Decade of Action for Road Safety

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A monthly publication of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety

February 16, 2017    Summaries of timely road safety news, events, and alerts

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Message from NETS' Executive Director, Joe McKillips

Joe McKillips

Save the Date!

Mark your calendars for an event you won't want to miss! The NETS Annual STRENGTH IN NUMBERS® Benchmark Conference is scheduled for October 11-12, 2017 at the Omni Hotel in Charlottesville, VA. This year's event is sure to be another great opportunity to learn best practices and gain ideas on how you can improve your road safety program, at the only conference focused exclusively on employer road safety. New for this year, you'll have the opportunity to participate in a behind-the-scenes tour of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety-Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHS-HLDI) Vehicle Research Center (VRC) to observe a live car-to-car crash test and participate in hands-on crash avoidance demonstrations. See the full article at:



2016 traffic deaths jump to highest level in nearly a decade

Source: Associated Press via, February 15, 2017

Traffic fatalities rose 6 percent in 2016, reaching an estimated 40,200 deaths compared to 37,757 deaths the previous year, according the National Safety Council. The group gets its data from states. The last time there were more than 40,000 fatalities in a single year was in 2007, just before the economy tanked. There were 41,000 deaths that year. Following an increase in fatalities in 2015, the United States has had the sharpest two-year increase in traffic deaths in 53 years, the council said. As the economy recovered, people not only began driving more, but they also increased more risky types of driving "like going out on the weekends or taking long trips on unfamiliar roads," said Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Teens, who have the highest fatal crash rates, are also back on the road after the recession when many of them couldn't afford to drive as much, he said. The surge in fatalities comes as cars and trucks have more safety features than ever. To see the full article, go to:

Driver behavior paramount as autonomous vehicles introduced

Source: GHSA News Release, February 2, 2017

As autonomous vehicles (AVs) merge into our nation's traffic, the most pressing safety challenge for states will be preparing human drivers. While these vehicles have the potential for tremendous safety benefits, AVs will be sharing the road with traditional driver-operated cars for many decades, perhaps forever. And the public remains skeptical. Currently, only about one-fifth of drivers say they would buy an autonomous car as soon as one is available and fewer than one-third say they would be comfortable riding in one. This presents a myriad of safety challenges for states, which are responsible for educating the public, licensing drivers, and establishing and enforcing traffic laws. The Governors Highway Safety Association's new report, Autonomous Vehicles Meet Human Drivers: Traffic Safety Issues for States, examines these issues and recommends how states can prepare for AVs and put traffic safety at the forefront of all policy decisions. Dr. James Hedlund, a former senior official with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), authored the report. To see the full news release, go to: To see the full report, go to:

Young millennials top list of worst behaved drivers- AAAFTS 2016 Traffic Safety Culture Index Released

Source: AAA Newsroom, February 15, 2017

A new report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 88% of young millennials engaged in at least one risky behavior behind the wheel in the past 30 days, earning the top spot of worst behaved U.S. drivers. These dangerous behaviors ― which increase crash risk ― included texting while driving, red-light running and speeding. These findings come as U.S. traffic deaths rose to 35,092 in 2015, an increase of more than 7%, the largest single-year increase in five decades. The new survey results are part of the AAA Foundation's annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, which identifies attitudes and behaviors related to traffic safety. The survey data are from a sample of 2,511 licensed drivers ages 16 and older who reported driving in the past 30 days. The AAA Foundation issued its first Traffic Safety Culture Index in 2008, and the latest report is online at To see the full news release including breakouts by rank and by age group, the percentage of drivers who reported engaging in speeding, red light running or texting behind the wheel in the past 30 days, go to:

Report: An Assessment of Traffic Safety Culture Related to Engagement Efforts to Improve Traffic Safety

Source: Western Transportation Institute- Montana State University, December 2016

Traditional strategies to reduce risky or unhealthy behaviors focus on changing the behaviors of those individuals at risk. Drinking and driving, speeding, and not wearing a seat belt are major contributing factors to roadway fatalities. However, the proportion of the U.S. population that engages in such behaviors tends to be small relative to the proportion that abstains. To achieve zero deaths, smaller groups of individuals who continue to engage in unsafe behaviors must be reached. A novel approach is to empower the vast majority of safe road users to engage in prosocial behaviors to impact this smaller group. Instead of trying to reduce risky behaviors among a small group of individuals, the goal is to instill a sense of responsibility in everyone for the safety of others. This strategy is known as "safety citizenship." To read the full description of the project, go to:

Study examines how behavioral science can help tackle problem of idling engines

Source:, February 10, 2017

New research suggests that behavioral science can help inform the design of road signs to bring about changes in driver behavior. Research has demonstrated how even very minimal cues or 'nudges' can sometimes have a powerful influence on human behavior and decision-making. In this study, the researchers applied this approach to examine whether simple visual and written cues could be used to encourage drivers to switch off their engines while waiting at railway crossings. Researchers found that making simple changes to road signs which prompted drivers to consciously reflect on their behavior doubled the rate of people turning off their engines. In this study, the researchers tested whether the addition of a picture of 'watching eyes' would increase drivers' compliance with the instructions to turn off their engines while waiting at the level crossing. To see the full article, go to:

Fatal crashes in Alabama jump by 25% in 2016

Source: Cullman Times, February 11, 2017

Deaths from traffic crashes in Alabama in 2016 increased by nearly a quarter from 2015, although the number of crashes went up just 2.1%, according to a recent study of data by researchers at The University of Alabama. Critical causes of more traffic fatalities include increased speeds, lack of safety belts and more distracted drivers as well as pedestrians, according to the analysis of crash reports statewide. Although final numbers for 2016 are not yet official, the count to date is 1,058 traffic fatalities in Alabama through the end of 2016, which is 24.6% more than the 849 people who died in traffic crashes in 2015, according to state crash records. Total traffic collisions, however, increased only slightly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that 94% of crashes are caused by human error. To see the full article, go to:

New Resource: Teen Driving Program Planning & Evaluation Guide

Source: NHTSA's Impaired Driving Update, February 2017

In partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute has released a guide that covers how to establish and implement an evidence -informed, practical process to plan, select, and evaluate teen driver safety programs with the ultimate goal of reducing crashes. The resource includes a guidebook and videos on the CHOP Program Planning & Evaluation YouTube Channel. The guidebook and videos are designed to help teen driver safety stakeholders make the most of their programming, including:

  • How to identify a specific community's traffic safety issues and needs
  • How to leverage that information to maximize program impact
  • How to measure impact to revise programs for the future

The 13-chapter guidebook comes with a resource book that contains worksheets, helpful websites, and a database of teen driving programs. The CHOP Program Planning & Evaluation YouTube Channel comprehensively walks viewers through each step of planning and evaluating teen driving programs. Best of all, the concepts are applicable for anyone involved in traffic safety, injury prevention, education, or public health program planning. Access the guide here:

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Thank you for your speed: New Zealand tries new approach to speeding drivers (video PSA)

Source: New Zealand Transport Agency, February 2017

Many drivers naturally defend their choice to speed. Their own experience reinforces their belief that their speed isn't the problem. They believe it's their choice to drive at the speeds they travel and they don't like being told to slow down. A new campaign puts a twist on previous campaigns which have focused on the consequences of more speed. This campaign wants drivers to acknowledge that their speed isn't just a personal choice. Sure – most of the time when they speed nothing happens, but what if something does? While they might not be at fault, the speed they choose to drive at determines the outcome of any crash. Ultimately the goal is to get people to make the choice to slow down. By choosing a safe speed, they choose what happens next. To view the short PSA, go to:

Having trouble sleeping? Napping classes are now a thing

Source: (Australia), January 31, 2017

Five students in eye masks lie on mats, their hands linked on top of their chests. This is not yoga: it's a guided nap. "Essentially you can expect to enter a dark room, settle into the room and be taken on a short guided meditation... and then nod off for 20 to 24 minutes of nap," says Ms. Tsakalos, a psychologist. "One in six Australians are chronically sleep deprived — a lot of our clients are coming in with stress that makes it really difficult to wind down. Naptime deals with that: boosting your immune system, improving memory and just allowing you to perform better when you do get back to work." The scientific evidence is increasingly pointing to the benefits of napping. Earlier this month, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania released a study of more than 3,000 elderly Chinese people which found that those who took afternoon naps performed better on mental ability tests. Other experiments have shown that naps can improve everything from learning to memory to creative thinking. A University of California study found naps to be a far more effective way of dealing with a mid-afternoon slump than caffeine. To see the full article, go to:

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Until self-driving cars go mainstream, how can businesses protect workers from crashes?

Source:, February 9, 2017

Whether it's for travel, commuting or work, driving is essential to our daily lives. And while self-driving vehicles may be gaining attention across the nation, many transportation experts expect that it will take at least 20-30 years for many of the vehicles on our roads to have this groundbreaking technology. Most U.S. workers will still be driving themselves for the next few decades—making protecting the vast majority of workers who still drive human-controlled vehicles one of our most pressing concerns today. Motor vehicle crashes remain the No. 1 cause of injury deaths at work. Crash risk affects workers in all industries and occupations, whether employees drive tractor-trailers, cars, pickup trucks or emergency vehicles, and whether driving is a primary or occasional part of the job. Crashes are also a major injury risk for business travelers while abroad. Crashes affect businesses through productivity loss, medical and workers' compensation costs, liability and reputational damage. According to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, on-the-job crashes cost U.S. employers $25 billion in 2013 alone. To see the full article, including what actions employers can take, go to:

Car dealership worker fined over colleague's death

Source: OHS News (Australia), January 25, 2017

A car dealership employee has been fined $9500 plus costs of $12,052.75 over the death of a worker at the dealership more than three years ago. The man, a pre-delivery assistant, was found guilty of failing to take reasonable care not to adversely affect another person, and by that failure, causing the death of the person. The part manager who died in July 2013 was struck and dragged by a vehicle driven by the pre-delivery assistant who was conducting a pre-delivery check. The pre-delivery assistant left the engine running and placed it in reverse gear to check the rear lights. He asked the parts manager to check that the lights were working. As he was doing it, the Holden Cruze lunged backwards killing him. Investigators found that the pre-delivery assistant accidentally pressed the accelerator instead of the brake. WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said employees are also responsible for the safety of their colleagues in the workplace. To see the full article, go to:

How drivers can be safe and productive

Source: Automotive Fleet, February 2017

While safety might be the No. 1 priority fleet managers advocate to their drivers on a daily basis, worker productivity also plays a significant role in a fleet's operation. And whether it's adding more stops on a route or taking on additional tasks, a schedule that is aimed to make a driver more productive is going to look appealing to upper management. But if drivers are making sacrifices in the safety department as a way to boost the results for the bottom line, the end might not justify the means. As with other elements in life, a balance between safety and productivity in a fleet operation is important. A solid foundation designed to achieve balance will help keep both fleet managers and drivers accountable. For example, an imbalance could mean an emphasis on drivers packing too much into their work schedule. If a driver were to do this, then he or she could begin to exhibit unsafe driving behaviors as a means to complete tasks. Experts say that properly structured scheduling, which can be done by way of route planning, should help eliminate these issues. To see the full article, go to:

2017 fleet management trends: Safety tech

Source: Automotive Fleet, January 2017

Commercial fleets seeking to reduce distracted driving and the associated risks are requesting more semi-autonomous features with leased vehicles such as frontal braking, as well as other safety aides like backup cameras, Bluetooth, and adaptive headlights, according to fleet management company experts. In recent model years, automakers have begun offering some of these safety technologies on lower trim grades so commercial fleets can continue purchasing base model vehicles. All 2018 model year vehicles most have a backup camera under regulations finalized by the U.S. Department of Transportation in March of 2014. Experts say that active frontal crash avoidance systems and adaptive headlights are showing some of the best results in reducing collisions and are becoming more common. Safety technologies expected to gain greater popularity among fleets in 2017 include Bluetooth, lane keep assist, electronic stability control, adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights, collision warning, park assist, back-up camera, reverse sensing system and telematics devices. To see the full article, go to:

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Troopers use 'big data' to predict crash sites

Source:, February 09, 2017

As Tennessee Highway Patrol Sgt. Anthony Griffin patrolled an area near Murfreesboro one morning in January 2014, he gave a young woman a ticket for driving her Geo Prizm without wearing a seat belt. About four hours later, Griffin was dispatched to help out at the scene of a major accident a few miles away. A car had veered off the road, sailed over a bridge, struck a utility pole and landed in a frozen pond. When Griffin went to question the driver, who appeared uninjured, he was shocked to find it was the same woman he had ticketed earlier. She told him she had been wearing her seat belt only because he had given her a ticket. She believed it had saved her life. And if it hadn't been for new crash prediction software his agency was using, Griffin said he wouldn't have been in that spot to issue her the ticket. To see the full article, go to:

Driver-fatigue test could stop drowsy people from getting behind the wheel

Source:, February 12, 2017

A roadside test is being developed by Victorian researchers to identify tired drivers and keep them off the road. They hope so-called smart glasses, which track eye movements and measure the length of our blinks, might help police identify drowsy drivers and prevent fatigue-related accidents. Researchers say ability to enforce alert driving rules had been hampered by not being able to measure drowsiness. According to the Sleep Health Foundation, a fifth of Australian adults have fallen asleep while driving and nearly a third drive while drowsy at least once a month. To see the full article, go to:

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International Road Safety

Crash-test video shows advances in car technology as Euro NCAP celebrates 20th anniversary

Source: Get Surrey (UK), February 5, 2017

The Euro New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its crash tests which have saved more than 78,000 lives since 1997. The organization has published more than 630 safety ratings, crash-tested around 1,800 cars and collectively spent over 160 million Euros to make cars safer. The first tests exposed safety failings in top-selling family cars, forcing a fundamental rethink in the way vehicles were designed to prevent accidents and save lives. Safety technologies that were non-existent or optional at most - such as driver and passenger airbags, side protection airbags, belt reminders and electronic stability control – are now standard on all cars sold in Europe. To mark the anniversary, two family cars, a 1997 Rover 100 and a 2017 Honda Jazz were put through a head-on collision at 40mph to demonstrate the advances in safety since the NCAP was launched in February 1997. Manufacturers initially opposed Euro NCAP, claiming it was too strict and that no car could ever achieve a four-star rating. Now nine out of ten cars sold on the European market hold a Euro NCAP rating with the motor industry actively supporting the development of new requirements for the top safety ratings. To see the full article, go to:

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New: Drug and Alcohol Crash Risk: A Case-Control Study

This study used a "case-control" design to estimate the risk of crashes involving drivers using drugs, alcohol or both obtaining 10,221 breath samples, 9,285 oral fluid samples, and 1,764 blood samples from more than 3,000 crash drivers and 6,000 control drivers. Alcohol was the largest contributor to crash risk. Analyses found no statistically significant interaction effects when drivers were positive for both alcohol and drugs. Although initial analyses suggested that the combination of alcohol and other drugs were contributors to increased crash risk, additional analyses adjusting for other risk factors indicated no significant effect. When both alcohol and other drugs were consumed, alcohol alone was associated with crash risk. Access a PDF of the study here:

New Research Note – Drug and Alcohol Crash Risk (February 2015)

New Research Note – Results of the 2013–2014 National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers (February 2015)

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Upcoming Transportation/Safety Events

March 17, 2017
Saint Patrick's Day Drunk Driving Prevention

For too many in the United States, St. Patrick's Day has ended in tragedy due to drunk drivers getting behind the wheel. Over St. Patrick's Day from 2011 to 2015, a total of 252 lives were lost in drunk-driving crashes. For new campaign materials from NHTSA's Traffic Safety Marketing to remind employees that law enforcement will be looking for drunk drivers and to encourage planning ahead for a designated driver, go to:

March 20-23, 2017
10th International Conference on Managing Fatigue in Transportation
San Diego, CA

Co-sponsored by TRB, the website has been updated with information on keynotes, workshops, sponsors and events. For more information or to register, visit the conference website at: or contact Pam Stiff at

March 26-28 2017
Lifesavers Conference
Charlotte Convention Center

For more information or to register, go to:

National Distracted Driving Awareness Month


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