Decade of Action for Road Safety

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A monthly publication of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety

March 16, 2015         Summaries of timely road safety news, events, and alerts


NETS contributes to global road safety with free employer guide available in 21 languages

Source: NETS press release via Business Wire, March 4, 2015

The NETS' Comprehensive Guide to ROAD SAFETY™ is now available, free of charge, in 21 languages at The Guide was initially launched in English last year as part of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety's (NETS) mission to assist employers in advancing global road safety. The document is designed to aid employers with fleets of any size at various stages of road safety program development, including those who are preparing to initiate a program, in the early stages of policy and program development or managing more mature road safety management systems and interventions. NETS is grateful to The Coca-Cola Company, a NETS Board of Directors member, for translating the Guide from English into 20 additional languages. The Guide may be downloaded at no charge here:
To see the full press release, go to:

Senate confirms new National Transportation Safety Board chairman, board member

Source: Star Tribune, March 12, 2015

Christopher Hart, a lawyer with a history in aviation and transportation safety was confirmed overwhelmingly by the Senate Thursday to head the National Transportation Safety Board. Hart's nomination was approved 97 to 0. The Senate also approved by a voice vote the nomination of transportation safety advocate Tho "Bella" Dinh-Zarr, U.S. director of a foundation that promotes global road safety, to fill a vacancy on the safety board. Hart served as deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration before moving to the FAA in 1995. Dinh-Zarr, who has a doctorate in public health and injury prevention, has worked for the FIA Foundation since 2006. In addition to road safety, the foundation also promotes fuel efficiency, motor sport safety, better air quality and "livable" cities. Prior to joining FIA, Dinh-Zarr was national traffic safety policy director at AAA (formerly the American Automobile Association) and a scientist at the traffic safety administration. To see the full article, go to:

Crash fatalities per mile fall to record low

Source: Automotive Fleet, February 24, 2015

Approximately 35,400 motor vehicle fatalities occurred in 2014, according to a preliminary estimate from the National Safety Council (NSC), and the year's annual mileage death rate dropped to 1.18 deaths per 100 million miles traveled, matching the lowest NSC estimate on record. Crash injuries requiring medical attention are estimated at about 4.3 million, unchanged from 2013. The nearly stable number of motor vehicle deaths in the U.S. occurred during a period of economic expansion, with annual unemployment rates falling 16% and estimated mileage on national roads increasing 1.4%, NSC said. In addition to devastating human loss, car crashes present a significant national cost in lost wages and productivity, medical expenses, administrative expenses, employer costs and property damage. The estimated cost of motor vehicle deaths, injuries and property damage in 2014 was $288.9 billion, less than a half a percent increase from 2013, NSC said. To see the full article, go to: /

Want to get drivers' attention? Use road signs showing more action

Source: Brigham Young University

When a car traveling relatively fast needs to come to an immediate stop, milliseconds matter. Sometimes only a few feet is the difference between life and death. Researchers from the University of Michigan and BYU have discovered a way to provide a little extra cushion when it comes to near-accidents. Their new study finds that people react significantly faster to warning signs that depict greater movement. "A sign that evokes more perceived movement increases the observer's perception of risk, which in turn brings about earlier attention and earlier stopping," the study authors said. "If you want to grab attention, you need signs that are more dynamic." The researchers hope the study can ultimately influence policy leading to changes that help reduce accident-related injuries and deaths. To read the full article, go to

Older drivers can stay safe for longer

Source: Health Canal, February 24, 2015

Although older drivers are reported to have fewer collisions and pose a lower safety risk to other road users than other age groups, it is known they are much more likely to suffer from a lack of attentional switching flexibility, which can severely affect their confidence. Aston researchers believe the extra time it takes older people to shift their attention from one thing to another may be a major source of this problem, and have developed a new training plan to tackle the issue. A team, led by the Director of the Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing at Aston University's School of Life and Health Sciences (UK), will test participants with a series of visual prompts designed to gradually increase the speed at which they can focus their attention. They will then be placed in a driving simulator and asked to tackle difficult traffic situations at virtual roundabouts and road intersections. Their performance on the simulator will be measured over a period of time to assess the degree of their improvement. To see the full article, go to:

Self-braking cars are safer, but do they boost MPG?

Source: The Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2015

Auto makers say autonomous driving features that have the potential to make cars safer also make them cleaner—and they want the government to give them credit for it. As safety features like automatic braking and adaptive cruise control become more widely available, traffic accidents are expected to fall. Fewer accidents will lead to less congestion and better traffic flow—factors that, when combined with speed management, could cut vehicle emissions by as much as 30%, say University of California at Riverside researchers. So far, Washington has shot down the idea. Some current and former regulators and environmentalists contend auto makers are simply trying to get around meeting tougher mileage targets. Still, auto makers are clamoring for some consideration, recognizing they remain a ways off from meeting stringent mileage targets regulators have set over the next decade. To see the full article, go to:

Expert: New headlights could be to blame for wrong-way crashes

Source:, February 19, 2105

Cars that are two, three and four years old may not be able to sufficiently illuminate important signs on the road, an accident expert at Michigan State University says, which could potentially lead to wrong-way crashes. "Due to new research and new design, we have headlights that are very directional," said Daniel Lee, director of MSU's Highway Traffic Safety Programs. "They are not going to go very far left or right of the vehicle and they're only going to go to a certain height." That could cause problems on the road as auto engineers move ahead of traffic engineers, whose signs are in some cases too high for headlights to catch. Some states, like Texas, have taken further steps to prevent wrong-way crashes, by moving their signs lower to the ground. Alcohol and any type of distraction can also lead to a driver entering an exit ramp and finding his or her way on the highway headed in the wrong direction. To see the full article, go to

AASHTO introduces Toward Zero Deaths Plan to reduce roadway fatalities

Source: AASHTO News Release, March 10, 2015

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) joined the National Strategy on Highway Safety Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) effort, a vision of eliminating fatalities on our nation's roadways. The Toward Zero Deaths effort was created by a steering committee cooperative that includes numerous organizations committed to reducing annual US traffic fatalities from more than 33,000 to zero. The TZD Plan provides organizations in the fields of engineering, law enforcement, education and emergency medical services (EMS) with initiatives and safety countermeasures designed to save lives. "The TZD National vision brings together a wide range of organizations and individuals under a unified commitment to transform our nation's traffic safety culture. Everyone has to be part of the solution -- including the nation's educators, roadway designers, engineers, law enforcement officers and motorists," said Bud Wright, executive director of AASHTO. To see the full news release, go to:

New Report: Naturalistic Driving Study: Alcohol Sensor Performance

Source: Transportation Research Board, second Strategic Highway Research Program, March 4, 2015

Driver impairment is a critical issue in traffic safety, and the ability to identify alcohol-impaired drivers would be valuable for users of the Naturalistic Driving Study data. The sensor responds to the presence of alcohol in the cabin air. A positive sensor reading can come from many sources: alcohol from the breath of a driver or other occupant, an open container of an alcoholic beverage, aftershave lotion or perfume, windshield wiper fluid, and even some fast food. On the other hand, open windows may dissipate alcohol from an impaired driver's breath before it reaches the sensor. Thus, the sensor can produce a positive reading when the driver is sober and can produce a negative reading for an alcohol-positive driver. The objective of this report is to evaluate the sensor performance under several scenarios with known driver alcohol levels and to investigate the feasibility of developing an algorithm to identify potentially alcohol-impaired drivers based on the sensor output. View a PDF of the report here:

Decline in crash risk spurs better outlook for older drivers

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Status Report, March 3, 2015

Older drivers are more likely to crash for every mile they travel than middle-age drivers, but the overall crash outlook for older drivers has markedly improved during the past two decades. Two developments are helping lower the fatality rate among drivers age 75 and older: They are involved in fewer crashes per mile traveled, and they are surviving side impacts more often than prior generations, a new IIHS study indicates. The latest research delves further into the characteristics of the declines in older driver death rates. Using information from federal databases of fatal and police-reported crashes and of vehicle miles traveled, IIHS researchers examined how fatality rates per vehicle miles traveled for drivers age 75 and older compare with those of middle-age drivers ages 35-54 and quantified how changes in crash involvement (crash risk) and older driver survivability (death risk) contributed to changes in fatality rates from 1995-98 to 2005-08. To see the full article go to:

Intersections challenge older drivers

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Status Report, March 3, 2015

Safely navigating intersections continues to vex older drivers, who look but don't always see conflicts with other vehicles, new IIHS research finds. In the second of a pair of new studies on older drivers, IIHS researchers used information from a national in-depth study of passenger vehicle crashes to examine critical driver factors that led to crashes among drivers 70 and older, compared with those of drivers ages 35-54. Errors that older drivers frequently make differ in important ways from those of middle-age drivers. The most common critical error among older drivers was inadequate surveillance (33 percent), followed by misjudging the length of a gap between vehicles or another vehicle's speed, failure to obey traffic controls or other illegal maneuvers, medical events, and daydreaming (6 percent each). Inadequate surveillance and gap or speed misjudgment errors were significantly more prevalent among older drivers than middle-age drivers. Data are from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey (NMVCCS), a nationally representative sample of 5,470 police-reported passenger vehicle crashes during 2005-07 for which emergency medical services were dispatched. For more details of findings in the study, see the full article at:

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Five states pursue rules permitting lane splitting

Source: Landline Magazine, February 20, 2105

California is the only place in the country that allows so-called lane splitting by motorcycles, but state law does not address the practice. The state legislature in Sacramento is now considering a bill that would officially set guidelines for lane splitting. And if state lawmakers in multiple states get their way, the practice could soon be permitted elsewhere. Across the state line in Oregon, multiple bills have been introduced that would permit the practice. In neighboring Washington, the Senate Transportation Committee recently discussed a bill that would limit the practice to situations when traffic is slowed to 25 mph or less. In Texas, bills would permit the practice when traffic is slowed to 20 mph or less on controlled access highways. Motorcyclists could not be driven more than 5 mph in excess of the speed of traffic and they would also be required to wear a helmet while attempting the maneuver. Two Tennessee bills would permit the practice in situations when traffic is slowed to 45 mph or less. Motorcyclists could be driven no more than the minimum posted speed for the roadway. To read the full article, go to

Poor timing as Maine considers revoking seatbelt law after 75-car pileup

Source: Claims Journal, March 4, 2015

Just two days after a 75-vehicle pileup injured at least 17 people in the state, lawmakers in Maine are considering legislation that would allow adults to opt out of wearing seatbelts. Sen. Eric Brakey told lawmakers recently that it's too bad they're considering his bill so close to the crash on Interstate 95, which is thought to be largest in Maine history but had no fatalities. The Republican from Auburn acknowledged that people should wear seatbelts and said he hopes the accident serves as a reminder of the importance to do so. But said he believes the mandate infringes on people's freedom to make personal decisions. If the bill passes, Maine's Bureau of Highway Safety would lose almost $500,000 a year in federal grants that pay for educational programs and child safety seats for low-income families, said Director Lauren Stewart, who opposes the bill. The federal government encourages states to enact certain highway safety laws by tying some funding to them. To see the full article, go to:

Update on March 6: A legislative committee unanimously rejected the bill to repeal the seat belt law but it will still move on to be considered by the full legislature.

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Preventing parking lot tragedies involving older drivers

Legal Examiner, February 16, 21015

According to Insurance industry sources, 20% of all accidents happen in parking lots. What's more, 52% of injuries resulting from back-over accidents occur in parking lots. Parking lots are home to a flurry of activity in a relatively small amount of space. Add unique layouts, traffic patterns that vary by parking lot, bicyclist and pedestrian traffic, and it's easy to see why so many accidents happen in parking lots. Personal injury attorneys often refer to parking lots as "accident magnets." Why do these types of tragedies happen and is there anything we can do to prevent them? One specific area of concern is older drivers, who can be particularly impacted by chaos and confusion of a busy parking lot. To see the full article, go to:

New Growing Safely video from Monsanto featuring vehicle safety on the farm

Source: Monsanto Off the Job Safety, February, 2015

Farmers are at a very high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries. Monsanto is committed to helping farmers and their families reduce these risks. Through its off-the-job safety program, Monsanto has developed the Growing Safely series to help support safety in agriculture. The Growing Safely series features video testimonials and expert safety tips, along with informational handouts. One of the newest videos highlights child safety on the farm and features a family affected by a vehicle accident on the farm. To view the video, accompanying tips and handouts, as well as see other road-safety related videos featured by Monsanto's Off-the-Job Safety group, visit the organization's YouTube channel here:

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Fleet safety video tip: Dealing with potholes

Source: Automotive Fleet, March 9, 2015

Because of this winter's extreme freeze-and-thaw cycles in many areas, the spring of 2015 promises to deliver quite a pothole season. That's good news for collision repair shops, dreadful news for fleet managers and drivers. AAA recommends a number of measures to help prevent pothole damage that are outlined in the following article from Automotive Fleet also includes a link to a video:

New: CDC Vital Signs Report on trucker safety: Using a seat belt matters

Source: Centers for Disease Control, March 3, 2015

Vital Signs is a monthly report that includes a research article, fact sheet, press release, and social media tools to spread the word about important public health matters. Report Highlights:

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for truckers: In 2012, 65% of truck drivers who died on the job died in a motor vehicle crash. Approximately 700 truck drivers or their passengers died in crashes and 26,000 truck drivers or their passengers were injured.
  • Wearing a seat belt matters: More than 1 in 3 truck drivers who died in crashes in 2012 were not wearing a seat belt. Buckling up could have prevented up to 40% of these deaths. Using a seat belt is the most effective way to prevent crash injuries and deaths, yet 1 in 6 truck drivers doesn't use a seat belt.
  • Employers play a pivotal role in trucker safety: Employers can help prevent truck crashes, injuries, and deaths by establishing and enforcing driver safety programs that include a requirement that everyone in the truck buckle up, as well as policies to reduce crash risks such as drowsy and distracted driving.

See the full report here:

A Town Hall Teleconference on the report was hosted on March 10 featuring presentations from NETS board of directors members, Dr. Stephanie Pratt of NIOSH and Mike Watson of Shell International Petroleum Company, B.V., along with other presenters. A recording of the teleconference will be posted the week of March 16 at this link:

Building a safety culture from the driver up

Source: Heavy Duty Trucking, March 11, 2015

Every company has a culture, whether intentional or not. For three carriers represented at a panel discussion at the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) annual meeting in Kissimmee, Fla., intentionally building a culture of safety pays big dividends. Rob Penner, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Canadian carrier Bison Transport, said once you develop a safety culture, it will help recruit safe drivers. Much has been written about the need for a company's culture to be supported by its leadership. But the TCA panelists emphasized that employees at all levels of the company must be involved in developing that culture. See the full article for excerpts from all three presentations here:

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Innovation and Technology

Tech-loving drivers are trading in cars as often as iPhones

Source: Bloomberg, February 23, 2015

Upgrade envy has helped Apple Inc. sell millions of pricey iPhones. Now, it's the auto industry's turn, thanks to a raft of new technologies that make cars safer and easier to drive. Must-have features like parking assist and wireless Web access have helped automakers recover from the 2009 bust and charge record prices for their vehicles. The new gadgetry and falling oil prices are spurring demand. This year, automakers are expected to sell 16.9 million vehicles, for a sixth consecutive year of growth. "We basically skipped a generation of technology, and that's what we're seeing come out now," said Kevin Tynan, a senior auto analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. "Your 5-year-old car feels like it's 10 or 12 years old." To see the full article, go to:

Suppliers develop rear-seat airbags

Source: Automotive News, February 15, 2015

Airbag suppliers, which have developed an array of airbags, side curtains and knee bolsters to protect front-seat occupants, are starting to design a new generation of airbags for rear-seat passengers. TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. has unveiled two airbags -- one mounted in the roof, and one in the back of the front seat -- that could protect rear-seat passengers during a frontal collision. The new airbags are likely to debut in Europe, which has mandated crash tests for a dummy the size of a 6-year-old in the rear seat starting in 2016. U.S. regulators are showing interest in rear-seat safety. While the New Car Assessment Program does not evaluate rear seats in frontal crashes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has begun to study the issue. To see the full article, go to:

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Millions of new cars worldwide fail UN safety standards

Source:, March 10, 2015

Millions of new cars sold in middle and low income countries fail to meet the UN's basic safety standards for front and side impacts, according to the Global New Car Assessment Program (GlobalNCAP.) "Crash test standards introduced twenty years ago for cars sold in Europe, are yet to be met by many new cars, and even brand new models, being sold today in leading middle income countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America," says Global NCAP Chairman, Max Mosley. "Manufacturers cannot continue to treat millions of their customers as second class citizens when it comes to life saving standards of occupant protection." A new report from Global NCAP, titled Democratising Car Safety: Road Map for Safer Cars 2020, sets ten clear recommendations to transform global car safety as well as a realistic and affordable timetable for their implementation. A PDF of the report may be downloaded here: To see the full article, go to:

Bloomberg Philanthropies, World Bank join efforts to improve road safety, save lives

Source:, March 3, 2015

Currently, more than 1.2 million people die and some 50 million people are severely injured from road traffic crashes around the world every year. In response, Bloomberg Philanthropies has committed $125 million over five years to a Global Road Safety Initiative. The World Bank-led Global Road Safety Facility, with road safety lending of more than $1 billion over the last nine years, is partnering with Bloomberg on this lifesaving initiative. Over the past four years both organizations, along with governments and other partners, have focused efforts on strengthening legislation, providing training on advocacy, post-crash care, enforcement, and improving road infrastructure. This joint work has led to some initial and important results, particularly on strengthening legislation and enforcement to effect behavior change. In Hyderabad, India, for example, there was a 75% reduction in drunk driving from 2011 to 2013. In Dalian, China, speeding was reduced by 80% over the period of 2011-13. To read the full article, go to:

Road Safety Grants Programme Round 7 is now open

Source: Global Road Safety Partnership, March 2015

The Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP) announces the launch of the Call for Concept Notes for Round 7 of the Road Safety Grants Programme. Initiated in early 2012 with funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the primary objective of the Road Safety Grants Programme is to support civil society organizations in selected low- and middle-income countries to advocate for policy change to protect road users. It also supports civil society organizations to promote the successful implementation of evidence-based policies. Since its inception the programme has awarded 36 grants to 27 civil society organizations in 8 countries. In 2015, with continued funding under the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety, the grants programme is expanding to include new cities and countries. For more information, visit the GRSP website at:

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U.S. DOT launches first-ever national tween seat belt advertising campaign

Source: NHTSA press release, March 12, 2015

The Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced a national advertising campaign aimed at parents of children ages 8-14 to make sure their kids are consistently and properly wearing their seat belt every time the car is moving. A recent series of NHTSA focus groups found seat belt use can fall by the wayside when shuttling kids to and from school and activities, when running short errands, or when parents are a bit worn down by the daily grind, which makes this campaign urgently important. Seat belts save lives and NHTSA data show that as children get older they are less likely to buckle up. The campaign, developed in both English and Spanish, includes television, radio, outdoor, print and digital ads. The ads take a direct approach to parents, as one radio spot says, "You're the driver. The one in control. Stand firm. Just wait. And move only when you hear the click that says they're buckled in for the drive." Visit and for tips in both English and Spanish, respectively. To see the full press release, go to:

NHTSA lends a hand to help India address impaired driving

Source: NHTSA's Jeff Michael via US DOT Fast Lane Blog, March 3, 2015

"As part of NHTSA's participation in the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety, an international commitment to address the global toll of road traffic crashes, we're focusing our international assistance in a few key directions where our experience promises to result in the greatest benefits. With nearly 150,000 traffic deaths per year and a rapidly increasing rate of motor vehicle ownership, preventing impaired driving in India is one such opportunity. Our colleagues in India asked for help in building a strong infrastructure for road safety programs, and one of our first cooperative ventures was to assist them in establishing standards for breath alcohol measurement and building a national lab for ensuring that breath test devices used to arrest drunk drivers are in compliance with these standards." See the full blog post here:

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Upcoming Transportation/Safety Events

NETS is seeking a new Executive Director

Jack Hanley has announced his retirement effective December 31, 2015, after a successful 8-year tenure. If you or someone you know is interested, please find the job description and application procedures here:

March 15-17, 2015
LifeSavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities Chicago, IL

NETS will be participating in the workshop entitled "Free Marketing Resources to Support Your Campaign" in the Communications Track, Tuesday, March 17, 9:00–10:30AM

For more information go to:

March 17, 2015
Saint Patrick's Day Drunk Driving Prevention Campaign: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving

For materials and graphics from NHTSA's Traffic Safety Marketing, go to:

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Sponsored by the National Safety Council (NSC)

For more information, go to:
To access NHTSA materials in support of the month, go to:

May 4-10, 2015
Global Road Safety Week
Theme: Children and Road Safety #savekidslives

For more information, go to:

May 7-8, 2015
Child Road Safety in the Americas
Regional Conference for Global Road Safety Week 2015
San Jose, Costa Rica

For more information, go to:

May 18-31, 2015
National Seat Belt Enforcement Mobilization Click It or Ticket

For materials from NHTSA to help generate awareness of the initiative, go to:

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