Decade of Action for Road Safety

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A monthly publication of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety

December 16, 2015         Summaries of timely road safety news, events, and alerts

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The number of miles cars travel is about to explode

Source:, November 17, 2015

Some forecasters have predicted that vehicle sales will fall in the future because urban-living millennials—and more importantly, the generation that follows them—don't value car ownership. Instead, the younger generation will increasingly use alternatives like Uber, Lyft, and Daimler's car-sharing service Car2go. The advisory arm of KPMG says this shift will cause an interesting side effect—and not the death of automakers as some predict. While car ownership—and in turn, sales may decline—the number of total annual vehicle miles driven will soar. U.S. cars will travel one trillion additional miles annually by 2050, or 35% more than the roughly 2 trillion miles traveled in 2015, according to KPMG. The company's research, which consisted of consumer focus groups in Atlanta, Chicago and Denver, found that millennials and "baby boomers plus," who range in age from 45 to 75, will be largely responsible for the increased driving. To see the full article, go to:

Video: Top-rated head restraints cut injuries by 11%

Source: Automotive Fleet, November 30, 2015

Vehicle seat/head restraint combinations earning top scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reduce injury claim rates by 11.2%, compared to vehicles with poorly rated restraint combinations, a new study found. The study concluded that top-rated restraint combinations markedly reduce the likelihood that someone will sustain neck injuries if rear-ended by another vehicle. The study also underscored the dramatic improvement in such restraint quality in today's vehicles. A decade ago, IIHS said, more than half of the seat/head restraints the institute evaluated were rated "poor" and just 9% drew a "good" score. In contrast, 95% of 2015 models earned a "good" rating and none were rated "poor." IIHS credited its own ratings program, combined with stricter federal requirements for higher front-seat head restraints, for the overall improvement in such occupant protection. To see the full article, go to:

Report: Unbuckled in Back: An Overlooked Issue in Highway Safety

Source: GHSA, November 23, 2015

Each year, hundreds of unbelted adults in the rear seats of passenger vehicles are killed -- and hundreds more seriously injured -- in crashes. In 2013, there were 883 unrestrained rear seat passenger fatalities age 8 and above; more than 400 of these people may be alive today if they had simply buckled up. Rear seat passengers are three times more likely to die in a crash if they are unbuckled. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has released Unbuckled in Back: An Overlooked Issue in Occupant Protection. This report -- the latest in a series of "Spotlights on Highway Safety" -- explores adult rear seat belt use rates, state laws and enforcement, and public education efforts and makes recommendations on how states can save lives by increasing rear seat belt use by adults. The report may be downloaded here: To see the full press release, go to:

Report: Prevalence of Self-Reported Drowsy Driving, United States: 2015

Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

Operator drowsiness, sleepiness, or fatigue has been documented as a contributing factor in aviation, maritime, and traffic crashes. However, in comparison to some other highway safety problems such as drunk and distracted driving, drowsy driving has received much less attention. A new study finds that nearly a third of all drivers (31.5%) reported driving when they were so sleepy that they had a hard time keeping their eyes open in the last 30 days, including 3.5% who did so fairly often or regularly. Drivers ages 19-24 were the most likely to report having driven while struggling to keep their eyes open at least once in the last 30 days (39.6%), while drivers ages 25-39 were the most likely to report having done so fairly often or regularly (5.3%). Drivers ages 16-18 were the least likely to report having driven while struggling to keep their eyes open at least once in the last 30 days (16.3%), while drivers ages 75 and older were the least likely to report having done so fairly often or regularly. To see the report, go to:

Study finds that aging warps our perception of time

Source:, December 15, 2015

Much like trying to watch a video with the audio out of synch, older adults may have difficulty combining the stimuli they see and hear, and it could have implications for rapid decision-making tasks such as driving, according to new research. A recent study found that seniors have a harder time distinguishing the order of events than younger adults. When researchers presented them with both a light and sound at the same or different times, they found that young and older adults could determine whether they occurred simultaneously with similar accuracy. But when asked to determine which appeared first, the light or the sound, older adults performed much worse. This is the first study to test multiple ways in which younger and older people combine sensory information in time. The findings provide new hope that by strengthening the link between these brain processes as people age, the impairments in distinguishing the order of events and perceived collisions could reduce. Possible solutions for improving impaired perceptions of time in the older adults could come from training using video games or brain stimulation. To see the full article, go to:

The best way to prevent drunk driving? That's debatable

Source:, November 17, 2105

In the fight against drunk driving, states are splitting into two groups. They disagree over the best way to discourage convicted drunk drivers from driving drunk again and, in the process, are raising questions about the effectiveness of ignition interlocks. Now, after years of state lawmakers choosing sides, Congress will get involved too. The disagreements come a decade after all states adopted laws making it a crime to drive with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. Since then, the number of U.S. deaths in alcohol-related crashes has declined from about 13,000 a year to about 10,000 a year. But the numbers haven't changed much since 2010, so advocates have pushed states to take further measures. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) champions laws that require all people convicted of drunk driving to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. So far 25 states have passed that type of law in the last decade. But a small group of advocates, particularly in the Midwest, backs a different approach that tries to make repeat offenders stay completely sober -- even when they're not driving. To see the full article, go to:

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AAA warns against pull-forward parking

Source: Automotive Fleet, December 14, 2015

This holiday season, as shopping center parking lots fill with millions of vehicles, AAA is warning drivers to avoid a common parking lot mistake: pull-forward parking that later requires backing up to exit the space. According to a new survey, 76% of U.S. drivers most frequently park their vehicle by pulling forward into a parking spot, rather than backing in. But this is a riskier practice that leaves pedestrians more vulnerable when the driver later reverses from the spot to move into the traffic lane, AAA said. And technology advances may not be the answer. AAA tested rear cross-traffic alert systems designed to alert drivers to traffic passing behind a reversing vehicle. Researchers found that significant system limitations exist when a car is parked between larger vehicles, such as SUVs or minivans. In this common parking lot scenario, AAA said, the tested systems failed to detect pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles and other vehicles at alarming rates. To see the full article, including safe parking tips, go to:

MI unveils online help for aging drivers, their families

Source: WOOD-TV, December 7, 2015

In a state that already boasts the 8th largest senior population in the nation, people age 65 and older are also Michigan's fastest growing demographic. The number of licensed drivers in that age group in Michigan has increased 30% in the last decade. Against that backdrop, state leaders have unveiled a new website full of resources to help aging drivers stay on the road as long as safely possible. Among its features, the website,, shows elderly drivers how to assess their own driving skills, identify problems that might impact their driving ability, find classes designed to help senior drivers and develop strategies to allow them to continue driving safely as long as possible. The site, Safe Drivers Smart Options; Keys to Lifelong Mobility, also helps seniors and their caregivers connect with critical resources in their communities, such as available public transportation. To see the full article, go to:

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NETS presented with royal award for contributions to global road safety

Source: Roadsafe via Business Wire, November 18, 2015

HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO awarded the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), a global NGO, the prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Award for the organization's contribution to global workplace road safety. Each year, nearly 1.3 million people are killed on roads worldwide, and up to 50 million more are injured. More than one quarter of all fatal road traffic crashes are work-related, according to the World Health Organization. NETS received the award specifically for the development and distribution of The Comprehensive Guide to Road Safety™. The document is designed to aid employers with fleets of any size at various stages of road safety program development. This includes those who are preparing to initiate a program, in the early stages of policy and program development or managing more mature road safety management systems and interventions. The Guide is made available free of charge, in 22 languages. Jack Hanley, NETS' Executive Director, received the award in Brasilia, Brazil, on behalf of NETS. To see the full press release, go to:

Drowsy driving on the rise

Source: Automotive Fleet, December 2015

Drowsy driving is an increasing concern for today's fleets, and can lead to drivers crashing and damaging a vehicle or worse, cause injuries to themselves and others. This safety concern now accounts for 100,000 automobile crashes per year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In addition, drowsy drivers are involved in an estimated 21% of fatal crashes, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. There are common signs of drowsiness that drivers should be taught to watch for: excessive yawning or rubbing of eyes, feeling restless, drifting from lane to lane or hitting a shoulder rumble strip, trouble focusing, and daydreaming. But, there are also many signs that aren't as apparent. To see the full article, go to:

Do your drivers know their company vehicle is not equipped with a spare tire?

Source: Automotive Fleet, December 4, 2015

It is a fleet manager's responsibility to let drivers know their company vehicle is not equipped with a spare tire. The danger is many drivers do not know their vehicle doesn't have a spare – until they need it. Drivers often say they were never told their new company vehicle didn't come with a spare. Approximately 36% of model-year 2015 vehicles were not equipped with a spare tire. This compares to 5% in 2006. It can be difficult to tell which models are equipped with a spare and which aren't, as some models include it in one trim level, but not the other. OEMs have been eliminating spare tires for several reasons. First, it helps reduce vehicle curb weight, which is especially important for hybrids and electric vehicles. As OEMs struggle to achieve maximum miles per gallon, they're eliminating dead weight to make vehicles lighter. To see the full article, including the alternatives to equipping vehicles with a spare tire, go to:

Subscribe to the New Motor Vehicle Safety e-Newsletter, Behind the Wheel at Work

Source: NIOSH, November 2015

Preventing work-related motor vehicle crashes is the drive behind the NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety's research and communication efforts. To receive research updates, links to motor vehicle safety resources, practical tips on workplace driving, and news about upcoming events, subscribe to Behind the Wheel at Work, the NIOSH CMVS quarterly eNewsletter here:

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Road safety: More funding, coordination needed for the poorest countries

Source: The World Bank, November 17, 2015

Developing countries can make big gains in improving road safety with more funding and coordination to scale up interventions that deliver proven results, World Bank officials said ahead of a global conference. A World Bank delegation will participate in the 2nd Global High Level Conference on Road Safety on November 18-19 in Brasilia. They will discuss with clients, partners, and potential donors how best to scale up action, funding, and overall impact so that the poorest countries can see more progress. The latest Global Status Report on Road Safety estimates that road deaths have leveled off since 2007. But they remain unacceptably high, at 1.25 million deaths and 50 million injuries a year. This is more deaths than from malaria or tuberculosis; and if trends continue, the number of traffic-related deaths could surpass those from HIV-AIDS by 2020. Road injuries are the leading cause of death among those aged 15 to 29. Deaths and injuries in low- and middle-income countries are estimated to reduce GDP by 3 to 5%, often affecting the poorest. Since 2010, low-income countries have had higher average road deaths than middle-income countries. To see the full article, go to:

.2nd Global High-Level Conference on Road Safety

Source: World Health Organization

NETS participated in the 2nd Global High-Level Conference on Road Safety in Brasilia, Brazil, November 18-19 through a resolution entitled "Improving Global Road Safety". The Conference brought together over 2,200 delegates from more than 110 countries, including 70 Ministers of Transport, Health, and Interior, senior officials from United Nations agencies, representatives of civil society and business leaders.

The Conference was an opportunity for Member States to exchange information and experiences on best practices in road safety. Delegates reviewed progress in implementation of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 and discussed how to achieve its stated goal. Read more about Conference at:

See also the special Brasilia edition of Global NCAP's online newsletter IMPACT here:

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New "Connected Vehicles" website covers all of the basics

Source: DOT Fast Lane Blog, November 18, 2015

The U.S. DOT is very enthusiastic about connected vehicle technology and the safety, mobility, and environmental benefits that it promises. We in the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) also recognize that this may be a new concept for some. That's why we have recently launched a new website describing the basics of connected vehicles. Through this new site, everyone can understand the fundamentals of connected vehicles and learn why everyone at DOT is so excited about this promising technology. Connected vehicle technology will wirelessly connect our vehicles to each other, to our roads, and to our personal mobile devices so they can exchange secure information about their position, speed, brake status, and more. It can also provide timely, situation-appropriate warnings and recommendations to drivers. The Connected Vehicles Basics website answers questions regarding how this technology works, what it makes possible, and how it will be used. To see the full blog post, go to:

NHTSA toughens crash test rating standards

Source: USA Today, December 8, 2015

U.S. regulators are overhauling the process of assigning safety ratings to new vehicles by proposing requiring more crash-avoidance technologies to achieve a perfect score and adopting new crash-test dummies to assess performance. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed revising the current ratings system from a single overall score of 1 to 5 into a multifaceted scorecard that would include the score on crash-avoidance systems and a mark for pedestrian safety. It marks a strategic shift for the auto-safety industry from simply measuring what happens to vehicles during collisions to how well vehicles can avoid accidents in the first place. The overhaul, which is now open to a public comment period, would go into effect for the 2019 model year barring bureaucratic delays or political hurdles. The changes include a new rating to gauge a vehicle's use of nine advanced technologies such as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning. To see the full article, go to:

U.S. delays rules requiring hybrid and electric vehicles to have audio alerts until March 2016

Source: Industry Leaders Magazine, November 30, 2015

U.S. regulators are delaying rules that would improve the safety of hybrid and electric vehicles for pedestrians until next year. Hybrid and electric vehicles using electric motors, especially pure battery-powered cars can become very silent at low speeds. This can be hazardous for sight-impaired pedestrians and bicyclists that rely on sound for safety. Congress passed the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act in 2010 which needed additional noise alerts on vehicles that operate silently at speeds under 18 miles per hour. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration originally had until January 2014 to finalize a mandate, but delayed its deadline to November, according to the government filing. According to a report posted to the U.S. Department of Transportation website, NHTSA will delay a mandate until March 2016. The reason for the delay was listed as additional coordination needed. Once the rules are finalized, car makers will have 18 months to make hybrid and electric vehicles comply. This means car makers will have to install a small, waterproof speaker somewhere on the car. To see the full article, go to:

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Upcoming Transportation/Safety Events

November 28-December 15, 2015

Pre-Holiday Season Drunk Driving Prevention:

Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving

Materials are available through NHTSA at:

December 16, 2015-January 1, 2016

Holiday Season Drunk Driving Prevention:

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

Materials are available through NHTSA at:

Sunday, February 7, 2017
Super Bowl 50!

For drunk driving prevention materials from NHTSA's Traffic Safety Marketing, go to:

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