All posts by Tracy Anderson

Passenger Ethics: Sit By Not Idly

If you employ a chauffeur, then you’ve fairly bought the privilege to criticize his performance as harshly as you please. But, the rest of us ride gratis, so we bite our tongues. Occasionally, we witness our friends, family members, co-workers, and classmates behaving irresponsibly behind the wheel. We feel with them; no one appreciates a back-seat driver. They aren’t our chauffeurs, and we can’t very well treat them like servants, can we? To criticize an equal’s every little fault would be—indecent.

And, anyway, their errors are mostly forgivable. They pass on the right, they merge across a solid white line, they devote both hands to fiddling with their cellphones while “steering” with their knees…No, wait! Stop! That’s super-dangerous! Even riding with friends, family, members, co-workers, and classmates, situations like the latter do arise that positively demand criticism. Where is the line? It’s probably closer to everyday life than most would suppose.

Plenty of facts and statistics support passengers intervening to dissuade drivers from behaving irresponsibly behind the wheel. For example, “distracted driving” caused 3,459 deaths in 2015. Of all those who died in automobile crashes that same year, 48% were not wearing their seat belts. The truth is plain enough: If we would speak up, we’d have no lack of things to say.

None of this evidence is really relevant to the question, though, is it? We all know how dangerous distracted driving is. We all know we should wear our seat belts. We all know we should obey the rules of the road. Like smoking in the presence of a baby, the question is really one of the limits of propriety: How serious an offense should one permit before protesting? How much smoke is it worth exposing a baby to before enough is enough, and any decent person would break that silence? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers some good guidelines for passengers in a variety of situations and—what’s most helpful—relationships to the driver. This graphic also suggests a few polite ways passengers can encourage safer driving, as does this one aimed specifically at teenagers.

The bottom line is this, though: the limits of propriety exist not to hinder and confuse but to assist living-together. If you know something makes living-together more difficult, like behaving irresponsibly behind the wheel, is it not right and proper to speak up? Even as passengers, we have that power—and no rational system of ethics denies the exercise of power to those who would use it justly. On the contrary, all of the best ones insist on it.


NC Vision Zero aims to empower North Carolina’s passengers. You can assist in their mission—and win an enviable prize to boot—by participating in the Empowered Passenger Video Contest.  For more information, look up ncvisionzero.org/empoweredpassenger.  

Empowered Passenger Contest Poster
Contest Poster

The Empowered Passenger Video Contest

Prompt
When someone else’s driving makes you feel unsafe, you have the responsibility to speak out. Speaking out empowers—we call them who speak out empowered passengers! How do you speak out when someone else’s driving makes you feel unsafe?

Shoot a short video. Tell others a story of passenger-empowerment. History or fiction. Be creative. Entertain, but be sure to instruct as well.

Submission
Submit your video electronically by either of the following methods:

  1. Upload your video to Youtube.
  2. Post a link to your video on Instagram or Twitter along with the hashtag #EmpoweredPassenger.

OR

  1. Upload your video to Youtube.
  2. On the contest gallery page, enter the Youtube URL in the form.
  3. Complete the form and click “Submit.”

Deadline
11:59 PM on 19 August 2017.  

Winning
As determined by a group of judges, the cleverest, most creative video will win its maker two AllSport Passes to the U.S. National Whitewater Center.  A member of NC Vision Zero team will email the winner once judging is complete to obtain a mailing address.  

Restrictions
Please do not behave unsafely while filming. Use your creativity to depict dangerous situations without you or anyone else actually experiencing one. For example:

  • Do not film while behind the wheel, even if the vehicle is stopped.
  • Do not film others without their consent.
  • Do not break any laws, ordinances, regulations, etc.

Also, Keep it G-rated.  

Only current residents of North Carolina may participate.

Violating any of these restrictions will disqualify you, so watch out!

Intellectual Property Rights
You retain ownership of your work.  By submitting, you implicitly grant ITRE the right to use and distribute your work for any purpose related to the NC Vision Zero initiative, including on its website and social media accounts.

Go to the Submission Form →

 


Many civic institutions collaborate in pursuit of NC Vision Zero’s goal. They are all dedicated to eliminating roadway fatalities in North Carolina—but real, positive change requires conscientious citizens like you. Keep up the effort! Check out our website at ncvisionzero.org for more information and resources you can use to help make our roads safer.

Secure Your Load

Secure your load logo

 

A motorist in Charlotte stopped on the highway to avoid hitting carpet padding that had fallen from another vehicle. The stopped car was struck from behind, causing the vehicle to hit the concrete barrier and catch on fire. Four passengers were injured and the driver was killed.

In Nash County, a motorist swerved to avoid a wooden pallet in the roadway, ran off the road, and overcorrected. The vehicle overturned several times and the crash killed the driver.

 

Click here for a brochure of NCDOT’s recommendations.

 

On the road, any debris or flying objects can pose a danger to motorists. Between 2012 and 2016, there have been 2,595 crashes from unsecured loads – resulting in 705 injuries and 14 fatalities in our state. To raise awareness about this issue and prevent crashes resulting from loose items, Governor Roy Cooper has declared June 6 “Secure Your Load Day” for North Carolina. This is an effort to make sure all vehicles are properly loaded and our roads are clean of dangerous debris.

Data for unsecured load crashes

 

Secure Your Load

  1. Make sure everything in your vehicle is tied down. Use straps, twine, bungee cords, netting or rope. Be sure to tie larger items directly to your vehicle.
  2. Keep your items covered with tarps, nets or covers to keep smaller items from flying out.
  3. Don’t overload your vehicle. Your vehicle’s load shouldn’t go above the level of your truck or trailer and all items should be covered to keep them stable.

 

North Carolina law requires that all materials being transported in a motor vehicle are securely tied down. Failure to properly secure items can result in a $2,000 fine and a point on your driver’s license.

If you are carrying loose items, take the time to properly secure your load.

 

Mattress falls off truck

World Day of Remembrance

shoes

Last year, over 1,400 North Carolinians left for a destination and never made it home. This November, NC Vision Zero will host the second annual World Day of Remembrance exhibit to raise awareness to this public health issue and to honor the lives lost on North Carolina roads. The remembrance exhibit will feature over 1,400 pairs of shoes on the State Capitol grounds to represent the loved ones who no longer walk among us.

Support safe streets by donating old shoes for this exhibit.

Shoe donation boxes located at:

  • Oak City Cycling Project (212 E Franklin St., Raleigh, NC)
  • NC State University campus
    • Caldwell Hall
    • Research IV, 3rd floor kitchen
    • College of Textiles, room 3250

If your organization would like to partner with us and host a shoe donation box, please contact us at ncvisionzero@ncsu.edu.

What will happen with the shoes after the World Day of Remembrance exhibit?

The shoes will be used for many, many years in traveling traffic safety activities all over the state. For example, the shoes will be used in our upcoming Visionaries teen driver program to represent the number of teen driver fatalities. If there is ever a day when we decide to stop using the shoes, we will donate the shoes that are still wearable.

Pictures from World Day of Remembrance 2016:

WDR 2016

WDR 2016 sign

DCIM100GOPROG0030311.

Cranksgiving at WDR

close-up-shoes

 

For more information, contact ncvisionzero@ncsu.edu.  

 

 

nc vision zero press release

Governor McCrory Launches New Initiative to Eliminate Deaths on North Carolina Roadways

Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson announced a new initiative championed by Governor Pat McCrory to eliminate roadway deaths in NC. NC Vision Zero seeks to bring together multiple agencies and stakeholders to engineer safer roads, educate all road users, and enforce life-saving traffic laws. Read more about the goals of this initiative from the NCDOT‘s press release.