US road deficiencies to blame for over 50% of crashes

Blind_Io

"Be The Match" Registered
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Messages
23,428
Location
Utah, Banana Republic
Car(s)
06 XTerra, '00 VFR800, '11 Multistrada, Yamaha R6
http://www.autoblog.com/2009/07/02/study-majority-of-highway-fatalities-caused-by-deficient-road-c/

What would you think to be the leading contributor to fatalities in car crashes here in the States? Failure to use seat belts? Speeding? Drunk driving? Think again. According to a new study commissioned by Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), the leading cause of highway fatalities is deficient road conditions. In fact, the study asserts, with a roadway-related crash occurring every minute on American streets, inadequate roadway infrastructure is responsible for the majority of highway fatalities in the United States and over a third of injuries incurred in non-fatal crashes as well.

Given the state of many roadways, you might think that the situation ? like America's road network ? is beyond repair. However, the study, entitled "On a Crash Course: The Dangers and Health Costs of Deficient Roadways," assesses the financial cost alone of crashes caused by these substandard roadways ? as a whopping $217 billion annually, including medical bills, loss of productivity and property damage. That's more than three-and-a-half times the $59 billion which local, state and federal governments in the United States invest in improving America's roadways. PIRE's solution? Improving road conditions, of course, including better signage and markings, widening shoulders and removing obstacles from roadsides. Follow the jump to read more on PIRE's findings and suggested solutions for what it deems is one of the largest killers in America.

[Source: Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation | Image: STR/AFP/Getty]
PRESS RELEASE

More than Half of Highway Fatalities Are Related to Deficient Roadway Conditions
New Study Shows More Forgiving Roads Would Save Lives and Cut Costs; Health Experts & Transportation Leaders Urge Congressional Action

WASHINGTON, July 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than half of U.S. highway fatalities are related to deficient roadway conditions - a substantially more lethal factor than drunk driving, speeding or non-use of safety belts - according to a landmark study released today. Ten roadway-related crashes occur every minute (5.3 million a year) and also contribute to 38 percent of non-fatal injuries, the report found.

In revealing that deficiencies in the roadway environment contributed to more than 22,000 fatalities and cost the nation more than $217 billion annually, the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) concluded that making the roadway environment more protective and forgiving is essential to reducing highway fatalities and costs.

"If we put as much focus on improving road safety conditions as we do in urging people not to drink and drive, we'd save thousands of lives and billions of dollars every year," principal study author Dr. Ted Miller said. Miller, an internationally-recognized safety economist with PIRE added, "Safer drivers and safer cars remain vitally important, but safer roadways are critical to saving lives, preventing injuries and reducing costs."

Titled "On a Crash Course: The Dangers and Health Costs of Deficient Roadways," the study found the $217 billion cost of deficient roadway conditions dwarfs the costs of other safety factors, including: $130 billion for alcohol, $97 billion for speeding, or $60 billion for failing to wear a safety belt. Indeed, the $217 billion figure is more than three-and-one-half times the amount of money government at all levels is investing annually in roadway capital improvements - $59 billion, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

The report concluded that roadway related crashes impose $20 billion in medical costs; $46 billion in productivity costs; $52 billion in property damage and other resource costs; and $99 billion in quality of life costs which measure the value of pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life by those injured or killed in crashes and their families. The report also found that crashes linked to road conditions cost American businesses an estimated $22 billion at a time when many firms are struggling. According to the report, crashes linked to road conditions cost taxpayers over $12 billion every year.

"Recent concerns about swine flu pale in comparison to the number of crash victims I treat," said Dr. Jared Goldberg, an emergency room physician in Alexandria, VA. "In medical terms, highway fatalities and injuries have reached epidemic proportions, and efforts to prevent further spread of this plague are essential. In the absence of a true vaccine to defend ourselves, fixing dangerous roads would help prevent traffic crashes from occurring in the first place."

On a Crash Course identifies ways transportation officials can improve road conditions to save lives and reduce injuries. For example, immediate solutions for problem spots include: replacing non-forgiving poles with breakaway poles, using brighter and more durable pavement markings, adding rumble strips to shoulders, mounting more guardrails or safety barriers, and installing better signs with easier-to-read legends. The report also suggested more significant road improvements, including: adding or widening shoulders, improving roadway alignment, replacing or widening narrow bridges, reducing pavement edges and abrupt drop offs, and clearing more space adjacent to roadways.

"Although behavioral factors are involved in most crashes, avoiding those crashes through driver improvement requires reaching millions of individuals and getting them to sustain best safety practices," continued Miller. "It is far more practical to make the roadway environment more forgiving and protective."

The report also analyzed crash costs on a state-by-state basis. The 10 states with the:

-- Highest total cost from crashes involving deficient road conditions
are (alphabetically): Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois,
New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.
-- Highest road-related crash costs per million vehicle miles of travel
are: Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana,
Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

-- Highest road-related crash costs per mile of road are: California,
Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland,
Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and South Carolina.


PIRE is a leading independent transportation safety research organization. It has conducted research for a range of organizations, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, National Safety Council and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Drawing upon the most recent available data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, PIRE employed analytic modeling methods to evaluate the causes and costs of U.S. motor vehicle crashes in preparing On a Crash Course.

PIRE conducted the study on behalf of the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC), which hosts the full report, complete state-by-state data and other research findings at www.transportationconstructioncoalition.org. TCC members are calling on Congress to provide significant, dedicated funding for roadway safety improvements and to develop programs that encourage states to invest even more. The federal law that governs transportation funding will expire this fall, and congressional committees are now in the process of drafting successor legislation.

About the Authors

Ted R. Miller, Ph.D., Regional Science (economics); M. City Planning and M.S., Operations Research, Principal Research Scientist

Dr. Miller is an internationally recognized safety economist, who has led more than 150 studies and authored more than 200 scholarly papers. He is a leading expert on injury incidence, costs and consequences, as well as substance abuse costs. His cost estimates are used by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Justice Department and several foreign governments. He has estimated benefit-cost ratios for more than 125 health and safety measures. He is a Fellow with the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine and has received several national awards for his work.

Eduard Zaloshnja, Ph.D., Applied Economics
Research Scientist


Dr. Zaloshnja has a background in applied economics and econometrics, specializing in safety/substance abuse issues. At PIRE, he has estimated U.S. highway crash and bus and truck crash costs, as well as the costs of crashes to employers and the frequency and costs of traumatic brain injuries. He also has conducted effectiveness and benefit-cost analyses of diverse crash safety countermeasures including safety belts, child safety seats, booster seats, red light cameras, cattle guards, and streetlights. Currently, Dr. Zaloshnja is investigating how often people become Medicaid recipients in order to pay their medical bills following catastrophic injuries.

About PIRE

The Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) is a non-profit public health research organization. For more than 30 years, PIRE has studied transportation safety, doing groundbreaking work on issues related to driver behavior, including studies of safety belt use, driver distraction, hazard perception, aggressive driving, cell phone use, and fatigue. PIRE has been an international leader and made seminal contributions in research to understand and prevent impaired driving and reduce harm consequent to it. PIRE has conducted transportation safety research for, among others, the Federal Highway Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, National Safety Council, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). More at www.pire.org.

About TCC

The Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) includes 28 national groups - representing contractors, engineers, manufacturers, suppliers and labor unions - with a collective interest in federal transportation policy and funding. More at www.transportationconstructioncoalition.org.
Source: Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE)
Maybe this new study will get some of the hazards that affect motorcycles taken care of. I especially like clearing hazards from the road side and widening shoulders.
 
Last edited:

Whappeh

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2006
Messages
2,657
Location
Seattle, WA
Car(s)
05 Nissan Xterra 4x4
I-4 locally here in Central Florida is AWFUL in terms of upkeep. Wouldn't surprise me if this was a result of 80%+ of local crashes.
 

Karoug

Techno Viking
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Messages
6,478
Location
Sweden
Car(s)
Scooter power!!
There was an article in some magazine here where it said that the number of deaths in traffic could be reduced with 50%, if all roads were built and maintained properly..
 

katwalk

Forum Addict
Joined
Apr 1, 2008
Messages
10,342
Car(s)
2003 VW Beetle, 2017 Abarth Fiat 500c
-- Highest road-related crash costs per mile of road are: California,
Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland,
Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and South Carolina.


We have TRIANGULAR round abouts. WHAT
Also so many potholes it's like driving over endless speed bumps. I hit one that was hiding in a puddle today and the car made a horrible noise. Poor baby car. :(
 

Blind_Io

"Be The Match" Registered
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Messages
23,428
Location
Utah, Banana Republic
Car(s)
06 XTerra, '00 VFR800, '11 Multistrada, Yamaha R6
What gets me is that there are so few states in the snow belt listed. (They are listed in the cost/mile of road, but they are all back east with small states and more people.) Here in Salt Lake City, we pass through the freezing point more than any other city in North America; we can have 4 or more freeze-thaw cycles per day at some times of the year. It plays hell with our roadways and massive holes can open in a matter of hours. A few weeks ago we had some rainstorms so large that the run off in the gutters tore out major sections of asphalt and lifted man-hole-covers out of the road.

Utah is also the home to massive SUVs, big off road tires, snow plows scraping along the road, and studded snow tires. One of the major industries in the Salt Lake area is quarrying and huge gravel-spewing trucks trundle over our surface streets and highways every day. Yet somehow UDOT seems to keep it all together as fast as it falls apart.

EDIT: This isn't complaining about the local roads. I'm just marveling at the fact we have so many more destructive influences than places like Florida but our DOT manages to keep the roads in fairly good shape.

After that big storm that tore up a bunch of asphalt we had repair crews up the next day!
 
Last edited:

BlaRo

Little Nudger
Joined
Aug 18, 2005
Messages
18,173
Location
Brooklyn
Car(s)
Moto Guzzi V7 Special, Saab 900 Turbo
This thread has now turned into "complain about the roads in your area" thread.

I'll continue: MA and Syracuse both have massive, wishbone-crunching potholes, but it's even more fun when the state of MA likes to strip asphalt off their highways then proceed to take 20,000 years to repave the damn things. "MOTORCYCLES USE CAUTION," indeed. <_<
 

darkshark0159

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2007
Messages
1,903
Location
Guildford, Surrey, Yoo Kay
Car(s)
Mercedes-Benz C240 W203, British Rail Class 450
I am not surprised. US roads are in most places are in poor condition. I spend a lot more time navigating ruts and potholes than anything else.
 
Joined
Dec 9, 2003
Messages
4,905
Location
Decorah, IA
Car(s)
2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STI (USDM)
I love how so many of these types of studies or articles quoting these studies confuse "the main cause" with "a contributing factor".
This article seems to use "leading contributor" and "leading cause".
Sure it may lead in frequency as a contributor, but that is not the same as the leading "main cause", not does "leading contributor" say much about how significant those contributions are.

For example if someone was speeding a bit, drops a wheel off the edge off the road, and smashes in to a non-breakaway pole.
You'll find plenty of studies that will list speeding or the road condition as "the cause", but to me those are the lesser contributing factors.
Not paying attention (or plain incompetence) is what I would consider "the cause" in that example.
Personally, I would expect the lack of attention or distraction to be a contender for the leading cause of traffic accidents judging by the driving behavior I see on the road.
That sort of thing however, is usually ignored by studies, legislators, law enforcement and safe driving campaigns.

I can understand that road deficiencies would be a frequent contributor in the severity of the crash, but I doubt that it would be the initiating ( or main) cause all that often.
Having said that, it still wouldn't hurt to improve roads a bit.
 

phuckingduck

is awesome!
Joined
Mar 1, 2007
Messages
3,018
Location
Seattle, WA, USA
Car(s)
'03 Volvo S60 AWD
Lighting, signage, and yeah, pothole repair. Up here it's rain water that screws up our roads, and it does a damn good job. When you get into the country or up in the mountains the roads are poorly maintained, have no signs, and definitely no lights. Fun times!
 

Firecat

Politically Charged
Joined
Mar 23, 2005
Messages
5,730
I-4 locally here in Central Florida is AWFUL in terms of upkeep. Wouldn't surprise me if this was a result of 80%+ of local crashes.

Traffic sucks on I-4 as well, thankfully I have some have alternative routes to get home/work whenever I see it backed up. In general, the roads in Central Florida are all in terrible condition (with a few exceptions). I think the government just likes paying over and over for fixing the same roads over and over again.
 
Last edited:

jetsetter

Forum Addict
Joined
Dec 11, 2005
Messages
7,257
Location
Seren?sima Rep?blica de California
Car(s)
1997 BMW 528i
Human error is to blame for 99.9999% of crashes. It is best to take these kinds of reports with a grain of salt.
 

Crazyjeeper

NickGyver
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
Messages
8,014
Location
Dallas, TX
Car(s)
F150, CJ7, Mustang GT, Tenere, Griso
The roads in Texas aren't that bad for the most part. I drove from San Antonio to Dallas today, and about 85% of the trip was over nice smooth pavement, and the bits that were bad were under construction for the most part.
 

corradoboy

Active Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2008
Messages
301
Location
Just beyond the limits of adhesion
Car(s)
Fabia vRS (180bhp/312lbft)
Human error is to blame for 99.9999% of crashes. It is best to take these kinds of reports with a grain of salt.

In Britain 4000% of all road accidents, and most other unrelated accidents, as well as climate change, global warming, Michael Jackson's death and the extinction of the dinosaurs are blamed on speeding.

In reality, half of all road deaths involve pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. Bikers tend to kill themselves through stupidity or lack of talent. Cyclists are mostly kids, and in the UK we don't require anyone to learn the rules of the road until swotting up for their driving test at 17+, so they tit about on the roads like it's a playground and car drivers get blamed when they get killed. It's the same with pedestrians, whereby 80% of KSI's involving pedestrians find the pedestrian stepping voluntarily into the path of flowing traffic, whether drunk, uneducated or stupid, but the car driver always gets blamed. In the US I believe you have the 'jay-walking' law, but we don't. It has been stated that in over 90% of pedestrian KSI's, the pedestrian is within 100 metres of a proper crossing, but NOT actually using it !

As a result of government manipulation of both the statistics and the media, we have a widespread common public misconception that speed is the biggest demon facing mankind in the UK, and that all our social ills would be solved if everyone drove at 2mph, or not at all. If only we taught our 'Highway Code' in schools, made the 'Cycling Proficiency Test' compulsory for children to be allowed to use roads with a limit higher than 30mph and enforced more traffic laws than just speeding, we might see some reduction in road deaths. Our roads are actually very safe compared to a great many places in the world, but new policies based on truth and fact, and realistic statistics, to generate a population of considerate and educated road users of whichever kind, pedestrian, cyclist, biker or driver, instead of fiscal penalties targeting one offense which in truth isn't the root cause of the problem. Before the politicians massaged the figures it was stated that speed caused less than 7% of road accidents.

BOT - The UK roads are in a dire state of repair too. Our government collects in excess of ?50bn ($81bn) in vehicle related taxes, with less than 10% of that being directed back into the road infrastructure. I myself have had to take legal action to recover costs for damage caused to a vehicle on unmaintained roads, so it isn't just the USA's problem.
 

Quadrax

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Messages
1,226
Location
Adelaide, Australia
Car(s)
Jap crap
In Britain 4000% of all road accidents, and most other unrelated accidents, as well as climate change, global warming, Michael Jackson's death and the extinction of the dinosaurs are blamed on speeding.

:lol:

Everything in your post also applies to Australia. It's getting ridiculous.

First of all the government will always twist the situation so that it is 100% the drivers fault for all accidents. That way they can claim 0 responsibilty and get the traffic police on tv saying "If people stopped driving like idiots on the road then we would have less accidents."

No shit sherlock!

All government road safety plans go like this:
1. Blame drivers for all accidents
2. Introduce stupid new laws to penalise drivers for increasingly trivial offences.
3. Fine the hell out of drivers.
4. But accidents still keep happening...
5. ???
6. Profit.

They say speeding is the problem so they bring in new laws and penalties which does not help. Because if people are speeding then technically they are already breaking existing road laws, so how do more laws help that problem?

Then they take all the police away from the real crime because they are too busy pulling over teenage drivers for having their subwoofers too loud and other such crimes againts humanity.

Bah. I was thinking about starting another thread about this kind of shit anyway.
 

Aircooled

Active Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2007
Messages
252
Car(s)
00' Jeep Cherokee
I can believe it. Driving through Southern California about a year back it took 5mm of my front swaybar with it. This is due to the sudden disappearing of the road and compression of my suspension when it finally returned. I swear there are entire lanes with chunks of road missing. Cool thing is this was at night so it made for a pretty neat spark show out the back of the car.
 

Whappeh

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2006
Messages
2,657
Location
Seattle, WA
Car(s)
05 Nissan Xterra 4x4
Traffic sucks on I-4 as well, thankfully I have some have alternative routes to get home/work whenever I see it backed up. In general, the roads in Central Florida are all in terrible condition (with a few exceptions). I think the government just likes paying over and over for fixing the same roads over and over again.

Very true. 429 is the best road in Orlando, imo. The rest are shit.
 

wooflepoof

WoofleDay
Joined
Jul 18, 2005
Messages
5,050
Location
Los Angeles
Car(s)
Genesis Sedan 3.8
The roads in Texas aren't that bad for the most part. I drove from San Antonio to Dallas today, and about 85% of the trip was over nice smooth pavement, and the bits that were bad were under construction for the most part.

Most of Texas doesn't actually go through the freeze thaw cycle as much as you'd think, funnily enough.

And SAtown is neaing the end of a massive re-awesomeate the roads project. I came back for Xmas vacation a couple years ago and my entire street had been repaved :)
 

Momentum57

worships the 2010 Prius like a god
DONOR
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
4,334
Location
Denver, CO
Car(s)
It's A HONDA! Clarity Plug In Electric
This thread has now turned into "complain about the roads in your area" thread.

I'll continue: MA and Syracuse both have massive, wishbone-crunching potholes, but it's even more fun when the state of MA likes to strip asphalt off their highways then proceed to take 20,000 years to repave the damn things. "MOTORCYCLES USE CAUTION," indeed. <_<

Syracuse has mother potholes but Massachusetts just gave up. There is no contest that the NY State Thruway is a ribbon of silk compared to the MassPike. That said the roads are shit just drive faster an maybe when the accident happens you die instantly. Just remember them not fixing the road is a way to slow you down. If the put speed bumps people would be pissed so the don't fix the roads. Thats why I tie anvils to my bumper and drive at 110.
 

Rokovak

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Messages
775
Location
NOVA
Car(s)
2016 Cadillac ATS
Crashes from shitty roads, never would've guessed that. :lol: It strikes me as a little bit ironic, really. The U.S. is supposedly the richest nation on Earth, with our "highest standard of living" and all that happy hogwash. Too bad you'd never know it by our perpetually crumbling road system. If America is so blasted rich, then that just begs the question. Where in Sam Hell is all the money at?

I think more states need to hop on board with rubberized asphalt. I'm sure it's not perfect since all rubber rots away eventually, but it's got to be better than then the delicate crumbling garbage most governments are using now.
 

freeferrarisdonotexist

I'm not stupid - I'm British!
Joined
Nov 4, 2008
Messages
1,143
Location
Somewhere in the South of England, UK.
Car(s)
Yamaha YBR125 (touring), FG 29er touring bike
In Britain 4000% of all road accidents, and most other unrelated accidents, as well as climate change, global warming, Michael Jackson's death and the extinction of the dinosaurs are blamed on speeding.

In reality, half of all road deaths involve pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. Bikers tend to kill themselves through stupidity or lack of talent. Cyclists are mostly kids, and in the UK we don't require anyone to learn the rules of the road until swotting up for their driving test at 17+, so they tit about on the roads like it's a playground and car drivers get blamed when they get killed. It's the same with pedestrians, whereby 80% of KSI's involving pedestrians find the pedestrian stepping voluntarily into the path of flowing traffic, whether drunk, uneducated or stupid, but the car driver always gets blamed. In the US I believe you have the 'jay-walking' law, but we don't. It has been stated that in over 90% of pedestrian KSI's, the pedestrian is within 100 metres of a proper crossing, but NOT actually using it !

As a result of government manipulation of both the statistics and the media, we have a widespread common public misconception that speed is the biggest demon facing mankind in the UK, and that all our social ills would be solved if everyone drove at 2mph, or not at all. If only we taught our 'Highway Code' in schools, made the 'Cycling Proficiency Test' compulsory for children to be allowed to use roads with a limit higher than 30mph and enforced more traffic laws than just speeding, we might see some reduction in road deaths. Our roads are actually very safe compared to a great many places in the world, but new policies based on truth and fact, and realistic statistics, to generate a population of considerate and educated road users of whichever kind, pedestrian, cyclist, biker or driver, instead of fiscal penalties targeting one offense which in truth isn't the root cause of the problem. Before the politicians massaged the figures it was stated that speed caused less than 7% of road accidents.

BOT - The UK roads are in a dire state of repair too. Our government collects in excess of ?50bn ($81bn) in vehicle related taxes, with less than 10% of that being directed back into the road infrastructure. I myself have had to take legal action to recover costs for damage caused to a vehicle on unmaintained roads, so it isn't just the USA's problem.

I agree with most of your post- but- while some motorcyclists (mostly "hooligan bikers" are killed by their own fault many others are not. I have been a responsible rider since 17 and I can't tell you how many times people have not paid attention or whatever other excuse they use and almost killed me. Cyclists however are a problem, even on my Yamaha I have almost run them over when they dash out into the street- many of them children.
 
Top