The ‘Culture’ You Come From Can Radically Affect Your Safety on the Road

August 22, 2018

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.

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About One in Three of All Road Deaths Involve Speeding

Despite the attached article and additional images referring specifically to European countries, the same ‘speed’ scenario and dangers undeniably apply in the USA and Canada, too.

Infographic showing the dangers of excess speed.
A 2017 WHO infographic from Europe which is universal in its applicability in all developed nations.

Did you know that, on average, 1 in 3 deaths on roads in high-income countries are due to speed?  (More info.)

The speeds shown in the infographic, above — 30, 50 and 80 — refer to kilometres per hour (km/h) and are equivalent to 17, 31 and 50mph.

Takata Airbag Recall: List of All Affected Vehicles (July 2018)

The Takata airbag crisis has become so huge that a big reminder is needed, so this article gives access to a list of all of the different types of vehicle affected.  Check the list for yours, today!

Photograph of a car that has just been in a collision. The airbags have inflated but are now in the process of deflating, and the car's two occupants are still in their seats, stunned.
This photo was taken no more than 2 seconds after the collision that triggered the airbags, which are now in the process of deflating. The driver and his passenger are still in the car, stunned. Possibly through distraction, the car driver had just collided with the back of a stationary truck — not an “accident,” an act of negligence; a collision. Copyright image.

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Dangerous Intersections Awaiting Long-Overdue Roundabouts

At the east end of the evocatively-named Rip Van Winkle Bridge in the beautiful Hudson Valley of New York State is a seriously dangerous intersection where, briefly, routes 23 and 9G merge together.

Photograph of the southern merge point of routes 23 and 9G in Columbia County, NY.
A combination of inadequately-educated drivers crossing paths, at significant speeds, with impatient drivers at three separate locations within this photograph has led to many serious crashes over the years. At long last, it is now set to be replaced with a roundabout and this inevitably will lead to a significant reduction in serious injuries and deaths. According to NYDOT, work is scheduled to commence in summer and end in fall, 2018, although time might be running out for that. (Copyright image, 2018.)

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Street Design Changes in New York City are Saving Lives But Can More be Done?

A selected, urban component of the Vision Zero approach to highway safety is undoubtedly helping to save lives in New York City.

Aerial view of city crossroads and crosswalks.
City streets are the equal most-dangerous location for road users in the USA, but a carefully-planned Vision Zero approach to street layout and design — not shown in this photo — can do a great deal to reduce casualties. (Copyright image, 2012.)

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International Road Safety Annual Report 2018 – The USA Does Very Badly Again

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.”

Photograph of the scene of a fatal road crash in the USA.
A fatal road traffic crash (not “accident”) which I encountered by chance during my frequent travel to conduct safe / defensive / advanced driving courses throughout the USA. (Copyright image, 2012.)

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Does Mexico do a Better Job with Road Signs than the USA?

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.

Photograph of a text-based road sign that reads 'Draw Bridge Ahead'.
The humor of this sign comes from the fact that it should be just one word:  “Drawbridge”.  To write ‘draw bridge ahead’ is an instruction to get your sketchbook and pencils ready!  But using text instead of images on traffic signs is actually an issue that harms road safety.  See the accompanying text.  (Copyright image, 2018.)

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A Child’s Critical Injuries Through Not Wearing a Cycle Helmet

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.

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More and Better Crosswalks in the USA Would Save Many Lives

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.

Photograph of a crosswalk location sign in the USA
Crosswalk location sign, USA. (Copyright image, 2012.)

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A Catastrophic Increase in Deaths of Pedestrians in the USA

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…

Photograph of a pedestrian on a crosswalk.
Despite erroneous official claims that America’s road safety is improving, deaths of pedestrians alone have increased by almost 50 percent since 2009 — an entirely unacceptable situation. (Copyright photo, 2017.)

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