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New initiative provides safe driving tips

States across the nation are joining in a campaign to prevent fatal motor vehicle accidents. Coined the Zero Fatalities Campaign, the initiative aims to promote safety and awareness among all drivers.

Last year more than 34,000 people died in the United States in fatal motor vehicle accidents. Nine hundred of those fatalities were in Tennessee, prompting the transportation officials to take action with regard to educating the public on how to prevent car, truck and motorcycle accidents.

The following are recommended driving tips all drivers should follow:

• Don't drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Likewise, never get in a vehicle with a driver that has been drinking or using drugs.

• Always wear a seat belt, ensure passengers wear seatbelts and make sure children are properly restrained.

• Don't drive if overly tired. It's best to pull over and rest or allow someone else to drive.

• Limit distractions. It's crucial that a driver remain alert and keep their eyes on the road at all times. Drivers are commonly distracted by other passengers, the radio, by eating or drinking or by cell phones. Limit these distractions when possible.

• Don't tailgate. Drivers should allow room for emergency stops if drivers ahead suddenly brake or there is an accident.

• Watch for bikers and pedestrians. When traveling through areas such as college campuses with a lot of pedestrians and bicyclists, drivers must be on high alert.

• Obey speed limits. Speeding is a leading cause of highway traffic accidents so it's wise to always follow speed limits. It's also especially important to obey speed restrictions in construction zones.

Source: Michigan Live, "Zero Fatalities: MDOT launches campaign to reinforce driving safety," Fritz Klug, July 18, 2012

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