Author Topic: The Rules That Made U.S. Roads So Deadly  (Read 327 times)

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Offline Elderberry

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The Rules That Made U.S. Roads So Deadly
« on: April 03, 2021, 09:41:36 PM »
Bloomberg CityLab by Sara Bronin 3/30/2021

Why did traffic fatalities rise on U.S. streets during the pandemic? Blame laws that lock in dangerous street designs and allow vehicles known to be more deadly to non-drivers.

A 25-year-old Yale Law student. A crossing guard. A 78-year-old woman. A high-school teacher. These are but four of the pedestrians and bikers counted among the 310 motor-vehicle-related deaths seen in 2020 in Connecticut, where I live. Our state saw one of the highest increases in the U.S. for such deaths: 22% more than in 2019.

Connecticut’s fatality spike is part of a national trend. Earlier this month, the National Safety Council reported that more than 42,000 people in the U.S. died in motor vehicle crashes in 2020, an 8% increase over 2019. What makes this so surprising is that Americans traveled 13% fewer miles by car, because of coronavirus-related lockdowns. So the 8% increase is really a 24% increase on a per-mile-traveled basis — the highest year-over-year jump in 96 years.

Unfortunately, this tragic loss of life was predictable. Outdated, industry-written laws lock in street designs that encourage excessive speed, and we drive vehicles known to be deadly to non-drivers.

You might think that these numbers were boosted by Americans’ heavy-footed driving habits, or that we have a distracted driver (and pedestrian) crisis. While both may be factors, they would not make us unusual — while our fatality rate is. Compare us with Germany, for example, where a love for speed and widespread cellphone use has not resulted in the death rates we see in the U.S. German traffic deaths fell 12% in 2020, which tracks the country’s 11% decrease in traffic volume.

More: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-30/five-ways-to-make-u-s-streets-less-deadly

Offline Elderberry

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Re: The Rules That Made U.S. Roads So Deadly
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2021, 09:45:39 PM »
Texas radically reduced traffic enforcement with no noticeable impact on road safety

Grits for Breakfast 4/3/2021

https://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.com/2021/04/texas-radically-reduced-traffic.html

Quote
What's the relationship between traffic enforcement by police and roadway safety? Arguably not much. Over the last decade, the number of traffic cases brought by Texas cops has plummeted, according to the Office of Court Administration's 2020 Annual Statistical Report:

Over the same period, though, roadway deaths per hundred-million miles first rose and then declined to pre-2010 levels, despite major population increases over this period coupled with radical reductions in police enforcement. From TXDOT's annual crash statistics:

Whatever drove that up-and-down trend, it doesn't seem to correlate with the trend in traffic enforcement.

Question: If radically less traffic enforcement seems to have no noticeable impact on traffic fatalities, what precisely were we doing it for?

How to square these seemingly contradictory notions? Grits has long believed the disconnect can be explained because road safety has little to do with anything police do. Instead, it's largely a function of consumer habits, anachronistic road rules, and most importantly, traffic-engineering decisions. CityLab featured an essay this week making that point. They blamed a national spike in pedestrian deaths last year on "laws that lock in dangerous street designs and allow vehicles known to be more deadly to non-drivers."

Street-design issues have outsized influence. In particular, with fewer cars on the road in 2020, people drove much faster resulting in more pedestrian deaths.

Offline jafo2010

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Re: The Rules That Made U.S. Roads So Deadly
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2021, 10:32:51 PM »
I am sure the backlash against police has a whole lot to do with road deaths.  I suspect the police have backed off across the nation to some degree, and thus road violators have surged.  Higher speeds, higher death.

Offline Sighlass

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Re: The Rules That Made U.S. Roads So Deadly
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2021, 02:38:26 AM »
Legalized pot in some states saw increased deaths.
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Offline PeteS in CA

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Re: The Rules That Made U.S. Roads So Deadly
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2021, 10:06:33 AM »
So, the "outdated" laws the article cited have been in force for decades, the fire code lane width requirement probably to allow wide fire trucks to pass more easily. How exactly did laws that have been in force for decades magically and selectively increase traffic deaths in 2020? :bsflag:  8bs8  :bsflag:  8bs8
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Offline Elderberry

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Re: The Rules That Made U.S. Roads So Deadly
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2021, 10:19:14 AM »
So, the "outdated" laws the article cited have been in force for decades, the fire code lane width requirement probably to allow wide fire trucks to pass more easily. How exactly did laws that have been in force for decades magically and selectively increase traffic deaths in 2020? :bsflag:  8bs8  :bsflag:  8bs8

I agree.

I just posted the 1st article as it was referenced in the 2nd article identifying there was no noticeable impact on road safety  with radically reduced traffic enforcement in Texas.

Offline andy58-in-nh

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Re: The Rules That Made U.S. Roads So Deadly
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2021, 10:25:41 AM »
The fact is that US highways and secondary roads are far safer than those of most other countries in the world. Instead, alcohol and drug abuse are responsible for an outsized number of fatalities upon them. 

Annual NHTSA data bear this out, and has for decades.

So what is this non-dazzling urbanite yammering on about?

Well, here's the money quote:

Quote
"First, we need to diversify the people who codify road design. AASHTO, the code councils and the federal agency writing the MUTCD are dominated by white, male engineers who are trained to prioritize driver speed. We need women, people of color, transit users and bike-pedestrian advocates to bring new perspectives and cultural competencies into the conversation."

And now... you know: our roads are dangerous because of White Privilege.

To hell with every single one of these bastards who are creating a moral permission slip for anarchists and other criminals and thugs to destroy our country as we know it.

- Rich Lowry, National Review

Offline goatprairie

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Re: The Rules That Made U.S. Roads So Deadly
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2021, 10:48:06 AM »
 From Bloomberg:
 "Disproportionately represented among these fatalities are Black people, Native people and the elderly"

Really? That's interesting. How much? Details aren't given. Lacking too is how many illegal aliens are involved. I know from reading daily CBS NYC news there seems to be a large increase in hit and run deaths.
So have new rules made the roads deadlier, or is it certain segments of the population are driving worse?
Once again the major news outlets leave out a lot of important information.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2021, 10:49:26 AM by goatprairie »

Offline Sled Dog

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Re: The Rules That Made U.S. Roads So Deadly
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2021, 12:18:00 PM »
ummmm....?   If you don't like how I drive, stay off the sidewalk.
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Offline Wingnut

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Re: The Rules That Made U.S. Roads So Deadly
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2021, 02:21:17 PM »
The roads would be more safer if they didn't let women and Asians drive. 

Okay okay... maybe some women but we don't want the Asians.
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Offline bigheadfred

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Re: The Rules That Made U.S. Roads So Deadly
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2021, 02:37:23 PM »
The roads would be more safer if they didn't let women and Asians drive. 

Okay okay... maybe some women but we don't want the Asians.

no females between the age of 16-25
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Offline GtHawk

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Re: The Rules That Made U.S. Roads So Deadly
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2021, 08:02:31 PM »
From Bloomberg:
 "Disproportionately represented among these fatalities are Black people, Native people and the elderly"

Really? That's interesting. How much? Details aren't given. Lacking too is how many illegal aliens are involved. I know from reading daily CBS NYC news there seems to be a large increase in hit and run deaths.
So have new rules made the roads deadlier, or is it certain segments of the population are driving worse?
Once again the major news outlets leave out a lot of important information.
I wonder what their definition of "Native People" is? Where I used to live in Anaheim there was a very large number of Apartments on one side of a busy street and a laundromat and liquor store on the other side. The apartments were largely occupied by Hispanics, er sorry, undocumented migrants who would unsurprisingly illegally cross the busy street often at night wearing dark clothes. Also unsurprisingly there were fatalities at least once a month because the stupid bastards behaved like they were still living in Tijuana.

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Online Smokin Joe

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Re: The Rules That Made U.S. Roads So Deadly
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2021, 08:38:01 PM »
Interesting the road design is being blamed.

Well over half of the idiot drivers I have seen were on the phone or screwing around with one.
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Offline PeteS in CA

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Re: The Rules That Made U.S. Roads So Deadly
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2021, 09:14:15 AM »
Quote
Disproportionately represented among these fatalities are Black people, Native people and the elderly

What ordinary people think is a company logo hood ornament on a Mercedes Benz is actually an aiming device for the "rich" drivers.
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Offline GtHawk

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Re: The Rules That Made U.S. Roads So Deadly
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2021, 08:20:14 PM »
What ordinary people think is a company logo hood ornament on a Mercedes Benz is actually an aiming device for the "rich" drivers.
:silly: My wife's dad while teaching her to drive taught her to use the hood ornament on their Chrysler as an aiming device to keep the car centered in the lane, who knew there was another reason carmakers put them on the hood.

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