Be Alert Bruins
Have you ever had a fellow motorist on campus slowly merge into your lane unexpectedly? The driver appears to be oblivious to your presence and unknowingly cuts you off forcing you to make an evasive maneuver. You catch up to the motorist at the next stop light and realize they are chatting away on a cell phone, completely engrossed in conversation.
Be in the Moment… Just Drive!
To encourage the UCLA community to avoid driver distractions, UCLA Fleet and Transit, UCLA Insurance & Risk Management and Environment, Health & Safety have joined together to launch “Be Alert Bruins,” this year’s Focus on Safety campaign. During the month of April, the message “Be in the moment… Just drive!” will be communicated campuswide and all motorists will be encouraged to pledge to “Be Alert” and minimize distractions that endanger the lives of everyone on and off the road.
Driver Distraction occurs when we divert our attention from the task of driving to focus on another activity. Fatigue and the physical and emotional condition of the driver also play a role in distraction. Are you vulnerable to the following distractions?
- Visual – taking your eyes off the road
- Manual – taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive – taking your mind off the road
UCLA represents one of most dense campuses in the country boasting more than 37,000 students and over 23,000 faculty and staff. As we drive or walk about campus it is extremely important to be aware of our surroundings. The issue of driver inattention has, in recent years, received increasing focus from the public, government, and safety agencies. According to a study by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) driver inattention is the leading factor in motor vehicle crashes. Although cell phone or smartphone use is the most common distraction, other activities that raise the risk of a crash include reading, looking at an external object, reaching for something inside your vehicle, and applying makeup.
Pledge to Be Alert
Russell and Kimberly Hurd’s daughter, Heather, was killed by a distracted driver while on the way to meet her wedding planner. They shared their story at a Distracted Driving Summit in Washington D.C. last year. “We were very angry. We could not believe that our daughter could be taken from us by somebody who was texting,” said Heather Hurd. The Hurds are hoping for a change in attitude and action. They want to see distracted driving become as unacceptable as driving drunk.
Take a moment to assess your awareness level behind the wheel. Resist the temptation to engage in dangerous activities while you are driving. It only takes a few seconds of inattention to have a devastating outcome for you, other drivers and pedestrians. Please join us and pledge to be a responsible driver.