Here at the end of another calendar year–a year that AnnaLeah & Mary along with many other traffic fatalities did not get to enjoy–I want to say one more time: Let’s work together to solve the problem of Death by Motor Vehicle.
What if we truly worked together to reduce the number of deaths and very serious injuries from traffic crashes? In terms of why people die on the roads, there is no one reason. Pointing fingers at who is to blame and leaving it at that gets us where?
The first thing that I noticed, when I started reading investigative articles about underride guards on trucks, was how some people took the focus off of the problem of weak underride protection systems and wanted to talk about how car drivers were to blame for the crash anyway* and how the answer was to develop crash avoidance technology.
It seems to me that what wasn’t being understood here was the deaths which actually occur from Second Collisions rather than the first collision, which is often due to human error or road conditions or whatever might have been to blame for the crash to occur.
Who said that it had to be an Either/Or solution? This is a perfect example of something which we can work together to solve–improving truck underride protection systems because it can be done. The result: less people dying from what could be a survivable crash.
At the same time, people can be busy working on trying to reduce the number of crashes to begin with through development of tested crash avoidance technology AND by raising awareness and motivating people to be Safer Drivers.
That sounds like a Win/Win solution which might actually lead us Toward Zero Crashes & Serious Injuries. Vision Zero.
And that is why I am about ready to launch a Vision Zero Executive Order Petition. And I will be asking you to hop on board with me. Let’s do this because we can and because somebody is counting on us to help them make it through another year.
* “‘The disproportion of passenger-vehicle driver errors in fatal crashes may be in a sense related to the fact that a fatality occurred, rather than that they are more culpable,” he says. “Rear-end collisions provide the clearest example, because a fatality is more likely to occur if a passenger vehicle strikes the rear of a truck, rather than the truck striking the rear of the passenger vehicle.’
“According to Blower, rear-end collisions caused by passenger-vehicle drivers may occur because of driver inattention, unsafe speed and truck conspicuity, while harder-to-explain head-on crashes may be due to alcohol use, night-time travel and weather.
“’It is clear that addressing the ‘truck safety problem’ must take into account more than just trucks and truck drivers,” he says. “The actions of other vehicles on the road contribute substantially to the toll. Even if all trucks were operated perfectly, only a minority of the fatal crashes would be eliminated.
“’Truck crashes do not occur in isolation, but as part of a larger system, involving the roadway and environment, vehicle condition and the other vehicles in the traffic system. If we want to reduce the toll of truck accidents, we need to broaden our understanding beyond just trucks and truck drivers.'” http://ur.umich.edu/9900/Nov08_99/18.htm
And besides, did you ever think about the terrible ongoing trauma of those who survive horrific crashes when others do not? Let’s keep them in mind as well.
To clarify, my point is not that no one is to blame, but that if we each spend our time pointing at someone else who has to resolve their problem, it is too easy to forget that there are fingers pointing back at ourselves–things we need to take care of, as well.