NHTSA Neglects Deaths and Injuries of Children in Back Seats for Decades

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

“Liz and Andrew Warner of Littleton lost their 17-month-old daughter, Taylor.

It was head trauma. The seat hit her in the face and that’s what caused the brain bleed they couldn’t stop,” Liz Warner said.

Taylor was in her car seat when the Warners’ 2010 Honda Odyssey was rear ended.  The driver’s seat collapsed on impact and struck Taylor in the face. She never regained consciousness.

“That was it. We didn’t get to know her anymore,” Liz Warner said.

After the Warners buried their baby girl, they realized they were not alone. According to the Center for Auto Safety, 898 children have been killed in rear-end collisions in the past 15 years, all of them sitting in the back seat.”  See  http://kdvr.com/2016/04/28/front-seat-hidden-danger-kills-children-in-cars/

Another Opportunity to Improve Care for Crash Victims

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

NHTSA is now seeking grant applications for funding CIREN centers (currently 8). See the NHTSA announcement requesting applications at

http://www07.grants.gov/search/search.do;jsessionid=lQK5KXZCGpydxKt1kVCfz22z27FrqzFGFyWnQYTJdzYhrHTLKT1 k!361947375?oppId=49227&mode=VIEW

Ten years ago, and nearly 500,000 crash deaths and 2,500,000 serious crash injuries ago, I helped write a paper presented to the NTSB.

The authors recommended expansion of CIREN centers to all 50 States (not 8 States) as follows:

NTSB could be connected to the existing CIREN centers, and ultimately to an expanded 50-State CIREN, so that it can electronically obtain all cases as they are entered into the CIREN system. This would give NTSB an expanded real-time data collection tool in serious injury highway crashes. Thus, the NTSB could economically become more scientifically involved in medical and engineering investigations of a larger number of serious injury motor vehicle crashes each year. Such an increase would result in a level of NTSB involvement more commensurate with the magnitude of the safety problems posed to the nation by motor vehicle crashes than is possible with current NTSB resources.

As recommended recently by the National Academy of Sciences, in its Report Reducing the Burden of Injury, the need is clear for a federal re-commitment to Trauma Center/System Development in each of the 50 States to save people suffering from serious, time-critical, injuries. Whether the time-critical injuries are the result of crashes or other causes, the timely delivery of emergency care will help save lives and livelihoods. In addition, an advanced trauma care system will also result in saving the lives of people suffering from time-critical illnesses such as strokes and heart attacks and needing rapid and safe emergency medical transport and care [26]. Time is of the essence. But, it’s not just a matter of time before we all have the safety benefits of these new technologies. It’s also a matter of societal urgency that will determine how many avoidable tragedies the nation must experience before the Automatic Lifesaving System is saving lives. Building a safer America is a matter of time, money, public policy, political leadership and most importantly – peoples lives – both those lost and those saved. See http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/studies/acns/champion.htm

Once again, we can, and must, do better caring for crash victims to reduce tragedies. Click Here

110th Anniversary of First Auto Crash Death in the U.S.

September marks the 110th anniversary of the first American killed by an automobile crash. Mr. H.H. Bliss was killed in NYC in September 1899. See Nader, Unsafe at any speed, p. 295.

The continuing need for attention to this subject is written in dry (without the tears) government statistics.

    • Historically in the U.S., motor vehicle crashes have killed nearly 3.5 million people and injured more than 300 million. This is more than 3 times the number of Americans killed and 200 times the number wounded in all wars since 1776. Since 1978, when NHTSA began counting fatalities, more than 1,350,000 people have died along U.S. roads.
    • Currently, in crashes each year about 40,000 people are killed (~110/day on average), nearly 200,000 seriously injured (~500/day on average), and nearly 750,000 hospitalized (~2,000/day).
    • The costs of crash injuries incurred in the U.S., each year, are estimated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). According to NHTSA, each year the costs of crash injuries amount to about $100 Billion in economic costs and $300 Billion in comprehensive costs. DOT currently attributes costs ranging from $333,000 for a serious injury to $5,800,000 for a fatality. From 1978 through 2008, NHTSA counted 1,354,500 fatalities.

This Labor Day weekend we can expect about 500 crash fatalities. See http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/809736.PDF

Despite this record of enormous tragedy, to this date NHTSA does not count the following costs and consequences of crash injuries.

(Bankruptcies are another cost that NHTSA does not count as a consequence of the 40,000 crash deaths and 250,000 serious injuries that occur each year. NY Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof, calls attention to this problem: See http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/30/opinion/30kristof.html ” A study reported in The American Journal of Medicine this month found that 62 percent of American bankruptcies are linked to medical bills. These medical bankruptcies had increased nearly 50 percent in just six years. Astonishingly, 78 percent of these people actually had health insurance, but the gaps and inadequacies left them unprotected when they were hit by devastating bills.”

http://download.journals.elsevierhealth.com/pdfs/journals/0002-9343/PIIS0002934309004045.pdf )

For more see Vision for a Safer America

We can, and must, do better at reducing motor vehicle crash tragedies. Let us resolve to do so.

Wishes for Safer, Brighter, Holidays

As daylight hours decrease, and dangerous holidays approach, think safety & conspicuity.

A Forbes article calls attention to holiday fatalities and to the role of vision at

http://www.forbes.com/2009/11/20/dangerous-holidays-fatalities-lifestyle-vehicles-cars-traffic-accidents.html

What can consumers do to increase their safety?

Cyclists and pedestrians:

Several thousand pedestrians are killed in crashes each year between the hours of 6 PM and 6 AM. Consumers can take actions to increase their safety through increasing personal conspicuity with reflective clothing and accessories..

See DOT Poster “Be Safe, Be Bright

Car buyers:

Thanks to safety researchers in Australia we now know that consumers can reduce their serious injury crash risk by about 10% by choosing white as the color of their vehicle. See

http://www.monash.edu.au/news/monashmemo/stories/20071031/silver-cars.html and the full Report on their research at

http://www.monash.edu.au/muarc/reports/muarc263.html

Car Owners: If consumers don’t have a white car, safety can be improved when vehicles are made more visible with reflective materials such as reflective tape. See

http://www.autosafetyexpert.com/defect_conspicuity.php?middlepage=defect_conspicuity.php&pagetitle;=TRUCK%20CONSPICUITY

Safer & Happier Holidays!