Decade of Action for Road Safety

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A monthly publication of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety

September 15, 2014         Summaries of timely road safety news, events, and alerts

Drive Safely Work Week™ is October 6-10! This years' theme is Driving Your Safety Culture Home. Download your free campaign tool kit today and get ready!


Fastest, slowest states: Where your state ranks

Source USA Today, August 21, 2014

This year marks four decades since President Richard Nixon signed into law a mandate that set the maximum national speed limit at 55 mph, helping to fend off an oil crisis, diminishing Americans' ability to make good time on a cross-country road trip and inspiring rocker Sammy Hagar's signature song. It's been nearly two decades since that law's repeal and, since then, two-thirds of U.S. states have picked up the pace significantly, raising their speed limits to 70 mph or higher on stretches of their roadways. So which states have the highest average top speed limit? Well, if you're familiar with the saying, "everything's bigger in Texas," the sentiment extends to speed limits, too. The Lone Star State not only lays claim to the fastest posted limit on a single highway in the U.S., it also boasts the greatest overall top speed when you average the highest allowable speeds on its rural interstates, urban interstates and other limited access roads. On the other end of the speed spectrum are Alaska and the District of Columbia, both of which have a top speed of 55 mph. To see the full article, go to:

Automakers never developed technology to stop hot car deaths. Parents and teens are doing it instead.

Source: The Washington Post, August 27, 2014

Thirteen years ago, in the spring of 2001, General Motors announced that it was working on a new technology that would help prevent the unthinkable: the deaths of children forgotten by their parents in hot cars. But the technology never went anywhere. It just wasn't reliable enough. As hot-car deaths — and near-misses — continue to make headlines, individual entrepreneurs have been trying to come up with inventions that might prevent future tragedies. Often with little or no funding, parents, teens and other would-be problem-solvers are developing a flurry of technologies intended to stop hot-car deaths. But don't expect any of these new technologies to gain NHTSA's endorsement anytime soon. In a statement, the federal agency said: "For NHTSA, for automakers or a caregiver to consider relying on any technology it would have to be reliable enough to save lives. The technology is not there yet." To see the full article, go to:

Back to (driving) school: More crashes and convictions for teens that skip driver ed

Although vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for teens, fewer new drivers are participating in what used to be considered a rite of passage –- driver education. State funding and requirements for these programs have declined over recent decades, leaving uneducated teen drivers vulnerable on America's roads. New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals that teens that skip this important step are involved in more crashes and receive more traffic convictions compared to their peers that participated in driver education. This study assessed examples of U.S. and Canadian driver education programs using a variety of evaluation methods including surveys, driver's licensing tests, driver simulators and the review of driving records. The results revealed that several key differences exist between teens who receive driver education and those who do not. To see the full news release, go to:

Report highlights teen distracted driving policies and programs

Source: GHSA News Release, August 26, 2014

As young drivers head back to school, a new Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) report explores the problem of teen distracted driving and highlights promising policies designed to address it. According to the most recent data, teens represent the largest proportion of drivers who are distracted at the time of a fatal crash. These crashes impact not only the distracted teen drivers, but also other roadway users: 57% of those killed were the teen drivers; the rest were their passengers, other vehicle occupants, pedestrians and bicyclists. The report, Distracted & Dangerous: Helping States Keep Teens Focused on the Road, looks at legislation, enforcement and educational programs developed and implemented by the public and private sector at the national, state and local levels. Funded through a grant by State Farm®, the report was researched and written by nationally recognized teen safe driving expert, Pam Fischer, Principal of Pam Fischer Consulting. To access a PDF of the report, go to: / To see the full news release, go to:

MRIGlobal completes transportation safety study using naturalistic sriving study data

Source:, September 3, 2014

New research from MRIGlobal shows that positive offset left-turn lanes can make left turns safer by reducing the chance that an opposing left-turning vehicle will block the view of oncoming traffic. Highway agencies have used this design in recent years, but have not had statistical data to determine the optimal design. MRIGlobal's research provides a better understanding of the degree of offset required to provide a safety benefit. Volunteers' vehicles were outfitted with multiple video cameras and sensors, which recorded drivers' behavior in every trip for up to two years. The data was gathered from 2010 through early 2014. The video cameras and sensors recorded vehicle speed, acceleration, and braking; vehicle controls; lane position; forward radar; video views to the front and rear of the vehicle and on the driver's face and hands. The Study gathered data from 33 million vehicle-miles driven. To see the full article, go to:

The cognitive consequence of self-driving cars

Source: The Huffington Post, September 10, 2014

Owning a car and participating in its operation is the last vestige of work that we're actually required to perform on our own. Driving is an enormous mental activity, every single second of every trip, and it's become such second nature for millions of us that we barely even notice it's happening. In just a few generations, we've honed our brains to react at speeds that our great-grandparents only dreamed of. Why would we give that up? A team from Rush University Medical Center and the Illinois Institute of Technology recruited 152 older adults and measured the structural integrity of each participant's brain. The research suggested that those who engaged in stimulating activities showed healthier densities of "white matter" -- the parts of the brain that transmit information -- than those who didn't. Isn't the ultimate "stimulating activity" avoiding getting squashed by that ten-wheeled cement mixer coming up quickly on your right? And then there are the legal ramifications: "The law of probability says it's 100% certain that someone is going to walk in front of one of these autonomous test cars, or one of these cars is going to kill someone. That's going to set off a chain-of-custody situation. Who is responsible -- the engineer, the manufacturer, the driver? It'll be an ugly legal problem and an interesting area of law where there's a lot of money to be made." To see the full article, go to:

5 things to know about driving on marijuana

Source: News Day, September 6, 2014

The legalization of recreational marijuana in two states — Colorado and Washington — and medical marijuana in more than 20 others has raised concern that there will be more drivers stoned behind the wheel. What's not clear is whether that will translate into an increase in fatal crashes, but there are some key facts about the relationship between pot and highway safety. While marijuana users can perform simple tasks well while they are high, brain imaging has shown they have to use more of their brain to do so. Their reaction times are slower, peripheral vision is decreased and multitasking impeded. Also, traces of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, can be detected in the blood of some habitual marijuana users days or weeks after they last used the drug, making it hard to use blood tests to discern a current level of impairment. Most states haven't even set a THC threshold for impairment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is conducting research to get a better idea of how pot affects driving. NHTSA and Washington state officials have also teamed up to assess change in marijuana use by drivers before and after the state allowed retail sale of the drug, with results due next year. To see the full article, go to:

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Fake brewing company part of state's crackdown on drunken driving

Source: Click on Detroit, August 14, 2014

Michigan traffic safety officials are taking an unusual approach to a serious issue by introducing a fictitious Traffic Safety Brewing Company complete with a new traffic safety six-pack at bars and restaurants across the state. The faux brewing company and spoof beverage list with items such as "Call A Cab Cider" and "Designated Driver Dark" were developed by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) to convey a positive approach to individual responsibility while drinking. OHSP partnered with the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association to distribute the spoof beer list to the group's more than 1,100 members to promote safety and responsibility among their patrons. The launch coincides with the nationwide drunk driving and seat belt enforcement crackdown that ran from August 15 through September 1. To see the full article including photos of the faux brew labels, go to:

Study: Workplace deaths in Wyoming decline

Source: Casper Star Tribune, September 9, 2014

Workplace fatalities across Wyoming fell by 32% last year, according to a state report recently released. The state reported 21 on-the-job deaths in 2013, down from 31 the year prior. Wyoming's rate of workplace fatalities was the highest in the nation on five occasions between 2001 and 2010.The recent drop was largely explained by a decrease in the transportation-related deaths. Transportation consistently records the most workplace fatalities. In 2012, 16 people died on the job in transportation incidents. Last year that figure was seven. Deaths in agriculture also declined, from five in 2012 to three in 2013. The report was completed by State Occupational Epidemiologist Dr. C. Mack Sewell. Sewell credited safety alliances in the transportation, oil and gas, refining and construction sectors in helping change the safety culture in their respective fields. Work still remains, he said. The report included recommendations to form an agriculture safety alliance, encourage employers to request Occupational Safety and Health Administration consultation services, and the Workers' Compensation Safety Discount Programs, which provide premium discounts to companies that employ safety programs. To see the full article, go to:

New technology may assist, help save lives at crash sites.

Source: The Detroit News, September 9, 2014

Drones hovering above overturned cars, and ambulances live-streaming video and crash victims' health stats to hospitals could soon be common at crash sites on highways around Michigan. Advances in technology both inside and outside emergency-response vehicles can help save lives and reduce the time it takes law enforcement to process and clean up crash sites, officials say. Some of those technologies were on display at a demonstration on Belle Isle as part of the World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems, a five-day conference held in Detroit that showcased the latest automobile and transportation technology. Another technology showcased at the simulation was a drone — or unmanned aerial vehicle — that local police departments used to take aerial shots of the crash scene. To see the full article, go to:

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LexisNexis annual telematics study shows importance of safety features growing among consumers; commercial fleet managers motivated by price

Source: LexisNexis Risk Solutions, August 27, 2014

Consumers are beginning to see the safety benefits associated with telematics as a major proof point when deciding whether or not to adopt a usage-based insurance (UBI) program according to a study. In addition to polling consumers, commercial fleet managers were also surveyed on the topic of UBI and reported interest primarily in price cuts. Furthermore, 25% of commercial fleet managers reported awareness of UBI programs compared to 38% awareness by consumers according to the study. Additionally, consumers comfort levels with sharing personal UBI driving data are increasing. In fact, the consumer comfort levels with sharing individual UBI driving data (35%) are comparable to their level of comfort for sharing online banking data (36%), search data (29%) and social media personal information (27%). While insurance rate discounts continue to be the number one driver in usage-based insurance adoption, more consumers are now viewing telematics as a legitimate resource for ensuring car safety for themselves and their families. To see the full article, go to:

Study: Older drivers benefit from exercise

Source: New Haven Register, September 3, 2014

Doug Crocker, a 74-year-old former Hartford police officer, and his wife have navigated the continental United States three times in their motor home. Yet even experienced drivers feel the effects of aging when behind the wheel. "It's harder to turn around now to look for blind spots," Crocker said. "Backing up is a real issue too." Age-related decline in mobility, flexibility and reaction time can seriously impact driving and safety. Some simple, targeted exercises may ease normal age-related physical changes and help keep Crocker – and many of the 700,000 older Connecticut drivers -- safely on the road. A study by The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence and the M.I.T. looked at the effects of exercise on older drivers' strength, flexibility, coordination and range of motion. Participants used a specially designed exercise program and an X-Box. Drivers who exercised for 15-20 minutes daily reported greater ease in turning their heads to look in blind spots when changing lanes or backing up, compared with a similar group that did not exercise. The exercise group also could rotate their bodies further to scan the road when making right hand turns compared with non-exercisers. To see the full article, go to:

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Brake publishes best practice guidance on maintenance for fleets

Source: Fleet World (UK), September, 2014

Road safety group Brake has published a best practice leaflet for fleets on ensuring their vehicles are well-maintained and reduce the chances of breakdowns, high-cost repairs, and potentially disastrous crashes. In 2012 (most recent data available), vehicle defects contributed to 2,123 crashes in Britain, 33 of them causing deaths. In 2012/13 the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), which sets and enforces vehicle roadworthiness standards, found 38% of vehicles inspected through targeted checks at operator premises or the roadside had mechanical defects. The vast majority of these defects could and should have been detected through simple, quick pre-drive checks. The guidance report "Maintenance and mechanics: how safe are your vehicles?" advises managers on simple, essential steps they can take to keep vehicles of any type driven on company business roadworthy, and outlines the consequences of poor maintenance and non-compliance with regulations. It covers educating drivers (including "grey fleet" drivers using their own vehicles) to spot and report problems, and ensuring vehicle technicians are trained and accredited To see the full article, including information on how to obtain the guidance, go to:

Road safety knowledge gap increases risk of accidents

Source: Fleet News (UK), August 15, 2014

The majority of drivers lose touch with road laws and driving best practices, research for this year's RAC Report on Motoring suggests. Such behavior would be regarded as unacceptable or detrimental in many professions where colleagues are obliged to keep abreast of best practices with ongoing training or refresher courses. While drivers of buses and coaches are required to undertake training in order to demonstrate their professional competence, it appears acceptable for motorists to remain on the road without the requirement to undergo any further training or assessment. But, just as continuous professional development is now seen as normal in many workplaces and often a requirement for continued practice or to operate potentially dangerous equipment, the RAC suggests it may be time to adopt a similar approach to driving. To see the full article, go to:

National Road Safety Partnership Program (NRSPP) Website

Source: NRSPP via RoadSafe Newsletter, August 2014

The National Road Safety Partnership Program has been developed in partnership with Driving for Better Business. It offers a collaborative network to support Australian businesses in developing a positive road safety culture. Many of the tips and exchanges are of real value in other countries. On this website, you will find the tools, evidence, networks and support to take steps to improving road safety in your workplace. To view the website, go to:

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Innovation and Technology

U-M connected and automated vehicle initiative announces founding corporate partners

Source: University of Michigan, September 5, 2014

A diverse group of companies will be the founding partners in the University of Michigan's Mobility Transformation Center, a major public-private initiative that aims to revolutionize the movement of people and goods in society. Spanning such sectors as auto manufacturing, suppliers, intelligent transport systems, insurance, telecommunications, data management and mobility services, the MTC's Leadership Circle will join with government and academic partners to lay the foundations for a commercially viable system of connected and automated vehicles. Plans call for implementing a working system in Ann Arbor by 2021. Connected vehicles, commonly known as V2V, have been tested extensively by the U-M Transportation Research Institute in the U.S. Department of Transportation's Safety Pilot Model Deployment in Ann Arbor. The results have been used to support the recent Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking announcement by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To see the full article, go to:

GM plans to launch hands-free driving by 2016

Source: CNET, September 7, 2014

General Motors has announced it plans to introduce Cadillac models in two years that incorporate hands-free driving and Wi-Fi-enabled vehicle-to-vehicle communications to exchange traffic information with similarly equipped vehicles. GM's "Super Cruise" semi-automated technology will automatically keep a vehicle in a specific, properly equipped freeway lane, making necessary steering and speed adjustments in bumper-to-bumper traffic or long highway trips. "With Super Cruise, when there's a congestion alert on roads like California's Santa Monica Freeway, you can let the car take over and drive hands-free and feet-free through the worst stop and go traffic around," said Mary Barra, GM CEO. "And if the mood strikes you on the high-speed road from Barstow, California to Las Vegas, you can take a break from the wheel and pedals and let the car do the work." However, unlike the driverless vehicle being tested by Google, GM's system will require drivers to remain attentive and ready to resume control of the vehicle. To see the full article, go to:

GM models first to get eye-tracking safety tech?

Source: Left Lane News, September 2, 2014

General Motors is reportedly on track to become the first automaker to bring eye-tracking safety tech to its lineup. Australian company Seeing Machines has partnered with supplier Takata to commercialize the technology, which monitors the driver's gaze. If the system determines that a driver is spending too much time looking down or to the side, it can activate an audible alarm as a reminder to pay attention to the road. Seeing Machines and Takata have not yet publicly disclosed which automakers are eyeing the technology, however unnamed sources told CNBC that GM will be the first customer. Other companies will likely be watching to see if the system actually works, and if drivers view it as an annoyance rather than a welcome safety feature. To see the full article, go to:

Bluetooth sensors constantly check car tire pressure, send alerts

Source: CNET, September 11, 2014

"Always check your tire pressure." It's something parents teach kids during early driving lessons, and it's something most kids quickly forget. Now, a new invention making a run on Indiegogo could play the role of a nervous parent for thousands of drivers out there by continuously monitoring tire pressure and relaying that information via Bluetooth to a smartphone or in-car receiver. To use the system, drivers would unscrew the little black caps on their tires' fill valves and replace them with round Fobo ("For Our Better wOrld") tire sensors. Each sensor continuously monitors the pressure in its assigned tire, then uses Bluetooth to relay that information via smartphone app or to an in-car receiver. Because Bluetooth is a low-energy technology, the creators say the sensors will last about two years before the batteries need to be changed. Cost for the sensors will be around $90. The creators are working on a lock nut that can only be removed with a special wrench that will help make the sensors as theft-proof as possible. To see the full article, go to:

'Smart' seat could reduce whiplash injuries

Source: The Globe and Mail, August 25, 2014

Researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) are working to create a car seat system that can mitigate the effect of whiplash enough to significantly reduce the risk of injury from low-speed rear-end collisions. In the United States, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that more than $8.8-billion (U.S.) is paid out annually for whiplash injuries, accounting for 25% of the total spent for all crash injuries. The economic and social strain caused by these soft tissue injuries was an impetus for Daniel Mang, a kinesiology student at UBC, to develop an active "smart seat" that responds to the pulse created during a collision, and automatically adapts and adjusts the seat on impact to lessen the effect on the head and neck. Mang says that the smart seat has more time to adjust (than an airbag), so it would rely on technology similar to the airbags to sense the collision and adapt the seat in response to accelerometers (that can estimate how much you weigh.) To see the full article, go to:

This seat belt could stop you from falling asleep at the wheel

Source: Huffington Post, August 24, 2014

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that tired drivers cause more than 100,000 crashes a year, leading to 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths. According to a HuffPost/YouGov poll, 45% of Americans said that at least once they have felt so tired while driving that they thought they might fall asleep at the wheel. But what if your car got that feeling before you did -- and alerted you before you dozed off or crashed? That's the idea behind Harken, which is a system of sensors in the driver's seat and seat belt that measure breathing and heart rate. The system was developed by a number of universities, companies and technology centers working together in a consortium funded by a research branch of the EU. For more on how the smart seat belt works to fight drowsy driving, see the full article including a video clip here:

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New data show U.S. driving at highest level in six years

Source: Federal Highway Administration, August 29, 2014

New estimates released by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) show that American driving between July 2013 and June 2014 is at levels not seen since 2008, fueling calls for greater investment in highways that must bear growing volumes of traffic. According to FHWA's "Traffic Volume Trends" report -– a monthly estimate of American travel – drivers in June 2014 logged 261.7 billion vehicle-miles traveled (VMT), the highest level for any June since 2010 and the biggest single-month gain this year. It is the nation's fourth consecutive month of VMT growth. Americans drove more than 2.97 trillion miles between July 2013 and June 2014, the most recent month for which data are available. In the first half of 2014, drivers traveled 1.466 trillion miles –- the largest since 2010 and the fourth-highest in the report's 78-year-history. Traffic in the Northeast –- a bloc of nine states including New York and New Jersey –- rose to nearly 37 billion VMT, a gain of .7 percent over the previous June, ending the region's seven-month decrease in vehicle traffic. To see the full press release, go to: /

U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx announces new initiative to enhance pedestrian and bicycle safety

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, September 10, 2104

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has announced a new initiative to reduce the growing number of pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities through a comprehensive approach that addresses infrastructure safety, education, vehicle safety and data collection. The 18-month campaign will begin with road safety assessments in every state, and will produce multiple resources to help communities build streets that are safer for people walking, bicycling, and taking public transportation. Injuries and fatalities of pedestrians and people bicycling have steadily increased since 2009, at a rate higher than motor vehicle fatalities. From 2011 to 2012, pedestrian deaths rose 6% and bicyclist fatalities went up almost 7%. The new pedestrian and bicycle safety initiative will promote design improvements to ensure safe and efficient routes for pedestrians and bicycles, promote behavioral safety, and provide education to help individuals make safer travel choices. The initiative will also encourage vehicle safety by drawing on current crash avoidance technologies to alert motorists to the presence of bicyclists and pedestrians. To see the full press release, go to:

NHTSA promotes two connected-car technologies to prevent crashes

Source: Automotive Fleet, August 18, 2014

As part of its quest to mandate vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications capability in light-duty vehicles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a research report analyzing the technology's feasibility, safety benefits, potential costs and legal issues. The report projects that just two of many possible V2V communications applications — left turn assist and intersection movement assist — could save as many as 1,083 lives and prevent up to 592,000 crashes annually. Left turn assist warns drivers not to turn left in front of another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction, and intersection movement assist warns them if it's not safe to enter an intersection because of the likelihood of a collision. Additional applications could also help drivers avoid imminent danger through forward collision, blind spot, "do not pass," and stop light/stop sign warnings. V2V systems transmit basic safety information between vehicles via short-range radio communication devices. NHTSA estimates that the V2V equipment and supporting functions would cost about $341 to $350 per vehicle in 2020. That cost might dip to approximately $209 to $227 by 2058, after manufacturers gain experience producing the equipment, according to the report. To see the full article, go to:

U.S. Department of Transportation unveils new, free, online search tool for recalls using vehicle identification number

Source: NHTSA Press Release, August 20, 2014

Every year, millions of vehicles are recalled in the United States due to safety defects or noncompliance with federal safety standards. To help car buyers, owners and renters know that their vehicles are safe and their safety defects have been addressed, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has unveiled a new, free, online search tool consumers can use to find out if a vehicle is directly impacted by a recall. The new tool is available on and provides consumers with a quick and easy way to identify uncompleted recalls by entering their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). All major light vehicle and motorcycle brands can be searched. To see the full press release, go to:

Commercial driver seat belt use up in 2013

Source:, August 26, 2014

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the 2013 commercial motor vehicle (CMV) safety belt usage study found that 84% of CMV drivers wear seat belts. That said, the FMCSA reported that failing to use a seat belt while operating a CMV was the fifth most frequent driver violation in 2013. Motor vehicle crashes of all types have consistently been a leading cause of lost work time and on-the-job fatalities in the United States. According to the FMCSA, the average cost to a company per truck crash injury is more than $170,000 and per fatal truck crash, more than $3.5 million. To see the full article, including tips on how to make sure the seat belt is a proper fit, go to:

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Upcoming Transportation/Safety Events

Child Passenger Safety Week: September 14-20, 2014
National Seat Check Saturday: September 20, 2014

Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children 1 to 13 years old. Many times deaths and injuries can be prevented by proper use of car seats, boosters, and seat belts. NHTSA's Traffic Safety Marketing has launched materials to share with employees and employee family and community members:

October 1-31, 2014
Tyre Safety Month (GB), sponsored by TyreSafe

Free campaign resources available here:

October 6-10, 2014
Drive Safely Work Week™, sponsored by NETS
"Driving your safety culture home"

Free tool kit available now at:

October 15-16, 2014
NETS' STRENGTH IN NUMBERS® Fleet Safety Benchmark Conference, Orlando, FL

It's not too late to join NETS and attend the conference. To view the agenda, click here:

October 21, 2014 8:30–5:00 PM,
NTSB Conference Center, Washington D.C.
NTSB Highway Safety Forum: Awake, Alert, Alive: Overcoming the Dangers of Drowsy Driving

Federal Liaison to the NETS Board of Directors, Dr. Stephanie Pratt of NIOSH, will be presenting.

This event is free and open to the public, no registration necessary. It will also be viewable via webcast. For more information, go to:

October 19-25, 2014
National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW)

For more information, go to:

October 31, 2014 Halloween 2014 Drunk Driving Prevention Campaign

The scariest part of Halloween isn't the spooky costumes and scary pranks; it's alcohol-impaired drivers. Don't let Halloween turn into a nightmare. Fact sheets and materials from NHTSA's Traffic Safety Marketing now available here:

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