It is too easy for so-called experts to claim that only four or five key problems cause the majority of road crashes. That claim is indeed true — and of course we teach trainees all about those issues — but to act as though these are the only dangers that drivers will ever face is incompetent and is asking for trouble. There are many seemingly minor problems that collectively still cause hundreds of thousands of crashes and far too many deaths and injuries in the USA every year. In whatever training time we have available to us, we teach our trainees how to comprehend and deal with many of these additional dangers, too.
In developed countries around the world, it has long been known that rural roads are the location for far more deaths, measured against the total miles driven, than any other type of road or highway. And this is equally true in the U.S.A.
“Twenty-five percent of America’s road miles are driven on rural roads but this results, very disproportionately, in around fifty percent of all U.S. roadway fatalities.” — Eddie Wren, ADoNA.
There are several contributory reasons for this very serious situation:
How can the American public be expected to know what’s safest for themselves and their children when supposedly trustworthy sources so often publish incorrect and unsafe “advice” about safe driving techniques, or — as in this case — post highly inappropriate photographs or illustrations showing dangerous scenarios as though they are correct and acceptable?
The photograph below first came to our attention when it was posted — outrageously — by no less an organization than the California DMV, so our first questions to them are: Who is responsible for this? Do they know nothing about safe driving and child safety at all?
The dangers shown here are that (a) the girl in the center of the three unavoidably has her seatbelt to high and effectively across her neck. In the event of a collision, this alone could kill her. The girl on the left also has her belt too high but not as badly as the first one. (b) The girl on the right has her belt across her upper arm, below the shoulder (see the Irish Examiner article, linked below, for a better view of this) and there is no way this would restrain her correctly in a collision where, at the very least it might be expected to cause serious arm or shoulder injuries.
The photograph is, however, at least two years old. We now know that a version of it was published by the Irish Examiner (newspaper) on July 04, 2015, in the ironically titled “How to keep kids well when travelling by car,” which was about car sickness but was apparently oblivious to child seatbelt safety
The fact that these three sources all used different versions of one image might suggest that they originated from a picture library, in which case we would suggest that while such libraries are in business purely to sell images, they DO have a responsibility not to trade in misleadingly dangerous pictures!
Often bought in the name of safety, it is a fact that crash bars or bull bars can actually create greater danger not only for pedestrians, bicyclists and other vulnerable road users who get hit, but also for people traveling in the vehicles to which the bars are fitted.