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Mean Streets: Urban Traffic Fatalities Now Exceed Those on Rural Roads

Posted on September 8, 2022 in AAA Announcements

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research shows alarming trend

More people are now killed on the nation’s city streets than on rural roads and speeding is one of the most critical factors. Between 2010 and 2019, fatalities in urban areas surged 34% while those in rural areas fell 10%. Urban fatalities first surpassed those in rural areas in 2016, and 19,595 people were killed in urban locations compared to 16,340 in the countryside in 2019.

“Urban streets in metropolitan areas can be more dangerous because there are higher numbers of motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists traveling those roadways,” said Theresa Podguski, director of legislative affairs, AAA East Central. “Speeding makes those busy streets even more treacherous, so everyone needs to be careful, pay attention to road conditions and follow traffic laws.”

According to Federal Highway Administration statistics, more than 70% of the four million miles of public-access roads in the United States are rural. Yet while speeding occurs on all roads, urban roads and streets account for a disproportionate number of speeding-related fatalities. The AAA Foundation study examines characteristics of deaths that happened on urban non-limited access roadways (not freeways, expressways, or interstates) from 2010 to 2019. Details of the Foundation research can be found here, but key highlights include:

According to new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates, 9,560 people died in motor-vehicle traffic crashes in the first quarter of 2022, a 7% increase compared to last year. It is the highest number of first-quarter fatalities since 2002. NHTSA reports 42,915 people died in traffic crashes last year, with speed-related crash fatalities rising by 5%. This research provides insights when it comes to the development of solutions to address the persistent speeding problem. It is important to understand the characteristics of the roadways, the motorists and the crashes.

AAA urges transportation engineers and decision-makers to consider speed management and prioritize safety when setting speed limits. This is critical for urban roads and streets where vehicles and vulnerable road users mix. AAA strongly supports adopting The Safe System Approach (SSA) to roadway safety. The SSA uses current effective countermeasures to create multiple layers of protection for transportation network users, rather than simply responding only after evidence of a specific safety problem.

Methodology

The Foundation used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a national census of fatal traffic crashes. Fatalities were considered speeding-related if any vehicle involved in the crash was reported to have exceeded the posted speed limit, drove too fast for conditions, or was racing.

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 71 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members.  News releases are available at news.eastcentral.aaa.com.  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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AAA: School’s Open – Drive Carefully

Posted on August 23, 2022 in 2022 Back To School Gift Guide

Tips & Suggestions for Drivers as Summer Ends, School Begins


As children return to school, AAA East Central has launched its annual School’s Open – Drive Carefully campaign. The campaign aims to encourage parents to talk about the importance of school zone safety with their children and teen drivers. It also advises motorists to take extra caution when traveling through school zones or near school buses.

“School zone speed limits, AAA School Safety Patrollers and crossing guards are in place to save lives,” said Terri Rae Anthony, safety advisor for AAA East Central. “Since children can move quickly and cross the road unexpectedly, it is important to obey speed limits and be ready to stop at a moment’s notice.”

Speed is a crucial factor in protecting the lives of students as they make their way to class. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 20 mph is about two-thirds less likely to be killed as compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 30 mph. Moreover, nearly 1-in-5 children 14 and younger who die in traffic crashes are pedestrians.

In addition to slowing down, AAA offers the following advice for motorists to keep children safe as they navigate their way through school zones:

Ditch distractions. Research shows that glancing away from the road for just two seconds doubles the chances of crashing.
Stay alert. Don’t rush into and out of driveways. Expect pedestrians on the sidewalk, especially around schools and in neighborhoods. Mind vehicle blind spots, check for children on the sidewalk, in the driveway, and around the vehicle before slowly backing up.
Brake for buses. It may be tempting to drive around a stopped school bus, but not only is it dangerous – it is against the law.
Watch for bikes. Children on bicycles are often unpredictable, so expect the unexpected. Motorists should slow down and allow at least three feet of passing distance between their vehicle and bicyclists.
Plan ahead. Leave early and build in extra time for congestion. If possible, modify routes to avoid school zones.
Look for AAA School Safety Patrollers. With more than 600,000 AAA School Safety Patrollers at 31,000 schools across the country, patrollers are a sure sign that school zone is approaching.

About the AAA’s School’s Open – Drive Carefully campaign:
The campaign was launched nationally in 1946 to help reduce the number of school-related pedestrian injuries and fatalities. The campaign kicks off each fall and continues throughout the school year to remind motorists to watch out for children as they travel to and from school.

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