Child Passenger Safety Week Sept. 17-23 reminds drivers to keep young ones safe, offers free safety checks

 

Keeping children safe on the road means putting them in the right safety restraint at the right age.

That’s the message from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) during National Child Passenger Safety Week Sept. 17–23. See Governor’s Proclamation.

Motor-vehicle traffic crashes are a leading killer of children, but properly used child-safety seats have been shown to reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants (under 1 year old) and by 54 percent for toddlers (1 to 4 years old).

“From 2011 to 2015, 12 children under the age of seven that were killed in Idaho passenger-vehicle crashes were unrestrained,” said Sherry Jenkins, with ITD’s Office of Highway Safety. “Those kids would likely have survived, or had a much better chance, had they been properly buckled up.”

Idaho has more than 260 certified child passenger safety technicians committed to educating parents and caregivers about the best ways to keep kids safe while traveling in cars, no matter how short or long the trip.

To help parents and caregivers in Idaho select the right car seats for their children, certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will hold free car seat-check events. Call to make an appointment for any of the following events:

Wednesday, Sept. 20, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m., Walmart, 2470 Pullman Road, Moscow (no appointment necessary)
Friday, Sept. 22, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Nell Redfield-Oneida County Facility, 150 N. 300 W. 208 766-5368.
Saturday, Sept. 23, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Shoshone Medical Health and Wellness, 858 Commerce Drive, Smelterville, 208 625-4642.
Saturday, Sept. 23, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., St. Luke’s Nampa Medical Center, 9850 W. St. Luke’s Drive, 208 870-3493

Motor-vehicle crashes are a leading killer of children ages 1 to 13. Jenkins said using age- and size-appropriate child restraints are the best way to reduce these deaths

“Car seats, booster seats, and seat belts are often used incorrectly, but no parent ever wants to get it wrong when it comes to his or her child’s safety,” said Jenkins. “That’s why we’re hosting these consumer-education events during National Child Passenger Safety Week. Parents can know for sure that their kids are as safe as possible when riding in a car.”

“When children under seven years old grow out of car seats, their greatest risk is not being placed in booster seats,” Jenkins added. “Booster seats can save lives and are as important as any of the other restraints. And, they’re available for as little as $20.”

Child Passenger Safety Week is dedicated to teaching parents and caregivers the importance of correctly installing and using car seats, booster seats and seat belts. It is important to register car seats with the manufacturer so parents can be notified in the event of a recall.

NHTSA recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible up to the top height or weight allowed by their particular seats. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, he or she is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness. After outgrowing car seats, children should be placed in booster seats until they are big enough to fit seat belts properly without help from a booster seat.

The safest place for all kids under 13 is in the back seat of the car.

For more information on child car safety, go to safercar.gov or http://itd.idaho.gov/ohs/ChildSafety/index.html

Public-private partnership creates economic opportunities for east Idaho

One of the largest public-private partnerships in Idaho is moving forward after government and business leaders broke ground on the Northgate Project in east Idaho today (Thursday, Sept. 14).

This project represents an unprecedented partnership between six public and private entities that will increase mobility and economic opportunity along the Interstate 15 corridor.

“This project presents a fantastic opportunity for not only Pocatello and Chubbuck, but also all of East Idaho to grow and thrive into the future,” said Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad.

The partnership consists of the cities of Chubbuck and Pocatello, Bannock County, the Pocatello Development Authority, the Idaho Transportation Department and Millennial Development.

In June, those partners signed an agreement to build a new interchange on I-15 and new local roads to connect to the interstate.

The new infrastructure would open the north end of Pocatello and east Chubbuck to new development by way of a master-planned community called Northgate. Once fully built, the project is expected to bring new a 1-million square foot IT park, retail businesses and 10,000 new homes.

“This project kicks off a visionary transformation in the Portneuf Valley that will echo for generations,” said project developer Buck Swaney.

Crews will begin some site work this fall, with the majority of the construction expected to begin in spring 2018.

Eagle’s Salmon rescue, response to POE car fire show ITD concern for public safety

A few recent incidents highlight the safety role of Idaho Transportation Department workers in their everyday jobs, serving the citizens of Idaho. Here are a few of those stories:

Eagle’s Salmon rescue sheds light on fire-extinguisher checks

Like cellphones, or most of us after a few late nights in a row, fire extinguishers need to be recharged periodically to be at their full potential. That was never more evident than the morning of August 7, as ITD Salmon Maintenance Foreman Jeff Eagle raced to an overturned vehicle on US-93 and a young girl screaming for help inside.

He was her only hope at the moment, but even as he ran, he had to wonder if his fire extinguisher would even work.

On that Tuesday morning, Jeff started the day thinking about a sign installation. On his way back to Salmon, however, he glanced in his rear view mirror and witnessed a car over-correcting as it went off the road a few hundred feet behind him. The car came back across the roadway, but luckily there was no oncoming traffic. The car rolled.

“It was the most violent vehicle rollover I have ever witnessed,” said Eagle. “It went airborne and rolled at least 5 or 6 times and landed on its side against a landowner’s fence in an irrigation ditch.”

Eagle stopped and turned around to help. As the first one on the scene, he called StateComm and asked for an ambulance and sheriff to assist.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty when I ran to the vehicle. When I came upon the car, it was severely damaged and crushed. I couldn’t even tell what kind of car it was. What I saw next was horrifying. There was a young girl pinned under the rear axle of the car. She was awake but screaming. I tried to comfort her as well as I could.”

He then realized the engine was still running.

“I couldn’t believe there was still an engine left in the car. I had to shut the engine off before it caught fire. There was no one else involved in the wreck, so I tried to get my arm through the car window to shut off the engine. It was difficult and the key was bent, so my first attempt failed.”

With his adrenaline kicked in, the second attempt to turn the engine off was successful. “I was able to turn the key just enough to shut it off,” Eagle explained.

“I was somewhat relieved, but also knew it could still catch on fire from the hot engine. Then the second thought hit me.’ I HAVE NEVER CHECKED THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER IN MY ITD PICKUP TO SEE IF IT WAS STILL CHARGED.'”

“What would I have been able to do if the car would have caught on fire with that young girl pinned under it? Fortunately, it did not and my fire extinguisher was charged. What a break.”

“We have always been fairly good about checking the fire extinguishers in the buildings, but we need to be more diligent in checking the ones in the equipment and other vehicles in case we are put into this circumstance while doing our jobs.”

District 6 Safety Compliance Officer Ron Butler explained that fire extinguishers are checked annually and tested as needed. This year, we found six trucks, three loaders, and several pickups or cars with fire extinguishers that needed to be recharged. They had not been used, but had leaked off anyway.

“We try to get to all vehicles and buildings, but often miss a few because they are out on job sites, so check your extinguishers and if they don’t have a 2017 tag on them, change them out so you know you have a good working unit,” he added.

Eagle concurs.

“It only takes a minute. It would not hurt to have a fire extinguisher in our personal vehicles also,” he said.

Note: Eagle said the girl didn’t have to be Life Flighted from the scene, thank goodness!

 

East & West Boise POE inspectors help tame car fire Aug. 2          

ITD Port of Entry inspectors from the East and West Boise facilities collaborated to put out a car fire at the port on Aug. 2, with help from a couple of truck drivers.

Inspector Kyle Perkins spotted a car on fire from the shoulder of Interstate 84 just past the East Boise Port of Entry, and alerted Port of Entry inspectors on the westbound side. Devin Dascenzo, April Jordan, and Jeff Butler. Inspector Scott Conrad was already in route to the car fire from the east port.

Dascenzo and Butler grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran up the westbound ramp to the car fire, while April closed down the westbound port. By the time Devin and Jeff arrived, Conrad had already exhausted a pair of fire extinguishers from the port car. Two truck drivers stopped and added their own fire extinguishers to help tame the blaze.

Jeff and Devin sat up cones to keep interstate traffic away from the shoulder without closing down a lane of traffic, and then helped the driver gather as many of his personal items from the car as possible. Once fire responders left the scene, port personnel made sure a tow truck was in route.

The quick reaction helped prevent injury to the driver, stopped a potential wildfire and kept traffic safely moving.

 

Ah Yee’s parking premonition proves prophetic          

An observant employee’s decision to park a truck in mid-June kept north Idaho drivers safe.

Chance Ah Yee, an ITD Port of Entry Inspector at the Huetter POE, noticed that a driver was slow in his response to questions. The driver was having real difficulty. Chance became concerned.

The driver said that he had been sick for the past week and was feeling fatigued. To protect the traveling public and the driver, Chance ordered the driver to park his rig.

A month later the driver contacted the Huetter Port of Entry to thank Chance. The driver had suffered a stroke just one day after Ah Yee ordered the truck parked.

“Chance did a great job of sensing something was wrong and using his discretion to prevent a potential accident,” said ITD Compliance Manager Reymundo Rodriguez.

Construction near New Plymouth will provide safety improvements at ID-72/US-30 intersection

The Idaho Transportation Department will enhance safety at the intersection of Idaho Highway 72 and US-30 during late September and October.

Crews will reconfigure the intersection to a more common, “t-type” intersection. This will eliminate the free-running movement on ID-72.

During construction, US-30 will be reduced to one lane with temporary traffic signals in place to control traffic.  Delays of up to 15 minutes are possible.  During the same timeframe, ID-72 will be closed to thru traffic.

ID-72 traffic will be detoured one mile south to SE 2nd Avenue. Truck traffic will be detoured to US-30, Interstate 84, and Sand Hollow Road. Detours will be clearly posted and also available at 511.idaho.gov.

Crews will work daytime hours Monday through Saturday. The project will be complete in late October.

Langley Gulch Culvert Replacement

During the same timeframe, ITD will replace an aging culvert near Langley Gulch on ID-72 near the intersection work and within the existing work zone.

For more information on this project, as well as a full construction list for southwest Idaho, please visit itd.Idaho.gov/D3.

$17.3M available through Oct. 31 from ITD’s Public Transportation office for rural service

Nearly $17.3 million in funding is available through Oct. 31 from the Idaho Transportation Department’’s Public Transportation (ITD-PT) office for rural transit service providers in Idaho.

Applications can be found on the ITD-PT website under the “Application Program” drop down tab labeled  “Congressional Appropriation Applications,” along with additional application details. Funds are made available through four funding sources: Federal Transit Administration (FTA) 5310 Rural Elderly and Disabled Grant Program, FTA 5311 Rural Formula Grant Program, FTA 5339 Bus and Bus facilities Grant Program, and the Vehicle Investment Program.

Every two years, ITD makes funding available for operating, capital, planning, and marketing projects to support transportation needs. Local government authorities, public agencies or private non-profit organizations, and operators of public transportation may apply.

For more information, please contact ITD Public Transportation grants officer Kim McGourty, at kim.mcgourty@itd.idaho.gov or 208-334-4475.

Idaho weigh-in-motion systems saved trucking industry 33,000 hours and $3.5 million in last year

Weigh-in-motion (WIM) systems like the one installed in February at the Inkom Port of Entry (POE) in southeast Idaho save the trucking industry huge chunks of time and money.

Trucks bypassing the port save an average of five minutes of time per incident, and almost a half a gallon of fuel. This amounts to a savings of about $8.68 per bypass. Commercial trucks using WIM to bypass Idaho ports saved 33,365 hours and more than 16,000 gallons of fuel in the last year.

There are four Idaho locations with WIM. From July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017, the impact was:

Huetter POE (Northern Idaho): 58,356 vehicle bypasses; savings = $506,530
Lewiston POE (North-Central Idaho): 89,049 vehicle bypasses; savings = $772,945
East Boise POE (Southwest Idaho): 247,378 vehicle bypasses; savings = $2,147,241
Inkom POE (Southeast Idaho): 5,600 vehicle bypasses (June only); savings = $48,608
TOTAL # of BYPASSES = 400,383; SAVINGS = $3.475 million

“These projects are an outstanding example of how the department is meeting its mission to improve safety, mobility and economic opportunity for Idaho and the nation,” Reymundo Rodriguez, DMV Compliance Manager, said.

The system allows commercial trucks that meet state size and weight limits to bypass weigh stations at highway speeds. An estimated 50 to 60 percent of commercial truck traffic will be able to bypass the ports.

Vehicles bypassing Ports of Entry facilities save drivers and companies valuable time on the road, reducing fuel and operating costs while increasing productivity. Vehicles that bypass also benefit the state and everyone who uses the highways by reducing congestion around weigh stations and enabling inspectors at the port to focus their efforts on carriers that demand the most attention.

Safety is a top concern for ITD – here are a few examples:

Idaho is home to a lot of rural roadways that present some unique safety challenges. Here are a few recent initiatives from ITD to improve public safety on those routes:

SPOTLIGHTING DANGEROUS CURVES
If you ever played a driving video game, then you’ve seen the big flashing arrows that warn you when a curve is coming up and which way to turn. You’re not very likely to run into the wall, but follow directional arrows around the curve and go for the finish line.

Big electronic flashing arrows might be effective in a fast-paced game, but would not be very efficient on some of Idaho’s rural highways.

Here’s the rest of the story

RURAL INTERSECTION CONFLICT WARNING SYSTEM
Rural highway intersections can be hazardous if drivers are not aware of upcoming stops and free-flowing traffic crossing their paths. Here’s a lower-cost system to help save lives.

Here’s the rest of the story

 

Three projects highlight ITD’s mission across Idaho

Interstate repaving

Efficient business practices and construction methods are occurring across the state. In this edition of ITD In Motion, Jennifer Gonzalez takes a look at three projects that aren’t just meeting ITD’s mission, but exceeding it.

Public can vote for Idaho’s Thornton Interchange project for national honor and $10k charity prize

The Idaho Transportation Department project to rebuild the Thornton Interchange is a national finalist in the “People’s Choice” category of the America’s Transportation Awards (ATA).

Public voting is open and continuing through Sept. 21 online at www.AmericasTransportationAwards.org.

The project previously won ATA regional honors in late June. Idaho’s Thornton project was selected by the judges to move on to The People’s Choice award (and/or Grand Prize) and a shot at $10,000 in prize money. The prize money will be donated to a charity or scholarship program chosen by the winning state department of transportation. The winner will be announced Sept. 27 in Phoenix.

The awards are a joint effort of AASHTO (the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials), AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“This shows that the Idaho Transportation Department is being recognized as one of the best transportation departments in the country, and ultimately this excellence benefits all of Idaho’s drivers,” said ITD Eastern Idaho District Engineer Jason Minzghor.

“The Thornton project will greatly enhance safety and mobility in eastern Idaho area, and most importantly, saves lives.”

The opening of the new Thornton Interchange in eastern Idaho south of Rexburg marked the culmination of more than a decade of U.S. 20 safety improvements. Thornton was the last of seven new interchanges built in a 34-mile stretch of U.S. 20 between Idaho Falls and Sugar City to improve access management and traffic flow for greater highway safety and mobility.

Watch the video of the Thornton project below.

Despite traffic volumes more than doubling, these improvements drastically decreased serious-injury crashes and fatalities. In addition, several money-saving innovations and technological advances saved at least $450,000.

“Providing the contractor with a 3-D model for the Thornton Interchange and requiring them to use automated grade control during construction shortened the required construction time and reduced the impact to traffic through the busiest part of the summer,” said ITD District 6 Engineering Manager Wade Allen.

This marks the fourth Idaho project to advance to the national People’s Choice stage of the America’s Transportation Awards since 2013.

 

ITD offers back-to-school safety tips for kids, parents, and drivers

The Idaho Transportation Department is committed to safety for all members of the public — even for the smaller, younger members of our communities. Most school zones have been vacant for the past few months – but that’s all changing. Here are some back-to-school safety tips from ITD:

SCHOOL SAFETY: Return to school requires renewed safety focus

SCHOOL SAFETY: Children, drivers should follow bus-safety guidelines

SCHOOL SAFETY: Make sure vehicle is road ready before handing keys to teen drivers

SCHOOL SAFETY: School zones require reduced speeds, increased awareness

SCHOOL SAFETY: Parents should prepare children before walks to school