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.)

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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

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A Classic Example of why Lies about America’s “Good” Highway Safety must Stop!

I would very much like to stop writing about the repetitive lies told about the USA’s alleged success in cutting road deaths when, in fact, the country does very poorly in this crucial situation compared to the other developed  countries of the world.  But the lies continue and therefore so will my rebuttals, in order to give the American people a more accurate picture.

Let me make the vital point once more:  If you, the government departments and major road safety organizations of the USA, keep peddling false propaganda telling the people of this great nation that ‘we’ are doing well in the fight against highway fatalities, when the US has in reality, long been effectively the worst-performing wealthy country in the world, with a rate of deaths over four-times worse than the leading nations, the public will believe you and say nothing when, in fact, they should be yelling at the Government to stop the unnecessary slaughter!

Some government-level people have made the excuse to me that it is simply mistakes, or ’rounding,’ or ‘simplification’ of the data, but apart from being an egregious understatement this is unacceptable.  The facts are regularly being twisted far beyond the context of those words.

Here is just one illustration of how far and wide these very misleading ‘inaccuracies’ are being spread:

On June 18, 2016, David Frum, a “lifelong Conservative [who] campaigned for Ronald Reagan and wrote speeches for George W. Bush,” appeared on the BBC HardTalk television show, around the world, and repeated some of the wildly erroneous propaganda about American road safety.

As part of his argument about banning assault rifles in the USA following the Orlando shooting massacre, he said this:

“One of the great public policy successes across the developed world and in the United States has been the reduction in automobile fatalities.  It’s just dramatic what’s happened over the past generation. That isn’t because we did one magic thing that one nefarious industry had been blocking.  Seat belts helped, yes. true.  So did better cars.  So did making it more difficult for 17-year-olds to get drivers’ licences… So did the crackdown on drunk driving.”

But this one short comment is full of gaping holes.  Of the ~thirty member-nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD] — in other words, the world’s developed countries — the USA has the second-worst death rate and has made by far, by FAR, the least progress of any of the long-term members in reducing road deaths, over at least the last three decades and possibly much longer.  Indeed currently, based on year-2015 figures and year-2016 estimated figures, the annual number of road deaths is truly rocketing back up again after the expectable slump caused by the global recession which started around 2008 — and America, rather predictably, is suffering a bigger rate of increase than in any other developed country!

If the USA could match the per capita road-death rate of the world’s two long-term, most reliably-performing road safety countries — Sweden and Britain — almost 30,000 American lives could be saved every year and a much higher number of people would be spared from serious injury.

Some U.S. professionals are pinning their hopes almost entirely on self-driving cars, but while such autonomous vehicles might eventually take away the embarrassment of the current reprehensible state of road safety standards in the USA, they are not even close to full fruition yet.  (But then may come the quietly-ignored problem and dangers of criminals or terrorists hacking those vehicles!)

So when are U.S. politicians and people responsible for road safety going to stop perpetrating or silently accepting the lies and the propaganda about something that has killed more than a million Americans in just the last 25 years?

There have recently been discussions here in the U.S. how to emulate the greater successes and much greater road safety achieved by other countries — most notably the two most consistent, long-term leaders in this field, Sweden and Britain — but I have yet to see anything significant put into action as a result.

There are many good people working in different branches of U.S. highway safety and I hope that you will stand up against the tidal wave of misleading garbage that is poured over the American public.  It’s time to tell the accurate truth and let the people of this wonderful nation know so that they can vote for those who will help protect their children and their grandchildren from this massive killer.

Inter alia, I hope that people in the USDOT, NHTSA, FHWA, NTSB, GHSA, State Governments, DMVs & RMVs, NSC, DSAA, ADTSEA and others will take this message to heart and will stand in the way of the liars, propagandists, and exaggerators who are hiding the full extent of this very dangerous, long-term situation from the public, and are thereby letting the American people down.

Eddie Wren, CEO & Chief InstructorAdvanced Drivers of North America

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