from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
By Stephen Miller, Streets Blog
More than 112,500 people lost their lives in speed-related crashes from 2005 to 2014, accounting for 31 percent of all traffic deaths in America over that period. In a draft report released earlier this week, the National Transportation Safety Board says excessive speed is a deadly problem in our nation’s transportation system — one that federal and state officials aren’t doing enough to address.
The NTSB’s 19 recommendations should be a wake-up call, especially to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), state legislatures, and transportation and police departments across the country.
The way motorists think about speed also needs to change. Using GPS or sign-reading sensors, cars can now alert drivers when they’re speeding, and even prevent motorists from exceeding the limit. The NTSB said the availability of these features should be included in car safety ratings, but didn’t endorse them as mandatory equipment.
There’s also a need for better speed camera technology, the NTSB says. The United States relies on fixed site cameras, but “point-to-point” enforcement, which tracks vehicle speed over a greater distance, has proven effective in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand and should be used and evaluated here.
“For too long, proven policies to reduce speeding in our communities have been held hostage by outdated standards, costing more than 10,000 lives lost each year,” said Leah Shahum, director of the Vision Zero Network. “We urge every state and community to adopt NTSB’s recommendations to stem the tide of preventable suffering on our roadways.”
BY DANIEL C. VOCK, Governing
A new study out of Washington is rarely a cause for celebration, but many traffic safety groups are excited about a forthcoming report that highlights the big role speeding plays in traffic deaths.
The study comes from the National Transportation Safety Board, an agency best known for its investigations of deadly plane crashes and train derailments. The NTSB has also been a force behind safety innovations, like air bags in cars and graduated driver’s licenses for teen drivers.
Researchers have actually underestimated how often speed is a factor in fatal crashes, according to a summary of the report, which will be released in full in coming weeks. That’s significant, considering that speed is already one of the most widely reported causes of deadly crashes. In 2015, for example, it was identified as a factor in roughly as many traffic deaths (9,557) as alcohol (9,306) or people not wearing seat belts (9,874).
But the NTSB went further, by urging traffic engineers to rethink how they set speed limits and for states and localities to use speed cameras more often. NTSB wants law enforcement agencies to mount a national anti-speeding campaign, akin to “Click It or Ticket” for seatbelt use. The agency also wants carmakers to install features to alert drivers when they’re going over the speed limit and maybe even slow them down automatically.
It's almost like there is a concerted campaign to turn distracted walking into a serious problem.
Driver Chooses Not to Yield Right of Way to Teenage Girl in Crosswalk, Opts to Hit Her with Van Instead.
And there's even a "You're legally required to stop for pedestrians" sign right there. Was the driver impaired or just not paying attention?
[B' Spokes: And I'll add that distracted driving is a known problem but there is this concerted effort to project drivers problems on to pedestrians, like there is a law that requires pedestrians to jump out of the way of cars and they must never ever be in a situation that might require drivers to stop. Even though we have laws that require drivers to stop when a pedestrian is in their way. The problem is the expectation is moving from "Drivers will stop for you when you are in a crosswalk" to "Pedestrians can never require drivers to stop for them, even in crosswalks."]
from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
We commend the work of the National Transportation Safety Board in issuing recommendations to dramatically reduce speed-related deaths and injuries and urgently raise public understanding of the deadly toll this under-addressed problem is taking nationwide.
In its landmark speed study, the NTSB, the nation’s leading authority on crashes and prevention strategies, called for stepped-up national leadership and modernization of speed practices, including a multi-modal approach to set speed limits and use of proven technologies such as automated speed enforcement, among other effective countermeasures championed by a growing number of Vision Zero communities.
“For too long, speed policies have been stuck in neutral, at the expense of more than 10,000 lives lost each year,” said Leah Shahum Director of the national Vision Zero Network, a non-profit promoting the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and severe injuries. “Attention to this problem is long overdue. This study should be a wake-up call to allow local communities the ability to manage speeds to save lives.”
NTSB identified dangerous speeds as an under-appreciated problem despite the fact that it is poses one of the greatest threats to public safety. More than 112,000 people died in speeding-related crashes in the U.S. from 2005 to 2014, averaging more than 10,000 deaths each year. This is on par with the number of drunk driving fatalities during the same time period, NTSB reported, yet receives far less attention. The impacts of speeding also come with an economic cost estimated at $52 billion in 2014, compared to $44 billion in losses from drunk driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“Proven policies to reduce speeding in our communities have been held hostage at the expense of more than ten thousand lives lost and many more lives permanently altered each year,” said Shahum. “The real responsibility of prioritizing safety over speed falls not just on a driver’s behavior, but also on our policymakers and government institutions that have let this problem to fester for too long. If NTSB’s recommendations are implemented, many fewer people will suffer and die needlessly.”
In its study, NTSB prevails on states to modernize speed practices and affirms the effectiveness of proven speed control technologies such as safety cameras, lower speed limits, and improved street design.
All of these tools are instrumental to reaching zero deaths and serious injuries. Where the majority of fatality crashes occur on local roads, local governments need the ability to set their own speeds. For too long, this hasn’t been possible. Luckily, implementing recommendations outlined in the report will change this.
New research says speeding is almost as big a factor in deadly crashes in the U.S. as drunk driving.
Speed cameras, when properly placed, have helped to significantly reduce the likelihood of a driver exceeding the speed limit, making streets safer for pedestrians and drivers. But only a fraction of states actually allow the use of these cameras.
The NTSB identified more than 100,000 deaths due to speeding between 2005 and 2014. That's nearly as many as were killed in alcohol-involved crashes.
BTC has a full complement of guidance counselors, therapists and special educators to work with its students, but one of the most promising additions has been a bikeshare program.
"When you learn to ride a bike, there's a big pride in that, especially the first time you cross a bridge in New York City or the first time that you ride your bike home by yourself," Flanagan said. "There's a different level of pride than just taking the subway or walking home."
But a program like this wouldn't even be legal in many U.S. cities, where teenagers are trusted with 3,500-pound cars before they can ride a 45-pound bikeshare bicycle. San Francisco, San Diego, Portland, Baltimore, Birmingham and New Orleans all require bikeshare riders to be 18.
In the United States, more than $23 billion a year is spent getting kids to school; almost nothing is spent on bikes, and this blind spot is costing cash-strapped municipal governments.
In many municipalities, it would be cheaper for the government to buy a child a new bike each school year, rather than paying for bus service. In 2013, $914 was spent per U.S. student on transportation. A serviceable bike can be bought for half that figure. And a bikeshare membership could be bought for even less.
It's a different story elsewhere in the world. Chinese children are welcomed on the country's thriving bikeshare systems at age 12. In Paris, home to Europe's largest bikeshare program, 14-year-olds are allowed. Milan's bikeshare has a set of small bicycles designed to fit children.
Research shows that children who exercise in the morning concentrate better in school. When more people rides bikes, air quality improves, aiding everyone's health. Having a bicycle also teaches responsibility and confidence.
In recent years, a number of U.S. cities have been intently focused on reducing the number of pedestrians who are killed in traffic accidents. These cities have started to transform their streetscapes to minimize pedestrian, cyclist and motorist deaths as part of the Vision Zero movement, which emphasizes that no traffic deaths are acceptable.
But the big question about those efforts is just how effective they really are. Now, new data is emerging that gives policymakers a better picture of where Vision Zero is working. And more data tools are on the way that could help address dangerous conditions before traffic deaths or injuries occur.