletter pdf
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Summer 2007 | Vol. 10 | No. 2

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GHSA Comes to Oregon!

By: Troy Costales, Governor's Highway Safety Representative
State of Oregon

We look forward to welcoming you to Oregon, where safety belts rule! We wish you a wonderful and safe visit here in the City of Roses and throughout our beautiful state, where we've recently climbed to third in the country for seat belt usage. And our 2007 state legislature just passed new, tighter restrictions on child passenger seating and restraints, so we're extremely proud of what we're accomplishing here in Oregon, it motivates us to work even harder.

That's why we're glad you are coming—to share the results of your latest successful efforts, to learn what others are doing and to enjoy the camaraderie of other professional safety advocates.

This year's theme is "Looking Beyond Our Borders" and promises a wealth of information, no matter what your area of expertise, with national and international speakers, officials and safety representatives. The Oregon Department of Transportation is pleased to host this informative and exciting event.

Oregon Transportation Safety Division Logo

In ODOT's Transportation Safety Division, we've been working hard to keep motorists vigilant about safety. We experienced a decrease in highway fatalities in 2006, and much of this can be attributed to the outstanding commitment of our partners in law enforcement, the private sector and other public agencies. We have had extremely successful multi-agency traffic team campaigns that resulted in safer roads and fewer criminals on those roads. We've conducted hundreds of seat belt and booster seat clinics around the state, including the distribution of free car seats for qualified families.

In 2006, our motor carrier officers conducted more than 60,000 commercial vehicle inspections, placing almost 25 percent of vehicles and 9 percent of drivers out of service for critical safety violations. The state's motorcycle safety education program, TEAM Oregon, is recognized as a national leader in safety training. And community applications are pouring into the office for the Safe Routes to School grant program, ensuring children will have safer ways to get to and from school and home.

We are currently in the midst of a campaign urging motorists to "Slow down" and "Back off." Data show tailgating is a common cause of crashes and speed is the number one factor in fatalities. So all around the state, on bus boards, billboards, television and radio, motorists are encouraged to drive safely.

Our work zone safety efforts are also garnering attention. Earlier this year, we introduced an ODOT semitrailer that carries the work zone safety message on its sides. As it drives down the interstates, it reminds motorists to be aware in the work zone and slow down because better roads are ahead.

We will be piloting a photo radar program in work zones. We are looking forward to the results of this innovative use of technology.

Technology is also helping us increase safety in other ways, such as equipment that monitors tailgating, a mobile blood alcohol testing unit and electronic ticketing pilot programs. All of these are promising new tools as we work toward our goal of saving lives. We look forward to your visit and we hope you walk away with fond memories—and some inspiration to help in your own safety efforts.