At Advanced Drivers of North America [ADoNA], we attend important road safety conferences in various countries to help keep ourselves as well-informed as possible regarding the latest research and developments in this complex, rapidly-changing field.
Even for the countries with the world’s safest roads, such as long-term, global leaders Sweden and Britain, the Vision Zero goal of having absolutely no deaths each year is a massive challenge, but — as the old saying goes — narrowly missing a difficult target is far better than achieving an easy one.
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 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.”
Advanced Drivers of North America [ADoNA] safe driving courses for chauffeurs are designed not only to maximize the safety of these specialist drivers, for the obvious benefit of their employers or clients, but also to significantly enhance smoothness and finesse (to an extent that always surprises and delights the chauffeurs concerned).
Every time you drive past one or more parked vehicles there are nine common safety indicators that should be monitored so that you never end up being involved in a distressing collision that could easily have been avoided. The worst of these involve children being run over.
According to Bloomberg News: “Roadway accidents are the leading cause of on-the-job deaths in the USA, but the safety issue remains outside the jurisdiction of the nation’s primary workplace safety agency — the Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA].”
A particularly worrying aspect of this situation is that between 2011-2015 the number of work-related highway deaths in America increased by 15%, which was five times more than the upturn in the overall number of occupational fatalities (3%), according to Bureau of Labor [BLS] statistics.
During 2015 (i.e. the latest available statistics), according to federal figures, 1,264 workers died in highway crashes. That represents 26 percent of the year’s total work-related deaths of 4,836, and it is therefore the most common cause of worker fatalities.
One thing which is not made clear in the official figures is whether they include or exclude highway deaths which occur while the people concerned are actually commuting to or from work, which — although a very secondary concern to the tragic bereavements — still has financially very damaging overtones for the employers concerned. However, judging the above figures against those from other developed nations, it is our opinion at Advanced Drivers of North America [ADoNA] that commuting deaths are definitely not included in the current U.S. data and that in this context the “real” number of deaths is very significantly higher than stated.
In our driver safety training for Fortune 500 client-companies, our training has produced multi-year reductions of 50 percent in fleet crashes and over 80 percent in injuries (based on National Safety Council collision type analysis). If you would like us to work with your team, with the objective of creating very significant collision reductions, please get in touch via our Courses page.
Poor quality paint is dangerously and very frequently used for pavement markings and crosswalks in the USA, in place of more-expensive but vastly-safer thermoplastic materials which have a high-glass-bead content for excellent reflectivity at night and in bad weather.
The latest “THINK!” advert gives a small but important insight into the proper use of observations when driving.
Far too many drivers simply gaze ahead of their vehicle while driving without actually noticing everything they should and being alert to all the things that potentially could go wrong. Worse than that, many drivers literally do just gaze at the back of the vehicle they are following, reliant on the brake lights of that lead vehicle to trigger a response in themselves. But either way, drivers who do these things are throwing away a lot of safety.