Unifying Alabama's Traffic Safety Efforts
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General Traffic Safety
This page contains references to general studies and reports that cannot easily be categorized by the subjects on other pages.  For the most part there are general traffic safety research studies that consider multiple types of crashes or multiple countermeasures.
Be TireWise, Because the Only Thing Between You and the Road Are Your Tires!
Safecar.gov: Yearly estimates back up that statement. On average:
  • Drivers in the United States put more than 2,969 billion miles on their tires,
  • There are nearly 11,000 tire-related crashes, and
  • Almost 200 people will die in those crashes.
      Tire Tread

Many of these crashes can be prevented through proper tire maintenance—including tire inflation and rotation—and understanding tire labels, tire aging, and recalls and complaints.

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For People with ADHD, Taking Meds May Help Reduce Car Crashes

If you have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new study suggests you would be wise to take your medication if you want to lower your chances of getting into a car accident.

The "core symptoms" of ADHD are what boosts crash risk in the first place, explained study author Zheng Chang. Those include "inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity," said Chang. Other common ADHD-related behaviors -- such as excessive risk-taking, poor control of aggression, and substance use -- can make matters worse, he added.

But "male ADHD patients had a 38 percent lower risk of motor vehicle crashes when receiving ADHD medication," Chang said. "And female patients had a 42 percent lower risk of motor vehicle crashes when medicated."

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NTSB Safety Compass, March 2017
This article deals with Teen Drivers, Drowsy Driving and Distracted Driving. If you have any interest in these, read the article.

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What To Do When Pulled Over: A New Chapter for Driver's Ed?
Deadly encounters between police officers and motorists have lawmakers across the country thinking driver's education should require students to be taught what to do in a traffic stop.

A North Carolina bill would require instructors to describe "appropriate interactions with law enforcement officers." Illinois passed a similar law recently, and another awaits the Virginia governor's signature. Mississippi, New Jersey and Rhode Island also are considering them.

Many lawmakers want to make police interactions more transparent and improve community relations, in particular with people who feel unjustly targeted or mistreated because of their skin color.

Most don't pretend to legislate exactly how drivers should react, leaving the details to be worked out by state law enforcement or education and driver's license agencies. The 2017 "Rules of the Road" for Illinois , published in February, could provide a model, making detailed "suggestions" about proper driver behavior.

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NSC Estimates 2016 Traffic Deaths at Highest Level Since 2007
The National Safety Council called for immediate implementation of measures it said "would set the nation on a road to zero deaths."
They are:

  • Mandate ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers, plus better education about the nature of impairment and when it begins.
  • Install and use automated enforcement techniques to catch speeders.
  • Extend laws banning all cell phone use – including hands-free – to all drivers, not just teens; upgrade enforcement from secondary to primary in states with existing bans.
  • Upgrade seat belt laws from secondary to primary enforcement and extend restraint laws to every passenger in every seating position in all kinds of vehicles.
  • Adopt a three-tiered licensing system for all new drivers under 21, not just those under 18.
  • Standardize and accelerate fleet automotive safety technologies with life-saving potential, including blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and adaptive headlights.
  • Pass or reinstate motorcycle helmet laws.
  • Adopt comprehensive programs for pedestrian safety.

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Social Science Studies the Most Hazardous Thing on the Road: You
Nap.edu: An ordinary car has about 30,000 separate parts, but only one component is persistently prone to catastrophic failure: the driver. Whereas 2 percent of accidents are caused by equipment malfunction, 94 percent are the driver’s fault.

That is why much of the progress in highway safety during the past century has resulted from behavioral science that reveals how drivers interact with their vehicles. The value of this work will only increase as the nation finds itself on the verge of a revolution in personal transportation—the self-driving automobile.

Many safety systems and procedures we take for granted today arose from applied behavioral research—where cognitive science meets engineering, and both advance in tandem. For example, the fact that cars are now equipped with a center-mounted supplementary brake light more easily seen by drivers following behind is thanks to a groundbreaking study of rear-end crashes conducted by California psychologist John Voevodsky in the early 1970s.

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Millenial Drivers Are Highway Hazards
USA Today released an article explaining research that supports young drivers being dangerous on the road.  Two concering statistics in the research:

  • For 19 to 24 year-olds,  88% were found to engage in risky driving behavior.  Much of this risky driving behavior is caused by texting while driving.
  • 2015 saw a 7.7% increase in traffic fatalities nation-wide.

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NETSwork contains various summaries of timely road safety news, events, and alerts

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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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U.S. Traffic Deaths Jump by 10.4 Percent in First Half of 2016
NBC News: U.S. traffic fatalities rose by an estimated 10.4 percent in the first half of this year, federal officials said Wednesday, and continued an upward trend that started in late 2014 as the economic recovery accelerated.

The Transportation Department released the preliminary estimate at a conference where government agencies, the National Safety Council and other safety groups announced an ambitious goal of eliminating traffic deaths and injuries in the United States within the next 30 years.

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2015 Motor Vehicle Crashes
NHTSA: The Nation lost 35,092 people in crashes on U.S. roadways during 2015, an increase from 32,744 in 2014. The 7.2-percent increase is the largest percentage increase in nearly 50 years. The largest percentage increase previously was an 8.1-percent increase from 1965 to 1966.

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As Alabama traffic deaths soar, 'We're washing blood off our highways every day'
AL.com: The number of people killed in car wrecks in Alabama is up 30 percent through Monday when compared to the same date last year. In raw numbers, 423 people have died in Alabama car wrecks through Aug. 29, 2016. Through Aug. 29, 2015, the number was 324, according to Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

A 2015 study by the University of Alabama said that the state needed more than 1,000 troopers on its roads for highway safety. The state currently employs less than half that number.

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fatal wreck

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Traffic Safety Marketing
Click Here to View the Traffic Safety Marketing Web Site
Fatal Crashes Surge Across United States
National Safety Council: "While many factors likely contributed to the fatality increase, a stronger economy and lower unemployment rates are at the core of the trend, and another likely factor is the fact that average gas prices for the first six months of this year were 16 percent lower than in 2015."

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The Prevalence of Motor Vehicle Crashes Involving Road Debris, United States, 2011-2014
Click Here to Read more about AAA's Report of Crashes Involving Road Debris.

2014 Traffic Safety Fact Sheet: Rural/Urban Comparison
NHTSA: Of the 32,675 motor vehicle traffic fatalities in 2014 there were 16,710 (51%) that occurred in rural areas, 15,487 (47%) that occurred in urban areas, and 478 (1%) that occurred in unknown areas. Rural traffic fatalities decreased by 34% from 24,587 in 2005 to 16,710 in 2014. Urban traffic fatalities decreased by 17% from 18,627 in 2005 to 15,487 in 2014.

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Traffic Safety's Worst Nightmare: Pokemon GO
Pokemon GO, an app using augmented reality is luring unsuspecting players into dangerous situations. There is nothing to prevent people from playing this game while driving.  Many public safety experts see serious downsides to this app. Some examples are on our Distracted Driving page.

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NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts: Passenger Vehicles
In 2014, there were 21,022 passenger vehicle occupants who lost their lives in motor vehicle traffic crashes and an estimate 2.07 million passenger vehicle occupants who were injured

Read More Facts Here

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New Alabama Law Will Mean More Citations Written At Traffic Accidents

ABC 33: A new state law will result in more tickets being written at traffic accidents. Right now, an officer must witness the violation that caused an accident in order to write a citation, unless it's a DUI. Accidents may be caused by running a red light, following too close, failure to yield a right- of way or other violations. Beginning August first, officers can write drivers citations even if they did not witness what happened.

Officers can now write citations if there is sufficient evidence of a violation even if they did not witness the violation.

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Smartphone Applications to Influence Travel Choices
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State Traffic Data: 2014 Data
NHTSA: Traffic fatalities decreased by 1% from 2013 to 2014 (32,894 to 32,675) for the United States.

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U.S. Traffic Deaths Jump 7.7% in 2015 to 35,200
Yahoo Finance: U.S. traffic deaths rose 7.7% in 2015 over the previous year to 35,200, the highest number of people killed on U.S. roads since 2008, the government's preliminary estimate reviewed by Reuters shows.

Read More Here

NHTSA said although the data is preliminary and requires additional analysis, its early estimate showed nine out of 10 U.S. regions had more traffic deaths in 2015 and that "the most significant increases came for pedestrians and bicyclists."

Read More Here

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Speed Up, Slowpoke, or Get a Ticket
Local: 63 more people have died in vehicle crashes, compared to this time last year, and Alabama State Troopers say that is due to driver error that is avoidable (WSFA). Are you driving in the "right" lane?

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National: One of the most frustrating problems that drivers face is poor lane courtesy — drivers blocking the left lane. The idea of slower moving traffic keeping right seems simple, but it is often forgotten.

Click Here To Read the Full Article from the National Motorists Association

National: Slowpokes, beware: More states are cracking down on drivers who dawdle in the left lane.While all states require slow-moving vehicles to keep to the right, laws that went into effect in Tennessee this year, Indiana last year, Georgia in 2014 and Florida and New Jersey in 2013 are setting harsher penalties for dawdling drivers.

Click Here to Read the Full Article from The New York Times

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Troopers Urge Awareness on the Roads After Deaths of 3 Motorcyclists
WSFA: Three motorcyclists and one motorcycle passenger were killed over this year's Fourth of July holiday weekend. There have been 82 more fatal crashes (as of now) this year compared to last year at the same time.

Read More Here

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Shared Mobility: Current Practices and Guiding Principles
FHWA: Shared mobility, the shared use of a motor vehicle, bicycle, or other low-speed transportation mode, is one facet of the sharing economy. Shared mobility enables users to obtain short- term access to transportation as needed, rather than requiring ownership.

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Motor Vehicle Crash Fatalities in the U.S. Could Drop by Half with Proven Strategies
CDC: About 90 people die each day from motor vehicle crashes in the United States, resulting in the highest death rate among 19 high-income comparison countries. Our nation has made progress in road safety, reducing crash deaths by 31 percent from 2000 to 2013. But other high-income countries reduced crash deaths even further—by an average of 56 percent during the same period.

About 3,000 lives could be saved each year by increasing seat belt use to 100 percent, and up to 10,000 lives could be saved each year by eliminating alcohol-impaired driving.

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You're Merging Wrong, And Now States Are Calling You Out
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 (zipper merge).


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Alabama Sees Percentage of Uninsured Motorists Cut Almost in Half

AL.com: According to the Alabama Department of Revenue the state's uninsured rate is now 12.9 percent, almost half of what it was in 2010 when the rate stood at 22 percent, the sixth highest in the country. In 2014 the percentage rate of uninsured motorists in Alabama fell to 19.6 percent, a small declined not close to the seven-plus point declined over the last two years and the 10 point decline over the last six years.

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Summary of Motor Vehicle Crashes: 2014 Data
NHTSA: In 2014 there were an estimated 6,064,000 police-reported traffic crashes in which 32,675 people were killed and an estimate 2,338,000 people were injured. An average of 90 people died each day in motor vehicle crashes in 2014, one fatality every 16 minutes.

Read More Facts Here

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Doctors Warn Use of LED Street Lights Can Be Harmful to Health
FOX 5: Doctors are warning people across the country about the dangers of LED street lights. Although these lights are more energy and cost efficient, the American Medical Association (AMA) says they can cause glare for drivers at night and can also alter your circadian rhythm, which affects your sleep.

Read More About This Here

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Alabama Highway Deaths Up Sharply; Distracted Driving Could Be Factor
Tuscaloosa News: The total number of accidents and injuries are also rising. Alabama Law Enforcement Agency troopers have investigated 14,373 crashes so far in 2016, up 2.6 percent from 14,002 in 2015 and a 9.6 percent from 13,107 in 2014.

Read More Here

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USDOT Dictionary of Transportation Terms
USDOT: This dictionary presents over 9,000 terms and acronyms related to transportation. The terms and acronyms were obtained from various transportation publications and databases which exist within the federal government, private organizations, Canada and Mexico.

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SHRP2 Milestones: Transportation Projects Powered by SHRP2
Click Here To Read More About Building a Connection between SHRP2 and the Academic Community.

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Traffic Safety Facts: 2014 Motor Vehicle Crashes
The number of motor vehicle crash fatalities on U.S. roadways in 2014 continued the general decline that started in 2006. The Nation lost 32,675 people in crashes on roadways during 2014, down from 32,894 in 2013.

Read the Full Report Here

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Want to Avoid the Summer's Worst Road Rage?
A new study based on social media posts using the hashtag #RoadRage pinpoints the worst day, time, and place for road rage in America — and may help drivers avoid a violent encounter.

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Research Shows Value of Driver Lane Choice

Move over, Alabama! Research reveals slow left lane drivers are spiking accident rates

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General At-Fault Analyses for Two-Vehicle Crashes
This document reports the results of a study to determine on average over a large number of cases, which driver is more apt to be at fault in two-vehicle crashes that involve two types of drivers (e.g., large truck and car; car and pedestrian, car and bicycle, car and motorcycle, etc.). This information is essential to effective countermeasure development with regard to changing driver behavior since ignoring who it typically at fault could lead to a miss-allocation of re-sources (e.g., targeting truck drivers, when cars are most often at fault).
Comparison of 2015 with 2011-2014 Crash Data
This Power Point presentation was given at the meeting of the Traffic Records Coordinating Committee on February 11, 2015.  It highlights major changes in crash patterns that occurred in CY2015 by comparing all of the data elements for this year with the past years.  The major findings included a major shift from rural to urban driving that has been seen over the past five years.  The major reductions of youth (aged 16-20) crashes that were seen in 2011-2014 were revered with a 15% increase in 2015.  The presentation presents four reasons for the changes: (1) more complete reporting of crashes; (2) economic factors of increased employment and a reduction in fuel prices resulting in significantly higher miles driven; (3) the demographic trend toward urban areas; and (4) over 20% increase in wet-weather crashes.  Past research has found an average increase of crashes on wet days to be over 40%, although their severity is generally lower.
Excerpts from the: NTSB Unveils 2016 Most Wanted List, Stresses Technology

    The National Transportation Safety Board released their 2016 Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements which consisted of technology that focuses on saving lives, preventing accidents and lessening the number and severity of injuries from accidents.

    The NTSB is calling for the requirement of new technology as standard equipment, such as seat-belts and airbags, on all new vehicles.  More can be read here.

States Praise Highway Safety Provisions in Commerce Transportation Bill
GHSA News Release Header


July 13, 2015

Contact: Kara Macek, 202-789-0942
              202-262-4889 (mobile)

States Praise Highway Safety Provisions in Commerce Transportation Bill
Provides Stability and Flexibility to Improve Safety for All Road Users

Statement for attribution to 
Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) Chairman Kendell Poole

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- GHSA congratulates the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee on releasing S. 1732: the Comprehensive Transportation and Consumer Protection Act of 2015. This six-year reauthorization bill will provide needed stability and consistency for state highway safety agencies to reduce the number of crashes, injuries and fatalities on America's roads.

The legislation would increase funding to the State and Community Highway Safety Grant Program (Section 402), the cornerstone of all state highway safety programs, giving states more flexibility to apply research-based, data-driven approaches to address a wide spectrum of highway safety challenges, such as occupant protection, speeding, bicyclist and pedestrian safety, and drunk, drugged, and distracted driving. According to NHTSA, 94 percent of crashes are due to a driver related behavior, so it is critical that we direct adequate resources toward these problems.

The bill makes improvements to distracted driving and drunk driving incentive grants that will allow more states to qualify for funds and encourage additional states to enact new highway safety laws. Additionally, it takes steps to lessen unnecessary and overly burdensome administrative tasks that impede upon the timely implementation of lifesaving programs.

We thank Chairman John Thune (R-SD) and the rest of the Senate Commerce Committee for putting forward legislation that will bring stability to state highway safety programs and allow states to focus on making their roadways safer.

# # #
About GHSA
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq. Follow us on Twitter at@GHSAHQ.
Lives Saved in 2013 by Restraint Use and Minimum Drinking Age Laws
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