Tesla vehicles running its Autopilot software have been involved in 273 reported crashes over roughly the past year, according to regulators, far more than previously known and providing concrete evidence regarding the real-world performance of its futuristic features.
The numbers, which were published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the first time Wednesday, show that Tesla vehicles made up nearly 70 percent of the 392 crashes involving advanced driver-assistance systems reported since last July, and a majority of the fatalities and serious injuries — some of which date back further than a year. Eight of the Tesla crashes took place before June 2021, according to data released by NHTSA on Wednesday morning.
Previously, NHTSA said it had probed 42 crashes potentially involving driver assistance, 35 of which included Tesla vehicles, in a more limited data set that stretched back to 2016.
Of the six fatalities listed in the data set published Wednesday, five were tied to Tesla vehicles — including a July 2021 crash involving a pedestrian in Flushing, Queens, and a fatal crash in March in Castro Valley, Calif. Some dated as far back as 2019.
Author(s): Faiz Siddiqui, Rachel Lerman and Jeremy B. Merrill
Today, as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s efforts to increase roadway safety and encourage innovation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published the initial round of data it has collected through its Standing General Order issued last year and initial accompanying reports summarizing this data.
The SAE Level 2 advanced driver assistance systems summary report is available here, while the SAE Levels 3-5 automated driving systems summary report is available here. Going forward, NHTSA will release data updates monthly.
These data reflect a set of crashes that automakers and operators reported to NHTSA from the time the Standing General Order was issued last June. While not comprehensive, the data are important and provide NHTSA with immediate information about crashes that occur with vehicles that have various levels of automated systems deployed at least 30 seconds before the crash occurred.
“The data released today are part of our commitment to transparency, accountability and public safety,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Administrator. “New vehicle technologies have the potential to help prevent crashes, reduce crash severity and save lives, and the Department is interested in fostering technologies that are proven to do so; collecting this data is an important step in that effort. As we gather more data, NHTSA will be able to better identify any emerging risks or trends and learn more about how these technologies are performing in the real world.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released its early estimate of traffic fatalities for 2021. NHTSA projects that an estimated 42,915 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes last year, a 10.5% increase from the 38,824 fatalities in 2020. The projection is the highest number of fatalities since 2005 and the largest annual percentage increase in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System’s history. Behind each of these numbers is a life tragically lost, and a family left behind.
“We face a crisis on America’s roadways that we must address together,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “With our National Roadway Safety Strategy and the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are taking critical steps to help reverse this devastating trend and save lives on our roadways.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law places a strong emphasis on improving safety and includes the new Safe Streets and Roads for All program, which opened its first round of applications just this week. The program, the first of its kind, invests up to $6 billion over five years to fund local efforts to reduce roadway crashes and fatalities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law now being implemented also advances Complete Streets policies and standards; requires updates to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which defines speeds, lane markings, traffic lights and more on most roads in the country; and sharply increases funding for the Highway Safety Improvement Program, which helps states adopt data-driven approaches to making roads safer.
There was the good news from before the pandemic: the accidental death rate had come way, way down. That was mostly due to improved traffic safety. (Not reduced drug ODs, alas)
In the pandemic, both increased motor vehicle deaths and drug overdoses has pushed up the accidental death rate for teens to increase to levels seen a decade ago.
But there was a bad pre-pandemic trend: suicide rates had increased from 2007 to 2018 — increasing a total of 120% over that period. That was hideous.
It seemed to have reversed in 2019, and come down during the pandemic. The suicide trends in the pandemic really made no sense to anybody, but perhaps the increased drug ODs were actually suicides.
Homicides didn’t have a steady trend before the pandemic, but has definitely had a bad trend during the pandemic. Homicide death rates for teens increased over 50% from 2019 to 2021.
One observation: suicide and homicide death rates used to be about the same for teens in the early 2000s, and then with the bad suicide trend, suicide ranked higher. Even with the increase in homicide rates, suicide still ranks higher.
This study tested the hypothesis that seat belt usage is related to driver risk taking in car-following behavior. Individual vehicles on a Detroit area freeway were monitored to identify seat belt users and nonusers. Headways between successive vehicles in the traffic stream were also measured to provide a behavioral indicator of driver risk taking. Results showed that nonusers of seat belts tended to follow other vehicles closer than did users. Users were also less likely than nonusers to follow other vehicles at very short headways (one second or less). The implications of these findings for occupant safety in rear end collisions are discussed.
Author(s): Buseck, Calvin R. von, Leonard Evans, Donald E. Schmidt, and Paul Wasielewski
Publication Date: 1980
Publication Site: jstor, originally published in SAE Transactions, vol 89
von Buseck, Calvin R., et al. “Seat Belt Usage and Risk Taking in Driving Behavior.” SAE Transactions, vol. 89, 1980, pp. 1529–33. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/44633774. Accessed 21 May 2022.
Motor vehicle fatalities in Connecticut have risen dramatically since the pandemic, echoing a trend that we’ve seen across the country. About 300 people are killed annually on Connecticut’s streets by motor vehicles, and about 100 times as many people (roughly 30,000) suffer injuries severe ePnough to warrant hospital admission.
Nationally, these figures are roughly 40,000 deaths and 3.4 million injuries per year. The U.S. is an outlier among developed countries in the number of deaths that we tolerate on our roads, with a death rate 2 to 3 times that of similarly wealthy countries. The human cost of this carnage leaves no one untouched: almost everyone knows at least one person killed by a vehicle, not to mention millions of others who suffer from life-altering consequences like paralysis and traumatic brain injuries.
If we truly care about saving lives and preventing injuries, we need to change the mindset by which we view the act of driving.
For 2021, the worst relative increase in mortality, compared to 2019, was for ages 30-44.
[I have called it the Millennial Massacre, but it obviously overlaps with Gen X…. and Middle Age Massacre doesn’t exactly work, either. Dang the allure of alliteration].
We will see in a moment that most of that mortality increase didn’t come from COVID.
If you look at overall mortality, obviously total mortality for this age group is much lower than for those much older.
A 5% increase in mortality for those aged 85+ will translate to a much larger number of deaths, but a 50% increase in mortality for those aged 40-44 is extremely worrisome to actuaries and insurers even if the absolute number of deaths is lower in impact. We’re setting reserves and expectations based on certain assumptions, and we’re generally not assuming fluctuations of 50% — that’s just nuts compared to our historical experience…..
The rates are per 100,000 people for the year, but the point is who has the highest, and we see that the answer is:
For 2019: age 85+
For 2020: age 20-24
I threw in the age 15-19 group as ringers, by the way. When we get to all the age groups, they’re not even #4 in the ranking.
Just in that little table, you can see that the rates went up for the youngsters and dropped for the seniors. Think about why that might be.
As noted in my polling question, I’m not adjusting for the number of miles driven, and I’m not going to dig for that data now. But would you like to make some assumptions about the driving habits of these different groups? Especially during the pandemic?
John Hancock and Allstate have announced a partnership to reward John Hancock Vitality members with points for safe driving. The partnership is the first of its kind, and comes in response to an increase in vehicle crash-related injuries. Customers will benefit from understanding how their choices, including driving behavior, impact their overall health, John Hancock believes.
The Vitality Program, which combines life insurance with education, incentives and rewards to help members lead healthier, longer lives, will allow members to submit proof of safe driving status in Allstate’s usage-based insurance program through a cashback reward email or by submitting a recent bill to show a safe-driving discount.
Per capita vehicle deaths rose 17.5 percent from the summer of 2019 to last summer, according to a Times analysis of federal data. It is the largest two-year increase since just after World War II.
Rising drug abuse during the pandemic seems to play an important role, as well. The U.S. Department of Transportation has reported that “the proportion of drivers testing positive for opioids nearly doubled after mid-March 2020, compared to the previous 6 months, while marijuana prevalence increased by about 50 percent.” (Mid-March 2020 is when major Covid mitigations began.)
Vehicle crashes might seem like an equal-opportunity public health problem, spanning racial and economic groups. Americans use the same highways, after all, and everybody is vulnerable to serious accidents. But they are not equally vulnerable.
Traffic fatalities are much more common in low-income neighborhoods and among Native and Black Americans, government data shows. Fatalities are less common among Asian Americans. (The evidence about Latinos is mixed.) There are multiple reasons, including socioeconomic differences in vehicle quality, road conditions, substance abuse and availability of crosswalks.
The number of U.S. traffic deaths surged in the first nine months of 2021 to 31,720, the government reported Tuesday, keeping up a record pace of increased dangerous driving during the coronavirus pandemic.
The estimated figure of people dying in motor vehicle crashes from January to September 2021 was 12% higher than the same period in 2020. That represents the highest percentage increase over a nine-month period since the Transportation Department began recording fatal crash data in 1975.
The tally of 31,720 deaths was the highest nine-month figure since 2006.
Federal data from the department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that traffic fatalities increased during the nine-month period in 38 states, led by those in the West and South such as Idaho, Nevada and Texas, and was flat in two states. The numbers declined in 10 states and the District of Columbia.