Tag Archives: traffic safety

The murderous potential of vehicles & apparent normalisation of life-threatening recklessness on our roads

When searching for Tweets with the hashtag #roadsafety — which by the way seems to be more commonly mentioned outside of the U.S. — I ran across some interesting articles:

  • The rules of the road exist to keep us safe. Why aren’t we enforcing them? by  A motorway collision with a lorry showed me how easy it is for disaster to strike – and raised my fear that excessive risk has been normalised. . . So, while you could argue that its road safety record allows the UK to coast awhile, you might also think about the two recent court cases and whether we pay due regard to the murderous potential of our vehicles. And then you might reasonably ask whether, with more rigorous enforcement, not only those serious accidents that have made the news could have been avoided, but also the many more minor ones such as ours. And who is best served by the apparent normalisation of life-threatening recklessness on our roads.
  • These Two Women Designed A 3D Zebra Crossing In Gujarat And It’s One Of A Kind! by  SOUVIK RAY Artists Saumya Pandya Thakkar and Shakuntala Pandya from Ahmedabad designed something innovative that not only serves an artistic purpose but ensures road safety for pedestrians. The motto was to increase the attention of drivers through new flat patterns of Zebra Crossings.

“EU transport ministers back ‘ambitious’ vehicle safety improvements”

EU transport ministers back ‘ambitious’ vehicle safety improvements, February 10, 2017, European Transport Safety Council

Eight EU transport ministers have called on the European Commission to ‘speed up’ plans to upgrade vehicle safety standards saying road safety should be ‘top priority’.

In a letter to the European Commissioner for industry Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the transport ministers of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and The Netherlands said ‘ambitious’ new vehicle safety standards are needed ‘to help Member States halve the number of road deaths by 2020’. . .

In December 2016, the European Commission published a list of 19 lifesaving safety technologies that could be made mandatory on new vehicles in proposals expected later in 2017.  At the time, the European Transport Safety Council said several critical areas for action are missing, and the proposed timescale is far too long considering that most of the technologies are already available today.

What about the United States?

How 2 taxi drivers encouraged this traffic safety advocate

While in Washington D.C., I met several taxi drivers. The first one picked me up at Union Station and, because he misunderstood the address I gave him, we ended up having a lengthy conversation — about his family and about my traffic safety advocacy because of my daughters’ deaths due to a truck crash. It was actually healing to have this stranger, a Christian, take my family’s tragedy to heart.

He ended up giving me that ride free and gave me his phone number for rides the next day. It reminded me anew that the Lord was watching over my going out and coming in.

Then, on my ride from my hotel as I headed back home, I got into some conversation with another taxi driver. As we neared Union Station, he noticed a traffic light on a post which someone had turned. He said, “Did you see that?! That could cause a crash. I have to tell a policeman about it.”

I quickly told him my story and how I was in town to make the roads safer. I gave him my AnnaLeah and Mary for Truck Safety card and thanked him for taking the trouble to help make the roads safer.

See. . . we can do this thing together!

Roads Safer

What happens when the economic interest of society is favored over the value of saving human lives?

I just did my morning reading as I ate my breakfast and ran across the word expropriation. I decided to look it up and found its meaning peculiarly and disturbingly relevant to my passion for traffic safety.

Expropriation: (from Wikipedia) The process of expropriation “occurs when a public agency (for example, the provincial government and its agencies, regional districts, municipalities, school boards, post-secondary institutions and utilities) takes private property for a purpose deemed to be in the public interest“.

Is that what happens when a cost/benefit analysis is interpreted in favor of the economic interest of society/industry over the value of saving human lives: Our government (on behalf of We the People) sacrifices human lives for a purpose deemed to be in the public interest?

Equal Justice For All, Legal Reader, artist Neal Angeles
Equal Justice For All, Legal Reader, artist Neal Angeles

‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Enough, you princes of Israel; put away violence and destruction, and practice justice and righteousness. Stop your expropriations from My people,” declares the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 45:9

Car Safety Wars

MAY 6, 2017 in DC, Stand for Justice: Hold auto execs accountable!

Stand for Justice – Voice for Victims

Sylvan Theatre, Washington, DC

May 6, 2017

 

Stand for Justice Mission Statement

To create or change existing state and federal laws to protect consumers from automotive tragedies by:

·      Increasing public awareness.

·      Proposing legislative changes at the Federal and State level to increase accountability and safety in the automotive industry.

How do we accomplish our mission?  By:

·      Building a network of supporters in each state.

·      Tracking and keeping an up-to-date database of deaths related to nefarious acts by auto manufacturers.

·      Developing a call to action network at both the state and federal level that allows for the real time updating of information to supporters.

·      Gaining support of other individuals and groups related to this effort.

·      Donations can be made on our GoFundMe page:

https://www.gofundme.com/gmrecallsurvivors

Help us honor the victims of these senseless tragedies.  Join us in Washington on May 6th, 2017 to demand policy changes!

More details including time and location are coming soon.  STAY TUNED!

Facebook page for Washington, DC event: Stand for Justice Hold auto execs accountable!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1188835261146367/

Tragic deaths

 

Crash Deaths: The “Song” That Never Ends; Can we change that?

Did you ever sing “The Song That Never Ends”, or some variation thereof? That’s what the unending report of crash deaths on our roads seems like.

Work Zone crashes often involve multiple factors, including the actions of the drivers on the road. Hear this heartfelt plea from the widow of a highway construction worker that we all be a part of the solution:

Amy Fletcher, 7 hrs
Another Horrible crash on the Ohio Turnpike today. Something we’re all getting way to used to hearing about and, for some of us, re-living the terrifyingly devastating day of our loved one’s death. Fatal crash in construction zone on the Ohio Turnpike.

WHY should YOU care?…. “accidents” happen all the time, right? . . .

READ MORE HERE:   https://www.facebook.com/groups/494507530713925/permalink/685054441659232/

Do we have to just accept this situation as inevitable? I happen to think that we could make a big dent in it if we would set a national goal of Vision Zero Preventable Crash Deaths & Serious Injuries. I have lots of ideas on how we could work toward that — together — all of us. And I think that we need to appoint a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman to help us accomplish it.

Unfortunately, the political climate does not favor that solution. President Obama doesn’t even seem to think that our 35,200 vehicle violence deaths in 2015 (compared to 32,514 deaths from gun violence in 2015) warrant any special attention.

And, also unfortunately, I’m thinking that some people think that we are already addressing the problem through the work of DOT. Yet their hands are too-often tied politically. Working collaboratively with them is a bit of a challenge when they can’t usually have open discussions because they can’t show even a hint of favoritism. And cost/benefit analysis restrictions have a stranglehold on any attempts to do something as radical as save lives.

It is insane that four decades have gone by without a comprehensive solution being implemented to protect us against Death by Underride. We who have gone to the moon and can have face time with someone on the other side of the globe. And that deadly problem is one example among thousands of safety issues that still need to be tackled.

Sign our Petition calling for a Traffic Safety Ombudsman (an advocate for past & future crash victims): http://www.thepetitionsite.com/384/321/600/end-preventable-crash-fatalities-appoint-a-national-traffic-safety-ombudsman/

Violence

Petitions & Collaborative Efforts Are Making Progress In Ending Preventable Crash Deaths

I am thankful for the progress which has been made in traffic safety and underride protection. And I am asking you all to hang in there with us and keep pushing for more.

Please sign and share these two petitions:

  1. Just launched this petition directed to NHTSA calling on them to mandate side guards on trucks; they have been talking about it since 1969. Technology is available. Let’s get at it! Mandate Side Guards On Large Trucks To End Deadly Side Underride Crashes  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/104/026/213/mandate-side-guards-on-large-trucks-to-end-deadly-side-underride-crashes/
  2. Traffic Safety Ombudsman Petition: We propose that the United States establish an independent Office of National Traffic Safety Ombudsman to be an advocate to eliminate preventable crash deaths and serious injuries.  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/384/321/600/end-preventable-crash-fatalities-appoint-a-national-traffic-safety-ombudsman/

Roads Safer

Reports on Past Petitions:

Collaborative Effort: Media Coverage of the first Truck Underride Roundtable held at IIHS on May 5, 2016

Together, we are indeed making the roads safer — one step at a time. Thank you.

Do Americans grasp the extent of the traffic safety problem? Do we think that we have it under control?

Do Americans grasp the extent of the traffic safety problem? Do we think that we have it under control?

Let’s take some initiative to tackle this issue creatively and aggressively. The world is watching. Let’s lead the way.

TSO Petition 026

Sign & Share this petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/384/321/600/end-preventable-crash-fatalities-appoint-a-national-traffic-safety-ombudsman/

Read more here to find out about what a Traffic Safety Ombudsman would do.

“How To Get A Blind-Spot Monitoring System — For Free”

Take a look at this Forbes article to find out about a safety tip which could benefit you. Thanks for sharing it, Lou.

Having just read it, my first reaction is, “If I were the Traffic Safety Ombudsman, I would raise awareness about this FREE safety technique which, if replaced with an electronic device, could cost you $1,000. I would push to get this information in driver’s manuals, driver education classes, and as part of written exams for driver’s licenses.”

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

 

A good article on how people can avoid blind spot accidents has been published by Forbes.

 

This is a Mirror Adjustment technique that I have used for decades and have taught my children and grandchildren.  See

16xm2y

Is it ethical to not use safety technology which could save human lives?

I still can’t believe that they are gone and won’t ever come back.

The circumstances that led to their deaths, and the way that fighting for safer roads has taken over my life, make it all seem so unreal.

Oh, sure, there are big chunks of normal everyday life. But overall, there is a sense that something is very wrong with this world and how can I ever go back to thinking otherwise?

I wrote those words last night in an effort to grapple with the aching grief.

As I reflect more upon that dilemma, I think that it stems from a kind of raging helplessness, an inability to change that which callously tosses aside the value of human life and is able to do so because there is always someone else at whom to point the finger of blame or to expect to shoulder the responsibility to do something about the problem.

So the end result, for the embittered mourner, may be that there is no easily-identified enemy to fight. Victory is elusive. Intangible. Slippery. If a battle is won, too often loopholes appear or the victory has come only through compromise.

And why should that be? Why don’t we place a higher value on saving human life from preventable, senseless deaths? Is compromise the only option?

Is it because of a lurking attitude of c’est la vie, que sera sera — that’s life, whatever will be , will be?

Until it touches your life. Then you’ll understand. Then it will be too late.

Car Safety Wars

Writing this because I miss them. . .

Note: After writing the above, I looked to see what I could find online regarding the ethics of saving human lives related to road safety. [My search terms were: Is it ethical to not use safety technology to save human lives?] I found an interesting essay on the topic, Saving lives in road traffic—ethical aspects, and am pasting the concluding remarks from that article here:

I would like to end this overview of ethical problem areas in traffic safety with some concluding thoughts on how these five ethical topics can be included and inform policy.

Criminalisation

Attempts should be made to analyse the problem at hand carefully and as open-mindedly as possible before rushing to the conclusion that the best way to reduce or eliminate an unwanted and harmful behaviour is to criminalise and punish. Alternatives should be considered and creativity in problem solving encouraged. A good example is drunk driving where the alcohol interlock is a device worth considering as an alternative or at least additional measure to punishment.

Paternalism

Most measures to increase safety in road traffic can be motivated by the notion of protecting others against harm, which means that even a liberal can endorse them. However, there are some measures where the most beneficial to society may be to ignore it, for example motorcyclists not wearing a helmet, but where most people still believe society should protect individuals against harm by legislation or technology. It should be acknowledged that this is the case, and it would be helpful to carefully analyse and discuss new measures, keeping in mind the distinction between harming others and harming oneself. In some cases, most people share an intuition that a measure is justifiable even though it is paternalistic, but in other cases paternalistic measures appear unjustifiable. By acknowledging and discussing such issues freely and publicly we make sure that new laws and technologies are at least closer to being ethically justifiable.

Privacy

There appears to be a fundamental difference between privacy in our own homes and privacy on the road. The reasons we are equally attached to the notion of privacy in our cars as we are to privacy in our homes are tradition, culture and habits. We should recognise that the great degree of risk-exposure associated with driving may imply that the expectation of privacy on the road is not reasonable.

Justice

A humane society protects vulnerable human beings. A humane infrastructure protects vulnerable road users, for example children, the elderly and disabled people. This implies that we should not count their lives or the quality of their lives less than others. It may even mean that additional attention should be directed at protecting such groups. A minimal requirement should be that potential damaging effects on vulnerable groups should always be taken into account when planning infrastructural projects.

Responsibility

The traditional view of responsibility for traffic safety is closely attached to the notion that safety is about individuals driving safely and that accidents are caused by drivers. While this is true to some extent, the emerging view that a major role can and should be played by institutions, for example governments and vehicle-producing companies, is useful and reasonable. The implied notion is that responsibility has to be distributed and shared between different actors if a safer road traffic environment is to be achieved.

People in industrialised societies are so used to road traffic that it is almost considered a part of nature. Consequently, we do not acknowledge that we can introduce change and that we can affect the role we have given road traffic and cars. By acknowledging the ethical aspects of road traffic and illuminating the way the choices society makes are ethically charged, it becomes clear that there are alternative ways to design the road traffic system. The most important general conclusion is that discussion concerning these alternative ways of designing the system should be encouraged. Here are some examples of questions to address in public debates:

  • What are the reasons for prohibiting certain behaviour or requiring a certain safety device—to protect the individual from herself, to protect others or to save money? Which of these reasons are valid?
  • Should society criminalise unsafe behaviour or use technology (when possible) to eliminate the unwanted behaviour?
  • To what extent is it reasonable to expect privacy on the road?
  • Should additional measures be used to protect vulnerable road users?
  • Should safety be seen as the result of individuals behaving responsibly or the system designers designing safe systems?

Saving lives in road traffic—ethical aspects

1Department of Philosophy, Delft University of Technology, P.O. Box 5015, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands
2Division of Philosophy, Royal Institute of Technology, Teknikringen 78B, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
Jessica Nihlén Fahlquist, Phone: +46-739-853215, ln.tfledut@tsiuqlhaf-nelhin.a.j.