Auto Deaths

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by bwilson4web, Oct 30, 2021.

  1. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Source: ‘This is a crisis:’ Road fatalities hit 15-year high

    Though fewer Americans are dying from Covid-19, another fatal scourge is on the rise: death by automobile.

    There were an estimated 20,160 traffic deaths in the first six months of 2021, the highest total for that period since 2006 and 18.4 percent higher than the first half of last year, according to the latest National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figures.


    That is the biggest percentage increase in road deaths in the first half of the year since the U.S. Department of Transportation began recording fatal crash data in 1975, The Associated Press reported.

    And it has put the U.S. on a pace for more than 40,000 traffic deaths just this year, with 15 states and Puerto Rico accounting for half of the road fatalities, according to the department.
    . . .

    Bob Wilson
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i read that people are driving crazier and more distracted since before the pandemic.

    locally, police take no notice of speeding or unsafe behavior. neither local nor state.

    it's almost like some unwritten mandate has been handed down from on high. if you ask a cop or public official, their reply is, 'oh well, i do it myself'
     
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  3. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    I see them driving crazier and I also hear it. There is a state highway about 100 yards from our house that is posted 45 mph and has a traffic light about every half mile. At night, we get woke up by cars and motorcycles going at least 100 mph. There have been several fatalities just at the traffic light two blocks from us. The state's solution? Install more traffic lights.
     
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  4. Storm88000

    Storm88000 Member

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    With my background in psychology it sounds like people are venting their 2020 frustrations of isolation, boredom and sickness and the death of loved ones into something they can still do independently.

    The current generation Mazda Miata - you all know it - but the last year it’s sometimes months to acquire one and their sales are way up relative to Mazda’s other models.

    This was a year before the shortage. I got mine in August 2020 and my salesman said they could hardly keep them on the lots. I had to drive 4 hours each way to get the one I wanted below, and while I was in the office an older couple came in asking to test drive it but they were politely informed it was already sold, but they had another coming in soon. Mine is a 2020 Club soft top 6MT in soul red crystal paint - which was exactly what I wanted. But I was always into them, it’s my 4th one since I was 25 (late 30s now).

    [​IMG]

    I think people are looking for anything to give them a good time, and driving fast is for some. A sporty looking car with a top that comes down and allows one to feel a little bit of freedom is quite alluring to those who had a terrible year. It makes sense. I love driving mine, but I keep anything more than a twisty mountain road for the track only.
     

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  5. Aegean

    Aegean Active Member

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    Cars are much safer, roads never have been in better condition and drivers more educated in safe driving than ever. The only reason for more fatal and serious injury accidents is distraction. Smartphones, messages, notifications, CarPlay, playlists , conference calls, every year we add tasks concurrently with driving. It was a matter of time that this small chance we take individually would add up to an increase in accidents as total road user community.
     
  6. Prius Maximus

    Prius Maximus Senior Member

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    100 mph on the shoulder. using ramps to pass, motorcycles 100 mph on the line between lanes, lane changes regardless of who's already there, jumping into the exit lane at the last possible second, using left turn only lanes to pass at a red light, running red lights and stop signs, tailgating, 40 MPH over in work zones.

    These and many others I see every single day are the reasons, not just distracted driving.
     
  7. Storm88000

    Storm88000 Member

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    All of these are valid point: it’s likely a combination. I still think a lot of it stems from moderate to extremely socialized people being quarantined and stuck in their homes, alone, of sometimes even worse - w/ people or persons they have toxic relationships with, but had no choice but to remain with them without the pre 2020
    relief of just well, leaving for the night or a weekend. Whether it be spouses in a crumbling marriage, older teenagers / young adults suddenly cut off from their friends and S/Os- I think we are seeing how people who became tired of following rules and being stuck at home. Wouldn’t surprise me if theme park attendance and things of that nature are up as well. Who knows.
     
  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    can you analyze the lack of police enforcement for us?
     
  9. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    they do the same things here. spend thousands on painting dangerous intersections, adding solar speed signs, blinking lights, more guard rails, but no enforcement. no one pays attention to the nonsense.
     
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  10. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    I strongly disagree with that being the only reason. It is also very clear that speeds are up, which increases not only the likelihood of mishap, but also the rates at which mishaps are converted to injury and death.

    I believe rising speeds are a direct result of reduced enforcement.
     
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  11. Storm88000

    Storm88000 Member

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    ^ I think it’s dozens of reasons combined like I mentioned. 2020, now Minivans are faster than C4 Corvettes, people rely on automatic emergency braking, take more risks due to the 8-10 airbags in every car, distractions of course and also- the lack of manual transmissions. Some may disagree but since what 90/100 cars today are automatic.. I think a manual transmission requires more attention because you need to use your left foot and right hand instead of just one hand and one foot. Much harder to text in a manual than auto. More is demanded of the driver, more limbs and focus. What gear to be in, push the clutch in or it will stall if not in neutral etc..
     
  12. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Don't forget 40' 18-wheelers making U-turns ... from the right turn lane ... on a red light ... across three lanes ... into cross traffic. (My wife saw that one.)

    I agree that there is a lot more distracted driving (that's how we got totaled pre-pandemic), but those tend to be less fatal than 100 mph passing on the shoulder or median strip.

    I agree with @Storm88000 that the grossly stupid stuff is likely more a response to the unreasonable imprisonment much of the country has suffered. However, Florida has remained pretty liberal in that regard, but the stupid just keeps getting spread more and more thickly on our streets and roads. I can't blame it all on the pandemic.
     
  13. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    The friend who taught me how to drive a manual could eat entire take out meal while driving a stick by using his knees to assist with steering. More focus doesn't negate poor choices and distractions. A manual might even lead to overconfidence in the driver. Gerdes once shared some comments from a discussion with other auto journalists defending their and peers speeding on public roads because they had more driver training. The discussion happened because the authors of a review article admitted in it that they did over 70mph on 50mph rated roads.

    Northern Ireland has also seen a spike in auto deaths, and I'm unaware of them not having the disdain of automatics that the rest of the UK has.
    https://etsc.eu/covid-19-huge-drop-in-traffic-in-europe-but-impact-on-road-deaths-unclear/
    Global impact of COVID-19 pandemic on road traffic collisions | World Journal of Emergency Surgery | Full Text
    The last one is a review article with many cites to others on the effect of the pandemic on road crashes.
     
  14. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    I would count all of those towards the longer term problem of motor vehicle deaths not declining as much as they should, and even plateauing or bumping up slightly a couple times over the past quarter century.

    But none of them should have contributed much to the pandemic spike of road carnage, because these inputs didn't significantly change in or after March 2020.
     
  15. Storm88000

    Storm88000 Member

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    And then we have this. NY Times article from today. You’d think with all of this going on still - that traffic fatalities would be lower or dropping:

    Demand for Money Behind Many Police Traffic Stops
    Mike McIntire and Michael H. Keller
    Sun, October 31, 2021

    Harold Brown’s contribution to the local treasury began as so many others have in Valley Brook, Oklahoma: A police officer saw that the light above his license plate was out.

    “You pulled me over for that? Come on, man,” said Brown, a security guard headed home from work at 1:30 a.m. Expressing his annoyance was all it took. The officer yelled at Brown, ordered him out of the car and threw him to the pavement.

    After a trip to jail that night in 2018, hands cuffed and blood running down his face, Brown eventually arrived at the crux of the matter: Valley Brook wanted $800 in fines and fees. It was a fraction of the roughly $1 million that the town of about 870 people collects each year from traffic cases.

    A hidden scaffolding of financial incentives underpins the policing of motorists in the United States, encouraging some communities to essentially repurpose armed officers as revenue agents searching for infractions largely unrelated to public safety. As a result, driving is one of the most common daily routines during which people have been shot, shocked with a stun gun, beaten or arrested after minor offenses.

    Some of those encounters — like those with Sandra Bland, Walter Scott and Philando Castile — are now notorious and contributed to a national upheaval over race and policing. The New York Times has identified more than 400 others from the past five years in which officers killed unarmed civilians who had not been under pursuit for violent crimes. Fueling the culture of traffic stops is the federal government, which issues more than $600 million a year in highway safety grants that subsidize ticket writing. Although federal officials say they do not impose quotas, at least 20 states have evaluated police performance on the number of traffic stops per hour, which critics say contributes to overpolicing and erosion of public trust, particularly among members of certain racial groups.

    Many municipalities across the country rely heavily on ticket revenue and court fees to pay for government services, and some maintain outsize police departments to help generate that money, according to a review of hundreds of municipal audit reports, town budgets, court files and state highway records.

    This is, for the most part, not a big-city phenomenon. While Chicago stands out as a large city with a history of collecting millions from motorists, the towns that depend most on such revenue have fewer than 30,000 people. More than 730 municipalities rely on fines and fees for at least 10% of their revenue, enough to pay for an entire police force in some small communities, an analysis of census data shows.

    To show how a dependence on ticket revenue can shape traffic enforcement, the Times examined the practices of three states — Ohio, Oklahoma and Virginia — where police traffic stops have set off controversy. What emerges is a tangle of conflicts and contradictions that are often unacknowledged or explained away.

    The Money Machine

    Newburgh Heights, a frayed industrial village of about a half-square-mile with 2,000 residents just south of Cleveland, doggedly monitors traffic on the short stretch of Interstate 77 that passes through.

    Its 21 police officers cruise around looking for vehicles to pull over, and aim speed cameras from the Harvard Avenue overpass or from a folding chair beside the highway.

    All told, revenue from traffic citations, which typically accounts for more than half the town’s budget, totaled $3 million in 2019. Some of that money is processed through the Newburgh Heights Mayor’s Court, one of 286 anachronistic judicial offices that survive, mostly in small towns, across Ohio.

    A 2019 report by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio found that 1 in 6 traffic tickets in the state were issued in towns with mayor’s courts, which the ACLU called a “shadowy and unaccountable quasi-judicial system that wrings revenue from drivers.”

    The fixation on revenue has made mayor’s courts an enduring source of controversy. Years of complaints about tiny Linndale, population 160, raking in as much as $1 million annually from speed traps led to a ban on mayor’s courts in towns of under 200 residents.

    Trevor Elkins, the mayor of Newburgh Heights, said his town’s increasing use of cameras has reduced the need for traffic stops, though the latter remain disproportionately high, according to state data.

    Publicly, mayors insist their courts are not used to generate money, yet privately that is often the focus of their concerns. The mayor’s court in Bratenahl, a wealthy suburb on Lake Erie, typically has more than twice as many traffic cases each year as there are residents in town, according to state records.

    Bratenahl, with a population of 1,300 that is 83% white, uses its roughly 18 officers to patrol a strip of Interstate 90 that skirts the town's border with Cleveland, where half the residents are Black. As a result, many days, the crowd in Bratenahl mayor’s court is mostly Black.

    Mayor John Licastro said officers were simply following the law.

    “We don’t choose who drives the Shoreway,” he said.

    Elkins offered a similar defense of Newburgh Heights, where Black residents account for about 22% of the population yet often make up a majority at his mayor’s court. A Times analysis of more than 4,000 traffic citations there found that 76% of license and insurance violations, and 63% of speeding cases involved Black motorists.

    Public Safety and Profiteering

    On April 19, 1995, Oklahoma State Trooper Charles J. Hanger made one of the most famous of roadway stops.

    Heading north on I-35, Hanger spotted a 1977 Mercury Grand Marquis with no license plate. Its driver was Timothy McVeigh who, about 90 minutes earlier, had detonated a truck full of explosives outside the Oklahoma City federal building, killing 168 people in what then was the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil.

    The McVeigh case holds mythic status among police officers, for whom it is a go-to rejoinder to concerns that many traffic stops are pretexts for raising revenue or searching, without cause, for evidence of other crimes. But researchers and some former police chiefs say that for every occasional lucky break, hundreds of innocent motorists are subjected to needless scrutiny, expense and potential danger.

    In the 2019 fiscal year, Valley Brook, Oklahoma, collected more than $100,000 from tickets for “defective equipment” like Brown’s burned-out tag light, with citations issued, on average, nearly every day.

    A majority of stops in this town of less than a half-square-mile occur along a four-lane road. Valley Brook collects 72% of its revenues from fines, the highest in the state.

    Chief Michael A. Stamp defended the police department’s practices. Because their jurisdiction covers only one block along the main roadway, he said, officers look for broken taillights or “wide turns” to catch more serious infractions.

    “I put officers out on the street every single night for the sole purpose of drug and alcohol enforcement, because it’s such a big problem that we have here,” Stamp said. He conceded the town’s dependence on traffic tickets, but added, “I will stand by the fact that what we are doing out here also saves lives.”

    By some measures, Nicholas Bowser, 38, is exactly the kind of driver the chief says he wants to take off the road. Rather than pulling over around midnight July 2, he led officers on a chase from Valley Brook to his home about a mile away. Upon his surrender, the police found a handgun at his feet and discovered his blood alcohol content exceeded the legal limit.

    That might have been enough to keep Bowser from driving for a while, or have a court-ordered breathalyzer installed in his truck. But the next day, he retrieved his truck from the impound. All he had to do was pay $2,185.11 in estimated fines and fees to Valley Brook.

    Local police had charged him with “negligent driving” and “public intoxication” — lesser crimes than driving drunk, which must be transferred to district court. Some lawyers say that a 2016 law designed to prevent repeat offenders’ drunken-driving records from staying hidden in local court systems has incentivized towns to downgrade offenses, keeping the ticket — and the revenue.

    In an interview, Bowser said, “I should have gotten a DUI.” This summer, after he requested a jury trial, Valley Brook dropped the charges against him and refunded about $2,000.

    After details emerged of the case involving Brown, those charges too were dismissed, the officer was disciplined and Stamp called to apologize. Still, Brown sued the town, which he asserts has turned traffic enforcement into a ruthless profit-making enterprise.

    “They are lawless,” he said.

    A Culture of Quotas

    When Windsor, Virginia, police threatened and pepper-sprayed a Black and Latino Army lieutenant, Caron Nazario, last December over a license plate infraction, the mistreatment by police made national headlines in April. Officials fired one of the officers involved and called the case an aberration. But in many ways, the traffic stop was routine.

    Windsor is one of nearly 100 Virginia communities to receive federal grants encouraging tickets. The annual grants, awarded by state authorities, ranged last year from $900 to the village of Exmore for nabbing seat belt scofflaws to $1 million to Fairfax County for drunken-driving enforcement. Windsor got $15,750 to target speeders.

    There is little doubt that these grants affect the economics, and frequency, of traffic stops.

    Jessica Cowardin, a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, said the number of citations “is just one of many things we look at to evaluate how effective a grant is.” She added, “We do not require nor encourage grant-funded police departments to issue a prescribed number of traffic citations.”

    But a review of state grant applications found that the number of traffic stops is a common performance measure.

    For all the billions spent to promote ticket-writing by police, there is little evidence that it has helped achieve the grants’ primary goal: reducing fatal car crashes.

    In 2019, there were 33,244 fatal crashes nationwide, up from 30,296 in 2010. Traffic safety experts say targeted enforcement works, but improvements in automobile technology and highway engineering account for much of the progress since the 1970s and ’80s, when annual fatal crashes routinely exceeded 40,000.

    In the wake of the George Floyd protests, some municipalities and states are rethinking their approach to traffic stops. Berkeley, California, has proposed shifting away from police enforcement, in favor of an unarmed civilian corps. Virginia lawmakers prohibited stops initiated because of defective taillights, tinted windows and loud exhaust.

    Fallout from the Nazario case moved Windsor to pursue ways to slow traffic “while reducing police and citizen contacts,” including electronic signs and rumble strips. The Windsor police also ended grant-funded patrols, saying it was “in the best interest of our agency and our community.”

    When the town council presented a new budget for the upcoming fiscal year, it projected revenue increases from all major sources except one: traffic fines.
     
  16. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Those cases predate George Floyd's death. Now that those types of “defective equipment” and other secondary violations are better known to often display discriminatory enforcement patterns, there are efforts in numerous places to roll them back. One just did so officially:

    Philadelphia Becomes First Big City to Ban Police From Stopping Cars for Low-Level Traffic Offenses

    But it seems that enforcement of even primary violations has declined across the board since this Pandemic began.

    (In the monoculture where I grew up, defective equipment citations were usually issued on a fix-it basis, i.e. summarily dismissed upon evidence of repair. Much more recently, when I was stopped for obscured license plate in South Dakota (due to trailer hitch bike rack), I was let off with a written warning. Was that a case of "white privilege"? Spouse subsequently pointed out an episode of Grey's Anatomy (placed in Seattle) where that same reason was the pretext of a clearly racist traffic stop. Though based on numerous oddities of my SD stop, it seemed the real reason was "marijuana state license plate", probably enhanced by being a Prius driving through a deep red state.)
     
  17. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    I wonder if pedestrian injuries/deaths have seen similar rise. One thing I've noticed here, that seems to be near-universally the norm: NOBODY (with extremely rare exceptions) comes to a legal stop, at stop signs, or when making a right turn at a red traffic light.

    Anybody remember how they did it when taking their test?

    Or the reasoning behind "full stop and look both ways before proceeding".

    I don't think the latter was ever spelled out in the driver training manual, which is a shame. If you're just handed a set of rules without explanation, they tend to fall on deaf ears.

    I can think of a couple of good reasons (both involving impacts/injuries), and it took me till I was maybe in my fifties, to think it through myself.

    Playing by the rules takes a little extra time, and time is money these days.
     
  18. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    Although I fix phones for a living, a large part of my job requires me to drive a company vehicle...so I'm on the road quite a bit in a vehicle with a GPS tracker/data logger that not only alerts my overseers if I bust a speed limit, but counts my occurrences of "harsh acceleration and braking" and provides a composite score for my "driving safety."

    The reason I'm on this forum in the first place is that my last 2 'work cars' were Priuses.

    The reason that I'm no longer a Prius Driver is that they either used climate scientists, political analysts, or former CDC workers to model what "harsh braking and acceleration" means in an itty-bitty, 3200# Prius versus a 15,000# bucket truck.
    Strangely enough....when I force-retired my last Prius and started driving a 16MPG Ford "Hello Kitty" transit van, my instances of "harsh acceleration and braking" dropped to zero.

    I can report that people were driving like idiots long BEFORE George Floyd was killed or Covid lockdowns.

    Large scale upheavals, whether they be weather related, economic, political, or...what I like to call "D: All of the above"....tend to accelerate trends already in progress.

    Law enforcement is WAAAY down and LEOs are writing a LOT fewer tickers these days locally because they're running far fewer speed traps, at least locally.
    Part of this is that there are fewer LEOs (long before the current vaccine reductions!)
    Part of it has to do with increased LEO on the job deaths, COVID protocols, and the fact that LEOs universally HATE to do traffic.
    The ones that are left on the job just find other stuff to do.

    Lower enforcement = higher average speed.

    ALL of this, and the current social climate means that self-entitled jerks are jerkier.
    Road ragers are ragier.
    Teens and adults who think that the Fast and Furious movie franchise are documentaries, drive a little more spiritedly.

    I'm not the least bit surprised that on the road deaths are spiking.
    I'm kinda stunned that they're not quite a bit higher, although now that the "statisticians" are no longer working on the braking and acceleration models for my former work car, they will now have time to report on the REAL cause for the current rise in road deaths, as soon as they collect enough data to support 'their' cause.

    Fortunately...I'm in an adult-sized vehicle now.... :)
     
  19. Rmay635703

    Rmay635703 Senior Member

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    9A0375AD-407C-47BC-A180-1A184973DA09.jpeg To those who believe the faster you drive the safer it is (which seems to be almost everyone)

    Go to Kawait or Saudi Arabia which are free for alls , burnt cars are left roadside on the desert highway everywhere, road death rate would make you think there were road side bombs

    It’s worth noting that single vehicle deaths has quadrupled per mile traveled in certain parts of the country and hasn’t shown signs of falling

    Most of the increase in highway deaths is from single occupant accidents, speed is actually moving up the ranks in terms of cause as well (through 2019 it was moved down the list but moved up due to always being present while also being distracted, winning combo)

    Always find it interesting that Texas overall numerically actually leads the nation in all death rates accidental or not including highway at the moment, if they loose the top spot in a field like accidental asphyxiation they scramble and regain the #1 spot again in the following year. Even stranger like Kentucky, Texas has a starvation problem which one would think impossible in this day and age but there it is.
    If we go Per capita we have our usual winners Mississippi, Georgia, North & South Carolina, Florida, Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana leading the death rate race in various fields.

    Least deadly state is Massachusetts which doesn’t surprise me.


    California shows on the list merely because of population but is actually down a ways per capita but overall death rate is lower in terms of other metrics except for heat exhaustion which is up there
     
  20. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    so you mean defunding cops is not a good idea?
    you must be canceled!
    ;)
    .
     
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