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Region Transportation Safety Newsletter, February 2015
Fog and traffic crashes

The AAA Safety Foundation has released a report that investigates the characteristics of fog- and smoke-related crashes, and the prevalence of such crashes in overall national highway safety statistics. During foggy conditions, crashes are more likely to occur, more often result in serious injuries, and often involve multiple vehicles. Teen drivers are most at risk during foggy conditions due to inexperience. During the study, teens took the longest to react to hazards and reduced their speed the least in response to changing conditions.


Motorists often look to a lead vehicle to provide some visual context during low visibility, which can lead to shorter following distances. Unsafe stopping distance in addition to the fact that drivers tend to perceive vehicles to be farther away in fog than they do under clear conditions can be a deadly combination.

Full report: Fog and Traffic Crashes on America’s Roads 

Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Nov 2014.



Driver education: It saves lives, reduces crashes

The first six months after obtaining a driver license tend to be the most dangerous for teenage drivers across the nation, but Oregon's graduated driver licensing program has improved safety since it started in 2000. Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death for 15- to 20-year-olds. A national study shows teens who take formal driver training in Oregon have much lower crash rates. Yet only about a third of eligible Oregonians actually sign up for driving classes, saying they don't have the time, money or easy access to them. Oregon teens who took an approved ODOT driver education course have fewer crashes, traffic convictions and suspensions.

Find an ODOT-approved driver education course near you.



The downside of cheaper gas: More crash fatalities

It turns out that cheaper gas does come with a downside. And the downside is more traffic crashes and more traffic fatalities. An analysis of the relationship between gasoline prices and road fatalities in 144 countries finds that higher gas prices are associated with fewer fatalities. Lower gas prices are associated with a larger number of traffic deaths. A sociologist at South Dakota State University explains when gas prices are high, people combine trips, potentially reducing exposure. They also drive differently to save gas which typically translates to safer driving. To see the full NPR interview, go to: www.npr.org.

Source: NPR, January 6, 2015.



Saving lives: Improved vehicle designs bring down death rates

Drivers of late-model vehicles are a third less likely to die in crashes than they were a few years ago, but the gap between the best and worst vehicles remains wide. The latest report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety provides details on improved vehicle design and how it relates to reductions in traffic fatalities. Full report

Source: IIHS, January 29, 2015.



Animated safety videos address traffic problems

Eugene Police Department has produced a series of four PSAs to address some of the serious traffic problems in the community. Some of the top traffic violations are failure to obey a traffic control device, using a cell phone while driving, or driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII). These safety issues are not unique to Eugene and are helpful for all Oregonians. Here is the third of four safety videos to help educate drivers.




 PSA #3: Following Too Close




Oregon Traffic Crash Facts
NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts
FHWA Public Roads Magazine 
Oregon Impact Newsletter 
Traffic Safety Program Managers
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