Thursday, November 12, 2009

Loose Loads Turn Into Debris Danger

Loose Loads Turn Into Debris Danger

Drivers are facing increasing danger on freeways due to poorly secured materials, tools and other loads. When loose material becomes dangerous flying debris, it has a huge impact on our roadways and on our insurance liability rates.

CORONA, CA (PRWEB) August 16, 2005

Drivers are facing increasing danger on freeways due to poorly secured materials, tools and other loads. When loose material becomes dangerous flying debris, it has a huge impact on our roadways and on our insurance liability rates.

“Daily we’re seeing a deadly old menace on our roads and highways. It is proving very costly both in terms of people hurt or killed and millions of taxpayers’ dollars to clean it up,” says Angel Rivera, President of LOAD-HELPER LLC and creator of Load-Helper, a tie-down system developed to secure those hazardous shipments in transit.

To counter the growing debris problem, the California Department of Transportation has launched a new, $6.5 million dollar public awareness campaign called, “Don’t Trash California” to focus attention on the problem.

“The fact is,” says Rivera, “that along with making people aware of the danger of road debris, we need to provide contractors and others a simple way to secure their loads more safely. Our product, Load-Helper, works with existing tie-downs to make securement effective. It will save valuable time when tying down before a driver is about to get on the road with materials or tools in a truck bed or attached to an overhead frame --- but it can make all the difference.”

According to CALTRANS, the tool that most often turns into flying debris is an aluminum ladder. That item is closely followed on the statistics list by sheets of plywood and lumber that are improperly secured and become loose on the road.

“Its simple physics -- loads fly out the back of a truck when the vehicle moves forward or they shift to the front when braking. Unfortunately, that’s the one fact most people fail to consider until they see part of their load flying off. Our system provides that added all-important help to shield loads from becoming projectiles and striking other vehicles,” adds Rivera.

LOAD-HELPER Systems include a full-line of different sizes and lengths of shields to secure a wide array of loads. LOAD-HELPER, LLC., is a California-based company that manufactures transportation tie-down systems designed to make highway and road travel safer. For more information, contact Katie Toral at 800-819-1142 or visit www. load-helper. com.

###

Lives on the Line – America's Highway Safety Targets and Achievements are Fatally Low

Lives on the Line – America's Highway Safety Targets and Achievements are Fatally Low

Despite this week's announcement from the US DOT, only Greece and the Republic of Korea -- among other developed nations -- perform worse than the USA in terms of road safety. The DOT's preferred 'VMT' figures completely mask the fact that America does very badly indeed when compared to other countries, and tens of thousands of lives are unnecessarily being lost on US roads each year as a result.

(PRWEB) August 5, 2005

Among developed nations, only Greece and the Republic of Korea perform worse than the USA in terms of road safety.

In this week's press release from the US Department of Transportation, about highway deaths in 2004, it is claimed that "the fatality rate has been steadily improving since 1966 when 50,894 people died," (compared to the 42,636 people who died on the nationÂ’s highways in 2004).

That represents 8,258 fewer deaths in 2004 than in 1966, which is a reduction of just 16.2 percent over that 39-year period, in the number of people killed annually on America's roads.

Eddie Wren, executive director of Drive and Stay Alive, Inc., a not-for-profit driver safety organization based in Western New York, said: “If one examines road fatality statistics for the ten years from 1992 through 2001[1], one finds that of the relevant 23 member-countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD], the USA performed the worst, with an overall reduction in road deaths of just four percent, compared to the average of 25 percent among the other 22 countries.

“Indeed, during that 10-year period alone, 18 of those countries achieved greater reductions in overall death rates than the USA has managed in the aforementioned 39-year period.”

The US DOT generally publishes only the VMT [Vehicle Miles Traveled] rate of deaths, which is based on the number of deaths for every 100 million miles covered by all vehicles, collectively, throughout the USA each year.

Wren said: “This results in a psychologically insignificant number. For instance, the US VMT rate for 2004 was 1.46 – down from 1.48 in 2003 and 1.51 in 2002.

“Those figures sound small and almost benign, and yet in just those three years added together, they represent a staggering 128,525 lives lost on America's roads, and millions more people who were seriously injured.”

The US DOT has set a target for reducing the VMT rate to 1.00 by the year 2008 but given that the figure has fallen by only 0.03 in each of the last two years and still has a further 0.46 to be cut in the four remaining years (2005 through 2008) then success seems immensely unlikely.

And what exactly does it mean, this link between miles traveled and the number of deaths?

“Ask any governmental official why the USA has such a high per capita road-death rate, when compared to virtually all other developed nations,” said Wren, “and the answer comes back that it is because Americans travel higher mileages than do people in other countries. But that reply is disingenuous. If that truly were the primary cause, one could expect the majority of deaths to happen on the roads where people do the high mileages, such as interstates and freeways. Yet over half of all America's road deaths occur on the very roads where much lower mileages are generally driven – rural roads.

“And if it were all to do with the size of the country and the large distances between major cities, why do – say – Canada and Australia not have similarly high death rates?

“Nor is it to do with the average mileage driven by American families each year. The difference in the annual mileage of a typical family car in the USA compared to other countries is insignificant when compared to the disparity in the respective death rates.”

The per capita death rate, mentioned above, is the number of people killed in road crashes in relation to every 100,000 members of that country's population.

Just as with the situation here in America, if a country can manage to hold the actual number of road deaths relatively steady each year then the per capita death rate will actually reduce slightly in each successive year because the population is continually growing. And similarly the VMT rate will reduce each year because the overall vehicle miles traveled in that country will be increasing annually. So in both cases a small reduction is only a statistical achievement and not a significant gain. The higher the initial rate, the less valuable a small reduction becomes.

Indeed, it is even possible for the VMT rate to fall when the number of deaths actually increases and this has happened at least four times in America in just the last ten years (i. e. 1996, 1999, 2000 and 2001[2]).

If one looks to the internationally much more popular per capita method of measuring road deaths and safety achievements, one finds that the USA is languishing in a very poor position.

In 2003, for example, America had a per capita road-death rate of 14.75, and for 2004, based on an estimated population of 293 million, the rate will be around 14.55[3]

Among the 30 member-countries of the OECD, only the Republic of Korea and Greece performed more poorly than the USA in 2003, with rates of 14.9 and 15.24, respectively.

Yet the two leading countries – Britain and Sweden – had rates in the 5.8s and another three countries had rates below 7. And no matter what US officials might say about such comparisons, some of these countries certainly do have factors which should make them less safe than America, such as smaller cars, faster overall speed limits, and – in some cases – a much higher proportion of congested roads.

It is also a well-known fact that when countries have achieved significant reductions, over the years, in the rate of road casualties, it becomes progressively harder to make further improvements, simply because all of the best methods of cutting casualties have already been implemented in getting to that point in the first place.

Of all developed nations, Great Britain has had the lowest per capita road-death rate more times in the last 17 years than any other country, and therefore logically has the hardest task in achieving further significant reductions. Yet, by comparison, in 2004 the UK cut its overall death toll by 8.2 percent (3,508 to 3,221) compared to the USA's reduction of just 0.6 percent (42,884 to 42,636). And in light of the fact that AmericaÂ’s population is less than five times greater than that of the UK, there is something clearly amiss with the US figures.

“This argument is nothing to do with nationalism or inter-country rivalry,” said Wren. “This is specifically to do with American lives.

“American people – and in particular young American people – are being slaughtered in highway crashes at an outrageous rate, and no matter what the US DOT is saying about ‘record low highway fatality rates,’ any gains that America is making are very small indeed.”

What improvements could be made to reduce the number of deaths?

“Many!” says Wren.

“And the first and arguably the most important one is that the US DOT and other official bodies should stop perpetrating the dangerous myth that America is doing quite well at highway safety. The figures from other developed, Highly Motorized Countries [HMCs] show that comparatively speaking this oft-heard claim is incredibly inaccurate.

“But if the American people are assured that things are pretty good on the safety front it will serve only to encourage complacency – the most dangerous enemy of all, where road deaths are concerned.”

Over 20 countries – including many that are already far ahead of the USA in terms of highway safety results – are now working on targets to reduce the actual number of people killed on their respective roads by either 40 or 50 percent, by either 2010 or 2012 (with these variables depending on the specific countries in question).

“Regrettably,” said Wren, “the USA has no such ambitious target. But it should!”

The Drive and Stay Alive website is at: www. driveandstayalive. com and provides the world's most comprehensive International Road Safety News service.

Notes for Editors

1. www. driveandstayalive. com/info%20section/statistics/multi-country_death-rates_1988-2001.htm (http://www. driveandstayalive. com/info%20section/statistics/multi-country_death-rates_1988-2001.htm )

2. www-fars. nhtsa. dot. gov/

3. www. driveandstayalive. com/info%20section/statistics/stats-multicountry-percapita-2003.htm (http://www. driveandstayalive. com/info%20section/statistics/stats-multicountry-percapita-2003.htm )

4. Eddie Wren is not only the executive director of Drive and Stay Alive, Inc., he is also the VP and director of policy for ‘Advanced Drivers of America, Inc.

 He previously trained and served as a traffic patrol police officer in England (“advanced driver” and “advanced motorcyclist”) and was a police specialist in safety for young drivers and motorcyclists. He is also a former UK Dept. of Transport driving instructor (DfT ADI).

WrenÂ’s work for Drive and Stay Alive has resulted in the following awards and recognitions:

• The only non-European signatory to the European Road Safety Charter (for DSA’s contribution to global road safety);

• Winner of a Governors' Highway Safety Association (GHSA) national commendation (USA, July 2005) for DSA’s globally-unique ‘International Road Safety News’ service;

• Recipient of the Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals (CARSP)  "Best International Traffic Safety Website" award (June 2004);

• The aforementioned DSA news service is sponsored by the FIA Foundation – part of the FIA; governing body of world motor sports.

A short bio for Wren may be found at: www. driveandstayalive. com/info%20section/bios/Eddie_Wren. htm (http://www. driveandstayalive. com/info%20section/bios/Eddie_Wren. htm).

###