Safe Roads Alliance

Safe Roads Alliance was formed in 2006 as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting safer driving.

Safe Roads provides educational services to all drivers on different aspects of driving safety, including: issues confronting teen drivers, older drivers, seat belt usage, and Distracted Driving.

Safe Roads Alliance has also developed The Parent's Supervised Driving Program in an effort to reach out to parents of teens who hold a Learner's Permit. Getting enough, and the right kind of experience during this phase of driving has shown to be a critical factor in reducing teen crash rates. Parental involvement is important to that effort.

http://www.theparentssuperviseddrivingprogram.com/

May Blog Post

Human or Machine Error: A Distracted Driving Victim’s Thoughts on Autonomous Vehicles

Which is worse, human or machine error?

It’s weird when your personal and professional life meet, here I am writing about it. This is my personal blog, these are my personal thoughts. 

Often, when I am thinking about something and just can’t get it out of my head, I write. It’s therapeutic for me and helps me get my thoughts down on paper. So here I go…

I am a victim of distracted driving. 2.5 years ago I was walking my dog before work and I was hit by a distracted driver while crossing a crosswalk. From the scene, I was rushed to the nearest Level 1 trauma center where I had an emergency brain surgery to save my life. In addition, I shattered my face, pelvis, sternum and sacrum. I went on to have two pelvis surgeries and the doctors ‘hoped I would walk again’.

Statistics say that 90% of people do not survive accidents like I had and those that do, do no go back to their lives before the accident. Lucky is an understatement. I live a pain free life and have some minor memory issues. You will see my carrying around printouts so I can remember things, if that’s the worst of it then I am good! 

I was hit in a crosswalk in broad daylight, the driver didn’t have his hands or eyes on the road. It was a crash not an accident. A self-driving car would have seen me, stopped and this crash could have been avoided.

Autonamous vehicles and self-driving cars have been a major use case for 5G technology. 5G promises faster data rates and lower latency making it the missing link that can make self-driving technology work the way it should with much lower error rates. In my current role, I work to market and launch products to help Service Providers build their 5G networks.

Given my history, WHY would I ever trust a vehicle without someone behind the wheel? Because I feel human error is much worse than machine error and machines don’t stop to answer a ‘quick text’.

  • People are as impaired when they drive and talk on a cell phone as they are when they drive intoxicated at the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08%. University of Utah
  • Cell phone users are 5.36 times more likely to get into an accident than undistracted drivers. University of Utah
  • Text messaging increases the risk of crash or near-crash by 23 times. Virginia Technical Transportation Institute, USDOT
  • Sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, long enough to cover a football field while driving at 55 mph NHTSA
  • 10% of fatal crashes and 15% of injury crashes in 2015 were distraction-affected. NHTSA
    Distracted driving crashes are under-reported and the NSC estimates that cell phone use alone accounted for 27% of 2015 car crashes NSC
    In 2015, there were 3,477 people killed and an estimated additional 391,000 injured in crashes involving distracted drivers. NHTSA
    The fatal crash rate for teens is 3 times greater than for drivers age 20 and over (IIHS)
    Driver distraction is responsible for more than 58% of teen crashes. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety * All stats from enddd.org

After all of this reflection, I am an advocate for autonamous and self-driving vehicles. There will be error (there is with planes as well, which are for the most part, self-flying) but I truly believe that the error will be much less than it is with a human {who is easily distracted} behind the wheel.

Additionally, self-driving cars can’t get drunk. Drunk driving is just as dangerous as distracted driving and visa-versa. Machines cannot get drunk or distracted. There is a small margin of error (like with planes) and it will be much less than mistakes that humans make.

The problem is the minute ONE self-driving vehicle makes an error, they are ALL pulled off the road. Here is the hypocrisy: we don’t pull all humans with cell phones off the road when they make one error.

We have to get this technology right, I know that the evolution to 5G will bring about less error for these autonamous vehicles and in turn, save many lives that are lost at the hands of distracted drivers.

I truly believe the technology evolution can be used for GOOD and I see this use case as a lifesaver.

Congratulations to our advocates and survivor families on passage of MA Hands-Free Law

 

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Congratulations to all our advocates on passage of Hands-Free Law in Massachusetts

PSAs you need to see

April4

Put Me First

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Please Hang up and Drive.

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March27

The Parent’s Supervised Driving Program to Improve Teen Driver Safety

Safe Roads Alliance has developed The Parent’s Supervised Driving Program to improve teen driver safety.

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August19

Seat Belts

The sad fact is that Massachusetts pays millions of dollars more in healthcare dollars each year simply because one quarter of us are not wearing seat belts.

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April15

Drive Smart

Driving smarter, see the statistics and advice.

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