In all North American countries the law is literally one-sided: ‘drive on the right.’ But in our corporate ‘defensive’ and ‘advanced’ driver training courses at Advanced Drivers of North America, we are very frequently asked which is safer — driving on the left or the right.
It is a well-known fact that a mere handful of crash-types are the major killers on roads. These include impaired driving, distracted driving, drowsy driving, speed, vulnerable road users, and so on. However, although these are indeed the biggest issues, this is not the full story and it is regrettable that people aren’t made more aware of the many other factors and causes.
I’ve just had a great conversation, this evening, with a pilot who was at the next table to mine at dinner.
Our initial topic came from him and was about the safety comparison between air travel and driving, so I asked whether he was aware that for every person killed in commercial flights worldwide, each year, over 2,160 people are killed in road crashes. Yes, a ratio of more than 2,000-to-1, and even the number of people killed annually just on America’s roads is over 60-times greater than the total number of plane-crash fatalities worldwide.
Because of the complexity of the subject, the finalized crash and casualty statistics for 2017 have just been released by NHTSA.
In that year, in the USA, there were an estimated 6,452,000 police-reported traffic crashes, in which 37,133 people were killed and approximately 2,746,000 people were injured.
One area of great concern to us at Road Safety USA is the welfare of state troopers and other emergency services personnel at traffic stops and highway incidents. In the interests of full disclosure, the writer of this post is himself a retired traffic patrol police officer.
The original “Three E’s” of road safety* are still perfectly valid, even though more categories have now been added, but one of the originals — Enforcement — is my own career background and is therefore of particular interest and importance to me.
For many years, there has been a tendency to state that ‘x’ days of road fatalities are the same as a full Jumbo Jet airliner crashing, but no matter how effective the comparison is intended to be, this relies on both the teller and the listener knowing – for example – which size of Jumbo jet one is talking about; there are several different passenger-carrying capacities so even though it is a big plane the concept is a bit vague.
TRAFFIC SAFETY FACTSHEET — August 2019