We've all had this experience while walking or biking -- someone cutting us off, or swerving, leaving us catching our breath and thinking, "That was close." Close encounters, just inches away from being a collision, have a big impact on how we think about street safety, but they're not well understood, since they're rarely, if ever, reported. A new report out of Houston attempts to gauge the impact of these "near-miss" incidents.
One of the most effective ways to get elected officials to pay attention to traffic safety is to spell out the dangers in their own districts. A new effort from a coalition in Milwaukee does just that, crafting reports for each of the city's 15 aldermanic districts on the eve of the Wisconsin Bike Summit.
The number of annual traffic deaths in America is heading in the wrong direction, climbing back above the 40,000 mark. To reverse this trend, the AAA Foundation for Road Safety this week released a report that prioritizes six road design changes it says would do the most to reduce the death toll. There's just one problem: AAA's report doesn't consider the idea that, to save lives, we should be driving less.
Signalized intersections carry special risks. Drivers often accelerate during the yellow phase to "beat the light," for instance, leading to high-speed crashes. Federal officials warn that improperly placed signals can "significantly increase collisions." So Seattle is reviewing 10 intersections to see if traffic signals should be replaced with stop signs.
Even though the U.S. traffic fatality rate per mile driven has fallen by two-thirds in the last 50 years, America today still has the deadliest road system per capita in the developed world. Much of the improvement from safer driving and better emergency care has been wiped out by increases in total traffic. The American approach to traffic safety has emphasized seatbelt use, vehicle standards, […]