Traffic deaths rose in 2015, a 7.7 percent increase from the previous year, according to preliminary estimates from NHTSA, marking the highest number of deaths since 2008. Cyclist deaths increased by the largest amount, followed by pedestrians, and motorcyclists, highlighting a critical need to focus on the safety of vulnerable road users. The National Safety Council noted the significant number of traffic deaths midway through 2015, attributing it primarily to the increase in driving nationwide. The newly released numbers seem to validate a strong link between the two.
The winding road to self-driving cars
This spring, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a policy statement on automated vehicles, which offers guidance for states that are considering authorizing tests of driverless vehicles. Three states—California, Florida, and Nevada—now explicitly authorize self-driving cars to operate on public roads for testing purposes. Michigan is expected to become the fourth state by the end of the year. Although not explicitly authorized, driverless cars are not specifically prohibited anywhere in the nation and are assumed to be legal throughout the U.S.
Automakers designing for pedestrian safety
Traditionally, improving the safety of pedestrians sharing roads with motor vehicles has been accomplished through policies aimed at reducing vehicle speeds and the likelihood of vehicle-pedestrian collisions. However, in recent years automakers have been working to design cars in ways that reduce the likelihood that pedestrians struck by motor vehicles will die or suffer serious injuries as a result.
With continued testing success, governments are embracing connected and self-driving vehicles
New legislation in California, a large-scale test in Michigan, and an on-road demonstration in Barcelona, Spain, bring the era of connected and autonomous vehicles closer to reality. Auto makers and NHTSA are partnering to assure interoperability, and the federal government weighs requiring emerging technology on new cars.
New map shows each 2001-2009 traffic fatality with a dot
A powerful new map shows each of the 369,629 motor vehicle passenger (including the driver), motorcyclist, bicyclist, and pedestrian fatalities in the US from 2001-2009 with a color-coded dot per fatality. Each dot also gives …
Testing now: Vehicles that communicate with each other to avoid crashes
US DOT launched a major test of innovative vehicle safety technology using cars and trucks that will communicate hazards in real time. The connected vehicle test will go on for a year in Ann Arbor, …
CAFE standard sound off
The new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard has been released and there is no shortage of opinions on its worth. Here is a roundup of various responses to the Obama administration’s new fuel efficiency standard: …
States' work to make biking safer.
The good news on bicycling is that states are moving to make bicycling safer, according to a report in USA Today (available here) that describes measures that states are taking and links to a “ranking …
Older driver program five-year strategic plan
With more than 32 million drivers currently over 65 years old, a number which is expected to grow to 40 million by 2020, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants to enhance its ongoing …