Decade of Action for Road Safety

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A monthly publication of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety

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

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AAA: Nearly 80% of drivers express significant anger, aggression or road rage

Source: AAA Press Release, July 14, 2016

Nearly 80% of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the past year, according to a new study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The most alarming findings suggest that approximately eight million U.S. drivers engaged in extreme examples of road rage, including purposefully ramming another vehicle or getting out of the car to confront another driver. Nearly 2 in 3 drivers believe that aggressive driving is a bigger problem today than three years ago, while nine out of ten believe aggressive drivers are a serious threat to their personal safety. To see the full press release with breakouts of behaviors exhibited by drivers, go to: The full study may be viewed here:

State highway safety officials concerned by projected 7.7% increase in motor vehicle fatalities

Source: GHSA Press Release, July 1, 2016

The estimated 35,200 individuals killed in motor vehicle fatalities on U.S. roads in 2015 is alarming to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and its State Highway Safety Office members. This represents the largest year-over-year percentage increase (7.7%) since national record-keeping began. While national data suggest an overall 7.7% increase in 2015 traffic fatalities, recent GHSA reports project even higher percentage increases for pedestrians and motorcyclists (10% each). As improving vehicle safety has increased the likelihood for passenger vehicle occupants to survive a crash, pedestrians and motorcyclists lack these same benefits and remain just as susceptible to serious injury or death in the event of a collision. To see the full press release, go to:

Motor vehicle crash fatalities in the U.S. could drop by half with proven strategies

Source: CDC Press Release, July 6, 2016

About 90 people die each day from motor vehicle crashes in the U.S., resulting in the highest death rate among 19 high-income countries used for comparison, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Though the U.S. has made progress in road safety, reducing crash deaths by 31% from 2000 to 2013, other high-income countries have reduced crash deaths even further by an average of 56% during the same period, the CDC found. Compared with other high-income countries, the U.S. had the most motor vehicle crash deaths per 100,000 population and per 10,000 registered vehicles; the second-highest percentage of deaths involving alcohol (31%); and the third-lowest front seat belt use (87%). If the U.S. had the same motor vehicle crash death rate as Belgium — the country with the second highest death rate after the U.S. — about 12,000 fewer lives would have been lost and an estimated $140 million in direct medical costs would have been averted in 2013. To see the full article, go to:
To view associated infographics and an action plan to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries, go to:

AAA: Not all gasoline created equal

Source: AAA Press Release, July 7, 2016

New testing from AAA has uncovered significant differences in the quality of gasoline sold at fuel retailers in the United States. The independent laboratory testing compared gasolines that meet TOP TIER™ standards often marketed to consumers as having enhanced, engine-cleaning detergent additives with gasoline brands that do not participate in the automaker-backed program. Among brands tested, non-TOP TIER gasolines caused 19 times more engine deposits than TOP TIER brands after just 4,000 miles of simulated driving. Such carbon deposits are known to reduce fuel economy, increase emissions and negatively impact vehicle performance, particularly on newer vehicles. To protect vehicle investments, AAA urges drivers to use a gasoline that meets TOP TIER standards for engine cleanliness and performance. Despite the fact that two-thirds of U.S. drivers believe there is a difference in quality of gasoline sold by different gas stations, a AAA survey reveals that Americans value convenience and price over quality when it comes to selecting a gas station. To see the full press release, go to:

Experts put effort behind reducing drowsy driving

Source: Iowa City Press-Citizen, June 29, 2016

Estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries and 800 deaths in 2013, but those numbers are inexact and could be far higher. Since taking on his current role in January 2015, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind has made drowsy driving one of four NHTSA safety priorities, which already include drunk, drugged and distracted driving. He was one of several speakers to take the podium at what was called the nation's first drowsy driving summit, held recently at the University of Iowa's College of Public Health building. Rosekind said more recent estimates show the number of collisions caused by drowsy driving could be as high as 1.2 million, causing potentially 5,000 to 8,000 fatalities per year. In his closing remarks, Rosekind said there is no simple solution for ending drowsy driving. With a 24-7 lifestyle that works against humans' biological need for sleep, he said the best place to start — and to see how difficult it is to solve the problem — is with yourself. To see the full article, go to:

One state's department of transportation says the way you merge is wrong

Source:, July 5, 2016

For the first time, the Kansas DOT is encouraging drivers to use as much of the lane as they can before merging. It's called the "zipper merge." Most drivers, when they see a merge sign, slow down too quickly and change lanes, causing a traffic backup. Continuing in each lane as long as possible reduces the speed difference between the two lanes, which helps keep traffic moving. Kansas certainly isn't the first state to try to change drivers' habits. Minnesota, Missouri, Washington and Arizona all had their own zipper merge campaigns. To see the full article, including a video, go to: Missouri DOT's creative video on the zipper merge which features kids, may be viewed here:

Study: Later school bell cuts teen crashes

Source: July 4, 2016

New research suggests later school start times could be safer for teen drivers – in the afternoon. Drowsy driving is a big problem for young drivers because biology shows they need more sleep than adults -- They need to be asleep early in the morning, for example, between 6 and 7 a.m. Many high schools, however, start as early as 7 a.m., meaning that teens have to fight their own biology and get up when their bodies need to be asleep. Researchers found a 14% drop in crashes involving teen drivers in one county after the school district pushed high school start times from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. in 2003. Yet, the shift in start times only pushed morning crashes back an hour, while early afternoon crashes dropped significantly. Researchers suggested that later dismissal times reduced the amount of time teens were on the road in the afternoon. No such declines were noted in other districts where most high schools started between 7:15 and 7:30 a.m. Other research points to academic and behavioral improvements among teenagers when they start school later in the morning. To see the full article, go to:

The difference between fatigued and drowsy driving

Source: National Road Safety Partnership Program (NRSPP), June 24, 2016

Fatigue is a known contributor to roadway crashes among commercial motor vehicle drivers, others who drive for work, and the general public. Not surprisingly, the issue of fatigued driving is a growing safety concern for government agencies, businesses, and safety advocates. However, in media reports and safety materials, we often see the terms "drowsy driving" and "fatigued driving" used interchangeably. But do they really mean the same thing? See the full article here:

Vehicles with good driver-side protection may leave passengers at risk

Source: IIHS Status Report, June 23, 2016

Drivers of vehicles with good small overlap front ratings from the Insurance Institute from Highway Safety can expect to be protected well in a frontal crash involving the left corner of the vehicle. But how would the passengers sitting next to them fare in a right-side small overlap crash? A new study shows that good protection doesn't always extend across the front seat. The Institute conducted 40 mph passenger-side small overlap tests on seven small SUVs with good driver-side small overlap ratings. Only one of the vehicles performed at a level corresponding to a good rating, and the others ran the gamut from poor to acceptable. The results have prompted IIHS to consider instituting a passenger-side rating as part of its TOP SAFETY PICK criteria. "It's not surprising that automakers would focus their initial efforts to improve small overlap protection on the side of the vehicle that we conduct the tests on," says David Zuby, IIHS executive vice president and chief research officer. To see the full article, go to:

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Police, agencies issue 'Pokémon Go' warnings

Source: USA Today, July 13, 2016

The Pokémon GO mobile game has become an overnight sensation, but it poses some safety risks. The game, which launched last week for iPhones and Android devices, is based on the classic cartoon and video game series. Players use a GPS map to locate cartoon creatures called Pokémon. When a character is tapped, the app launches the smartphone's camera for a mini-game where the Pokémon appear to be moving in the real world. The game requires players to move and pay attention to the touchscreen as they seek out Pokémon, prompting agencies to urge players to stay aware of their surroundings and be careful. Along with pedestrians distracted by their quest to find that rare Pokémon, agencies are also warning about distracted driving. In New York, the state's department of motor vehicles is urging drivers to stay off their phones. "What is meant to be a fun game can have tragic real-world consequences if you're playing it while driving or crossing the street," said Terri Egan, executive deputy commissioner for New York's DMV, in a statement. To see the full article, go to:

How can people with narcolepsy drive safely?

Source: The Huffington Post, July 12, 2016

For many people, avoiding fatigued driving means staying off the roads after pulling an all-nighter. But imagine driving when you have narcolepsy, a brain disorder that causes people to suffer from chronic daytime drowsiness and fall asleep suddenly. With narcolepsy, the dangers of drowsy driving become a perennial threat. What can a person with narcolepsy do ― never drive? Well, no, but there are some important caveats. Each state has its own laws about the health conditions that can prevent residents from getting a license, as well as whether those conditions must be disclosed on the license itself. Treatment is the key to people with narcolepsy driving safely, sleep experts say. People with narcolepsy usually take a combination of stimulants and antidepressants to combat daytime sleepiness. To see the full article, go to:

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New: Seat Belt Use Among Adult Workers — 21 States, 2013

Source: CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, June 17, 2016

To characterize seat belt use among adult workers by occupational group, CDC analyzed data from the 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and found that not always using a seat belt was significantly associated with occupational group after controlling for factors known to influence seat belt use. Occupational groups with the highest prevalence of not always using a seat belt included construction and extraction; farming, fishing, and forestry; and installation, maintenance, and repair. To increase seat belt use among persons currently employed, states can enact and enforce primary seat belt laws, employers can set and enforce safety policies requiring seat belt use by all vehicle occupants, and seat belt safety advocates can target interventions to workers in occupational groups with lower reported seat belt use. To see the full report, go to:

Drowsy driving and car crashes: How night-shift work contributes to traffic dangers

Source: Journalist's Resource: June 28, 2016

To learn more about the causes and consequences of drowsy driving, a group of eight researchers studied the driving habits of night-shift workers. The group, led by Michael L. Lee of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, observed 16 night-shift workers as they completed certain driving tasks on a closed track at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety in Massachusetts. The scholars compared the driving performance of workers following a night of at least five hours of sleep and the driving performance of workers who had just completed an overnight shift. They measured the drivers' eye movements and blink duration to gauge alertness. The 2016 study, titled, "High Risk of Near-Crash Driving Events Following Night-shift Work," was published in PNAS. To see the full article, including key findings, go to:

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Ford tests fitness tracker for driving performance

Source:, June 21, 2016

As part of its move towards mobility, Ford has run an experiment in which it monitored how well people were driving and provided them with a score. This could then be used to provide insights via an app into how their driving could be improved, as well as possibly leading to good drivers saving money. The four month-long, London-based Driver Behavior Project used plug-in devices to monitor driving performances in more than 40 Ford Fiestas. Over 160,000-km (99,400-mi) and over 4,000 hours of data were collected, with the plug-in devices tracking factors like steering wheel movements and braking, as well as contextual factors like time of day, weather and road history. An accompanying mobile app allowed drivers to view their score and to see how different driving behaviors affected it. Drivers were rewarded for actions like steady acceleration, steering smoothly and driving in the most appropriate gear. A score was calculated for each journey, which in turn was used to update the driver's overall score. To see the full article, go to:

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NHTSA data shows traffic deaths up 7.7% in 2015

Source: NHTSA press release, July 1, 2016

Preliminary data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show a 7.7% increase in motor vehicle traffic deaths in 2015. An estimated 35,200 people died in 2015, up from the 32,675 reported fatalities in 2014. Although the data are preliminary and requires additional analysis, the early NHTSA estimate shows 9 out of 10 regions within the United States had increased traffic deaths in 2015. The most significant increases came for pedestrians and bicyclists. "As the economy has improved and gas prices have fallen, more Americans are driving more miles," said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind. "But that only explains part of the increase. Ninety-four percent of crashes can be tied back to a human choice or error, so we know we need to focus our efforts on improving human behavior while promoting vehicle technology that not only protects people in crashes, but helps prevent crashes in the first place." To see the full press release, go to:

New: Motivations for Speeding – Additional Data Analysis

Source: NHTSA Office of Behavioral Safety Research, April 2016

This study examined naturalistic driving data from 164 drivers. It defined speeding in terms of speeding episodes and examined the influence of situational factors on different types of speeding. Analyses identified several types of speeding: Speeding that occurs around speed-zone transitions, incidental speeding, casual speeding, cruising speeding, and aggressive speeding. Analyses also identified four driver types: Unintentional Speeders, Situational Speeders, Typical Speeders, and Deliberate Speeders. The types of speeding and driver types identified occurred across all demographic groups. Findings on the general riskiness of different types of speeding and location-specific characteristics and driving environment effects on speeding are reported. A pdf of the report may be accessed here:

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Upcoming Transportation/Safety Events

July 18-20
Fleet Safety Conference
Schaumburg, IL

NETS Board Chair, Dane Bremer of Liberty Mutual, is the opening keynote speaker in the session titled: Combining Behavioral Safety Theory and Telematics. NETS Board Members, Sandy Lee of Johnson & Johnson and Dr. Stephanie Pratt of NIOSH, along with Tony Vinciguerra of Element Fleet, will present Identification of Crash Risk Factors and Effectiveness of Crash Prevention Strategies. Jack Hanley, NETS Executive Director, will close out the conference with a keynote address titled: NETS Debuts a New Suite of Fleet Safety Resources.
For more information and to register, go to:

August 2-5
International Conference on Traffic and Transport Psychology
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
Theme: "UN Decade of Action for Road Safety: The Half-way Point"

Held every four years, ICTTP has achieved a long-standing and highly-regarded reputation as the leading international gathering in the field of traffic and transport psychology. For more information or to register, go to:

August 17-September 5, 2016
Labor Day Drunk Driving National Enforcement Mobilization
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

Visit NHTSA's Traffic Safety Marketing for more information and materials:

August 27-31
GHSA Annual Meeting and Conference:
Crossroads: The Intersection of Technology and Driver Behavior
Seattle, Washington.

For more information or to register, go to:

September 18-24, 2016
Child Passenger Safety Week

Visit NHTSA's Traffic Safety Marketing for more information and materials:

September 24, 2016
National Seat Check Saturday


October 3-7
Drive Safely Work Week- "Drowsy, Distracted or Focused…Your Decisions Drive Your Safety"

Materials available early to mid August at

October 12-13, 2016
NETS' STRENGTH IN NUMBERS Fleet Safety Benchmark Conference
Orlando Marriott World Center

Marking its 10th year and for the first time, NETS' annual STRENGTH IN NUMBERS® Fleet Safety Conference is open to non-NETS members! Join your fleet safety peers at this important event. For more information or to register, go to:

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