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Entries in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) (4)


SAE EDR Symposium: Day 1, Session 1

Bill Messerschmidt
Manager, MSC 

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research is an awesome facility. One really nice aspect of the room is that seating is at tables with five (comfortable) chairs. There's plenty of space, room for briefcases and backpacks, and the wifi is great! Opening comments from the Hon. Ann Ferro were delivered by video--tough to pull off, but with the technology in this building and the organizers' preparation, it came off quite well.

First speaker is Dr. Gabler from Virginia Tech. Dr. Gabler is discussing the "Big Picture" on light vehicle Event Data Recorders (EDRs). In general, the topic is how he and NHTSA are using EDR data to improve vehicle safety. It's pretty amazing, sitting here today, to think that 10 years ago Dr. Gabler was asked IF EDR data could be used for safety research. Personally, the most fascinating thing in Dr. Gabler's presentation is the use of EDR data for improving triage decisions after serious crashes.

Next speaker is Sandeep Kar. This presentation is about trends in telematics and urbanization. The topic of population growth patterns (mega cities to mega regions and mega corridors) affecting the development of new vehicle types is not a topic I've specifically thought about, but wow! There is incredible potential here for using telematics in a number of ways (including safety and compliance, but also emissions & logistics).

Third speaker is Joseph Kanianthra. Dr. Kanianthra is discussing the future of EDRs in safety. Ninety percent of primary causal factors are related to the operator: recognition errors, decision errors, erratic actions, fatigue, impairment, etc. Only 10% are primarily vehicle or roadway defect-related. The major idea of this presentation is that future injury and fatality prevention will be driven by prevention, more so than enhanced protection.

I think the moderator, John Hinch of NHTSA summed it up well: the big picture is bigger than any one person imagines.


US DOT Conducts Over 3000 Surprise Passenger Carrier Safety Inspections

Benjamin Smith
Principal Technical Analyst

The US Department of Transportation (US DOT) announced on May 27 that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and its local and state law enforcement agencies conducted over 3000 surprise passenger bus inspections during a two-week period in May. These inspections resulted in 442 out-of-service citations for 127 drivers and 315 passenger transport vehicles. Additionally, the FMCSA and state safety inspectors launched 38 full safety compliance reviews of commercial passenger bus companies.

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “During this heavy summer travel season, we will remain alert and remove from our roads any passenger bus or driver that places motorists at risk.” According to the US DOT, over the last five years, the number of unannounced commercial passenger bus roadside safety inspections and carrier compliance reviews has doubled. To learn more about this, read the US DOT news release

In an effort to reduce all commercial motor vehicle crashes, the FMCSA has developed a new safety program called Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA). CSA includes a Safety Measurement System (SMS), which uses crash data and inspection results to identify unsafe motor carrier companies, including passenger carriers. The SMS system evaluates seven different safety performance categories, or BASICs (Behavior Analysis Safety Improvement Categories). These are: Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service), Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance, Cargo-Related, and Crash Indicator.

The US DOT estimates that passenger carriers or buses transport 750 million people each year in the US. The most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that there were 221 bus-involved fatality crashes in 2009. The number of bus-involved fatality crashes has dropped steadily since 2006, when there were 305 fatality crashes.


Truck-Related Fatalities Continue to Decrease

Bill Messerschmidt
Manager, MSC 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there was a substantial decline during 2009 in the number of drivers and vehicle occupants who were killed or injured in crashes involving large trucks (i.e., trucks over 10,000 pounds).

Last month, NHTSA released an Early Edition of Traffic Safety Facts, an annual publication containing a compilation of highway crash statistics. According to the Early Edition of Traffic Safety Facts 2009, 3,380 drivers and occupants were killed in crashes with large trucks, and 74,000 drivers and occupants were injured.

These numbers seem large until one considers that the Federal Highway Administration has estimated that large trucks traveled a staggering 288 BILLION miles on US roadways during 2009. That equals a fatality rate of 1.17 persons killed per 100 million miles of truck travel, and 25.7 persons injured per 100 million miles.

In 2009, fatalities and injuries declined substantially from 2008, when NHTSA estimated that 4,245 people were killed and 90,000 were injured, and the fatality rate per hundred million miles was 1.37.

Check out NHTSA's Early Edition of Traffic Safety Facts 2009.

View the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's large truck crash statistics.


Good News: Traffic Fatalities in 2010 Fell to Lowest Levels in Reported History

Kelly Messerschmidt
Technical Communications Manager

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Friday that despite the fact that American drivers drove significantly more miles during 2010, the number and rate of traffic fatalities in 2010 fell to their lowest levels in recorded history.

Factors that may have contributed to the reductions include: