Decade of Action for Road Safety

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A monthly publication of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety

July 15, 2015         Summaries of timely road safety news, events, and alerts


New study focuses on untested passenger side

Source: Automotive News, June 15, 2015

The auto industry's toughest crash test program could get tougher in a hurry. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has begun to subject certain vehicle models to its rigorous small-overlap crash test on the passenger side. IIHS began the additional testing after discovering that some updated models had received structural reinforcements to improve crashworthiness on the driver side, where the test is normally conducted, but not on the passenger side. IIHS spokesman Russ Rader described the added testing as a "research project" intended to find out how widespread the practice is and to ensure that automakers are engineering crashworthiness improvements to both sides of a vehicle. The project's findings could prompt IIHS to add random passenger-side small-overlap crash tests to its testing regimen. To see the full article, go to:

Trucking industry-backed measure would permit longer tandem trucks on US highways

Source: Associated Press via US News and World Report, June 25, 2015

Over the objections of safety advocates, the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a trucking industry bid to allow longer tandem trucks on the nation's highways. The change, sought by the American Trucking Association and large haulers such as FedEx Corp., would increase the permitted length of trailers hauled in tandem from 28 feet to 33 feet. The provision would mandate that states permit the 33-foot trailers but a large majority have chosen not to do so. Pushing the measure were large trucking operations that stand to profit from lower costs. In opposition were unions such as the Teamsters, many states and local governments, and safety advocates. Many smaller trucking companies were against it as well. Opponents say the longer trucks create more wear and tear on highways, are less safe on local roads than existing trucks, and are more likely to cross into adjacent and opposing lanes when making turns. To see the full article, go to:

Legislation would require collision-avoidance data in crash ratings

Source: Providence Journal, June 20, 2015

Legislation proposed in the U.S. House and Senate Wednesday would require federal auto regulators to include information about collision-avoidance systems in new car safety ratings. The new legislation would, if passed, require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to integrate "active safety technology" into its five-star crash worthiness ratings. The NHTSA's program measures the level of safety provided by vehicles in frontal and side crashes and rollovers, and requires the results be posted on window stickers for new cars. The program does not include collision-avoidance systems in its ratings but, according to NHTSA's website, identifies vehicles equipped with features such as electronic stability control, lane-departure warning and forward-collision warning. "Today's five-star safety rating system only tells them how safe they are in the vehicle once a crash occurs, ignoring any features like collision warning and automatic emergency braking, that can help avoid that crash in the first place," said Senator Ed Markey. To see the full article, go to:

Is riding shotgun safer than sitting in the back?

Source: Consumer Reports, June 22, 2015

For decades, automotive safety has focused mostly on the front seat, which makes sense. There is always a driver behind the wheel, and there is a passenger, who usually sits in front. But it is time to direct attention to the back seat as well, some safety researchers and automakers say. Rear-seat safety hasn't kept pace with advancements up front, according to a recent study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. How good have front seats become? In vehicles made after 2006, people sitting in the rear seat, even when wearing a seat belt, have a 46% greater chance of dying in a crash than someone riding in the front passenger seat—even after controlling for age and gender differences. It doesn't mean children are better off in the front seats, however. Detailed results based on age indicate that the rear seat is still safer for children. To see the full article, go to:

Are drivers getting high from behind-the-wheel phone use?

Source: CBS News, June 25, 2015

A new survey reveals drivers are ignoring warnings about the risks of distractions behind the wheel. AT&T found that as many as one in 10 drivers could be video-chatting on their drive home. It also found 61% admitted to texting and driving, a third check their email and 17% admitted to taking a steering-wheel selfie. Furthermore, 30% of drivers who admitted to checking Twitter behind the wheel said they were doing it all the time, despite the fact that 46 states prohibit texting and driving. Twenty-two percent of the people surveyed who access a social network while driving gave "addiction" as the reason. One researcher who worked on the study believes people get a high from using their cellphone behind the wheel similar to playing a slot machine. To see the full article, go to:

8 of 10 drivers exceed window-sticker MPG

Source:, June 17, 2015

Eight out of 10 drivers attained better fuel economy than the posted U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rating, according to a new AAA study of data collected from The study also revealed that owners with manual transmissions, diesel-fueled light-duty trucks and V-6-powered sedans reported significantly higher fuel economy, while owners of turbocharged V-6 trucks and turbocharged four-cylinder sedans reported lower mpg. Minivan owners reported real-world fuel economy that was equal or slightly lower than the EPA ratings. Driver behaviors and environmental conditions, rather than vehicle shortcomings, are likely responsible for most fuel economy variances, the study found. In conducting this analysis, AAA identified a list of vehicles that were frequently reported as failing to achieve the EPA's mileage rating. The majority of these vehicles have since been retested and, in some cases, mileage ratings were revised. To see the full article, go to:

IIHS launches ease-of-use ratings of LATCH hardware in vehicles

Source: IIHS, June 18, 2015

Only 3 vehicles of more than 100 evaluated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have child restraint installation hardware that earns a good rating for ease of use, while more than half have hardware that is poor or marginal. The Institute's new LATCH ratings will serve as a resource for families looking for a vehicle that makes it easy to transport their children safely. They also are intended to encourage vehicle manufacturers to pay attention to this equipment and make improvements. Properly installed, age-appropriate child restraints provide considerably more protection for children in crashes than safety belts alone. However, observational studies have found that parents and caregivers often fail to secure them tightly or make other installation mistakes. LATCH, which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, is intended to make it easier to install a child seat properly. To see the full article, go to:

Special report from the CDC: Predictors of rear seat belt use among U.S. adults

Source: CDC via Science

Seat belt use reduces the risk of injuries and fatalities among motor vehicle occupants in a crash, but belt use in rear seating positions is consistently lower than front seating positions. Knowledge is limited concerning factors associated with seat belt use among adult rear seat passengers. In a new study, data from the 2012 Consumer Styles survey was used to calculate weighted percentages of self-reported rear seat belt use by demographic characteristics and type of rear seat belt use enforcement. The results showed that rear seat belt use varied by age, race, geographic region, metropolitan status, and type of enforcement. The data also showed that respondents living in states with primary and secondary rear seat belt use enforcement laws were significantly more likely to report always wearing a seat belt in the rear seat compared with those living in a state with no rear seat belt use law. To see the full abstract, go to:

U.S. Senate bill asks whether 18-year-olds should drive heavy trucks

Source:, June 29, 2015

A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate last month would create a federal pilot program to study the effects of allowing drivers 18 years of age to haul freight across state borders. The bill, in part, is meant to help alleviate a shortage of truck drivers, especially young ones. In all the 48 contiguous states, an 18-year-old can get a license to drive a truck in commerce within that state's borders, but federal rules stipulate 21 years for interstate commerce. Trucking interests complain that discourages high school graduates from looking for trucking jobs. Allowing high school graduates to start as "apprentices" would help counter a growing shortage of qualified truck drivers and give young people interested in trucking a career path. What's more, demographics show an aging driver population, with many truckers approaching retirement. That means demand for younger drivers will be high for years to come. To see the full article, go to:

Little old lady behind the wheel? Not the baby boomers

Source: The Washington Post, June 17, 2015

Aging baby boomers were supposed to bring a gray-haired danger to U.S. roads, with traffic-safety experts predicting years ago that the number of deadly accidents involving older drivers would soar as boomers reached their golden years. Instead, as the first wave of boomers approach their 70th birthdays, older motorists are involved in fewer fatal accidents than a decade ago, even as they hit the road more than previous generations of seniors and hold on to their driver's licenses longer. Just as boomers—people born between 1946 and 1964—made 50 the new 40, they're transforming the stereotype of the little old lady behind the wheel. "As a group, they're fitter to drive than previous generations," said one researcher. "It seems they're changing what we thought an 'older driver' is." To see the full article, go to:

In U.S., 47% say legal marijuana will make roads less safe

Source:, July 10, 2015

As some U.S. states have legalized marijuana for recreational and medicinal use, 30% of Americans say legalization will make driving in those states a lot less safe. Another 17% expect it to make driving a little less safe. Half of Americans, however, say it will not make much of a difference. Those in states with some form of legal marijuana are no different in their assessments of its effect on automotive safety than those in states without laws legalizing the drug. Across the 23 states and the District of Columbia that have some form of legalization, 49% say marijuana legalization will not make much difference in driving safety. This is on par with the 52% in the other 27 states who say legalizing pot would not make much of a difference for road safety. Similarly, 29% in states with some form of marijuana legalization say the roads will be a lot less safe, roughly matching the 30%. To see the full article, go to:

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Fleet safety tip: Dealing with allergies

Source: Automotive Fleet, July 6, 2015

Chances are pretty good that some of your company's fleet drivers are allergy sufferers. Unfortunately, many seasonal allergy symptoms and some medications used to treat them have the potential to hinder driving. Some antihistamines can make users too drowsy to drive, and some decongestants can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to work-hours sleepiness as well. But the answer certainly isn't to reject all allergy medications in the interest of safe driving. Allergy symptoms themselves, particularly in the spring and summer, can impair driving and create distractions. Runny eyes and nose, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, fatigue, the intermittent need to reach for tissues – you get the picture. Allergy-suffering fleet drivers need to discuss both their symptoms and driving needs with their physician, so the right treatment plan can take both issues into consideration. Additionally, of course, it helps to keep the fleet vehicle clean and smoke-free. To see the full article, including a video, go to:

New from the CDC: HEADS UP concussion awareness website and app

Keeping children and teens healthy and safe is always a top priority. Whether you are a parent, youth sports coach, high school coach, school professional, or health care provider, The CDC HEADS UP site will help you recognize, respond to, and minimize the risk of concussion or other serious brain injury. The CDC HEADS UP Concussion and Helmet Safety app will help you learn how to spot a possible concussion and what to do if you think your child or teen has a concussion or other serious brain injury. The application also includes a 3D helmet fit feature that teaches about proper helmet fit, safety and care. This is great information to share through your employee communication channels and/or wellness programs. Visit the site at

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Fleet safety awards presented

Source: Automotive Fleet, July 14, 2015

During a presentation at the 2015 Fleet Safety Conference in Schaumburg, Ill., earlier this week, Chad Fay, director of Fleet Operations for NPL Construction Company, received the annual Fleet Safety Award. Additionally, Jack Hanley, the executive director of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), received the Lifetime Fleet Safety Award for his tireless work advocating fleet safety throughout his career. Hanley became the executive director of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) in February 2008. As executive director, Hanley was responsible for leading NETS' road safety efforts. These included the annual Strength in Numbers road safety benchmark survey, the annual Drive Safely Work Week campaign, marketing the Novice Driver's Road Map, and NETSWork, NETS' monthly e-newsletter. In addition, Hanley represented NETS on the UN Road Safety Collaboration, the principal steering committee for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 initiative. To see the full article, go to:

Fleet Safety Conference: Leader behavior drives safety culture

Source: Work Truck Online, July 14, 2015

Speaking to a room full of fleet safety professionals, Shell Global Road Safety Manager (and NETS Board of Directors Member) Mike Watson readily acknowledged the breadth of responsibility that he and his colleagues assume — and the higher standards by which they're judged. "Leaders are role models, whether they choose to be or not," he said. "A leader's behavior impacts those around them and creates the culture of the organization." With the right focus, discipline and shared vision with others, safety leaders can nurture, and continue to strengthen, a corporate safety culture that helps protect employees, contractors and the public. That was one of the messages in Watson's opening keynote address at the 2015 Fleet Safety Conference. To see the full article detailing the presentation given earlier this week, go to:

How to engage leadership to support fleet safety programs

Source:, July 1, 2015

Getting support for a fleet safety program is sometimes easier said than done. In a general session during the Fleet Safety Conference, Joseph McKillips, CSP, manager, Commercial Program Support, Global Environment, Health, Safety & Energy for Abbott, will give practical advice fleets can use to get senior management to support a fleet safety program. McKillips, who has served with Abbott for 25 years and is also Chair of the board of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), will outline how EHS and fleet managers can persuasively stress the importance of "proactive leadership" before a tragic accident occurs. To see the full article, go to:

Seeking the safety payoff from fatigue management

Source: Fleet Owner, July 8, 2015

Understanding what fatigue is and how to manage it effectively--through rest, sleep, diet and exercise, even tractor specifications--is a critical component to fostering what Tom DiSalvi calls the "safety payoff" in trucking operations. "The biggest piece of truck transportation planning is how to insure drivers are well rested so they can stay alert," DiSalvi, VP for safety and loss prevention at Schneider, told Fleet Owner. "For us, that starts with education through driver training: gaining an understanding about the sleep cycle, sleep debt, sleep hygiene, and proper fatigue management," he explained. Southeastern Freight Lines (SEFL) took that strategy a step further by implementing a sleep apnea interdiction program designed by FusionHealth back in 2011. The fleet tested FusionHealth's system by using one group of some 100 drivers with sleep apnea enrolled in the firm's program compared to a second group of roughly 100 with the same gender, age, job, claims-based expenditures and medical conditions that didn't use it. Surprising results were achieved. To see the full article, go to:

HR and the safety department

Source: Safety and Health Magazine, June 28, 2015

A human resources manager handles hiring, firing, payroll and benefits. The safety professional oversees lockout/tagout, fall protection, machine guarding and personal protective equipment. The two don't often interact. Maybe they should. Both HR and safety are a support function for a larger operation and have similar mission objectives: ensure effective work processes while complying with the law. Although an employer's safety and HR departments don't necessarily need to work together to achieve their goals, failure to do so may come at a cost. Historically, many safety departments have grown out of HR. A small company may not need a safety professional right away, so HR gets assigned safety as a type of miscellaneous responsibility. As a result, some organizations may not give full attention to safety. In this type of situation, HR professionals need to be self-aware enough to recognize that they require assistance. To see the full article, go to:

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Innovation and Technology

Help for drivers at blind junctions

Source: (UK), June 23, 2015

Cars that can "see round corners" are now on the market, offering an end to the practice of drivers having to edge out at blind junctions. The Ford motor company has come up with a video camera installed in the front grille which displays to the driver a 180-degree view from the front of the car. At a blind junction or exiting a driveway, the camera enables drivers to easily spot approaching vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists. The camera is now available as an option on certain Ford models. European statistics show that around 19% of drivers involved in accidents at junctions experience obstructions to their view, while the UK's Department for Transport said that in 2013, vision affected by external factors contributed to 11% of all road accidents. To see the full article, go to:

Jaguar Land Rover will improve road safety by scanning your brain


Road safety is a big deal nowadays and seeing how all carmakers try to come up with elaborate and efficient safety systems can only make us happy. But lately, Jaguar Land Rover proved to be pretty resourceful in this area. From the pothole-avoiding system presented last month, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) engineers made a leap to more pressing safety issues. The focus falls on the driver this time, who will have his or her brainwaves scanned. JLR's system won't be able to read thoughts, but it will measure brainwaves to monitor driver concentration in the car. Also, JLR researchers are working on a new seat technology called Wellness Seat. It is currently being tested in a Jaguar XJ and can analyze the driver's heart rate and breathing to monitor driver health and stress. To see the full article, go to:

Samsung "The Safety Truck" has screens on the back

Source: Slashgear, June 16, 2015

Samsung does a lot of hauling items in Argentina and operates a large fleet of big rigs within the country. According to Samsung, a person dies in a traffic accident every hour within the country. Of those traffic accident fatalities, the majority are caused when people try to pass. Anyone who has ever driven a vehicle or ridden in one when the vehicle is trying to pass a big rig knows that it can be impossible to tell if another vehicle is oncoming until you begin a passing maneuver. The odds of an accident occurring are even higher when you take into account the hundreds of one lane roads in the country where there is no margin of error. To help reduce the number of traffic accidents that involve big rigs, Samsung has installed some very cool technology on its fleet of trucks and dubbed the fleet "The Safety Truck." Samsung's trucks have wireless cameras on the front bumper. Those cameras stream images from the front of the truck to screens that are mounted on the rear doors of the truck. The image makes it much easier to tell when a car is oncoming. The cameras even have a night vision mode that allows drivers behind to see in the dark. To see the full article, go to:

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Government considers targeting hands-free phone use

Source: FleetNews (UK), June 30, 2015

A Government clampdown on the use of hands-free phones while driving could be considered in an effort to improve road safety. That was the message from the Department for Transport at a debate held at Company Car in Action (CCIA). Research has shown that using a hands-free phone while driving is more likely to lengthen reaction times than having 80mg of alcohol in the bloodstream – the drink-drive limit in England and Wales. But while the Government has banned the use of handheld devices, drivers are free to use hands-free phones unless restricted by their employer. Chris Woodward, strategic engagement manager for new driver policy and road safety strategy at the DfT, said: "It's certainly something that's being considered, but no policy direction has been firmly set. The Government that formed in May of this year is looking afresh at how to address road safety issues." To see the full article, go to:

EU road safety targets at risk as deaths increase in France, Germany and UK

Source: Fleet News (UK), June 19, 2015

Progress on reducing road deaths in the EU slowed to just -0.6% last year, the worst annual reduction since the first common EU target was set in 2001, according to new analysis published by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC). EU member states now need to cut deaths by almost 8% each year until 2020 to meet the target set in 2010 to halve deaths within a decade. France, Ireland, Germany and the UK were among the 12 EU member states that saw an increase in the number of road deaths last year compared to 2013. On a positive note, Croatia, Slovenia, Finland, Greece, Luxembourg and Malta all recorded reductions of around 10% or more. The new figures show that in 2014, more than 200,000 people were seriously injured in road collisions, a rise of 3% in one year. The numbers of people suffering life-changing injuries have fallen more slowly than deaths for several years and even increased last year. To see the full article, go to:

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NHTSA announces all Vehicle Identification Numbers under the Takata air bag recall are loaded into the agency's search system

Source: NHTSA Press Release, June 17, 2015

NHTSA has announced that all vehicle identification numbers affected by the massive Takata air bag recall are loaded into the agency's search system. The recall involves 11 auto manufacturers and roughly 34 million vehicles. Last month Takata announced a national recall of certain types of driver and passenger side air bag inflators. These inflators were made with a propellant that can degrade over time and has led to ruptures that have been blamed for seven deaths and more than 100 injuries worldwide. The recall is one of the largest and most complex product recalls in history. The agency has established a new website,, to provide regular updates on the status of this and other recalls of high interest. To see the full press release, go to:

July is National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month; are you protecting yours?

Source: USDOT Fast Lane Blog, July 6, 2015

To many Americans, a car is more than a machine. It can be a lifeline to food and medical care or your only access to opportunity like a job or school. For many of us, our cars are very personal extensions of our lives, filled with reminders of our families, remnants of past trips, and accessories that reflect who we are. But, by the time you've finished reading these few paragraphs, somewhere in America, another car thief will have taken away another vehicle. In fact, in the U.S. a motor vehicle is stolen every 44 seconds. Would you be prepared if it happened to you? Well, the best preparation is to prevent that theft in the first place, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has some tips to help you do just that. NHTSA's research indicates that 40–50% of all vehicle thefts are due at least in part to owner or driver error that makes things easier for thieves. Valuables left on the seat. Doors unlocked. Windows down. To see the full blog post, go to:

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Upcoming Transportation/Safety Events

July is Vehicle Theft Prevention Month

The cost of stolen vehicles is pegged at more than $4.1 billion and July is the month when more cars are stolen than any other month. For educational materials and graphics from NHTSA's Traffic Safety Marketing that you can share with employees, go to:

August 2015
Launch of the Drive Safely Work Week 2015 Tool Kit: #PlanAhead: Your key to driving safely

More information coming soon!
Sponsored by NETS

August 21-Sept. 7, 2015
Labor Day Weekend Drunk Driving Prevention

Please join thousands of law enforcement officers, State and local safety advocates, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in this year's nationwide drunk driving crackdown. Products for Enforcement Action Kit (PEAK) materials available here:

October 5-9, 2015
Drive Safely Work Week
Sponsored by NETS


Sept. 13-19, 2015 Child Passenger Safety Week
Sept. 19, 2015 National Seat Check Saturday

Every 34 seconds one child under age 13 is involved in a crash. Many times deaths and injuries can be prevented by proper use of car seats, boosters, and seat belts. Use this toolkit from NHTSA's Traffic Safety Marketing to download campaign materials and get information on how to generate awareness about child car safety in your workplace and community:

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