Decade of Action for Road Safety

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A monthly publication of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety

January 19, 2017         Summaries of timely road safety news, events, and alerts

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Message from NETS' Executive Director, Joe McKillips

Joe McKillips

Happy New Year!

The beginning of a new year is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of the year past and look forward to future growth. For NETS, we can celebrate our 2016 growth in membership and record attendance at the 2016 STRENGTH IN NUMBERS® Benchmark Conference. I'm also proud of NETS' participation in the 2016 Global New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) Annual Meeting last fall. We worked with NCAP to organize a Fleet Safety Open Day that featured an employer panel of fleet safety leaders committed to choosing five-star vehicles wherever possible when purchasing for their fleet drivers. This is a great example of how NETS is taking a leadership position to highlight best practices – in this case, collaboration between fleet safety and fleet procurement – to promote safety.

In 2017, we're looking forward to expanding NETS member benefits so that, regardless of the size or maturity of your road safety program, you'll have access to the solutions you need to enhance, support and grow your program. To see the full article, go to:


U.S. roads keep getting more dangerous

Source: CNN, January 13, 2017

New government estimates project that for the second straight year, the United States will see the largest leap in motor vehicle fatalities in 50 years. In the first nine months of 2016, the Department of Transportation estimates that 27,875 people died in motor vehicle crashes. That's an 8% increase from the same timeframe in 2015. U.S. roads are still significantly safer than decades ago, but government officials are concerned and want to halt the reversal in improving fortunes. In 2015, there was a 7.2% spike in traffic fatalities, the largest gain the nation had seen in 50 years. As the economy recovered, experts knew traffic fatalities would rise. But they say the rash of fatalities in 2015 and 2016 isn't just about an improving economy or lower gas prices. Some experts have suggested that distracted driving and warmer weather are to blame. In a briefing with reporters, government officials called for more data and more analysis to get to the bottom of the spike in deaths. To see the full article, go to:

Sleep deprivation costs the U.S. economy billions each year

Source: AMI Newswire, December 19, 2016

Sleep-deprived Americans are not only hurting their heath, but the economy as well. The U.S. economy loses up to $411 billion each year in working days lost due to sleep deprivation, according to a RAND Corporation study that examined the effects of sleep deprivation in five industrialized countries. This translates to "an equivalent of about 1.23 million working days due to insufficient sleep," the research firm stated. The lack of sleep has become so prevalent in America that the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared insufficient sleep a 'public health problem'. A CDC study found that more than one-third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. Sleep deprivation has been linked to car accidents, industrial disasters, and medical and other occupational errors. Research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that drowsy drivers pose the same risks as drunk drivers. To see the full article, go to:

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NETS' e-Novice Driver's Road Map™ featured in USA Today special Insert

Source: NETS, December 30, 2016

NDRM ad with parent guiding teen driver

NETS' e-Novice Driver's Road Map™ (eNDRM) was featured in the "Teen Driver Safety" section of a Teenage Wellness and Safety campaign published in a special print insert within USA Today. NETS' Executive Director, Joseph McKillips, was featured in the Panel of Experts where he discusses how employers, as well as parents, play an important role in keeping teens safe on the road. To read the panel discussion, go to: To download the eNDRM, go to:

Learning how to look leads to safer drivers

Source: Association for Psychological Science, December 21, 2016

You're driving along on your way to work when, out of nowhere, the car in front of you slams on the brakes or a pedestrian seemingly leaps in front of your windshield. When we think of the skills that make someone a good driver we may think about fast reflexes, a good sense of direction, or a steady hand. But nearly 50 years of research suggests that one particular skill is key to avoiding accidents: Knowing how to look for hazards. This skill, called hazard perception, involves visually scanning the road ahead for clues that a dangerous situation may be developing, such as a pedestrian getting ready to cross the street or cars up ahead starting to brake. This sounds simple enough, but research suggests that a knack for this kind of visual scanning actually takes years – even decades – to learn. In a new article in Current Directions in Psychological Science, Mark Horswill (The University of Queensland) provides an overview of promising research suggesting that it may be possible to speed up the learning process of hazard perception, potentially preventing thousands of accidents each year. To see the full article, go to:

Car dealers are dangerously uneducated about new safety features

Source: Wired, January 10, 2017

If you go by the news coming out of CES and the Detroit auto show, the future of driving is luminescent. Cars are getting safer, swankier and smarter. But between showcase and wide, open road, there's a transaction process stubbornly rooted in the 20th century: actually selling these things at the car dealership. By virtue of their entrenched position between automaker and consumer, dealers aren't just responsible for selling new cars to people—they're the ones who have to explain those cars, and how to use their myriad, confusing, wonderful new features. And, to the surprise of nobody who's spent time in a dealership lately, they're sometimes lousy teachers. Last spring, undercover researchers interviewed salespeople at 18 Boston-area dealerships. They were out to see how much these retailers knew about the increasingly common automated driver assistance programs they were selling. The results: Not nearly enough. Just six of the 17 salespeople gave "thorough" explanations of the technologies in the vehicles they were selling; four gave "poor" ones. To see the full article, go to:

AAA warns of dangers wearing headphones while driving

Source: ABC 13 Toledo, December 28, 2016

Wearing earbuds or headphones while driving could intensify your sensory deprivation and cognitive distraction level, potentially creating additional dangers on our roadways, AAA safety experts warn. Not only is the distracting behavior dangerous, it could also increase your odds of being pulled over and ticketed by the police. That is because it is illegal in some states to wear or use one or more headphones or earphones while driving. The only exemptions are for speakers built into protective headgear used by law enforcement and emergency services personnel and those wearing hearing aids. There are 14 states that have some type of restrictions on "earplugs, earphones, or earbuds" while driving, unless you are hearing impaired, according to the AAA Digest of Motor Laws. Four states have complete bans. Wearing earplugs could also increase your risk factor on the road as some models have noise cancellation acoustical technology, which may cause you to miss some important cues for driving safely such as hearing the sirens of approaching emergency service vehicles and other background noises such as horns or railroad warnings. To see the full article, go to:

How the neighborhoods you drive through could soon affect your car insurance

Source:, January 12, 2017

Ever put much thought into the series of highways and streets you take to work, school, or the grocery store? (Other than whether it's the fastest way to get from A to B?) For years, insurance companies have been tracking your driving habits. With the introduction of telematics, which track your speed and driving behavior, companies are able to monitor just how aggressively you drive – and potentially penalize you for it. But now, companies are adopting increasingly sophisticated route-monitoring insurance technology and tracking a wider range of variables and behaviors. The new technology considers more than a driver's behavior, and instead considers more environmental factors that may be out of the driver's control. Major insurers have recently filed patents for devices that would monitor the riskiness of your chosen route and your driving environment – no longer just your driving behavior. And with annual insurance premiums already averaging $1,323 nationwide, that change can have a significant impact on budgets. To see the full article, go to:

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NETS benchmark conference attracts record attendance

Source: Automotive Fleet, December 2016

The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) STRENGTH IN NUMBERS® Benchmark Conference was held Oct. 12 to 13, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. NETS is a public-private partnership dedicated exclusively to reducing traffic crashes both on and off the job. For the first time, the 2016 conference was opened to non-NETS member companies that operate fleet vehicles. This was also the first NETS conference presided by Joe McKillips, the group's newly named executive director. The 2016 conference agenda included a diverse group of speakers from academia, global private-sector companies, performance management consulting firms, as well as a keynote address from Bella Dinh-Zarr, Ph.D., of the National Transportation Safety Board. One of the highlights of the conference was the release of the NETS annual STRENGTH IN NUMBERS Fleet Safety Benchmark Report that is only available to NETS members. Editor's note: Watch for the 2017 NETS' STRENGTH IN NUMBERS® Conference date and location to be announced soon! To see the full article, go to:

Cargill goes cold turkey on using mobile phones while driving

Source: Washington Post, January 10, 2017

As of Jan. 1, Cargill ordered tens of thousands of its employees to go cold turkey when it comes to using mobile phones while driving. The total ban means no texting and no talking on a phone in any moving vehicle owned, leased or rented by the company – even if the employee has a hands-free device. The new policy also puts the kibosh on doing company business on a phone while operating a personal vehicle. Cargill — whose businesses range from agriculture to financial services — decided to act because of the ubiquity of smartphones and a growing number of statistics suggesting that these devices are too often the culprits in traffic crashes, said April Nelson, a company spokesperson . There was no specific incident that caused the company to implement the policy, she said. Over the past decade, many companies learned the hard way that they cannot expect employees to be in constant contact without also putting them at risk when they're on the road. Editor's note: Cargill is a NETS member company. To see the full article, go to:

How to effectively back up using rearview cameras

Source: Automotive Fleet, January 2017

Understanding how to back up effectively is one of the most basic and critical procedures of operating a vehicle. However, the importance of doing the procedure properly cannot be understated since this is one of the most common crash types experienced by fleet drivers. According to data from The CEI Group, incidents that occurred while parking and backing were listed as the fourth most common in 2016, accounting for more than seven percent of reported fleet incident types. According to NHTSA, nonresidential parking lots, the site of many fleet-related accidents, account for 17% of back-over fatalities and 52% of back-over injuries. There is good news: Rearview camera technology has been shown to help prevent these types of incidents. The rearview camera technology will be standard on all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds by May 2018 due to a ruling from NHTSA. But there are challenges to using the technology properly that drivers should be aware of. To see the full article, including tips, go to:

Workplace-based sleep health program can reduce injuries and disability in firefighters

Source: News Medical, January 12, 2017

Many firefighters suffer acute and chronic sleep deficiency and misalignment of their circadian rhythm (body clock) due to extended shifts and long work weeks. Extended duration shifts have been shown to increase the risk of sleepiness, burnout, injuries and errors when compared to shorter shifts in resident physicians and first responders such as emergency medical technicians. To test the hypothesis that a workplace-based Sleep Health Program (SHP) would improve firefighter health and safety compared to standard practice, researchers developed an SHP incorporating sleep health education and sleep disorder screening. Half of the stations in the mid-sized fire department received the program and half continued as normal, and then disability days, injuries and other measures were tracked for the next 12 months. The findings showed a nearly 50% reduction in long term disability days among those who participated in the SHP, and firefighters who attended sleep health education sessions also showed reduction in risk of injury. To see the full article, go to:

Report: Examination of the effectiveness and acceptability of mobile phone blocking technology among drivers of corporate fleet vehicles

Source: Centre for Automotive Safety Research, December 2016

There is technology available that can block mobile phones while driving. The aim of this research was to determine if mobile phone blocking technology is an effective and acceptable method for reducing driver distraction among drivers of corporate fleet vehicles. Two different technologies were assessed: one required software to be installed on mobile phones, while the other technology used software in addition to external Bluetooth hardware that paired with the phones. A sample of 104 study participants who regularly drove a corporate fleet vehicle were recruited through SA Power Networks, a major corporation in South Australia. Each participant experienced one of the two technologies, and their opinions on the technology and phone use while driving were assessed using pre- and post-trial questionnaires. A majority of participants reported that phone blocking was not reliable but a majority nonetheless considered the technology they trialed to be an effective way of preventing phone use while driving. The results of this trial suggest that phone blocking products may provide a useful method of changing mobile phone use behavior while driving. However, the reliability and usability of the products need to improve to reach higher ratings of user acceptance and approval. Download the report at the bottom left of this link:

IRS reduces mileage reimbursement rate

Source: Automotive Fleet, January 5, 2017

The Internal Revenue Service has reduced the business mileage reimbursement rate to 53.5 cents from 54 cents. The new rate went into effect on January 1. The I.R.S. also dropped the rate for medical or moving expenses to 17 cents from 19 cents. The I.R.S. set the rate for miles driven in service of charitable organizations at 14 cents per mile. The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating a vehicle. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs. Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates, according the agency. To see the full article, go to:

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A new car that feels emotion

Source: IT Online, January 13, 2017

Honda has introduced what it believes to be the first car that can feel emotion. The NeuV, launched at CES 2017, comes equipped with an artificial intelligence "emotion engine" and an automated personal assistant. The NeuV is targeted at urban millennials, whose cars tend to sit idle in parking lots for 96% of the time. The NeuV will be able to "rent" itself to prospective customers, picking them up and dropping them off whenever the car is not in use by the owner. The NeuV is electrically powered and can sell energy back from its motor to the grid whenever it's not being actively used, effectively monetizing its down time. The NeuV's artificial intelligence (AI) assistant, called HANA (Honda Automated Network Assistant) is programmed to learn from the driver by analyzing the emotions behind the driver's behavior. The car can check in on the driver's emotional well-being and play music accordingly. It also comes equipped with an electric skateboard for traveling the "last mile" to the end destination. To see the full article, go to:

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International Road Safety

Saving lives with safer cars- New Report from the European Commission

Source: European Commission website, December 12, 2016

In a new report, the European Commission has recommended a range of advanced safety measures that could be fitted to vehicles in the future and have the potential to save lives on the roads. These measures will be examined in detail to decide exactly how the vehicles of tomorrow will be made safer. The report presents workable and cost-effective car safety measures. The main objectives are to decrease the number of road victims and to help prevent accidents. As vulnerable road users, special attention was given to children and the elderly. To see the full article, including a link to the report in many languages, go to:

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Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First 9 Months of 2016

Source: U.S. DOT, January 2017

A statistical projection of traffic fatalities for the first 9 months of 2016 shows that an estimated 27,875 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This represents an increase of about 8% as compared to the 25,808 fatalities that were reported to have occurred in the first 9 months of 2015. View the Traffic Safety Facts Sheet here:

U.S. DOT launches new railroad crossing safety ad

Source: US Department of Transportation, January 2017

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has launched the "Stop! Trains Can't" ad targeting young male motorists and encouraging them to act cautiously at railroad crossings. The campaign is the latest in a two-year effort by DOT to reduce accidents and fatalities at railroad crossings around the country. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) have partnered in the nationwide effort. Although rail incidents have declined over the last 10 years, railroad crossing fatalities spiked in 2014. Last year alone, 232 people died in railroad crossing accidents, and approximately every three hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train in the United States. The $7 million media buy will target male populations aged 18 to 49 years old in states with the nation's 15 most dangerous crossings, as well as in states where 75% of the crossing accidents occurred in 2015. Male drivers are involved in nearly 75% of all railroad crossing accidents. To see the full news release, go to:

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Upcoming Transportation/Safety Events

February 5, 2017
Super Bowl LI

NHTSA's Fans Don't Let Fans Drive Drunk campaign encourages people to make plans ahead of time that will prevent them from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking. NHTSA's Traffic Safety Marketing has awareness resources that can be shared with employees available here:

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

Early bird rate ends January 20, 2017

For more information go to:

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