Motor Vehicle Safety

When behind the wheel of a car, alone or with passengers, driving safely should always be a top concern.

Motor Vehicle Safety

Motor vehicle crashes are a public health concern both in the United States and abroad. In the United States, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death, and kill over 100 people every day. However, motor vehicle crash injuries and deaths are preventable. There are proven strategies that can help prevent these injuries and deaths.

Whether you are a driver, passenger, cyclist, or pedestrian, you can take steps to stay safe on the road:

Buckle Up! Ensure that the driver and all passengers are properly seat belted before driving.

• Focus on driving and the road: Ignore distractions while driving, such as the use of a hand-held cell phone or watching videos while driving.

• Follow posted speed limits: Slow down as necessary in adverse weather and around vulnerable road users, including pedestrians and cyclists.

• Increase following distance: Especially in adverse weather or low light conditions.

• Always choose to drive sober!


Source: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Washington State Patrol (WSP), and Target Zero.

Click It or Ticket

Seat Belts SAVE Lives.

No matter what type of vehicle you drive, the safest choice drivers and passengers can make is to buckle up. Your seat belt doesn’t just protect you in a crash. It could save you from a ticket, too!

As you head out around the 2024 Memorial Day holiday, you’ll likely see more law enforcement on the roads as part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Click It or Ticket campaign.

On May 20, 2024, seat belt enforcement mobilization will commence nationwide and Click It or Ticket will serve to remind drivers and their passengers of the importance of buckling up and the legal consequences–including fines–if they do not comply with wearing seat belts.

Click It. Don’t Risk It!

Learn more & share How to Buckle Up the Right Way >>

 

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Roadway Users

90 Dangerous Days

The Washington State Patrol (WSP), Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC), and partner law enforcement agencies across the state participate in a statewide “90 Dangerous Days” campaign with aim to reduce serious injuries and fatalities on Washington state roadways.

Historically, June 9 – September 7 has yielded Washington state’s highest consecutive 90-day stretch for traffic-related fatalities. On average, this timeframe accounts for 31 percent of all traffic deaths statewide. Those at risk are not just drivers – but also vulnerable roadway users such as pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcycle riders. 

Top contributing circumstances to fatality collisions include:

  • Excessive speed
  • Impairment
  • Distraction
  • Failing to grant right of way


Source: Washington State Patrol

The National Safety Council (NSC) calls on all roadway users to always put safety first and help to prevent crashes and save lives.

In May 2024, NSC released new survey findings revealing adults in the U.S. are concerned about their safety and the safety of family and friends on the roads, which makes staying safe even more personal.


We can all share our roadways safely & responsibly:

1. Prepare BEFORE You Go >> Before hitting the road, make sure your vehicle is safe for driving. Vehicle owners should check the oil, put air in the tires, and check for and repair open recalls. Visit ChecktoProtect.org to see if your vehicle has an open recall, and get it repaired for FREE!

2. Buckle Up >> Lack of seat belt use is a top cause of fatalities in crashes. Buckle up, while also making sure you have appropriate car seats and/or booster seats installed correctly.

3. Designate a Sober Driver (or arrange alternate transportation) >> Alcohol is only one cause of impaired driving. Drugs, including opioids, marijuana and some over-the-counter medicines, can cause drowsiness, alter visual functions and affect mental judgment and motor skills. Learn more at hiprc.org/distracted-driving-awareness.

4. Slow Down >> Speeding is a factor in more than a quarter of all traffic fatalities. Drive the speed limit or below it if conditions dictate. Be sure to pay close attention to those walking and biking in order to keep all road users safe.

5. Drive Distraction-free >> Thousands have died in car crashes involving cell phone use. Put your phones away and #JustDrive

6. Look BEFORE You Lock >> Pediatric vehicular heatstroke is still the leading cause of non-crash motor vehicle-related fatality for children. In 2023, 29 children in the U.S. are reported to have died because of this completely preventable tragedy. Always check your back seat for children or animals when you reach your destination. Learn more at hiprc.org/heat-safety.

7. Demand Safer Roads & Speeds >> Join the Road to Zero Coalition to learn about the Safe System Approach on road safety. Elements of safer roads include rumble strips, protected bicycle lanes, clearly marked crosswalks, roundabouts and much more. Roadway design influences motor vehicle speed, which has profound implications on crash severity for all road users. 

Learn more about Motor Vehicle Injury & Holiday Traffic Fatalities >>

 

Source: National Safety Council (NSC)

Driving while impaired by any substance is dangerous and illegal.

Motor vehicle crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers kill one person every 45 minutes in the United States. That’s 32 people every day.

Encouraging drivers to make wise choices on the road is crucial, especially with the increase in fatal accidents across Washington State in recent years. According to early data from the Washington State Traffic Commission (WTSC), there have been nearly as many fatal accidents up to September 2023 (578) as there were during the same period in 2022 (582), which marked a 32-year peak in fatal accidents across Washington State.

In Washington State:

  • It is illegal to drive with a BAC (Blood alcohol concentration) at or above 0.08%
  • Publicized sobriety checkpoints are not allowed
  • Ignition interlocks are required for all (including first-time) convicted offenders

Across Our Nation:

The U.S. Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) work to eliminate risky driving behaviors and improve roadway safety for everyone.

Learn more about Risky Driving Behaviors&Roadway Safety >>


Source: Target Zero, CDC, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), Washington State Traffic Commission (WTSC), U.S. Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving has become a deadly epidemic on America’s roadways. Each day, we all face dangerous risks. When you’re behind the wheel your only job is to drive. Commit to distraction-free driving today!

Learn more, spread the word & Take the Pledge >>

Booster & Car Seat Guides

BoosterSeat.org offers tips for choosing the right car seat or booster seat, following Washington’s booster seat laws, and accessing local and national resources.

Available in English and Spanish.

Resources

  • Boosterseat.org: Offers tips for choosing the right car seat or booster seat, following Washington’s booster seat laws, and accessing local and national resources. Available in English and Spanish.
  • Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC): Find information and resources to help keep you and your family safe on the road. Learn about bike helmets and bike safety, car seats, seatbelts, and more.
  • WA State Department of Transportation (WSDOT): Whether you’re commuting, road-tripping or driving commercially, we have information to help you plan your route. See real-time alerts, live cameras, current travel times, and bridge and road restrictions for cars and trucks.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Learn more about child passenger safety, seat belt requirements, teen driving tips, and more.
  • DriveitHOME app by National Safety Council (NSC): Get involved with your teen behind the wheel and provide the experience they need to stay safe. This FREE app is designed by NSC for parents of new teen drivers to log practice hours and share ideas for weekly driving lessons. Includes instructional videos to keep your teen’s progress on track. Download today >>

Downloadables

Visit our Digital Resource Center to learn more about Motor Vehicle Safety and Distracted Driving Awareness — plus, more injury and violence prevention topics year-round!