By on June 8, 2022

us-capitol, public domain

A U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee conducted a hearing to discuss surging traffic deaths on Wednesday. In 2021, traffic deaths surged by over 10 percent over the previous year for a grand total of 42,915 roadway fatalities. But 2020 also represented a sizable 7 percent increase over 2019, despite there being overwhelming evidence that substantially less driving was done during nationwide COVID lockdowns.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), the Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee chair holding the hearing, stated that now was the time to hold a meeting on the issue — as last year represented the single highest increase in traffic deaths since the NHTSA started keeping track in 1975. 

Our own investigation into the matter places 2021 as the highest per capita increase in vehicular fatalities since 1946. This is particularly vexing as there’s overwhelming evidence that people are driving less today than they were in years past, when the general trends showed most years getting safer after 1980, and that modern cars are substantially safer than their forebears. Your author has a theory tying particularly severe periods of economic duress to increased death tolls that was shared in May. But correlation doesn’t necessary mean causation and there are likely other factors at play. Noticing that an uptick in fatal car accidents often seems to coincide with national strife also doesn’t provide a solid explanation as to why.

Presumably, that’s what the Congressional hearing is seeking to understand as automotive-related deaths are now at the highest recorded total since 2005. But House members will also be attempting to incorporate the issue into massive infrastructure bill from 2021 that carved out $5 billion for local governments to “improve roadway safety.” However the majority of those solutions seem to revolve around slowing down traffic, implementing more automated enforcement, and handing over more lanes to bicycles. The emphasis thus far has been to enhance safety in urban environments by prioritizing pedestrians, though there is some sound reasoning behind this.

According to Reuters, the subcommittee scheduled time for witnesses from the National League of Cities, the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Washington Area Bicycle Association, and the American Traffic Safety Services Association.

From Reuters:

People outside cars are especially vulnerable.

The number of pedestrians killed in 2021 jumped 13 [percent] to 7,342, the highest number since 1981, while the number of people on bicycles killed rose 5 [percent] to 985, the highest number since at least 1975, NHTSA said.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety urged Congress here to work “to prevent traffic fatalities by minimizing roadway conflicts and reducing crash forces when they do occur results” by “reducing speeds, road safety infrastructure improvements and better post-crash management.”

It also wants the NHTSA to set new rules requiring “minimum performance standards for advanced driver assistance systems and requirements for adaptive beam headlights, improved hood and bumper standards.”

In January, the Transportation Department released a strategy designed to cut traffic deaths. “We face a crisis on our roadways,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.

To be fair, pedestrian and bicycle-related deaths seem to be more-or-less on par with the general trend. However, they started to assume a larger share of the whole during the mid-2000s. While they still represented far fewer deaths overall, foot-and-bicycle traffic went from representing 11 of all roadway fatalities in 2007 to over 17 percent by 2021. By contrast, occupant-related deaths didn’t really pitch upward until 2015 with the next big jump taking place in 2020.

U.S. traffic deaths are up by 18 percent vs the pre-pandemic metrics from 2019. The NHTSA and DOT have attributed this to drivers engaging in more unsafe behaviors in years past (e.g. speeding), often citing that roads were subject to less traffic. It’s hard to see how fewer interactions between cars would result in more accidents overall. Though it may shed some light on increased pedestrian fatalities, just not the ones that occurred a full decade before COVID restrictions cleared the streets.

We’ve speculated for ages that advanced driving aids aren’t all that helpful in terms of fortifying safety and may even be counter productive, so it would be nice for Congress to take this opportunity to rigorously explore some of the potential causes of an issue as important as increased traffic deaths. But the Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee has spent most of 2022 focusing on ways to advance automated vehicles, how transportation impacts climate change, and how best to spend the infrastructure budget.

Having watched the hearing, there weren’t many surprises. Some speakers suggested intentionally lowering speed limits or adding more traffic cameras or speed bumps. Most witnesses recommended additional government funding for roadway projects and enhanced collaboration between federal, state, and local government. Several also pressed for modern vehicles to have connectivity features that would allow local enforcement to digitally cap speeds using geofencing.

Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX) expressed fears that national declines in law enforcement may make any initiatives troublesome, as there would be fewer traffic cops to lay down the law. He was joined by several other Republicans, including Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-TX) that cited exceptionally high increases in pedestrian fatalities in her state — 20 percent of which went unprosecuted.

Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA) suggested reimagining roads as “pedestrian dominant” spaces that “accommodate automobiles” and was met with support from the National League of Cities’ Elaine Clegg, who backed supplanting existing infrastructure with pedestrian-focused alternatives that eliminated public parking. Meanwhile, Rep. Kaiali’i Kahele (D-HI) suggested spending more on infrastructure in underserved ethnic and rural communities that he said yielded some of the highest per capita pedestrian fatality rates.

The brunt of the day was wasted on platitudes and predictable political posturing. “Speed kills” became a popular catchphrase among some older witnesses and congressional members and one that foreshadowed the U.S. lowering the national speed limit to 55 mph in 1974 — even if the official reason was the fuel crisis.

Any real discussions between attendees dealt with budgetary constraints and/or obtaining a better understanding of the broader issues. Representative Brian Babin (R-TX) expressed concerns that simply more money at the problem before understanding the finer details may be a recipe for failure, adding that billions had already been allocated for the cause as part of the Biden administration’s $1-trillion infrastructure bill. He was also backed by Rep. Van Duyne who called roadway initiatives a “slush fund for non-safety projects.” However, government contractors being tasked with improving roadway safety responded by suggesting that inflation has simply made their material costs higher than originally anticipated.

The hearing is available in its entirety below.

 

[Image: Architect of the Capitol]

Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by subscribing to our newsletter.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

76 Comments on “U.S. Congress Holds Hearing on Increased Traffic Deaths...”


  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    This is where my views lean rightward. After 13 years of the miserable 55 National Speed Limit being sold as the end all and be all in safety, my skepticism is pretty deep. I think it most measures taken will be anti-driver.

    An FWIW aside, when I am a pedestrian I am ultra alert and deferential to multi-ton metal vehicles at speed. So many pedestrians and bikes are blindly trusting that drivers will avoid them, or it seems from the number of them who put themselves on a collision course with my vehicle and force me to slow down to avoid creaming them. I don’t know which is more distressing and annoying and scare, the ones that look, and then proceed, or the ones whose eyes I never see. It is insane to walk into an active traffic lane without looking, but I see it all the time.

    I would give this a try, but here in ignorant, and blindly ideological USA , I’d bet this idea would never stand a chance. . . . . . .https://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Bright-Green/2008/0625/do-traffic-laws-cause-accidents

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff S

      I will add inattentiveness of many drivers who are distracted by their smart phones, weaving in and out of traffic, and the failure of many to wear seat belts which have been standard on most vehicles for decades. At least once a week I hear of accidents where people were thrown from their vehicles and killed which are totally preventable by wearing seat belts. There is a limit to how many safety features you can add but if people don’t use them or pay attention to them then what else can be done. You cannot protect a fool from themselves.

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        The use of cell phones by drivers is intolerably common and certainly not decreasing. I have been hit twice by a driver looking at their phone screen.
        Is there any other possible plausible variable to explain the rising traffic fatalities?

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “ At least once a week I hear of accidents where people were thrown from their vehicles and killed which are totally preventable by wearing seat belts. ”

        No you don’t.

        • 0 avatar
          285exp

          Back when we had an actual local newspaper, with actual local reporting, they used to list traffic fatalities and whether or not the victims were belted or not, and almost no fatalities had their seatbelts on. Many had been ejected from the vehicles. Being restrained inside the vehicle is almost always much better than being thrown out. If you’re not reading about it happening every day, it’s because they’re not reporting it, not that it doesn’t happen.

        • 0 avatar
          whisperquiet

          I read the daily traffic crash summary that the Missouri Highway Patrol makes available to the public. Getting ejected from the car and being fatally injured is a fairly regular occurrence when you fail to wear a properly fitted seat belt.

          https://www.mshp.dps.missouri.gov/HP68/search.jsp

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff S

          How do you know. I hear of at least one accident a week where someone was in an accident and died because they were not wearing a seat belt. You tell me how someone could be thrown thru a windshield wearing a seat belt? Very simple to put a seat belt on.

    • 0 avatar
      la834

      > This is where my views lean rightward. After 13 years of the miserable 55 National Speed Limit being sold as the end all and be all in safety, my skepticism is pretty deep.

      May I remind you that the 55mph speed limit was put in place by a conservative Republican administration.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        The national “55” was put in place primarily to save fuel due to the “Oil Crisis” in 1973.

        The odds of death increase markedly if one is not wearing a seatbelt. Seatbelts reduce the risk of death by 50%. Vehicle speed has a huge affect on survivability. For every 10 mph of increased speed, the risk of dying in a crash doubles. The reason school zones are 20 mph (30 kph) is because that is the threshold of survivability for a person.

      • 0 avatar
        aja8888

        Wasn’t the 55 MPH rule to try to save fuel, not lives?

        • 0 avatar
          Matt Posky

          In the late 1960s the 55 mph proposal was made as a way to reduce surging roadway fatalities. By the 1970s it had pivoted as one possible way to help contend with the fuel crisis. This was mentioned in the article.

          • 0 avatar
            Jeff S

            Yes I remember when the 55 mph speed limit was enacted I was in college. It didn’t bother me that much but I doubt we will see it again. I do think it is reasonable to limit speeds especially out West to no more than 90 mph in a rural area with not much traffic.

        • 0 avatar
          ttacgreg

          Yes it was instituted as a conservation measure. It had an expiration date. Coincident with when that happened, traffic deaths went way down. In some governmental and some NHTSA, IIHS,and AAA minds, the 55 thing was the reason. After a year or so is when the talk of the need to keep it in effect for safety reasons began. I remember it being changed from temporary to permemant, and safey was the primary justification for in its last decade. Towards the end of its time, driving on freeways was kind of ridiculous. Few, if anybody obeyed the speed limit and it made me realize that in some cases, bad law is worse than no law at all. I remember taking statistically far more dangerous two lane back roads because I could do equal or better time there than I could on the heavily patrolled interstates.

          There is another factor that I have read about that they do not consider. When there is an economic slowdown traffic fatalities go down. The huge increase in oil prices that OPEC forced on the world caused a pretty severe recession, thus far lower traffic fatalities.

          • 0 avatar
            Jeff S

            Yes and many had CBs and radar detectors to keep track of Smokey.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            In BC the government increased speed limits on freeways and some stretches of other highways. After a few years they lowered them due to increased fatality rates.

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        Indeed, and then it was kept in place for many years by Rep Howard, (D). of New Jersey. Just checked my memoey with Wikipedia……..”In 1974, he introduced the idea of a 55-mile-per-hour speed limit. And Congress soon imposed a nationwide 55 MPH (90 km/h) speed limit by threatening to withhold highway funds from states that did not adopt this limit.” It was his idea, and Nixon went along. Until now, I thought that it was Nixon’s idea.
        Nixon was pretty horrific, but todays GOP would label Nxon a leftist Marxist Communist. Founded the EPA, instituted , get th is , wage and price controls for inflation, which I knew at the time would be the failure that was. Just imagine today’s GOP saying the government should control wages and prices. Right???

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff S

          Yes and today’s Republican Party would label Ronald Reagan as a Socialist and a Commie. At least Reagan could get along with other countries and he won fair and square. The Republican Party of today is lead by the Trumpers and the Fox pundits.

          • 0 avatar
            ttacgreg

            And I have to say you most certainly wouldn’t see Mr. Reagan kissing Putin’s behind.

          • 0 avatar
            Jeff S

            Exactly Reagan would not be kissing the ass of any dictator. The Republican party before Trump would not support any dictator and would not include Neo Nazi, Klu Klux Klan, Conspiracy Theorist, Proud Boys, and other fringe groups. Republicans also would not advocate storming the Capitol and overthrowing the Government.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    With a fairly major election season upon us, there will be a big push to “do something” about this subject from the political class to ensure that “deeply concerned” faces and voices are seen and heard in the news. It’s the “do something” that is the most worrying – it’ll certainly be “for the children”, expensive, ineffective, poorly researched, but will be a boon to chiropractors repairing injuries from all the “knee-jerk”s from politicians “doing something”.

  • avatar

    Too many people in this country own cars. This must stop. We have to do something about it. Autonomous cars may be one of solutions. Another solution is to move everyone to Soviet style multistory apartment and 100% public transportation like it is done all over the world. Except of Party members of course. It worked very well in USSR. Humans are too imperfect to trust them to control the kinetic weapon on wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Inside Looking Out – this has been the dream of American city planners for decades. The problem of the majority of the American population not agreeing with mass transportation/large multi-family housing schemes frustrates these planners. Therefore, we must “do something” to get things moving that direction a bit at a time through political action. Continue to slowly increase the temperature while boiling the prole frogs to achieve the desired goals.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeepy5673

      I am a professional driver since 20 years, I seen a lot of thing, but since the last 3 years, young people especially are driving there bike on the same road as car, but don’t respect any security law, on the road, it seems for them there no law, sure people on bike are not paying dime to be there and destroy the city transportation system, bike should be on there own section of road but they don’t tealize they are a plague, and very dangerous for them self. Best way to fix the bike problem is leaving bike at home and take the bus and regular city transportation.

      On the other hand the pedestrian are no longer looking on each side of the road when they on the streets just normal road safety would safe life, but since 3 years the young people thing the road are there and so they don’t have any respect for safety and good manners.

      Until logic and safety are coming back number will only go higher and bike do not belong on street, public systems and truc and cars, more bike will be on the road more accidents.

      And if you dream of USSR style life just a reminder that the goulag killed 150,000,000 million peoples until 1992 until the last concentration camp close,. So no thank you if you dream go for you, but it’s not a way to fix thing. Maybe cars that would fly, would fix thing. But since we don’t have it. We have to wait.

      More you slow down traffic more difficulty’s will be lost on gas and temper on the road….

    • 0 avatar
      aquaticko

      Hm, I dunno. It seems to make sense to me to, instead, make it illegal to build all but one type of housing–the most expensive type–that functionally requires that people own a car to participate in the economy, and design all our streets so that anyone who is unable or refuses to live this way is highly likely to be seriously injured or, preferably, killed. That sounds like freedom to me.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    It would not be hard to reduce these numbers by an order of magnitude or so. They are that much lower in a number of other places in the world. People just don’t like the solutions because it will take a little longer to drive places.

    If we actually wanted to reduce the carnage, we’d take two sets of actions. One would be centered around areas where people walk and bike, to reduce the danger to people outside cars. The other would be centered on places where people drive fast, to reduce the danger to people inside cars.

    Steps to save lives in the city would be these:

    – Slower design speeds in cities. 90% of 20 mph pedestrian crashes are survivable. 90% of 40 mph pedestrian crashes are deadly. This is not so much a matter of enforcement as of roadway design. In cities, lanes and streets should be narrower, non-car areas should be protected by curbs and bollards, many more crosswalks should be marked, and turn radii should be tight.
    – Automated red-light enforcement. A disproportionate number of pedestrian and bicycle fatalities are the result of drivers running red lights.
    – Central parking. In central cities, visitors should park once in a central lot and walk between their destinations in the center, rather than getting in the car multiple times. Virtually every European city is arranged like that.

    On highways, these should be the steps:
    – No-joke DUI enforcement. Somewhere not too far from half of single-vehicle fatality crashes are DUIs.
    – You’ll all hate me for this, but it would prevent a lot of crashes: cars limited to some reasonable speed above all legal limits (e.g., 95 mph).
    – Automatic red-light or stop-sign braking.
    – A device that dumps a bucket of water on drivers looking at their phones while their cars are anywhere except a legal parking or loading spot.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff S

      Some vehicles have speed limiters built in. I discovered this on my 99 Chevy S-10 when at 90 mph the engine cut off and resumed at 80 mph. Tires have the speed rating posted on the sidewall. Seems that manufacturers could easily limit speeds to 90 to 95 without much extra cost. Better law enforcement would help as well but adding more devices to a vehicle will add additional costs and add more things that go wrong which on most modern vehicles we have already reached that point.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        A 95 mph speed limiter would be a matter of changing a few bits in most existing ECUs.

        The harder speed-limiter problem is also the more rewarding one: enforcing lower limits (say, 30 mph) in pedestrian-heavy central areas. The pieces to do that are all in place but it would be a big change that a lot more people would notice.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff S

          That would be a lot less costly than other options and yes the lower limits would be harder to enforce especially in areas with pedestrian traffic and that type of enforcement is sorely needed.

  • avatar
    ScarecrowRepair

    When all else fails, look at what has changed. Sure, politics has gotten uglier, but what that has to do with traffic safety, I don’t know, unless the Burn Loot Murder squad was a lot more active than even cynics like me have thought. No, I mean what has changed with cars?

    1: All those “safety” nannies, like lane control, blind spot monitoring, automatic braking and tailgate cruise control … those seem to me to encourage drivers to stop paying attention and get bored with nothing to do. They work often enough that drivers come to rely on them too much. Not only do basic driving skills get rusty, but people let their hands wander, their attention wanders, and the extra time to react to an emergency, acquire situational awareness, and take appropriate control is not enough.

    2. Smart phones are such an easy way to relieve that boredom. You don’t need your hands on the steering wheel full time any more, traffic is moving smoothly, your phone beeps that a friend has texted you, sent a kitty video, or retweeted something outrageous from Trump or AOC …. you take a few seconds to do something more interesting that stare at the smooth traffic.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff S

      @ScarecrowRepair–Agree there is only so much idiot proofing you can do to a car. I don’t presently have a manual transmission in a vehicle but I did find that when I drove a manual I was more attentive and more engaged in my driving. Also a manual is a good theft device.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Cheap horsepower and bigger vehicles. No matter the safety equipment and safer designs, high speeds and more mass make things worse when things go wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      Skippity

      Yep.

    • 0 avatar
      Skippity

      Yep.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      Yep. “Bigger” vehicles is an understatement. Way too many “huge” vehicles being sold/used as commuter vehicles. Not only is a accident more likely to result in injury to the victim on the receiving end, but these massive vehicles act as visibility obstructions for everyone else on the road everywhere they go. Of course vehicle size is not something on the table to discuss. It would bankrupt America’s Pickup companies.

  • avatar
    Yankee

    I’m always amazed that people take congressional hearings seriously, as if they are truly designed to investigate, much less solve a problem, rather than just political posturing. We already have the data and the analysis. We just don’t have the political will to be unpopular. Fact #1: More people are being killed by distracted driving than by drunk/high driving combined. The NHTSA has clearly documented this. Solution: make cars that block sending and receiving messages when moving other than GPS data, and/or notify law enforcement if it does occur. Good luck getting elected or staying in office on that legislation. Fact #2: The higher the speed, the less reaction time and worse mortality outcomes. A national 60 mph speed limit on highways with camera enforcement would lower deaths and save so much fuel at the same time. Again, good luck getting elected/re-elected if you support that. Fact #3: Modern cars perform way above the abilities of modern drivers. Sub 6-second 0-60 times and 700+ horsepower is just a recipe for disaster, but to suggest limits would be impinging on people’s “freedom” to be a public nuisance. I’m a lifelong car guy who now hates driving because of all the daily insanity I see on the roads. The prophecy that was Idiocracy has come true. Nothing anyone can do now but try and avoid driving as much as possible.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Why would you say this? Have you not gotten the swimsuit calendar of the 12 most punchdrunk powertrippy congressmen? Let me tell ya…. Nancy in that saucy kente cloth, mmmmm. I like how the photographer just teases the bolts in her neck without showing too much. Very tasteful. And Mitch’s liver spots have never looked more livery. His turkey waddle is h-a-w-t.

      I’m pretty sure Chuck’s got a guy to wax that drive in theater forehead. That’s a pro shine. Maybe even done with some of the waxes advertised on TTAC.

      My personal favorite, though, is the unauthorized photo taken of all of them assuming the position for their most favored donors. You can even make out the logos of all of the defense contractors in the window. Nice homage to that scene in Animal House.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    “U.S. Congress Holds Hearing on Increased Traffic Deaths”

    With all the things going on in the world today and they are having hearing on this crap?

    God our politicians are useless.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Two things:

      a) Dead people don’t vote, so this is relatively serious from the perspective of the politicians.

      b) The time-honored American response to outrage such as yours is to denounce all politicians as a group, while defending, supporting and re-electing ones own representatives individually. (This explains why they keep getting re-elected.)

      As an alternative, I humbly suggest the ToolGuy Anti-Incumbency Voting Guideline™ (point III below).

      How I Vote:
      I) I don’t vote for Democrats.
      II) I don’t vote for Republicans.
      III) I don’t vote for incumbents.

      [For anyone who attended my daughter’s high school, an incumbent is the person currently occupying the office and not fixing things.]

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        “How I Vote:
        I) I don’t vote for Democrats.
        II) I don’t vote for Republicans.
        III) I don’t vote for incumbents.”

        I have no idea if this approach to voting would reduce traffic deaths, but it would reduce graft, objectiveless blaming, needless wars, spending, anger and make quality of life increase in ways that are hard to imagine today.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff S

        ToolGuy–Well said.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Eh, what are 40,000 dead Americans when you could be spending your time on imaginary voter fraud and apologism for the murderous fascist in the Kremlin?

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Eh, require actual driver training and don’t allow unsafe beaters on the road. We know who that will hurt though.

        I’m guessing you have a simpler solution that involves me paying more taxes though.

        Fortunately gas prices should thin the herd on the roads a bit.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “Eh, what are 40,000 dead Americans when you could be spending your time on imaginary voter fraud and apologism for the murderous fascist in the Kremlin?”

        Who is doing that?

        “Eh, require actual driver training ”

        Oh god we cant hold people responsible for their actions….we must raise taxes, thats the only way.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    So in other words expect anti-automobile legislation to be proposed by these radical left wing lunatic Democrats. They are already sabotaging the US oil industry (yes they are, educate yourself) in order to push their idiotic economy destroying “green” agenda. Believe NOTHING the Democrats say. This is yet another opportunity they see to get rid of the internal combustion engine and get people out of their cars. I know, you think I’m nuts (many of you don’t) but just look at their track record, they never let an opportunity go to waste.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Phones.

    Complex infotainment systems.

    Seat belt use.

    Go ahead and adjourn the hearings.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Phones and people playing with screens has to a major factor. As I drive I try to make eye contact with people to see if they are looking at me (IE: paying attention), and its scary when you realize nobody is actually aware of their surroundings. I also believe the lack of manual transmissions is another factor since your free hand can now be occupied with a latte instead of driving.

    Also a general lack of patience, I had someone honk at me just yesterday for not making a right turn because they had determined (somehow) that I could have pulled out into traffic. From my point of view I was unable to confirm if an upcoming car was going to stay put and not move into an open lane (where I could have gone) so I stayed put. Better safe then sorry.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      “Also a general lack of patience”

      You’ve summed it up well, lack pf patience due to our need for 99 red lights, and lack of patience due to so many distracted drivers.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    I love all the that are blaming phones. It’s just not a factor by any statistical significance. Using a phone is no different than using your infotainment system, talking with someone in the car, etc.

    Blaming the phone is as stupid as blaming guns for shootings or the car for drunk driving.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @EB once again posting nonsense. Here are facts based on police investigations of accidents. “In Ontario, distracted driving accounts for 17% of all accidents on the province’s roads. Unsurprisingly, most distracted driving accidents are the result of cell phone use behind the wheel. According to Canada’s National Security Council, 26% of the country’s car accidents involve a cell phone distraction.”

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff S

        @Arthur–EBFlex is a disrupter and is mainly on this site to spew the MAGA dogma. He has very little interest in cars. Agree with you that distracted driving contributes accidents especially smart phone use behind the wheel. Many states have anti-texting laws when driving. There is a limit to how many electronic nannies the manufacturers can put on a vehicle especially when many drivers are distracted. More traffic enforcement is about the only solution to distracted driving.

  • avatar
    la834

    What’s changed?

    – Poor frontward visibility in pickups, SUVS, and crossovers
    – Poor visibility even in regular cars due to increasingly higher beltlines and thicker pillars
    – Poor ergonomics and touchscreens that make you take your eyes off the road for a long time
    – Distracted pedestrians looking at their smartphones
    – Distracted drivers messing with their smartphones (I don’t think mere talking, even if holding the handset, is as dangerous as using its other functions like searching for music or directions).

    It’s certainly not the crashworthiness of vehicles, which is at its all-time best. And other tech/safety features like automatic braking (if it works properly) should help too.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    if we had stuck to the old grid system and kept towns compact and neiborly we’d be able to walk to work.

    Instead we became the United Suburbia of America, cue traffic lights galore, everyone buying cars, mass congestion, and pollution.

    How did we try to fix these problems? Safer BUT faster cars, more techno gadgets, more urban sprawl, bigger cars, whatever “going green” is…

    To reduce traffic deaths and C02 emissions we must reduce the need for cars and give people alternitive choices.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Biden needs to channel his inner Nixon and immediately impose a national 55mph limit for safety and energy savings. C’mon Joe, you can do it!

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    1. Construct traffic circles. They have proven so much safer than our traditional intersections that any further studies on the issue are no longer considered necessary.
    2. ‘Smart phones’ and idiotic ‘touch screens’ resulting in drivers taking their eyes off the road and distracted driving.
    3. Even an economy sedan is now faster than many ‘muscle cars’ of previous eras. Too many drivers push these vehicles beyond the driver’s capability.
    4. There are more large vehicles on the roads. Fullsize pick-ups and SUVs.
    5. Regulations regarding tractor trailers and dumptrucks have been lessened. For example more drivers being paid ‘by the load’ rather than ‘by the hour’.
    6. Driver training and education is inadequate for modern traffic.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      6. Driver training and education is inadequate for modern traffic.

      This was true even back in the mid 80s when I got my license. During my “test” I never went over 30 MPH, so nothing prepared me for driving on I-95 in Miami where the normal speed is either total grid-lock or people doing 80+ weaving in and out of 6 lanes of travel.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Most Americans suck at driving, and they certainly can’t merge, so roundabouts are out of the question. Left lane bandits just wish to be left alone, free from all those entering and exiting the freeway and other madness. It’s why cloverleaf junctions failed too. 3rd level flyovers are just for them stupids.

      It’s why they go absolute bonkers for the selfdriving sh!t, as well as auto parallel park and trailer backing. I’m sure they hate driving. There’s never been enough driver training but we were forced to figure it out. All driver testing should be with a manual transmission only. Or get on the damn bus a$$holes.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff S

        @DenverMike–I had to learn to drive on a manual and it does make you more aware of your driving. Also a great anti-theft device since many don’t have a clue on how to drive a manual.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “Most Americans suck at driving”

        When I first started driving my dad made me cut out a newspaper article and pin it in my room. Statistics indicated that 33% of the driving public should not have a driver’s license. Around 65% were just fair to average and roughly 2% were good to excellent. The one’s who were good to excellent were more likely to be professional drivers and/or those who’ve received advanced training. If one asked driver’s to rate their skills over 90% would rate themselves good to excellent.

        When I was teaching my sons to drive, I told them those same statistics. I pointed out that 33% was every third car. Makes you wonder.

        For most people, driving is the most dangerous task they will ever perform. That’s based on crash statistics. Virtually every profession has to prove competence on an annual basis and prove ongoing efforts to remain competent in one’s field. That should apply to driving but as someone else pointed out, any politician initiating such reform would never be reelected.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Of course I’m not one of them. I have to keep reminding myself how much I suck at driving, just so I don’t get too complacent or full of myself. That’s when sh!t happen.

          I did attend a high performance driving school after finding (out the hard way) the stuff doesn’t come naturally and a lot of it is counterintuitive. It’s paid for itself many times over and has helped me keep the shiny side up, drifting and auto-X no doubt, collision avoidance too, but the same basics apply to trucking and off-road, like weight transfer, contact patch and others.

          It’s not a “racing school” per se, the former and late Bob Bondurant to be specific, that’s a whole different subject.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @DenverMike – the best definition of an expert that I’ve heard is someone who’s come to the realization that they have a considerable amount more to learn.

            I’ve taken some offroad driving courses and as a paramedic had to go through driver training. I was a driver instructor for several years.

            We all occasionally have mental lapses. My dad used to say that a good driver makes room for other’s mistakes and for their own mistakes.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Next time you’re at a red light, look at the drivers crossing the intersection ahead of you and see how many of them are looking down at their phones.

  • avatar

    Living in the NYC Vision Zero paradise, (camera hell), the one thing you cannot ever say….

    Cross at the Green, not In-Between !

    It is politically incorrect to even suggest the pedestrian shouldn’t walk out mid block looking at the phone.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Driving in NYC has given me low-level PTSD. I’m constantly wondering if I’m allowed to turn right on red in other states even though there would be a sign telling me when I couldn’t.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • SCE to AUX: +1 Scion xB1 – I had the same reaction when I got my 05 at the ripe old age of 41. It was a great...
  • sgeffe: Wither the Hoffmeister kink on coupes! It looks generic, almost! Even a Mustang or Camaro has distinctive...
  • la834: Interesting trivia: The Edsel Show is the world’s oldest surviving videotape of a televised broadcast....
  • jalop1991: are you saying a Camry *isn’t* drivable year round????? We’ve had minivans for 21 years. FWD...
  • Drew8MR: If you like food, there might not be too many better places in the country than coastal OC. Santa Ana has...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber