Decade of Action for Road Safety

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A monthly publication of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety

Spetember 18, 2015         Summaries of timely road safety news, events, and alerts

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Drive Safely Work Week™ 2015 is just over two weeks away (Oct. 5-9!) This year's free toolkit is packed with ready-made email messages, infographics, PowerPoints and more to make participation easy. Get yours today at:


U.S. commuters spend about 42 hours a year stuck in traffic jams

Source: Yahoo/Reuters, August 26, 2015

A strong economy and cheap gas have put more motorists on U.S. roads, leading to the worst-ever traffic congestion and forcing the average urban commuter to spend about 42 hours a year stuck in traffic jams, according to a new report. The Texas Transportation Institute report estimates U.S. highway congestion costs $160 billion a year, including lost productivity, gas burned while idling in traffic and additional wear and tear on vehicles. Americans drove a record number of miles in the last 12 months, surpassing the previous peak set in 2007, before the start of the massive economic downturn. In 1982, motorists spent an average of 16 hours a year sitting in traffic jams, by 2010, that time had grown to 38 hours, TTI said. Six of the country's 10 most congested stretches of highway are in metro Los Angeles, with two each in Chicago and New York City. The "worst" highway in the country is US 101 in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. To see the full article, go to:

New car technologies often unused by drivers, J.D. Power finds

Source: Automotive News, August 25, 2015

A new study from J.D. Power suggests that automakers are investing billions into technologies that a considerable number of drivers aren't using. J.D. Power's first 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience Report found that at least 20% of new-vehicle owners have never used 16 of the 33 technology features measured. According to the study, 43% of people said they never use in-vehicle concierge services, while 38% haven't used available mobile routers. The study also found that 35% of drivers never use automatic parking systems, and 33% said they haven't used head-up displays. For in-vehicle apps, 32% of people reported that they have never used them. Such technological features have a brief 30-day window for gaining acceptance among drivers. If owners don't use certain features during that time, they probably never will. To see the full article, go to:

Why we say 'car accident,' and why we need to stop

Source:, September 1, 2015

Once you start looking for them, you see the headlines everywhere. The ones about the seemingly autonomous killer cars: "Woman dies from injuries after car jumps curb," or "Out of control car pins woman against produce stand." Every day in the United States, some 90 people die when routine car trips turn deadly. Thousands more are injured. Lately, traffic-safety advocates have been pushing to get reporters and others to use different language to describe these all-too-common events. Many safety organizations have launched campaigns to get people to say "crash" instead of "accident." They want to emphasize that many, if not most, traffic fatalities are preventable—not inevitable occurrences. We don't talk about "plane accidents," they point out. We assume that when a plane crashes, there was some identifiable human or mechanical error, something that could have gone differently. We want to figure it out and name the cause and avoid a recurrence. Why not look at car crashes the same way? To see the full article, go to:

National Safety Council: 395 Americans may be killed on roads this Labor Day holiday

Source: National Safety Council news release, August 31, 2015

The National Safety Council estimates 395 people will be killed and another 47,800 will be seriously injured in car crashes during the Labor Day holiday period which ran from 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4 and ended at 11:59 p.m. Monday, Sept. 7. The three-day period fell in the midst of what could be the most deadly year on our roads since 2007. The National Safety Council estimates overall traffic deaths are up 14% through the first six months of 2015 compared with the same period in 2014. Serious injuries are up 30%. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 87% of vehicle occupants wear seat belts. The 13% of drivers and passengers who do not wear belts accounted for 44.7% of fatalities in 2014, according to NHTSA. An estimated 150 lives may (have been) saved this Labor Day holiday because of seat belts. To see the full news release, go to:

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Car repairs from deer collisions will cost more

Source: New York Times, September 16, 2015

The latest insurance data show that the risk of hitting a deer with your car has not changed much from a year ago. But the cost of repairing your car if you are unlucky enough to hit one is on the rise. State Farm reports the chances of hitting a dear are one in 169 nationally (but as high as one in 44 in some areas), the same as in 2014. The national cost per claim for hitting a deer rose 6% to more than $4100 from about $3900 in 2014, State Farm says. If you hit a deer, the damage to your car typically is covered under the "comprehensive" portion of your auto insurance policy. That is the part of the policy that covers fire, vandalism and storms—generally damage caused by anything other than a collision with another car or object. Comprehensive coverage, however, is often optional. To see the full article, go to:

Railroad Crossing Safety

Source: Automotive Fleet, September 7, 2015

The force of a 30-car freight train hitting a car is equal to the force of a car crushing an aluminum soda can. In fact, a motorist is almost 20 times more likely to die in a crash involving a train than in a crash involving another motor vehicle, according to Operation Lifesaver, an organization dedicated to promoting railroad crossing safety. Surprisingly, it's still common to see cars and trucks momentarily stopped on railroad tracks in gridlock traffic. And some drivers make a habit of accelerating to beat the gate coming down when the railroad crossing lights start flashing because a train is approaching. This kind of risk taking has tragic consequences. In 2014, there were 2,287 collisions at railroad crossings in the U.S. Those resulted in 269 fatalities and 849 injuries, according to preliminary statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration's Office of Safety Analysis. To see the full article, go to:

Man who saved woman from Metra train: "There's no hero here"

Source: CBS Chicago

(NETS member) Ed Suarez said he couldn't believe his eyes when he saw a disoriented 80-year-old woman drive onto the railroad tracks at the height of the evening rush, but he's glad he didn't think twice about springing into action. Suarez was near the BNSF Line tracks when he spotted a woman make a left turn, but instead of going onto one of the two streets running parallel to the tracks, she drove onto the center set of Metra tracks. Suarez, a ComEd worker trained to react quickly in emergencies, abandoned his own car, and chased after the woman's car, all the while throwing rocks at her car to get her attention, and eventually convinced her to stop and get out. "I look up, and there's a westbound train coming, and I said, 'Okay, let's go,' and I just grabbed her arm, threw it over my neck, and I started dragging her out of the car," said Suarez. A minute or so later, an oncoming train on a different track knocked off the door of the woman's car. If you call Suarez a hero, he'll tell you "We do what we have to do. There's no hero here." To see the full article, go to:

Cars get tech to monitor teen driving habits

Source, USA TODAY, September 6, 2015

Teenagers, already saddled with worries about grades, soon will encounter cars that can issue their own "report cards" when it comes to driving skills. Several companies, ranging from global automakers to technology start-ups, have introduced services that enable parents to track, influence or restrict the driving habits of their teenage children. General Motors will go a step further later this year when it installs an optional system on certain 2016 Chevrolet Malibu models that will compile a touch-screen "report card" for parents that will blow the whistle if their kids' speed or drive aggressively. The report card is visible only to parents via a personal identification number (PIN), and the data is not sent to GM servers, rather housed in the vehicle itself. To see the full article, go to:

New Report: Car Seat Recalls: What Every Parent Needs to Know

Source: Safe Kids Worldwide, September 10, 2015

Safe Kids Worldwide has released a new research report, Car Seat Recalls: What Every Parent Needs to Know. According to NHTSA, in 2014 more than six million car seats were recalled for a safety defect, yet fewer than half were repaired. The fact that more than three million children could be riding in a car seat that needs a repair inspired Safe Kids to conduct a study to understand how families manage car seat registration and recalls. The organization surveyed over 560 parents of children who use a car seat, and collected responses from 44 parents who participated in an online bulletin board discussion. They learned that while 80% of parents surveyed think it's important to register their car seats, only 42% of parents fill out and return the register card, which is the single best way to hear about a recall. To download the new research report, go to: To view and share an infographic on making sure a child is not riding in a recalled seat, go to: To view a joint press release from Safe Kids Worldwide and NHTSA, go to:

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Innovation and Technology

Survey shows big gaps in knowledge about auto safety tech

Source: Yahoo/AP, September 8, 2015

Adaptive cruise control has been an option on some cars for almost a decade. But in a recent national survey, 65% of U.S. drivers didn't know what it was. The survey, by the University of Iowa Public Policy Center's Transportation and Vehicle Safety program, suggests big gaps in the public's knowledge about potentially life-saving features. Based on the responses, the university and the National Safety Council have developed a new Web site — — to teach drivers about new features, from tire-pressure monitoring systems to automatic emergency braking. The site is one of several places that car owners and shoppers can learn about safety technology. The federal government's auto-safety website — — lists crash-test results and uses icons to highlight cars with recommended safety features, including lane-departure warning and forward-collision warning. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety — — also explains key collision-avoidance features like automatic braking, and lists which cars have them. To see the full article, go to:

Ford to add ANTI-SPIDER technology to its cars

Source: The Daily Mail (UK), September 7, 2015

Their eight rippling legs strike fear into many, but spiders scare car manufacturers too, because they can break vehicles. Now, engineers at Ford have come up with anti-spider technology to keep creepy crawlies from nesting in its cars. The firm's 'spider screen' is being rolled out across North America and will be included in the global launch of the 2016 Ford Focus RS. The arachnids have been known to nest inside vehicles for years, resulting in headaches for drivers and car manufacturers, including Toyota and Mazda, which have both had to recall car models because of spider problems. Instead of using webs to catch prey, these spiders build cocoon-like webs for shelter and to lay eggs. The problem is that their home is dense enough to potentially block fuel vapor lines, which can lead to engine damage. To see the full article, go to:

As head-up displays become common, distraction becomes an issue

New York Times, September 10, 2015

To automakers, head-up display technology makes for safer driving because the driver does not need to look down for information. The illuminated graphics, which may be white or colored, are transparent, so that the driver actually looks through them onto the road ahead. But to skeptics, head-up displays are yet another informational distraction for the already data-overloaded driver. No federal standards govern the use of head-up displays, and that concerns some safety advocates. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration routinely issues voluntary guidelines to automakers over driver distraction, there is no federal regulation governing head-up displays. The agency said it had begun to research the issue and expected to issue guidelines. At the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a spokesman acknowledged that the systems could offer useful information, but said that they had the potential to be a distraction as well. To see the full article, go to:

Continental, Valeo developing mirror-eliminating camera technologies

Source: Automotive News, September 17, 2015

European auto suppliers Continental AG and Valeo SA are hoping to turn rear- and side-view mirrors into relics of the past. The German and French suppliers kicked off the Frankfurt auto show by touting how their camera-based systems can improve safety, reduce drag, and create more opportunities for design innovation. Continental demonstrated a prototype vehicle equipped with a trio of cameras and a cluster of displays that enable the driver to monitor the car's right, left and rear with a mere glance at the dashboard. The company hopes the system can increase safety by eliminating blind spots and keeping driver's attention on the road ahead. It also notes doing away with side-view mirrors would reduce wind drag and improve fuel-economy. The ability to eliminate traditional mirrors has been an emerging development as automakers embrace various safety technologies. To see the full article, go to:

Crash avoidance features by make and model

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Crash avoidance features are rapidly making their way into the vehicle fleet. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety provides tools on its website to illustrate how some increasingly common advanced crash avoidance systems work and provides a dropdown menu to find out which models come with which features. Visit the IIHS website here:

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UNECE and Global NCAP call for worldwide adherence to un car safety standards

Source: Global NCAP Press Release, September 17, 2015

Tens of thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries could be avoided each year in the world if all countries would apply the safety standards outlined in the UN regulations developed by the World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, hosted by UNECE. The results of crash tests performed by the Global New Car Assessment Programme (Global NCAP) and its regional affiliates over the past years have shown that millions of new cars sold in middle and low income countries fail to meet the UN's regulations for front and side crash tests. This means that the occupants of such vehicles face very serious risks of fatal injury in case of a crash. This problem is of particular concern across Latin America, which has a road fatality rate of 19.2 per 100,000 inhabitants (21 per 100,000 inhabitants in South America), almost double that of the USA (10.3/100.000 in 2013), and almost 4 times more than in the European Union (5.1/100.000 in 2014). To see the full press release, go to:

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U.S. DOT and IIHS announce historic commitment from 10 automakers to include automatic emergency braking on all new vehicles

Source: U.S. DOT and IIHS joint press release, September 11, 2015

Ten major vehicle manufacturers have committed to making automatic emergency braking (AEB) a standard feature on all new vehicles built, the U.S. Department of Transportation, its National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced. The announcement, made at the dedication of IIHS's newly expanded Vehicle Research Center, represents a major step toward making crash prevention technologies more widely available to consumers. The 10 companies — Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo — will work with IIHS and NHTSA in the coming months on the details of implementing their historic commitment, including the timeline for making AEB a standard feature. The Department and IIHS encourage all other light-vehicle and trucking manufacturers to bring automated vehicle technology to all vehicles on U.S. roadways as soon as possible. To see the full press release, go to:

U.S. Department of Transportation and the Ad Council Kick Off Child Passenger Safety Week with launch of new PSA campaign

Source: PR Newswire, September 15, 2015

Safety seats, if used correctly, can dramatically reduce the risk of fatality or injury to children involved in car crashes. Therefore, even if you think you have your child in the right car seat, you should check again to be sure, as the latest data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that approximately 59% of car seats are misused. Furthermore, in 2013 more than one-third of children killed in car crashes were completely unrestrained –- meaning that they were not in car seats, booster seats or wearing seat belts. As part of Child Passenger Safety Week from September 13-19, 2015, NHTSA has teamed up with the Ad Council to launch a new series of public service ads (PSAs) that urge parents to protect their child's future at every stage of life, by making sure they secure them in the correct car seat for their age, height, and weight. The new campaign materials were created pro bono by Casanova and Misterface and include English and Spanish radio, print, outdoor and web banner ads. The English PSAs direct to and the Spanish ads direct to where parents can find more information on how to determine if their child is in the right seat for his or her age and size. To see the full article, including the new PSAs, go to:

Back to school safety advisory: NHTSA encourages everyone to be responsible for getting children to and from school safely

Source: NHTSA Press Release, August 25, 2015

With the start of a new school year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reminds all drivers, students and parents to put safety first in school zones and near bus stops. Students travel to school by a variety of means: school bus (the safest means of transportation to and from school), walking, bikes, public transportation, or in vehicles with family or friends. It is everyone's responsibility to use caution and stay focused and alert around traffic to ensure children can travel to and from school safely. According to NHTSA data, from 2004 to 2013, there were 327 school-age children who died in school-transportation-related crashes; 54 were occupants of school transportation vehicles, 147 were occupants of other vehicles, 116 were pedestrians, and 9 were pedalcyclists. There were more school-age pedestrians killed between the hours of 7-8 a.m. and between 3-4 p.m than any other hours of the day. To see the full press release, go to:

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Upcoming Transportation/Safety Events

Sept. 13-19, 2015
Child Passenger Safety Week
Sept. 19, 2015
National Seat Check Saturday

Every 34 seconds one child under age 13 is involved in a crash. Many times deaths and injuries can be prevented by proper use of car seats, boosters, and seat belts. Use this toolkit from NHTSA's Traffic Safety Marketing to download campaign materials and get information on how to generate awareness about child car safety in your workplace and community:

October 5-9, 2015
Drive Safely Work Week: #PlanAhead--Your key to driving safely

Sponsored by NETS. #PlanAhead for the campaign and download your free toolkit today!

October 14-15, 2015
Chicago, IL

The conference agenda includes NETS member road safety case studies, topics on in-vehicle monitoring systems, collision avoidance technology, identifying risky driver behaviors and much more. It's not too late to become a NETS member and attend this year's conference. View the full agenda here: If interested in membership and attending, contact NETS at

October 18-24, 2015
Teen Driver Safety Week

Sponsored by NHTSA. Planning materials are available at:

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