Every parent gets a bit nervous when their teenager starts to drive. Even if you know your child is a careful driver, you will always have that thought at the back of your mind that they might become distracted while driving with friends and end up in a fender-bender.
One of the biggest risks of distraction is often posed by their passengers, especially when these consist of their teenage friends. Teens can easily get distracted when their friends are in the back, and this can be dangerous for all of them.
Here’s a guide to what your teenage child and their friends should know to reduce distractions caused by passengers. Share and discuss these points with your teen driver.
Explain to them that the dangers are real:
According to the New York State Department of Health website, for teens aged 15 to 19 years, motor vehicle crashes are the main cause of hospitalizations and unintentional deaths in the state (73 deaths a year).
Importantly, it also states that teen passengers have a greater chance of being seriously injured when another teen is driving the vehicle.
Seat belts are a must:
Remind your teen child and their friends to always buckle-up when behind the wheel. Seat belts save lives. Without them, a relatively minor accident could be severe. The New York State Department of Health claims that they cut the risk of serious injuries by anything from 50 to 83 percent. The CDC also has some interesting stats on seat belts and injuries.
Speed is deadly:
One of the biggest causes of crashes in teen drivers is speeding. Teens are particularly at risk because they are not only less experienced, but they may want to show off to their friends. Teach your child about the risks of speeding and make sure they know how dangerous it can be. Remind them not to feel pressured to drive fast just to show off to their friends.
One way to get through to them could be to remind them that they are liable if they cause a crash that results in injury to another driver or pedestrian. The injured driver may want to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver, and this is something your child will clearly want to avoid. You can also discuss the emotions of how your teen might feel if they were to hit a pedestrian or child while speeding – once they register the severity of the emotional consequences for their self and the family of injured, they will likely be more conscious of their decisions behind the wheel.
Take care when driving at night:
Driving at night can also be more dangerous, so you may want to restrict your child’s driving to daylight hours until you both are confident in their driving abilities. If you are buying them their first car, you can make this a condition that they have to follow.
Educate your teen’s friends on passenger etiquette:
Teen passengers causing distractions can present serious risks to everyone in the vehicle. Although it may not be easy to educate your child’s friends on the risks, try to remind them when they head out and your child is driving. If you know their parents, you could also suggest that they all teach their children about the dangers.
In fact, it may be best if your child does not carry teenage passengers who fail to follow proper passenger etiquette. Perhaps you can make that a condition of paying for their driving lessons or car, etc.
Help Your Teen to Drive Safer
Every parent worries about their teenage children driving on the roads. As long as you teach them the rules of the road and do everything you can to educate them—and their friends—on the dangers, they will be at less risk.
By Anna Burke: Anna Burke has worked in various roles within the auto industry for many years. Now semi-retired she uses her knowledge combined with current events to write articles. She has discovered a new passion she didn’t know existed until very recently but is thoroughly enjoying connecting with others through her writing.
Distracted driving is gaining attention as a serious issue and combine it with the epidemic of selfies behind the wheel and you have a potentially lethal combination. When you look at the statistics surrounding road traffic accidents and the fact that taking a selfie is considered to be more dangerous than drunk-driving, it soon becomes painfully clear that something needs to be done to address this problem.
The dangerous act of taking a selfie
There is a valid argument to suggest that taking a selfie whilst behind the wheel of your car is actually a more dangerous activity than driving your car whilst drunk, which is worrying as that is a pretty irresponsible act in its own right.
The problem of taking selfies whilst driving is not necessarily confined to younger drivers, but according to the Institute of Advanced Motorists, close to 20% of drivers aged under 35 years of age admitted to the act when questioned in a survey, compared to 9% overall. Whichever way you look at it, these figures can be considered alarmingly high.
Testing driver’s reactions
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) have provided a driver distraction fact sheet which highlights the inherent dangers of distracted driving due to the use of mobile phones in vehicles. In simple terms, a driver is distracted when they are trying to pay attention to a secondary activity rather than concentrating solely on ensuring they are driving their vehicle safely.
Just as simple to understand is the fact that despite our conviction to the contrary, most of us are not actually hardwired to safely multi-task and this is even more the case when the extra activity is considered time consuming or slightly complex. The extra demands placed on our attention such as the act of taking a selfie while driving, leads us to become less observant and make worse driving decisions, so our reactions are diminished. Simulator tests consistently back up this observation and show that our reactions are slower when we are driving distracted, therefore increasing our chances of being involved in an accident.
Selfies are just the beginning
Whatever your opinion of the act of taking a selfie in general, it seems that this form of distracted driving could be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to irresponsible behaviour behind the wheel.
A disturbingly high number of one in 12 motorists actually admitted to using Skype or FaceTime to video call someone while they were driving and an incredible seven percent of motorists surveyed by motoring organisations, admitted to watching TV behind the wheel.
With so many people seemingly willing to take selfies, send emails or even watch TV whilst trying to drive, it is not surprising that distracted driving incidents and accidents are currently on the increase, despite the clear dangers to the driver and fellow motorists.
By Danielle Estrella – Danielle Estrella works as a commercial driving instructor and always likes to take the chance to discuss hot topics like distracted driving with an online audience. She is a regular writer for a number of motoring-inspired websites.
It’s widely known that speeding, drink-driving and failing to wear a seatbelt are all highly dangerous when behind the wheel, but just as potentially lethal is the failure of drivers to give their full attention to the road. Drivers who become distracted pose a danger not just to themselves, but to pedestrians and other road users, and with the rise of smartphones, people are becoming further inclined to take their focus away from where it should be.
Every year, more than 1.2 million people around the world are killed in car crashes or road traffic incidents. Did you know that driver behavior is responsible for nearly 90 percent of such crashes? Or that road traffic fatalities are projected to become a more common cause of death than HIV/AIDS, violence or all forms of cancer?
This infographic by Southside Motor Factors identifies the main categories of distracted driving, while pinpointing 8 common reasons as to why drivers dangerously divert their attention from the road – reasons such as 1) eating or drinking 2) changing the song on their iPod 3)taking a phone call 4) texting 5) applying cosmetics 6) sleeping 7) checking their social media profiles 8) and even slowing down to check out another accident.
The infographic is intended to call our attention to the factors that affect our attention while driving. If you are guilty of any of these distractions, or if you continue to engage in some of them, hopefully it will make you realize just how dangerous it can be. It’s better to lose one second of your life than to lose your life in one second.
Source: Southside Motor Factors
More than 2.3 million Americans are injured or disabled in car accidents each year, according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel. In addition, it’s estimated that road crashes cost the U.S. roughly $230 billion annually at an average cost of $820 per person involved. Rough driving conditions such as ice, snow and rain, distractions and impaired driving are to blame. However, these common crashes can be prevented. If you’re committed to being a safe driver, use the following tips while out on the road.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that Americans are more likely to use their cellphone to talk, text and email while driving when compared to their European counterparts. But distracted driving isn’t limited to cellphone use. Manual distractions such as eating, visual distractions like putting on makeup in the mirror or using the car’s GPS, and cognitive distractions such as allowing your mind to wander, can all lead to accidents.
Avoid falling victim to distracted driving and vow to put your cellphone out of reach when you’re behind the wheel. Distraction.gov offers a pledge form for drivers to sign as they commit to distraction-free driving. This form encourages drivers to drive phone-free and, when signed by parents, acts as a good example for teens and young drivers. In 2009 President Obama signed an executive order banning texting and cellphone use for commercial drivers. Years later, some states have followed suit and banned cellphone use for all drivers on the road. Learn your state’s laws and share them with your family.
Navigating High-Glare Situations
The Vision Council of America reports that the sun is one of the overlooked dangers while driving. It states that the most dangerous times to drive in glare situations are during the height of morning commuter travel and afternoon rush hour traffic.
If you’re commuting during these time frames and experience glare in your line of sight, it’s important to protect your eyes and your precious cargo by investing in UV-blocking sunglasses. Revant Optics offers replacement lenses with 100 percent UV protection in a wide array of colors, including polarized and non-polarized options, designed to fit a variety of brands. If you wear prescription glasses, consider purchasing prescription sunglasses for driving.
Wet Road Conditions
According to Allstate, hydroplaning is one of the top five common causes of car crashes. Hydroplaning occurs while driving through standing water at a high speed, an action that can force your car’s tires to push the water out of the way to maintain contact with the road. This can cause the vehicle to slide uncontrollably, and can result in the driver losing control of the vehicle.
Allstate suggests driving slowly in these types of conditions to avoid hydroplaning, because slower speeds allow the tires to connect with the road. Check your tire’s treads regularly, and rotate or replace your tires as needed.
Writen by Social Monters.
Driver behaviour Impaired driving
• Each year the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” impaired driving campaign is conducted in September and December with the involvement of thousands of law-enforcement agencies across the country. These enforcement crackdown periods are supported by national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” advertisement campaigns that run for about two weeks. The ads are designed to raise awareness and draw public attention to law-enforcement activities in every state. The advertisements convey the message that law-enforcement officers are vigilant in deterring drunk drivers. This law enforcement campaign is coupled with state programmes that address the underlying alcohol dependency problems. Special drunk driving courts that provide intensive interventions, as well as the use of ignition interlocks on the vehicles of offenders, are two examples. NHTSA provides a variety of technical resources to help States develop and expand the use of these special courts and ignition interlock programmes.
• Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS). This technology could prevent a vehicle from being driven by a drunk driver. NHTSA and the automotive industry have partnered to advance the long-term research in this advanced technology and will now begin working on the legal, public policy and consumer acceptance issues to ensure that when the technology is ready for commercialisation, manufacturers that choose to offer the system as an option will find a marketplace with few or no impediments to consumer adoption. The goal is to develop a system that can accurately and reliably detect when a driver is above the legal alcohol limit. The automatic system would be enabled every time the car is started, but unobtrusive so it would not pose an inconvenience to the non-intoxicated driver.
• NHTSA released a new strategic plan that will serve as a roadmap to ensure the safety of the nation’s growing population of older drivers and passengers. Data show a 3 percent increase in the number of people age 65 and older who died in motor vehicle crashes and a 16 percent increase in the number of people age 65 and older injured from the previous year. The data also show that older adults are at greater risk of dying or sustaining serious injuries, even in low-severity crashes. To address these concerns, NHTSA is focusing on vehicle safety, improved data collection and driver behaviour.
• The Department of Transportation released a set of tools to help communities combat the rising number of pedestrian deaths that have occurred over the last two years. As part of the campaign, NHTSA is making USD 2 million in pedestrian safety grants available to cities with the highest rate of pedestrian deaths and, along with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), is launching a one-stop shop website www.nhtsa.gov/everyoneisapedestrian with safety tips and resources for local leaders, city planners, parents and others involved in improving pedestrian safety.
• The Department and NHTSA continue to focus on distracted driving and its deadly consequences. There are several resources available to the public, communities, States and safety organisations, including a redesigned www.distraction.gov. In April 2014, the DOT announced the Department’s first-ever, national advertising campaign and law enforcement crackdown to combat distracted driving. The effort includes television, radio and digital advertisements using the phrase U Drive. U Text. U Pay. and coincides with a nationwide law enforcement crackdown in states with distracted driving bans. In addition, a social norming component, One Text or Call Could Wreck It All, was launched in late 2011 with a television ad and other supporting materials. All of the PSAs direct audiences to StopTextsStopWrecks.org, a new campaign website where teens and young adults can find facts about the impact of texting while driving, and tips for how to curb the behaviour. The website also has an area where individuals can post on Facebook and share their solutions to stop texting and driving.
Vehicles Passenger cars
• NHTSA announced the Significant and Seamless Initiative in November 2013 which included a top priority of forward collision avoidance and mitigation. The agency is reviewing dynamic brake systems and crash-imminent brake systems that coexist with forward collision warning systems. Forward collision systems utilise vehicle technologies to detect a crash threat and warn the driver to take action. These braking systems add automatic braking, dependent upon the driver’s reaction to the warning, and either apply additional braking or full braking as necessary to avoid or lessen the severity of a crash. NHTSA is developing objective test procedures and surrogate test vehicles for this effort, as well as analysing the effectiveness of the systems and the impact on crashes.
• NHTSA has been conducting research through cooperative agreements with automotive manufacturers in order to assess the feasibility of developing effective crash avoidance systems that utilise V2V communications. This research is funded by the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) programme, which is administered by the Research and Innovative Technologies Administration (RITA). FHWA, FTA and FMCSA also participate in the programme. A key aspect of the V2V programme is the Safety Pilot model Deployment, designed to support estimation of the effectiveness of V2V safety applications at reducing crashes and to show how real-world drivers will respond to these safety applications in their vehicles.
• NHTSA issued a final rule in April 2014, requiring rear visibility technology in all new vehicles under 10 000 pounds by May 2018. This new rule enhances the safety of these vehicles by significantly reducing the risk of fatalities and serious injuries caused by backover accidents.
• NHTSA issued a final rule requiring lap and shoulder seatbelts for each passenger and driver seat on new motor coaches and other large buses. This new rule enhances the safety of these vehicles by significantly reducing the risk of fatalities and serious injuries in frontal crashes and the risk of occupant ejection in rollovers.
• Pedestrians – As part of NHTSA’s Significant and Seamless Initiative, one of the agency’s top priorities is forward collision avoidance and mitigation. This effort includes research into pedestrian collision avoidance and mitigation (PCAM) to include identification of pedestrian crash scenarios, assessment of technologies and development of objective test procedures for avoidance technologies. Additionally, NHTSA proposed that hybrid and electric vehicles meet minimum sound standards in order to help make all pedestrians more aware of the approaching vehicles.
• In January 2012, FHWA issued a “Guidance Memorandum on Promoting the Implementation of Proven Safety Countermeasures”. This guidance takes into consideration the latest safety research to advance a group of countermeasures that have shown great effectiveness in improving safety. Safety practitioners are encouraged to consider this set of countermeasures that are research-proven, but not widely applied on a national basis. Countermeasures are discussed in detail and fact sheets are provided for each to furnish detailed descriptions, related research studies, and evaluations of each countermeasure. Countermeasures include: roundabouts, corridor access management, backplates with retroreflective borders, longitudinal rumble strips and stripes on two-lane roads, enhanced delineation and friction for horizontal curves, safety edges, medians and pedestrian crossing islands in urban and suburban areas, pedestrian hybrid beacons, and road diet.
• The Highway Safety Improvement Plan (HSIP) includes a data-driven, strategic approach to improving highway safety and encourages the States to establish or improve their roadway safety data programme. Another major programme feature is a state-wide, coordinated strategic highway safety plan in each State that provides a comprehensive framework for establishing state-wide goals, objectives, and performance targets; and that integrates the four “E’s” – engineering, education, enforcement, and emergency medical services. The States will be guided by the plan and their data systems in using the HSIP and other funds to produce a program of projects and strategies to solve relevant safety challenges.
• The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) is a funding and authorisation bill to govern United States federal surface transportation spending. MAP-21 doubled the funds for FHWA safety programmes, provided a concentrated effort to maintain a data-driven decision making process to target available resources on the most pressing concerns, and improved collaboration and integration on multiple fronts – engineering, education, enforcement, and emergency medical services – to reduce highway fatalities and serious injuries. MAP-21 indicates a multi-billion dollar funding level for HSIP to strengthen the programme and provide states with better opportunity to focus and ultimately improve the highway safety programmes in their states.
Recent and on-going research
• Through the Significant and Seamless Initiative, NHTSA is actively involved in the development of safety systems for forward collision avoidance monitoring and mitigation, the improvement of seatbelt use through interlock systems, and ways to stop drunk driving through alcohol interlock systems.
• Additional vehicle research efforts are focusing on vehicle communications technologies to address a number of common crash scenarios. Current testing and pilot programs are currently underway.
• NHTSA continues to conduct research activities to understand driver behaviour through surveys, observation studies, simulation work in order to affect driver behaviour through vehicle changes and human behaviour changes. Such activities include but are not limited to distracted driving, speeding, belt usage, child safety seat usage, and helmet usage. The agency also conducts evaluations of campaigns and high visibility law enforcement activities to determine the effectiveness of such efforts.
Source: Road Safety Annual Report 2014
Readying high school students to get behind the wheel involves more than just a few quick laps around the school parking lot. It involves proper education on the rules of the road and safe driving practices, along with the acute awareness of the many dangers. Distracted driving counts as a colossal danger, and schools across the nation are bringing awareness to the issue using a number of methods. In fact, April is Distracted Driving Month, so what better time than now to learn about safety? Here are what some high schools are doing:
“Heads Up!” Poster Contest in Rye, NY
For the past four years, students at Rye High School have been transforming one of their art classes into a chance to make distracted driving awareness posters. The school took on the program in collaboration with the Rye YMCA and Rye Arts Center, launching a “Heads Up!” poster contest in the school. Students in a select digital photography class first reviewed a video about distracted driving then designed their own posters by combining their own photos with statistics on the hazardous practice. The program combines skills leaned in class with real-word issues, bringing another layer of education to the school.
Traveling “Save a Life Tour” Stops off in Grayslake, IL
Grayslake Central High School was just one of the stops for the Michigan-based “Save a Life Tour” that is heightening awareness of distracted driving throughout schools in suburban Chicago. The Grayslake students took a day off from their physical education courses to participate in the “Save Life Tour” program, which includes videos, seminars and a distracted-driving simulator. The Chicago-area tour was sponsored by a local hospital, which funded the program’s eight-hour stop at each school to pass along the message and provide hands-on examples of the consequences of distracted driving.
Year-long Distracted Driving Campaign in Vandercook Lake, MI
Promoting awareness about the dangers of distracted driving is an ongoing mission at Vandercook Lake High School. The school launched a year-long series of campaigns on the issue, thanks to a $2,000 grant from Michigan’s Strive 4 a Safer Driver program. Grant money must be used to bring awareness to the importance of safe driving, with the overall goal of reducing the number of severe crashes, fatalities and injuries. The activities kicked off soon after the school year began, and continued throughout the year with special assemblies, driving surveys and freebies for students such as ice scrapers and key chains.
How Your School Can Get Involved
Schools have several options for spreading the word about the dangers of distracted driving to their students, including:
- Hiring a traveling program, such as the “Save Life Tour,” to stop at your area’s schools
- Reviewing opportunities presented by your local law enforcement or government offices
- Setting up your own campaign to bring awareness to the issue; strategies could include:
- Free giveaways that remind students of distracted driving dangers
- Special assemblies, speakers and classes that illustrate the hazards
- Regular reviews of safe driving practices through surveys and practice tests. You can find free driving test examples online.
- Contests for making posters, T-shirts, videos or other projects themed around the issue
Author’s bio: Sofia Francis is a recent law school graduate living in Riverside, California. Sofia is a safe driving advocate and hopes to defend people who have been involved in distracted driving accidents as a personal injury lawyer.
Although there are a number of campaigns and laws in place to encourage people to keep their minds on the road and not on their personal conversations or incoming text messages, the general mindset seems to be that it’s still acceptable to talk on your phone while driving.
Americans are the worst offenders with almost 69 percent of American drivers talking on their phone in the past month while driving according to a survey by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Only 21 percent of British drivers admitted to talking while driving and 40 percent in Germany and France.
The numbers for texting are very similar and it’s these individuals who are most likely to be involved in fatal car accidents due to distracted driving.
In the United States 25 percent of all car accidents are directly related to distracted driving—a staggering 600,000 accidents and 300,000 injuries.
While the numbers seems to still be climbing in the United States, in the case of European Union there has been a decline of 44 percent in member states in the past 13 years of fatalities. That isn’t to say distracted driving is declining, however.
Young, inexperienced drivers are the worst offenders
The term distracted driving can apply to a number of activities, but statistically speaking, mobile phones are the most common choice for the habitually distracted drivers.
Unfortunately studies show the people most commonly using mobile devices while driving are young and unskilled drivers who have typically had their license for a short period of time. Worse still, according to the University of Leeds, these drivers tend to believe their driving abilities are actually adept in self assessments.
These are the drivers most at risk for distraction-related fatal crashes—especially drivers under the age of 20.
Are laws against hands on cell phone use effective?
A number of states like California have taken a stance against hand help mobile phone use while driving as have quite a few countries.
A study by MIT found, however, cell phones aren’t necessarily the problem. Researchers found it is the people who regularly use cell phones behind the wheel who are the problem. These drivers will perpetuate risky driving and behaviors even without their phone.
During the study researchers found, even without the presence of a cell phone, drivers who admitted to frequently using one while driving were more likely to drive faster, change lanes frequently, brake hard and spend a lot of time in the passing lane.
Researchers were quick to add the differences between the drivers in the study and traditional drivers aren’t extreme. Instead, they are indicators of aggressive driving that can be linked to car crashes.
Although we are quick to blame cell phones, this research brings to light the possibility that the root problem may actually be the behaviors of the people who are more likely to use a cell phone while driving compared to those who don’t.
Article written by our guest, Sofia Francis.
Talk Before It Is Too Late
Road Safety announced that in January 2014, 238 people died in road accidents in France , against 239 a year earlier, representing a relatively stable (-0.5%) rate. The association of 40 million motorists challenged this figure. In fact, he noted that Road Safety announced 271 deaths for the month of January 2013. The difference is explained by the fact that road safety is based on provisional figures to present his monthly report, and its software statistical calculation overstated the final number of deaths in January 2013. However, 40 million motorists denounced a “statistical approximation,” wondering how road safety can compare final figures for January 2013 to provisional data for January 2014 (which will be consolidated in June).
Source: LARGUS.FR 02/07/14 and 02/10/14 PARIS newspaper )
Australians want to reduce drunk driving by random breathalyzers use.
In Ghana, there is support for a national ambulance service.
Malaysians want to change the road infrastructure to improve safety.
The United States of America wish to increase seatbelt safety through the campaign “Click It or Ticket.”
The Vietnamese want to improve the rate of helmet use by law enforcement.
Source: Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011 – 2020 / World Health Organization .
– 157: The number of drivers arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.
– 2: The number of people killed on our roads last week.
Will you be in the numbers next week ?
Ask yourself this painful issue as many times as it takes because behind each number there is a real person: Your father, your brother, your child, your spouse, your neighbor or even a stranger, and the stranger is a real person!
Each time you use the car on the road, you can help reduce these numbers.
Authoritative driving is a step towards better road safety.
You can change everything, it is you who are the master of your destiny!
And I sincerely believe that we should look at such an image being aware that tomorrow might be us!
The Smile of a Firefighter:
I Love You Very Much:
Distracted Driving: One Text or Call Could Wreck It All
With ever increasing demands on our personal and professional time in today’s busy society, learning to juggle multiple tasks at once is something we all face daily. As a result, a new traffic safety epidemic has emerged on America’s roadways that demand immediate attention: distracted driving.
In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver. One of the most alarming and widespread forms of distracted driving is cell phone usage. According to a Carnegie Mellon study, driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent. And a report from the National Safety Council found that people talking on cell phones or sending text messages cause more than one out of every four traffic accidents.
Text messaging is of heightened concern because it combines three types of distraction – visual, manual and cognitive. In other words, texting involves taking your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your mind off the task of driving.
To tackle this ever-increasing problem, NHTSA is focusing on ways to change the behavior of drivers through legislation, enforcement, public awareness and education—the same tactics that have curbed drinking and driving and increased seat belt use.
NHTSA’s message is simple – “One Text or Call Could Wreck it All.” With supporters ranging from President Obama to Oprah and legislation being passed across the nation to discourage distracted driving, we hope drivers get the message loud and clear.
So the next time you are pressed for time, and it seems like multitasking in the car is the best decision, remember those 3,328 lives that were taken because someone decided they could do two things at once. A text or call is not worth your life, or anyone else’s.
Three Technologies Poised to Offer the Greatest Advancements in Highway Safety
WASHINGTON – In an effort to significantly reduce deaths and injuries on the nation’s roadways, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced its new “Significant and Seamless” initiative that calls for the agency and the automotive industry to aggressively accelerate achievable technological advances that would significantly improve safety.
NHTSA’s “Significant and Seamless” initiative aims to address the areas in highway safety where industry can fast-track existing technology for the greatest technological advances. The initiative emphasizes three promising areas of technological development and challenges both the automotive industry and the agency to determine the extent of, and ultimately utilize, the significant safety potential in these areas.
“Safety is our top priority and we can achieve remarkable progress in reducing injuries and fatalities in this era of innovation and technology,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Today’s announcement focuses on real solutions that can significantly address safety issues that have plagued this nation for decades, including failure to use seat belts, drunk driving and driver error.”
The three technologies are:
- Seatbelt Interlocks – This technology could prevent a vehicle from being driven if the driver and passenger are not properly buckled. Using new authority under MAP-21, NHTSA is conducting research to inform an agency decision on whether to amend its standards to allow vehicle manufacturers to voluntarily use such interlocks in satisfying certain crash test requirements. For those manufacturers that choose seatbelt interlocks, the agency would look to provide appropriate regulatory relief from portions of the occupant protection standard. Each year, more than 3,000 people killed in crashes could have survived if they had been wearing a seatbelt. Seatbelt interlocks could increase use from the current national level of 86 percent to near 100 percent, saving thousands of lives a year. To provide safety benefits, NHTSA has begun research to ensure that such interlocks would be tamper-proof and highly reliable.
- Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) – This technology could prevent a vehicle from being driven by a drunk driver. NHTSA and the automotive industry have partnered to advance the long-term research in this advanced technology and will now begin working on the legal, public policy and consumer acceptance issues to ensure that when the technology is ready for commercialization, manufacturers that choose to offer the system as an option will find a marketplace with few to no impediments to consumer adoption. The goal is to develop a system that can accurately and reliably detect when a driver is above the legal alcohol limit. The automatic system would be enabled every time the car is started, but unobtrusive so it would not pose an inconvenience to the non-intoxicated driver. According to new NHTSA data released earlier today, 10,322 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2012. The majority of those people died in crashes involving drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher – nearly double the legal limit. Such technology could save thousands of these victims every year.
- Forward Collision Avoidance and Mitigation (FCAM) – This sensor-based, vehicle technology could detect a forward crash with another vehicle or pedestrian before it occurs, by alerting the driver to take corrective action to avoid the crash. In 2012, one-third of all police reported crashes involved a rear-end collision with another vehicle as the first harmful event in the crash. This technology could automatically apply the brakes to assist in preventing or reducing the severity of crashes. NHTSA has been doing intensive research on the reliability of this technology and developing relevant performance measures. Based on its research, the agency has enough data to make an agency decision this year as to pathways to advance market penetration into the rest of the fleet.
The three technologies chosen under the Significant & Seamless initiative were selected because they have great lifesaving potential, and their combined effect could have an impact on decreasing the death toll.
“In addition to our ongoing work with states and the automotive industry, we need a new vision, and a new blend of technological research to address some of the most significant and persistent threats to American motorists,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “We must look to technological intervention to make the next great leap, and get them poised for fleet adoption as soon as possible.”
The new “Significant and Seamless” initiative builds on a solid foundation of NHTSA safety programs. These programs include work with states to educate motorists, improve driving behavior, including emergency response to crashes, and will increase the agency’s commitment to enhancing occupant protection, crash worthiness and crash avoidance, with the promise of automated driving.
Earlier this year, NHTSA released a “Preliminary Statement of Policy Concerning Automated Vehicles,” describing research plans and the various levels of vehicle automation ranging from no-automation to full self-driving automation. The plan also offered guidance to states for moving forward with testing automated vehicles on their roads. View NHTSA’s preliminary policy on automated vehicles.