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Corporate Average Fuel Economy

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the Department of Transportation. One of its main functions is to administer CAFE.

Administering Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE).

The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) are regulations in the U. S. first enacted by the U. S. Congress in 1975 in the wake of the Arab Oil Embargo and were intended to improve the average fuel economy of cars and light trucks sold in the United States. Historically, it is the sales-weighted harmonic mean fuel economy, expressed in miles per U. S. gallon (mpg) of a manufacturer’s fleet of current model year passenger cars or light trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 8, 500 pounds (3, 856 kg) or less, manufactured for sale in the United States. If the average fuel economy of a manufacturer’s annual fleet of vehicle production falls below the deferred standard, the manufacturer must pay a penalty, currently $5.50 per 0.1 mpg under the standard, multiplied by the manufacturer’s total production for the U. S. domestic market. In addition, a Gas Guzzler Tax is levied on individual passenger car models (but not trucks, vans, minivans, or SUVs) that get less than 22.5 miles per U. S. gallon.

Historically, it is the sales-weighted harmonic mean fuel economy, expressed in miles per U. S. gallon (mpg) of a manufacturer’s fleet of current model year passenger cars or light trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 8, 500 pounds (3, 856 kg) or less, manufactured for sale in the United States. If the average fuel economy of a manufacturer’s annual fleet of vehicle production falls below the deferred standard, the manufacturer must pay a penalty, currently $5.50 per 0.1 mpg under the standard, multiplied by the manufacturer’s total production for the U. S. domestic market. In addition, a Gas Guzzler Tax is levied on individual passenger car models (but not trucks, vans, minivans, or SUVs) that get less than 22.5 miles per U. S. gallon.

Started in 2011 the CAFE Standards are newly expressed as mathematical functions depending on vehicle “footprint”, a measure of vehicle size determined by multiplying the vehicle’s wheelbase by its average width. A complicated 2011 mathematical formula was replaced in 2012 with a simpler inverse-linear formula with cut off values.

CAFE footprint requirements are set up such that a vehicle with a larger footprint has a lower fuel economy requirement than a vehicle with a smaller footprint. CAFE has separate standards for “passenger cars” and “light trucks” despite the majority of “light trucks actually being used as passenger cars. The market share of “light trucks” grew steadily from 9.7% in 1979 to 47% in 2001 and remained in 50% numbers up to 2011. More recently, coverage of medium duty trucks has been added to the CAFE regulations from 2012 and now in 2014, heavy duty commercial trucks have also been added.

President Barack Obama announced plans for a national fuel-economy and greenhouse-gas standard that would significantly increase mileage requirements for cars and trucks by 2016. Obama called it “an historic agreement to help America break its dependence on oil, reduce harmful pollution and begin the transition to a clean energy economy”.

The new requirements mark the first time there has been a nationwide standard for emissions of greenhouse gases. They require an average mileage standard of 39 miles per gallon for cars and 30 mpg for trucks by 2016. This is a jump from the current average for all vehicles of 25 miles per gallon.
Furthermore, Obama said “In the past an agreement such as this would have been considered impossible. It is no secret these are folks who have been at odds, even decades. The status quo is no longer acceptable.”

The new standards cover the model years 2012 to 2016 and are expected to add about $600 to the cost of a new car, the White House said. Administration officials hope the added costs will be recouped by savings in gasoline costs from the higher mileage requirements.

Auto manufacturers have fought past attempts to raise mileage standards but came to the table this time out of fears of patchwork of national standards, particularly because California has been trying to create a more aggressive benchmark for decreasing greenhouse gases. Obama’s moves give the companies certainty in what they must achieve for all models nationwide.
The policy for autos will link together the corporate average fuel economy, or CAFE, standard and the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse-gas standard. That way industry will not have to worry that the administration will regulate those on separate tracks. The standards will be gradually increased each year until they hit Obama’s target in 2016.

The White House predicted significant environmental benefits from the program, with a projected savings over the life of the program of 1.8 billion barrels of oil, and reductions of 900 million metric tons of greenhouse-gas emissions. White House officials called it the equivalent to taking 177 million cars off the road or shutting down 194 coal plants. Obama called the tailpipe emission announcement historic because it avoids a patchwork of standards and has won agreement from so many stakeholders, including automakers, state governments, the Department of Transportation and the EPA.

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) measures vehicle fuel efficiency. Historically, the EPA has encouraged consumers to buy more fuel efficient vehicles, while NHTSA expressed concerns that smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles may lead to increased traffic fatalities. Thus higher fuel efficiency was associated with lower traffic safety, intertwining the issues of fuel economy, road traffic safety, air pollution and climate change. The EPA says fuel economy last year (2013) rose one-half-mile per gallon over the 2012 model year,use automakers have improved gas engines and transmissions and added turbochargers to give smaller motor more power. Although last year’s gain fell short of the 1.2 mpg improvement from 2011 to 2012, fuel economy is up almost 5 mpg since 2004. The EPA is predicting slower growth for this year, but officials still expect the industry to meet government standards that require the fleet to average 54.5 mpg by 2025.

Chris Grundler, head of EPA’s office of transportation and air quality, said the auto industry is ahead of what the EPA expected at this point and he expects improvements to vary from year to year depending on the new models that are introduced.

For example. the aluminium Ford F-150 pickup could raise the average mileage by itself because the F-150 is the top-selling vehicle in the nation. The truck’s reduction in mass is likely to yield significantly better mileage and reduced emissions over the current trucks.

Mazda led all automakers with an average 28.1 mpg. Honda was second at 27.4 mpg, Chrysler, General Motors and Ford were at the bottom of the rankings, because they sell more pickups and SUVs. The midsize Mazda 6 already meets its fuel economy targets for 2019 mainly by reducing wind drag and using lighter weight materials and a turbocharged engine.

Crash Test

A Crash Test is a form of destructive testing. It is usually performed in order to insure safe design standards.

A crashworthy design reduces death and injury risk. Structure and restraints (safety belts and airbags) are the main aspects of a vehicle’s design. This determines its crashworthiness. Good structure means a strong occupant compartment.  Also there should be crumple zones to absorb the force of a serious crash.  Side structures manage the force of a striking vehicle . A strong roof ensures it does not collapse in a rollover.

Structure/Safety Cage:
Vehicle’s structural performance engineers measure the amount of intrusion into the occupant compartment after the crash. In the moderate overlap test, measurements are taken at nine places around the driver’s seat. In the small overlap test, 16 locations on the driver side interior and exterior are measured. The amount and pattern of intrusion shows how well the front-end crush zone managed the crash energy and how well the safety cage held up.

Injury Measures:

 Sensors in the head, neck, chest, legs and feet of the dummy indicate the level of stress and strain on that part of the body.

Restraints/Dummy movement:
Even if injury measures are low, it’s important to consider the dummy’s movement during the crash,  This is because not all drivers are the same size as the dummy or seated exactly the same way. A close call for the dummy could be an actual injury for a person.
Before each crash test, technicians put greasepaint on the dummy’s head, knees and lower legs. After the test, the paint shows what parts of the vehicle came into contact with those parts of the dummy. The paint, combined with high-speed film footage of the crash, allows engineers to evaluate the dummy’s movement.

There are various types of tests:

Frontal impact tests which is what most people initially think of when asked about a crash test. These are usually impacts upon a solid concrete wall at a specified speed, but can also be vehicle-vehicle test. SUVs have been singled out in these tests for a while, due to the high ride-height that they often have.

Offset Tests:

in which only part of the front of the car impacts with a barrier (vehicle). These are important, as impact forces (approximately) remain the same as with a frontal impact test, but a smaller fraction of the car is required to absorb all of the force. These tests are often realized by cars turning into oncoming traffic. This type of testing is done by the USA Insurance for Highway Safety (IIHS), Euro NCAP Australasian New Car Assessment Program and ASEAN NCAP.

Small overlap tests:

This is where only a small portion of the car’s structure strikes an object such as a pole or a tree.  This is the most demanding test as it loads the most force onto the car’s structure at any given speed. These are usually conducted at 15-20% of the front vehicle structure.

Side Impact Tests:

These forms of accidents have a very significant likelihood of fatality, as cars do not have a significant crumple zone to absorb the impact forces before an occupant is injured.

Roll Over Tests:

These test a car’s ability (specifically the pillars holding the roof) to support itself in a dynamic impact. More recently dynamic rollover test have been proposed as opposed to static crush testing.

Roadside hardware crash tests are used to ensure crash barriers and crash cushions will protect vehicle occupants from roadside hazards, and also to ensure that guardrails, signposts, light poles and similar appurtenances do not pose an undue hazard to vehicle occupants.

Old versus New:

Often on old and big car against a small and new car or two different generations of the same car model. These tests are performed to show the advancements in crashworthiness.

Computer Model:

Because of the cost of full side crash tests, engineers often run many simulated crash tests using computer models to refine new vehicle or barrier designs before conducting live tests.

Crash tests are conducted under rigorous scientific and safety regulations. Each crash test is very expensive so the maximum amount of data must be extracted from each test. Usually this requires the use of high speed data acquisition, at least one triaxial accelerometer and a crash test dummy.
There are a number of crash test programs around the world dedicated to providing consumers with a source of comparative information in relation to the safety performance of new and used vehicles.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as at October 2, 2014, published safety results for three large luxury cars in the IIHS small overlap front test.  The Infiniti Q70 achieved a good rating, the Lincoln MKS earned a poor rating and the BMW 5 series earned a marginal rating.

On September 18, 2014, the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick award, thanks to a structural upgrade to improve small overlap protection.

The Kia Soul, previously rated poor in the IIHS small overlap front test now earns a good rating, due to structural improvements. The Kia Forte also improved, but only to a marginal rating.

Plastic Waste

Concern is growing over far-flung plastic waste that is destroying marine life, according to the United Nations Environment Assembly. Tourism, fisheries, business and marine life are threatened by plastic contamination.
“The environmental impact of the way we use plastic cannot be ignored” said Achim Steiner, UNEP director.

Over 30% of the natural capital costs are as a result of greenhouse gas emission. This is from raw material extraction and processing. Marine pollution is the largest downstream cost, conservatively quantified at $13 billion annually. Inestimable amounts of plastic waste enter the ocean from poorly managed landfills,  and littering.   Some waste also floats over great distances.  These are carried by ocean currents resulting in polluted shorelines.

Reducing, recycling and redesigning products that use plastics can bring multiple green economy benefits.  It reduces economic damage to marine ecosystems.

There have been many reliable reports of environmental damage due to waste.  The result is mortality or illness when ingested by sea creatures. These creatures include turtles, as well as entanglement of animals such as whales and dolphins.  Further damage is caused to critical habitats such as coral reefs.

Further concern has grown over micro plastics (particles up to 5mm in diameter) that are being ingested by marine organisms.  A major concern is the increasing use of micro plastics in consumer products such as micro beads in toothpastes, gels and facial cleansers.

Beat the Micro bead App

More and more cosmetics contain micro beads which are a hazard to our environment. The North Sea Foundation and the Plastic Soup Foundation have developed an App which is used to check if a product contains micro beads. You scan the barcode of the product with your smartphone camera. New countries are also continuously added and the new version of this App recognises many more products. To download go to: http://get. www. beatthemicrobead.org

FACTS ABOUT PLASTIC POLLUTION

In the Los Angeles area alone, 10 metric tons of plastic fragments such as grocery bags, straws and soda bottles are carried into the Pacific Ocean every day.

Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.

50 percent of the plastic we use, we use only once and then dispose of it.

Enough plastic is thrown away each year, to circle the earth four times.

We currently recover only five percent of the plastics we produce.

The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic each year.

Plastic accounts for around 10 percent of the total waste we generate.

The production of plastic furthermore uses around eight percent of the world’s oil production.

Americans dispose of 35 billion plastic water bottles every year.

Plastic in the ocean breaks down into such small segments that pieces of plastic from a 1 liter bottle could end up on every mile of beach throughout the world.

Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. More than one million bags are used every minute.
46 percent of plastic waste float and it can drift for years before eventually concentrating the the ocean gyres.

It takes 500-1000 years for plastic to degrade.

Billions of pounds of plastic can be found in swirling convergences in the oceans hence making up about 40 percent of the world’s ocean surfaces.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the North Pacific Gyre off the coast of California and is the largest ocean garbage site in the world. It is twice the size of Texas, with plastic pieces outnumbering sea life six to one.

One million sea birds and 100, 000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.

Plastic chemicals can be absorbed by the body – 93 percent of Americans age six and older test positive for BPA (a plastic chemical).

A report, entitled Valuing Plastic: the business case for measuring, managing and disclosing plastic use in the consumer goods industry was published on 23rd June 2014.

The research is the first-ever assessment of the environmental costs of plastic in business. It calculates the amount of plastic used by stock exchange listed companies in sixteen consumer goods sections. It assesses levels of corporate disclosure on plastic. Its aim is to help companies understand the risks and opportunities of plastic and build a business case for improving its management.

The Report furthermore recommends that progressive companies can improve management of plastic waste and win customer loyalty by developing closed loop models that thus recover resources and materials. Unilever has made $250, 000 of savings by using 15% less plastic packaging in its Dove Products. Dell has launched the first ever PC made using third party certified closed loop plastic.

Drone Safety Violations

In recent years U. S. Aviation regulators hastily accepted commercial drone applications. This flurry has resulted in lax safety rules.

Over a period of 2 years 5500 exemptions were approved. These drones are used for businesses from film-making to agriculture. However, limited training for safety inspectors was provided. In spite of this, these inspectors have had to cope with an enormous amount of new operators.

In its haste to grant approvals, the agency did not check whether applicants had pilots’ licences. Applicant’s operating whereabouts were not recorded.  This  inspections were almost impossible.

Over the last year, more than 500 000 people have registered unmanned aircraft. Safety incidents involving drones reached more than 100 per month.

A recently released government watchdog report stated that there is a lack of vigorous data.  This data  reports and tracks system for drone movement. Furthermore, the report pointed out that the information available is fragmented.   It makes it difficult to interpret.

Recreational Drones

In 2012 Congress authorised the FAA to grant exemptions allowing commercial unmanned flights. This permission was for aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds. The agency proceeded to write formal regulations allowing such flights for hire. These regulations went into effect on 29 August 2012 and made provision exclusively for recreational users.

The FAA has now concentrated on educating ‘delinquent’ operators in safety rules rather than opening enforcement cases. Up until April, the agency has sent out 625 “Instructions for Operator” letters to drone users while only enforcing action against 30 for safety violations.

The agency has furthermore taken steps to improve compliance with drone operating rules. In addition, new training has been implemented for the education of its inspectors. A drone knowledge test has been compiled for commercial drone operators.

Provision has been made in current regulations to allow for more activities. One such activity includes flying closer to people but not over them. Close co-operation is being fostered with companies to test longer-range drones that can fly out of the operator’s sight.

In conclusion, the results of this government report will ensure the ongoing commitment of the FAA to minimise drone safety violations.

Internet of Things

Robotic vehicles, eyeglasses that email and trash cans that call for pick up. These are some of the aspects of the Internet of Things.

The race into the Internet of Things is on.  Google and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG are only two of the companies in this race. As a result  there is concern by the Department of Transportation and the Federal Trade Commission.    Devices may be vulnerable to hacking.  This could lead to the misuse of personal data.  Furthermore, they could cause physical harm to the owners of these devices.

The McKinsey Global Institute, a research arm for New York-based consulting firm McKinsey and Company Inc., stated the following. The market for wireless, inter-connected devices could create between $2.7 trillion and $6.2 trillion of economic value by 2025.

A computer security company  in Tacoma, Washington, stated that  devices connected to the Internet may involve hackers.  These hackers could remotely take control of appliances inside homes.    Furthermore create vehicles to kill people. This is the dark side of the Internet of Things.

Former U. S. Vice President Dick Cheney said in CBS’s “60 Minutes” program that the defibrillator he had implanted in 2007 had its wireless feature disabled because he feared terrorists could use it to kill him.

In February 2015, a revelation was revealed that hackers could remotely seize control of over a million Chrysler automobiles.   A stark warning threfore that life in an ultra-networked world could be very dark and dangerous.

Two network engineers, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek used an Internet-connected computer to take control of a Chrysler Jeep Cherokee driving down a highway in St. Louis. A reporter for the technology magazine “Wired” sat helpless in the driver’s seat.  Miller and Valasek activated the windshield wipers, turned the radio and air conditioning up full blast and disengaged the car’s transmission to thus make the vehicle undriveable. All this was done from Miller’s basement, 10 miles away.

Safer Roads in America (Part 2 of 2)

Since 1991, Congress has recognised that improving roadway safety hardware can significantly reduce fatalities and injuries on the nation’s roadways and contribute to safer roads in America. In addition, as early as 1994, the FHWA called for the replacement of old and obsolete roadway safety features such as blunt and guardrail terminals.

A comprehensive approach to updating and improving roadway safety hardware can be an effective method to accomplishing the goal of towards zero death and safer roads in America.

There are a number of devices that are specifically designed to alleviate the severity of and/or prevent roadway departures. For example:
Median barriers
Shoulder-applied guardrail hardware safety features
Crash cushions

Median barriers are longitudinal barriers most commonly used to separate opposing directions of traffic on a divided highway. While these systems may not reduce the frequency of crashes due to roadway departure, they can definitely help prevent a median crash from becoming a median crossover head-on collision.

Barrier design and placement needs to effectively protect motorists travelling in opposing lanes, while also considering the safety of the occupants of the offending vehicle. Among the factors involved in selection of a barrier system are the types of vehicles using the roadway, the roadway geometry, and the potential severity of a median crossover crash. Standard barriers capable of redirecting passenger cars, light vans and trucks are considered cost effective for most situations. However, at locations with adverse geometrics, high traffic volumes and speeds, significant amounts of heavy truck traffic, or special environmental considerations, a higher performance median barrier may be more appropriate.

There are three basic categories of midpoint barriers.
Rigid barrier system
Semi-rigid barrier system
Flexible barrier system

Rigid barriers: Concrete barriers are the most common type of rigid median barrier in use today contributing to safer roads in America. While the initial cost of installation can be relatively high, concrete barriers are known for their relatively low life-cycle cost, and effective safety performance.

Semi-rigid barriers: Commonly referred to as guardrail or guide rail, semi-rigid barriers typically consist of connected segments of metal railing supported by posts and blocks. The semi-rigid barrier system is most suitable for use in traversable medians having a little change in grade and cross-slope. In comparison to rigid barriers, semi-rigid barriers can be less costly, but can be more difficult to install in areas with slope and poor soil conditions.

Cable barriers: A typical cable barrier consists of multiple steel cables that are connected to a series of posts. These systems are considered the most versatile and forgiving barrier systems available for reducing the severity of median crossover crashes. Cable median barriers minimize the forces on the vehicle and its occupants and absorb most of the energy during a crash. Cable barrier systems have a lower installation cost.

While no barrier can eliminate the consequences for every driver who runs off the road, cable median barrier is expected to reduce the number of vehicles that cross a median and enter oncoming traffic.

Brightness and Visibility of Signage and Markings

Driving at night or in adverse weather increases the risk of roadway crashes. Crash data bear out the importance of safety improvements targeted toward nighttime driving. While only 25 percent of travel occurs at night, more than half of traffic fatalities occur during nighttime hours. Almost 60 percent of all highway fatalities involve vehicles running off the road. While nighttime crashes are attributable to a wide variety of causes such as impaired driving, drowsiness, speed, etc., pavement markings with adequately maintained retroreflectivity help drivers navigate more safely on unfamiliar roads and through unexpected hazards. In addition to properly maintaining roadway markings and traffic signs, it is important that the materials used to manufacture these products be environmentally friendly.

Study participants were able to read and
understand brighter signs substantially
faster.
This study suggests that brighter
signs require less eyes-off-the-road time,

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) the rate of traffic fatalities is three times higher at night than during the day. One of the most important factors contributing to this tragic difference is night time drivers simply lack the visual cues they receive during daylight hours. A number of significant changes taking place on the nation’s roadways could make this situation even worse in the years ahead.

Older Drivers

The percentages of person’s aged 65 and older who are licensed drivers has increased from 61 percent in 1980 to 72 percent in 1990 and 80 percent in 2003. By 2020, people in this age group will represent one of every five licensed drivers, and the proportion is expected to increase to one in four by 2030.

As a group, older drivers tend to be relatively safe drivers with a substantially lower rate of crashes per licensed driver compared to drivers aged 16-24. On the other hand, highway safety data indicate clearly that older drivers are at a significantly higher risk of being injured or killed when crashes do occur. Compared with an overall fatality rate of 2.00 per 1, 000 crashes, persons aged 65 – 74 have a fatality rate of 3.2. The rate climbs to 5.3 for those aged 75-84 and at 85 and above, the rate is 8.6.

Congestion Mitigation

Traffic congestion, particularly in urban areas, contributes to a degradation of air quality, jeopardises safety, impedes efforts to conserve energy, reduces productivity and results in delays that affect our standard of living and quality of life. Its adverse effects on our national economy are estimated to cost us over $75 billion annually.

TRIP, a non-profit organisation is backed by corporations involved in the engineering of freeways as well as obtaining financial assistance from insurance companies, the manufacturers of equipment, distributors and suppliers that provide information endorsing policies which lessen traffic jams and improve other conditions such as the state of roads and overpasses, and thereby contribute to the safety of road transportation, resulting in economic abundance and safer roads in America.

Highway Safety Part 2

Large Trucks:

About 1 in 10 highway deaths occur in a crash involving a large truck. Large trucks often weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger vehicles. They are taller and have greater ground clearance than cars, which means that lower-riding vehicles can slide beneath truck trailers, with deadly consequences.

Rear underride guards are supposed to stop this from happening but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety research shows that guards meeting federal safety standards can fail in relatively low-speed crashes. IIHS has petitioned regulators to require underride guards that are strong enough to remain in place during a crash and to broaden rules to mandate guards for more large trucks and trailers.

Low – and medium-speed vehicles:

Low-speed vehicles are not designed to protect their occupants in crashes. Although LSVs must be equipped with basic features like lights, mirrors and safety belts, they are exempt from most federal motor vehicle safety standards, and they do not have to meet any criteria for vehicle crashworthiness. They are not required to have airbags or other safety features beyond belts, since they are intended for short trips in residential neighbourhoods and other low risk driving situations.

Most states allows LSVs on certain roads, usually those with 35 mph or lower speed limits. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines appropriate performance and safety standards for LSVs but has no say in where LSVs are driven. The same goes for mini trucks, which are legal to operate on some roads in 16 states, even though they were not designed to meet U. S. Safety or Emission Standards.

The federal government does not recognize medium-speed vehicles as a vehicle class. NHTSA in 2008 denied petitions to create a new medium-speed vehicle (MSV) class. The agency said that unlike LSVs, MSVs travel in higher-risk traffic situations and should comply with all of the safety standards set for passenger cars. Despite the agency’s decision not to recognize MSVs, nine states allow them on certain roads with 35-55 mph or lower speed limits.

Motorcycles:

Riding a motorcycle is inherently riskier than driving a car. Maintaining control is harder on two wheels than on four and when crashes occur, motorcyclists are at a greater risk of serious injury or death because they do not have an enclosed vehicle to protect them. Although motorcyclist deaths have fallen from the 2008 peak of more than 5, 000, the 4, 667 that occurred in 2012 were still more than double the number from 1997.

A crash helmet of an approved design is obligatory for all motorcycle riders and passengers in some 20 states. In most other states, helmets must be worn by riders under 18 or 19. Three states currently have no helmet laws in place (Colorado, Illinois and Iowa), although this is subject to change. In Delaware, all riders must carry helmets, but only those under 19 are required to wear them.

Rhode Island requires only passengers to wear a helmet. Moped riders must wear helmets in around 20 states, half of which require only those of a certain age to them, e. g. 16 to 19.

Many bikers are vehemently opposed to wearing helmets and argue that they have a right to kill themselves, although when they are injured it is often the state that has to pick up the bill. In many states, you are also required to wear goggles if a windscreen (windshield) is not fitted to your bike.
In general, motorcycles registered for use on public highways must meet the equipment requirements in the state in which they are registered, in addition to federal safety standards. Only bikes over 50cc are permitted to use interstate or limited access highways. In many states, motorcyclists are required to use headlights at all times.

Riding between lanes of traffic is prohibited in all states and riding two (or more) abreast is also prohibited in some states.

Pedestrians and Cyclists:

Traffic engineering improvements can reduce pedestrian crashes. Separating vehicles and pedestrians by installing sidewalks, overpasses and underpasses can help reduce conflicts. Other solutions include building median refuge islands and adjusting traffic signals to create an exclusive pedestrian phase or to give pedestrians a head start before vehicles get a green light.

Red Light Running:

Camera enforcement works to curb this dangerous behaviour. Red light cameras are an effective way to discourage red light running. Enforcement is the best way to get people to comply with any law, but it is impossible for police to be at every intersection. Cameras can fill the void. An institute study comparing large cities with red light cameras to those without, found the devices reduced the fatal red light running crash rate by 24 percent and the rate of all types of fatal crashes at signalized intersections by 17 percent.

A 2005 study by the U. S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) suggests red light cameras reduce dangerous right-angle crashes. This study also found there can be an increase in the number of rear-end collisions, leading to the total number of collisions remaining unchanged.

There are various groups and individuals, such as the National Motorists Association, who oppose red light cameras on the grounds that the use of these devices raises legal issues and violates the privacy of citizens. They also argue that the use of red light cameras does not increase safety.

Roundabouts:

Roundabouts are a safer alternative to traffic signals and stop signs. The tight circle of a roundabout forces drivers to slow down, and the most severe types of intersection crashes, namely right-angle, left-turn and head-on collisions are unlikely. Roundabouts improve traffic flow and are better for the environment. Research shows that traffic flow improves following conversion of traditional intersections to roundabouts. Less idling, in turn, reduces vehicle emissions and fuel consumption.

Roundabouts generally are safer for pedestrians. Pedestrians walk on sidewalks around the perimeter and cross only one direction of traffic at a time. Crossing distances are relatively short, and traffic speeds are lower than at traditional intersections.

Surveys have shown that the damage incurred in roundabout crashes was significantly reduced. The increased safety levels in roundabouts can be attributed to:

Yield-at-entry operation.
Fewer conflict points. Standard four-way intersections have 32 conflict points versus 8 in a roundabout.
Central and splitter islands reduce the number of conflict points.

Highway Safety Part 1

The number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes has been falling, according to a report by The National Highway Safety Administration in the United States. The annual tolls for 2010, 2011 and 2012 were the lowest recorded since 1975, when the U. S. Department of Transportation began collecting detailed fatality data.

Airbags:

Airbags are one of the most important safety innovations of recent decades. The devices are normally hidden from view but inflate instantly when a crash begins. Thanks to the advocacy of IIHS and others, frontal airbags have been required in all new passenger vehicles since the 1999 model year. Side airbags are not specifically mandated, but nearly all manufacturers include them as standard equipment in order to meet federal side protection requirements.

Frontal airbags reduce driver fatalities in frontal crashes by 29 percent and fatalities of front-seat passengers age 13 and older by 32 percent. Side airbags that protect the head reduce a car driver’s risk of death in driver-side crashes by 37 percent and an SUV driver’s risk by 52 percent.

Some vehicles now have rear-window curtain airbags to protect people in back seats or front-center airbags to keep drivers and front-seat passengers from hitting each other in a crash. There are also inflatable safety belts aimed at reducing rear-seat injuries.

Researchers have determined that the risk zone for driver airbags is the first 2 to 3 inches of inflation. So, placing yourself 10 inches from your driver airbag gives you a clear margin of safety. Measure this distance from the center of the steering wheel to your breastbone. The rules for children are different. An airbag can seriously injure an unbuckled child who is sitting too close to it or is thrown toward the dash during emergency braking.

Alcohol-impaired driving:

About a third of all drivers who die in road accidents in the U. S. have blood alcohol levels of 0.08 percent or more. Approximately 7, 000 deaths could have been prevented in 2012 if all drivers were below the legal limit. The key to reducing alcohol related driving and therefore promoting highway safety is disincentive. Preventative steps include:

Administrative licence suspension: In most states, this allows the police to deprive a person of his/her licence who fails or refuses to be tested for alcohol levels.

Sobriety checkpoints: Checkpoints which have been upheld by the U. S. Supreme Court, although not always resulting in arrests, do serve as a deterrent to driving under the influence of alcohol.

Minimum drinking age of 21: Setting 21 as the minimum legal age for buying alcohol has helped to reduce drunk driving among teenagers.

Alcohol interlocks: An ignition interlock device is a mechanism installed on a motor vehicle’s dashboard. Should the driver’s breath sample not meet minimum alcohol guidelines, there is an interruption in the signal from the ignition to the starter. Many states require these devices for people with previous records of dui convictions.

Bumpers:

Bumpers are supposed to limit damage in minor collisions, but many are ineffective. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has a bumper test evaluation program to assess how well bumpers resist damage in fender benders. Better bumpers mean less out-of-pocket costs for consumers and lower insurance costs.

Child Safety:

Children are much safer in vehicle accidents than they used to be. Appropriate child safety seats provide significantly more protection in an auto accident than safety belts alone.
All infants and toddlers should ride rear-facing until they are 2 years old or until they reach the height and weight limit of their child restraints.
Once they outgrow rear-facing restraints, children should ride in harness-equipped forward-facing restraints for as long as possible, up to the height and weight limit of the child restraint. Top tethers should be used whenever a child restraint is installed forward-facing.
When children outgrow child restraints, they should use belt-positioning booster seats until adult safety belts fit properly.

U.S. Regulators plan to require automakers to equip new cars and trucks with technology that allows vehicles to communicate with each other to avoid crashes. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx sent a signal to the auto industry that the Obama administration is intent on pushing ahead with so-called vehicle-to-vehicle crash avoidance systems.

Currently many new vehicles offer advanced crash avoidance features. These include front crash prevention, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, adaptive headlights and park assist and backover prevention.

Distracted driving:

Regulatory laws in the United States have placed numerous restrictions on cell phone use by drivers. Individual States have jurisdictional discretion over the use of cell phones and other hand-held devices used by drivers on their roads.

The laws regulating driving may be subject to primary enforcement or secondary enforcement by state, country or local authorities. All state-level cell phone use laws in the United States are of the primary enforcement type, meaning an officer may cite a driver for a cell phone use violation if the driver has committed another primary violation (such as speeding, failure to stop, etc.,) at the same time.

A federal transportation funding law passed in July 2012 known as the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act provided $17.5 million in grants during fiscal year 2013 for states with primary enforcement laws against distracted driving, including laws prohibiting cell phone use while driving. States with secondary enforcement laws or no laws at all are ineligible to receive this grant funding.

Event Data Recorders:

An event data recorder, or EDR, collects information from a vehicle just before and during most serious crashes. Crash investigators can download data from the EDR’s memory to help them better understand what happened to the vehicle and how the safety systems performed, and in some cases, help determine who’s at fault in the crash. Most EDRs are built into a vehicle’s airbag control module and record information about airbags deployment, vehicle speed, engine throttle and driver safety belt use.

EDRs are not required by law, but many vehicles have them. In December of 2012, the National Highway Safety Administration proposed a rule requiring the devices in all 2015 and later models. An estimated 92 percent of new passenger vehicles already have them. Under an earlier rule, EDRs in 2013 and later models must record specific data in a standard format to make the retrieving of information easier.

The Deadliest Jobs in the World

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics rates occupations based on the rate of accidents and fatal on-the-job injuries.
The list of the deadliest jobs in the world is as follows:-
1. Lumberjacks
2. Alaskan King Crab Fishing
3. Aircraft pilots in Alaska
4. Roofer
5. Structural iron and steel workers
6. Refuse and recyclable material collectors
7. Electrical power-line installers and repairers
8. Drivers/Sales workers and truck drivers
9. Farmers, Ranchers and other agricultural managers
10. Construction labourers

Lumberjacks

Each year thousands of US workers die from injuries whilst performing their work. Breaking down the numbers, the BLS reports the top spot on the list goes to logging workers, who lose their lives at a rate of 82 per 100, 000 full-time workers. Also known as lumberjacks, they typically harvest, cut and transport timber to be processed into lumber, paper and other wood products. The task of working all day logging and cutting down trees with a chainsaw alienates a good chunk of the labour force on pure physicality alone. Factor in the gigantic piece of wood that is hurtling towards the ground on an 80 -degree incline and the fast moving machinery, and you have got yourself a deadly career cocktail – not to mention the volatile and forbidding mountain weather patterns that many lumberjacks find themselves working in on a daily basis.

Alaskan King Crab Fishing

This type of fishing is carried out during the fall months in the waters off the coast of Alaska and Aleutian Islands. Alaskan crab fishing is very dangerous and the fatality rate among the fishermen is about 80 times the fatality rate of the average worker. It is suggested that, on average, one crab fisherman dies weekly during the season. According to University of Alaska economist Gunnar Knapp,
“The environment in which crabbing is done, in the Bering Sea, in winter, has to be some of the worst conditions on Earth. You are hundreds of miles from port, in stormy seas, with ice forming all over, sometimes so thick, it capsizes the boat.”

Fishermen also sustain injuries from working with heavy gear and mighty machinery. Alaskan crabbers use huge cages as traps.
“Imagine”, says Knapp, “steel lobster pots, only ten times the size, hundreds of pounds apiece”.
Furthermore, the crab crews are in a mad dash to fill their holds. The season only lasts three or four weeks. They often work 40 out of every 50 hours.

Aircraft Pilots In Alaska

Flying in Alaska is highly treacherous, but these aviators are prepared to run the risk to get around, have fun and save lives. It is not just racers who suffer on the Iron Dog, reputedly the world’s toughest snowmobile race, their airborne crews suffer too. Battling whiteouts, mechanical malfunctions and icy winds, this is flying at its most deadly.

Being a bush pilot in the “Last Frontier” state means turning your hand to any job going. Whether it is guiding skiers, delivering post, protecting the state capital’s main power line, or escorting a prisoner to jail, danger is never far away. Catching herring is big business in Alaska so boats use spotter planes to locate their prey. It is not just the massive shoals of seriously expensive seafood these pilots must look out for, in crowded skies a mid-air collision is sometimes only a wingspan away. These pilots are as extreme as they come.

Roofer (Steeplejacking)

Sometimes known as roofing, the art of steeplejacking carries a similar level of danger to that of standard construction work, but the added risk of using alarmingly unstable buildings as your work space. Tasked with scaling church steeples and climbing onto roof tops, risks may vary from sliding down the tiles and falling off the ledge of a house, to more minor (but still painful) rope burns.

Often precariously perched on top of old and uneven structures, the steeplejack also runs the risk of meeting their untimely and grisly demise by falling down chimney shafts, like a notorious case in England when a steeplejack fell 50 meters to his death down an old mill chimney when his scaffolding collapsed. The job title even carries the risk of “being shot down by a sniper”

Structural Iron and Steel Workers

While we mill about like ants during our work commutes or lunch breaks, construction workers navigate their respective office spaces from above. Forget the famous photo of New Yorker workers eating sandwiches on a girder, the job of the construction worker is not to be taken lightly. The possibility of being crushed under steel beams or falling from scaffolding is a very real one, and therefore sits at the very top of a construction worker’s risk list. There is a whole host of other dangers like power tool malfunctions, risk of explosion, gas leaks and electrocution to add to the hazards of the growing construction business. It is worth noting that roughly 4000 workers are killed on the job each year in the US alone.

Refuse and Recyclable Materials Collector

This is probably the most under-rated dangerous job in the world.

Refuse and recyclable material collectors – the ones who every morning whisk our garbage away to some unknown location. They do the dirty work – literally. They also face danger – so much danger actually that this is the 7th most dangerous job in America. So next time you see a garbage man hard at work, pay some respect; not only is he cleaning up after you, he is also putting his life at risk while doing it.

Refuse and recyclable material collectors are responsible for gathering and collecting garbage, waste, refuse and recyclable material from homes, offices and businesses and transferring it to dumps, landfills or recycling centers. They ride garbage trucks, usually standing on small platforms protruding from the back of the truck and hang onto rails attached to the back of the truck. Refuse and recyclable material collectors empty garbage bins, dumpsites and recyclable bins into the garbage truck manually or by using hydraulic lifts. The fatality rate for refuse and recyclable material collectors is about 29.8 fatalities per 100, 000 workers.

Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers

Power line installers and repairers climb poles and towers to get and keep electricity up and running. Power lines are typically high off the ground, and workers are at high risk of injury due to falls. Plus, these workers are often at risk of electrocution from contact with high-voltage power lines.  The fatalities are about 33 deaths per 100, 000 workers.

Drivers/Sales workers and truck drivers

Truck drivers deal with difficult hours and thin profit margins. His truck is governed to 68 miles per hour because the company he leases it from believes it keeps him and the public and the equipment safer. The driver pays for his own fuel. For example, he may need to be 1, 014 miles from where he loaded, in two days. He cannot misrepresent his federally mandated driver log, because he no longer does it on paper. He is logged electronically. He can drive for 11 hours in a 14 hour period, then he must take a 10 hour break. His exhaustion and lack of concentration leads to collisions, overturning and jackknifing given the size and clumsiness of the vehicle. Fatalities are on average 21.8 per 100, 000 truck drivers.

Farmers, Ranchers and other agricultural managers

While often understood to be a peaceful existence, farming and ranching actually presents great danger, mostly in the form of tractor and heavy machinery. In fact, non-highway vehicle accidents account for most of the casualties among farmers, ranchers and other agricultural workers. The fatalities are in the region of 41 deaths per 100, 000 workers in this sector.

Construction Workers

Most construction worker fatalities – about a third can be attributed to falls, transportation incidents, contact with objects and equipment, and exposure to harmful substances or the environment. Fatalities are around 15.6 per 100, 000 construction workers.