31,000 Americans died on the roads last year because of stupid


By Lloyd Alter, Treehugger

On sister site MNN.com I recently wondered Why are so many people dying on our roads? I was concentrating on how the number of people killed inside cars was going down (because cars are much better at saving the lives of occupants now), while the numbers of people killed outside cars was going up (because more people are driving, and they are in deadly SUVs and pickups).

But when I got to the bottom of the post, I found some astonishing statistics that merited another post of its own on TreeHugger. An amazing 83 percent of fatalities are directly attributable to three choices that drivers make: to drive too fast, to drive drunk, or to drive without doing up their seatbelts. Basically, to be stupid and do stupid things.
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[B' Spokes: I'll note you really can't add up those categories because there are some people who do stupid on top of stupid and there are even some that do stupid on top of stupid on top of stupid, that is to say, we don't know how many are drunk without seatbelts and speeding that caused a fatality, either there own or someone else's.

https://www.treehugger.com/cars/31000-americans-died-roads-last-year-because-stupid.html
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Most states make big moves on TAP; some squander TAP funds


by Margo Pedroso, Safe Routes to School National Partnership

We have been beating the drum for several months now to encourage states to fully spend their Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funds before the critical deadline of September 30, 2017, when any unused FY2014 funds would expire after four years.
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Four states (GA, MD, NJ, NC) also let a total of $17 million in TAP funding lapse. Funding only lapses if it has not been obligated after four years. Lapsed funds expire and are returned to the federal government. States who allowed this to happen forfeited money meant for safety and transportation by simply not planning ahead. Advocates know that there are indeed Safe Routes to School, biking and walking projects that could desperately use these funds, but the state DOTs did not fulfill their responsibilities to ensure the TAP money was obligated in time.
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https://www.saferoutespartnership.org/blog/most-states-make-big-moves-tap-some-squander-tap-funds
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REACTIVE PED CROSSING ALERTS DRIVERS & PEDS


-> Springwise reports the Starling Crossing - or Stigmergic Adaptive Responsive Learning Crossing - uses familiar and understandable road markings and colors to react to different conditions in real-time. (http://bit.ly/2yvtCfv) The full-scale prototype has been temporarily installed in South London, England. Using a neural network framework, cameras track objects that are moving across the road surface, distinguishing between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles, calculating their precise locations, trajectories and velocities and anticipating where they may move to in the next moment. If a person is distracted, looking down at their mobile, and veers too close to the road surface when a car is nearby, a warning pattern lights around them to fill their field of vision. If a child runs into the road unexpectedly, a large buffer zone is created around them to make their trajectory clear to any nearby drivers or cyclists. http://bit.ly/2yuTacx

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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2017 STATE OF YOUTH OBESITY RANKINGS - MD #13


-> The Safe Routes to School National Partnership E-News reports obesity remains one of the biggest threats to the health of our children and our country. Check out the latest in youth obesity rates in the new 2017 State of Obesity state profiles, interactive maps, and graphics and see where your state ranks. http://bit.ly/2gk9p4f

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.

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GREAT BRITAIN: SPEEDING & CELLPHONE USING DRIVERS WHO KILL FACE LIFE IN PRISON


-> The Guardian reports dangerous drivers who cause death while using their mobile phones or speeding will face life in prison. The decision to go ahead with a major extension of sentences comes after a campaign by families and a cross-party group of members of Parliament. Drivers who kill while under the influence of drink or drugs will also face a life sentence. And there will be a new offense of causing serious injury through careless driving, as part of renewed efforts to improve road safety. The new measures mean such drivers could face the same length of sentence as those convicted of manslaughter, with maximum penalties raised from 14 years to life. http://bit.ly/2wZM9Ps

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Dumb and Dumber: America's Driver Education is Failing Us All


BY MARK RECHTIN, Motor Trend

Driver’s education is usually taught in high school health class. In those very same underfunded schools that can barely afford math and science textbooks, we are trying to teach adolescents how to pilot two-ton death machines.
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An eight-year study by the University of Nebraska showed that young drivers who dodged proper driver’s education are 75 percent more likely to get a traffic ticket, 24 percent more likely to be involved in an accident causing death or injury, and 16 percent more likely to have an accident of any kind. And that’s with our bare-bones system in place.

By comparison, a German driver’s license requires a minimum of 25 to 45 hours of professional driving instruction plus 12 hours of theory and eight hours of first aid training. In other words, you know what you are doing when you get your first set of car keys. Comparable German and U.S. federal data shows that young American drivers’ injury-crash rates have declined only slightly since 1990 while young German drivers’ injury-crash rates have dropped by more than half in the same period.

How our DMVs handle failure is appalling, too. When California discovered that only 45 percent of applicants passed its written test, rather than requiring better driver education, its DMV essentially made the test easier.

In America, we treat a driver’s license as a right, not a privilege. We beta-test our children on the open road, and the results are no surprise: The fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16- to 19-year-olds is triple the rate for the rest of the population, according to NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

What’s more, newly minted 16- to 17-year-olds are twice as likely to die in crashes as 18- to 19-year-olds are. How many times does a young driver’s first brush with hydroplaning or an icy road result in an accident? Was it because behind-the-wheel instruction never required such training?
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This lack of road knowledge continues as people age. An online test created by an insurance clearinghouse shows that more than half of all Americans of any driving age are still unable to pass a standard rules of the road test.
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The Cheap Insurance folks broke out the test performance data by age range, and it asserted that pretty much everyone lacks requisite automotive knowledge: Not only do Americans not know what they are doing behind the wheel, but they also don’t know they are doing it wrong.

Given that the DMV basically rubber-stamps driver’s license renewals, is it any wonder that no one bothers to brush up on their knowledge or skills? Perhaps it’s time for America to re-evaluate what is required to be allowed to pilot death machines down our nation’s roads.

http://www.motortrend.com/news/dumb-dumber-americas-driver-education-failing-us-reference-mark/
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Improving Biking Is as Much About Slowing Cars as Building Better Bike Lanes


By Michael Andersen, PlacesForBikes, via Streets Blog

Since its founding 50 years ago, the top U.S. agency for investigating transportation injuries had been surprisingly quiet about a phenomenon that’s behind 30 percent of U.S. traffic fatalities.

Like much of the country’s transportation safety establishment, the National Transportation Safety Board had frequently avoided the subject of the speed of private cars. It did so even though the issue has been coming up since the very first collision the agency investigated, in Joliet, Illinois, in 1967.

Avoided the subject until this summer, that is.

In its groundbreaking report released in full last week, the federal agency laid the foundations for a major rethinking of transportation safety practices. The big idea in short, as Kathleen Ferrier puts it: “speed kills.”
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“I’ve been a bike/ped advocate for years and we’ve talked more about safe design than about speed,” Ferrier said.

One of the most important parts of bike infrastructure is invisible
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http://usa.streetsblog.org/2017/08/28/improving-biking-is-as-much-about-slowing-cars-as-building-better-bike-lanes/
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Pedestrian-shaming campaigns have got to stop


BY ALISSA WALKER, Curbed

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A campaign that launched today is the newest misguided attempt to prevent traffic deaths by shaming pedestrians—not by addressing the root causes of our country’s frightening epidemic: too many drivers using increasingly inadequate infrastructure.
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https://www.curbed.com/platform/amp/2016/10/28/13455962/pedestrian-shaming-streets-safety-campaigns
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EVERYONE KNOWS WE HAVE A TRAFFIC PROBLEM


BY DANIEL HERRIGES, Strong Towns

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This dynamic should be familiar. If you've waded into local politics around growth and development almost anywhere, "traffic" is a drum that citizen activists love to beat. It makes sense: traffic is one of the most visible aspects of quality of life that local government is in a position to affect for better or worse. It matters.

So let's talk about traffic. It's a truism that people in every city believe they have a traffic problem (just like everyone believes they don't have enough parking). But for all the talk of traffic problems down here, I've heard comparatively few viable solutions, and I suspect part of that is because we so rarely bother to really define the problem.
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https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2017/3/16/everyone-knows-we-have-a-traffic-problem

[B' Spokes: A lot of good points in here, amazing what can be gleaned from just defining the problem. ]

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