Local Technical Assistance
University of Maryland at
Distracted Driving Creates
De cient Highway
Conditions Contribute to
Half of Roadway Deaths
CITE’s 2010 Blended
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Summer 2010 I Volume 27, No. 2
New Data Show Bicycling and Walking Up by 25 Percent
Report Looks at Eff orts to Increase Bicycling and Walking in the U.S.
The U.S. Department of Transportation recently released new data from the Federal Highway Administration’s 2009 National
Household Travel Survey which shows that both
bicycling and walking trips have increased by 25
percent since 2001. e FHWA funded Pedestrian
and Bicycle Information Center included this data
in e National Bicycling and Walking Study: A
15-Year Status Report. e report details trends
and changes in bicycling and walking since 1994.
“ is report demonstrates what we’ve been saying
here at the Department,” said U.S. Transportation
Secretary Ray LaHood. “Americans want and need
safe alternatives to driving. And by making biking and walking safer and more accessible, we’ll be able to
provide Americans with more choices and help foster more active, livable communities.”
Secretary LaHood recently announced a policy change to promote bicycle and pedestrian opportunities
that encourage transportation agencies to go beyond minimum standards and provide safe and
convenient facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists.
In the 1994 National Bicycling and Walking Study, the U.S. Department of Transportation established
two goals: to reduce the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed or injured in tra c crashes by 10
percent and to double the percentage of total trips made by bicycling and walking in the United States.
From 1993 to 2008, bicycle fatalities decreased by 22.3 percent and injuries decreased by 14.7 percent,
and pedestrian fatalities dropped by 12 percent and injuries dropped by 17.8 percent, surpassing the goal
in the 1994 report. However, in 2008, there were 4,378 pedestrians and 716 bicyclists killed in roadway
crashes which indicates that there is still work to be done to make walking and bicycling safer and more
convenient transportation options.
e number of reported walking trips has more than doubled since the rst survey, from 18 billion in
1990 to 42.5 billion in 2009. Bicycling trips saw a similar increase, from 1.7 billion to four billion during
the same period. While percentage increase in bicycle and pedestrian trips didn’t fully meet the goal, the
report also noted the population increase resulted in a greater number of overall trips and that progress is
“We are proud of the work we’ve done to integrate walking and bicycling into people’s transportation
options,” said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. “But we won’t stop working until we nd
ways to prevent fatalities and create more livable communities across the country.”
� e National Bicycling and Walking Study: A 15-Year Status Report is a status update to the 1994 National
Bicycling and Walking Study. is new report looks at progress toward goals outlined in the original
study and outlines federal, state and local programs that promote bicycle and walking throughout the
e full report can be accessed at http://www.walkinginfo.org/15_year_report/.
For more information visit: www.fhwa.dot.gov
Page 2 Maryland Transportation Technology Transfer Center
Written by Murray Pendleton, Chairman, Connecticut Police Chief ’s
Association Highway Safety Committee
Driving large municipal trucks and special purpose vehicles, including cars, can be challenging enough even when full attention is given to the road and potential hazards.
It only takes a second for a crash to happen. Distractions occur when
drivers concentrate on something other than operating their vehicles -
such as engaging in cell phone conversations. e National Highway
Tra c Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 25% of all
crashes involve some form of driver distractions.
National surveys show that most drivers at least occasionally engage in behaviors that draw some of their attention away
from their driving task. e most common of these behaviors include such general activities as;
• Talking or texting on a cell phone
• Talking with passengers
• Changing radio stations or CD’s
• Eating or drinking while driving
Operating municipal trucks is unique. e fact that most of the trucks have special equipment requires more attention to
detail, leaving no room for distractions.
Driving is a full-time job, and operating snowplows, trash pick-up trucks, re engines, etc. while using a cell phone, reading
a road map, or talking to fellow employees is potentially dangerous.
• Make adjustments to vehicle controls such as radios, air conditioning, or mirrors before beginning to drive or
after the vehicle is no longer in motion;
• Don’t reach down or behind the driver’s seat, pick up items from the ¬ oor, open the glove compartment, clean
the inside windows, or perform personal grooming while driving;
• You should not eat or drink while driving, but if you do, get something that is not messy and that you can hold
in one hand. Set your food up next to you before you take o® and make sure you use a cup holder for your drink.
• Know where you are going and how to get there before you start out.
For more than 10 years studies have been conducted which focus on the risks associated with various types of distractions.
ere clearly is ample information to believe a distracted driver is at an increased risk of a crash.
Your complete attention to driving is not only in the best interest of you and your passengers but can clearly save lives as well
as reduce serious injuries. Below is a list of common distracters:
Use of cell phones Eating/drinking/smoking
Texting and e-mailing Personal hygiene
Changing radio stations/CD’s/DVD’s Sight seeing/gawking
Ipods In-car information screens
Adjusting mirrors/heat/AC Searching for items
GPS Unsecured objects
Such distractions may not only cause you to lose control of your vehicle, they may cost someone,
including you….your life.
Distracted Driving Creates Dangerous Situations
Continued on Page 4
cient Highway Conditions Contribute to Half
of Roadway Deaths, Leading Safety Economist Tells
Technotes - Summer 2010 Page 3
Building More Forgiving Roads Would
Save Lives and Cut Costs
More than half of the 43,000 annual U.S. highway fatalities are related to poor roadway conditions and
the staggering cost to America is $217 billion annually. at was the sobering testimony Ted R. Miller, Ph.D., delivered to an
April 14 U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on improving transportation safety.
“ e cost of crashes involving de cient roadway conditions dwarf the costs of crashes involving alcohol, speeding, or failure to
wear a safety belt,” Miller said. “Focusing as much on improving road safety conditions as on reducing impaired driving would
save thousands of lives and billions of dollars each year.”
He also told the committee that crashes related to road de ciencies cost American businesses $22 billion and governments $12
billion, and result in $12 billion in medical spending annually.
Miller, an internationally-recognized safety economist with the Beltsville, Maryland based Paci c Institute for Research
& Evaluation (PIRE), is the primary author of a July 2009 study, “On a Crash Course: e Dangers and Health Costs of
De cient Roadways” for the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC).
Beyond assessing costs, Miller outlined practical solutions to reduce fatalities. “Immediate solutions for problem spots
include: using brighter and more durable pavement markings, adding rumble strips to shoulders, mounting more guardrails
or safety barriers, and installing tra c signals and better signs with easier-to-read legends,” he said. “More signi cant road
improvements include replacing non-forgiving poles with breakaway poles, adding or widening shoulders, improving roadway
alignment, replacing or widening narrow bridges, reducing pavement edges and abrupt drop o® s, and clearing more space on
Miller concluded his testimony telling members of the committee that the upcoming highway and transit authorization bill
provided an important opportunity to make additional investments to “improve the safety built into roads and bridges.”
About the Transportation Construction Coalition
Established in 1996, the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) includes 30 national associations and labor unions
with a direct market interest in the federal transportation programs. e TCC focuses on the federal budget and surface