MADISON, Wis., (October 7, 2020) – As hospitals and healthcare providers in Wisconsin deal with an influx of patients related to the COVID-19 pandemic, AAA – The Auto Club Group urges motorists to avoid unsafe driving behaviors in order to prevent unnecessary injuries that could further strain local resources.
“Drivers can do their part to conserve healthcare resources by using caution behind the wheel,” said Nick Jarmusz, Director of Public Affairs for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “The vast majority of motor vehicle crashes are caused by driver error, and are thus completely preventable.”
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, an average of 2,500 injury causing crashes occur each month, based on 2014-2018 crash data. Many of these crashes produce multiple victims requiring treatment at hospitals. The vast majority of crashes are caused by speeding, impairment and distraction.
AAA encourages drivers to do the following to help reduce crashes and injuries as much as possible:
- Slow Down. Excessive speed can both increase the likelihood of a crash as well as the likelihood a crash causes injuries.
- Drive Sober. Avoid getting behind the wheel if you have had alcohol or used drugs, including marijuana and prescription medications that could impair cognitive functions.
- Stay Focused. Avoid distractions such as talking, texting or using other functions of your smartphone or vehicle’s infotainment system, even if they are hands-free.
- Wear your seatbelt. In the event of a crash, being properly restrained can significantly reduce the severity of injuries and medical treatment needed.
In addition to these general reminders, AAA also encourages parents and families to be conscious of the unique risks for the most vulnerable roadway users: seniors, teen drivers and children.
Seniors: While older drivers are the safest on the road in terms of avoiding unsafe behaviors behind the wheel, they are also more likely to be injured and require medical treatment if they are involved in a crash.
Teens: Young drivers have the highest crash risk, particularly during their first few years of licensure. Be sure that you are following all of the state’s Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) provisions, particularly those concerning passenger restrictions, phone use and driving at night.
Children: Passengers under the age of 13 should always ride in the back seat, using an appropriate booster or child safety seat if they are under 4’9” tall. If your children are playing outside, be sure to review safety rules for walking or riding their bike near traffic. Children should always wear a helmet while bike riding to reduce the chances of head injuries.
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