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Safe Streets

As one of the busiest trauma centers in California, every day, the team at Kern Medical sees the consequences of a traumatic injury. Often, the most severe injuries are caused by roadway collisions, and many victims spend months being cared for by a team of specialists while recovering. In 2017, there were 42 pedestrian deaths in Kern County, plus an additional 5 bicycle deaths.

We are fortunate to have many experts in traumatic injury at Kern Medical, but even our trauma surgeons would agree that the best medicine for these devastating events is prevention. Kern Medical stands committed to providing our community with the education and tools to stay safe and unharmed through the expansion of our Safe Streets program. Safe Streets is a clinically led, comprehensive safety program that provides distracted driving, cycling, and pedestrian education for the Kern County community.

Pedestrian Safety

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines a pedestrian as any person on foot, walking, running, jogging, hiking, in a wheelchair, sitting, or lying down.

National Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  • In 2013, there were over 4,500 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes
  • On average, one pedestrian is injured every 8 minutes, and one will die every 2 hours in a traffic crash
  • 26% of pedestrian fatalities occurred from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
  • 69% of pedestrians killed were males
  • Alcohol involvement for driver or pedestrian was reported in 49% of all fatal pedestrian crashes
  • 69% occurred at non-intersections
  • 73% occurred in urban areas (27% are rural)

What You Can Do

  • Follow the rules
  • Cross at crosswalks or intersections
  • Obey signs and signals
  • Walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible
  • Use sidewalks when available
  • Make eye contact with drivers, never assume a driver sees you
  • Look left-right-left before crossing a street
  • Get off your phone
  • Stop your conversation if talking
  • No texting
  • No Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and so on
  • Take your earphones out of your ears
  • Bottom line – pay attention to your surroundings!

Bicycle Safety

  • Always Wear a Helmet – a properly fitting helmet should sit right above the eyebrows and be tightly buckled, so it doesn’t slip when riding
  • Never Wear Headphones – when riding your bike, turn off the music and do not wear headphones so you can devote your full attention to the road
  • Obey Traffic Signs – always ride with the traffic, obeying traffic signs and using proper hand signals
  • Night Riding – try not to ride at night or in bad weather, but if you must, remember to have lights and proper reflectors on your bicycle and reflectors on your clothing
  • Clothing Caution – watch out for loose pant legs or shoestrings that can get stuck in bike chains

Distracted Driving

Multitasking is a myth because the human brain cannot perform 2 tasks at the same time, and it must switch between 1 task and another. When our minds are overloaded with multiple tasks, some important steps are skipped, which leads to mistakes.

In California, all drivers are prohibited from using a handheld wireless phone while operating a motor vehicle, including sending text messages. Motorists over the age of 18 may use a hands-free device, but drivers under this age are prohibited from doing so.

Types of Distractions:

  • Physical/Manual – taking your hands off the wheel
  • Visual – taking your eyes off the road
  • Auditory – sounds that distract your attention
  • Cognitive – taking your mind off what you’re doing


  • Texting while driving kills 11 teens each day
  • 94% of teens called texting a driving a serious threat, but 35% admitted to doing it
  • A teen driver riding with one other passenger doubles the risk of being involved in a fatal car crash. With two or more passengers, a fatal accident is 5x as likely
  • Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 cause of death for 3 to 34-year-olds
  • If you text while you’re behind the wheel, you’re 20 times more likely to be involved in a crash than a non-distracted driver
  • in 2014, over 3,000 people were killed, and an estimated 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver