[tabi] Nationwide Traffic Deaths Up Sharply in First 6 Months of 2015

  • From: Owen Mccaul <mccaulo@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2015 12:40:51 -0400

This story was on WCTV's website today. I suspect that this is at least part of the reason TPD has decided to begin some pedestrian safety operations locally. Whatever the reason, it is good to see them doing something. I think John Plesocw may have made such a suggestion whenever he met with Chief DeLeo although I can't recall whether that was earlier this year, last year or even earlier. When you get older all of this stuff tends to run together.

by Associated Press
August 17, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Traffic deaths were up 14 percent nationally in the first six months of this year and injuries were up by a third, according to data gathered by the National Safety Council.

An improved economy and low gas prices have encouraged Americans to put a record number of miles on the road, said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president of the council. But, she said, that's not the whole explanation for the increase in deaths and injuries.

All told, nearly 19,000 people across the country lost their lives in traffic accidents through June, and the tally doesn't include two of the historically highest months for traffic deaths, July and August, said the council, a nonprofit organization created by Congress to promote safety.

If the trend continues, traffic deaths this year could exceed 40,000 for the first time since 2007, when there were nearly 44,000 deaths, Hersman said in an interview. The increases began in the last quarter of 2014 and have been recorded consistently through each month of this year, Hersman said.

"As a safety professional, it's not just disappointing but heartbreaking to see the numbers trending in the wrong direction," she said.

The nation's driving steadily increased for 15 consecutive months through May, the Transportation Department said in July. Americans drove 1.26 trillion miles in the first five months of 2015, passing the previous record, 1.23 trillion, set in May 2007.

However, the cumulative increase in vehicle mileage this year through May is 3.4 percent, far less than the 14 percent increase in deaths, Hersman noted. Also, the estimated annual mileage death rate so far this year is 1.3 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, up from the preliminary 2014 rate of 1.2 deaths.

Other safety trends are at play as well. In recent decades, deaths due to crashes involving drunken driving have dropped from about 50 percent of fatalities to about 30 percent, she said. Teen driving deaths are also down, and seatbelt use is up. And cars have more safety technology than ever, although drivers sometimes don't use it or don't know how to use it, Hersman said.

On the other hand, a growing number of states are raising speed limits, and everywhere drivers are distracted by cellphone calls and text messages. The council estimated in a report this spring that a quarter of all crashes involve cellphone use. Besides fatal crashes, that includes injury-only and property damage-only crashes.

"For many years people have said, `If distraction is such a big issue, why don't we see an increase in fatal crash numbers?' Well, we're seeing increasing fatal crashes numbers, but I think it's complicated to tease out what that is due to," Hersman said.

Jonathan Adkins, executive director of Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety offices, confirmed that states have taken note of the trend as well.

Given the stronger economy, lower unemployment and low gas prices, "we have expected an uptick in travel and, sadly, deaths," he said.

"The increase is definitely troubling," Adkins said. "But after such historic declines in recent years, it's not unexpected to see an upswing."

-----Original Message-----
From: Owen Mccaul <mccaulo@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: tabi <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Sat, Aug 15, 2015 12:15 pm
Subject: TPD to Begin Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operations

From WCTV's website:

"News Release: Tallahassee Police Department
August 14, 2015

TALLAHASSEE -- The Tallahassee Police Department will begin Pedestrian
Safety Enforcement Operations on August 26, 2015. TPD is committed to
improving pedestrian safety for our residents and visitors through
continued application of engineering, educational and enforcement

The Tallahassee Police are working with the City of Tallahassee Traffic
Mobility Management to identify and improve environmental and traffic
factors that are associated with high pedestrian crashes. TPD will be
educating our citizens through pedestrian safety messages and
encouraging them to follow pedestrian safety protocol both in person
and via social media. In addition to routine patrol enforcement of
pedestrian laws, TPD will conduct two operations every month beginning
with the first operation in the 500-600 blocks of West Tennessee Street
on Wednesday evening, August 26, 2015. These operations will be focused
on enforcing pedestrian safety laws and will occur during the hours of
10PM to 2AM.

Officers will be enforcing pedestrian laws by looking for violations
made by drivers and pedestrians that can lead to injuries or
fatalities. Special attention will be directed toward drunk driving,
speeding drivers, drivers making illegal turns, drivers failing to stop
for signs and signals, drivers failing to yield to pedestrians in
crosswalks or any other dangerous violation. Additionally, special
attention will be directed toward impaired pedestrians and enforcement
will be taken for observed violations when pedestrians cross the street
illegally, cross against the walk signal of a crosswalk, or fail to
yield to drivers who have the right of way."

This article was followed by the usual ignorant and/or hateful comments
on WCTV's website. This is a long overdue step in the right direction
since Transportation for America's Dangerous by Design studies,
have shown Tallahassee is not the safest place in the world for

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