November is ‘Highway Safety Month’

November is “Highway Safety Month” in Alaska, as declared by Governor Sean Parnell.

And Tuesday in Anchorage, personnel from various state agencies met  for the release of the Alaska Strategic Traffic Safety Plan.

The plan is mandated by the federal government and must be reviewed every four years.  In 2007, the state set a goal to reduce the rate of fatalities and major injuries by one third over a decade

Still, this year so far, there have been 60 deaths on Alaska’s roadways – that’s four more than in 2010.  Pat Kemp, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Transportation, says automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for Americans under age 34.

The state says seatbelt use is up, and alcohol related accidents are down.  Joe Masters, Public Safety Commissioner, says there is a common factor in many accidents.

This year’s Strategic Traffic Safety Plan is focusing on three major areas.   Driver behaviors, especially young drivers; lane departure and intersection crashes,  and on special users of the transportation system, such as bicycles and motorcycles.  The goal is to reduce the number of traffic fatalities in half by the year 2030.

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