The newly-passed infrastructure bill could bring major - and very positive - changes to auto safety.
Example: The bill requires that autos be equipped with tech to detect when the driver is drunk (and prevent them from driving). The alcohol industry fought this hard.
The bill also pushes USDOT to (finally!) update the New Car Assessment Program (crash test dummy program), to evaluate the risk that car models pose to pedestrians and cyclists -- who are currently completely ignored.
Minimum performance standards for Advanced Driving Assistance Systems, addressing the wide (and confusing) disparities in what these systems can do right now.
Nope! Expanded highways attract more car trips, which inevitably slows traffic down again. You can blame induced demand, a theory that economists (but not construction-loving state DOTs) have long accepted. bloomberg.com/news/features/…
Myth 2⃣: "94% of human crashes are caused by human error"
Nope! Blaming the driver alone lets others off the hook, including engineers who design dangerous roads, car companies building heavier & taller SUVs/trucks, and cities underinvesting in sidewalks.
In @Slate, my take on the controversy around Dr. Missy Cummings’ appointment at @NHTSAgov — and what it means for the Biden admin's ability to address the recklessness of Tesla Autopilot and Full-Self Driving.
Why worry about infotainment systems? They’re harmless and fun, right?
Well, not necessarily. A study by the AAA Foundation found that rerouting a destination can distract a driver for up to 40 seconds—enough time to cover half a mile at 50 mph. newsroom.aaa.com/2017/10/new-ve…
Even if a driver uses voice commands, systems often require looking at a car's touchscreen (and not the road) to verify accuracy. That’s inherently risky.
A provocative question in this book by @STS_News: Why doesn't the USA regulate car safety like emissions?
"How would automakers transform their products if we mandated that they reduce the number of automotive fatalities in new cars by, say, 40% within 10 years?"
A thread 🧵:
For a century, automobile safety has largely focused on 1) driver education and 2) voluntary agreements by automakers to build safer cars.
Both those approaches are flawed.
Here's future Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan critiquing safety education in 1959:
It "shifts public attention from factors like auto design, which we can reasonably hope to control, to factors such as the temperament and behavior of 80M drivers, who [will ignore] a bunch of slogans."
Oversized SUVs and trucks are a growing menace to people outside of them-- including pedestrians, cyclists, and occupants of smaller cars.
A Biden admin can begin fixing this (even w/o the Senate).
Here's how. 🧵⤵️
Some context: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) evaluates the design of new autos through its influential New Car Assessment Program (NCAP)-- aka, "the one with the crash test dummies."
Automakers are eager to score valuable ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ NCAP ratings.
NCAP only looks at risk to a vehicle's occupants. Pedestrians, cyclists, and those in other cars don't count.
That gives automakers little incentive to protect vulnerable street users. Instead, they're in an arms race to design the biggest, tallest SUVs and trucks.
Fall seems to be the season for Mobility-as-a-Service panels and debates.
Speaking at several has led me to reflect on my own MaaS journey, summarized in the 🧵 below (w/article links).
TLDR: Despite great promise and hype, very few people use MaaS today. We need new models.
2/ I first learned about MaaS ~5 years ago. It offered a captivating vision: Leverage new technology to knit together trips on transit, bikeshare, carshare, scooters etc to improve cities and reduce private driving.
I was fascinated and wanted to learn more.
3/ 2 years ago I heard a top US transportation guru cite Helsinki as the future of urban mobility “because everyone there uses Whim, a MaaS app, to get around town.”