Tag Archives: public safety

“Public health is about saving lives… a million at a time”.

When steps are taken to make roads safer, the impact can mean many lives saved globally.

Vision Zero is all about moving towards zero crash fatalities and serious injuries. If we would view road safety as a public health challenge, then we might begin to grasp the immensity of this problem.

As Professor Simon Chapman has quoted, “Public health is about saving lives… a million at a time”.  http://drinktank.org.au/2015/04/reflections-on-a-38-year-career-in-public-health-advocacy/

When I attempted to find the source of his quote, I stumbled upon this article by another public health expert, Dr. Arshini Daytan. I did a mental double-take when I read her quote from David Jernigan (John Hopkins) on the strategies of large corporations who actively seek to make us unhealthy:

“Associate Professor David Jernigan from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health gave the Basil Hetzel Oration and highlighted the significant influence large multinational corporations had on shaping the environment in which people make health decisions and the need for public health to understand these organisations. He proceeded to explain how these organisations, for example alcohol companies, operate to influence the debates around their products and why we need to know this in terms of public health advocacy. He went through the 10 principles outlined in the book ‘Lethal but Legal – Corporations, Consumption, and Protecting Public Health’ by Nicholas Freudenberg.

1. Make disease promoting products ubiquitous

2. Encourage retailers to promote their products

3. Supersize products

4. Target marketing to vulnerable populations

5. Price unhealthy products to promote sale and use

6. Create monopolies that reduce bargaining power of consumers and government

7. Support candidates who oppose public health policies

8. Lobby against laws that protect public health

9. Threaten to take jobs out of communities that oppose their policies

10. Organise Astroturf groups to oppose public health policies.”  http://sphpm.blogspot.com/2014/11/dr-darshini-ayton-writes-about-her.html

Okay, that made me learn about another concept/strategy: Astroturfing. What?! http://www.responsiblelending.org/media-center/center-for-straight-answers/astroturf-group-alert.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/ & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astroturfing

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“Why Better Underride Guards, and Maybe Other Stuff, Are Worth It” Tom Berg

I read this article by a journalist in the trucking world not too long after I became a reluctant safety advocate after my daughters died in a truck crash. It was worth a read.

This is what Tom Berg observed many years ago:

“. . . in 1998 came a requirement for ‘rear-impact guards’ that absorb some of the collision forces. Each trailer maker designed its own, which complicated repair costs because instead of replacing a damaged member by welding on a piece of channel iron, specific parts had to be found and bolted into place.

“Managers’ fears of greater expense were borne out, in repairs as well as initial added cost to trailers. Two or three hundred bucks is not a lot to add to the price of a $10,000 or $15,000 trailer, unless you run 500 or 1,000 or 5,000 trailers, especially at a time when everything in trucking was going up in price. Managers have a point.

“About 25 years ago, when I first started hearing about bumpers in those meetings, I noticed a hard-heartedness among fleet managers: If a motorist is stupid or drunk or drugged enough to rear-end my trailer, should I have to worry about what happens to him?

“A lot of people say yes, for several reasons. . .  Know what? I agree with those safety people. Because in 1973 I heard about a guy who was killed when he underrode a semi. . .

“. . . many fleet managers now seem enlightened and see public safety as a responsibility.”

http://www.truckinginfo.com/blog/trailer-talk/story/2013/06/why-better-underride-guards-and-maybe-other-stuff-are-worth-it.aspx

Note: I hope that public safety is perceived as a responsibility related to Single Unit Trucks as well–http://www.truckinginfo.com/channel/fleet-management/news/story/2015/07/nhtsa-initiates-upgrade-of-truck-underride-and-conspicuity-rules.aspx.