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Safety council estimates over 40K died in traffic accidents in 2018; expedite AV technology, SAFE says

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The National Safety Council data show that over 100 persons die in traffic accidents every day. (Courtesy: NATIONAL SAFETY COUNCIL)

CHICAGO — For the first time since the Great Recession, the U.S. has experienced three straight years of at least 40,000 roadway deaths, according to preliminary estimates released Wednesday by the National Safety Council.

In response to the NSC’s preliminary figures, Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) reiterated the need for policymakers to expedite the deployment of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology to curb this trend.

THE NSC said in 2018, an estimated 40,000 people lost their lives to car crashes — a 1 percent decline from 2017 (40,231 deaths) and 2016 (40,327 deaths). About 4.5 million people were seriously injured in crashes last year — also a 1 percent decrease over 2017.

Florida, Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., had at least a 5.8 percent spike in fatalities, according to Council estimates.

Five states experienced declines of more than 9.4 percent: Kansas, Maine, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Wyoming.

The Council’s preliminary estimate signals a leveling off after years of consecutive rises.

Discouragingly, last year’s estimated 40,000 deaths is 14 percent higher than four years ago. Driver behavior is likely contributing to the numbers staying stubbornly high, the Council said.

It’s Council estimates do not reveal causation; however, 2017 final data show spikes in deaths among pedestrians, while distraction continues to be involved in 8 percent of crashes, and drowsy driving in an additional 2 percent.

“Forty-thousand deaths is unacceptable,” said Nicholas Smith, interim president and CEO of NSC. “We cannot afford to tread water any more. We know what works, but we need to demonstrate the commitment to implementing the solutions. Roadway deaths are preventable by doubling down on what works, embracing technology advancements and creating a culture of safer driving.”

NSC has tracked fatality trends and issued estimates for nearly 100 years.

All estimates are subject to slight increases and decreases as the data mature.

NSC collects fatality data every month from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and uses data from the National Center for Health Statistics, so deaths occurring within one year of the crash and on both public and private roadways – such as parking lots and driveways – are included in the estimates.

“A death toll of over 40,000 for three straight years is unacceptable, especially given the suite of driver-assist and crash-avoidance technologies we have available right now. If we employed all those technologies today, we could save approximately 9,900 lives every year,” said SAFE President and CEO Robbie Diamond. “The death toll on our roads has reached epidemic proportions and as 94 percent of crashes are caused by human error, autonomous vehicles are the vaccine. It is vital we perfect and deploy this vaccine as soon as possible, because every day we delay is another day that lives are needlessly lost.”

Diamond said research from Boston Consulting Group has concluded that 28 percent of all crashes in the U.S. could be prevented if all cars were equipped with the advanced driver assist technologies available today. As a result, these technologies could prevent approximately 9,900 fatalities and save about $251 billion to society every year.

NSC has issued traffic fatality estimates since 1921.

For more information on the 2018 preliminary data, click here.

 

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Trevor W. Frith

    February 13, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    19 of theses deaths each day are pedestrians and cyclists all caused by the right foot braking method. In order to get our driver’s license we are forced to brake an electric or automatic vehicle using the right foot braking method. Those in charge of driver legislation and training at the state and federal level have known about the dangerous flaws of this method for years. NHTSA, GHSA and TRB produced reports DOT HS 811 597, 812 058 and 812 431 (spaces required). These reports showed that right foot pedal errors (pedal misapplication) occurs 40,000 times per day by drivers of all ages and gender but especially for women drivers, which they blamed for most of the crashes. But for some unknown reason which no one in charge wants to talk about, no more research has been done. One would have expected that instead of just continuing to blame female drivers they might have asked themselves two basic questions:
    1. Is it possible to develop a braking method that would be more suitable for female drivers (and male drivers if they would admit it), which would prevent these crashes?
    2. Do we actually have any scientific justification for teaching the right foot braking method?
    The answer to point one is YES and the answer to point 2 is NO!
    Turns out there is no scientific justification for teaching the right foot braking method which is too complicated and difficult to mentally retain with age, inefficient (poor reaction and stopping distances) and even more dangerous (susceptible to pedal misapplication) compared to the simpler, more efficient and safer left foot braking method. Deaths to date, 150,000 (19 every day!) pedestrians (in and out of buildings) and cyclists. This is not about which braking method is safer but why they refuse to scientifically compare the two methods. Apparently ME TOO is not the only victim of a male systemic belief! Was it driver error or the way we taught them to brake?

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The Nation

Diesel heads up 4 cents a gallon to $3.006

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Diesel prices jumped 4 cents a gallon to ring up Tuesday at $3.006. (The Trucker file photo)

For the past several months, including the end of 2018, all the “experts” said oil (and consequently diesel) was going nowhere but up. It had to, they reasoned, after prices had almost literally scraped the bottom of the barrel.

Then oil and diesel both went down for weeks. After that it stayed the same.

Now diesel prices are finally up — 4 cents a gallon — to $3.006 a gallon Tuesday from $2.966 a gallon last week.

Normally, diesel prices would have been announced Monday, but since it was President’s Day, diesel prices were released Tuesday.

And it may be a testament to how long prices had been going down or stayed flat that none of the U.S. Information Administration’s 10 reporting regions were clocking $4-a-gallon diesel, not even California, where diesel was ringing up at $3.739.

Also, four regions were still below $3 a gallon as of Tuesday.

And although 4 cents a gallon for the on-highway national average was a significant jump from the week before, the Lower Atlantic and Midwest regions each jumped 5.5 cents a gallon. Diesel in the Lower Atlantic sector went from $2.872 last week to $2.927 Tuesday while in the Midwest, diesel prices went from $2.849 last week to $2.904 today.

The Gulf Coast had the lowest prices at $2.809 a gallon, up 3.3 cents from the week prior.

Is this the start of an upward trend? It’s hard to know what oil prices will do in a global economy that is teetering since what seems like a bandwagon jump out of the European Union.

Meanwhile, oil was trading up:

U.S. crude added 48 cents to $56.07 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange after gaining $1.19 on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 16 cents to $66.34 per barrel, The Associated Press reported.

For diesel prices by sector, click here.

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The Nation

Ohio governor to reveal gas tax hike plan Thursday

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Ohio's tp Transportation Department executive says the state is facing an "impending crisis" unless more road funding is provided. (The Trucker file photo)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine says he’ll announce Thursday his proposed recommendation for increasing the state’s gas tax to deal with a chronic shortfall in spending on road construction.

DeWine, a Republican, says there are no other solutions outside a gas tax increase, while warning that any increase simply keeps Ohio from falling behind.

He wouldn’t provide details or say what the proposed increase will be. He spoke at an annual forum sponsored by The Associated Press.

DeWine says the increase is “just to keep us where we are today.”

The head of the Ohio Department of Transportation director said earlier this month that Ohio’s road maintenance and infrastructure are facing an “impending crisis” unless more funding is provided.

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OOIDA Foundation issues information it says debunks driver shortage ‘myth’

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Most carriers with high turnover do so by design, says OOIDA President Todd Spencer. “They could deal with driver turnover by offering better wages and benefits and improved working conditions,” he said.

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s research foundation published two new documents it says debunks the driver shortage “myth.”

A fact sheet explains how the industry isn’t afflicted with a shortage of drivers, but is actually plagued with overcapacity and driver retention, the foundation reported.

A second, accompanying document talks about how wages have decreased for truck drivers at large carriers and many have moved toward smaller fleets.

Last year, the association also created a short video that explains why there is high turnover as opposed to a shortage.

“We are concerned about the perpetuation of a myth of driver shortage,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA President. “This misinformation is used to push agendas that are harmful to the industry and highway safety.”

To address the supposed driver “shortage,” some organizations have suggested that the age requirement to obtain a commercial driver’s license should be lowered from 21 to 18.

“If safety is the top priority when considering a change to a regulation, when it comes to age, the number should be raised, not lowered.” Spencer said.

OOIDA also contends that any issue with retention could be mitigated with other solutions that would be safer for all highway users.

For example, compensation has been shown to be tied directly to highway safety, as revealed in studies that suggest there is a strong correlation between driver pay and highway safety, Spencer said.

“Most carriers with high turnover do so by design,” he said. “They could deal with driver turnover by offering better wages and benefits and improved working conditions. But putting younger drivers behind the wheel of a truck isn’t the solution because it does nothing to address the underlying issues that push drivers out of the industry. It merely exacerbates the churn.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The association currently has more than 160,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Missouri, area.

 

 

 

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