All About Cars: 9 Fun Car Facts | The Torch: Liberty Mutual

All About Cars: 9 Fun Car Facts | The Torch: Liberty Mutual.

A fun blog post over at Liberty Mutual’s blog site.  Our favorite from their list is number 6:

  • Your car is an elaborate puzzle of parts. Estimates show that the average car has over 30,000 parts. It might seem incredible, but when you start counting things like side panel pins and interior handle screws, you can see how the numbers can start to add up. That’s a lot of little pieces to put together.

Intersections and Crash Risk

sideswipe illustration FHWADriving is, arguably, the most complex task that most people handle on a daily basis.  We interact with other vehicles, struggling to identify all potential hazards in front, to the side, and behind us.

In a idealized, fantasy world, we’d be the only vehicle and driver on the road, but that’s just not reality.

One of the most challenging interactions on the road is dealing with intersections.  These crossroads provide multiple points of conflict with cyclists, pedestrians and other vehicles. Whether going straight, turning right or left, we have to follow the rules and watch out for others who may not follow the rules.  Signals and signs help, but oddly intersecting roads, multiple driveways and alleys can combine to make a very dangerous environment where drivers could become confused (even if they’re not texting and driving).

SafetyZone-Safety GoalThis month’s Ten-Minute Training Topic deals with “Avoiding Intersection Crashes” and includes:

  • Driver Handouts
  • Slide shows
  • Mini-poster to reinforce key points
  • Manager’s supplemental report with talking points, news articles and insights into policy development

One of the trendy recommendations affecting road design is to move away from traditional intersections towards modern roundabouts.  Here are two videos about the benefits of roundabouts:

AND

Traffic safety has to begin within each and every driver – you and me.  Only when we personalize the need to be safe will we talk to our family and friends about “stepping up” to drive consistently according to the rules of the road.

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Driving and Vision Disorders

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers many resources for a wide range of safety concerns.

Here is an example of one of their latest videos:

You can find many more video based resources at NHTSA’s You Tube page — http://www.youtube.com/user/USDOTNHTSA

 

Winter Driving Tips from NHTSA

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NHTSA has provided an excellent resource for drivers of any type of vehicle — if you’re going to be driving in winter conditions you’ll want to check out these links:

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Traffic Fatalities Increased In 2012

NHTSA 2012 OverviewWhile it’s tragic that deaths increased in 2012, we are glad that highway deaths over the past five years are at historic lows.  What’s strange was the sudden and unexpected rise in crash activity during the first two quarters of 2012 (the first quarter jump in activity was the largest spike in recorded NHTSA history.)

So here’s the latest from NHTSA:

  • …highway deaths increased to 33,561 in 2012, which is 1,082 more fatalities than in 2011. The majority of the increase in deaths, 72 percent, occurred in the first quarter of the year.
  • While Americans drove approximately the same amount of miles in 2012 as in the previous year, the new FARS data released today showed a 3.3 percent increase in fatalities from the previous year.
  • Fatalities in 2011 were at the lowest level since 1949 and even with this slight increase in 2012, we are still at the same level of fatalities as 1950. Early estimates on crash fatalities for the first half of 2013 indicate a decrease in deaths compared to the same timeframe in 2012.
  • Fatalities among pedestrians increased for the third consecutive year (6.4 percent increase over 2011). The data showed the large majority of pedestrian deaths occurred in urban areas, at non-intersections, at night and many involved alcohol.
  • Motorcycle rider fatalities increased for the third consecutive year (7.1 percent increase over 2011). Ten times as many riders died not wearing a helmet in states without a universal helmet law than in states with such laws.
  • Large-truck occupant fatalities increased for the third consecutive year (8.9 percent over 2011).
  • Deaths in crashes involving drunk drivers increased 4.6 percent in 2012, taking 10,322 lives compared to 9,865 in 2011. The majority of those crashes involved drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher – nearly double the legal limit.
  • The number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes decreased slightly from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328, while an estimated 421,000 people were injured, a 9 percent increase from the estimated 387,000 people injured in 2011. NHTSA is just beginning to identify distraction-related accidents, and is continuing work to improve the way it captures data to better quantify and identify potential trends in this area.
  • Nighttime seat belt use continues to be a challenge. In nighttime crashes in 2012, almost two-thirds of the people that died were unrestrained.

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NHTSA has prepared a summary of the 2012 data as a PDF which can be found HERE

Additionally, NHTSA has a preliminary look at 2013 available HERE

So if your fleet has seen an uptick in fender benders, consider a review of the many free articles offered at this blog site.  Further, if you need more specific help, call on us.

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No Excuse for Speeding

Most of us appreciate the humor of “top ten lists” and heading about the silly excuses people deliver to cover over their poor choices.  A recent article at consumerreports.com listed the top ten reasons people gave when pulled over for speeding.

It is funny to read these excuses (below), but we also recognize that speeding itself is never funny.

Sobering facts about speeding:

  1. Driving Too Fast PPTSpeeding is four times more likely to lead to a death than talking/texting with a hand-held cell phone.  
  2. Speeding reduces your time to react to unexpected situations
  3. Speeding reduces the effective control of your steering and braking systems — it takes more time to safely maneuver and/or stop.
  4. Speeding violations increase your personal insurance costs, decrease your future employ-ability, frustrate your employer and can have substantial fines associated.
  5. More ‘exceeding the speed limit’ crashes occur in home towns, on side streets and involve pedestrians, bikes and motorcycles than on the open highway.  
  6. There’s rarely a good excuse to speed.

So the results of a survey of 500 licensed drivers age 18 and over who reported using an excuse during a traffic stop include the following top 10 excuses:

10. My GPS said it was the right thing to do: 2.2 percent.
9. I was on my way to an emergency: 4 percent.
8. I didn’t do anything dangerous: 4.2 percent.
7. I had to go to the bathroom: 4.6 percent.
6. I missed my turn/exit: 4.8 percent.
5. I’m having an emergency situation in my car: 5.4 percent.
4. Everyone else was doing it: 6.4 percent.
3. I didn’t know I broke the speed limit: 12.4 percent.
2. I’m lost and unfamiliar with the roads: 15.6 percent.

And the number one reason…

1. I couldn’t see the sign telling me not to do it:  20.4 percent.

Summary

The common thread through these excuses is a combination of feigned ignorance of the law (or more simply, the rules of the road) and self-deception that the risk isn’t real (i.e. I’m a good driver, only other drivers actually crash because of their choices or “speeding isn’t dangerous”).

Some may argue that “having an emergency situation in my car” could be a legitimate concern, but since this is a summary of drivers who actually got ticketed, I have to wonder how serious the “emergency” was (the police took the time to issue the ticket and conduct the survey).

We all share a responsibility to each other, as drivers, to be safe and execute reasonable judgement while following the law.  Some drivers deceive themselves into believing that the law doesn’t apply to them (or their circumstance) or that they’re so skilled that they can  overcome any dangerous situation that may arise.  All they’re accomplishing is endangering themselves and the rest of us.

Take time to talk with your friends and family about driving safely — it starts within our immediate social circles and spreads out from there.  We can’t wait for someone else to step up and lead the discussion — it starts with you, today.  Be brave enough to have that conversation.

Don’t let Fido become a distraction – or a missile!

(LINK) Don’t let Fido become a distraction – or a missile!.(LINK)

Reblog from another site — what a great reminder about driving safely when you have pets on board your personal vehicle.  Not only to safeguard your faithful, furry companions, but to safeguard other occupants, too.  An unrestrained pet can be launched into the back of your head during a crash causing injury or death.

Related articles:

How Much Longer Until We Get There?

Based on news reports, we hear about self-driving cars becoming a reality, lane departure warning systems, airbags built into the seatbelt and other “whiz-bang” devices designed to help us survive and avoid crashes.  These features are significant, but are they in your car or truck today?  If not, when can you expect to see them become incorporated into your next new vehicle?

The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) recently released a report about the typical time it takes for new safety innovations to become widely available.  Their conclusion after studying tons of data is that it usually takes about three decades for a new safety feature to move from initial introduction to being found as either a standard item OR an available option in 95% of the vehicles on the roadway.

Their article goes on to offer an example; “…it won’t be until 2016 that 95 percent of all registered vehicles could have frontal airbags, the authors predict, even though manufacturers began adding frontal airbags in meaningful numbers during the mid-1980s.”  The real impact of this lag time becomes evident in even more recently introduced appliances; “Forward collision warning, which was rolled out in theUnited Statesin 2000, could take even longer. If it continues to follow its current trajectory, the crash avoidance technology won’t be available in 95 percent of registered vehicles until 2049, HLDI predicts.”

There are two main factors in this lag time: 

  1. new features that prove helpful are not instantly available in all new models and
  2. not everyone replaces their vehicles frequently enough to keep pace with new features as they’re introduced into more makes and models.

It is amazing to investigate the progress made on crash avoidance systems that are presently available in high end luxury cars and as after-market installs for commercial vehicles, but it’s also sobering to realize how few people are presently benefiting from these systems. 

What’s the net impact of this lag time?

“The Institute has estimated that if all vehicles were equipped with forward collision warning, lane departure warning, side view assist, and adaptive headlights, 1.9 million crashes — including 1 in 3 fatal crashes — could potentially be prevented or mitigated if the systems worked perfectly.”

Another factor surfaced from the study – some innovations are more quickly adapted and incorporated than others: “Head-protecting side airbags, for example, shot up quickly in the beginning. It took 10 years for them to be available in 25 percent of the registered fleet, and it’s expected to take 15 years to reach 50 percent. In contrast,ESCreached the one-quarter mark after 16 years and is expected to be in half the fleet after 20 years.”

Finally, they also noted that the presence of some legacy technologies can accelerate new innovation acceptance; “Interestingly, antilock brakes have spread quickly even though they were never required. Despite promising results on the test track, realworld crash data haven’t shown large benefits from the technology. [However,] They got another boost fromESC[Electronic Stability Control] because an antilock braking system is a prerequisite for stability control. Now that the government requiresESCon new vehicles, antilocks have essentially become mandatory, too.”

So pay attention when you see the television ad or the professional journal article about new innovations, but realize that it may be a while until those systems hit the road in earnest.  In the meantime, don’t sacrifice the “basics” of driver training, performance monitoring, and solid vehicle inspection programs tied to preventative maintenance.