Allstate, John Hancock partner on safe driving for Vitality points

Link: https://www.dig-in.com/news/allstate-and-john-hancock-partner-safe-driving-telematics

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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.

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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.

Motor vehicle deaths in the U.S. rose 18.4% in the first six months of 2021 over 2020, according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. An estimated 20,160 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the first half of 2021, the largest number of projected fatalities since the same period in 2006. Research into driving behavior from March 2020 through June 2021, shows that speeding and traveling without a seatbelt remain higher than pre-pandemic times, according to findings from NHTSA.

Author(s): Kaitlyn Mattson

Publication Date: 24 January 2022

Publication Site: Digital Insurance

Study: Fewer crashes after Utah sets strictest DUI law in US

Link: https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/ap-online/2022/02/11/study-fewer-crashes-after-utah-set-strictest-dui-law-in-us

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Traffic deaths decreased in Utah after the state enacted the strictest drunken driving laws in the nation five years ago, new research published Friday by a U.S. government agency shows.

The findings, which pertain to fatalities involving and not involving alcohol, provide initial validation for conservative lawmakers who passed the law over concerns from restaurant and tourism industry lobbyists.

In the study published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, researchers wrote that, in the years after Utah changed the drunken driving threshold from .08% to .05% blood-alcohol content, the number of crashes and fatalities fell even though drivers logged more miles.

“Changing the law to .05% in Utah saved lives and motivated more drivers to take steps to avoid driving impaired,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, the agency’s deputy administrator.

The findings mark a triumph for Utah’s Republican-controlled Legislature, which voted to decrease the legal limit in 2017 over concerns that it would discourage prospective new residents and tourists.

They and other opponents argued it would be ineffective and cement Utah’s pious reputation at the expense of the growing number of visitors and residents who aren’t part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Utah, where about 60% of the population are members of the faith, has long enforced some of the nation’s strictest liquor laws.

Author(s): Associated Press

Publication Date: 11 Feb 2022

Publication Site: NY1

Vehicle Crashes, Surging

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/15/briefing/vehicle-crashes-deaths-pandemic.html

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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.

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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.)

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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.

Author(s): David Leonhardt

Publication Date: 15 Feb 2022

Publication Site: NYT

US road deaths rise at record pace as risky driving persists

Link: https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-business-health-transportation-pete-buttigieg-a16719e38d72f68e338030103e924cf0

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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.

Author(s): Hope Yen

Publication Date: 1 Feb 2022

Publication Site: Associated Press

NHTSA Data Estimates Indicate Traffic Fatalities Continued to Rise at Record Pace in First Nine Months of 2021

Link:https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/traffic-fatalities-estimates-jan-sept-2021

PDF: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/813240

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its early estimate of traffic fatalities for the first nine months of 2021.

NHTSA projects that an estimated 31,720 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes from January through September 2021, an increase of approximately 12% from the 28,325 fatalities projected for the first nine months of 2020. The projection is the highest number of fatalities during the first nine months of any year since 2006 and the highest percentage increase during the first nine months in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System’s history.

The new estimates come days after the U.S. Department of Transportation released the federal government’s first-ever National Roadway Safety Strategy, a roadmap to address the national crisis in roadway fatalities and serious injuries.

Publication Date: 1 Feb 2022

Publication Site: NHTSA

Update to Special Reports on Traffic Safety During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Fourth Quarter Data

Link: https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.gov/files/2021-06/Update_Traffic%20Safety%20During%20COVID-19_4thQtr-060121-web.pdf

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The NEMSIS data include metrics on crash severity. For people treated at the scenes of motor vehicle crashes, EMS professionals use an injury scoring system called the Revised Trauma Score (RTS) to determine the level of care needed to save the lives of the injured. Under
RTS, patients who present with a probability of survival of 36.1% or less are considered severely injured and are often transported to Level 1 or Level 2 trauma centers that provide higher levels of critical care to the most severely injured. Figure 4 shows the percentage of
patients in crashes whose probability of survival was in this range for 2019 and 2020. Beginning in Week 12 of 2020, the percentage of those injured with a probability of survival of 36.1% or less never dropped below 1%, suggesting an increase in the severity of crashes.

Publication Date: June 2021

Publication Site: NHTSA

Early Estimates of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities and Fatality Rate by Sub-Categories in 2020

Link: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/813118

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Total fatality rate per 100 million VMT [vehicle miles traveled] is broken down by roadway function class: rural versus urban interstate, arterial, local/collector/street. The results shown in Figure 2 indicate that the increased trend of the total fatality rate per 100 million VMT from March to December 2020, was mainly driven by the fatality rate per 100 million VMT on the rural local/collector/street, rural and urban arterial roadways.

Publication Date: May 2021

Publication Site: NHTSA

2020 Fatality Data Show Increased Traffic Fatalities During Pandemic

Link: https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/2020-fatality-data-show-increased-traffic-fatalities-during-pandemic

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Preliminary finding show that traffic fatalities rose in most major categories over 2019: 

Passenger vehicle occupants (23,395, up 5%)

Pedestrians (6,205, flat from 2019)

Motorcyclists (5,015, up 9%)

Pedalcyclists (people on bikes) (846, up 5%)

Crash factors and demographics reviewed by NHTSA that showed the largest increases in 2020 as compared to 2019 included: 

non-Hispanic Black people (up 23%); 

occupant ejection (up 20%);

unrestrained occupants of passenger vehicles (up 15%);

on urban interstates (up 15%);

on urban local/collector roads (up 12%);

in speeding-related crashes (up 11%);

on rural local/collector roads (up 11%); 

during nighttime (up 11%); 

during the weekend (up 9%); 

in rollover crashes (up 9%); 

in single-vehicle crashes (up 9%) and; 

in police-reported alcohol involvement crashes (up 9%).

There are a few categories that are projected to have decreases in fatalities in 2020. Fatalities in crashes involving a large truck (commercial or non-commercial use) are projected to decline marginally (down 2%).  Fatalities among older persons (65+ years of age) are projected to decline by about 9 percent.

Publication Date: 3 June 2021

Publication Site: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Update to Special Reports on Traffic Safety During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Third Quarter Data

Link: https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/documents/traffic_safety_during_covid19_01062021_0.pdf

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To a large extent, the risky traffic safety behaviors observed in Q2 continued in Q3. Frequency of triptaking continued to be lower, and a greater percentage of people stayed home in Q3 2020 compared to Q\3 2019. Ejection rates remained elevated compared to the same period a year earlier. New data on seat belt use among seriously injured drivers and passengers suggests that the belt use rate among those in serious crashes decreased in the early phases of the public health emergency at the study sites, but that rate may now be rebounding. The data also suggested that alcohol- and other drug-positive drivers and passengers who were seriously or fatally injured were much less likely to wear a seat belt than their counterparts who tested negative for all the drugs included in the study.

Speed data from the NPMRDS shows higher speeds in urban roadways across roadway types in Q3 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Further, the greater speed dispersion in rural areas observed in Q2 continued in Q3 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

Regarding alcohol and other drug prevalence among seriously and fatally injured drivers at the five trauma center study sites, more than 29% in the most recent period (July 19 to September 30) had measurable alcohol in their systems, with over 26% testing positive for the presence of cannabinoids and over 13% positive for opioids. In the same period, the percentage of drivers testing positive for at least one category of drugs remained above 60%, with nearly 25% testing positive for multiple
categories of drugs. These observed increases in alcohol and other drug prevalence relative to before the public health emergency are consistent with the reported data that showed increases in marijuana and alcohol sales and consumption during the public health emergency. Overall, these data sets continue to have great potential to improve our understanding of the prevalence of drugs and alcohol among different types of seriously and fatally injured road users, as well as how prevalence may be changing over time during the public health emergency.

Author(s): Office of Behavioral Safety Research

Publication Date: January 2021

Publication Site: NHTSA

NHTSA Confirms What You And I Already Know, People Are Driving Like Idiots

Link: https://www.autoweek.com/news/industry-news/a34243178/nhtsa-confirms-what-you-and-i-already-know-people-are-driving-like-idiots/

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NHTSA just released some specs. When you look at the second quarter of 2020, the first full quarter of the pandemic, total traffic deaths have decreased by three percent compared to the second quarter of 2019. That translates into 302 fewer fatalities than the same period last year. I’m not discounting that drop, since Each man’s death diminishes me, For I am involved in mankind. However, the traffic volume didn’t drop just three percent, it dropped more than 16 percent. There should have been a lot fewer deaths than there were. The difference is idiots like the one I encountered.

NHTSA said that because traffic volumes decreased more significantly than the number of fatal crashes, the traffic fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles travelled is projected to increase to 1.25 in the first half of 2020, up from 1.06 in the same period in 2019.

Author(s): MARK VAUGHN

Publication Date: 2 October 2020

Publication Site: Autoweek