Flashback to 2003 – The Astonishing Volvo Safety Concept Car – Still Unmatched

First published in 2003

New Introduction

Back in 2003, Volvo built their utterly remarkable Safety Concept Car [SCC] as a test bed for a huge range of new safety technologies they were then testing, with a view to introducing the most effective and worthwhile into their production cars.  The SCC was demonstrated to the automotive media in the USA on just two days — one on the west coast and one on the east coast — and through our not-for-profit organisation, Drive and Stay Alive, I had the good fortune to be invited to attend the east coast day in Manhattan, to drive it.

In just the 15 years since then, we have gone from talking primarily just about increased safety to a now almost out-of-control rush to have self-driving vehicles before even the semi-autonomous prototypes can be shown to increase rather than decrease safety.

Photograph of the 2003 Volvo Safety Concept Car.
The 2003, $8 Million, Volvo Safety Concept Car [SCC] (Photo: Copyright 2003, Volvo Cars)
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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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Work-Related Defensive and Advanced Driving Courses in Cities in the USA and Canada

Most of our requests for the provision of safety training for drivers, whether at defensive or advanced driving levels, relate to city locations throughout the USA and Canada.  This short article is intended to provide some guidance for our corporate clients on how to get the best return from your investment in connection with city-based courses.

Photograph of relatively light traffic on a major road in Seattle, WA.
Relatively light traffic — in this case in Seattle — is naturally easier to deal with for drivers, but average speeds can be higher in these conditions so potential dangers can be a bit different, too. Uniquely,  at ADoNA,  we teach a fully time- and research-proven *system* of driving which allows the widest-possible range of dangers to be safely negotiated,  not just five or six of them.  (Copyright image, 2014.)

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Good Observations for Safe Driving (with Photographs)

The photographs in this article were taken around a Bronze Advanced Driving course, with Advanced Drivers of North America [ADoNA], in south east Massachusetts.   They each show typical driving scenes but give only a very small insight into the discussions about the standards of the observations that are essential to effective driver training and to all safe driving.

Photograph taken from a vehicle driving through a small Massacusetts town, showing various potentially hazardous scenarios.
A typical driving scenario in beautiful, small-town America, showing many potential hazards that most drivers sadly get away with ignoring, but each of which, when ignored, can at the very least result in damaged vehicles or something much worse.   Copyright image.

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Nine Danger Signs Concerning Parked Vehicles — Do You Know Them ALL?

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.

Photograph of a person putting something in the trunk / boot of a car, at the roadside.
To be safe drivers, people certainly need to know all of the nine dangers signs to look for when passing parked vehicles — just one of the many comprehensive safety skills taught by Advanced Drivers of North America, Inc. — Copyright image.

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A Significant Rise in On-The-Job U.S. Highway Deaths Raises Safety Concerns

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].”

Photograph looking down on city traffic from high above.
City traffic, but this is by no means the most dangerous place for your employees to drive. We cover all major aspects of defensive driving on our ADoNA courses, not just 5 or 6, and we follow global safety research and best-practices throughout. (Copyright image.)

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.

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Read: Rise in on-the-Job Motor Vehicle Deaths Spurs Safety Concerns, from Bloomberg News.