The Roundup -

Remember The Rules Of The Road And Get To Where You're Going Safely


For many, summer means that there is more opportunity to be out and about and so it is a good time to remind ourselves about summer travel safety for the whole family. We have all heard that seat belts save lives, and with our roadways getting busier, it is important to stop and truly consider the impact such a small action can have. In addition to being required by law, wearing a seat belt is the single most effective thing drivers and passengers can do to protect themselves in the event of an accident and it is important to remember that seat belts are designed to work with airbags, not replace them. Seat belts should be adjusted to fit properly with the lap belt being secured across a person's hips and below their stomach and the shoulder belt positioned across the middle of the chest, away from the neck. The shoulder belt should never be worn behind a person's back or under their arm.

The state of Montana requires that children under the age of six and weighing less than sixty pounds must be in a federally approved child safety seat or booster seat. Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children and many could be prevented by having kids in the appropriate car seat. There will be a Child Safety Seat Check on Friday, June 19th from 10:30 am until 12:30 pm at the Richland County Library, 121 3rd Ave NW in Sidney. Experienced technicians will be there to check that safety and booster seats are correctly installed, check recalls, and answer questions. There will be face painting, chalk art, a bubble station, and snacks. The Child Safety Seat Check is free and sponsored by the Richland County Health Department and Richland County Parents as Teachers Program. Call 406-433-2207 for more information.

Every 15 minutes someone dies in an alcohol related crash; Sidney is a RADD community and 911 is called and drunk drivers are reported. Montana has one of the highest alcohol related fatality rates in the nation per vehicle mile traveled. Through education, awareness, and enforcement strategies, the DUI Task Force of Richland County is working to reduce alcohol related crashes and create a safer and healthier community. For those who choose to drink, Sidney has 24/7 public transportation to safely get people home.

Cell phone usage has become a dangerous driving distraction, increasing the chance of accidents by 400%- 500%, even when hands-free devices are used. Physical distractions include dialing and texting, a driver's eyes are not on the road which is a visual distraction, a ringing phone creates an auditory distraction, and carrying on a conversation is a cognitive distraction. As a driver becomes more experienced, driving skills can seem automatic which gives them a false sense of security in thinking they can safely call and text while they drive. According to the National Safety Council, driving and talking are both thinking tasks and neither can be done well when being done at the same time. Tips for driving cell-phone free include:

•Turning off your phone before driving or letting it ring while on the road

•Letting others know you are not available while driving and that they should leave a message and you will return their call as soon as possible

•Avoid temptation by putting your phone in the trunk of your car

•Do not try to text or email at stop lights as the majority of accidents occur at intersections

•Let someone else drive if you need to be on your phone

•View cellphone-free driving as downtime

•Be a role model for other drivers, especially young ones

Drivers also need to be aware of their surroundings with kids out of school, more people outside in general, and with motorcycles and bicycles on the road. If you are one of those motorcyclists or bicyclists, remember to always wear a helmet.

The Richland County Health Department is available to help with any health or safety concerns and can be reached at 406-433-2207 and remember to always share the road.


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