The National Safety Council is a 501 nonprofit, nongovernmental public service organization promoting health and safety in the United States of America. Headquartered in Itasca, Illinois, NSC is a member organization, founded in 1913 and granted a congressional charter in 1953. Members include more than 55,000 businesses, labor organizations, schools, public agencies, private groups and individuals. NSC is nonpolitical and does not contribute to or support any political party or candidate.The group focuses on areas where the greatest number of preventable injuries and deaths occur, including workplace safety, teen driving, cell phone use while driving and safety in homes and communities. Wikipedia.
The voluntary agreement with 20 car manufacturers means that the important safety technology will be available more quickly than if the government had gone through the lengthy process of issuing mandatory rules, said Mark Rosekind, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, some safety advocates have filed a petition asking the government to issue mandatory regulations. They say voluntary agreements aren't enforceable, and that since automatic braking is already available in some cars, issuing rules requiring the technology could be done faster than the six to eight years allowed under the agreement. Automatic braking systems use cameras, radar and other sensors to see objects that are in the way and slow or stop a vehicle if the driver doesn't react. It's the most important safety technology currently available that's not already required in cars. "A commitment of this magnitude is unprecedented, and it will bring more safety to more Americans sooner," Rosekind said. Deborah Hersman, president of the National Safety Council, said the agreement "has the potential to save more lives than almost anything else we can accomplish in the next six years." There are about 1.7 million rear-end crashes a year in the U.S., killing more than 200 people, injuring 400,000 others and costing about $47 billion. More than half of those crashes could be avoided or mitigated by automatic braking or systems that warn drivers of an impending collision, NHTSA has estimated. Of the 194 most popular vehicle models already on the market, 17 come with automatic braking as standard equipment. It is available as part of an options package in 71 other models. The reason automakers don't want to be required to put automatic braking into vehicles sooner than the six to eight years promised in the voluntary agreement is that they don't want to have to redesign vehicles and change production schedules sooner than planned, said safety advocate Joan Claybrook, a former NHTSA administrator. "This six- to nine-year lead time is all about the auto companies saving money," she said. The agreement requires that automatic braking be standard in most cars and light trucks with weighing up to 8,500 pounds no later than Sept. 1, 2022. The braking would have to be standard on nearly SUVs and pickup trucks with weighing between 8,501 and 10,000 pounds beginning no later than Sept. 1, 2025. NHTSA estimates that the agreement will make automatic braking standard on new cars three years faster than could be achieved through the formal regulatory process. During those three years, according to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates, the technology will prevent 28,000 more crashes and 12,000 more injuries than without the agreement. However, the standards for how effective the brakes must be are set so low under the agreement that few if any lives will be saved, said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety. Explore further: Automakers commit to put automatic brakes in all cars
News Article | June 12, 2016
Vehicular accidents remain as one of the leading causes of accidental deaths in the United States, according to a new report by the National Safety Council (NSC). Many of these incidents can be blamed on drivers using their cellphone while behind the steering wheel. Cellphone-related vehicular accidents have prompted authorities to urge drivers not to use their mobile phones while driving but it appears that the threat holds true even for drivers using hands-free devices. Researchers of a new study found that talking on a hands-free phone while driving a car is just as hazardous as holding the device in the hands. For the study, published in the Transportation Research journal, study researcher Graham Hole, from the University of Sussex, and colleagues asked participants to perform video-based hazard-detection tasks. The researchers found that distracted participants, who listened to sentences and decided if these were true of false, were slower than undistracted participants when it comes to responding to hazards. Distracted participants also detected fewer hazards or were unable to see hazards despite being able to focus their eyes on them. The researchers likewise observed that the impairments were worse for those distracted by imagery-inducing statements suggesting that for those who drive while talking, the most dangerous kind of conversations are those that spark visual imagination. The findings suggest that phone conversation entails more use of the visual processing resources of the brain than earlier believed. "Telephone conversations may interfere with driving performance because the two tasks compete for similar processing resources, due to the imagery-evoking aspects of phone use," the researchers wrote in their study. The researchers said that anything that causes drivers to imagine something, which include passengers, may affect their driving performance. Nonetheless, passengers pose lesser risk compared with mobile phone conversations. "Chatty passengers tend to pose less of a risk than mobile phone conversations. They will usually moderate the conversation when road hazards arise," said Hole. "Someone on the other end of a phone is oblivious to the other demands on the driver and so keeps talking." The findings of the study support results of earlier studies on the dangers of using hands-free device in cars. A study conducted by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah found that in-dash systems up mental distraction which increases risk of accidents and that hands-free use of the iPhone's Siri causes high level of mental distraction among drivers. © 2016 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
News Article | October 30, 2015
Traffic deaths in the United States rose by 14 percent in the first six months of 2015, according to the National Safety Council. If this trend continues, annual traffic deaths might exceed 40,000 for the first time since 2007. Over the next decade, experts anticipate that technology in the form of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) will increase traffic safety across the nation. ITS refers to advanced communications and information technology that connects vehicles to transportation agencies and systems. When combined with advanced sensors, driver assistance systems and smarter road design, ITS may be able to virtually eliminate traffic crashes. Currently, nearly every highway, toll, transit, airport and rail project in the United States incorporates some aspect of ITS. A good example is the variable messaging signs that now operate on a number of major highways, including the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike. The Turnpike Authority installed 260 high-resolution, color LED signs, making New Jersey the first state to fully employ the high-tech signs for traffic management. Now, motorists know instantly from the sign’s color whether they are about to encounter congestion, receive general information or enter a construction zone. But coming soon – and likely by the end of the decade – is V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) technology, which will allow transportation agencies to send data directly to your car or truck about accidents, approaching storms and alternate routes. V2V also will collect data about surrounding cars’ speeds and even traffic volumes to prevent crashes or redirect drivers to alternate routes. According to a recent America THINKS survey conducted by HNTB, an architecture, civil engineering consulting and construction management company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., this is exactly what the public wants. Seventy-one percent of Americans believe emerging technologies should be used to improve safety and 53 percent want technologies to provide current information about traffic conditions. Many agencies already are preparing for the new technology. For example, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority recently buried a 48-strand fiber optic cable along a portion of the turnpike. In the future, when the Turnpike Authority needs that infrastructure to accommodate connected vehicles, it will be in place. ITS will keep drivers better informed than ever before. With human error a factor in nearly 90 percent of highway crashes, and 30 to 50 percent of peak-period delays caused by crashes, ITS has the potential to change highway travel, saving lives, reducing injuries and providing improved mobility for the traveling public.
News Article | October 27, 2015
School buses are the primary mode of transportation for many children during the school year. It’s a safer alternative than riding in a car, but it can still be dangerous. That’s why Amica Insurance is offering tips to help protect your child while riding the bus. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 500 students ages 5 to 18 die each year in passenger vehicles during school travel hours. Amica is sharing the following bus safety tips from the National Safety Council for parents to review with their children: About Amica Insurance Amica Mutual Insurance Co., the nation’s oldest mutual insurer of automobiles, was founded in 1907. The company, based in Lincoln, Rhode Island, is a national writer of auto, home, marine and umbrella insurance. Life coverage is available through Amica Life Insurance Company, a wholly owned subsidiary. Amica employs more than 3,400 people in 44 offices across the country. For more information, visit Amica.com. Media inquiries can be sent to MediaCenter(at)amica(dot)com.
News Article | August 30, 2016
One of the potential benefits of self-driving car technology, and certainly one of the benefits of mass transit options such as rail travel, is that auto collisions and fatalities can be reduced. How much they can be reduced is something of an open question, but considering how distracted, inebriated, and generally terrible many human drivers are, one would presume quite a lot. On that note, the all-time driving mileage record in the US for the first half of the year was recently broken — with Americans driving around 1.58 trillion miles between January and July 2016, the distance equivalent of 250 round trips to Pluto. This was accompanied by a 9% year-on-year increase in traffic fatalities (as compared to 2015). More specifically, roughly 19,000 people have been killed on US roadways since the year began (an 18% increase as compared to 2014) and around 2.2 million people were seriously injured in auto accidents during the first half of the year. This relates to around $205 billion in injury and death costs, according to the congressionally chartered nonprofit, the National Safety Council. (In 2014, the US fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles was 1.1; in 2015 it was 1.2; and in 2015 it’s projected to be 1.3.) 2.2 million serious auto-accident-related injuries in just 6 months in a country the size of the US is pretty amazing when you think about it. That’s a substantial portion of the population that’s being affected (whether directly or indirectly). Would greater availability of self-driving taxis and high-speed (or low-speed) rail lead to a significant drop in these figures? Factoring in related savings, what’s the actual financial benefit of rail? Considering that the main driver of increased personal-vehicle travel in recent years has simply been low gas prices (along with a growing aversion to regional air travel), I would expect that, if self-driving taxi services were able to notably undercut the costs of travel by personal vehicle, that many people would simply switch over regardless of ingrained habits. Since the increasing rates of auto collisions per miles driven in the US seen during the last few years are likely correlated (this is pure speculation, I know) with an aging baby boomer population (which is often heavily medicated), trends could possibly be reversed simply by giving that population access to affordable self-driving taxi services. Notably, this is one of the main drivers behind the development of self-driving car technologies in Japan — the recognition that the aging population will be increasingly dangerous on the roads. The removal of much of the younger generations from the road, mostly through self-selection if attractive options other than personal vehicle ownership are available, would likely help in the reversal of this trend as well. The oldest and the youngest drivers out there are, after all, the most dangerous by a fair margin. (Amongst those that possess actual driver’s licenses anyways.) A couple of other background points to make: On the subject of why people are driving more … I’ll just direct your attention to this: a woman pushing her baby in a pram, while leaning out of a moving-car’s window. Also on that subject, I’ll relate a story: I recently saw a healthy woman in her 30s or so drive her BMW SUV a block-and-a-half back from the grocery store to her house, with only one bag of groceries. And, before you say it … I was in the park next to both places when she left and when she came back — the grocery store certainly wasn’t an intermediate stop on a longer trip; it was the whole trip. Obviously, this sort of trip, while ridiculous, isn’t the sort that leads to serious collisions or fatalities, but it does illustrate something of the current attitude towards the use of personal vehicles in the US. Take away from this what you will. … Drive an electric car? Complete one of our short surveys for our next electric car report. Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.