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Join us as we celebrate 30 years of excellence and service in northern New Jersey.


 

We're Seeking Your Input on Local Transportation 

The North Jersey Transportation Authority (NJTPA) is updating its Regional Coordinated Human Services Transportation Plan (CHSTP), which identifies transportation needs of seniors, low-income people, veterans and individuals with disabilities, provides strategies for meeting those needs, and prioritizes transportation services for funding and implementation. This plan is required for eligibility for federal funding for these services and updates a plan adopted in 2008. 

Human services transportation can have a profound effect on the lives of the people it serves. With accessible, affordable, and convenient transportation options, people can stay connected to their friends and family and get to the places where they need and want to go.

As a part of the process for developing this plan, a survey has been created and community planning sessions are being held to solicit input from the community. We invite you to share you experiences and insights by participating in this five-minute survey that will help inform the development of the Plan. The survey is also available online in Spanish here.

As a thank you for providing your valuable insight and opinions, you will be entered into a drawing to win a $100 American Express Gift Card.

To learn more about the North Jersey Regional CHSTP, please click here and for more information about TransOptions' upcoming community planning sessions in your area, please contact Jackeline Leon at 973-267-7600 or at jleon@transoptions.org. 

"Uncle Floyd" To Perform at Annual Recognition Breakfast

Stand-up comedian and musical performer, Floyd Vivino, also known as "Uncle Floyd", will be lighting up the stage at the annual TransOptions Recognition Breakfast this fall. The awards event will take place at Meadow Wood Manor in Randolph on September 28th from 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Now celebrating its 30th year, TransOptions is honored and excited to have "Uncle Floyd" bring a dose of musical humor to what will be a memorable day. 

Now in his 49th year in show business, Floyd has performed extensively in Catskill and Pocono Mountain resorts, casinos in Las Vegas, Reno, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and New Jersey. 

He has also performed at hundreds of night clubs in New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

Uncle Floyd produced the TV Show “Uncle Floyd Show” from 1974-2001 and owned a night club in Wayne, NJ from 2001-2003.

Roadway Deaths on the Rise
 
Driving safety is an important focus no matter what time of year.  We know that the summer is a particularly dangerous time, but now according to a recent study by the National Safety Council(NSC), the United States is on track to have the deadliest driving year since 2007.

According to estimates by the NSC, approximately 19,100 people have died on the road during the first half of 2016, a 9 percent increase from the same period last year and an 18 percent jump from 2014. At this rate, the total number of roadway deaths for 2016 could be more than 40,000. Although these figures are alarming, they serve as an important reminder that being mindful of dangers while in the driver's seat, is vital.

Reminding the public about the importance of driving safety is a high priority and we will continue to raise awareness throughout the public and private sectors.  Having strong educational tools at your disposal is vital in getting this important message out there.  In preparation of Driving Safely Work Week 2016, TransOptions is sharing a free tool kit, put out by The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), who last week, launched a free comprehensive online toolkit to help employers plan for Drive Safely Work Week™ (DSWW).

The October workplace campaign seeks to improve the safety of employees, employee family members and their communities. The theme for this year's campaign is "Drowsy, Distracted or Focused—Your Decisions Drive Your Safety". The free toolkit may be downloaded here.

NETS reminds us that “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver behavior contributes to 94% of all traffic crashes. Campaign materials call on drivers—company drivers and commuters—to take a hard look at what they do behind the wheel (or before getting behind the wheel) that could be increasing their risk of a crash, starting with the importance of being well-rested.”

According to NETS, "Nearly 1.6 million days are lost from work due to traffic crashes and 90% of those are related to off-the-job crashes. This campaign gives employers a ready-made resource to help keep all of their employees—and their families—safe on the roads.”

In addition to utilizing the free tool kit, TransOptions also has a comprehensive Driving Safety Awareness lunch and learn presentation.  Schedule a lunch and learn program for your employees by contacting Anne Adier-Vivino at avivino@transoptions.org.

Up-Close With Pam Fischer
 
Each month, we will be highlighting a member of our Board of Directors and this month we are interviewing Pam Fischer, Secretary of the Board of Directors. 

From 2007-2010, Pam served as Governor’s Representative and Director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, where she led a team of 22 professionals dedicated to preventing motor vehicle crashes and saving lives. 

During her tenure at the Division, Pam partnered with Governor Jon Corzine, following his near fatal car crash in 2007, to promote the lifesaving value of seat belts and pass a record number of traffic safety reforms including ignition interlocks for first offenders with high BAC levels; a primary hand-held cell phone/texting ban; back seat belt use by adults; ice and snow removal from all motor vehicles; stop for pedestrians in crosswalks; and a red light camera pilot program.

-Please tell Go Smart! readers a little bit about yourself! What do you currently do for a living?

I’m a transportation safety consultant focusing on the behavioral side of safety--the things that get us in trouble when we are walking biking and driving such as distractions and not wearing seat belts. I work to help people change their behavior and make safety a priority regardless of mode of transportation.
 
 -How did you first become involved with TransOptions?

I worked for AAA for 20 years and then served as Director for the Highway Traffic Safety (HTS) office for four years. I was the Vice President of Public Affairs for AAA as a community relations person working with lots of different groups and worked with MCRides (TransOptions' name before 2001)--that’s how far back I go.

I was involved in activities and asked to join the board. When I was the Director of HTS, I left the board because it’s tough to be on a non-profit board when you work in government as well. Eventually, there was legislation that allowed HTS to provide grants to nonprofits which is how I never lost that connection to TransOptions. I was then asked to rejoin the board at the end of 2010-2011. In total, I've been connected to TransOptions for between 20-25 years. I’ve always been connected to TransOptions through AAA then HTS then coming back as a traffic safety consultant and it’s been a great relationship.


-What do you enjoy most about being a part of this organization?
 
Hard to say! I see the value and the impact that TransOptions has on the community and that’s critical.  For someone who has been a steward of federal grant money that really is a good thing to me. I know that the money you’re receiving through that and other sources has a real impact.

The second thing I would definitely stress, that I also see and I’m impressed with, is the energy and passion of the staff. You embrace what you do and run with it. Everyone on the staff gives more than 100 percent and it shows. I’ve been on a lot of non-profit boards and of all the boards I’ve been on I’ve been most impressed by this organization. You only have so many resources and you’ve been able to leverage those resources and do great work in your area and beyond.

 
-What do you think makes TransOptions special?
 
I really think it’s the people. You're an organization and you have a mission and that’s great but it’s the people that bring it to life and make it happen. The team is very passionate about what they do and follow through and to me that's what makes an impact. 

The Street Smart program, for example, is something that TransOptions has taken and refined. This is a really important program for our state because we have a pedestrian fatality rate almost double the national average which is unacceptable. We want everyone to get around safely . Not only did you guys get this but you've been doing a really great job and serving as a role model for how to do it. When someone asks me how to run the Street Smart campaign I tell them there’s a guide but also to ask TransOptions. 

 
-What has been your favorite volunteer experience with this organization?
 
We all love JSS (Junior Solar Sprints)! How can you not love that program?! To see these students so engaged -- that’s really cool. I’m very impressed with JSS. It’s hard to say what my favorite volunteer experience has been. A lot of what I’ve done is some behind the scenes work with the executive committee. I’m very happy and honored to do that and work with John and the board.
 
From a fun standpoint, my favorite volunteer experience has been with JSS. The volunteer breakfast is also great. What I love to see is how the organization has grown and how many people have been introduced to the organization. I’ve seen a lot of change and growth there over the years. TMA’s (Transportation Management Associations) are there to serve the community as a whole and you’re getting people engaged in all sectors. As much as the focus is on transportation, it’s good to mix things up.
 
-What do you wish other people knew about TransOptions?
 
When I mention TransOptions, people say “what is that?”. I want people to hear the name and recognize it! TransOptions is becoming more and more visible but I would want people to know that that’s an organization they can go to for assistance and resources. I would want TransOptions to get more recognition. That’s coming and you guys are certainly working really hard to do that. You’re more than just the carpool people. I hope people recognize TransOptions as a source for great safety information and education programs.

August Is Back To School Safety Month
 
Once again, back to school season is upon us and with that comes more congestion on the roads and an increased need for hyper vigilant driving. Yellow school buses will be doing their rounds, parents and teachers will be rushing to and from schools and kids will be back on neighborhood sidewalks as they make their way to school on foot or on a bike. With all that extra activity on the roads, it's especially important for drivers to slow down and remain alert. 

According to the National Center for Safe Routes to School, 33 percent of youth pedestrian crashes are attributed to kids darting out into the road. Remember to be a good role model for the little ones by always being a good pedestrian. Be sure to cross at corners and marked crosswalks in clear view and never between parked cars. 

Besides being a safety-conscious and exemplary pedestrian, there are also ways for you and those around you to stay safe when you're behind the wheel. Listed below are helpful tips from Safe Routes to School for drivers as we enter a new school year.

Drivers should always:
  • Slow down and obey all traffic laws and speed limits, both in school zones and in neighborhoods surrounding the school.
  • Comply with local school drop-off and pick-up procedures for the safety of all children accessing the school.
  • Avoid double parking or stopping on crosswalks to let children out of the car. Double parking will block visibility for other children and other motorists. Visibility is further reduced during the rain and fog seasons when condensation forms on car windows.
  • Avoid loading or unloading children at locations across the street from the school. This forces youngsters to unnecessarily cross busy streets—often mid-block rather than at a crosswalk.
  • Prepare to stop for a school bus when overhead yellow lights are flashing. Drive with caution when you see yellow hazard warning lights are flashing on a moving or stopped bus.
  • Stop for a school bus with its red overhead lights flashing, regardless of the direction from which the driver is approaching. Drivers must not proceed until the school bus resumes motion and the red lights stop flashing, or until signaled by the school bus driver to proceed.
  • Watch for children walking or bicycling (both on the road and the sidewalk) in areas near a school. 
  • Watch for children playing and gathering near bus stops. Watch for children arriving late for the bus, who may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
  • Watch for children walking or biking to school when backing up (out of a driveway or leaving a garage).
TransOptions offers FREE programs on driver safety as well as Safe Routes to School programs for schools. For more information, please visit transoptions.org or call 973-267-7600.

Police Cracking Down On Drunk Driving 

As of August 19th, New Jersey police have been stepping up patrols and DWI checkpoints as part of a national campaign "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over". The campaign, which aims to reduce traffic fatalities, will continue through Labor Day weekend--one of the busiest and deadliest holiday weekends of the year for anyone on the road.

It's important to note that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during the Labor Day holiday between 2010- 2014, more than 750 people died in drunk driving crashes. This year, experts believe roadway deaths will exceed 400 -- higher than in any of the past eight years. Please don't be one of these statistics. Make safety your number one priority by buckling up, putting down the phone, slowing down, not driving drowsy and never drinking and driving. 

If you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you will be arrested. Avoid a ride in a police car by always securing a safe way home before you get the party started.

 
  • Choose a designated sober driver ahead of time.
  • Download the free NHTSA mobile app, SaferRide, which can help you get transportation home with the touch of a button.
  • If you see someone intoxicated at a party and about to head to their car, locate the person's keys while they are preoccupied and take them away. They will most likely think they've lost their keys and be forced to find another mode of transportation.
Be safe and enjoy the Labor Day weekend responsibly!
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