Category Archives: Uncategorized

PLEDGE TO STAY SAFE

Two ZERO Fatalities displays, one serious and one fun, encourage kids and parents to always buckle up.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

A Zero Fatalities display at the entrance to the Safe Kids Fair was the one exception to the fun-and-games booths at the otherwise festive event. The startling display that features a wrecked car stopped two teenage boys in their tracks. “It is sad, definitely,” said Cameron after reading a description of the crash; a young driver who fell asleep at the wheel was seriously injured, but nevertheless, probably would have died if he had not been wearing a seat belt. Both boys viewing the display agreed that it’s important to take safety seriously.

Taking safety seriously is the focus of another Zero Fatalities booth manned by Lora Hudson and Jeff Bleak.  Hudson encourages kids to buckle-up correctly every time they’re in the car. Putting seat belts on correctly helps the important safety feature to protect occupants in the event of a crash. Kids who pledge to buckle up get a back pack with a bold printed reminder. Bleak says giving kids a token of their pledge “helps the mom or dad say ‘hey, you signed saying you’ll wear your seat belt.’”

The Zero booth gives kids some leverage with parents too. Bleak hopes kids who make the seat belt pledge will encourage dads and grandpas to follow their good example. Men between the ages of 25 and 69 are the group that’s least likely to use seat belts.  Losing a dad, or any family member, is a huge loss to a family, explains Hudson.

Mom Shandy Burgon, who stopped by the Zero Fatalities booth, is teaching her young son how to make seat belt use a habit. “We just tell him that when we’re in the car, we always have the seat belt on until we come to a complete stop and turn the car off… if you start them young, you don’t have issues when they get older.”

UDOT booths for the Zero Fatalities programs will be at many events throughout the state this summer.

NEW CRASH DUMMY

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has adopted a 10-year old.

Sitting 28 inches high, the new crash test dummy is designed to be the best size to test restraint and other systems that protect older children in a crash.

In order to “keep pace with the latest scientific research and child restraint system technologies” the NHTSA has adopted a rule requiring manufacturers of car seats to use a child-sized crash test dummy. The NHTSA announced the new addition in an article on its website. The new dummy will allow researchers to test the effectiveness of new restraint systems that protect children weighing more than 65 pounds.

Children who exceed the size and weight limits of a car seat should be placed in a booster or other restraint device until the size and weight limits of that device are exceeded — usually sometime between age eight to 12. During a crash test, the dummy approximates the size and movement of a 77 pound human body, representing a child midway between ages eight to 12 years old.

Sitting 28 inches high, the dummy is designed to be the best size to test restraint and other systems that protect older children in a crash. Seat and belt fit of the dummy is very similar to a child. Children sit lower than adult, and therefore are not adequately protected by the cross-chest safety belt used by adults.

Manufacturers of child restraint devices were consulted and provided feedback during the development of the new dummy. According to the NHTSA, “Commenters were very supportive of the idea of incorporating an ATD representing children in the 8- to 12-year-old age range.”

Legislation to require children to be placed in booster seats was first passed in 2001 in Washington State. “Anton’s Law” is named after a four year old child who died in a crash. Anton had outgrown his car seat and was belted in without a booster in the front passenger seat of the car. He was thrown from the car and killed when the vehicle rolled over him. His mother, journalist Autumn Alexander Skeen, is credited with raising awareness of the need to investigate the effectiveness of adult seat belts used on children. Skeen also worked to promote laws to require booster seats for older children.

For more, read a post on Ray LaHood’s blog Fast Lane.

For information about Utah Law, contact the Utah Department of Public Safety, Highway Safety Office at 801-957-8570, or visit the Highway Safety Website.

JOB WELL DONE

UDOT Region Two Incident Management Team members’ work is commendable!

IMT

The IMT program is a key element in the UDOT Traffic Operations Center’s ability to maintain safety and movement on urban freeways. IMTs work closely with Utah Highway Patrol Troopers to clear crashes or other incidents on state roads so traffic can return to normal. But the most important work team members do is to improve safety. IMT workers provide a safer crash scene stopping zone for UHP Troopers and motorists, and they help clear crashes or other incidents quickly, which prevents secondary crashes.

Troopers are vulnerable to passing traffic when stopped on the side of the road. IMT Trucks are equip with lights, signs and other equipment that can be set up to make crash scenes more visible to passing motorists so troopers have a safer place to do their important job. Although one goal of the IMT program is to provide assistance as quickly as possible, technicians stay on scene as long as troopers, motorists, emergency responders and tow truck operators need protection. “We don’t leave them” until safe conditions are restored, says Dave Stallworth, IMT Coordinator.

Getting traffic back to normal is also important to preventing secondary incidents. When traffic flow slows or stops suddenly because of a crash or other incident, rear-end or side swipe collisions are more likely to occur. UDOT engineers estimate that for every one minute saved by clearing an incident quickly, five minutes of traffic delay can be prevented. Those few minutes saved means that fewer secondary crashes occur and normal traffic flow is quickly restored.

The UHP has recently recognized the Region Two IMT for the great work they do. “It is always difficulty to quantify how many lives we save out there on the roads because it is not tangible and we do not see the results first hand.  I know that without a doubt that all of you have helped in one way or another to save one of our lives as police officers working on our freeways,” says a Letter of Commendation sent by Sergent Jeff Nigbur of the UHP.

Congratulations to Region Two IMTs: Dave Stallworth, Jeff Reynolds, Billy Frahsure, Mark Whittaker, Nick Jarrett and Ron Williams.

GET A GRIP

UDOT will test a how high friction surface treatments increase skid resistance and improve safety.

UDOT and the Federal Highways Administration are working on a project to improve the skid resistance at key locations by applying a high friction surface treatment. This photo shows a roadway in Colorado.

Pavement-tire friction provides skid resistance and helps motorists break safely. Departments of transportation evaluate pavement friction by objectively scoring skid resistance – a score of 40 or more usually represents adequate friction while “35 or below is a trigger value,” says Barry Sharp. He and others at UDOT and the Federal Highways Administration are working on a project to improve the skid resistance at key locations by applying a high friction surface treatment – HFST – consisting of an epoxy binder and non-polishing aggregate.

FHWA is reaching out to UDOT and other states to promote the study and possible implementation of market ready products including HFSTs. Other states have used HFSTs and realized an immediate reduction in crashes. In Utah, using an HFST “could be huge in terms of saving lives,” says John Haynes, Research and Innovation Manager at FHWA.

Steep roadways, freeway ramps or sharp curves may benefit from a highly skid resistant surface. UDOT engineers work to keep roads as safe as possible by maintaining skid-resistance and setting appropriate speed limits. But, rain and speeds that are too high can combine to make for dangerous conditions, especially for semis or other very large vehicles.

UDOT Engineers will identify some locations that could benefit from HFST by checking crash data for run-off-the-road collisions. Before and after studies, including IRI measurements and crash data, will provide the basis of an evaluation, explains engineer Abdul Wakil, UDOT Research Project Manager. Engineers will also look at how the product holds up under traffic, weather and snow plows.

Brent Gaschler, UDOT Engineer for Technology and Support has taken a preliminary look at how improving skid-resistance is expected to help reduce crashes. “it’s a really wise investment even though it seems to have some up-front costs; we expect the long term benefits to outweigh initial expenditures.” Several HFST products are available, but the product UDOT will use for the study will be determined through a competitive bidding process.

“If this treatment is successful, we may draft a specification or special provision for UDOT,” says Wakil. Adding a UDOT Specification will make it easier for UDOT Project Managers to add HFST to projects, and for contractors to select an appropriate product.

PEER TO PEER

A yearly video contest invites teens to tell their peers why smart driving is important.

Don’t Drive Stupid is a Zero Fatalities  communication effort that tells teens to take driving seriously. Unfortunately, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens across the nation. A combination of factors may contribute to the sad statistic. Teens tend to drive with multiple passengers which puts young drivers at risk for being distracted. And, teens lack experience in high risk driving situations. The Don’t Drive Stupid video contest lets teens create a message that resonates with other young drivers.

Kasper Kubica is the winner of the 2012 contest:

 

BUCKLE UP FOR THE ONES YOU LOVE

UDOT, the Utah Highway Patrol, and Zero Fatalities are encouraging people to buckle up not just for themselves but also for their loved ones.

The Zero Fatalities team kicked off the year at its annual press conference by announcing that Utah’s traffic fatalities are at the lowest point they have been since 1974 with 233 fatalities. While the numbers have gone down, the stats are still no where near reaching its goal. This past year, Utah had an 89.2 percent seat belt usage rate—yet the 11 percent who did not buckle up accounted for more than 30 percent of the traffic fatalities alone, and more than one in three traffic fatalities over the last five years.

The conference also highlighted a young girl Ashli Hendricks who was devastated when a tragic car crash took her father’s life in 2001. A video of Ashli’s story was shown which spoke to parents who don’t wear seat belts and are putting their families’ futures at risk.

Based on a focus group conducted by UDOT, drivers say that their motivation for buckling up is if their family members tell them to. Speakers emphasized to drivers the importance of thinking about others, especially their loved ones, when driving on the road and not wearing a seat belt.

“It may not be the most important thing to you,” said Ashli. “But it is the most important thing to [your family].”

This guest post was written by Monica Hasebi. Monica is an information specialist in the UDOT Communications Office.

KEEPING UTAH AWESOME

Governor Gary Herbert’s vision for achieving long term, sustained economic growth includes transportation.

Governor Gary Herbert spoke to transportation professionals this week. “There is correlation to what you do and successful economic outcomes,” he said.

Thursday January 12, Herbert spoke to members of the Institute of Transportation Engineers, a professional organization that focuses on ways to optimize transportation mobility and safety. To grow the economy and expand the state’s tax base, the state’s chief executive advocates a broad approach that includes job creation, a better educated work force and a well maintained transportation system that can support mobility.

Herbert explained that choosing between education and transportation is a false dichotomy. “You can have both and you need both” in order to sustain economic growth.

Herbert opened his remarks by reading a letter written by a grade school student. “I think people need jobs,” wrote the would-be staffer, who also congratulated Governor Herbert for helping to keep Utah awesome. Transportation projects support job creation and sustain the economy beyond construction, explained Herbert, who sited some examples of how improvements have benefitted the local and regional economy beyond the orange barrel stage.

An uphill passing lane was added to U.S. 89 in Severe and Sanpete counties recently, and the project reduced delay for road users. The new lane is not just a “quality of life” improvement, Herbert explained. Better mobility on U.S. 89 now supports better movement of vital goods through the area.

Business owners from the area have told the governor how the improvement has “helped their businesses be more successful.” A better transportation system allows businesses to expand to more customers and “enjoy a better bottom line.”

Herbert related the experience of a business owner near the newly constructed South Layton Interchange. The florist, who is located in the area locals call Old Town, is “doing quite well” after experiencing a lull in business before construction. “People had a hard time gaining access to that part of town,” said Herbert. The local area which seemed to be “dying before” is now being considered as a location for a new shopping center because of the interchange that “opened up that sector of town.”

In addition to supporting local businesses, transportation mobility also attracts companies that seek to put down roots in the state. In Utah “we can still get around town,” as opposed to other metropolitan areas that have slow commuter traffic.

Herbert shared the credit for keeping Utah awesome with the transportation professionals to whom he addressed his comments. “There is correlation to what you do and successful economic outcomes,” he said.

CIR STUDY

UDOT is working to improve specifications for Cold In-place Recycling, an important cost saving option for resurfacing roads.

The CIR process rejuvenates old asphalt into a new road.

Cold In-Place Recycling is a way to reuse asphalt on site. The process uses a long train of equipment to pulverize and add binder to old asphalt, then compact the rejuvenated material a new road. CIR is a cold process, so the energy used to heat Hot Mix Asphalt is also saved. There are also many CIR processes and uses, which gives contractors and engineers at UDOT options for bidding and designing good solutions for maintaining roads.

At about one half to one one-third of the cost of new asphalt CIR is a cost effective process when used in the right location. In order to gain more knowledge about the process UDOT is working with researchers and contractors to identify the best types of emulsion and understand the curing process.

Knowing more about emulsion used with CIR will ultimately help UDOT achieve a more durable product. The curing process is critical since prematurely putting traffic on the new road will cause rutting.UDOT puts a premium on getting traffic back on the road, so understanding the curing process will help engineers pinpoint the right time to open the roadway.

Knowing more about the process is a “big benefit for everybody” in the local transportation industry, says engineer Tim Biel of CME Transportation Group. Biel and other contractors are working together to find out more about the cost-saving process. The contractors have a vested interest in “being part of the solution” so CIR can continue to be an effective tool to rejuvenate UDOT’s roads.

SAFE DRIVING

Parents can help teen drivers stay safe.

Don't Drive Stupid is an education effort directed at teens.

Automobile crashes are the leading cause of death among teen drivers nationally and in Utah. According to Utah crash statistics posted on the Utah Department of Public Safety, Highway Safety Office website, teens age 15 to 19 were involved in more crashes than all other groups. Understanding why teens are at risk and then taking an active role as a driving gate keeper can help teens stay safe while driving.

UDOT engineers design roads to be safe as possible, but poor driving choices – like speeding or not using a seat belt – can’t be engineered away. The Center for Disease Control points to eight factors that show why teen drivers are at risk and gives parents advice on how to combat the risky behaviors:

  1. Driver inexperience. Help teens gain skills by making sure they get driving practice.
  2. Driving with teen passengers. Limit the number of teen passengers your child can have and maintain the rule for at least the first six months your teen drives.
  3. Nighttime driving. Limit or restrict night driving for at least the first six months of licensed driving.
  4. Not using seat belts. The most important way to reduce injuries from a crash is to buckle up. In Utah, over 96% of crash survivors were restrained compared to less than half of the persons killed.
  5. Distracted driving. Make sure your teen is focused on driving – cell phones, other passengers or listening to music can disrupt driving concentration.
  6. Drowsy driving. Teens driving in early or late hours can be at risk for driving drowsy.
  7. Reckless driving. Help teens avoid and understand the consequences for risky behaviors like speeding and tailgating.
  8. Impaired driving. Be a good example – don’t drink and drive.

Meeting of minds

As many parents know, getting a teenager to comply with family rules is not always easy. Steve Titensor, Clinical Director at the Salt Lake County Division of Youth Services has some suggestions for ways to foster compliance. First, parents and teens need to have serious discussions and “make some agreements” about expectations, rules and consequences. And start those discussions early – during pre-teen years – to avoid surprises.

Once those agreements are reached, follow-through for “both positive and negative” behavior is very important, explains Titensor. If a teen complies with requests to limit driving to daylight hours, for example, praise is in order. Conversely, breaking the rules should prompt the agreed upon consequence.

“Driving is a big responsibility,” not a right, Titensor points out. Parents “shouldn’t feel cornered” into allowing a teen to drive before he or she is ready. Parents need to carefully consider whether teens are mature enough, emotionally and socially, to make good decisions.

More teen driver resources for parents:

  • The Utah Safety Council’s Alive at 25 program offers a 4 hour course that teaches decision making skills.
  • UDOT partners with DPS to promote ways to reduce fatalities. The Zero Fatalities website has tips for all drivers, and links to the Don’t Drive Stupid campaign for teens.
  • The CDC suggests using a driving contract. Many insurance companies provide driving contracts for teens and parents to use as a tool to promote safe driving.
  • The CDC’s Parents are the Key website has crash facts and tips.
  • Parents Empowered offers proven strategies for preventing teen alcohol use.

HEART OF STONE

Tough and resilient Stone Matrix Asphalt gets its anti-rutting properties primarily from aggregate, not binder.

A Region Four project used HMA topped with SMA

The aggregate for SMA is gap-graded, meaning there are fewer middle range particles used in the mix design. The size and shape of the aggregate creates a strong stone-on-stone skeleton for pavement. Since aggregate deforms less than asphalt, SMA holds up under heavy traffic.

SMA uses more oil in the mix along with fibers that reduce the bleeding of the oil. The higher oil content makes SMA more expensive than regular Hot Mix Asphalt pavement.

Since it’s a relatively new product, “it took some time for the issues with the materials to be understood,” explains Lonnie Marchant, UDOT Region Two Materials Manager. Several local contractors have experience with SMA, so more projects will make use of the tough stuff. And UDOT specifications for SMA “are in good shape.”

The first SMA project in UDOT Region Two was recently completed on I-80 between Black Rock and the Salt Lake City Airport. More SMA projects are planned for Region Two during the upcoming construction season.

SMA is not appropriate for every location. Marchant says that SMA “is much more difficult to place,” and so “the material doesn’t lend itself for use on roadways where there are numerous tie-ins, utility adjustments or intersections.”

Acceptance testing

UDOT’s central materials lab tests SMA for oil content, gradation of the aggregate and compaction of the final product. SMA does not allow use of recycled asphalt pavement.