Unifying Alabama's Traffic Safety Efforts
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FARS and AL Fatalities
The Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) contains data derived from a census of fatal traffic crashes within the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. To be included in FARS, a crash must involve a motor vehicle traveling on a trafficway customarily open to the public and result in the death of a person (occupant of a vehicle or a non-motorist) within 30 days of the crash.

FARS was conceived, designed, and developed by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 1975 to provide an overall measure of highway safety, to help identify traffic safety problems, to suggest solutions, and to help provide an objective basis to evaluate the effectiveness of motor vehicle safety standards and highway safety programs.

For more information, see the FARS information brochure.
Rural/Urban Comparison of Traffic Fatalities

NHTSA: In 2015, there were 32,166 fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes resulting in 35,092 fatalities. Of these 32,166 fatal traffic crashes, there were 15,293 (48%) that occurred in rural areas, 14,414 (45%) that occurred in urban areas, and 2,459 (8%) that occurred in unknown areas (not enough information to determine if the crashes were inside the rural or urban boundaries).

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Fundamental Principles, Policies and Practices to Advance Vision Zero in the U.S.
Vision Zero Network: We aim to ensure that Vision Zero efforts entail not only bold proclamations and marketing campaigns but, more importantly, lasting changes that save lives and ensure safe mobility for all. This PDF, Moving From Vision to Action: Fundamental Principles, Policies and Practices to Advance Vision Zero in the U.S., was created to do just that.

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U.S. Traffic Deaths Rise for a Second Straight Year
New York Times: Over the last decade, new cars have gotten electronic stability control systems to prevent skids, rearview cameras to prevent fender benders and more airbags to protect occupants in collisions. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on campaigns to remind the public of the dangers of drunken driving, failing to buckle up and texting while on the go.

Despite all that, more Americans are dying on roads and highways than in years, and the sudden and sharp increase has alarmed safety advocates.

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AL Fatalities

Alabama has experienced a very large increase in traffic fatalities in the first months of 2016.  This research effort consisting of a PPT and a narrative was conducted on behalf of the Alabama Traffic Records Coordinating Committee, and it is the first, high-level, effort to get an insight into the causes of the increased fatalities.  Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet -- all the usual suspects: speed, impaired driving, distracted driving & walking, and probably most of all, a failure to use proper restraints.  But this study goes a bit deeper to determine just who, what, where, when and why these particular issues caused death.  This is a top level study and it has surfaced a number of drill-downs into the data that will be performed shortly.  In addition, the entire study will be replicated when all of the 2016 data are available.

Click Here for the PPT

Click Here for the Narrative

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National Safety Council Launch Road to Zero Coalition to End Roadway Fatalities
Transportation.gov: U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Highway Administration, and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are joining forces with the National Safety Council (NSC) to launch the Road to Zero coalition with the goal of ending fatalities on the nation’s roads within the next 30 years. The Department of Transportation has committed $1 million a year for the next three years to provide grants to organizations working on lifesaving programs.

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White House, Transportation Dept. Want Help Using Open Data to Prevent Traffic Crashes
fedscoop: The Transportation Department is looking for public input on how to better interpret and use data on fatal crashes after 2015 data revealed a startling spike of 7.2 percent more deaths in traffic accidents that year.

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Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities in 2015
A statistical projection of traffic fatalities for 2015 shows that an estimated 35,200 people will die in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This represents an increase of about 7.7% as compared to the 32,675 fatalities that were reported to have occurred in 2014.

Read More Here




Causes of the Recent Reduction in Fatalities
See NHTSA: Analysis of Causes of Fatality Reduction in 2008.

The following table presents a summary of various crash aspects that have either increased or decreased over the 2005-2008 time period based on a University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute research report that was based upon FARS data. For the complete report, click the article link: Toward Understanding the Recent Large Reductions in Recent Road Fatalities - UMTRI.


Aspect Change from 2005 to 2008 Relative to the Average Change Possible Explanation(s)
Rush hours Down Decreased commuter travel
Interstates Down Reduced long-distance leisure travel
Local roads/streets Up Increase local leisure travel
Side crashes Down More side airbags
Side airbag deployment Up More side airbags
Seats with no airbags Down More airbags
Frontal crashes Down Decreased speeds; more seats with front airbags; improved airbags
Roads w/ higher speed limits Down Decreased speeds
No avoidance maneuver Down Decreased speeds
Construction zone Down Reduced road construction
Multiple fatalities Down More airbags
Motorcycles Up Increased ownership and travel: (1) by middle-aged men and (2) larger motorcycles
Heavy trucks Down Reduced freight shipments
Reported alcohol use Up Increased alcohol consumption; increased DWI enforcement
Repeat DWI offenders Down Disproportionate reduction in driving by repeat DWI offenders
Repeat crash involvement Down Decreased alcohol involvement; fewer high-risk drivers on the road
Reckless driving Down Decreased speeds
Drowsy driving Down Disproportionate decrease in long distance leisure driving
Inattentive driving Up Increased complexity of daily lives; increase number and use of electronic devices; increased sensitivity of issue by coders
Young drivers Down Fewer young drivers on the road; increased use of graduated licensing
Jaywalking Down Decreased speeds