The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDR) is commemorated on the third Sunday of November each year...
This day, initiated by road victims in 1993 and adopted by the UN on 26th October 2005, is dedicated to remembering the many millions killed and injured in road crashes, their families and communities more…
Road speed limits are used in most countries to set the maximum (or minimum in some cases) speed at which road vehicles may legally travel on particular stretches of road. Speed limits may be variable and in some places speeds are unlimited. Speed limits are normally indicated on a traffic sign. Speed limits are commonly set by the legislative bodies of nations or provincial governments and enforced by national or regional police and / or judicial bodies.
The first maximum speed limit was the 10 mph (16 km/h) limit introduced in the United Kingdom in 1861. The highest posted speed limit in the world is 140 km/h (87 mph), which applies to some roads in Poland and Bulgaria; similarly Texas posts 85 mph (137 km/h) on one 40-mile long toll road. However, some roads have no speed limit for certain classes of vehicles. Best known are Germany's less congested Autobahns, where automobile drivers have no mandated maximum speed; measurements from the German State of Brandenburg in 2006 showed average speeds of 142 km/h (88 mph) on a 6-lane section of autobahn in free-flowing conditions. Rural areas on the Isle of Man, the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra also lack speed limits, but speeds are lower when measured on those lower design roads.
Speed limits are usually set to attempt to cap road traffic speed; there are several reasons for wanting to do this. It is often done with an intention to improve road traffic safety and reduce the number of road traffic casualties from traffic collisions. In their World report on road traffic injury prevention report, the World Health Organization (WHO) identify speed control as one of various interventions likely to contribute to a reduction in road casualties. (The WHO estimated that some 1.2 million people were killed and 50 million injured on the roads around the world in 2004.)[n 1] Speed limits may also be set in an attempt to reduce the environmental impact of road traffic (vehicle noise, vibration, emissions) and to satisfy local community wishes for streets usable by people out of cars. Some cities have reduced limits to as little as 30 km/h (19 mph) for both safety and efficiency reasons.
In situations where the natural road speed is considered too high by governments, notably on urban areas where speed limits below 50 km/h (31 mph) are used then traffic calming is often also used. For some classes of vehicle, speed limiters may be mandated to enforce compliance.
Since their introduction, speed limits have been opposed by some motoring advocacy groups.
Impaired Driving (alcohol/drugs/fatigue)
Use of any psychoactive (mind-altering) drug makes it highly unsafe to drive a car and is illegal—just like driving after drinking alcohol. Drugged driving puts at risk not only the driver but also passengers and others who share the road.
After alcohol, THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana, is the substance most commonly found in the blood of impaired drivers, fatally injured drivers, and motor vehicle crash victims. Studies in several localities have found that approximately 4 to 14 percent of drivers who sustained injury or died in traffic accidents tested positive for THC.
Other drugs commonly implicated in accidents include opiates, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, and cocaine. For instance, in a 2003 study of seriously injured drivers admitted to a Maryland shock trauma center, drugs other than alcohol were present in more than half of the cases. These included marijuana (26.9 percent), cocaine (11.6 percent), benzodiazepines (11.2 percent), and opiates and other prescription drugs (10.2 percent). A quarter of the cases involved both alcohol and other drugs...
The laws of driving under the influence vary between countries. One difference is the acceptable limit of blood alcohol content before a person is charged with a crime. Driving while either intoxicated or drunk is dangerous and drivers with high blood alcohol content or concentration (BAC) are at greatly increased risk of car accidents, highway injuries and vehicular deaths. Possible prevention measures examined here include establishing DWI courts, suspending or revoking driver licenses, impounding or confiscating vehicle plates, impounding or immobilizing vehicles, enforcing open container bans, increasing penalties such as fines or jail for drunk driving, and mandating alcohol education. Safety seat belts, air bags, designated drivers, and effective practical ways to stay sober are also discussed. THE PROBLEM
Every single injury and death caused by drunk driving is totally preventable. Although the proportion of crashes that are alcohol-related has dropped dramatically in recent decades, there are still far too many such preventable accidents. Unfortunately, in spite of great progress, alcohol-impaired driving remains a serious national problem that tragically effects many victims annually.
It's easy to forget that dry statistics represent real people and real lives. Therefore, this page is dedicated to the memory of one randomly-selected victim of a drunk driver, young Holli Crockett.
Most drivers who have had something to drink have low blood alcohol content or concentration (BAC) and few are involved in fatal crashes. On the other hand, while only a few drivers have BACs higher than .15, a much higher proportion of those drivers have fatal crashes.
The average BAC among fatally injured drinking drivers is .16 1
The relative risk of death for drivers in single-vehicle crashes with a high BAC is 385 times that of a zero-BAC driver and for male drivers the risk is 707 times that of a sober driver, according to estimates by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). 2
High BAC drivers tend to be male, aged 25-35, and have a history of DWI convictions and polydrug abuse. 3
Drunk driving, like most other social problems, resists simple solutions. However, there are a number of actions, each of which can contribute toward a reduction of the problem:
DWI courts, sometimes called DUI courts, sobriety courts, wellness courts or accountability courts have proven effective in reducing the crime of drunken driving (driving while intoxicated or while impaired). Such courts address the problem of hard-core repeat offenders by treating alcohol addiction or alcoholism. The recidivism or failure rate of DWI courts is very low. 4
Automatic license revocation appears to be the single most effective measure to reduce drunk driving. 5
Automatic license revocation along with a mandatory jail sentence appears to be even more effective than just automatic license revocation. 6
Impounding or confiscating license plates. 7
Mandating the installation of interlock devices that prevent intoxicated persons from starting a vehicle. 8
Vehicle impoundment or immobilization. 9
Expanding alcohol server training programs. 10
Implementing social norms programs that correct the misperception that most people sometimes drive under the influence of alcohol. 11
Passing mandatory alcohol and drug testing in fatal crashes would promote successful prosecution of drunk and drugged drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that 18-20% of injured drivers are using drugs and although drinking is on the decline, drugging is on the increase. However, this figure appears to be much too low. For example:
A study of drivers admitted to a Maryland trauma center found that 34% tested positive for drugs only, while 16% tested positive for alcohol only. 12
Think When You Drink signA study by the Addiction Research Foundation of vehicle crash victims who tested positive for either legal or illegal substances found that just 15% had consumed only alcohol. 13
In a large study of almost 3,400 fatally injured drivers from three Australian states, drugs other than alcohol were present in 26.7% of the cases. Fewer than 10% of the cases involved both alcohol and drugs. 14
NIDA’s Monitoring the Future survey indicated that in 2004, 12.7% of high school seniors in the U.S. reported driving under the influence of marijuana and 13..2% reported driving under the influence of alcohol in the two weeks prior to the survey. 15
In the State of Maryland’s Adolescent Survey, 26.8% of the state’s licensed, 12th grade drivers reported driving under the influence of marijuana during the year before the survey. 16
Intoxicated handwriting graphic
MADD Canada is to be commended for recognizing this serious but generally unrecognized problem and including the reduction of drugged driving as a major goal. Of course, fighting drugged driving must not detract us from working to reduce drunken driving.
Promising but inadequately evaluated measures include:
Marking the license plate to indicate ownership in the family of someone whose driver's license is suspended or revoked for alcohol offenses. 17
Passing and enforcing bans on open containers would probably reduce drunk driving by deterring drinking while driving. Surprisingly, some states have vehicular no open container laws. 18
Imposing graded or multi-tiered penalties based on BAC at the time of arrest. This policy is virtually universal with regard to speeding. 19
Restricting nighttime driving by young people. This appears to be effective in those states with such restrictions. 20
Electronically monitoring repeat DWI offenders. 21
Involving drivers in identifying and reporting possibly drunken drivers to law enforcement authorities by dialing 911 on their cell phones. See Help Police Stop Drunken Drivers
Requiring every state to provide adequate information on alcohol and driving to prospective drivers and adequately testing them on the subject in their driver's exams. In too many states, the subject is given only brief mention and do not include any information or testing in the process of obtaining a driver's license. Some actually provide factually incorrect information.
All of these very promising measures should be rigorously evaluated scientifically to determine their potential contribution to improving safety.
Measures of little or no value:
Incarceration. Jail or prison sentences for alcohol offenses, in spite of their great popularity, appear to be of little value in deterring high BAC drivers. In short, it appears that we can’t "jail our way out of the problem." 22
The perception of swift and certain punishment is more important than severity. 23
Large fines appear have little deterrent effect, according to research. 24
Increasing the cost of alcohol with increased taxation would have virtually no impact on reducing drunk driving. 25 Both research and common sense suggest that heavy drinkers are not deterred by cost and most minors who drink don’t pay for or purchase their beverages. 26
Improved roads and vehicles can contribute significantly to increased highway safety. Technological improvements include raised lane markers, which are easier to see and also emit a startling sound when a tire wanders over them. Similarly corrugations along the edges of roads emit a sound when driven over, thus alerting inattentive drivers to their inappropriate location. Wider roads, improved street and highway lighting, break-away sign posts, brake lights positioned at eye level, door crash bars, and many other improvements can save lives and be cost-effective.
While society has done much to improve highway safety, you can do much to protect yourself.
Don't drink and drive and don't ride with anyone who has too much to drink. Remember, it is usually themselves and their passengers who are harmed by drunk drivers. 27 The risk of collision for high BAC drivers is dramatically higher than for a non-drinking driver.
Relative Risk of Fatal Crash graph Volunteer to be a designated driver.
Always use a safety seat belt.
Use four-lane highways whenever possible.
Avoid rural roads.
Avoid travel after midnight (especially on Fridays and Saturdays).
Choose vehicles with airbags.
Refer to safety ratings before selecting your next vehicle. See "Buying a Safer Car" (nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/testing/NCAP). "Buying A Safer Car" includes safety ratings of cars, vans, and sport utility vehicles by year, make, and model.
Never use illegal drugs. Illicit drugs are involved in a large proportion of traffic fatalities.
Never drive when fatigued. The dangers posed when fatigued are similar to those when intoxicated. A drunk or fatigued driver has slowed reactions and impaired judgement. And a driver who nods off at the wheel has no reactions and no judgement! Drivers who drift off cause about 72,500 injuries and deaths each and every year. 28
Don't use a car phone, put on make-up, comb your hair, or eat while driving. Drivers using cellular phones are four times more likely to have an accident than other drivers. 29
Steer clear of aggressive drivers. Aggressive drivers may be responsible for more deaths than drunk drivers.
If you must drive after drinking, stay completely sober: 30
Don't be fooled. The contents of the typical bottle or can of beer, glass of wine, or liquor drink (mixed drink or straight liquor) each contain virtually identical amounts of pure alcohol. When it comes to alcohol, a drink is a drink is a drink and are all the same to a breathalyzer. 31 For more, visit Standard Drinks.
Drink Safely graphic
Know your limit. If you are not sure, experiment at home with your spouse or some other responsible individual. Explain what you are attempting to learn. Most people find that they can consume one drink per hour without any ill effects. Also, experiment with the Blood Alcohol Educator, which is very informative and useful.
Eat food while you drink. Food, especially high protein food such as meat, cheese and peanuts, will help slow the absorption of alcohol into your body.
Sip your drink. If you gulp a drink, you lose the pleasure of savoring its flavors and aromas.
Don't participate in "chugging" contests or other drinking games.
Accept a drink only when you really want one. If someone tries to force a drink on you, ask for a non-alcohol beverage instead. If that doesn't work, "lose" your drink by setting it down somewhere and leaving it.
Skip a drink now and then. Having a non-alcoholic drink between alcoholic ones will help keep your blood alcohol content level down, as does spacing out your alcoholic drinks
A good general guideline for most people is to limit
consumption of alcohol beverages to one drink (beer, wine or spirits) per hour.
Keep active; don't just sit around and drink. If you stay active you tend to drink less and to be more aware of any effects alcohol may be having on you.
Beware of unfamiliar drinks. Some drinks, such as zombies and other fruit drinks, can be deceiving as the alcohol content is not detectable. Therefore, it is difficult to space them properly.
Use alcohol carefully in connection with pharmaceuticals. Ask your physician or pharmacist about any precautions or prohibitions and follow any advice received.
Designated Driver graphic Volunteer to be a designated driver.
Never condone or approve of excessive alcohol consumption. Intoxicated behavior is potentially dangerous and never amusing.
Don't ever let your friends drive drunk. Take their keys, have them stay the night, have them ride home with someone else, call a cab, or do whatever else is necessary - but don't let them drive!
Be a good host:
Create a setting conducive to easy, comfortable socializing: soft, gentle music; low levels of noise; comfortable seating. This encourages conversation and social interaction rather than heavy drinking.
Serve food before beginning to serve drinks. This de-emphasizes the importance of alcohol and also sends the message that intoxication is not desirable.
Have a responsible bartender. If you plan to ask a friend or relative to act as bartender, make sure that person is not a drink pusher who encourages excessive consumption.
Don't have an "open bar." A responsible person needs to supervise consumption to ensure that no one drinks too much. You have both a moral and a legal responsibility to make sure that none of your guests drink too much.
Pace the drinks. Serve drinks at regular reasonable intervals. A drink-an-hour schedule is a good guide.
Push snacks. Make sure that people are eating.
Be sure to offer a diversity of attractive non-alcohol drinks. (For numerous non-alcohol drink recipes, see www.drinksmixer.com/cat/8/).
Respect anyone's choice not to drink. Remember that about one-third of American adults choose not to drink and that a guest's reason for not drinking is the business of the guest only, not of the host. Never put anyone on the defence for not drinking.
End your gathering properly. Decide when you want the party to end and stop serving drinks well before that time. Then begin serving coffee along with substantial snacks. This provides essential non-drinking time before your guests leave.
Protect others and yourself by never driving if you think, or anyone else thinks, that you might have had too much to drink. It's always best to use a designated driver.
Alcoho-Related Traffic Fatalities graphsTHE GOOD NEWS
We can do it! While we must do even more to reduce drunk driving, we have already accomplished a great deal.
Alcohol-related traffic fatalities have dropped from 60% of all traffic deaths in 1982 down to 31% in 2010. 34
Alcohol-related traffic fatalities per vehicle miles driven have also dropped dramatically -- from 1.64 deaths per 100 million miles traveled in 1982 down to 0.45 in 2006 (the latest year for which such statistics are available). 35
The proportion of alcohol-related crash fatalities has fallen 52% since 1982, but the proportion of traffic deaths NOT associated with alcohol has jumped 78% during the same time. We're clearly winning the battle against alcohol-related traffic deaths. 36
We can and must do even better
Remember, don't ever, ever drive if you, or anyone else, thinks that you may have had too much to drink. And don't let anyone else. That includes reporting drivers who may be drunk. It's always safest not to drink and drive.
NOTE: The "Drink Safely" (thumb up) designs is a registered trademark of Coors Brewing Company and used with its permission.
Facts and Stats
According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2005 Sleep in America poll, 60% of adult drivers – about 168 million people – say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year, and more than one-third, (37% or 103 million people), have actually fallen asleep at the wheel! In fact, of those who have nodded off, 13% say they have done so at least once a month. Four percent – approximately eleven million drivers – admit they have had an accident or near accident because they dozed off or were too tired to drive.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. These figures may be the tip of the iceberg, since currently it is difficult to attribute crashes to sleepiness.
Driver Fatigue and Road Accidents
Driver fatigue is a serious problem resulting in many thousands of road accidents each year. It is not possible to calculate the exact number of sleep related accidents but research shows that driver fatigue may be a contributory factor in up to 20% of road accidents, and up to one quarter of fatal and serious accidents.
These types of crashes are about 50% more likely to result in death or serious injury as they tend to be high speed impacts because a driver who has fallen asleep cannot brake or swerve to avoid or reduce the impact.
Driver fatigue: symptoms, cause and effects
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 by Dr Andrew Tucker
Being fatigued significantly increases the risk of a crash. It makes us less aware of what is happening on the road and impairs our ability to respond quickly and safely if a dangerous situation arises. Driver fatigue is believed to contribute to more than 30% of road crashes.
Deficient Road Infrastructure
Road infrastructure safety plays a key role in influencing the likelihood and severity of a road crash. A footpath for a pedestrian, safe roadsides, separation of high speed oncoming traffic, cycle and motorcycle lanes, safe intersections and good speed management can all be the difference between life and death.
The international Road Assessment Programme (www.irap.org) has found that more that 50% of roads assessed worldwide are in the lowest two 1-star and 2-star categories (where 5-star is the safest). As an example more than 80% of roads assessed where there are pedestrians have no footpath; half of all high speed roads with sharp curves have dangerous roadsides (trees, poles and embankments). More free information on the role of safer roads is available at http://toolkit.irap.org/
Non Use of Seat Belts
Seat belt legislation requires the fitting of seat belts to motor vehicles and the wearing of seat belts by motor vehicle occupants. Laws requiring the fitting of seat belts to cars have in some cases been followed by laws mandating their use, with the effect that thousands of deaths on the road have been prevented. Different laws apply in different countries to the wearing of seat belts.
Non Use of Child Restraints
Child Restraint Guidelines - Keeping children as safe as possible while travelling in motor vehicles
The National Guidelines for the Safe Restraint of Children Travelling in Motor Vehicles have been developed by Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and Kidsafe - The Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia. The National Guidelines provide best practice recommendations that have been approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
NeuRA and Kidsafe want to see all children as safe as they can be when travelling in cars. Ensuring that parents receive straightforward, consistent advice from all sources on how to keep children safe in cars is an important step in making this happen.
Failing to Wear Motorcycle Helmets
A motorcycle helmet is a type of helmet (protective headgear) used by motorcycle riders. The primary goal of a motorcycle helmet is motorcycle safety - to protect the rider's head during impact, thus preventing or reducing head injury and saving the rider's life. Some helmets provide additional conveniences, such as ventilation, face shields, ear protection, intercom etc.
Motorcyclists are at high risk in traffic crashes. A 2008 systematic review examined studies on motorcycle riders who had crashed and looked at helmet use as an intervention. The review concluded that helmets reduce the risk of head injury by around 69% and death by around 42%. Although it was once speculated that wearing a motorcycle helmet increased neck and spinal injuries in a crash, recent evidence has shown the opposite to be the case, that helmets protect against cervical spine injury, and that an often-cited small study dating to the mid-1980s, "used flawed statistical reasoning"
Texting and Driving Statistics
Texting while driving is a growing trend, and a national epidemic, quickly becoming one of the country’s top killers. Drivers assume they can handle texting while driving and remain safe, but the numbers don’t lie.
Texting While Driving Causes:
1. 1,600,000 accidents per year – National Safety Council
2. 330,000 injuries per year – Harvard Center for Risk Analysis Study
3. 11 teen deaths EVERY DAY – Ins. Institute for Hwy Safety Fatality Facts
4. Nearly 25% of ALL car accidents
Texting While Driving Is:
1. About 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated
2. The same as driving after 4 beers – National Hwy Transportation Safety Admin.
3. The number one driving distraction reported by teen drivers
Texting While Driving:
1. Makes you 23X more likely to crash – National Hwy Transportation Safety Admin.
2. Is the same as driving blind for 5 seconds at a time – VA. Tech Transportation Institute
3. Takes place by 800,000 drivers at any given time across the country
4. Slows your brake reaction speed by 18% – HumanFactors & Ergonomics Society
5. Leads to a 400% increase with eyes off the road
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