Decade of Action for Road Safety

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A monthly publication of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety

August 20, 2015         Summaries of timely road safety news, events, and alerts

The Drive Safely Work Week™ 2015 toolkit, themed "#PlanAhead--Your key to driving safely," is now available! Download yours free today at

#PlanAhead for the Oct. 5-9 campaign!


NETS: Planning Ahead Critical Component of Road Safety--Drive Safely Work Week 2015 toolkit launched

Source: NETS Press Release via Business Wire, August 18, 2015

The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) has launched a free comprehensive online toolkit to help employers plan ahead for Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW), the October workplace campaign that seeks to improve the safety of employees, employee family members and their communities. The toolkit may be downloaded at: The campaign theme this year is "#PlanAhead--Your Key to Driving Safely." Campaign materials underscore that planning may be the most critical leg of any driving trip, whether the trip takes place on the job or off. Emphasizing the importance of advance preparation, the campaign will help to minimize risks on the road and offers resources to help become a better planner for both business and personal travel. The campaign was developed using the expertise of NETS' member companies, collectively representing a fleet of more than half a million vehicles that travel in excess of 11 billion miles globally each year. Actionable steps are provided to help drivers be at their best behind the wheel. To see the full press release, go to:

U.S. traffic deaths, injuries and related costs up in 2015

Source: Newsweek, August 17, 2015

The United States is on track to have its deadliest traffic year since 2007, the National Safety Council says, with nearly 19,000 people killed as a result of motor vehicle crashes between January and June—a 14% increase over the same period last year. The number of injuries and the costs associated with traffic crashes also rose significantly, according to NSC estimates. Nearly 2.3 million "serious injuries," which the NSC defines as those requiring medical consultation, were sustained during the six-month period, up 30% when compared with the first half of 2014. In a similar upward trend, the estimated costs of these crashes—including medical expenses, wage and productivity losses and property damage—increased 24%, to roughly $152 billion. To see the full article, go to:

New Study: Are senior citizens more important than millennials to auto industry?

Source: The, August 12, 2015

The number of licensed US drivers over the age of 65 has leapt 29% in ten years (from 2003 to 2013)–-meaning 8.2 million more seniors are on the roads. 3.5 million of those US drivers are over 84 years old, a decade increase of over 43%. How is it possible that so many elderly drivers continue to drive as they pass retirement ages? Today's automobiles are chock full of safety and technology features which assist drivers by enhancing visibility, reaction time, and steering. Soon, cars will be able to park and even drive themselves. Technology has begun catering more and more to those who have spent much of their lives traveling in automobiles but are approaching the later years of their lives. At the same time, younger citizens are less interested and less financially capable of owning a car, so the number of licensed millennial drivers is slowly declining. According to the IIHS, drivers over 75 years old now register nearly six times as many new cars as those ages 18-24, and new cars registered to households run by those over 65 years old have risen 65%. To see the full article, go to:

Car hacking risk may be broader than Fiat Chrysler - U.S. regulator

Source: Yahoo News, August 1, 2015

The cybersecurity issues that led Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV to recall 1.4 million vehicles this month could pose a problem for cars and trucks from other automakers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is trying to determine how many car makers received wireless components from the same company that supplied Fiat Chrysler. In the first action of its kind for the auto industry, Fiat Chrysler last week announced the recall of 1.4 million U.S. vehicles to install software to prevent hackers from gaining remote control of the engine, steering and other systems. The announcement by FCA US LLC, formerly Chrysler Group LLC, followed reports that cybersecurity researchers had used a wireless connection to turn off a Jeep Cherokee's engine as it drove, increasing concerns about the safety of Internet-enabled vehicles. To see the full article, go to:

As Americans figure out the roundabout, it spreads across the U.S.

Source: New York Times, July 31, 2015

Once seen only in countries like France and Britain, the roundabout, favored by traffic engineers because it cuts congestion and reduces collisions and deaths, is experiencing rapid growth in the United States. First built in the United States in the early 1990s, roundabouts have doubled in the last decade, to around 5,000 today, according to Richard Retting, a former transportation researcher at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. There are hundreds if not thousands more in the planning stages. Compared with stop signs and traffic lights, roundabouts are significantly safer, engineers say. For example, crashes that result in serious injuries or death are reduced by 82% versus a two-way stop, and by 78% compared with an intersection with traffic lights, according to Jeff Shaw, the intersections program manager for the Federal Highway Administration. Roundabouts are not the same as traffic circles. In a traffic circle, vehicles have the right of way based on when their light turns green. But roundabouts typically do not have traffic lights; instead, a vehicle approaching one slows to around 20 miles an hour and yields to those already in the circle. To see the full article, go to:

U.S. bike deaths fall for kids, but rise for adults

Source: HealthDay News, August 13, 2015

The rising popularity of bicycling among adult men for pleasure or as a means of commuting may have a downside: More fatal bike-related accidents, according to a new report. The report did have some good news, however: Fewer U.S. children are dying as a result of bike-related accidents, although that may be due to the fact that today's kids are simply less likely to be riding bikes than in generations past. Overall, the study points to the need for "expanding traditional road safety interventions"--which have typically focused on motor vehicles--to focus on the safety of bicyclists, as well, the report's authors said. The study, led by Jason Vargo of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, looked at U.S. federal data for the years 1975 to 2012. The researchers pointed out that the profile of the typical bike rider has changed a lot during that time, with fewer kids riding a bicycle every day and more adults--especially men--doing so. To see the full article, go to:

New car safety ratings explained

Source: U.S. News and World Report, August 5, 2015

When researching a new or used car online, there are two important safety ratings to look for: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's star ratings and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) top picks. While they seem easy to comprehend, they both present complex information that can help you decide which car, truck or SUV is right for you. The goal of NHTSA's star rating is first to provide accurate, reliable information to consumers about the crash protection offered by new or used vehicles they are considering buying. In particular, it allows car shoppers to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of various vehicles when it comes to crash worthiness. In addition to this, there is a secondary goal to IIHS' crash testing and that's getting manufacturers to fix safety flaws identified by the testing. NHTSA doesn't rate vehicles on their accident avoidance technology but will highlight those that have features like lane departure warning and forward collision warning. The NHTSA and IIHS tests are complementary, according to David Zuby, executive vice president and chief research officer for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Pick a vehicle that is a Top Safety Pick as well as rated five stars overall and you can be confident it's a safe vehicle. To see the full article, go to:

Study: Cell phone notifications can impair driving

Source:, August 7, 2015

Experts say cell phone noises and alerts can put drivers in danger. A new Florida State University study found these notifications can be just as distracting as talking or texting while driving. In the first study of its kind, the researchers discovered that when your cell phone sends out an alert, your mind starts to wander and lose concentration. The level of how much it affected the task at hand was shocking, according to FSU researchers. The researchers say the best solution is to put your phone on mute or keep it out of sight. To see the full article, go to:

New report identifies 21 actions to help states address pedestrian safety

Source: Governors Highway Safety Association, August 10, 2015

A new report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association examines the current pedestrian safety data and research and outlines 21 steps states can take to address pedestrian safety. According to the most recent data, pedestrian deaths remain stubbornly high. In fact, they have increased 15% since 2009. The most recent full year of data indicates that 4,735 pedestrians died in 2013, which translates to one pedestrian in the United States killed every two hours. The report, Everyone Walks--Understanding and Addressing Pedestrian Safety, looks at legislative, enforcement and educational initiatives at the national, state and local level that work in tandem with engineering solutions to foster safe mobility. Funded through a grant by State Farm®, it provides 21 key takeaways for states and others to consider to help curb pedestrian-involved motor vehicles crashes, injuries and fatalities. To help states, practitioners and advocates better understand and develop strategies to bolster pedestrian safety, the report examines the extent of the problem, who is likely to be involved in a pedestrian-motor vehicle crash, and why. To see the full release, go to:

Why Uber's partnership with AARP to recruit seniors might mean safer roads

Source:, July 31, 2014

Many of us have been annoyed while stuck in traffic behind older folks who often drive slowly and seem dead-set on keeping us from getting to our destinations on time. Well, that laid-back, unhurried driving style could make seniors ideal recruits for Uber. The for-hire car service announced a partnership with Life Reimagined, a non-profit subsidiary of AARP--the advocacy group for aging citizens--under which it will seek new drivers among the over-40 group. For Uber, the move taps a significant population of people who are looking for work and have good driving records but might not have thought previously of becoming what the company calls "driver partners." Safety experts have long pointed out that older drivers, despite what many people think, are actually safer on the road than younger drivers. To see the full article, go to:

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State agencies warn about sharing the road in farm country at harvest time

Source: AASHTO Journal, August 14, 2015

Departments of transportation or highway patrols in several major agricultural states are warning motorists of an annual "share the road" challenge--making way for farm equipment to move in and out of roadways during summer and autumn harvest times. Wheat harvests have been under way for weeks, and autumn brings harvests of corn and soybeans. Other crops such as sugar beets in the northern Great Plains are nearing harvest time, with reports of record volumes in some areas. So DOTs or police in big crop producing states such as North Dakota, Minnesota and Kansas are reminding motorists how to be safe at harvest time. For instance, the North Dakota DOT says all drivers should keep vehicle lights on at all times during harvest. Light duty vehicle drivers need to be aware that farm rigs can be on the roads at any time, and may bring mud or other debris onto roads as they move directly from fields. Farm equipment operators should have slow-moving vehicle emblems, use flashers and consider using a helper "follow" vehicle especially at night. They also need to be mindful that road construction projects are under way and some roads may not be ready to take the heavy farm rigs. To see the full article, go to:

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No A/C, windows open for summer driving doesn't save fuel

Source: Automotive Fleet, August 6, 2015

Conventional wisdom suggests that rolling down windows and turning off the A/C during summer driving can help improve fuel economy. However, SAE International Engineers have authored a paper that acknowledges the heavy energy-consuming A/C system but reports that the increased drag created by the open windows counteracts the improved fuel economy of cutting off climate controls. The impact of A/C use on a vehicle's fuel economy can be as much as 30% for full A/C use versus turning off the system, according to the report. A PDF of the report, is available here: To see the full article, go to:

Study: Traffic safety helped by low-cost ride services

Source: Toledo Blade/Associated Press, August 1, 2015

The introduction of low-cost on-demand transportation like UberX, Lyft and Sidecar could reduce the rate of drunken driving-related deaths by as much as 3.6%, according to new independent research at Temple University's Fox School of Business. The study is based on data from the California Highway Patrol about alcohol-related vehicular fatalities from 540 townships in California from January 2009 through September 2014. The Temple researchers will present their findings at the Academy of Management's annual meeting in August. The research found that the introduction of more expensive transportation services such as Uber had little effect on alcohol-related fatalities, but the introduction of Uber's cheaper service, UberX, made a noticeable difference. When the researchers factored in competitors like Lyft and Sidecar, which offer similarly priced services, "the results were actually stronger," Mr. Greenwood said. The research concluded that low cost was a critical factor. To see the full article, go to:

IIHS LATCH ratings aim to make installing car seats easier

Source: U.S. News and World Report, July 28, 2015

Once you've found the right car seat for your child, you need to install it. Installing a child safety seat is harder than you might think. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that almost half of all car seats are installed incorrectly. One way to help make sure your child's car safety seat is installed correctly is to use the vehicle's Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system. While LATCH has been required in all new cars since 2002, some LATCH systems are easier to use than others. The IIHS has created a rating system for LATCH systems that measures how easy they are to use. "LATCH is meant to simplify child seat installations, but it doesn't always succeed," says Jessica Jermakian, a senior researcher at the IIHS. "Parents often struggle to locate the anchors in the vehicle or find it's difficult to attach the seats to them. We believe fixing these problems will make the task less frustrating for parents and increase the likelihood that children will ride in properly installed seats." To see the full article, go to:

Stay behind the wheel longer

Harvard Health Letter, August 1, 2015

The sense of freedom and independence that comes with driving is as important at 65 as it is at 16. But driving skills may start to falter as we age, an issue many people choose to ignore. "We all seem to be in denial about driving in our older years. No one wants to give it up. The good news is that you may not have to," says Lissa Kapust, a social worker at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Aging may affect vision, hearing, coordination, thinking, visuospatial skills, or reaction time, any of which can have a direct impact on driving. For example, you may not be able to see a stop sign if you have vision problems, and you may not be able to figure out how far it is to a red light if you have trouble with visuospatial skills. Declining thinking skills may cause you to get confused in heavy traffic or at an intersection, or lost on the way home. Impaired coordination or slowed reaction time may mean that you can't stop in time if a car cuts in front of you on the road. Driving assessment programs evaluate your driving history, family concerns, overall health, thinking, and driving reflexes. They can help you brush up on skills and get up to speed on new driving laws. An assessment program can help identify your strengths and weaknesses and suggest ways to improve your driving skills.

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Merging methodically onto highways

Source: Automotive Fleet, August 2015

Merging onto traffic-congested highways can be a potentially dangerous task, especially when taking into account the unpredictability of other drivers' actions. However, fleet managers can teach their drivers to merge safely onto busy highways, by driving defensively and taking precautions to prevent collisions when merging. Crucially, drivers should avoid stopping unless absolutely necessary, since traffic already on the highway has the right of way. Also, drivers should signal their intentions to other drivers early--at least 100 to 300 feet before merging or changing lanes, according to auto insurer State Farm. To see the full article, including a video, go to:

Truck drivers' paradox: Not drinking (water) is like drinking

Source: Fleet Owner, July 31, 2015

It's the hottest time of the year in North America and not drinking enough water is like driving drunk, according to a recent study published in a medical journal. Truck drivers are especially prone to dehydration. Many truckers don't drink enough water because they don't want to stop for frequent bathroom breaks. And while there's no evidence that caffeinated drinks cause dehydration, they can be a mild diuretic in large amounts. Also, while the A/C may feel good, that cool breeze sucks moisture from the air and your body. The study tested male drivers in a simulator and found that during normal hydration they made 47 driving errors but that figure more than doubled to 101 driving mistakes when they were mildly dehydrated. The driving errors included lane drifting, late braking and touching or crossing the rumble strip or center line. To see the full article, go to:

Safety Check: The basics of fleet & transportation safety

Source:, August 1, 2015

The number one cause of workplace deaths is motor vehicle accidents. Establishing a good training and monitoring program is key to ensure that your truck drivers are safe. Learn what you may be missing—many crashes are preventable. Companies must include fleet and transportation safety in their training regimes even though this area is frequently overlooked. From loss of life, serious injury, business liability and business disruption standpoints, motor vehicle safety can lead to significant problems. Just how big of a problem are motor vehicle accidents? The National Center for Statistics and Analysis projects that an estimated 32,675 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2014. This represents a very marginal decrease of about 0.1% compared to the previous year. It's no surprise that statistics show vehicle accidents account for about 40% of all workplace fatalities, and that vehicle accidents are the leading cause of workplace fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, large trucks are much more likely to be involved in a fatal multiple-vehicle crash, as opposed to a fatal-single, vehicle crash. To see the full article, go to:

Fleet Safety Conference presentations now available

Source: Fleet Safety (A Bobit Business Media conference)

Speaker presentations from the July 2015 Fleet Safety Conference held in Schaumburg, IL, are now available. NETS' Executive Director, Jack Hanley, and Board of Directors' members Joe McKillips of Abbott and Mike Watson of Shell were among presenters.

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Innovation and Technology

Walmart announces infant car seat designed to prevent hot car deaths

Source:, July 27, 2015

Wal-Mart and Evenflo have announced a new infant car seat with technology designed to remind drivers of their backseat passengers, and stop children from dying in hot cars. In most new cars, an alert sounds if a driver or passenger is not wearing a seat belt or if headlights are left on. Using a similar idea, a sensor on the infant seat harness triggers a series of tones if a child is still buckled in when the ignition is switched off. The feature is meant to remind drivers who might forget that a child is in the vehicle. On average, 38 children die every year as a result of being trapped in hot cars. In about half the cases, children are forgotten in the back seat, according to the nonprofit Often, a parent has forgotten to drop a child off at daycare. To see the full article, go to:

Hack of telematics device lets attackers mess with car's brakes, August 11, 2015

It's fast becoming apparent that the CAN bus network--used by cars for the last two decades--can become a real liability once it's connected to the Internet. Such hacks were demonstrated years ago, and the latest piece of evidence has been supplied by some security researchers at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). At a security conference, the group showed how a telematics device that insurance companies and commercial fleets use to manage their vehicles could be hacked to send rogue commands through the CAN bus. All CAN bus-equipped cars have a standard diagnostics port called OBD2. If a device plugged into the CAN has a modem, it's possible to remotely read and transmit CAN data, which is how (for example) OnStar knows when your airbag has gone off and how to remotely unlock your doors. The device in question this time is a French-made OBD2 dongle made by a company called Mobile Devices. Mobile Devices sell their OBD2 dongles to lots of other companies, in this case a startup called Metromile, which uses it to monitor one's driving for pay-per-mile insurance. To see the full article, go to:

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Road safety sustainable development goals targets approved at UN negotiations

Source:, August 3, 2015

Road safety targets have been included in the final text of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by UN member states. A specific stand-alone target in the Health Goal to reduce road traffic fatalities by 50% by 2020 and a target on sustainable urban transport in the Cities Goal have been approved, in a landmark achievement for the global road safety community. For the FIA Foundation it marks a successful culmination to more than three years of advocacy and coordination of a campaign, in partnership with a wide coalition, to secure inclusion of road safety in the global development agenda for the first time. FIA Foundation staffers participated in the final two-week session of intergovernmental negotiations, as they have done in every relevant session for the past 18 months, talking to government missions and UN agencies to ensure that the targets retained support. The SDGs will guide all global development efforts over the next 15 years, designed to 'stimulate action in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet'. To see the full article, go to:

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DOT issues advance notice of proposed rulemaking on single unit truck crash protection

Source: NHTSA Press Release, July 17, 2015

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) that is the first step of an initiative to upgrade the standards for truck and trailer underride crash protection. The ANPRM focuses on rear underride crash protection and visibility of single unit trucks, and will help NHTSA gather significant input from the public and stakeholders on the estimated cost and benefits of safety strategies for these vehicles. NHTSA estimates that a requirement for rear impact guards on single unit trucks (SUTs) could save five lives and prevent 30 injuries each year, and would cost approximately $669 million to equip approximately 342,000 vehicles. A requirement for reflective tape on SUTs could save up to 14 lives per year with a cost of approximately $30 million annually, for approximately 579,000 new SUTs. The agency is requesting comments about requirements for rear impact guards on new SUTs and reflective material on the rear and sides of these vehicles. Rear impact guards would provide underride protection to occupants of vehicles crashing into the rear of trucks and reflective material would improve visibility of these vehicles to other motorists and help drivers avoid these crashes in the first place. To see the full press release, go to:

U.S. won't mandate tech fix to prevent hot car deaths

Source: Detroit News Washington, July 31, 2015

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has no plans to require automakers to add in-vehicle technology that would alert parents who leave young children behind in hot cars. The number of reported deaths this year has fallen sharply--11 so far--compared with 31 for all of 2014. NHTSA and other advocates think increased public awareness may help explain the reduction. Asked if the agency is even considering launching the regulatory process to eventually require the technology, it said no, but didn't rule out a change down the road if the industry didn't make progress. Officials say it is important that parents and caregivers always make sure to check for their children. NHTSA recommends leaving something in the back seat like a wallet, briefcase or cellphone to ensure that parents check the back seat--or to leave a teddy bear in the front seat to remind them of the child in the backseat. To see the full article, go to:

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Upcoming Transportation/Safety Events

August 21-Sept. 7, 2015
Labor Day Weekend Drunk Driving Prevention

Please join thousands of law enforcement officers, State and local safety advocates, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in this year's nationwide drunk driving crackdown. Products for Enforcement Action Kit (PEAK) materials available here:

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 18-24, 2015
Teen Driver Safety Week

Sponsored by NHTSA. Planning materials are available at:

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