Featured News - Current News - Archived News - News Categories

Metro Creative Graphics
Metro Creative Graphics

National Passenger Safety Week underway


Mon, Jan 22nd 2024 10:35 am

AAA WCNY joins national campaign to empower passengers to speak up for their own safety

By AAA of Western and Central New York

Passengers accounted for 62% of traffic fatalities nationwide in 2019, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Those numbers can be reduced by empowering passengers to speak up for their safety when in a dangerous driving situation. That’s why AAA Western and Central New York is participating in National Passenger Safety Week, Jan. 21-28, 2024.

The campaign was launched by We Save Lives and The National Road Safety Foundation, two nonprofits whose focus is on crash prevention and saving lives. AAA WCNY is joining with more than 60 traffic safety and advocacy groups nationwide who are helping encourage passengers to “SPEAK UP” when their lives are in danger due to a reckless driver.

Elizabeth Carey, director of public relations at AAA Western and Central New York, said, “Passengers can set the ground rules when it comes to their safety. They have the power to keep drivers from using their mobile devices while driving. They should not get in the car with a driver who is impaired, and they have the power to discourage other bad driving choices such as speeding and driving drowsy.”

A recent report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that unsafe driving behaviors, including speeding, red-light running, drowsy driving, and driving impaired on cannabis or alcohol, rose from 2020 to 2021. The most alarming increase was among drivers admitting to getting behind the wheel after drinking enough that they felt they were over the legal limit – an increase of nearly 24%.

In fact, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, traffic fatalities have risen. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 42,915 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2022, a 10.5% increase from the 38,824 fatalities in 2020. According to NHTSA, dangerous driving behaviors such as speeding, alcohol impairment, and non-use of seatbelts account for a considerable proportion of the increased fatalities. Accordingly, AAA urges drivers to keep everyone safe on the roads, and warns motorists against falling back into dangerous driving habits.

“Whether a driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs, is speeding or driving too aggressively, or can’t stay awake at the wheel, bad driving choices put passengers at risk of serious injury or death,” said Candace Lightner, founder of We Save Lives.

Here are some examples of how and why passengers should speak up and stay safe:

√ Passengers have the right to get to their destination safely.

√ Before getting into a car, passengers should evaluate if the driver is safe and responsible.

√ Passengers can help ensure that all occupants are wearing seat belts.

√ Passengers have the right to intervene if they don’t feel safe.

√ Child passengers can tell mom or dad to put the phone away and stay safe.

We Save Lives, founded by in 2014 by Lightner, is an umbrella organization of more than 50 highway safety advocates; law enforcement agencies; companies; local, state, national and international organizations; victim’s/survivor groups; and others who want to stop the carnage on our highways. They have launched a number of campaigns to change driving behavior. National Passenger Safety Week is their latest.

The National Road Safety Foundation, for more than 60 years, has produced free videos and teaching materials on distracted driving, speed and aggression, impaired driving, drowsy driving, driver proficiency, pedestrian safety, and a host of other safety issues. It also sponsors contests to engage teens in promoting safe driving to their peers and in their communities, partnering nationally with youth advocacy groups including SADD and Family Career and Community Leaders of America. (FCCLA)

As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 887,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.

Hometown News

View All News