Latest additions to  Science Serving Society web

 

 

 

 Two  short Youtubes (Jan 2016)

1.  President Obama Wrong On Traffic Deaths (3 min 58 s)

2.  Why do 20,000 additional deaths occur annually on US Roads? (5 min 34 s)

            Updates American Journal of Public Health Editorial (summarized below)

 

Publications

  European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology November 2015

Traffic deaths before and after birth. (Authors: Leonard Evans and Donald A. Redelmeier)

Using national datasets and applying plausible assumptions about rates of pregnancy and traffic fatalities, we estimated the number of fetuses killed per year in traffic crashes in the USA. Two main assumptions were: (1) pregnant and non-pregnant women of the same age have equal chances of becoming traffic fatalities; (2) the death of a pregnant woman leads to the death of her unborn child. We computed that 227 pregnant women died in US traffic in 2012, implying also 227 fetus deaths. This contrasts with 60 babies aged less than one year killed in traffic crashes in 2012, equivalent to 45 deaths in a the nine month period corresponding to pregnancy. Thus the risk of fetal death during pregnancy is 227/45 = 5.04 times the risk after birth for equal exposure times. This ratio likely underestimates the disparity because the risk of crashing increases during pregnancy, and the 5.04 ratio ignores the many cases in which the mother survives but the fetus does not.

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  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 2015 passed 100 - but a long way to approach 130 thousand.  Litigation interests prevent us from knowing even the distribution of traffic offenses (speeding tickets, no license, alcohol, belt use) of this group compared to the general public, but I am confident it is quite unlike that for typical drivers. I  have switched off the ignition on my Cobalt (when no traffic around). Not a pleasant experience - but doing what any driver would instinctively do (push harder on brakes, turn harder on steering wheel) brings vehicle to safe stop at side of road. I had zero concerns driving with the defective switch even though bad engineering) - never had any problems. 
The major legitimate public concern should be the 85 traffic deaths per day that do not generate litigation wealth.\

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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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Home page updated 2016-02-29

 

 

*** August 2014 **EDITORIAL**Twenty thousand more Americans killed annually because US traffic-safety policy rejects science.  American Journal of Public Health: August 2014, Vol. 104, No. 8, pp. 1349-1351. 

 

*** August 2014 Trafficc Fatality Reductions: United States Compared With 25 Other Countries.  American Journal of Public Health: August 2014, Vol. 104, No. 8, pp. 1501-1507 .

 

*** April 2014

Printed proceedings of Hamburg ITMA meeting available including: Policy Implications from Comparing Traffic Fatality Trends Thru 2011 in 26 Countries (or The Dramatic Failure of US Safety Policy Revisited), In P.Brieler and K Püschel (eds), Safe Mobility on Land. Sea and in the Air, Proceedings of the 23rd World Congress of International Traffic Medicine Association, Hamburg, Germany 19-22 May 2013.Verlag Dr. Kovac, Hamburg, 2014,  p. 17-32

 

***October 2013

Started uploading HD versions of PowerPoint presentations to Vimeo and Utube (and making originals available on this web.  First is Safety Benefits of a Traffic Signal Designed for the Color Deficient as listed with various links at

List of PowerPoint uploads

 

***October 2013

Rejected Letter to Editor of nyt in response to their all too typical ignorant editorial (they know about traffic safety because they can drive!)

The real blind spot (2013-10-03)

 

 *** April 2013

Rejected editorial
 "Shame On Us" - Child Deaths - Preventable and Unpreventable (Sandy Hook school shootings, gun control, and political grandstanding)

 

*** December 2012

Rejected editorial
Traffic Is Dangerous, Movie Theatres Are Not (Keeping the Aurora, Colorado, movie- theater deaths in perspective)

 

*** August 2012

AAAM Former President Still Crash Free (PDF), INROADS (Bulletin of the AAAM), Vol 18, Issue 2, August 2012

 

*** September 2011, revised December 2012

PowerPoint Presentation on YouTube

 Topsy-Turvy US Safety Policy Continues to Kill Thousands of Road Users

(or The Dramatic Failure of U.S. Safety Policy Revisited)

Auxiliary information: Revised 1 December 2012 - China data deleted from study due to uncertainties about reliability.

This Presentation is based on one I delivered to The Eye and The Auto International Conference, 2011-09-(12�14), in Detroit MI, organized by the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology.  In Traffic Safety (2004), the chapter titled The Dramatic Failure of US Safety Policy concludes that US Safety policy, by rejecting science, ends up placing most emphasis on where benefits are least (JAMA reviewer calls this Chapter the Showstopper).  The conclusion that disastrous US policy was killing more than ten thousand additional Americans every year was based on comparing US performance with that in three Comparison countries (Britain, Canada and Australia).  This present presentation compares the US to 27 countries, and for each of them 7 years more data than available in the earlier study.  The presentation shows the data for each country in a separate graph.  The enormously greater amount of data adds vastly more support to the earlier conclusions.   Namely, (1) US safety performance is dramatically worse than that in other industrialized countries. (2) The fatality declines among other countries are similar and define what is normal. Their policies emerge from imperfect legislative bodies whose members are much concerned about being reelected. The far from optimal policies that emerge are ordinarily foolish. (3) US policies are not ordinarily foolish. They are extraordinarily foolish. (4) This is because US safety policy continues to maximize litigation earnings and the resulting political contributions (for example, Toyota "phantom acceleration") while ignoring science, knowledge, or even common understanding. This results in placing priorities almost perfectly opposite to where safety benefits are greatest.

Countries analyzed in order of decreasing human population:  1 United States of America 2 Japan 3 Germany 4 France 5 Italy 6 Great Britain 7 South Korea 8 Spain 9 Poland 10 Canada 11 Australia 12 Netherlands 13 Greece 14 Belgium 15 Portugal 16 Czech Republic 17 Hungary 18 Sweden 19 Austria 20 Switzerland 21 Israel 22 Denmark 23 Slovakia 24 Finland 25 Norway 26 Ireland 27 New Zealand

 

 

*** May 2011

Leonard Evans Presentations to 22nd World Congress of ITMA, Chongqing, China, 13-16 May 2011 (click here for more details) 

 

 

*** May 2011

 

Three contributions to Modern Traffic Medicine (Wang, Zhenguo ed), Chongqing Publishing House, Chongqing, China, ISBN 9787229039127, May 2011.

 

 

1. USA Traffic Safety Provides Examples Worth Copying and Worth Avoiding. (PDF)

2. A Short History of the International Traffic Medicine Association (ITMA)  (PDF)

3. Preface (PDF)

 

 

 

Last updated 2014-08-08