Decade of Action for Road Safety

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A monthly publication of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety

August 18, 2014         Summaries of timely road safety news, events, and alerts

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NETS: Road safety for all employees should be a key component of an employer's safety culture

Source: NETS Press Release via Business Wire, August 13, 2014

The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) is calling on leaders of companies and organizations to adopt elements of road safety for all employees—not just business drivers— as a core component of the organization's safety culture. NETS has launched a free comprehensive online tool kit to help initiate or strengthen employee safety programs by including road safety. The 2014 Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW) tool kit, themed "Driving your safety culture home," builds the case for executive leadership to adopt safe driving as a part of the corporate safety culture and provides low-cost steps to engage employees with a starting point focused on seat belts and mobile device use while driving. "Whether driving for work, commuting to and from work or running errands after the workday is done, the time spent behind the wheel is very likely the most dangerous part of an employee's day," said Joseph McKillips, Sr. Manager, Commercial Program Support, Global Environment, Health, and Safety for Abbott and Chairman of NETS. "Addressing road safety in the workplace for all employees is the right thing to do and is beneficial to an organization's bottom line." To see the full press release, go to:

Parents drive kids to distraction, really, they do

Source: USA Today, August 8, 2014

Talking or texting on a cell phone while on the road is called distracted driving, but now a new study about teenagers behind the wheel shows it's their parents driving them to distraction. Parents are calling their kids while the kids are driving: More than half of 408 participating teens reported being on the phone with mom or dad, according to new research presented at the American Psychological Association's annual convention. "Teens told us parents really expected to keep track of them, and they are expected to answer the phone if the parent calls. In some cases, the parent might continue to call until the teen answers," says Noelle LaVoie, a psychologist in Petaluma, Calif. To see the full article, go to:

Texting parent drivers shun warnings, Liberty Mutual says

Source:, August 7, 2014

U.S. parents often ignore warnings from their teenage children by driving while texting or under the influence of marijuana, according to a survey released by Liberty Mutual Holding Co. Forty-two percent of teen passengers said they have asked parents to stop text-messaging while operating a vehicle and 18% have tried to get them to stop driving when high on weed, the survey found. Among teens who asked for a stop to risky behavior, 40% said their parents either ignore them or justify their actions. In the survey of parents, 84% said they stopped dangerous driving habits at their children's request, more than double the rate given by responding teenagers. Just 2% of parents said they had ignored their teens. To see the full article, go to:

Texting bans work: They cut teen traffic deaths by 11%, study finds

Source: The Washington Post, August 1, 2014

Texting bans can reduce teen traffic fatalities by as much as 11%, according to a new study of the effect of such state laws. Not all texting bans are alike, of course. But ones aimed at teens and that allow primary enforcement of the law — i.e. they don't require officers to have another reason for the traffic stop — had the most dramatic effect, a team of researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health found. The team controlled for other factors that may influence crash risk, such as economic, legal and population-specific indicators. Just having a texting law was linked to a 2.3% decline in overall traffic fatalities for all drivers. But there's a lot of variation in such bans. From 2000 to 2010, 31 states passed texting-while-driving bans, 24 aimed at all drivers and seven aimed at young drivers. Delaware's was first — its law went into effect in April 2005 — while Wisconsin's was last, going into effect in December 2010. And some laws only allow enforcement of the ban if officers have another reason for the stop, which is known as secondary enforcement. To see the full article, go to:

Drowsy driving top condition of people who shouldn't drive

Source: Automotive Fleet

Almost seven of 10 people who acknowledged they shouldn't have driven said they were sleepy, according to a new survey from Drowsy driving ranked at the top of seven conditions listed in the survey that should have caused drivers not to get behind the wheel. Survey respondents also widely supported (60%) making drowsy driving against the law. Of the people who drove when they shouldn't have, 68% said they were sleepy at the time. Other excuses included a headache (53%), sick enough to be in bed (35%), less drunk than a friend (23%), not wearing needed glasses or contact lenses (16%), taking narcotic pain medicine (15%), and one arm in a cast (8%). Insurance carriers would still likely cover repair costs from a crash unless a person's doctor specifically asked them not to drive. In the 12 months preceding the survey, 46% of respondents said they drove once or twice against their better judgment. To see the full article, go to:

Attention drowsy drivers: Turning up the a/c won't work

Source: USA Today, July 15, 2014

Drivers are endangering their lives by using ineffective tactics to combat sleepiness behind the wheel, according to a new survey by automotive marketing company DME Automotive. More survey respondents say they're more likely to open windows, blast music, turn up the air conditioning or pull over to exercise or stretch than do what safety experts recommend: pull over and take a nap. About 42% of nearly 2,000 motorists surveyed say they open a window or sun roof to stay awake while driving; 35% say they pull over to exercise or stretch; 35% listen to loud music; and 25% turn up the air. Other ineffective tactics cited by 10%-21% of respondents are eating, singing, listening to talk radio, talking to or slapping oneself, stretching in the car and smoking. Eight percent say they splash water on their face or neck. Scientific research shows that an effective tactic to combat drowsy driving is a 30-minute nap, followed by drinking one to two cups of strong coffee. To see the full article, go to:

Traffic death rates higher in northern plains, south

Source: Automotive Fleet, July 16, 2014

According to a researcher at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), although road safety nationwide has improved in the last 10 years, fatality rates continue to be generally higher in the Northern Plains and southern states than in the Northeast, Midwest, and West. UMTRI examined individual fatality rates per distance driven and per population in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2012 and 2005. They found that while road fatalities across the nation are down about 23% since 2005, fatality rates vary greatly by region. The District of Columbia (4.2), Massachusetts (6.2) and Minnesota (6.9) have the lowest fatality rates per 1 billion miles, while the highest rates are in West Virginia (17.6), South Carolina (17.6) and Montana (17.3). The lowest fatality rates per 100,000 people are also in the District of Columbia (2.4) and Massachusetts (5.3), as well as in New York (6.0). The highest rates are in North Dakota (24.3), Wyoming (21.3) and Montana (20.4). The only states that registered increases were Vermont (up 13%), North Dakota (up 4% ) and Maine (up 2%). To see the full article, go to:

The 10 most dangerous states for pedestrians

Source: USA Today, August 10, 2014

Nearly all Americans are pedestrians at some point during the day and must rely on traffic infrastructure and competent drivers to avoid accidents. Of the 33,561 traffic fatalities in 2012, 4,743 were pedestrians, a 9.4% increase from 2010. While some states have improved pedestrian safety, pedestrian traffic fatalities increased in most states. A variety of factors can put pedestrians at greater risk, from proper infrastructure, to personal choices both drivers and pedestrians make. In many cases, states have lower quality infrastructure because of limited resources. However, there is only so much that well-designed infrastructure can accomplish. In an e-mail correspondence, officials at the Texas Department of Transportation said that, "Ultimately, the safety of everyone on or near our roadways is dependent upon personal responsibility and compliance with all traffic laws. External distractions such as cell phones and loud music should also be put away or turned down so that the eyes and ears of both pedestrians and drivers remain focused on traffic and traffic signals." To see the full article, including the list of the top 10 most dangerous states for pedestrians, go to:

NHTSA nixes tire age safety rule

Source:, July 21, 2014

The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) and Tire Industry Association (TIA) are hailing as good news a decision from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that the agency will not seek to create a safety standard based on tire age. NHTSA gave three reasons for its decision: current tire safety standards—which NHTSA revised as a mandate of the Transportation Safety Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act of 2000—have helped make tires more robust; light vehicle tires are performing better on the road as reflected in the agency's most recent crash data; and mandatory tire pressure monitoring systems in vehicles since 2007 have helped alert consumers to under inflation, which is also known to degrade tires faster. According to Safety Research & Strategies Inc. (SRS), a longtime advocate of tire-aging standards, NHTSA missed the point entirely when it decided not to promulgate rulemaking on tire aging. Because tire aging is a concern for spare tires and in hot-weather states, NHTSA is coordinating an initiative to raise consumer awareness about tire-aging issues and how to prevent tire failures related to aging, the agency said. To see the full article, go to:

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Federal highway safety grants go unclaimed

Source: USA Today, July 26, 2014

Regulators and advocacy groups have attached so many strings to highway safety incentive grants that few states have qualified for millions in federal dollars. As a result, the money intended to help save lives through graduated licensing, ignition interlocks and distracted driving prevention has been diverted to other transportation programs since the grants became available in 2012. Many states have laws in place to promote highway safety, but they fail to qualify because their laws don't meet the grant requirements. Experts say that given the requirements and the two-year time frame of the grants, it was unreasonable to assume states could change laws in time to qualify. And the requirements are so prescriptive that many states were unwilling to drastically change laws that work well for them. The grants that are going unclaimed are for critical safety matters, including ignition interlock to combat drunk driving, distracted driving and graduated license programs. To see the full article, go to:

'Roadkill app' paints clearer picture of wildlife-vehicle collisions

Source: Desert News, August 2, 2014

The Utah Department of Transportation and Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) are getting a better grasp on the details of wildlife-vehicle collisions across the state thanks to a mobile application developed by Utah State University researchers. Traditionally, UDOT contractors would record on paper the location of an animal carcass to the nearest highway mile marker and submit the data to someone else to be entered into a spreadsheet. At times, the process resulted in errors, and weeks would elapse before the information became available to transportation and wildlife officials. The research team collaborated with UDOT and DWR to create a standardized system for reporting wildlife-vehicle collisions more accurately and efficiently using a smartphone app. UDOT commissioned $30,000 toward the project, and the app went online in 2012. To see the full article, go to:

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IIHS issues recommendations on used vehicles for teens after research finds many aren't driving the safest ones

Many teenagers are driving vehicles that don't offer good crash protection and lack important safety technology, new research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows. To help guide parents toward safer choices, IIHS has compiled its first-ever list of recommended used vehicles for teens. In a national phone survey conducted for IIHS of parents of teen drivers, 83% of those who bought a vehicle for their teenagers said they bought it used. With that reality in mind, the Institute has compiled a list of affordable used vehicles that meet important safety criteria for teen drivers. There are two tiers of recommended vehicles with options at various price points, ranging from less than $5,000 to nearly $20,000, so parents can buy the most safety for their money, whatever their budget. To see the full article, including the list of best choices, go to:

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Staying the course with NETS

Source: Automotive Fleet, August, 2014

Joseph McKillips, who oversees global fleet safety operations at Abbott, took over leadership duties for the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety in late April as the board chairperson. By leading NETS, McKillips arrives at the intersection of driver safety policymaking and global corporate fleet governorship. McKillips talked with about his plans for the Network, and how he might tap into the resources of the global corporations on the board to improve driver safety. To see the full interview, go to:

Protecting a fleet from criminals

Source: Automotive Fleet, March 2012

There are many ways that fleets can protect contents and vehicles from being stolen, including: tinting windows, requiring drivers to remove all valuables or hide them out of sight before exiting the vehicle, installing alarms on vehicles, and adopting a layered vehicle anti-theft program. Vehicle theft is a multi-billion-dollar criminal enterprise, and fleet vehicles can be particularly attractive targets. A layered approach of low-tech and high-tech strategies can stop thieves in their tracks. Vehicle-related thefts are among the most common property crimes in the U.S. with an automotive theft occurring every 43 seconds. That's more than 737,000 vehicles every year, costing the economy $4.5 billion annually, according to the most recent statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), a century-old nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing and combating insurance fraud and crime. To see the full article, go to:

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Innovation and Technology

Stop-start vehicle technology saves gas: Study

Source: NBC News, July 24, 2014

With increasingly stringent mileage standards coming down the pike over the next decade, automakers are frantically racing to find ways to boost the fuel economy of their vehicles. A new study suggests that "Stop-Start" technology — which shuts an engine off, rather than idling — can reduce fuel consumption by 5 to 7% and it achieves a similar reduction in the production of global-warming CO2 emissions, according to research by the AAA. The auto club based its estimate on a motorist driving 15,000 miles a year in a vehicle averaging 20 mpg, with fuel prices running $3.65 a gallon. The financial benefits of Stop-Start decline when the technology is used on vehicles already getting better mileage, and some makers say the fuel savings are closer to 1-3%. Navigant Research says Stop-Start was used on just 500,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. last year but estimates that it will reach 7 million by 2022. To see the full article, go to:

The car seats which detect when drivers are falling asleep

Source: The Telegraph (UK)

The dangers of falling asleep while driving may soon become a thing of the past with the development of car seats which can detect when a driver is beginning to nod off. Researchers at Nottingham Trent University are set to begin studying how to embed an electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor system into the fabric of car seats in an effort to save lives. Driver fatigue is a contributory factor in one in five motorway accidents, according to a study by the Department for Transport. The sensor system can be used to detect heart signals which indicate a driver is beginning to lose alertness, and trigger a warning to pull over. Should the driver choose to ignore the alerts, active cruise control or lane departure technology could be deployed to gently guide the vehicle. The information could also be sent over a wireless network to a control center to take further action. To see the full article, go to:

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Sky-rocketing results from Johnson & Johnson Helmets for Kids sponsorship

Source: Asia Injury Prevention Foundation Global Newsletter, July 2014

Students' helmet use has sky-rocketed following a donation of more than 4,000 helmets to students and teachers at 45 schools in Vietnam in April. Across seven new schools, students' helmet use increased significantly from 5% before the donation in April to 93% in May. This is the third year of the Johnson & Johnson Helmets for Kids sponsorship in Dong Nai, Ha Tinh, and Quang Binh provinces. Johnson & Johnson will revisit these schools in September to donate 6,000 additional helmets to newly enrolled students. To see the full article, go to:

Abbott and AIP Foundation meet to discuss year-end Helmets for Families successes

Source: Asia Injury Prevention Foundation Global Newsletter, July 2014

A year-end meeting took place last month to present achievements, challenges, solutions, and lessons learned from the Helmets for Families project in Vietnam. The meeting took place between AIP Foundation, local authorities, and representatives from the program schools supported by Abbott Laboratories. Similar to the Helmets for Kids program, Helmets for Families adds a new element that focuses on parents with the goal of changing parent behavior on standard helmets and helmet use. To see the full article, go to:

Risky roads: Mapping plans to keep international travelers safe

Source: Dialogues of Duty Care, July 23, 2014

Emerging markets and remote locations often can present high endemic road risks to business travelers, but business travelers who self-drive in lower risk destinations are prone to traffic accidents as well. Travel fatigue and unfamiliarity with local road rules and driving culture can contribute to incidents. In addition to loss of life or reduced quality of life, road accidents carry many other consequences for the survivors, including legal implications, economic burden as well as psychological consequences. Travelers play a major role in the prevention of crashes through education and information. There are many ways that travelers can stay safe when on the road internationally: they should not self-drive unless very comfortable with the local roads, they should be sure their driver is safe and always wear seat-belts. They should also alert a third party about their travel plans. Organizations should consider implementing Journey Risk Management Planning that includes consideration of road condition, journey timing and duration, climate, security, communications and emergency support as well as emergency response protocols. To see the full article, go to:

How 'zero' became the biggest number in road safety

Source: The City Fix, July 8, 2014

According to the World Health Organizations, only 7% of the world's population is covered by comprehensive road safety laws. In a world that already sees 1.24 million deaths from traffic crashes each year and increasing motor vehicle usage, this is a frightening prospect. Now some places, including Sweden, have taken ambitious, holistic steps to improve traffic safety and save lives through an initiative called Vision Zero, a road safety framework that asserts that "no loss of life is morally acceptable." The concept has spread to places such as New York City, where newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio campaigned and has adopted the approach. Both Sweden and New York City's strategies are advanced for two reasons, the first being that they set clear targets. Research has revealed that setting ambitious road safety targets can help motivate stakeholders to improve road safety. Secondly, these policies shift the responsibility for road safety from only personal actions like wearing seat belts and helmets to a shared responsibility between road users and designers, which means also creating safer pedestrian infrastructure, automated enforcement, and reducing driving speeds. Together, these ideas can drastically change how countries and cities around the globe approach traffic safety. To see the full article, go to:

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NHTSA's tips for safer summer bicycling

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Agency, July 25, 2014

Americans in increasing numbers are embracing bicycling for fun, fitness, and for getting to work, school and errands. Summer is here, school is out, and more young people are out on their bikes. The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is reminding everyone about safety tips for safe bicycling this summer and throughout the year. NHTSA's July edition of Safety in Numbers points out the danger of riding bicycles at night and while drunk, as well as common mistakes that bicyclists and drivers make that contribute to crashes. In 2012, most bicyclist fatalities occurred between 4 p.m. and midnight (48%) and in urban areas (69%). One in four bicyclists (24%) who died in crashes had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher, the illegal alcohol level in all states. To help prevent deaths and injuries, NHTSA is offering a series of safety tips for bicyclists and drivers. To see the full article, go to:

U.S. DOT proposes new regulation to protect motorcoach and large bus passengers in rollover crashes

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed a new federal motor vehicle safety standard to protect motorcoach and other large bus passengers in rollover crashes. The proposal aims to improve the structural design of large buses to ensure that passengers are better protected in a deadly vehicle rollover by ensuring that the space around them remains sufficiently intact and the emergency exits remain operable. The proposed performance requirements are closely modeled after the European regulations for large buses. In a separate rulemaking action to improve safety even further, the Department is planning on finalizing requirements later this year for stability control technologies in these vehicles, which would help prevent rollovers from occurring. To see the full press release, go to:

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx joins advocates urging parents, public to ask: "Where's baby? Look before you lock."

The "Where's baby? Look before you lock" campaign highlights the dangers of leaving children in hot cars and how parents and the public can better protect children. "The majority of these cases are accidental tragedies that can strike even the most conscientious and loving parents and caregivers, but they can be stopped," said Secretary Foxx. "Even one heatstroke death is one too many because every death caused by leaving a child unattended in a hot car is 100% avoidable." Heatstroke caused by leaving a child unintended in a hot vehicle kills in minutes. Forty-four children died in 2013 because they were left unattended in a hot vehicle and 17 deaths have been reported so far in 2014. Vehicles heat up quickly, and not even a window rolled down two inches can prevent that. The temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in only 10 minutes if the outside temperature is in the low 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Even with temperatures in the 60s or 70s heatstroke poses a serious risk. A child will die of heatstroke once their body temperature reaches 107 degrees. To see the full press release, go to:

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Survey of public opinion about autonomous and self-driving vehicles in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia

Source: University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), July 2014

The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) conducted a survey of public opinion regarding self-driving-vehicle technology in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia. In comparison to the respondents in the U.K. and Australia, respondents in the U.S. expressed greater concern about riding in self-driving vehicles, data privacy, interacting with non-self-driving vehicles, self-driving vehicles not driving as well as human drivers in general, and riding in a self-driving vehicle with no driver controls available. However, overall, motorists feel positive about self-driving vehicles, have optimistic expectations of the benefits, and generally desire self-driving-vehicle technology when it becomes available (though a majority is not willing to pay extra for such technology at this time). For additional findings, see the full abstract here:

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Upcoming Transportation/Safety Events

August 13–September 1, 2014
"Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" High-Visibility Enforcement Campaign (NHTSA)

Research shows that high-visibility enforcement can reduce drunk driving fatalities by as much as 20%. NHTSA has developed the 2014 Products for Enforcement Action Kit (PEAK), to maximize participation in this year's high-visibility enforcement campaign. To access the materials, go to:

September 6-10, 2014
GHSA Annual Meeting, Grand Rapids, MI
Mapping out the Future: Highway Safety after MAP-21

For registration information, go to:

September 15-16, 2014
2nd annual Virginia Distracted Driving Summit
Sponsored by Drive Smart Virginia, Richmond, VA

NETS Executive Director, Jack Hanley, and Board of Directors' member Sandy Lee of Johnson & Johnson will be speaking in the session titled: Implementing a Total Ban on Cell Phones and Employer Fleet Safety Best Practices.
For more information and to register, go to:

Child Passenger Safety Week: September 14-20, 2014
National Seat Check Saturday: September 20, 2014

Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children 1 to 13 years old. Many times deaths and injuries can be prevented by proper use of car seats, boosters, and seat belts. NHTSA's Traffic Safety Marketing has launched materials to share with employees and employee family and community members:

October 6-10, 2014
Drive Safely Work Week™, sponsored by NETS
"Driving your safety culture home"

Free tool kit available now at:

October 15-16, 2014
NETS' STRENGTH IN NUMBERS® Fleet Safety Benchmark Conference , Orlando, FL

October 19-25, 2014
National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW)

For more information, go to:

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