Getting the Scale and Seriousness of US Road Crashes in Perspective

It is effectively inevitable that road safety advocates will use air crash data to try to get people to understand the staggering seriousness of road crashes when compared to commercial plane crashes, but even then the true scale is rarely stated.

Wikimedia Commons: A Boeing 737 MAX 8 ‘G-TUMA’ TUI Airways (46886857481). Copyright-free photograph by Alan Wilson, from Stilton, Peterborough, Cambs., UK

The latest plane crash to grab the headlines is the tragic loss of a Boeing 737 MAX 8 that had just taken off from Addis Ababa, in the beautiful country of Ethiopia.

All of the 157 people on board were killed.

This post is not in any way here to belittle the tragedy of plane crashes, but apart from being numerically very rare incidents, the deaths from these attention-grabbing events pale into insignificance when compared to road fatalities — not only in the USA but worldwide.

8,350 plane crashes a year!

The 157 people killed on the Ethiopian Airlines flight is about the same number of deaths as just 1.5 days’ worth of road fatalities in the USA alone. And on a global scale, the plane crash created approximately the same number of lost souls as the roads of the world kill every one hour two minutes and fifty seconds — in other words, there are approximately 3,600 road deaths worldwide every single day of the year. Put another way, global road deaths are the equivalent of 23 air crashes on the scale of the Ethiopia tragedy every single day.

That would be 8,350 plane crashes a year.

What is it about this outrageously lethal situation on roads that the human psyche seemingly refuses or chooses not to ‘get’?

And now, President Trump has apparently signed an order, grounding all 737 MAX 8 flights because of two crashes involving this type of plane in a five-month period.

The scene of a fatal road crash we came across during an ADoNA advanced driving course in the USA. (Copyright image, 2012.)

For the USA, two such air crashes every three days would match the number of road deaths in any given period of time. Globally, it would need a similar-scale air crash every two hours and six minutes to create the same number of deaths as do the roads of the world.

However, the two 737 MAX 8 crashes got swift and firm White House intervention while the 37,000 [NHTSA figure] or 40,000 [NSC figure] deaths each year on the roads of the US get what? The answer is that apart from the crash-reducing effects of the 2008-2010 recession, not much difference in the number of deaths, year on year on year!

And yet the reason given by the President of the USA for banning the plane from flying was that it was “to protect people’s lives.”

All this means is that the inaccurate priorities start at the very top.

And herein lies one key reason why the USA is one of the very worst-performing developed nations in the world for road safety, with a per capita death-rate more than four-times worse than those in the leading nations. Indeed, if the USA could simply match the achievements of the leading nations, more than 27,000 American deaths and potentially hundreds of thousands of serious injuries would be prevented every single year.

Another extremely regrettable reason for America’s poor performance in this field is that even the basic US road safety standards do not meet the minimum requirements of the World Health Organisation in relation to poor countries!

If anyone believes this article to be unpatriotic or, worse, anti-American, please think again. This truly great nation certainly could do better and definitely should do better, for the sake of the American people.

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Please be aware that this website is registered with the United States Copyright Office and that punitive legal action for damages may be taken against anyone who breaches our copyright. This, however, does not stop you from posting links to any of our pages, and you are welcome to do so. [Wikimedia aircraft photograph excluded from ADoNA copyright.]

Advanced Drivers of North America’s Role in the USA’s “Vision Zero” Goals

If your corporation or small business employs drivers, Advanced Drivers of North America [ADoNA] can take them farther towards maximum safety than any other training supplier in the USA, and this article outlines how.

The Road to Zero Coalition logo
Advanced Drivers of North America is proud to be a member of the Road To Zero coalition.

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USA Commercial Trucking & SUV Fatalities Up Significantly

Despite the fact that data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Oct. 3 indicates highway fatalities declined overall in 2017 after two consecutive years of large increases, the agency added that highway fatalities in 2017 jumped significantly in the sport utility vehicle or SUV category and commercial trucking sector. Fatalities among SUV occupants climbed 3 percent, and deaths in crashes involving tractor-trailers jumped 5.8 percent.

Photo looking down on a fast-moving semi-tractor-trailer.
Semi-tractor-trailer.  Copyright image.

Clearly, the reduction in overall deaths is very much to be welcomed, however it still needs to be viewed relative to the USA, in the long-term, still being the poorest-performing of 30 developed nations.

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See the AASHTO article about the NHTSA figures.

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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24 Things You Didn’t Know (or Forgot) About Safe Driving on Rural Roads!

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:

Photograph of two roadside memorials, on opposite sides of a rural road, and from two separate crashes.
Not one but two memorials, for two separate crashes on either side of this road at this one location in Illinois. (Photo copyright, 2012.)

Continue reading “24 Things You Didn’t Know (or Forgot) About Safe Driving on Rural Roads!”

Around 3,000 Americans are Killed by Vehicles Each Year just on Parking Lots, Driveways and Private Roads

According to the National Safety Council [NSC], the number of people killed in the USA during 2017 in road accidents once again exceeded 40,000, following major increases in such deaths during the years since the end of the financial recession.

Aerial view of cars and pedestrians in a parking lot.
People innocently walking across a parking lot, oblivious to risk, yet several vehicles are unsafely parked — nose inwards, rather than backing into the slot and parking nose-outwards — just one thing that increases the risk, especially when children are around. (Copyright image.)

A year ago, the NSC estimated that the 2016 death toll was about 3,000 fatalities more than the eventual official figure of 37,461 which was subsequently issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA], however the NSC explain this apparent discrepancy with the fact that ‘the government counts only deaths on public roads, while the council includes parking lots, driveways and private roads.’

In other words, about 3,000 “additional” people — an average of eight per day — are killed each year in vehicular crashes but do not qualify for inclusion in the official statistics, yet this is an additional eight percent and a lot of those killed in such circumstances are children.  The fact that these incidents involve deaths on parking lots and private driveways serves to illustrate the true level of dangers in places than many people unthinkingly tend to dismiss as being low-risk locations, but that is clearly not the case.

As always, our ADoNA defensive and advanced safe driving courses include research-based, best-practise methods to help your corporate drivers or chauffeurs stay safe and protect other people in relevant locations.

You can read the full article, from USA Today, regarding the NSC estimate for 2017 road deaths.

Speed… Is it Really a Major Safety Issue or Do the ‘Experts’ Exaggerate?

One of the most inflammatory and divisive topics in road or highway safety is that of speed in relation to safety.

The first question that has to be addressed is what exactly do we mean in this context by the word “speed”?  It is very important not to fall into the trap of thinking it only relates to breaking the posted speed limits, even though that is still a serious issue (see below).

A panned photo of a car travelling at speed on a leafy rural road.
Breaking the posted speed limit often contributes to serious or fatal crashes.  However, if there are problems on the road, then it is easy to do a potentially dangerous speed even within the posted limit. This is called driving at an inappropriate speed for the circumstances, and it is particularly common — and deadly — on rural roads. (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.

 

 

Road Safety: In what way do “Black Lives Matter” the most?

A lost life — any lost life — is a tragedy, and road accidents* are a massive killer, so my title for this post is by no means meant to be annoying or offensive to anybody.

This topic comes from my former home city of Buffalo, NY, so in more ways than one it is a subject dear to my heart.

The original article is “Groups opposed to traffic safety checkpoints to sue Buffalo police,” from the Buffalo News.

Photo of a motorcycle traffic police officer in Buffalo, NY.
A motorcycle traffic cop in Buffalo, NY. (Copyright image.)

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What’s Happened to the Decade of Action Goal to Cut Global Road Deaths by 50 Per Cent by 2020?

When I first attended the United Nations in Geneva, about 11 years ago, to listen to the plans for significantly curtailing road deaths globally, I came away not only impressed but also with the distinct impression that given what was, by then, a huge growth in the numbers of motor vehicles in poorer countries, the aim would be to prevent the annual number of deaths rising as global motorization grew.  The yearly death toll was then stated as 1.3 million but this figure was projected to rise to 2 million by 2020, thus holding it steady at 1.25 to 1.3 million instead of seeing such a horrendous increase would be a good thing.

United Nations avenue of flags, Geneva, Switzerland

Continue reading “What’s Happened to the Decade of Action Goal to Cut Global Road Deaths by 50 Per Cent by 2020?”