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List of journals containing publications by Leonard Evans


For copyright reasons, the complete text is available only at

In this editorial I offer an emplanation of the result reported in the same ajph issue. Namely, that if only traffic fatalities in the United States had declined by the same percentage as occurred in any one of seven other countries, 20 000 fewer Americans would be killed each year.

Sample quotations:

"My explanation flows from a more than four-decade career devoted to the science of traffic safety. I have personally observed and discussed traffic in 58 countries, and have addressed professional traffic safety audiences in 30 of them, learning from colleagues from all over the world. My explanation also draws upon perspectives gained from growing into adulthood outside the United States."

 "Traffic safety has been studied as a science for more than 75 years. A 1938 article in the American Journal of Psychology was an early contribution to what is now a vast scientific literature supporting a solid scientific edifice. In the early 1970s the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sponsored a study in which multidisciplinary teams of experts examined in detail thousands of crashes. The study concluded that the road user was a sole or contributing factor in 94% of crashes. The vehicle was the sole contributor in 2% of crashes, the same percentage as found in a British study. "

"US Policy Not Random, But Topsy-Turvy.  Copious research confirms with ever-solidifying reliability what might be called a fundamental traffic safety “law”: vehicle factors are important, but less important than roadway factors, which are far less important than road-user factors. Despite sponsoring research confirming this law, NHTSA spearheads misinformation that safety is mainly to do with vehicles, with its ongoing emphasis on recalls, crash test results, new vehicle safety technology, and biomechanics research. Science shows that all of these have relatively little to do with traffic safety. The core of the resulting topsyturvy policies is an obsessive focus on the least important factor, vehicles, leaving insufficient energy for the most important factor, drivers."

"The net effect of NHTSA is to increase the number of US road deaths."

"An Example: Toyota Phantom Acceleration An allegation that 19 deaths were associated with sudden unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles triggered an all-day televised session of a US Congressional Committee on February 24, 2010. A contrite Toyota acknowledged that a poorly fitting carpet could sometimes impede the accelerator pedal from reverting to its neutral position. The matter generated massive media coverage, providing the lead item in nearly all news coverage. The 19 deaths were alleged to have occurred in the previous decade. Over that same 2000---2009 decade, 22 574 people were killed traveling in Toyota vehicles. Almost none of these deaths had anything to do with technology, defective or otherwise. The problem was overwhelmingly intended acceleration."

"Plaintiffs’ lawyers likely pocket more than a billion dollars. Settlement details are kept secret—yet another example of “damn the public interest” in favor of lawyers’ interests. The recipients of such largess are well situated to contribute to the politicians who created and maintain this killing system. The problem is not so much the lawyers doing lawyering, but the lawyer legislators making laws that benefit themselves but plunder and kill their constituents."


Please cite any of above as: Leonard Evans, 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.

Complete text at or please email me for email attachment.

PowerPoint on technical background to two ajph papers at