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

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Leonard Evans

Published Aug. 2004, 

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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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Featured Items

  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


  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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