IUP IRHS Collaborates with Local Law Enforcement and Transportation Agencies on Community Programs

Posted on 7/20/2018 4:52:02 PM

Staff of the Institute for Rural Health and Safety and staff from partnering agencies checked car seats and assisted mature drivers with the CarFit program on Thursday, July 19, 2018, hosted at the Citizens’ Ambulance Service West Pike training facility. 

Fatalities and severe injuries increase with age as the human body is less able to overcome the trauma of crash dynamics. CarFit is a program designed by AAA, AARP, and AOTA to give mature drivers a quick but comprehensive check of how well they and their vehicle work together. A better fit in the car, either through mirror adjustments to reduce blind spots or seat adjustments to improve vision and reduce injuries when air bags are deployed, can keep drivers independent longer and safer on the road. AAA East Central staff trained local CarFit technicians, including Indiana Borough Police, to help participants by asking questions and completing a 12-point CarFit checklist. The entire process takes about 20 minutes, and drivers leave with recommendations for car adjustments and adaptations, and a list of resources that could enhance their safety as a driver. Staff from the Indiana County Sheriff's Office shared information about the Yellow Dot program, which assists citizens in the "golden hour" of emergency care following a traffic crash when they may not be able to communicate their needs themselves.

According to the CDC, motor vehicle traffic crashes continue to be the third leading cause of unintentional injury deaths in the United States for children four and younger, behind suffocation (primarily for infants) and drowning. Estimates suggest 75% of child restraints show critical misuse, including using the wrong seat for the child's age and weight, loose safety belt attachment to the car seat, and loose harness straps on the child.  Pennsylvania law now requires child safety seats be installed rear facing from birth through age two. IUP IRHS staff partnered with staff from Citizens' Ambulance Service, which administers Indiana County's car seat loaner program (to learn more call Shawn Miller at 724-349-5511, extension 264), the Pennsylvania State Police, who hold car seat checkups on the third Wednesday of each month at their barracks on SR 286, and the Pennsylvania Traffic Injury Prevention Project to provide free car seat checks for all who attended.

The next CarFit and car seat check event is being planned for Thursday, September 6. Call 724-357-4051 to register. Follow us on Facebook to learn more about other programs IRHS offers.

photo of the attendees of the CarFit event

Pictured from left to right: Jeff Grim, IUP Institute for Rural Health and Safety; Terri Rae Anthony, AAA East Central; Shawn Miller, Citizens’ Ambulance Service; officer Eric Slovinsky, Indiana Borough Police; Sheriff Robert Fyock, Indiana County Sheriff’s Office; Kristen Urso, Pennsylvania Traffic Injury Prevention Project; Trooper Cliff Greenfield, Pennsylvania State Police.  Not pictured Jay Ofsanik, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Corporal Eric Lychalk, Indiana County Sheriff’s Office, Susan Good, Indiana County Safe Children’s Network and Jim McQuown, Aging Services.