Tag Archives: traffic fatalities

“Even if cost-benefit analysis is theoretically a neutral tool. . . it is biased against strong public protections.”

Recently, NHTSA announced statistics for 2016 traffic fatalities:

  • 37,461 people killed in crashes on U.S. roadways in 2016
  • Up 5.6% from 2015
  • Tucked in the back of the report, if you look for it, you will see that there were 4,317 fatalities in crashes involving large trucks — up 5.4% from 2015, the highest since 2007.
  • Of those, 722 (16.7%) were occupants of large trucks and 10.8% were nonoccupants
  • 72.4% of the truck crash fatalities were occupants of other vehicles, or 3,125.5 (Do I round that up to 3126? Now that really bothers me because this is about people who died in a crash with a truck last year and not merely statistics!)

If you look at NHTSA’s press release, here is their summary:

The 2016 national data shows that:

  • Distraction-related deaths (3,450 fatalities) decreased by 2.2 percent;
  • Drowsy-driving deaths (803 fatalities) decreased by 3.5 percent;
  • Drunk-driving deaths (10,497 fatalities) increased by 1.7 per­cent;
  • Speeding-related deaths (10,111 fatalities) increased by 4.0 percent;
  • Unbelted deaths (10,428 fatalities) increased by 4.6 percent;
  • Motorcyclist deaths (5,286 fatalities – the largest number of motorcyclist fatalities since 2008) increased by 5.1 percent;
  • Pedestrian deaths (5,987 fatalities – the highest number since 1990) increased by 9.0 percent; and
  • Bicyclist deaths (840 fatalities – the highest number since 1991) increased by 1.3 percent.

Do you see the 4,317 truck crash fatalities mentioned there? I don’t! Yet they accounted for 11.5% of the total traffic fatalities.

Is that indicative of what I tend to observe — the truck crash fatalities are considered a transportation issue and left to the trucking industry to solve? And so potential lives saved always lose out in any cost/benefit analysis, and we all know who ends up paying the price for this unresolved public health & safety crisis.

Along that line, check out this interesting read about cost/benefit analysis (which agencies have to do in rulemaking) related to safety regulations. . . https://www.foreffectivegov.org/node/2332

Even given the many uncertainties of cost-benefit analysis, proponents still argue that it acts as a neutral tool. Yet, as David Driesen points out, “if CBA only makes regulation weaker, and never strengthens overly weak regulation, it cannot improve priority setting and consistency in the manner its proponents envision.” Driesen lays to rest the argument of CBA’s neutrality by dissecting the use of CBA both in practice and theory. Driesen finds that both in OMB’s implementation of cost-benefit analysis as well as in the assumptions of the cost-benefit analysis itself, CBA is weighted in favor of the regulated industry and against health, safety and environmental protections.
Driesen focuses his look at cost-benefit analysis on the role of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), a subagency of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) charged with carrying out cost-benefit analysis through Executive Order 12866. According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, between June of 2001 and July of 2002, OMB “significantly affected 25” environmental, health and safety regulations. If cost-benefit analysis is in practice a neutral tool, then OIRA’s use of cost-benefit analysis to review regulation would sometimes strengthen protections and sometimes weaken them. Driesen found that none of OIRA’s changes made environmental, health or safety protections more stringent, and 24 out of the 25 weakened protections. Even if cost-benefit analysis is theoretically a neutral tool, in the hands of this administration, it is certainly biased against strong public protections.
 OMB tends to see cost-benefit analysis as a criterion under which the cost of implementing a regulation can never exceed the benefit. Another option is that cost-benefit analysis is used as a criterion under which cost must always equal benefit, optimizing the efficiency of the regulation. Driesen shows that in each case cost-benefit is not a neutral tool and will always favor the regulated community over the health, safety and environmental regulation.
Previous posts on this issue:

“Traffic deaths surged in first 9 months of 2016”

Washington — Traffic deaths surged about 8 percent in the first nine months of last year, continuing an alarming upward spiral that began in late 2014, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates released Friday. . .

Read more here: Traffic deaths surged in first 9 months of 2016Joan Lowy, Associated Press, Published 11:16 a.m. ET Jan. 13, 2017

The NHTSA Report with the statistics (but not the tears) is at https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812358

Thus the Obama Administration is on track to record more than 250,000 deaths due to vehicle violence during 8 years in office. Lou Lombardo, Care for Crash Victims

Vehicle violence

Do it, President Obama, for We the People of this United States of America! #VisionZero

My answer to concern over distracted driving & “Biggest Spike in Traffic Deaths in 50 Years?. . .”

I see a lot of attention being given to the increase in traffic deaths. That is great. I’m hoping that the level of awareness leads to action.

Here is a recent New York Times article on distracted driving: Biggest Spike in Traffic Deaths in 50 Years? Blame Apps, By NEAL E. BOUDETTE NOV. 15, 2016

My short (and long) answer: involve citizens in a nationwide network of Traffic Safety/Vision Zero community action groups.

Irreversible tragediesBoth And

What will it take to make a significant reduction in the number of people who die on our roads?

Will @SenJohnThune Hold Auto Safety Hearing on Tesla Fatal Crash Before the Nov. Elections?

Will Senator John Thune (or anyone else for that matter) hold an automotive safety hearing on the Tesla fatal crash before the November elections? That is the question raised by Lou Lombardo in his latest thought-provoking missive:

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

NHTSA has failed to protect us again by policies promoting use of motorists as guinea pigs for profits.

Now Senator John Thune (R) of SD, up for re-election this year, has written to Tesla’s Elon Musk:

“To address the foregoing issues, I request that you direct company representatives to brief Committee staff on the details of this incident, including the technology that was in use at the time, Tesla’s actions in response, and the company’s cooperation with NHTSA, by no later than July 29, 2016.”  See

But there are 34 Senate seats up for election in 2016 and Senator Thune is expected to easily win re-election.  See

Do the people of South Dakota know that every year more than 100 people die of crash injuries in SD?  See

Do the people of South Dakota know what their chances of surviving crash injuries are without health care?

 According to the NY Times editorial today SD does not yet have Medicaid expansion.  See http://kff.org/health-reform/slide/current-status-of-the-medicaid-expansion-decision/  and

Do the American people know how their State ranks in vehicle fatalities?  See
http://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/2011-CrashFatalitiesByStateRank.pdf  and
Political policies and elections matter.  Matter to people in the most important dimensions of life or death See
http://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/MonthlyReport-January2013-Vol1.pdf  and
http://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/Oct2013-Monthly%20Report-HealthInsurance.pdfSo will Senator Thune hold an auto safety hearing on the Tesla fatal crash before the Nov. elections?

Will the media ask questions and demand answers of government and auto company officials that advance safety?

Will the Senate invite both Mr. Musk and Marianne Karth who, having lost two daughters in a truck underride crash , knows first hand the importance of safety policies?  See http://www.fairwarning.org/2016/06/underride-crashes/

 Lou Lombardo

Road safety: global health issue too-long ignored & 2 primary challenges to reducing road fatalities

So, this is an interesting read about road safety as a global health issue that has been ignored for too long. Please note the statement about the “two primary challenges to reducing road fatalities”:

Globally, road injuries are the top cause of death among people ages 15 to 29 – claiming upwards of a million lives a year. What’s more, 90% (pdf) of the world’s road deaths and serious injuries take place in low and middle-income countries, according to the United Nations (UN).

This global health emergency is finally starting to get the attention it deserves. We’re in the midst of the UN’s Decade of Action for Road Safety, which lasts until 2020; and in April, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to improve road safety.

But Dr Kelly Henning, leader of the Bloomberg Global Road Safety Program at Bloomberg Philanthropies, says there are two primary challenges to reducing road fatalities. First, despite recent efforts to raise the profile of road safety, the issue isn’t broadly appreciated. Second, progress requires several sections of government to work together. As she notes: “It is about health, but also involves [action from] traffic police and road engineers, so it requires a lot of political attention.”  Road safety: the global health issue that’s been ignored for too long by Sue George, June 9, 2016

President Obama

So WHY is it that this country does not have a National Vision Zero Goal?

In my humble opinion, a multitude of traffic safety issues including tired trucker tragedies and seat back failure fatalities could be aggressively and comprehensively addressed with the granting of our AnnaLeah & Mary Vision Zero Petition Requests to President Obama and Secretary Foxx:

  1. Set a National Vision Zero Goal.
  2. Establish a White House Vision Zero Task Force.
  3. Sign a Vision Zero Executive Order which would pave the way for a Vision Zero Rulemaking Policy.

So WHY is it that this country does not have a National Vision Zero Goal? And don’t tell me that DOT embraces Toward Zero Deaths and that that is the same as what I am calling for!!!

Vision Zero Goal11wjd2

See Lou Lombardo’s latest email:

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Crash victims demand safety
1..Media educates the public.  Watch video

Progressive legislators provides pressure.  See letters

  1. http://www.markey.senate.gov/letters-to-automakers-on-seatback-safety
  1. Reporters investigate.


  1. Auto Safety Advocates Build the Case


It is now up to citizens to voice their views as voters and consumers.

The tragedies will continue until the pressure builds to ends these senseless deaths and injuries.


Please read the news report by our local reporter, Brie Handgraaf, about our recent delivery of 20,000+ Vision Zero Petitions to Washington: Family continues fight for trucking safety. The story is also told by Care 2: Mom Continues to Fight for Truck Safety After Daughters’ Tragic Death.

If you have not already signed the petition, it will remain open until a Vision Zero Rulemaking Policy is adopted. So sign here: Save Lives Not Dollars: Urge DOT to Adopt a Vision Zero Policy. Then share the petition with someone who has not yet heard about it.

Then, contact President Obama online and ask him to read the Vision Zero Petition Book, which was delivered to him at the White House yesterday.

(Note: When the Contact Form asks you for a Subject, click on Transportation.)

Letter to President Obama from the Karth Family

Vision Zero Petition Book 3rd Edition

With amazing technology advances, why are we slow as a snail to solve traffic safety problems?

Could someone please explain to me why it is that we can invent amazing technology to allow “face time” — among countless other inventions which are unfolding at an unbelievable pace — but we are slow as a snail to solve safety problems.

Why are we not devoting top priority resources (time, money, and the creativity of the human mind — enhanced by the availability of information and technology) to reducing the 33,000 on average annual traffic crash fatalities in the U.S. and 1.24 million crash deaths on the world’s roads in 2010?  http://www.who.int/gho/road_safety/mortality/en/

And why is it that getting safety measures passed — whether it be at the legislative level (in getting laws passed) or the administrative level (in getting regulations issued) is a continual battle?

Let me tell you what I think might be some of the reasons:

  1. The prevailing attitude is that most crash fatalities are inevitable rather than preventable. Not true. In fact, there were many factors in our crash which could have turned out differently were more attention given to safety matters.  http://annaleahmary.com/2014/07/our-crash-was-not-an-accident/  & http://www.care2.com/causes/one-familys-quest-to-improve-truck-safety.html
  2. The concept of “second collision” is poorly understood. The fact is that the first collision (the actual crash) is not necessarily what causes death in every case. http://annaleahmary.com/2015/07/the-second-collision-does-not-have-to-be-so-prevalent-we-can-do-better-at-preventing-death-horrific-injuries/ &  http://annaleahmary.com/2015/09/vision-zero-avoiding-collisions-and-second-collisions/
  3. The industry lobby opposing safety measures has a deep pocket. Need I say more? Well, I will. In less than 3 years since our crash, I have spent countless hours as a volunteer safety advocate (motivated by my daughters’ needless deaths) sending emails and making phone calls and meeting in person with legislators to inform them and attempt to persuade them to support safety measures. All too often, I am back at it again in another six months or so to fight the same battle all over again. https://dawnkinster.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/reflections-on-truck-safety/ & https://dawnkinster.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/for-annaleah-and-mary/
  4. The rulemaking process is cumbersome (though I am all for making sure that safety measures are indeed safe) and unnecessarily weighed down by the constraints of the cost/benefit analysis restrictions which inevitably lead to watered-down rules which are weak and ineffective. And enforcement has too often been ineffective:  http://annaleahmary.com/2015/07/lets-move-from-a-failure-of-compassion-tactics-of-conceal-%c2%ad%e2%80%90delay-%c2%ad%e2%80%90deny-while-fiery-crashes-occur-to-a-vision-of-zero-fatalities/
  5. Industry is more often than not reluctant to move ahead with safety measures voluntarily — either because they don’t want to have to re-do it when government regulations finally come out or because cost is a factor (enough said). This, of course, does not mean that all companies do nothing on their own to improve safety.
  6. Usually, a fragmented approach to solving the problem is taken when we could get more done faster if we worked together. http://annaleahmary.com/2015/09/face-it-fragmented-approaches-to-transportation-safety-dont-work-public-health-needs-to-be-included/
  7. Accountability, responsibility, and liability are dirty words. Taboo.  http://annaleahmary.com/2015/09/opponents-of-white-collar-criminal-prosecutions-argue-that-corporate-managers-should-not-be-charged-criminally-for-regulatory-violations/ And human life is measured in terms of dollars and all-too-often not considered worth the cost necessary to protect.  http://annaleahmary.com/tag/value-of-life/
  8. There is not a long line of people eager to help pay for safety research and crash testinghttp://annaleahmary.com/2016/01/who-will-pay-for-research-crash-testing-of-underride-guards/

What is the result of all this? People are dying when they could be still living.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LGcWc4m9VA

Too many lives are sacrificed. And for what? “So, what cost-benefit analyses really means, is that when no action is taken to improve the design of heavy vehicles, people’s lives are being traded for reduced transport costs.” George Rechnitzer,  http://annaleahmary.com/2015/06/crocodile-tears-costbenefit-analysis-vision-zero-goal-of-no-crash-fatalities/

Now, back to my original question, why is it that we can invent amazing technology to allow “face time” — among countless other inventions which are unfolding at an unbelievable pace — but we are slow as a snail to solve safety problems?

My grandpa was a rural mailman and used a sleigh and horses to deliver mail in the snow. My dad grew up with a wood-burning stove and an icebox for refrigeration. I grew up with the introduction of color television, seat belts, and not until I started raising children did I use things like VCRs or modem dial-up internet access. I went to Europe for a summer in college and had no cell phone to keep in contact with my parents back in the U.S.

Aren’t you glad that we have indoor plumbing? http://annaleahmary.com/2015/06/the-future-of-trucking-who-pays-for-the-costs-of-safer-roads/

How far we have come technologically and how rapidly advances occur. Yet, it takes a Jayne Mansfield (http://mentalfloss.com/article/28155/how-jayne-mansfield-changed-design-tractor-trailers & http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1082934_iihs-todays-mansfield-bars-dont-work-so-well-video) or a Dale Earnhardt to die (http://espn.go.com/rpm/nascar/cup/columns/story?columnist=hinton_ed&id=6116145 & http://sports.usatoday.com/2015/04/30/dean-sicking-safer-barriers-nascar-indycar/) or a Tracy Morgan to get severely injured for us to wake up and decide to do something about safety.  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-11/ntsb-says-wal-mart-driver-awake-for-28-hours-before-morgan-crash


Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for the safety advances made after those famous crashes. But I am appalled that we can’t seem to get it until such tragedies cause us to sit up and take notice. Meanwhile, countless unnoticed-by-the-public tragedies happen daily on roads across the globe. Year after year.

Good grief! Even my grandkids, who have not yet lived a decade, get that something could have been done to prevent their Aunt Mary (13) and Aunt AnnaLeah (17) from dying.  http://annaleahmary.com/2015/11/our-grandma-wants-to-make-the-roads-safer-remembering-2-girls-in-the-aftermath-of-a-truck-crash/

That is why I am devoting myself to raising awareness and calling for change. Come on people, let’s set a National Vision Zero Goal and use our vast resources and brilliant minds to slay this giant. Let’s not keep on putting our heads in the sand, putting bandaids on the problems, and losing these battles at the price of our loved ones. We can do it!

My family and I are making plans to head back to Washington, DC, very soon to take our Vision Zero petitions. We will be meeting with DOT officials to discuss these matters and hopefully lay the foundation for Obama to write a Vision Zero Executive Order.  http://annaleahmary.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Vision-Zero-Executive-Order-Petition-Letter-to-President-Obama1.pdf &  http://annaleahmary.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Executive-Order-Draft-Application-of-Vision-Zero-Principles-to-Highway-Safety-Regulatory-Review.pdf

Stand up with us and make this happen. Sign & share our 2 Vision Zero petitions:

  1. Petition on ThePetitionSite calling for Secretary Foxx to adopt a DOT Vision Zero rulemaking policy — http://www.thepetitionsite.com/417/742/234/save-lives-not-dollars-urge-dot-to-adopt-vision-zero-policy/
  2. Petition on Change.org calling for Obama to sign a Vision Zero Executive Order–  https://www.change.org/p/obama-adopt-a-vision-zero-goal-and-sign-an-executive-order-to-save-lives-not-dollars 

September 2013 069

Secretary Anthony Foxx & Marianne Karth discuss truck safety, September 12, 2013

p.s. By the way, the inventor of the NASCAR SAFER Barrier which is now saving lives, thinks that he can invent a much safer truck underride protection system. We just need the money to prove it: https://www.fortrucksafety.com/