A steering wheel with two hands on it.
The best way to lessen traffic-related injuries and deaths is to prevent them from happening. (Getty Images)

Focusing on road safety

The Yellow May Campaign adopts the slogan ‘Together We Save Lives.’

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How a driver behaves and reacts behind the wheel can be the difference between a safe journey and a deadly motor vehicle crash.

VCU Health’s Level I trauma center last year saw a substantial number of traffic-related injuries as a result of 1,569 motor vehicle wrecks, 174 motorcycle and 41 moped crashes. In addition, 154 pedestrians and 117 bicyclists were hit by vehicles.

The best way to lessen traffic-related injuries and deaths is to prevent them from happening, said Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine third-year student Emily Dunbar, who serves as co-president of the School of Medicine Acute Care and Systems Strengthening program (ACCESS).

ACCESS has joined with the International Trauma Systems Development Program and the Panamerican Trauma Society, both of which focus on trauma care globally, to promote the Yellow May Campaign, part of the international Yellow May Movement. The campaign highlights road safety and brings awareness to traffic-related deaths, injuries and disabilities.

On May 11, 2011, the United Nations decreed the Decade of Action for Traffic Safety. Since then, May has been recognized globally as a time to promote road safety and decrease the number of deaths and injuries related to traffic crashes worldwide.

Why yellow?

Why the name Yellow May?

“Yellow is the color of traffic warning or hazard signs,” Dunbar said.

A yellow Ribbon with text under it that says \"yellow may attention for life\"

VCU ACCESS students have worked to promote the campaign through various initiatives such as Project IMPACT, where students and VCU staff present a trauma scenario at local high schools related to distracted/drunken driving

“The aim of the project is to improve people's understanding of distracted driving dangers and how to avoid them,” Dunbar said. “It is in each one of us to respect traffic laws and norms to ensure safety as a right for everyone.” 

As part of Yellow May, people are encouraged to obey speed limits, wear a seatbelt (or helmet if driving a motorcycle or moped), use car seats for children, avoid distractions while driving and walk on the sidewalk, using appropriate crosswalks when the light is green. And, no texting while crossing a street.

“We would like for you to join us and get involved,” Dunbar said. “We want to prevent trauma and save lives.”

Use #CommitToAct and #StreetsForLife and tag @roadsafetyngos

For more information go to:

Acute Care and Systems Strengthening - https://rampages.us/access/

Project IMPACT - https://www.vcuhealth.org/services/injury-and-violence-prevention/ivpp-programs/impact

Yellow May - https://www.roadsafetyngos.org/events/yellow-may/

Panamerican Trauma Society - https://www.panamtrauma.org/

International Trauma Systems Development Program - https://vcu.campusgroups.com/itsdp/home/

VCU trauma center - https://www.vcuhealth.org/services/trauma