Decade of Action for Road Safety

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A monthly publication of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety

February 18, 2016         Summaries of timely road safety news, events, and alerts

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Road Deaths Spike in 2015

Automotive Fleet, February 08, 2016

Traffic deaths in the U.S. rose 9.3% in the first nine months of 2015, according to the latest federal estimates, reversing a years-long trend. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a new report estimating that more than 26,000 people died in traffic crashes in the first nine months of 2015, compared to the 23,796 road fatalities in the first nine months of 2014. Preliminary data indicate that motorists traveled more miles during those nine months in 2015 compared to 2014, representing a 3.5% increase. But the fatality rate for the period in 2015 still climbed to 1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, up from 1.05 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled from January to September in 2014. All 10 NHTSA-designated regions of the country experienced increases in estimated fatalities in 2015, according to the report. One region — encompassing the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana — saw a 20% jump. To see the full article, go to:

AAA releases timely study on weather-related traffic deaths

Source:, January 21, 2016

According to a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, bad weather is a factor in more than 2,000 deaths every winter based on new research. Dangerous winter storms and bad weather are a contributor to nearly half a million crashes and more than 2,000 road deaths every winter. Almost half (46%) of crashes involving bad weather take place in the winter, making this the worst time of year for driving. The highest proportion of crashes involving bad weather happen overnight from 6:00 pm until 5:59 am, when visibility is limited and roads are most likely to freeze. Previous research also has found that the rates of fatal crashes are higher during the first snowfall of the year than on subsequent days with snow. Overall, the study found that rain, snow, sleet and fog are a factor in more than 1.1 million police-reported crashes, 425,000 injuries and 5,100 traffic deaths per year. To see the full article, go to:

U.S. auto recalls hit all-time record in 2015

Source: USA TODAY, January 21, 2016

U.S. vehicle recalls hit an all-time high in 2015 for the second year in a row as regulators cracked down on safety defects and automakers became more proactive about reporting problems. Automakers recalled a record of more than 51 million vehicles in over 900 separate recalls in 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said at the Washington Auto Show. That narrowly edged the previous mark set in 2014, when manufacturers recalled slightly less than 51 million vehicles. The new record underscores a fresh layer of scrutiny of auto defects following a series of industry scandals, including the General Motors ignition-switch defect, the Volkswagen emissions cheating and Takata's exploding air bags. To see the full article, go to:

About 1 in 5 U.S. vehicles has open safety recall, Carfax says

Source: Automotive News, February 10, 2016

Nearly one in five vehicles on U.S. roads is in need of repair of a safety issue serious enough to be involved in a federal government recall, according to used-car history provider Carfax. There are more than 47 million cars in the U.S. with open recalls, up 27 percent from a year ago, Carfax said. The type of vehicle with the highest rate of unfixed safety issues is the family-oriented minivan, with one of every 4.6 having open recalls. SUVs are second at one in 5.1 vehicles, followed by pickup trucks and cars, each at one in 5.5 vehicles. To see the full article, go to:

Teens get back in driver's seat as economy picks up

Source: IIHS Status Report, January 28, 2016

Teenage drivers are returning to the roads in a trend that a new HLDI analysis links to the recent economic recovery. Teen driving began to decline sharply about a decade ago. While many observers speculated that the proliferation of cellphones and social media had made driving less attractive to teenagers, HLDI showed there was a strong relationship between the decline in teen driving and rising teen unemployment. In a reversal, from 2012 to 2014, more teenagers found jobs. At the same time, more teenagers began driving, an update to the HLDI study shows. "It seems like many teens really do want to drive after all, and much of the earlier decline in driving was due to the disproportionate effect of the economy on teen employment," HLDI Vice President Matt Moore says. "When teenagers have jobs, they have more of a need to drive, along with money to help pay for it." To see the full article, go to:

Front crash prevention slashes police-reported rear-end crashes

Source: IIHS Status Report, January 28, 2016

Vehicles equipped with front crash prevention are much less likely to rear-end other vehicles, IIHS has found in the first study of the feature's effectiveness using U.S. police-reported crash data. Systems with automatic braking reduce rear-end crashes by about 40% on average, while forward collision warning alone cuts them by 23%, the study found. The autobrake systems also greatly reduce injury crashes. If all vehicles had been equipped with autobrake that worked as well as the systems studied, there would have been at least 700,000 fewer police-reported rear-end crashes in 2013. That number represents 13% of police-reported crashes overall. "As this technology becomes more widespread, we can expect to see noticeably fewer rear-end crashes. The same goes for the whiplash injuries that often result from these crashes and can cause a lot of pain and lost productivity," says David Zuby, IIHS chief research officer. To see the full article, go to:

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Preventing pothole damage

Source: Automotive Fleet, February 1, 2015

With so many regions seeing record-setting rain and snow in recent weeks, this year's repair expenses arising from pothole damage are likely to exceed expectations as well. But drivers can take several steps to keep such costs down. The Michigan Department of Transportation says drivers should make sure tires are properly inflated. Over- or under-inflated tires fare worse when they strike a pothole. Tires showing excessive wear or bulges in the sidewalls won't hold up as well to potholes, either. MDOT also says to make certain the vehicle's suspension and steering components are checked out when the vehicle is serviced. Responsive steering can help you avoid hitting potholes. Also, good shocks, struts and springs will help cushion the blow. To avoid hitting potholes whenever possible, you need to drive cautiously and not tailgate. To see the full article, go to:

Shocking NSW road safety video will make you want to wear a seatbelt

Source: Huffington Post – Australia, February 1, 2016

A graphic crash test dummy video shared by NSW Road Safety on Facebook is making people want to buckle up. The video shows the moment of impact with two dummies wearing seat belts and two without. Needless to say, those sans seat belts don't fare so well. The video is accompanied with the message: "This is why it's the law to wear a seatbelt. Clip every trip" and has been shared around the world. To see the full article, with a link to the clip, go to:

Shell employee shares personal story in hopes others will learn from his family's ordeal

Kim Chapman works for Shell in Houston. He hopes that by sharing the experience of his son, others won't have to go through something similar. "My son Jamie recently celebrated his 25th birthday, but we could have lost him at 20. Four years ago Jamie suffered a terrible, life-changing car crash. He is now left with a Traumatic Brain Injury. My son's life has been heavily impacted. He had to relearn everything, he still has troubles with his balance and the use of the right side of his body. The action to pick up his keys without thinking and get in his car after drinking changed his life forever. If there is one thing I want people to remember, it is to please stop for a moment and think about the impact your decisions can have on others. I want you to watch his video for one simple reason; I don't want anyone to go through what Jamie went through, and for no family to experience what we are experiencing." See Jamie's story here:

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Innovation and Technology

Exclusive: In boost to self-driving cars, U.S. tells Google computers can qualify as drivers

Source: Reuters, February 10, 2016

U.S. vehicle safety regulators have said the artificial intelligence system piloting a self-driving Google car could be considered the driver under federal law, a major step toward ultimately winning approval for autonomous vehicles on the roads. "NHTSA will interpret 'driver' in the context of Google's described motor vehicle design as referring to the (self-driving system), and not to any of the vehicle occupants," NHTSA's February 4 letter to Google said. "If NHTSA is prepared to name artificial intelligence as a viable alternative to human-controlled vehicles, it could substantially streamline the process of putting autonomous vehicles on the road," said Karl Brauer, senior analyst for the Kelley Blue Book automotive research firm. NHTSA said then it would write guidelines for self-driving cars within six months. The process of rewriting federal regulations governing the design, placement and operation of vehicle controls could take months or years. The NHTSA counsel said Google could consider applying for exemptions for certain regulations, providing NHTSA with supporting documents. To see the full article, go to:

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Marijuana use and its impact on workplace safety and productivity

Source: Occupational Health & Safety, February 1, 2016

The number of people using marijuana in the United States is rising rapidly, and the impact of this increase is showing up at work. Drug testing services report more positive tests for marijuana, both in pre-employment drug screens and drug tests conducted for other reasons. The penalty for a positive test is often a refusal to hire or, for those who are already employees, discipline up to and including termination. An employee familiar with state laws legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use may be surprised by such a harsh workplace penalty, but employers continue to have good reasons for enforcing a strong substance abuse policy that includes a ban on marijuana. Safety concerns are often a company's primary reason for prohibiting marijuana in the workplace, and they are a valid basis for banning the drug as Marijuana use has been linked to an increase in job accidents and injuries. To see the full article, go to:

Employers: How to make safer, more knowledgeable drivers – on and off the job

Source: guest post from Dr. Stephanie Pratt, NIOSH, February 8, 2016

Newer vehicles have advanced safety features most of us could not have imagined several years ago. These safety features often operate without drivers being aware of them. In certain critical situations, though, some of them trigger the vehicle to take action to avoid a crash. But, research shows that drivers have uncertainty about many of the advanced safety features available today. Additionally, according to a survey conducted by the University of Iowa, 40% of people reported they had experienced a situation in which their vehicle acted in an unexpected way. Vehicles that are driven for work may have more advanced safety features than workers' personal vehicles, and workers may not drive the same work vehicle every day. As a result, workers may be unfamiliar with advanced safety features and not understand why their vehicles behave in a certain way. To see the full article, go to:

Distracted driving lawsuit draws $1.3m award

Source: Automotive Fleet, February 8, 2016

A jury in Alabama has awarded nearly $1.3 million to a man who suffered life-threatening injuries in early 2013 in a highway crash, allegedly caused by a driver distracted by a work-related phone call. Gregory Moore, an employee of McKelvey Mechanical in Tuscaloosa, was driving a rented box truck in Montgomery County. A school bus ahead had come to a full stop to let out children. At the last moment, Moore swerved to avoid the bus but still clipped it. Michael Duey of Eufaula, Ala., was hauling building materials to Illinois for work, traveling right behind Moore's box truck. Moore's truck blocked Duey's view of the school bus ahead. After Moore's truck swerved over to the next lane, Duey's pickup truck slammed into the school bus and he suffered critical injuries. Moore's cell phone records indicated he had been on the phone on a work-related call according to attorneys. Alabama prohibits texting while driving, but there is no handheld phone ban. To see the full article, go to:

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Shell-MIROS partnership to improve road safety

Source: The Sun Daily, February 15, 2016

SHELL Malaysia recently announced its partnership with the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) to improve road safety through the International Road Safety Assessment Programme (iRAP). The iRAP uses a vehicle outfitted with advanced technology to analyse 13,000 km of expressways and federal roads nationwide. It then assigns appropriate ratings based on the data collected. The ratings, based on a 5-star scale, serve as a benchmark to pinpoint where improvements are needed. Then, through a consistent methodology, the data is used to develop high-return road safety countermeasures designed to prevent road accidents. Shell's partnership with MIROS will drive research and development activities related to the programme. "It is our hope that this Road Assessment Programme will help reduce accidents on our roads. Shell will also use iRAP star ratings in our journey management plans and improve our own road safety measures. We hope others will do likewise. I also hope that our action today will inspire other corporate sponsors to support MIROS for this important initiative," said Shell Malaysia chairman, Datuk Iain Lo. To see the full article, go to:

FIA Foundation publishes Annual Report: Goals for Change, Partners for Action

Source: FIA Foundation, January 2016

FIA Foundation's Annual Report 2015 titled, "Goals for Change, Partners for Action" highlights the charity's work and achievements and lays out strategic objectives for 2016 and beyond--to build on the inclusion of transport targets in the Sustainable Development Goals. Download the report here:

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U.S. DOT announces steep increase in roadway deaths based on 2015 early estimates and convenes first regional summit to drive traffic safety behavior changes

Source: NHTSA press release, February 5, 2016

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced its latest estimate of traffic deaths, which show a steep 9.3% increase for the first nine months of 2015. The news comes as the agency kicks-off its first in a series of regional summits with a day-long event in Sacramento, Calif., to examine unsafe behaviors and human choices that contribute to increasing traffic deaths on a national scale. Human factors contribute to 94% of crashes according to decades of NHTSA research. "We're seeing red flags across the U.S. and we're not waiting for the situation to develop further," said Dr. Mark Rosekind, NHTSA Administrator. "It's time to drive behavioral changes in traffic safety and that means taking on new initiatives and addressing persistent issues like drunk driving and failure to wear seat belts." To see the agenda for the summits, go to: To see the full press release, go to:

U.S. Department of Transportation launches new public awareness campaign

Source: NHTSA Press Release, January 21, 2016

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a new public awareness campaign called Safe Cars Save Lives that urges consumers to check for open recalls at least twice a year and to get their vehicles fixed as soon as parts are available. Last year, there were close to 900 recalls affecting 51 million vehicles nationwide. Every year, on average, 25% of recalled vehicles are left unrepaired. The Safe Cars Save Lives campaign features online banner ads illustrating that safety should never take a back seat and that checking for a recall could help save a life. Consumers are urged to get into the habit of checking their vehicle identification number (VIN) twice a year at a minimum using NHTSA's free VIN look up tool. To remember to check, NHTSA suggests timing it with day light savings – every November when setting clocks back and every March when setting clocks forward. To see the full press release, go to:

NHTSA publishes FAQs for Keyless Ignition Systems

More and more manufacturers are adding Keyless Ignition Systems to their vehicles, which usually consist of a device (also known as a key fob or a FOB) carried by the driver, taking over the functions of a traditional metal key. NHTSA's concerns are drivers who may:

  • Not put their vehicles in "park" and walk away from the vehicle, leaving it prone to roll away; or
  • Put their vehicle in park, but inadvertently leave the system active increasing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in a closed environment; or
  • Not know how to shut down the system of their vehicle in the event of any on-road emergency.

A new video and FAQs have been developed that you may want to share with employees to help drivers get to know this technology better. Go to:

Recently Published NHTSA Report: Countermeasures That Work: A Highway Safety Countermeasures Guide for State Highway Safety Offices, Eighth Edition, 2015

Countermeasures that Work is a basic reference guide, which is designed to assist State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) and others involved in the field of highway safety in selecting and implementing effective, evidence-based countermeasures to address traffic safety problem areas. The publication describes major strategies and countermeasures that are relevant, summarizes strategy/countermeasure use, effectiveness, costs, and implementation time and provides references to the most important research summaries and individual studies. View or download a pdf of the report here:

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Upcoming Transportation/Safety Events

March 17, 2016 -
Saint Patrick's Day Drunk Driving Prevention Campaign-
Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving

Sponsored by NHTSA. Campaign materials available here:

April: National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Materials for NHTSA's third national highly visible enforcement campaign for distracted driving (April 8-13) are available here:

For additional materials to share with employees, see the NETS Drive Safely Work Week campaign archives.

DSWW 2014: Driving Your Safety Culture Home

DSWW 2012: Back to Basics: Your Keys to Safe Driving

DSWW 2011: Focus 360°: Getting There Safely is Everyone's Business

DSWW 2010: Focus- Safe Driving is Serious Business

April 3-5, 2016
Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities
Long Beach, CA

Early registration discount available until March 4, 2016. For more information or to register, go to:

June 26-29
ASSE SAFETY 2016 Professional Development Conference and Exposition
Atlanta, GA

NETS Board of Directors' member Dr. Stephanie Pratt of NIOSH, Jack Hanley, NETS Executive Director and Tony Vinciguerra of the Center for Transportation and Safety (an Elements Financial Company) will present together on fleet safety benchmarking.

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