Road Safety Week
Written by Bonnie Hopkins
Leadership San Juan Class of 2018
Did you know that distracted driving incidents total 27 percent of all crashes, and that 1.6 million accidents a year are attributed to distracted drivers? Based on a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 2012-2016, 3 of all New Mexico auto accident fatalities were related to speeding. New Mexico is second worst in the Nation for distracted driving according to an insurance study. We rank fifth for the most careless driving, twelfth speeding, and tenth drunk driving. San Juan County’s five-year total was 30 percent, but in 2016 hit 43 percent, and over the last 5 years we rank second in the state behind Bernalillo County for total auto accident fatalities. In total, there were 26 fatal crashes in San Juan County in 2016. According to Farmington Police Department Traffic Supervisor Cpl. Johnston, distracted driving and speeding are the two top issues regarding road safety. FPD noted a significant drop in traffic crashes resulting in injuries since the release of the “Slow Down Farmington” comparing September 2016 to September 2017. We have a problem in our community that needs attention and our Leadership San Juan team is hoping to address it through awareness events and activities.
The Leadership San Juan class of 2018 has partnered with the 11th Judicial District Court, Farmington Police Department, San Juan County Volunteer Department, San Juan County Emergency Management Office, and many of our local schools to create a week of events that will draw attention to the severity of our road safety challenges. Across the county, our cities have declared April 1-7, 2018 the first ever Road Safety Week for San Juan County! The 11th Judicial District Court office and Farmington Police Department along with local agencies, have sponsored the “Hang Up and Drive” for San Juan County. Jaycee Good and her husband Steve Johnson are nationally recognized speakers that are dedicated to spreading the message of the dangers of distracted driving. They will be presenting at each of our local high schools during Road Safety Week, hoping to inspire our students to make a commitment to safe driving. There will be a free community presentation on April 3 at 7pm at San Juan College in the Henderson Fine Arts Center. Participating school student council groups will be competing for a $500 prize for the most creative Road Safety Week within their communities, a project sponsored by the Leadership San Juan project.
What can you do? Take the pledge to make a difference in road safety! Talk to your family, friends and co-workers about safe driving and keeping our community roads safe. Make a commitment to avoid distractions while driving, and encourage others to do the same. Follow the posted speed limit signs where ever you go. Watch for pedestrians, motorcyclists and off road vehicles. Pick up a “Slow Down” sign at the Farmington Police Department. Download the lifesaver app on your smartphone, it will remind you to avoid distractions and even track your (or your child’s) distracted driving events. Attend the community event on April 3, 2018 from 7-8pm at the Henderson Fine Arts Center to see distracted driving incident survivor Jaycee Good and Steve Johnson present “Hang Up and Drive”. A small commitment from our community has the potential to make a huge impact! Let’s pledge to make our roads a safer place to be for everyone in our community. Take your time, not a life.
For more information about the Leadership San Juan Program, visit their website http://www.sanjuancollege.edu/community/departments/leadership-san-juan/.