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Facts + Statistics: Highway safety

Even if cameras allow the driver to identify an object in the back of a vehicle, the driver must look at the display and have the capability to identify an object or person in the path when backing up, and to react and brake quickly enough to prevent the incident. Because of the potential that camera-based systems appear to offer in addressing the risk of backover, NHTSA plans to conduct additional work to estimate the effectiveness of such systems and to develop specifications of performance for any technology that could be developed to address this risk. Further, the Agency plans to encourage vehicle manufacturers to continue to develop systems that can be effective in addressing this risk at a reasonable cost to the consumer.

Additionally, the research will be aimed at technology-based countermeasures to make them more effective. These research activities are listed as either ongoing activities or those that are planned for the future. Executive Summary This report responds to congressional interest and requirements to examine the safety problem of motor vehicle backover crashes involving pedestrians and the evaluation of available technologies that might help to reduce them.

Ongoing Research Activities Obtain more detailed information of the circumstances of the backover incidents and to provide accurate annual estimates of the number of deaths and injuries resulting from these crashes. NHTSA will be analyzing their responses to learn about the potential benefits and problems drivers are experiencing. Provide information to consumers regarding the hazard due to backover incidents and resulting injuries.

Safety Programs

New Planned Activities Conduct additional research to estimate the potential effectiveness of camera-based systems. Skip to main content. Takata Air Bag Recall Information. Check list of makes, models, model years. United States Department of Transportation. Report a Problem. Toggle navigation Homepage. Latest News. Keep your little ones warm and safe in their car seats Cold months require heavier coats, but too much bulk can create extra room in the harness causing a loose fit — putting your child at risk for injury in the event of a crash.

The major issues associated with EDRs pertain to legal, privacy, and data consistency concerns. Clearly, the owners of vehicles included in the proposed research will need to be informed about the EDRs on their vehicles and consent to their use for the study purposes. At the same time, the vehicle owners. The report contains information about the status of EDR use, types of data that can be collected, data collection and management issues, privacy and legal issues, and other topics that will be highly useful in the further development of the research proposed in this report.

See www. Thus security measures will be required in the handling of the data, including masking the identity or source of specific data. In addition, the researchers and the data will have to be protected from subpoena in legal proceedings. Such protection is not unusual in research involving human subjects or data that individuals would be unlikely to reveal to researchers if they thought those data could be used against them. This legal protection also serves as a safeguard for the integrity of the research because individuals are less likely to provide inaccurate data to avoid a potential personal threat.

In the case of the proposed study of crash factors, this means drivers will be less likely to modify their driving behavior to avoid getting into trouble, so researchers will be able to obtain a more accurate picture of their behavior. This certificate acknowledges that certain types of research have special privacy requirements and that people need to be protected from use of the resulting data against them. The National Transportation Safety Board is similarly protected from releasing data it downloads from aircraft and motor vehicle recorders. Video Recording Systems Video recording systems also offer unique advantages for this type of research.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has installed such a system at a high-incident intersection in Louisville Urban Transportation Monitor The system uses continuous-loop cameras and microphones to monitor the intersection.


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When the microphone picks up the sounds of a collision, it saves several seconds of video and allows the cameras to capture several more seconds, providing visual data for before, during, and after the crash. If intersection crashes were chosen for particular analysis in this study, such a device could be installed at the sampled intersections. In addition to providing for crash footage, an appropriate research design could be developed for randomly sampling vehicles approaching and progressing through the intersections to gather visual data on driving behavior and intersection operational performance under noncrash circumstances.

In-vehicle cameras have been used to capture data about events both inside and immediately outside of a vehicle. FHWA is using in-vehicle cameras to. For example, Lehmann and Reynolds cite several European examples in which the presence of EDRs appeared to cause drivers to alter their behavior. The examples all involved professional commercial or government fleets, where employers would have been able to identify the drivers of specific vehicles.

Some private and police vehicle fleets have cameras mounted on the rearview mirror to record events occurring in front of the vehicle should a crash occur. As with the use of EDRs, privacy and legal issues must be addressed in the use of video recording systems. For example, cameras external to vehicles such as intersection-mounted cameras should not be aimed at private property and should not capture individuals in the vehicle.

In practice, it may be possible to use such cameras only on vehicle fleets whose owners may have their own incentives for camera use. Video data and audio data, if included would also need to be protected from legal proceedings. Cell Phones, GPS, and Sensors Cellular telephone technology could be used to alert researchers when a crash takes place or at predetermined intervals to collect noncrash data and to transmit recorded data efficiently and inexpensively.

GPS could be installed on vehicles as is already the case on some vehicles to locate a crash for further, on-site investigation of highway geometry and roadside hardware.

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In the event of a crash, sensor technology could be used to gather data on weather, pavement condition presence of ice or moisture , and traffic volumes and speeds. These data could be transmitted remotely as well. Technology for automated collection of site and crash geometry data could be used by researchers to improve the speed and accuracy of data collection.

Such technologies could provide objective data about whether and to what degree these driver conditions and activities contribute to crashes and would be especially useful for gathering exposure data.

By the time the proposed study is launched, these technologies will have seen several more generations of development. Similarly, lane tracking and night vision systems are already on the market and could be used to add environmental data to the vehicle data collected by EDRs. Even if all of these technologies cannot be used throughout the study, it may be possible to test some of them in portions of the research as experimental data-gathering methods. These newer methods could be compared with more traditional data gathering techniques, such as interviews and use of police reports, which will also be employed in the research.

As newer technologies emerge, they could be more fully employed in future studies.

Research & Data | NHTSA

In the course of the outreach conducted for this study, the committee encountered the argument that the money required for a comprehensive study of crash factors might be spent more effectively on implementing countermeasures already in existence or under development. This is a reasonable point of view, and certainly implementation of existing countermeasures must continue. However, as effective as certain countermeasures are, there are many whose effectiveness is not well established, and there is still little basis for determining which countermeasures are the most cost-effective.

Improved knowledge of crash factors, together with knowledge about the cost-effectiveness of countermeasures, will help agencies prioritize the various countermeasures now available, make more rational investments in their implementation, and direct the development of new countermeasures. In addition, some countermeasures are controversial; one reason the political will to implement them is lacking is that there is no clear basis for weighing the safety benefits gained against social or economic costs.

Driver Licenses & ID Cards

The proposed study can provide a basis for informed public discourse and policy development in this regard. The specific countermeasures to be studied will be determined during the interim work stage. The kinds of countermeasures the committee has in mind are effectiveness of guardrails, impacts of roadway and shoulder width, aspects of intersection safety signal type and phasing, geometrics , and enforcement strategies. In choosing countermeasures, researchers should examine the incidence of fatalities and injuries from various crash types and identify countermeasures intended to address these crash types.

By using data from the study of crash factors, researchers should be able to identify countermeasures that are designed to address the most critical factors and then perform analyses of their relative cost-effectiveness. Researchers may also want to examine commonly used countermeasures to determine whether investments in those approaches are in fact likely to yield safety benefits comparable with their expense.

An example may be helpful to show how more accurate knowledge of crash factors, including better precrash and noncrash data, can lead to more effective use of crash countermeasures.


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  • Run-off-the-road crashes account for 33 percent of highway fatalities FHWA, personal communication. To know the importance of road geometry, it is necessary to have accurate data about crash location. Often these data are only approximate to the nearest mile marker, for instance or are not available at all because they were inadvertently omitted from the police report or purposely excluded from the data set to protect privacy.

    As a result, it is difficult to pinpoint high-accident locations and establish reliable relationships between crash types or severity and particular roadway geometries. The use of GPS can help identify crash locations with much greater accuracy.