Archive for the ‘motor vehicles’ Category

Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First Quarter (January–March) of 2012

July 26, 2012 Comments off

Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First Quarter (January–March) of 2012 (PDF)

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

A statistical projection of traffic fatalities for the first quarter of 2012 shows that an estimated 7,630 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This represents a significant increase of about 13.5 percent as compared to the 6,720 fatalities that were projected to have occurred in the first quarter of 2011, as shown in Table 1. Preliminary data reported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) shows that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the first three months of 2012 increased by about 9.7 billion miles, or about a 1.4-percent increase. Also shown in Table 1 are the fatality rates per 100 million VMT,by quarter. The fatality rate for the first three months of 2012 increased significantly to 1.10 fatalities per 100 million VMT, up from 0.98 fatalities per 100 million VMT in the first quarter of 2011.Previously, in 2011, fatalities are projected to have declined in all four quarters.If these projections for the first quarter of 2012 are realized, it will represent the second largest year-to-year quarterly increase in fatalities since NHTSA began recording traffic fatalities (1975). The largest recorded year-to-year quarterly increase by NHTSA was a 15.3-percent increase in fatalities during the first quarter of 1979.

Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths in Metropolitan Areas — United States, 2009

July 21, 2012 Comments off

Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths in Metropolitan Areas — United States, 2009
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Although rates have declined in recent years, motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) remain a leading cause of injury death in the United States (1). In 2009, a total of 34,485 MVC deaths were reported among U.S. residents, and 22% of those who died were aged 15–24 years. MVCs were the leading cause of death for that age group, which represents approximately 14% of the total U.S. population (1). To assess patterns in MVC death rates for persons of all ages and for those aged 15–24 years, in recognition of the elevated risk for this age group, CDC used data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) and the U.S. Census Bureau for 2009 representing the 50 most populous U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). The overall MVC death rate (age-adjusted) for all 50 MSAs combined was 8.2 per 100,000 residents, compared with a national rate of 11.1; among MSAs, rates ranged from 4.4 to 17.8. For persons aged 15–24 years, the MVC death rate was 13.0 per 100,000 residents for all MSAs combined (range: 7.3–25.8), compared with a national rate of 17.3. Although rates for the MSAs generally were lower than the rate for the nation as a whole, higher rates for persons aged 15–24 years were observed both in the MSAs and nationally. The wide variation in rates among MSAs suggests a need to better understand how urban development patterns might relate to MVC deaths and to identify and implement effective strategies to reduce the number of such deaths.

EU — Road Safety: The Roadworthiness Package – Tougher vehicle checks to save lives

July 17, 2012 Comments off

Road Safety: The Roadworthiness Package – Tougher vehicle checks to save lives
Source: European Commission
From press release:

Vehicle checks are fundamental to road safety. More than 5 people die on Europe’s roads every day in accidents linked to technical failure. So today the European Commission has adopted new rules to toughen up the testing regime and widen its scope.

Technical defects contribute heavily to accidents. They are responsible for 6% of all car accidents, translating into 2,000 fatalities and many more injuries yearly. 8 % of all motorcycle accidents are linked to technical defects.

The main problem is that there are simply too many vehicles with technical defects on the road. Recent studies from the UK and Germany indicate that up to 10% of cars at any point in time have a defect that would cause them to fail the tests. Moreover, many technical defects with serious implications for safety (such as ABS and Electronic Stability Control) are not even checked under current rules.

Existing EU rules setting minimum standards for vehicle checks date back to 1977, with only minor updates. Cars, driver behaviour and technology have developed a lot since then.

Hard Core Drunk Driving: Community Supervision Guide

July 10, 2012 Comments off

Hard Core Drunk Driving: Community Supervision Guide (PDF)
Source: Century Council

The American Probation and Parole Association and the Century Council convened a group of community supervision and corrections experts to develop the “Hardcore Drunk Driving Community Supervision Guide: A Resource for Outlining Supervision Challenges, Effective Strategies, and Model Programs.” This guide combines the latest in evidenced-based supervision practices with treatment strategies known to work with alcohol involved and DUI/DWI offenders. The advisory group assembled to develop this guide began by identifying what would educate and benefit the community corrections field. To that end, the group identified supervision challenges, and where applicable possible solutions to those challenges, promising practices working in their jurisdictions, and an array of resources for community corrections practitioners and administrators to turn to for additional information and guidance.

Traffic Forecasts Ignoring Induced Demand: a Shaky Fundament for Cost-Benefit Analyses

July 8, 2012 Comments off

Traffic Forecasts Ignoring Induced Demand: a Shaky Fundament for Cost-Benefit Analyses
Source: European Journal of Transport and Infrastructure Research

Although the phenomenon of induced traffic has been theorized for more than 60 years and is now widely accepted among transport researchers, the traffic-generating effects of road capacity expansion are still often neglected in transport modelling. Such omission can lead to serious bias in the assessments of environmental impacts as well as the economic viability of proposed road projects, especially in situations where there is a latent demand for more road capacity. This has been illustrated in the present paper by an assessment of travel time savings, environmental impacts and the economic performance of a proposed road project in Copenhagen with and without short-term induced traffic included in the transport model. The available transport model was not able to include long-term induced traffic resulting from changes in land use and in the level of service of public transport. Even though the model calculations included only a part of the induced traffic, the difference in cost-benefit results compared to the model excluding all induced traffic was substantial. The results show lower travel time savings, more adverse environmental impacts and a considerably lower benefit-cost ratio when induced traffic is partly accounted for than when it is ignored. By exaggerating the economic benefits of road capacity increase and underestimating its negative effects, omission of induced traffic can result in over-allocation of public money on road construction and correspondingly less focus on other ways of dealing with congestion and environmental problems in urban areas.

See: Study of the Day: Planners Miscalculate Benefits of New Roads (The Atlantic: Cities)

J.D. Power and Associations 2012 Auto Insurance Study

June 30, 2012 Comments off

JD Power and Associates 2012 Auto Insurance Study
Source: J.D. Power and Associates

Led primarily by increases in satisfaction with policy offerings and billing and payment, overall customer satisfaction with auto insurance companies has reached an all-time high, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Auto Insurance StudySM released today.

The study measures customer satisfaction with auto insurance companies across five factors: interaction; price; policy offerings; billing and payment; and claims. Overall satisfaction with auto insurance companies is 804 (on a 1,000-point scale), up 14 points from 2011. Satisfaction levels in 2012 are the highest since the study was launched in 2000.

Satisfaction increases in all factors in 2012, with significant improvements in policy offerings (+30 points) and interaction (+19 points). Satisfaction with price is essentially unchanged from 2011.

EconSouth Examines How Trucks Move the Economy

June 30, 2012 Comments off

EconSouth Examines How Trucks Move the Economy
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

With trucks responsible for moving more than two-thirds of the nation’s goods, the industry is inextricably linked to the health of the U.S. economy. In “Truckonomics: An Industry on the Move,” associate editor Nancy Condon explores the factors affecting the industry.

Given trucking’s linkages to the national economy, perhaps it’s no surprise that the industry was hit hard by the 2007–09 recession. As demand plummeted, carriers were forced to lower their rates. Many smaller companies failed or were bought by larger companies.

Postrecession, the industry faces a new set of challenges, Condon explains. The consolidation that occurred during the downturn left carriers with a shortage of capacity, and the surviving carriers are operating with an aging fleet. Additionally, the industry faces tougher federal regulations and higher diesel fuel prices.

Constrained capacity has an upside for the industry, however. It’s as simple as the law of supply and demand: “Tonnage is up, capacity is down, and so trucking companies have the pricing power to raise their rates,” Condon writes. Though, the industry’s recovery ultimately hinges on overall economic performance, she concludes.

Road Traffic Noise and Incident Myocardial Infarction: A Prospective Cohort Study

June 21, 2012 Comments off

Road Traffic Noise and Incident Myocardial Infarction: A Prospective Cohort Study
Source: PLoS ONE


Both road traffic noise and ambient air pollution have been associated with risk for ischemic heart disease, but only few inconsistent studies include both exposures.


In a population-based cohort of 57 053 people aged 50 to 64 years at enrolment in 1993–1997, we identified 1600 cases of first-ever MI between enrolment and 2006. The mean follow-up time was 9.8 years. Exposure to road traffic noise and air pollution from 1988 to 2006 was estimated for all cohort members from residential address history. Associations between exposure to road traffic noise and incident MI were analysed in a Cox regression model with adjustment for air pollution (NOx) and other potential confounders: age, sex, education, lifestyle confounders, railway and airport noise.


We found that residential exposure to road traffic noise (Lden) was significantly associated with MI, with an incidence rate ratio IRR of 1.12 per 10 dB for both of the two exposure windows: yearly exposure at the time of diagnosis (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.02–1.22) and 5-years time-weighted mean (95% CI: 1.02–1.23) preceding the diagnosis. Visualizing of the results using restricted cubic splines showed a linear dose-response relationship.


Exposure to long-term residential road traffic noise was associated with a higher risk for MI, in a dose-dependent manner.

Helmet Use Among Motorcyclists Who Died in Crashes and Economic Cost Savings Associated With State Motorcycle Helmet Laws — United States, 2008–2010

June 14, 2012 Comments off

Helmet Use Among Motorcyclists Who Died in Crashes and Economic Cost Savings Associated With State Motorcycle Helmet Laws — United States, 2008–2010
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

In 2010, the 4,502 motorcyclists (operators and passengers) killed in motorcycle crashes made up 14% of all road traffic deaths, yet motorcycles accounted for <1% of all vehicle miles traveled (1,2). Helmet use consistently has been shown to reduce motorcycle crash–related injuries and deaths, and the most effective strategy to increase helmet use is enactment of universal helmet laws (3). Universal helmet laws require all motorcyclists to wear helmets whenever they ride. To examine the association between states' motorcycle helmet laws and helmet use or nonuse among fatally injured motorcyclists, CDC analyzed 2008–2010 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a census of fatal traffic crashes in the United States (1). Additionally, economic cost data from NHTSA were obtained to compare the costs saved as a result of helmet use, by type of state motorcycle helmet law. The findings indicated that, on average, 12% of fatally injured motorcyclists were not wearing helmets in states with universal helmet laws, compared with 64% in partial helmet law states (laws that only required specific groups, usually young riders, to wear helmets) and 79% in states without a helmet law. Additionally, in 2010, economic costs saved from helmet use by society in states with a universal helmet law were, on average, $725 per registered motorcycle, nearly four times greater than in states without such a law ($198).

Public Transportation Protects Americans From Gas Price Volatility

June 10, 2012 Comments off
Source:  American Public Transportation Association

Improving transportation options saves consumers money, increases affordability, reduces exposure to price volatility and is good for the economy. In fact, investments in public transit provide a large direct financial return to consumers: increased public expenditures are more than repaid, on average, in transportation cost savings. The predictability of these savings becomes even more important during periods of price volatility. Families cannot plan household budgets when faced with high volatility—they need stable alternatives. This paper highlights the role that public transit plays in protecting Americans from price volatility, as well as strategies that can buffer Americans from future gas price shocks.

Lung Cancer and Elemental Carbon Exposure in Trucking Industry Workers

June 4, 2012 Comments off

Lung Cancer and Elemental Carbon Exposure in Trucking Industry Workers
Source: Environmental Health Perspectives

Background: Diesel exhaust has been considered to be a probable lung carcinogen based on studies of occupationally exposed workers. Efforts to define lung cancer risk in these studies have been limited in part by lack of quantitative exposure estimates.

Objectives: We conducted a retrospective cohort study to assess lung cancer mortality risk in US trucking industry workers. Elemental carbon (EC) was used as a surrogate of exposure to engine exhaust from diesel vehicles, traffic, and loading dock operations.

Methods: Work records were available for 31,135 male workers employed in the unionized US trucking industry in 1985. A statistical model based on a national exposure assessment was used to estimate historical work-related exposures to EC. Lung cancer mortality was ascertained through 2000 and associations with cumulative and average EC were estimated using proportional hazards models.

Results: Duration of employment was inversely associated with lung cancer risk consistent with a healthy worker survivor effect and a cohort comprised of prevalent hires. Adjusting for employment duration, there was suggestion of a linear exposure-response relationship. For each 1000 µg/m3-months of cumulative EC, based on a 5-year exposure lag, the Hazard Ratio (HR) = 1.07 (95%CI: 0.99, 1.15) with a similar association for a 10-year exposure lag, HR=1.09 (95%CI: 0.99, 1.20). Average exposure was not associated with relative risk.

Conclusions: Lung cancer mortality in trucking industry workers increased in association with cumulative exposure to EC after adjustment for negative confounding by employment duration.

New Study: No Progress in Reducing Motorcyclist Deaths

May 24, 2012 Comments off

New Study: No Progress in Reducing Motorcyclist Deaths
Source: Governors Highway Safety Association

A report released today by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) finds that no progress was made in reducing motorcyclist deaths in 2011. Based upon preliminary data from 50 states and the District of Columbia, GHSA projects that motorcycle fatalities remained at about 4,500 in 2011, the same level as 2010. Meanwhile, earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projected that overall motor vehicle fatalities declined 1.7 percent in 2011, reaching their lowest level since 1949. Motorcycle deaths remain one of the few areas in highway safety where progress is not being made.

The new report – the first state-by-state look at motorcycle fatalities occurring in 2011 – was authored by Dr. James Hedlund of Highway Safety North. Most states have reasonably complete fatality counts for at least the first nine months of 2011, enabling GHSA to confidently project the full year. Dr. Hedlund completed similar projections for GHSA in 2009 and 2010, with both being very close to the final fatality numbers.

Comparing the first nine months of 2010 to 2011, motorcyclist fatalities decreased in twenty-three states, with notable declines in many. In Connecticut, for example, motorcycle deaths dropped 37 percent, while in New York and North Carolina they fell 16 and 21 percent, respectively.

+ Motorcyclist Traffic Fatalities by State: 2011 Preliminary Data

Traffic Congestion Plummets Worldwide: INRIX Traffic Scorecard Reports 30 Percent Drop in Traffic Across the U.S.

May 23, 2012 Comments off

Traffic Congestion Plummets Worldwide: INRIX Traffic Scorecard Reports 30 Percent Drop in Traffic Across the U.S.
Source: INRIX
INRIX®, a leading international provider of traffic information and intelligent driver services, today released its fifth Annual INRIX Traffic Scorecard revealing a startling 30 percent drop in traffic congestion in 2011.

In the first worldwide report to analyze traffic congestion, 70 of America’s Top 100 Most Populated Cities showed decreases in traffic congestion last year. These results are indicative of a “Stop-’N’-Go Economy” where lack of employment combined with high fuel prices is keeping Americans off the roads.

The drop in U.S. traffic congestion in 2011 follows two years of modest increases in 2009 (1%) and 2010 (10%). The last time America experienced a similar decline was 2008, when traffic congestion plummeted 34 percent. When analyzed in correlation with 2011 statistics from the FHWA, U.S. Departments of Energy and Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Scorecard provides as much insight into traffic as it does the economy:

  • Cities showing the biggest drops in traffic congestion also were cities where gas prices exceeded the national average at its April 2011 peak ($3.96), including L.A. ($4.25), San Francisco ($4.25) and Honolulu ($4.48).
  • Cities outpacing national employment growth (1.2%), like Tampa (3.0%), Houston (3.2%) and Austin (2.1%), showed some of the biggest increases in traffic congestion.
  • Cities with moderate employment gains and fuel prices at or below the national average ($3.52) including Atlanta ($3.32, 1.2%) and Miami ($3.52, 1.2%) also showed the biggest increases in traffic.

Last year, only 890,000 of the 2.6 million new jobs were in our nation’s largest urban centers. These regions are down 6 million of the 9 million jobs lost during the Great Recession. Lack of employment combined with high fuel prices is clearly driving the decline in traffic.

+ Interactive Traffic Scorecard

Mileage-Based User Fee Winners and Losers: An Analysis of the Distributional Implications of Taxing Vehicle Miles Traveled, with Projections, 2010-2030

May 21, 2012 Comments off
Source:  RAND Corporation

The mileage-based user fee (MBUF) is a leading alternative to the gasoline tax. Instead of taxing gasoline consumption, the MBUF would directly tax drivers based on their vehicle miles traveled (VMT). The author estimates changes in annual household demand for VMT in response to changes in the cost of driving that result from adopting various MBUF alternatives, and finds that a flat-rate MBUF would be no more or less regressive than fuel taxes, now or in the future. The findings suggest that equity considerations based on ability to pay would not be a significant reason to oppose or support the adoption of MBUFs. While the equity implications of MBUFs are minimal, some groups, especially rural states, may find that the potential equity benefits of MBUFs could be overwhelmed by an increase in the tax rate to cover the higher costs of collecting and administering them. Concerns about the impacts of flat-rate MBUFs on vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions are valid, but, at current oil prices, the tax rate is a small percentage of the total cost of gasoline. However, it is possible to structure an MBUF that provides incentives for fuel efficiency while maintaining the other favorable qualities of MBUFs, such as their economic efficiency and fiscal sustainability.

Teen Driver Fatality Risk Quadruples with Multiple Young Passengers

May 13, 2012 Comments off

Teen Driver Fatality Risk Quadruples with Multiple Young Passengers (PDF)
Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety today released a study showing a strong association between the number and age of passengers present in-vehicle and the risk of a teen driver dying in a traffic crash.

The report, “Teen Driver Risk in Relation to Age and Number of Passengers,” found that the likelihood of a 16- or 17-year-old driver being killed in a crash, per mile driven, increases with each additional young passenger in the vehicle. Compared to driving with no passengers, a 16- or 17-year-old driver’s fatality risk:

  • Increases 44 percent when carrying one passenger younger than 21 (and no older passengers)
  • Doubles when carrying two passengers younger than 21 (and no older passengers)
  • Quadruples when carrying three or more passengers younger than 21 (and no older passengers)

    Conversely, carrying at least one passenger aged 35 or older cuts a teen driver’s risk of death by 62 percent, and risk of involvement in any police-reported crash by 46 percent, highlighting the protective influence that parents and other adults have in the car.

  • + Full Report (PDF)

    NRDC Report: DriversTo Save $68 Billion by 2030 Under 54.5 MPG Standard

    April 22, 2012 Comments off

    NRDC Report: DriversTo Save $68 Billion by 2030 Under 54.5 MPG Standard
    Source: Natural Resources Defense Council

    Drivers will save $68 billion in fuel costs when the Obama administration’s 54.5 miles-per-gallon standard is fully implemented in 2030, according to a report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

    Drivers in Texas, California and Florida will save the most in 2030 according to “Relieving Pain at the Pump.”

    But motorists everywhere right now can find relief from $4-a-gallon gas prices on the showroom floor. New 2012 models contain substantially more fuel-efficient choices as automakers begin to fulfill requirements under the administration’s original 2009 clean cars agreement to raise standards to 35.5 mpg by 2016.

    The 54.5 mpg by 2025 standard, set to be finalized in August, will double today’s average level of fuel efficiency. This will save individual drivers $4400 over the life of the vehicle, after considering the cost of the fuel saving technologies. NRDC quantified savings in all states in 2030, giving the more efficient vehicles a chance to penetrate the roadways.

    + Relieving Pain at the Pump

    Scrolling and Driving How an MP3 Player and Its Aftermarket Controller Affect Driving Performance and Visual Behavior

    April 16, 2012 Comments off

    Scrolling and Driving How an MP3 Player and Its Aftermarket Controller Affect Driving Performance and Visual BehaviorSource: Human Factors

    The aim of this study was to assess how scrolling through playlists on an MP3 player or its aftermarket controller affects driving performance and to examine how drivers adapt device use to driving demands.
    Background: Drivers use increasingly complex infotainment devices that can undermine driving performance. The goal activation hypothesis suggests that drivers might fail to compensate for these demands, particularly with long tasks and large search set sizes.

    A total of 50 participants searched for songs in playlists of varying lengths using either an MP3 player or an aftermarket controller while negotiating road segments with traffic and construction in a medium-fidelity driving simulator.
    Searching through long playlists (580 songs) resulted in poor driving performance and required more long glances (longer than 2 s) to the device compared with other playlist lengths. The aftermarket controller also led to more long glances compared with the MP3 player. Drivers did not adequately adapt their behavior to roadway demand, as evident in their degraded driving performance. No significant performance differences were found between short playlists, the radio-tuning task, and the no-task condition.
    Selecting songs from long playlists undermined driving performance, and drivers did not sufficiently adapt their use of the device to the roadway demands, consistent with the goal activation hypothesis. The aftermarket controller degraded rather than enhanced performance.
    Infotainment systems should support drivers in managing distraction. Aftermarket controllers can have the unintended effect of making devices carried into the car less compatible with driving. These results can motivate development of new interfaces as alternatives to scrolling lists.

    Extent of Highway Capacity Manual Use in Planning

    April 15, 2012 Comments off
    Source:  Transportation Research

    TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis 427: Extent of Highway Capacity Manual Use in Planning assesses how state departments of transportation, small and large metropolitan planning organizations, and local governments are using or might use the Highway Capacity Manual for planning analyses, or more specifically, for performance monitoring, problem identification, project prioritization, programming, and decision-making processes.

    Full Document (PDF)

    International Transport Forum — Road Safety Annual Report 2011

    April 13, 2012 Comments off

    International Transport Forum — Road Safety Annual Report 2011 (PDF)
    Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

    The IRTAD Annual report 2011 provides an overview of road safety indicators for 2010 in 32 countries, with preliminary data for 2011. The report outlines recent safety measures adopted nationally, with detailed safety data by road user, location and age. This edition highlights contributions to the development of road safety policies by the IRTAD Group in 2011, with detailed reports for all member countries on targets and national strategies, including new strategies being developed for the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety.

    USFA, Federal Highway Administration Complete Study of Traffic Incident Management Systems

    April 13, 2012 Comments off

    USFA, Federal Highway Administration Complete Study of Traffic Incident Management Systems
    Source: U.S. Fire Administration and Federal Highway Administration

    The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Highway Administration, working in partnership with the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA) have, through a study of current traffic incident management practices and policies, updated the 2008 edition of the Traffic Incident Management Systems (TIMS) (PDF, 5 Mb) manual. The 2012 edition provides the most current technical information and training programs in traffic incident management for fire and emergency service providers in this area as well as guidance to local fire departments on compliance with the latest edition of the DOT Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

    “Effective traffic incident management can enhance roadway safety for firefighters and other emergency responders of which too many have been killed on duty from being struck by vehicles,” said U.S. Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell. “The USFA was pleased to work with the DOT Federal Highway Administration and IFSTA towards reducing this number.”

    This project included research into effective roadway operations safety and management examining such technology and practices as:

    • roadway safety vests and other personal protective equipment,
    • effective distance of placement of roadway warning signs,
    • correct amount and type of emergency vehicle warning lighting (e.g., intensity, color, etc.), and
    • roadway operations safety training.

    + Full Document (PDF)


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