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.]

The Need for Quality Driver Training, Even by the U.N.

Vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for UN staff worldwide, but sadly that can be no surprise because the same tragic scenario often applies to soldiers, even within actual conflict zones. And work-related driving (fleet safety) is in a similar category.

It has become common or perhaps just fashionable in recent years for some traffic safety academics to decry driver training around the world as something that does not work. This frankly is a preposterous belief and a new United Nations report clearly indicates this.

Driving through a busy village in a tourist area can oresent many different safety challenges.
This common scenario shows a whole host of potential hazards which with no disrespect we would challenge the vast majority of researchers to even fully identify without studying the photograph for some time — and even then probably failing to recognize them all — and that much time at one small point of a journey is something which drivers of moving vehicles typically do not have in abundance. (Copyright image, 2017.)

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Ideal Mixed (Bad!) Weather Conditions for a Gold Advanced Driving Course

Of all the different levels of driver training we provide at Advanced Drivers of America [AD0NA], “Gold” courses are often the most gratifying because we can guide and watch people achieving the highest levels of safety — far above the standards that other drivers are even aware of.

The very first driving day (following a full day in a classroom setting) was by far the most challenging for the weather, but while this isn’t always available, the snow was an ideal addition for the purposes of a gold-standard, maximum safety, advanced driving course. Copyright image.

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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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Driving Issues the USA Teaches Badly: Pulling Straight Off the Shoulder

Do not drive on the shoulder!  It’s a state law in many states but we have yet to encounter any Federal agency or state government in America that actually teaches this subject well… meaning for best safety!

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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.  Please use our CONTACT US link if you would like to request a summary of the basic themes we teach, covering over 300 safety topics.  (Copyright image, 2014.)

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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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An Accurate Insight into the Danger of Tire Failure

In our fifteen years of operating in the field of safe driving, here in the USA, we have never seen any significant data on the dangers caused by tire failures or blow-outs, and yet there can be no doubt that, every year, many Americans are killed or severely injured by these events.

Photpgraph of the front tire on a pick-up truck.
Once a week — yes, week, not month — check the pressure in your tires against the pressures shown on the driver’s door post of your vehicle or in the handbook, NOT the *maximum* pressures shown on the sidewall of the tire itself.  Check the tread and sidewalls for any punctures or cuts, and of course enough tread depth.   (Is that white dot in the tyre tread on this photo just a bit of gravel, or is it the head of an embedded screw or nail?)   Copyright photo, 2018.

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Motorcyclists Drive Distracted, Too!

Don’t assume that drivers and some pedestrians are the only ones who dangerously use cell phones on the roads.  As you can see, this young rider has his left hand off the handlebars and although this bit can’t be see from the angle of the photograph, it did very much look like he had a cell phone in his hand as he went past.  And that’s not as unusual as you might think.

Photo of a motorcyclist with one hand off the handlebars, apparently holding a cell phone in a viewable position, in that hand.
A young motorcyclist, possibly tired of life, who appeared to have a cell phone in his left hand as he rode past us at speed, on our right hand side. Photo taken from the passenger seat. (Copyright image.)

Save crash-related costs by getting your employees properly trained on how best to protect themselves from other people driving badly (and from their own, potentially unrecognized errors, too).  Get details of our corporate defensive and advanced safe driving courses, then contact us from that page with any questions you might have.

Global NCAP tells Donald Trump to Make ‘America First’ in Pedestrian Protection

In response to President Donald Trump’s claim last week that a so called ‘bowling ball’ test is preventing US automobiles from entering the Japanese market, Global NCAP has written to the US President urging him to make ‘America First’ in pedestrian protection by adopting the same global standard applied by Japan…

Photo of a crash test dummy reading a mock book: Crash Testing for Dummies
Photo: Global NCAP

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