October 16- 22 is Teen Driver Safety Week

20 Oct

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) designated October 16 to October 22 Teen Driver Safety Week. NHTSA is spreading the message on social media, through web videos, and other types of media that make it more likely to reach teens. Statistics show that car crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers, 15 – 19 years old. Many of these fatal car crashes have these causes in common:  cellphone use while driving, speeding, drugs and alcohol, having extra passengers in the car, and not wearing a seat belt.


Source: trafficsafetymarketing.gov

That is why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that parents impose the following rules:

  1. No cell phone use while driving – When you are distracted, your reaction time slows down,  you can’t execute emergency maneuvers, and you are less likely to be able to avoid collisions with other vehicles.
  2. No speeding– Every time you increase your speed, the stopping distance increases, and your chance of being able to control the car decreases.
  3. No alcohol– Driving impaired impacts your reaction time, your judgment, your vision, and it is not legal.
  4. No extra passengers – No more than one passenger at all times. When you have more than one passenger in the car, the risk of getting distracted increases and so is the risk of getting into an accident.
  5. No driving or riding without a seatbelt– Wearing a seatbelt can significantly reduce your chances of being seriously injured or even killed in a car crash. You and your passenger have to wear a seatbelt.

For more information, resources, and statistics regarding teen driving, please visit www.safercar.gov/parents .

And as always, stay safe!

Oh Deer, It’s That Time of the Year

14 Oct

October through January is deer breeding season which means more deer – driver encounters on the road. Unfortunately, many times these encounters lead to collisions. The animal usually comes out second-best in this type of close encounter, but the toll on vehicles and their occupants can also be substantial. According to a State Farm statistic, in 2013, 191 people died as a result of collisions with animals. Vehicle damage can exceed $4,000 and the parts most prone to damage are the front bumper, grille, headlamps, hood and fender areas; sometimes the windshield is broken and air bags deploy.


No foolproof way has been found to keep deer off the roads and away from vehicles. Deer whistles have their advocates; some motorists insist the devices have helped them avoid collisions. But the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says there’s no scientific evidence to support claims they prevent deer from approaching cars or reduce crash risk. Perhaps a more promising approach is roadside reflectors, designed to reflect light from vehicle headlamps and cause deer to “freeze” rather than cross the road. Studies and field tests suggest they do reduce crash frequency to some extent.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid an unplanned meeting with a deer:

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to “deer crossing” signs. Look well down the road and far off to each side. At night, use your high-beam lights if possible to illuminate the road’s edges. Be especially watchful in areas near woods and water. If you see one deer, there may be several others nearby.
  • Be particularly alert at dusk and dawn, when these animals venture out to feed.
  • If you see a deer on or near the roadway and think you have time to avoid hitting it, reduce your speed, tap your brakes to warn other drivers, and sound your horn. Deer tend to fixate on headlights, so flashing them may cause the animal to move. If there’s no vehicle close behind you, brake hard.
  • If a collision seems inevitable, don’t swerve to avoid the deer; your risk of injury may be greater if you do. Hit it, but control the vehicle. Report the accident to the police.

Always obey the speed limit and wear safety belts.

Stay safe!

Street Smart Campaign Launch

28 Sep

Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert and the Princeton Police Department are holding a news conference with the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association (GMTMA) Thursday, September 29 to kick off its participation in Street Smart New Jersey, a pedestrian safety initiative focusing on outreach and education designed to change unsafe behavior by pedestrians and drivers on our streets.


The event is being held at Hinds Plaza at the intersection of Witherspoon and Hullfish Streets during the Princeton Farmers Market at 12:30pm.

Speakers will include Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert, Princeton Police Chief Nicholas Sutter, and GMTMA Executive Director Cheryl Kastrenakes.

The Street Smart Campaign is launching in early October to coincide with the start of local schools and the return of Princeton University students for the fall semester.  The campaign focuses on compliance of traffic and pedestrian safety laws.  The Princeton Police Department is partnering with GMTMA, a non-profit transportation organization serving Mercer County.

“We want everyone to be safe whether they’re walking to school, to work, to the store, or out for some exercise,” said Mayor Lempert. “Princeton has lots of pedestrians because we’re a great, walkable community, and that’s why this safety campaign is so important. It’s an opportunity to remind both pedestrians and drivers of the rules that are designed to keep everyone safe.”

Street Smart is a collaborative effort between the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), Federal Highway Administration, New Jersey Department of Transportation and New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety.  GMTMA is working with NJTPA to coordinate Street Smart campaign in communities in Mercer and Ocean Counties.

Street Smart aims to change pedestrian and motorist behavior to reduce pedestrian-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities.  The campaign uses the slogan “check your vital signs” to remind motorists and pedestrians of safe travel roles and responsibilities.  Vital signs are displayed on tip cards, posters, and temporary street signs throughout the community as a visual reminder for drivers and pedestrians.

In the state of New Jersey, from 2010-2014, 750 pedestrians were killed and 17,000 were injured.  Between 2013 and 2015, there were 55 pedestrian-related crashes in Princeton.  Of those accidents 52 pedestrians were injured and there was one fatality.

For more information on GMTMA and the Street Smart campaign in other municipalities, go to gmtma.org/street-smart.

Fall is here

23 Sep

The first day of fall was yesterday, September 22. We are now looking forward to seeing the beautiful fall foliage, but not really looking forward to having shorter days.  Commuting in the dark brings about additional challenges; let’s go over a few fall safety tips.


When driving:

  • Be careful when the road is covered in wet leaves, they may cause your car to slip.
  • Watch for deer, they are very active between dawn and dusk this time of year.
  • Pay particular care for bicyclists and pedestrians who can be more difficult to see during low light hours.
  • Adjust your lights to low beam when driving through fog
  • Always wear your seatbelt and do not use electronic devices while driving.

When walking or biking:

  • Make sure you have bright/light clothing, reflective gear, a glow stick, or a reflective band.
  • Cyclists must have lights on the front and rear of their bike. It’s safer and the law!
  • Pedestrians can also carry a flashlight and should always use the sidewalk when available
  • If possible walk/bike in groups to be more visible.

Stay safe and enjoy all the beauty of the fall!

Is It the Low Gas Prices?

9 Sep

The latest National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figures show a large increase in the number of traffic fatalities in the last year. A total of 35,092 people lost their life in traffic crashes, an increase of 7.2% since 2014. The total number includes drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.  The previous trend of declining traffic deaths has been reversed in 2015 and the main reason cited was increased driving due to the low fuel prices. And according to a CDC study, U.S. now has the highest traffic deaths when compared to other high-income countries.

So is it really just the low gas prices? Not really. Low gas prices led to an increase in the number of people driving, but it didn’t cause the crashes. The CDC study shows that too many people are behaving recklessly, speeding, driving while intoxicated and not always using their seatbelt.

In addition, poor transit options and street design that prioritizes cars over humans also play a big role. And that’s why supporters of Complete Streets policy and Vision Zero are gaining ground in more and more places across United States. Designing our streets to be safer can reduce the instances of traffic deaths by lowering the speed limit, giving pedestrians and bicyclists safe access, and allowing public transit to run on time.

Until we have safer streets and better transit options, we can help change the trend by driving carefully and looking out for each other whether you are a driver, a cyclist, or a pedestrian.






September is Healthy Aging Month

2 Sep

September is healthy aging month and good mobility is a critical aspect of healthy living!

Family Walking In The Park

Most of us recognize that poor health can affect a person’s ability to get around easily.  Less attention though has been given to the fact that mobility affects health and well-being. Access to transportation for seniors is closely tied to their quality of life.

Did you know:

  • 21% of seniors no longer drive
  • Non-drivers make 15% fewer trips to the doctor
  • 59% fewer shopping trips
  • 65% fewer trips for social, family and religious activities

We all need to have the ability to stay connected to our communities, healthcare, shopping and social opportunities.  Healthy aging depends on it!

How to help yourself or the seniors in your life:

  1. Encourage everyone to keep walking. Maintaining mobility is a lot easier than regaining mobility.
  2. Promote Complete Streets in your town so that safe walking is possible.
  3. Keep driving skills sharp by signing up for a driver refresher course through AARP.
  4. Learn how to use public transportation. It will be much easier to “put down the keys” if it should become necessary.  Contact GMTMA to learn about our travel training classes.
  5. Learn about senior ride services like TRADEand RideProvide in Mercer County and Ocean Ride in Ocean County.
  6. Advocate for improved transportation options for seniors.
  7. Have a positive attitude!

“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”

26 Aug

The National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) launched the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” national campaign on August 19, and the campaign will continue until September 5, 2016. The campaign and enforcement mobilization come as a response to the high number of traffic fatalities due to drunk driving. According to the NHTSA, drunk driving is one of the “deadliest and most often committed – yet preventable- of crimes” and a “serious safety epidemic in our country.”

Photo: NHTSA

Photo: NHTSA

New Jersey joined NHTSA in the prevention effort, and it is organizing sobriety checkpoints. The message is simple: if you drive impaired, you risk being arrested and spending up to $10,000 in associated costs.

We know we’ve been saying this on other occasions, but don’t be a statistic, do not drink and drive. Although the legal limit is .08 grams per deciliter, alcohol consumption affects people’s ability to drive in different ways. Alcohol is a depressant drug, and it reduces the speed of reaction, reduces concentration, impairs vision, and some people may feel over confident which may lead to making rash decisions and taking the risk of driving impaired.

That is why if you plan to have alcohol, you should plan ahead, designate a driver ahead of time, call a cab, or take public transportation; it is not worth taking the risk. NHTSA launched an app to help people plan ahead; it is called SAFERRIDE, and it is available on both Android and iPhone.

Other things you can do to help:

As always, be safe!