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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC unless it's a home football game then I'm grilling on Devil's Alley
    Quote Originally Posted by BigWayne View Post
    We have traffic signs in my area that are dark a lot of the time. There is one particular one that will sometimes create a backup if they put the most mundane info, such as drive times to points ahead. There are apparently a lot of people that can't read and drive at the same time.

    If they put an unusual warning like an amber alert or a future road closure, it will always create a backup unless it is an extremely low traffic time.
    My favorites were the ones during the early days of the pandemic.

    "Stay Home"
    Q "Why do you like Duke, you didn't even go there." A "Because my art school didn't have a basketball team."

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Getting back to the OP, I am genuinely curious about how to solve the conundrum posed, namely, how to reduce the size and weight of the average vehicle on American roads. The love of bigger, faster, more aggressive seems to be a deep part of the American culture, and that manifests itself in SUVs and trucks that are much bigger than would seem to be required.

    Personally, our family owns two cars. One is a Prius Prime, which we can drive around bout 90% of the time to run routine local errands using no gasoline at all, and which, if taken on longer trips, gets very nearly double the mileage of our other car. That other car is a minivan, which we own because the full, immediate family is six people, so we need more seating than any sedan can accommodate. Also, I play and occasionally need to haul around large musical instruments, which I can do in all weather more easily with a van than with a truck, and those instruments don't actually fit into most typical SUVs (so in my case, I should just call them SVs).

    But I see an awful lot of single-person commuting by people in SUVs who look like they'd have no trouble getting a smaller, lighter vehicle for daily driving. Yeah, I get that I can't look at any particular person and draw the conclusion that this particular person is driving a vehicle that is in some sense "too large" for that particular trip. But are there really that many well-to-do people out on the road who are making a one-way drive in rush-hour traffic to pick up cargo?

    I have no idea how to change the culture that more is always better. I certainly don't think that there would be many good public policy solutions that could even be tried until the culture itself changes.

  3. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Phredd3 View Post
    I have no idea how to change the culture that more is always better. I certainly don't think that there would be many good public policy solutions that could even be tried until the culture itself changes.
    There is a great video that I mentioned previously that talks about how road barriers stopped killing people. While I think car on car violence is a problem, it's also not the only problem to safer roads. Having roads that themselves kill fewer people is achievable without ever touching the debate on car size. Many fatal accidents are head on. Eliminating many of those and it really doesn't matter about the vehicle size.

    While this is public policy adjacent (please don't hammer me mods) due to the fact that how we build roads is dictated by public policy. The video is purely educational and doesn't delve into any particular argument other than discussing costs and trade offs of various systems, that is cost to build, cost per mile, cost to repair, their effectiveness at keeping the passengers in a car safe (or not) etc. Some of the slow motion shots are really cool.

    Last edited by PackMan97; 04-29-2022 at 11:50 AM.

  4. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    The mod team has made the decision to reopen this thread... but with a stern warning to keep it from being partisan or delving too deeply into public policy.

    Everyone should be aware that if their post gets too acrimonious or goes too far into public policy, they will be hit with a serious infraction without any further warnings.

    Proceed with caution.
    Yay! Thank you, mod people!

  5. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Phredd3 View Post
    Getting back to the OP, I am genuinely curious about how to solve the conundrum posed, namely, how to reduce the size and weight of the average vehicle on American roads. The love of bigger, faster, more aggressive seems to be a deep part of the American culture, and that manifests itself in SUVs and trucks that are much bigger than would seem to be required.

    Personally, our family owns two cars. One is a Prius Prime, which we can drive around bout 90% of the time to run routine local errands using no gasoline at all, and which, if taken on longer trips, gets very nearly double the mileage of our other car. That other car is a minivan, which we own because the full, immediate family is six people, so we need more seating than any sedan can accommodate. Also, I play and occasionally need to haul around large musical instruments, which I can do in all weather more easily with a van than with a truck, and those instruments don't actually fit into most typical SUVs (so in my case, I should just call them SVs).

    But I see an awful lot of single-person commuting by people in SUVs who look like they'd have no trouble getting a smaller, lighter vehicle for daily driving. Yeah, I get that I can't look at any particular person and draw the conclusion that this particular person is driving a vehicle that is in some sense "too large" for that particular trip. But are there really that many well-to-do people out on the road who are making a one-way drive in rush-hour traffic to pick up cargo?

    I have no idea how to change the culture that more is always better. I certainly don't think that there would be many good public policy solutions that could even be tried until the culture itself changes.
    Completely un-acrimoniously I note that I chose an SUV over a car for 3 pragmatic reasons: Number one is safety. That is just physics. I'm a careful driver and I don't think I will hit anyone but I may be hit by a drunk and I want my best chance of survival. Two was that I like being a bit higher up, especially when in traffic. I feel like I can see more. Three was I like to be able to haul around things that are too big to fit in a car. Doesn't happen often but it does happen several times a year.

    The downside of course is fuel consumption. But I bought a hybrid and it gets pretty good mileage (especially in the city where 90% of my travel takes place) so I don't feel that guilty. I'm not a perfect citizen but I'm a pretty responsible one I think. I recycle the hell out of things fwiw!

    Btw I do not come from a more is better POV. Quite the opposite. I grew up in Texas and I always disliked "the bigger the truck/belt buckle/hat the better" mentality. I had friends with pickups that I almost needed a ladder to get in! I thought they looked ridiculous.

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    WA State
    Quote Originally Posted by Phredd3 View Post
    Getting back to the OP, I am genuinely curious about how to solve the conundrum posed, namely, how to reduce the size and weight of the average vehicle on American roads. The love of bigger, faster, more aggressive seems to be a deep part of the American culture, and that manifests itself in SUVs and trucks that are much bigger than would seem to be required.

    Personally, our family owns two cars. One is a Prius Prime, which we can drive around bout 90% of the time to run routine local errands using no gasoline at all, and which, if taken on longer trips, gets very nearly double the mileage of our other car. That other car is a minivan, which we own because the full, immediate family is six people, so we need more seating than any sedan can accommodate. Also, I play and occasionally need to haul around large musical instruments, which I can do in all weather more easily with a van than with a truck, and those instruments don't actually fit into most typical SUVs (so in my case, I should just call them SVs).

    But I see an awful lot of single-person commuting by people in SUVs who look like they'd have no trouble getting a smaller, lighter vehicle for daily driving. Yeah, I get that I can't look at any particular person and draw the conclusion that this particular person is driving a vehicle that is in some sense "too large" for that particular trip. But are there really that many well-to-do people out on the road who are making a one-way drive in rush-hour traffic to pick up cargo?

    I have no idea how to change the culture that more is always better. I certainly don't think that there would be many good public policy solutions that could even be tried until the culture itself changes.
    Interesting. I thought the initial question posed by the OP was how do we reduce vehicle fatalities. The answer to that question might well be to force everyone into vehicles in the light truck category. We would be able to better determine the answer to that if the linked report had stats for passenger-to-passenger collisions, light truck-to-light truck stats, etc. Unfortunately, it does not. Lots of moving parts and we're so far looking at just one.

    Interesting -to me, at least - are some of the other reports at the crash stats site. The one on pedestrian deaths is fascinating as the 2019 data does not match some of the public rhetoric. For example, the pedestrian death rate from passenger vehicles is 1.49x10^-5. The death rate from light trucks, SUVs, etc. is 1.41x10^-5 which is slightly lower. It might not be statistically significant except that it belies the oft-encountered claim that SUVs are much more dangerous than passenger cars.

    For the record, since it seems important to some, I own a 2017 Ram 1500 (129K miles), a 2007 FJ Cruiser (282K), and a 2013 Matrix (108K). My sweetie drives the Matrix while the FJ is my weekend vehicle. A primary characteristic for any vehicle I purchase is the ability to see around or under the rearview mirrors. I am very long-bodied and outside the design parameters for most vehicles, airplane seats, and amusement park rides. YMMV

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    I moved. Now 12 miles from Heaven, 13 from Hell
    Quote Originally Posted by PackMan97 View Post
    There is a great video that I mentioned previously that talks about how road barriers stopped killing people. While I think car on car violence is a problem, it's also not the only problem to safer roads. Having roads that themselves kill fewer people is achievable without ever touching the debate on car size. Many fatal accidents are head on. Eliminating many of those and it really doesn't matter about the vehicle size.

    While this is public policy adjacent (please don't hammer me mods) due to the fact that how we build roads is dictated by public policy. The video is purely educational and doesn't delve into any particular argument other than discussing costs and trade offs of various systems, that is cost to build, cost per mile, cost to repair, their effectiveness at keeping the passengers in a car safe (or not) etc. Some of the slow motion shots are really cool.
    For the most part, the DESIGN of the roads, including safety implementation, is based on standards, not on elected officials' whims. (The type of intersection improvement is too often decided by that, though. I'll go back to roundabouts once more. Way more mis-information used to say no to them than should be based on my very biased opinion regarding them.) The way public policy does influence is the amount of funding available for maintenance and safety improvements.

    I think back to the Princess Diana crash, and had France implemented the US standards for barrier protection at the time (her vehicle ran into bridge supports), she and the other two in the vehicle would have almost definitely survived.

    There is a particular brand of barrier protection that is questionable and is brought up occasionally as to "why haven't you replaced it?" Safety research in NC has indicated that it is still safe, and immediate replacement is not needed (will be replaced on the usual maintenance schedule.)

    Next time you (or anybody else) drives down the interstate, look at how the guardrail connects to bridges. You'll see a relatively seamless connection that will deflect the vehicles back into the roadway. Similarly, the cable guardrail in the middle of grass medians is intended to "catch" vehicles rather than allow them to continue to the wrong side of the road. Do they prevent all crashes? No, there's always an idiot driving way too fast and loses control, and "overpowers" the barrier. There was a crash involving a jackknived truck on I-40 near RDU a while back, the trucker hit the guardrail barrier head-on and went through, and killed at least one driver on the other side when they hit the truck. The barriers cannot prevent all crashes. They're selected based on the cross-section of the freeway and what would work best for that particular design.

    That particular section of I-40 (Wade to I-540) was built on the quick, and is sub-standard regarding lane and median design. However, still "safe" considering that the traffic volumes there are close to the highest in the State (the actual section that's highest is between I-540 and Page Road.)

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    I moved. Now 12 miles from Heaven, 13 from Hell
    Quote Originally Posted by Skydog View Post
    Completely un-acrimoniously I note that I chose an SUV over a car for 3 pragmatic reasons: Number one is safety. That is just physics. I'm a careful driver and I don't think I will hit anyone but I may be hit by a drunk and I want my best chance of survival. Two was that I like being a bit higher up, especially when in traffic. I feel like I can see more. Three was I like to be able to haul around things that are too big to fit in a car. Doesn't happen often but it does happen several times a year.

    The downside of course is fuel consumption. But I bought a hybrid and it gets pretty good mileage (especially in the city where 90% of my travel takes place) so I don't feel that guilty. I'm not a perfect citizen but I'm a pretty responsible one I think. I recycle the hell out of things fwiw!

    Btw I do not come from a more is better POV. Quite the opposite. I grew up in Texas and I always disliked "the bigger the truck/belt buckle/hat the better" mentality. I had friends with pickups that I almost needed a ladder to get in! I thought they looked ridiculous.
    You're not alone, at least regarding SUVs. Aside from the three big pick-up trucks (Ford, Chevy, Ram), the next most popular vehicle in the US is the RAV4. It passed the Camry a few years ago. Honda CR-v is 5th, followed by Camry and Civic.

    Like you, people like sitting a bit higher and more upright. Like me, they like being able to get in and out of the vehicle easier (no way I'd be able to get out of my sister's old '68 Mustang these days! My RAV4 is much easier than my old Camry.)

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Boston area, OK, Newton, right by Heartbreak Hill
    Insurance Institute for Highway Safety studies on pedestrian deaths, a couple of articles from the past 2 years.

    https://www.iihs.org/news/detail/new...ians-than-cars

    https://www.iihs.org/news/detail/suv...-while-turning

  10. #50
    I'm wondering if I might be the only one here who does a mental double-take every time I see the thread title "Vehicle fatality incentives". It just really looks wrong to me.

  11. #51
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    Quote Originally Posted by 75Crazie View Post
    I'm wondering if I might be the only one here who does a mental double-take every time I see the thread title "Vehicle fatality incentives". It just really looks wrong to me.
    I think of this great Robert Earl Keen song, The Armadillo Jackal:



    “They pay two-fifty down in Hallettsville, I ain't the one to blame.”
    Birds aren’t real. Do your own research!

  12. #52
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    About 150 feet in front of the Duke Chapel doors.
    Quote Originally Posted by niveklaen View Post
    The argument about how 'masks don't work' because they don't protect the wearer v 'masks have to be mandatory' because your mask protects everyone around you - got me thinking about a long running issue with auto safety.

    Our system is set up to focus entirely on the safety of the passengers in a car with almost no concern for the passengers of the cars around them.

    This results in vastly more traffic fatalities than we should have. People buy SUVs and other big heavy vehicles 'because they are safe' but these vehicles kill several additional passengers in the cars around them for every one of their own passenger's lives that they save.

    https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api...ication/813152

    p6 money quotes:

    When a passenger car and a light truck hit head-on, an
    occupant was 2.9 to 3.7 times more frequently killed in
    the passenger car than in the light truck. In 2019 the ratio
    was 2.9.

    When the front of a passenger car hit the side of a light
    truck, an occupant was 1.3 to 1.7 times more frequently
    killed in the light truck than in the passenger car. In 2019
    the ratio was 1.6.

    However, when the front of a light truck hit the side of a
    passenger car, an occupant was 13.3 to 22.7 times more
    frequently killed in the passenger car than in the light truck.
    In 2019 the ratio was 19.8.

    Any suggestions on how we could change our rules to reduce this public safety scourge?



    For scale, traffic fatalities are a bit more than 20k a year - a bit more than homicides with guns...

    https://health.ucdavis.edu/what-you-can-do/facts.html


    (Note - my intent is for this to focus on the auto issue - the gun issue would surely devolve into forbidden political territory immediately, but I dont think that there is as much risk of that with the auto issue...)
    While I applaud your tactic of thinking about vehicle safety as more than just safety for the occupants, I think the way you state the information is flawed, and I disagree with your characterization of the situation as a "public safety scourge".

    First, the statistics you quote are about collisions between light trucks and cars, not SUVs and cars. There are a lot of vehicles sold today that are branded as SUVs that are really just crossovers or tall cars. Light truck-based SUVs are relatively rare in comparison. If I'm in a collision between a Mercedes S-class and a Honda CR-V, I wanna be in the Mercedes. So it is mistake to conflate light truck statistics with SUVs.

    Second, you cite traffic fatalities of a bit more than 20K per year, which comes from the NTSB site you posted. The IIHS site I visited (https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality...state-by-state) notes 36,096 deaths in 2019. That number has been relatively constant over the last decade or so. The yearly totals have been between 30K and 40K since 2007, after several decades of reductions. Per capita deaths have declined even faster over the last few decades, but that decline has largely stopped in the last 10-15 years as well. And deaths per mile travelled have also declined over the decades but plateaued more recently. So, there is no crisis here. Any premature death can be considered tragic, but there is no surge in deaths that needs to be addressed.

    Third, of the 36K deaths in 2019, 53% were in single-vehicle crashes. Less than 17,000 deaths were in multiple-vehicle crashes. So, that's where the physics of crashes between small cars and light trucks or light truck-based SUVs becomes relevant. And note that light trucks may save lives in those single-vehicle crashes. The same physics that give trucks a safety advantage over small cars in a collision with each other give the trucks an advantage compared to small cars in a collision with a similar object. (Conversely, trucks don't generally handle as well as cars and are more prone to rollovers, so perhaps the car might avoid a collision that a truck couldn't.)

    So I don't see evidence that there is some crisis here or that light trucks represent a "public safety scourge".

    Further, there is a reason why light trucks like the Ford F-150 and the Chevy Silverado are consistently among the most popular vehicle models sold - they're extraordinarily flexible and useful for a large variety of folks. While it may be hard to see why a single person commuting to a suburb job needs to drive a pickup to do so, you don't know what that person uses the truck for outside of a commute. Perhaps they live on a small farm or have a side gig doing handyman work or they vacation with a towed RV. Lots of folks can't afford to have multiple vehicles to suit the various reasons they need to drive somewhere, so they pick a one vehicle that can meet all of their needs. For many, that means a pickup or a Suburban or what have you.

    Now, certainly there are plenty of folks that drive trucks because they want to, not because they need to - but the same can be said of sports cars. Speed is a huge factor in vehicle fatalities. No one needs to drive 130 miles per hour on public roads, so why do we sell cars that go that fast? Trying to restrain consumer choices like this is a fool's errand, in my opinion.

    And please, don't compare US vehicle statistics to European ones. (You didn't, but others in this thread have.) Europe's situation is vastly different - population densities, historical infrastructure, and fuel prices, just to name a couple of factors. Perhaps the best comparison to the US as a first-world country with lots of wide open spaces and a relatively wealthy population with a culture of individual freedoms might be the Australians. And their vehicle accident rates look more like America's than Europe's.

    Another thing I think you should have acknowledged in your post is the advancement of safety technologies that have resulted in the general downward trends of fatalities per mile driven. The seat belt and air bag have been with us for decades now, but more recent advances like semi-autonomous driving or "safe" cruise control or pedestrian warning signals or proximity radars are all making differences in vehicle safety.

    So, to sum up, I don't see a crisis here. I see vehicles becoming safer and safer over time, as new technologies are introduced and make their way even into the most basic cars sold. If there is a scourge in the driving experience these days, it is not in the vehicle, but in the drivers behind the wheels. We've become so obsessed with being connected via our phones that despite all of the publicity, I still see multiple people every day attempting to drive and look at their phones at the same time. Fix that, and you'll save a bunch of folks.
    JBDuke

    Andre Dawkins: “People ask me if I can still shoot, and I ask them if they can still breathe. That’s kind of the same thing.”

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    WA State
    Quote Originally Posted by Bostondevil View Post
    Insurance Institute for Highway Safety studies on pedestrian deaths, a couple of articles from the past 2 years.

    https://www.iihs.org/news/detail/new...ians-than-cars

    https://www.iihs.org/news/detail/suv...-while-turning
    Thanks for the articles, BD. The A Frame issue for the light truck class is one I experienced with my folks mini-van. Lost contact to the left side and got surprised by a vehicle there. No accident but I added that to the list of things to be aware of when driving. Rental cars are a bit of a nightmare for me.

  14. #54
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    WA State
    Quote Originally Posted by JBDuke View Post
    . If there is a scourge in the driving experience these days, it is not in the vehicle, but in the drivers behind the wheels. We've become so obsessed with being connected via our phones that despite all of the publicity, I still see multiple people every day attempting to drive and look at their phones at the same time. Fix that, and you'll save a bunch of folks.
    The whole post was terrific but the above I especially agree with.

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