What you see below are stats from the Los Angeles Central (Traffic) Bureau one of if not the largest Traffic Division in the world. Do you notice anything peculiar about them? Or do they look familiar? They should because they mirror every other major metropolitan area in the country. Top of the list is almost always excessive or ‘unsafe speed.’
Top 5 Primary Collision Factors in Central Bureau – 2011
22350 VC Unsafe Speed
22106 VC Unsafe Start or Backing
21801(a) VC Left Turn Violation
21453(a) VC Red Light Violation
21658(a) VC Straddling or Changing Lanes when Unsafe
Statistically speaking NHTSA’s national and statewide programs to slow us down have been effective in reducing fatalities steadily over the last decade. While truly remarkable, I’m not sure that in today’s e-world it’s enough. There’s another deadly category lurking in the shadows that has the potential to replace number one.
In the next couple of years I fully expect to see ‘Distracted Driving’ sadly become the leading factor in crashes in our very fine country. When you add distracted driving atop excessive speed, you’ve got a formula for death like no other!
Texting while driving is also called distracted driving.
NHTSA defines Distracted Driving as follows:
- Cell Phone or smartphone use while driving
- Texting while driving
- Eating/drinking while driving
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting radio, CD player, or MP3 player
If you talk to any seasoned traffic cop about this, most will admit they’re doing what they can, but the sheer volume of people texting or with a phone to their ear is overwhelming. Making a difference will take a massive public education effort. You can bet monetarily speaking it will eclipse what is now spent on drunk driving campaigns.
It will also require a mammoth effort by law enforcement to even put a dent in the number of habitual violators. This begs the question; how? If we’re giving more than lip service to this very real problem it will be necessary to equip our nation’s traffic officers with tools that can truly mitigate this behavior. TruCam with its high resolution video camera, ability to quantify tailgating with DBC, and the accuracy LTI is known for will document every violation in real time putting them in proper context.