“Rosekind says changing behaviors must be part of safety equation” Along with vehicle & environmental factors!

Last week I read an article about NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind, who was speaking in my home state of Michigan (Traverse City).

“In the auto industry, we’re always looking at changing the technology, because changing the human would be really hard,” Rosekind said here today at CAR’s Management Briefing Seminars. “We’re not going to change us. We can change our behavior, but that is really hard.”

Rosekind indicated his belief that improvements in safety technology should go hand in hand with improving driver behavior in order to reach the goal of decreasing traffic fatalities.

“The technology doesn’t always work, and humans aren’t always perfect, but I think the combination of the two could get us to zero,” Rosekind said.

One of the things Rosekind talked about was,  “developing cooperation between regulators and the regulated toward improving vehicle safety,” which is what we did with the Underride Roundtable, also including safety advocates, researchers, and law enforcement.

Read more here: Rosekind says changing behaviors must be part of safety equation, Automotive NewsYou can reach Larry P. Vellequette at lvellequette@crain.com — Follow Larry P. on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LarryVellequett

I’m glad to hear him say those things. I’m just not sure that we can reach the goals he has set out adequately unless we get out the message to the American people that it will take the involvement and commitment of them as well — in cooperation with government regulators and the automotive/trucking industries — if we expect to make tangible progress in reducing preventable crash deaths.

Why do I think that? Actually, I have written about these things before:

  1. Moving toward zero preventable crash deaths and serious injuries requires both personal and social responsibility.
  2. There is almost always more than one factor involved in a crash death.
  3. The best strategy is one which takes into account that the problem doesn’t get solved by an either/or solution but rather one which looks at the broad picture and works on a both/and basis.
  4. Crash deaths often involve not just the initial collision but also a second collision.

When I read the article about Mark Rosekind the other day, I was also trying to solve a problem in our household of nine. With so many people and so many different schedules, spoons were falling down into the garbage disposal unbeknownst to others who would later run the disposal and suddenly hear a grinding sound. Oops! There goes another spoon. When my husband offered to bring in a sink strainer from the shed, I said, “No, everybody just needs to get in the habit of putting their spoons on the counter or in the dishpan — not the sink.” Later, I thought, “Well, that’s silly. Why not make use of the available ‘technology’ to supplement the request for better human behavior?”

So, just because driver behavior contributes greatly to preventable crashes, let’s not put all of our eggs in one basket.

Because I strongly believe all of these things, I would like to see a Traffic Safety Ombudsman appointed to facilitate the broad picture strategy, including collaborative efforts and the mobilization of citizens through a nationwide network of Traffic Safety/Vision Zero community advocacy/action groups. Imagine the nation united to tackle this problem together!

Either or

Traffic Safety Ombudsman Petition: End Preventable Crash Fatalities: Appoint a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman

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