In 2007, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety published an excellent book which since then has been one of our key “go to” resources for valuable guidelines. Its title was: Improving Traffic Safety Culture in the United States — The Journey Forward [See footnote for a relevant excerpt].
There can be no doubt that geographical, political, socio-economic and — importantly — workplace aspects of culture have a major influence on road safety, and this can be seen not only from one country to another but often from region to region within a country.
Equally, there can be no doubt that traffic safety interventions which fail to consider and adapt to relevant aspects of local cultures are commonly doomed to failure.
In the latest edition of what is undoubtedly the most comprehensive international summary of global road safety statistics each year, the mission statement for the USA is: ‘Dedicated to achieving the highest standards of excellence in motor vehicle safety and reducing deaths, injuries and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes.’ However, as the following figures and references will show, this stated goal may be true regarding the intent but actual U.S. outcomes over recent decades have been a very long way indeed from any “highest standards of excellence.”
While instructing on an advanced driving course recently in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, I was briefly found it funny when I saw this sign but after a few moments of humor I was more dismayed than amused. Read on and you’ll find out why.
This is just one fine example of the countless excellent and usually unsung tasks done by on-duty and off-duty police officers, every single day of the year. It has been posted here with full permission from its author, Temporary Sergeant Karen Stanton, whose important goal is to highlight the crucial importance of cyclists wearing helmets. If you are not convinced, check out the image of the boy’s head scan, below.
Just a few days ago, on June 11, 2018, NYSDOT Acting Commissioner Paul Karas announced a $62 million investment in the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, here in our own home state of New York . This multi-agency initiative will include the Department of Health, DMV, Capital District Transportation Authority and local enforcement agencies. This is, of course, to be warmly welcomed, but let’s get straight to the point, the USA has a stunningly bad track record for pedestrian injuries and deaths, with almost exactly six thousand being killed nationwide, and a vastly greater number being injured, during the last statistical year alone.
Excerpt: “…Pedestrian deaths have jumped 46 percent since reaching their lowest point in 2009, as pedestrian crashes have become both deadlier and more frequent. The increase has been mostly in urban or suburban areas, at non-intersections, on arterials — busy roads designed mainly to funnel vehicle traffic toward freeways — and in the dark, a new IIHS study shows. Crashes were increasingly likely to involve SUVs and high-horsepower vehicles…