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December 2014 Archives

What Is Working in Reducing U.S. Auto Deaths

According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System census numbers, the United States has seen a 25 percent drop in traffic deaths since 2004. The Secretary of the Department of Transportation has stated that the U.S. fatality rate is "at its lowest point ever." In 2013, the country saw 1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. The Deputy Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says credit for this belongs largely to the work of law enforcement and his agency's work. The DOT credits federal regulations and regulators. It is clear that improvements have been made. To further those improvements, it is important to analyze what is actually working to reduce highway deaths.

Is the United States Lagging in Auto Safety?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has frequently repeated its goal of eliminating traffic deaths throughout the country. Vision Zero is the term used to describe this admirable goal. Several U.S. cities have adopted traffic safety measures with the stated goal of achieving zero traffic deaths. As a nation, the picture is not so rosy. The numbers for 2013 show just how far away from that goal we are. Nearly 38,000 people died in traffic accidents last year, including more than 4,700 pedestrians.

Report Calls For Better Pilot Training, Procedures and Management

A study drafted over the course of two years and involving aviation laborers, scholars, industry leaders and the U.S. government has reached a number of conclusions about air safety. The report particularly emphasized the need for better emergency procedures. As the work of flying an airliner has become increasingly automated, pilots and crew need more and better training in how to monitor these systems and react when they fail. The report suggested that major improvements are necessary to ensure the safety of airline personnel and passengers.

Priorities in NTSB Investigations

The National Transportation Safety Board lists general aviation among its top ten advocacy priorities in 2014. According to the NTSB, general aviation accidents make up the vast majority of aviation-related deaths in the U.S. The NTSB has been charged with conducting investigations into aviation accidents for nearly 50 years and has conducted numerous safety studies to improve aviation safety. Not all aviation incidents are treated equally, however. An analysis conducted by USA Today shows that aviation accidents involving prominent, politically-connected people or celebrities receive substantially more attention from NTSB investigators than other crashes.

House Votes to Overturn Governor's Veto of Truck Speed Limit

When the Illinois House and Senate voted to raise the speed limit for semi trucks from 55 mph to 60 mph, Governor Quinn vetoed the measure. The law applied to interstate highways in Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry and Will counties that were not in urban areas. Governor Quinn claimed the measure would lead to more fatalities in exchange for greater convenience for truck drivers. That veto has now been overturned by both the House and Senate and will be the law in Illinois going forward.

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