Blame the Drivers for Accidents and Blame Government and Industry for Deaths and Injuries
Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:
Here they go again! Fatalities are rising so hit drivers and hit the road (safety summits to find “new initiatives”) to deflect the responsibility from government officialdom.
For years, traffic deaths have been declining steadily as cars become more crashworthy and enforcement of drunken driving laws have been ramped up. But that all came to a screeching halt last year, with traffic deaths showing a steep 9.3% increase in the first nine months of 2015.
NHTSA estimates that more than 26,000 people died in traffic crashes in the first nine months of 2015, compared to the 23,796 fatalities in the first nine months of 2014. U.S. regions nationwide showed increases ranging from 2% to 20%, and federal safety regulators blame driver behavior.
“It’s time to drive behavioral changes in traffic safety and that means taking on new initiatives and addressing persistent issues like drunk driving and failure to wear seat belts,” said Dr. Mark Rosekind, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)….
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says he recognizes the unexpected spike in 2015 deaths is a signal that more needs to be done. His department is holding a series of “safety summits” beginning today in Sacramento, hoping the summits will “provide us with new approaches to add to the tried-and-true tactics that we know save lives.”
Foxx says it’s clear that “unsafe behaviors and human choices … contribute to increasing traffic deaths on a national scale.” He quotes the NHTSA research as showing that human factors contribute to 94% of crashes.
“We’re seeing red flags across the U.S. and we’re not waiting for the situation to develop further,” said Dr. Mark Rosekind, NHTSA Administrator. “It’s time to drive behavioral changes in traffic safety and that means taking on new initiatives and addressing persistent issues like drunk driving and failure to wear seat belts.”
Rosekind notes the estimated 2015 increase in highway deaths follows years of steady, gradual declines. Traffic deaths declined 1.2% in 2014 and more than 22% from 2000 to 2014.
The safety summits will address drunk, drugged, distracted, and drowsy driving; speeding; failure to use safety features such as seat belts and child seats; and new initiatives to protect vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, NHTSA said.” Seehttp://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/traffic-deaths-up-nearly-10-driver-behavior-blamed-020816.html
What’s wrong with this? For many decades, we have known that people are human and make mistakes – lots of them – every day, everywhere. We have also known since Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed published in1965, that laws and vehicle design changes were needed to prevent the deaths and injuries.
Marianne Karth just posted an article that gives one example of the government/industry failures to protect people from deaths and serious injuries over the past many decades. See http://annaleahmary.com/2016/02/underride-rulemaking-will-we-get-it-right-this-time/
Today we have more technologies to prevent crashes and deaths and serious injuries than ever before in the history of humankind – regardless of driver errors. As Nader often has said:
“This country has far more problems than it deserves and far more solutions than it applies.” See American Blessings, www.runningpress.com
NHTSA political leaders have often blamed humans for crashes by citing reports on causes of accidents – but not on what political leaders did not do to prevent the crashes, injuries, and deaths that resulted from human errors.
One story I witnessed is that when former Administrator Diane Steed, having gone through the Revolving Door and at that time funded by GM, came back to NHTSA looking for such a report from the NHTSA librarian. Ms. Steed became angry when the librarian could not produce the report she was looking for because Ms. Steed was mistakenly referring to the Tri-level study as the “Three Cities” study. See the report
Tri-level study of the causes of traffic accidents: final report. Executive summary.
Enough is enough!