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.
Passenger Vehicles Traffic Safety Facts - 2015 Data
NHTSA: There were 22,441 passenger vehicle occupants who died in traffic crashes and an estimated 2.18 million passenger vehicle occupants who were injured.

Passenger vehicles made up 93 percent of registered vehicles and accounted for 90 percent of total vehicle miles traveled (VMT).

An estimated 11,070,000 vehicles were involved in police-reported traffic crashes; 96 percent (10,656,000) were passenger vehicles.
There were 44,886 vehicles involved in fatal crashes, of which 78 percent (38,209) were passenger vehicles.

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FMCSA Urges Everyone to “Share the Road Safely” In National Safety Campaign
There are several simple actions passenger vehicle drivers should take while sharing the road with large trucks and buses:
  • Stay out of the "No Zones" or blind spots at the front, back and sides of the vehicle
  • Make sure they can see the driver in the mirror before safely passing
  • Don’t cut in close while merging in front of a CMV
  • Stay back a safe distance to avoid being in the blind spot
  • Anticipate wide turns and consider larger vehicles may require extra turning room
  • Stay focused on the road and avoid distractions
  • Lastly, be patient driving around large trucks and buses
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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.

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 concerning 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
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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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
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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.

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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

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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.

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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."

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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.



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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.



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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.



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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.



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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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