From the Transportation Director: ALDOT Launches Drive Safe Alabama
By John Cooper
Director, Alabama Department of Transportation
Published in the Winter 2015 issue of Alabama Roadbuilder magazine
The state of Alabama faces many challenges, but one of the most significant challenges -- the lax safety culture on our roadways – is one we never consider until it hits close to home.
The impact of a weak safety culture hits painfully close to the families of those who die in a crash on local, state, U.S. and interstate highways across Alabama. While the number of crash fatalities has been below 900 in some recent years, Alabama's 20-year average is still around 1,000 crash fatalities per year.
A Department of Transportation staff member who deals with our annual crash data recently summed up the harsh reality of our safety culture this way: nearly 10,000 people have died in crashes on Alabama's roadways during his 10 years at ALDOT. Nationwide, 35,000 to 40,000 people die in crashes annually. As a society, we wouldn't tolerate that safety record from any other mode of travel.
That's why ALDOT has created the Drive Safe Alabama program. Drive Safe Alabama is a traffic safety marketing and education program developed around Alabama's strategic highway safety plan. The safety plan identifies excessive speed, impaired driving, distracted driving and seat belt awareness as top priorities. Drive Safe Alabama also focuses on work zone safety, RR crossing safety and motorcycle safety.
ALDOT has developed a series of safety messages for use on radio and TV, and is developing an outreach campaign that focuses on civic clubs, schools and captive-audience events such as ballgames, fairs and community events. These efforts are plugged into social media, and all messaging seeks to drive citizens to the Drive Safe Alabama website at www.DriveSafeAlabama.org.
I encourage you to learn more about ALDOT's Drive Safe Alabama campaign at the website, on Facebook or on Twitter. The website features links to Drive Safe Alabama's social media channels. It also includes links to TV and radio announcements designed to help strengthen our highway safety culture.
Safer roadways start with each one of us making a commitment to be safe drivers. It also includes wearing our seat belt, and encouraging everyone around us to always buckle up. Data shows that as many as 70 percent of all crash fatalities are not wearing proper seat belts or restraints. Please join me in helping make Alabama's roadways safer.
Remember, every time you get behind the wheel, buckle up and Drive Safe, Alabama!