June 19, 2009

News Release

For Immediate Release

May Crash Report Card

There have been three fatality crashes in the first five months of 2009 compared to six in the same time period in 2008. The number of total crashes has decreased by 1 percent, while the number of injury crashes remained the same compared to the same period last year. There have been 2,998 total crashes and 793 injury crashes from January 1 to May 31. Traffic crash statistics are tracked by the Public Works Department.

Download the May 2009 Crash Report Card

JUNE SAFETY MESSAGE

Seatbelt use is the best way to protect yourself in a crash. In 2008 alone, 37,313 people died in traffic crashes across the United States, but safety belts could have prevented death in more than half of these incidents. Last year, 960 people died in traffic crashes on Missouri roads. In Springfield, out of the seven vehicular motorists killed in 2008, only one wore a seatbelt. Missouri’s overall safety belt usage rate is 75.8 percent, compared to 83 percent nationwide.

Many people choose not to wear it for reasons like personal comfort, yet the facts are clear. The impact felt when crashing at a speed of only 15 mph is comparable to a person running into a wall without slowing down. However, if the impact speed is doubled in a 30 mph crash, the impact will be 4 times as hard, comparable with the impact that a person falling three stories would experience. Statistics suggest you are 25 times more likely to die if you are ejected from your vehicle.

For best protection the belt needs to be worn correctly. Both straps should be snugly fitted to your hip and shoulder bones, those body parts can best take on the transferred impact. Don’t wear them too loose, because that will give your body more distance and time to accelerate forward till the belt catches you. Further, shoulder strap and lap belt work as a unit, wear both them both.

Pregnant women need to know that doctors recommend to keep wearing the safety belt and not to disable the airbag. Studies have shown that unbelted mothers are more likely to have excessive injuries than belted ones. The lap belt needs to be placed across the hips and below the belly, never on top or on your belly. As the abdomen grows, the seat should be moved back accordingly. The mother’s breastbone should be at least 10 inches from the steering wheel or dashboard, while still allowing the driver to reach the pedals.

Children need to always be secured in a seat designed for their age/weight group, and need to sit in an upright position (except infants). A recent study in Europe has shown that a child laying across the back seat in a sleeping position, strapped down with only the lap belt part, suffers crash injuries that are almost as deadly as those from being thrown though the car without seatbelt protection. The same is true for adult passengers who place their legs on the dashboard. For more information on child safety, or to view a calendar of car seat check up events in Springfield, go to: www.safekidsspringfield.org.

Use the safety belt, anytime you drive. Eighty percent of all traffic fatalities occur within 25 miles of the home and under a speed of 40 mph.

For more information and other great resources, go to: www.savemolives.com/default.htm or contract Mandy Taylor in Springfield’s Traffic Engineering Office at (417) 864-1980.

city of springfield

Department of Public Works

840 Boonville Avenue • P.O. Box 8368 • Springfield, MO 65801
417-864-1900 • springfieldmo.gov