WSJ lettterTraffic Deaths and Driver Behavior, 30 Dec. 2014

USA TODAY opinion piece, U.S. Traffic Safety Misleads the Public: As GM ignition case shows, technology is emphasized over driver behavior, Sept.2014

AJPH Editorial 20,000  more Americans killed annually because US traffic-safety policy rejects science. Aug. 2014

New paperback copies of classic 1991 Traffic Safety and the Driver available on Amazon.com ($29.95), Kindle ($9.99)

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President Dr. Leonard Evans 

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Email: LE@ScienceServingSociety.com

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Leonard Evans

Published Aug. 2004, 

List $129.99 - click here for competitive pricing

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1991 book Traffic Safety and the driver now available as Paperback. Also Kindle (scanned printed pages - not searchable)
Evans' work covers in remarkable detail the full range of important topics in traffic safety ... but his chapter The Dramatic Failure of U.S. Safety Policy is the showstopper. JAMA  )

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Recent Leonard Evans publications

  American Journal of Public Health EDITORIAL August 2014

Twenty thousand more Americans killed annually because US traffic-safety policy rejects science

• I Explain finding in the same AJPH issue that if US fatalities declined by the same percent as in 7 normal countries, 20, 000 fewer Americans would be killed each year

My explanation flows from a more than four-decade career devoted to the science of traffic safety and draws upon perspectives gained from growing into adulthood outside the US

• In early 1970s the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sponsored a major study that  identified the road user as sole or contributing factor in 94% of crashes; the vehicle was the sole contributor in 2%, the same percent found in a British study. 

•  US policy not random, but topsy-turvy, placing most emphasis on what NHTSA's own and copious other research confirms to be the least important factor, vehicles, leaving little energy for the most important factor, drivers

• NHTSA contributes to inundating the public with toxic misinformation, which increases fatalities

• Example - Toyota phantom acceleration - allegation that, in a decade, 19 deaths were associated with this defect, while ignoring 22,574 people killed traveling in Toyotas vehicles - almost none of these deaths had anything to do with vehicle technology - defective or otherwise.

• Plaintiffs’ lawyers likely pocket more than a billion dollars from this defect. Settlement details are kept secret—yet another example of “damn the public interest” in favor of lawyers’ interests.

• They contribute a percentage of the loot to the lawyer-legislators who create this system.

• The problem is not so much the lawyers doing lawyering, but lawyer legislators making laws that benefit themselves but plunder and kill their constituents

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  USA TODAY opinion piece 19 September 2014

U.S. Traffic Safety Misleads the Public

 

• GM ignition switch case shows technology emphasized over driver behavior

• (at time) 13* deaths associated defective switch in ten-year period

• in same peeriod 130,522 people died in GM vehicles, including 2,641 child passengers under 8 years old

• 130 thousand deaths nothing to do with technology, defective or otherwised

• the way to really reduce harm from traffic - sensible traffic safety law sensibly enforced

* by December 2014 reached 23 and increasing - but a long way to approach 130 thousand.
The major legitimate public concern is that losses on our roads include 90 people killed per day.

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 Wall Street Journal, Letter to Editor, 29 December 2014

Traffic Deaths and Driver Behavior - Eighty years of scientific research show that policies addressing how people drive have an effect on safety that overwhelms technological details

The headline “Safety Gains in Newer Cars Cut Traffic Fatalities” (page one, Dec. 20) may be literally correct, but it conveys a grand falsehood. Eighty years of scientific research show that policies addressing how people drive have an effect on safety that overwhelms technological details.

U.S. traffic deaths have declined since 1972 by 41%. This might seem impressive. However, deaths in the Netherlands declined by 81% in the same period. If U.S. deaths had declined by 81%, we would be killing 22,000 fewer Americans on our roads each year. Vehicle improvements in all motorized countries have been similar. We are killing the additional 22,000 because of our aggressive denial of the science that shows that vehicle factors, while important, aren’t as important as road factors, which aren’t nearly as important as driver-behavior factors.

The U.S. driving population is fed a diet of misinformation that vehicle factors are crucial. Examples are the massive attention given to defects in Toyota and GM vehicles. It is alleged that these defects played some role in fewer than 100 deaths in a decade. In the same decade more than 450,000 people, including more than 8,000 children under 8, were killed in U.S. traffic. Overwhelmingly, their deaths had nothing to do with technology, defective or otherwise. The 450,000 deaths should be the focus of public concern, not the few that generate litigation earnings. 

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