Decade of Action for Road Safety

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A monthly publication of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety

January 15, 2016         Summaries of timely road safety news, events, and alerts

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NETS builds on its legacy in road safety

Source: Automotive Fleet, January 12, 2016

A global resource for road safety, the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) is developing new tools to help fleet safety managers learn where and how they can improve their fleet safety programs. The organization ended 2015 on a high note, receiving the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award for its Comprehensive Guide to Road Safety. The guide has been downloaded 10,000 times since its introduction on May 31, 2014, and is available in 21 different languages. Apart from the guide, the organization annually conducts the NETS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS Fleet Safety Benchmark Program. The STRENGTH IN NUMBERS program serves as a basis for fleet safety managers to compare their collision rates to other fleets and identify ways to improve their programs. The 2016 Benchmark collected data from 146 countries and included over 600,000 vehicles and 11.5 billion miles. In the first-quarter of 2016, NETS will publish NETS' Guide to Defensive Driver Training. In addition, NETS is completing two projects for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that focus on improving seat-belt usage and understanding the cost associated with vehicle crashes. To see the full article, go to:

Opioids could become the next big crisis in traffic safety

Source: AAA Arizona, January 13, 2016

Painkillers have come a long way since aspirin. But now they're potentially affecting the ability to drive safely. AAA notes that prescription drugs are the most prevalent of all drugs found in drugged drivers involved in fatal crashes (46.5%), and the percentage has continually increased since 2005. A growing reason for the increase is because of prescription opioid use. There were 250 million opioid prescriptions filled in 2012 — more than one per adult in the nation. There have been 145,000 deaths from prescription opioids in the U.S. over the past 10 years, although the number per year is exponentially increasing. Though few studies yet have been completed on how opioid use affects driving, doctors are concerned. They noted that if drivers on opioids have used alcohol or other impairing drugs; suffer from depression or anxiety; are still experiencing pain; or are sleep deprived — it greatly increases their risk of crashing. To see the full article, go to:

CVSA reveals 2015 Operation Safe Driver results

Source: Fleet Owner, January 6, 2015

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has released the results of its 2015 Operation Safe Driver campaign– a seven-day campaign conducted Oct. 18-24 last year by 2,789 law enforcement officials at 706 locations across the U.S. and Canada. Law enforcement officers pulled over 21,012 commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers and passenger vehicle drivers or motorists during Operation Safe Driver, the group said, along with 19,480 North American Standard Roadside Inspections. According to the report, motorists speed significantly more than CMV drivers, with motorists issued a warning or citation for speeding 27.3% of the time versus 9.3% for CMV drivers. The percentage of warnings and citations issued to CMV drivers for failing to obey traffic control devices increased from 2.5% in 2014 to 3.85%, and the percentage of motorists issued warnings and citations for alcohol possession/use/under the influence in 2015 was 0.57%, down from 1.7% in 2014. The percentage of warnings and citations issued to CMV drivers in 2015 for failure to use seat belts reached 5%, up from 2.8% in 2014, while it increased to 8.5% for motorists in 2015 versus 4.1% in 2014. To see the full article, go to:

Report: DUI rates drop for those ages 16-25 years

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics, January 6, 2016

Driving under the influence of alcohol or marijuana among 16- to 25-year-olds has declined over the past 12 years, according to a new report. The declines are significant as motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for this age group in the U.S., according to authors from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Roughly 6.6% of 16- to 20-year-olds reported they drove under the influence of alcohol alone in 2014, a 59% drop from 2002. The rate was 18.1% for 21- to 25-year-olds, a 38% drop during the same time period, according to data from SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health published in the Dec. 11 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both age groups experienced a 39% decline in driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana combined. The rates dropped to 1.4% for the younger group in 2014 and 1.9% for the older group. The change in those driving under the influence of marijuana alone was not significant. To see the full article, go to:

Report: Self-Regulation of Driving by Older Adults

Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, December 2015

Abstract: Self-regulation, or the modification of driving by driving less or avoiding challenging situations in response to declining abilities, is increasingly being studied as a way to help older drivers maintain independence and extend the period over which they can safely drive. However, considerable research gaps remain with respect to whether older drivers can accurately adjust their driving in response to their age-related declines, the extent to which older drivers engage in self-regulatory behaviors, the factors affecting self-regulation, and the extent to which it actually improves safety and mobility. The overall purpose of this paper is to report findings from an extensive synthesis of the literature on self-regulation of driving among older adults. The synthesis builds on earlier reviews of the literature by the authors, as well as extends literature findings on specific aspects self-regulation. Download the full paper here:

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Video Safety Tip: When your vehicle is stuck in snow

Source: Automotive Fleet, December 28, 2015

When a snowstorm strikes, roadside assistance and towing providers are typically flooded with calls. The wait time can be excruciatingly long – and even worrisome if you're stranded in an area that's not well lit at night. First, you need to try "rocking out," according to Consumer Reports. That means straightening the wheels, gently touching the gas pedal, and switching between "drive" and "reverse" to rock the vehicle back and forth. If the tires begin spinning, stop and change direction because spinning the tires just digs the vehicle in deeper. If your vehicle transmission has a winter mode, be sure to engage that. Once the vehicle starts to move out, don't stop until you reach solid ground. But if your attempts to rock out repeatedly fail, try to create a path several feet long for each wheel. Go to your vehicle's winter emergency kit and use the kit's shovel to clear away the snow by each wheel. If you didn't pack a shovel, you can try using what's available such as an ice scraper, a piece of wood or the base of a car jack. To see the full article, go to:

Pet owner alert: Most restraints for pets in cars fail crash tests

Source: First Coast News, January 4, 2015

Many pet owners enjoying taking their dog or cat for a ride in the car, but experts say that when you do, you should keep your pet restrained — for your own good as well as theirs. But tests have revealed many of the restraints being sold in pet stores don't work in a crash. In crash tests by the Center for Pet Safety, a nonprofit watchdog group, 25 of 29 products failed in one way or another. Experts point out that pet products are not defined as consumer products by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), so they bypass any kind of oversight or regulation. To see the full article, including a video, go to:

Is light snow more dangerous for drivers than major snowstorms?

Source:, January 7, 2016

Just an inch of snow or a light glaze of ice can actually cause more havoc on the roads than a full-blown snowstorm, meteorologists say. Walker Ashley, associate professor of meteorology at Northern Illinois University, contends that "minor" winter events are more deadly (on Midwestern roads, at least) than notable winter storms due to heavier traffic on roads and possibly more dangerous road and visibility conditions than perceived by drivers. It's our perception of these light or sudden snow and ice events that gets us in trouble, says University of Wisconsin-Whitewater professor of psychology David Havas. It's easy to make the decision to slow down, or even stay off roads buried in a foot of snow, or shiny with accumulated ice, but it can be more difficult to pick out subtle differences in road conditions, especially if roads were clear just minutes before. These decisions are made even more difficult by the design of cars, Havas said, with their heated seats, quiet cabins, cup holders and surround sound. Perception also plays a part in how seriously we take winter weather warnings issued by the National Weather Service (NWS). The NWS issues six types of alerts during incidents of winter weather, from the attention-getting blizzard and ice storm warnings to the less-noticed winter weather advisory. "Frankly, I believe many interpret the word 'advisory', as 'no big deal', some perhaps even outright ignoring it," said senior meteorologist Jonathon Erdman. "However, a late-afternoon 1 to 3 inch snowfall, which may prompt an NWS winter weather advisory, can turn the afternoon rush hour into a mess." To see the full article, go to:

IRS drops mileage reimbursement rate

Automotive Fleet, January 7, 2015

The Internal Revenue Service has lowered the deductible mileage rate to 54 cents per mile for business miles in 2016 down from 57.5 cents in 2015. The new rate, which rolled out Jan. 1, fell 3.5 cents, while the rate for medical and moving expenses fell 4 cents to 19 cents per mile. Charitable organizations can deduct 14 cents per mile traveled in a rate that remains unchanged. The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs. To see the full article, go to:

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8 trends in commercial fleet policies

Source: Automotive Fleet, January 2016

Every two years, Element Financials fleet management business conducts a comprehensive policy survey among its client base to determine how companies manage their fleets, what's most important to them, and to learn about the decisions they are facing. In 2015, 29% of fleet managers either established or modified a safety program in their fleets (up from No. 4 in 2013). Thirty percent of surveyed fleets made organizational changes. Most of these changes were related to centralization of fleet activities and changes in reporting structure. Of surveyed companies, 15% reported that they do not have any safety program. For those fleets that have a safety program, 68% offer driver safety training. Approximately 35% of the surveyed fleets have telematics devices installed in some of their vehicles. The biggest benefit from telematics noticed by fleet managers is an improvement in driver safety behavior, followed by improved fuel efficiency and productivity. To see the full article, go to:

GM promoting employee carpooling app in China

Source: CNET, January 1, 2016

General Motors has introduced a new carpooling experience for its employees in Shanghai. The in-house-developed mobile app is a pilot program that is part of the automaker's drive to "gain a better understanding of urban mobility issues and insights into car-sharing user experiences," GM said in a release. The app will connect some 700 General Motors China employees who work in Shanghai. It will enable drivers to communicate with other employees about their drive route into and from the company's headquarters, about their departure times, as well as how many empty seats are in their vehicle. Employees seeking rides can also submit requests, and the app will automatically match prospective drivers and riders. Following the high-profile success of services like Uber and Lyft, GM has been researching various approaches to car- and ride-sharing programs all over the globe. To see the full article, go to:

Injury claim costs on the rise despite safer roads, vehicles


Improved vehicle safety and licensing laws are making cars and roads a lot safer than they used to be. But despite these improvements, a new report finds that injury claim costs are going up anyway. According to a recent study by The Insurance Research Council, auto injury claim costs per insured vehicle have continued to increase across the United States for the better part of the last decade. And even though things like improved vehicle designs, better safety technology and graduated licensing laws have made long-term reductions in highway injuries and fatalities, these and other safety factors have not been enough to offset substantial increases in the cost of injury claims. From 2005 to 2013, the frequency of bodily injury liability claims countrywide fell 14.5%, from 0.94 paid claim per 100 insured vehicles to 0.81 paid claim. However, over the same period, the average cost per paid bodily injury liability claim increased 32.1%, from $11,738 to $15,506. To see the full article, go to:

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Innovation and Technology

GM has a way to help prevent drivers from forgetting children in the back seat

Source: Business Insider, January 12, 2016

General Motors will introduce a new safety system to remind drivers to check for children in the rear seats, and says that it could eventually develop features to detect forgotten children. The Detroit automaker showed off its 2017 Acadia SUV that includes what it says is an industry-first feature that will alert drivers who had opened the back door at the start of a trip to check the back seat once they get to their destination. The system "does not detect the presence of a child in the back seat but is a simple extra reminder to look in the rear seat on the way out of the vehicle regardless of what may be there," said GM product planning chief Mark Reuss. Between 1998 and 2014, there were an average of 38 U.S. deaths a year in hot cars, according to San Jose State University. To see the full article, go to:

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Latest Latin NCAP results now available

Source: Latin NCAP Press Release, December 2015

The latest crash test results of the New Car Assessment Program for Latin America and the Caribbean, Latin NCAP, continue to show progress in car safety in Latin America. Latin NCAP is continuing to champion improved levels of adult and child occupant protection, which in many countries still falls below minimum UN safety standards. These results are the last models tested under the current assessment protocol, which will be increased in 2016. Alejandro Furas, Latin NCAP Secretary General said: "We are pleased to finish this year with most major manufacturers changing their strategies for safer cars, taking in consideration Latin NCAP's results and hearing the consumer's voice". To see the full press release with the results, go to:

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U.S. to speed roll out of self-driving cars by easing rules

Source: Bloomberg News, January 14, 2015

Self-driving cars will get closer to appearing on American roads under a U.S. Transportation Department plan to speed their rollout. Regulators will allow automakers that can demonstrate they have a safe autonomous vehicle to apply for exemptions to certain rules as part of the new approach, which is designed to ensure government doesn't stand in the way of technological progress. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to issue guidelines on safe deployment of fully autonomous vehicles in the next six months. That will include how self-driving cars should be tested and the benchmarks they'll need to reach to be permitted on the road. The Transportation Department is promising a quick response to companies that ask for interpretations for new features that might fall between the cracks of its 1960s-era set of safety regulations. Regulators will also work with state motor-vehicle departments on model regulations for registering and licensing self-driving cars. To see the full article, go to:

NHTSA's Rosekind steps up call for proactive safety culture

Source: Automotive News, January 12, 2016

After another year of massive recalls and record fines imposed on automakers, Mark Rosekind doubled down on his push for the auto industry to take up a more proactive approach to vehicle safety. In a speech at the Automotive News World Congress, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety administration called for a cultural change in the industry in which automakers, suppliers, sales executives and dealers work actively and collaboratively to prevent crashes, rather than responding to safety crises after they happen. An announcement is imminently expected of an agreement between major automakers and the U.S. government on a set of principles to guide further cooperation on a more proactive approach to safety, recalls and auto cybersecurity. "The era of big recall is not a sign of progress. Record civil penalties are not a metric of success," Rosekind said in his speech. "NHTSA is truly successful not when we catch safety violations and hand down penalties, but when we work together with industry to prevent that kind of crisis from ever occurring in the first place." To see the full article, go to:

Traffic Safety Facts: 2014 Crash Data Key Findings

Source: NHTSA, November 2015

In 2014 there were 32,675 people killed in motor vehicle crashes on U.S. roadways. An additional 2.3 million people were injured in crashes in 2014. There were 6.1 million police-reported crashes in 2014. Seventy-two percent of these crashes involved only property damage--no one was injured or killed in the crashes. Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 31% of total fatalities--9,967 alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities in 2014. In 2014 there were 9,262 people who died in speeding related crashes (28% of all fatalities). Distracted and drowsy driving accounted for 10% and 2.6% of fatalities respectively. A PDF of the full fact sheet may be accessed here:

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Upcoming Transportation/Safety Events

Sunday, February 7, 2017
Super Bowl 50!

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

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

Sponsored by NHTSA. Campaign materials coming soon at

April: National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

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.

For more information or to register, visit

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