Presentations About Traffic Safety and Safe Driving
As part of our work at Road Safety USA, we provide illustrated talks for highway safety conferences, professional or governmental bodies, law enforcement departments, road victims’ advocacy groups, schools, colleges, and so on.
Unless specified otherwise, our presentations will be given by our executive director, Eddie Wren, whose 45-year, multi-disciplinary background in various aspects of traffic law enforcement, road safety and driver training give him extensive experience from which to speak. [Detailed résumé here.]
We also support our PowerPoint presentations with our own high-quality photography, often depicting scenarios that are rarely photographed by anyone else.
The following list of titles is by no means exhaustive but it will give an insight into a range of topics we can address:
DRIVING STANDARDS and DRIVER TRAINING
Standards in Driver Education and Driver Training
This talk was first given at the International Conference on Road Safety at Work, Washington DC; February 2009. The event was organized/sponsored by the World Health Organisation, NIOSH, and the NSC. [Wren was the only invited/selected speaker worldwide on behind-the-wheel driver training.]
While the individuals cannot be named for reasons of protocol, two senior members of the injuries division of the CDC later told him that it was the most informative and engaging road safety presentation either of them had ever seen in their careers.
Are Drivers the Only Demon in the Equation?
There is much talk nowadays about drivers being solely responsible for around 94 percent of all crashes, but this raises questions.
When the USDOT and NHTSA first published this information, they specifically stated that around 94 percent of all crashes involved driver error as a factor, but that only around 56 percent of total were due entirely to driver error. Dropping this differentiation is a major change in stance and serves to demonize drivers.
If the new ‘94% total responsibility’ message were accurate, it would mean that the latest thinking regarding four of the Five Pillars of Road Safety is effectively a waste of time, but frankly that would be absurd. Here in the USA, there are plenty of problems — other than just bad driving and bad driver-decisions — which undeniably play a significant role in the occurrence of road crashes, injuries and deaths. This presentation will take a look at just some of them.
Do We Give Young Drivers Adequate and Accurate Safety Information?
While the standard of information given to new drivers in state drivers’ manuals has improved in the last 10-12 years, these improvements are to a very large extent due to a research paper written by Eddie Wren and published by the Society of Automotive Engineers [SAE] at their World Congress in Detroit, in 2007. (The paper also received a quality award for being peer-selected as one of the top five percent of papers at the Congress.)
However, while the standard of information has improved, there is still a long way to go regarding the lack of best practices and also the low quantity of information contained in state drivers’ manuals — the only official driving advice that most drivers ever get to see in their lifetime.
At What Age Should Young People be Allowed to Drive?
At present, most lay-people who talk about road safety or who post about it on social media, are back to the perception that it is simply lack of experience that causes so many crashes involving young drivers, yet it has long-since been proven that there is another major factor at work — one which cannot be remedied simply by giving young drivers more experience before they can take their driving test.
Do NOT Teach Drivers ‘How to Swerve’ or ‘How to Get Out of a Skid’
This has been a massive research issue from many countries over the last four decades, with only one reliable conclusion, and yet many individuals and even huge organizations and corporations insist on continuing to teach these techniques and thereby increase rather than decrease subsequent crash risks for the trainees.
Following Distances, Stopping Distances, and Bad-Weather Driving
Sadly these are topics about which a lot of dangerously-bad advice is given, so let’s rectify some myths and misguidance.
The World’s Oldest and Most In-depth Advanced Driver Training
Over 80 years ago, back in 1935, the British Government became alarmed that too many people were getting killed or seriously injured [KSI] in crashes involving police cars either on their way to an incident or pursuing other vehicles. Does this sound like a familiar concern?
The UK response was to develop a very in-depth training regime for all officers who were to be permitted to driver at speed on public roads. That approach, originally known as The System of Car Control but more recently renamed ‘IPSGA’ after the component parts of its main feature, still exists and is still taught to British police officers and other emergency services personnel, having been continually refined and developed in the meanwhile. (It is also available to any citizen who wishes to be much safer on the roads but obviously without the high-speed element.)
Such training is a major part of Wren’s own background — in the final test for an additional motorcycle riding component he attained the second-highest score on record — and in this presentation we give an accurate insight into this method and its major benefits. It is applicable every type of road vehicle.
A self-portrait of Eddie Wren — or more accurately of his right leg — when he was a traffic patrol police officer in Cumbria Constabulary, northern England. The motorcycle was a BMW R80, and this was in his early days of doing specialised traffic safety photography. (Copyright image, 1978. All rights reserved.)
Roundabouts — the Right Way!
Again, this is a look at traffic engineering from a road user’s point of view.
While rotary traffic flow has been used since at least Roman times (for chariots and carts), ‘modern roundabouts’ (the correct name) were invented in Britain in the 1960s but have only been brought into use here in the U.S. since the early 2,000s.
Inexplicably, while the concept is the same, America has chosen not to adopt global best practices for the use of roundabouts. This is a case of needlessly trying to reinvent the wheel.
This action has served to increase drivers’ uncertainty and will not only have added to the number of collisions but also eroded some of the enhanced traffic flow which is one of the key reasons for using roundabouts in the first place.
The other key reason for their use is to create significant reductions in crashes which involve serious injuries or deaths.
Crosswalks Make Me Cross
We don’t just mean ‘cross the road,’ either! The poor design, poor materials and inadequate numbers of crosswalks in the USA are all serious problems. (And what was that, again, about drivers being responsible for 94 percent of all crashes?)
Incorrect or Unacceptable Traffic Signs and Pavement Markings
This presentation is related to ‘Are Drivers the Only Demon in the Equation?‘, above, but focuses on just this one important aspect.
VEHICLES & EQUIPMENT
Tires and How Best to Handle Winter Driving for Maximum Safety
Here’s another subject for which so many people believe they know all they need to know, when in fact they don’t. It has often accurately been said that tires are the most important safety equipment on any vehicle, because once their grip is lost, no other safety device is going to stop you — often resulting in a collision. This presentation contains important information that many people will never have heard before.
The Advantages of Simply Sitting Safely
Astonishingly, this is something a huge proportion of vehicle drivers and passengers have never even been told, let alone actually done before. This is a far more important and interesting talk than its title might suggest!
Your Conspicuity can be a Critical Safety Factor
Why do drivers turn on their headlights?
Most will tell you it is so that it is so they can see where they are going. Even when stopped by the police for not using headlights when they should have been, many drivers reject advice and will try to argue that they can see where they are going. Bad answer… that makes it ‘ticket time’.
The fact is there are two crucial purposes for maximising your conspicuity: One is so that you, as a pedestrian, bicyclist or motorcyclist [together knows as Vulnerable Road Users or VRUs] can be seen by approaching drivers and be given plenty of safe space when the vehicle passes.
The other is your vehicle may be seen approaching by people who might otherwise have moved into your path. This presentation looks at several important aspects of this important safety technique.
Global Best Practices in Road Safety
Cherries waiting to be picked!
Using a Multi-disciplinary Approach in ‘Big Picture’ Highway Safety
This clearly beneficial approach has been a cause major challenges right through the years of Wren’s 45-year career. All too often, the component divisions of the E’s of road safety, the Educators, the Enforcers, the Engineers, the Emergency rescue and evacuation personnel, and the Evaluators (meaning the researchers and academics) all think that their way of doing things is the best way. Indeed, even researchers’ inability to communicate well with the other groups in this field has been researched and found lacking! So how do we all find a more effective way forwards and the better outcomes that will result?
Road Safety USA is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organisation and we rely upon sponsorship, grants and donations in order to carry out our work.
If your organization has any access to, or possibility of, grant money or sponsorship to finance our attendance to give one or more presentations for you (and if possible, a donation towards our future work), we ask that your exhaust this approach first. If that is not possible, please still contact us and we will see whether we can find the necessary sponsors to get us to your event/s.