Tag Archives: driver behavior

“Little has been done at the nat’l level to educate drivers how to merge safely & efficiently” Why not?

Interesting read on the history and theories of merging and its impact on traffic bottlenecks. . . Recurring Traffic Bottlenecks: A Primer Focus on Low-Cost Operational Improvements

Including such things as:

  • What Exactly is a “Traffic Bottleneck”?
  • “Good News” and “Bad News” About Fixing Bottlenecks
  • Understanding Merging at Recurring Bottlenecks
  • The Difference in Merging for Recurring and Nonrecurring Conditions
  • Which is Best? “Early” or “Late” Merging?
  • What Instruction is Given to Motorists?
  • Early Attempts to Direct Motorists How to Merge
  • Merge Principles
  • Principle #1: “Go Slow to Go Fast”
  • Principle #2: Keep Sufficient Gaps
  • Principle #3: Zippering
  • Is Murphy Right? Does the Other Lane “Always Move Faster”?
  • Principles Put Into Practice: Variable Speed Limits and Speed Harmonization

“Excepting for some basic, generic instruction in states’ drivers manuals (“wait for a safe gap in traffic” – typ.) little has been done at the national level to educate drivers how to merge safely and efficiently, as compared to other national education efforts promoting seat belt compliance, school zone safety, traveler information, or pedestrian rights and practices. The perceived reason for this may simply be the expectation that there will always be drivers who feel they know best how and when to merge in a queue, irrespective of any instruction to the contrary.”

Sounds to me like a project which should be added to a National Vision Zero Action Plan.

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Vehicle violence

Why rely on driver reaction to avoid truck side underride when a side guard could prevent tragedy?

I just read a very detailed explanation for why a driver might not react in time to avoid riding under the side of a semi-trailer — one without a side guard I might add. Well, that is all very interesting and we might learn something useful from it.

But, why on earth would we rely on driver behavior (especially in such an unexpected scenario) when the installation of a side guard could so easily save the driver’s life?!

Save Lives

Of course, taking a comprehensive approach to safety makes the most sense –one which makes other factors important as well, including:

  • Visibility and conspicuity.
  • Adequate parking for trucks.
  • Making it illegal for trucks to make U-turns.

Either or

“E-Class: Saving Lives with Fine Print”

Advice from Roger Lanctot for future of car safety technology:

Television spots for cars are becoming a little like pharmaceutical ads filled with fine print and warnings about side effects and clarifications.  Safety advocates are taking Mercedes to task for its latest TV ads for the 2017 E Class, claiming that the car company is misleading consumers into thinking the car can drive itself.  For me, fine print is the trade-off on the road to saving lives.

E-Class: Saving Lives with Fine Print

Another thing which I think that a Traffic Safety Ombudsman could initiate with a nationwide network of traffic safety community advocacy groups: hold community educational seminars to better equip drivers to make best use of the safety technology available — now and in the not-too-far future.

Tragic deaths

NHTSA Driver Behavioral Change in Traffic Safety Conference wraps up today. Live streaming NOW

See the second day of this conference here:

Tapes might be available this afternoon.

Yesterday can be seen here:

NHTSA livestreaming Driving Behavioral Change in Traffic Safety conference, March 10 & 11

When I found out that NHTSA was holding a Driving Behavioral Change in Traffic Safety conference, I asked if they were going to be livestreaming this important event. The event coordinator said they would be and that she would let me know details when they were available.

Here is that information:

Thank you for your interest in the Driving Behavioral Change in Traffic Safety conference that is taking place Thursday, March 10 and Friday, March 11 in Washington.  The event will run from 8:30 – 4:30 on Thursday and from 8:30 – Noon on Friday.

NHTSA will be streaming this event live  at http://www.nhtsa.gov/nhtsa/symposiums/index.html.  The link within that page for the webcast should be live this afternoon.

You may access the agenda by following this link: http://www.nhtsa.gov/nhtsa/symposiums/march2016/index.html
Please share these links with any of your colleagues who might be interested in watching this event.  Thank you.

I also asked if it would be taped and made available online. Here is the answer: The plan is for them to be recorded and posted after the event.  Our technical team tells me that they should be up Friday afternoon at the latest.

Here is a pdf of the agenda: Driving Behavioral Change in Traffic Safety Conference Agenda

I posted previously on this event/topic: http://annaleahmary.com/2016/02/nhtsa-hosting-discussion-of-the-behavioral-changes-necessary-to-achieve-near-zero-traffic-safety-deaths/

I hope that, in addition to looking at how to change personal driving behaviors, other factors which impact individual driving behaviors will be kept in mind as well.
  1. For example, an obvious one is what leads truck drivers to drive even when they are tired. http://annaleahmary.com/tag/truck-driver-compensation/
  2. Also, technological aids such as alerting drivers to driver fatigue or getting phone manufacturers to build in features that make it simple to turn off when driving, etc.  http://annaleahmary.com/tag/distracted-driving/
  3. And things like addressing the notion that it is okay to drive while under the influence of marijuana. http://annaleahmary.com/2015/02/marijuana-impairs-judgment-reaction-times-awareness/
  4. Or a national awareness campaign to educate people about the dangers of microsleep. http://americansleepandbreathingacademy.com/the-dots-war-on-drowsy-driving/
  5. Or more things like rumble strips along the side of the road.
  6. Or more electronic traffic signs which alert drivers to slowed traffic ahead. http://annaleahmary.com/2016/02/can-electronic-road-signs-save-lives-crash-ahead-7-miles-stay-alert/

 Having studied Health Behavior & Health Education at the University of Michigan School of Public Health (and raised 9 children), I am well aware that simple awareness is not enough to change behavior.

I would also like to see proven safety measures more quickly adopted nationwide: Why on earth don’t we establish National Traffic Safety Standards & require them to be adopted by States?

What would I do if I were the National Traffic Safety Ombudsman?

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NHTSA hosting discussion of the behavioral changes necessary to achieve near-zero traffic safety deaths

“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is announcing a meeting that will be held in Washington, DC on March 10-11, 2016 to explore ways to promote evidence-based behavior change in a traffic safety setting.

“The Driving Behavioral Change in Traffic Safety workshop will include presentations and discussions on a number of topics including analysis and feasibility of using different approaches to changing behavior; exploring promising untested strategies; identifying long-term pathways to eliminate fatalities; and considering how evidence-based behavior change strategies can be used in the broader policy discussion.

“Attendance at the meeting is limited to invited participants because of space limitations of the DOT Conference Center. However, the meeting will be available for live public viewing on the NHTSA Web site (www.nhtsa.gov).” Meetings: Driving Behavioral Change in Traffic Safety

Sounds promising. . . I hope to see meaningful results which can be widely-dispersed. And focused on while also addressing environmental and vehicular causes of traffic deaths.

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Why on earth don’t we establish National Traffic Safety Standards & require them to be adopted by States?

Our Crash Was Not An Accident

Are you aware that Death by Motor Vehicle is one of the leading causes of death?

Note: While taking classes at the University of Michigan in 1979 for my Master of Public Health degree in Health Behavior & Health Education, one of the things I learned, which has stuck with me, is that fear is not always the best motivator for changing behavior. In other words, knowing that something you do could end your life or that of someone else doesn’t necessarily change our actions. It doesn’t always sink in.

That needs to be kept in mind as we attempt to encourage better driving behavior.