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Events

Lifesavers Conference 2021

Mon, 04/26/2021

Location

Virtually in California
Logo for 2021 Lifesavers Conference
The Lifesavers Conference is the largest gathering of highway safety professionals in the United States, bringing together a unique combination of public heath and safety professionals, researchers, advocates, practitioners, and students committed to sharing best practices, research, and policy initiatives that are proven to work.

 

Fact Sheets, Research Notes, and Traffic Techs

Screenshots of reports

 

Alcohol-Impaired Driving

Child Passenger Safety

Drowsy Driving

Emergency Medical Services

Motorcycles

Seat Belt Use

Speeding

Young Drivers

 

Additional Resources

Enforcement

  • American Probation and Parole Association’s, Impaired Driving Assessment Resource Center
    The American Probation and Parole Association’s has developed an Impaired Driving Assessment Resource Center website, providing details about the Impaired Driving Assessment (IDA) instrument, training options, DUI research and resources to inform and educate jurisdictions on this valuable DWI assessment tool. The IDA is a differential screening instrument that is designed to estimate the risk for future impaired driving, provide preliminary guidelines for service needs, estimate the level of responsivity to supervision and services, and identify the degree to which traffic safety has been jeopardized among individuals convicted of a DWI offense.  
     
  • National Center for DWI Courts
    The National Center for DWI Court (NCDC) is an organization dedicated to reducing impaired-driving recidivism by addressing alcohol addiction and substance use disorder. They provide technical assistance to communities to implement, expand, and improve DWI court programs. The website provides more information, research, training opportunities, and other resources on DWI courts. 
     
  • National Judicial College
    The National Judicial College (NJC) is an educational institution that enhances and introduces courtroom skills to judges. NJC provides a variety of educational opportunities including courses for traffic judges. The website provides more information on training opportunities. 
     
  • American Bar Association’s Judicial Outreach Liaison Program 
    The American Bar Association (ABA) oversees the Judicial Outreach Liaison (JOL) program. JOLs function as teachers, writers, consultants, and liaisons, to share the latest research and best practices on addressing impaired driving offenders with the judges in their regions or States. The website provides information about the program and the judges. Currently there are 9 regional JOLs and 20+ State JOLs. 
     

Older Drivers

  • Clearinghouse for Older Road User Safety  
    The Clearinghouse for Older Road User Safety (ChORUS) at RoadSafeSeniors.org, to serve as the one-stop shop for all: consumers, health care professionals, law enforcement, licensing agencies and highway safety offices. The site has been newly improved to facilitate user access to a wealth of information that empowers older adults, and those supporting them, to improve older road user safety and mobility. ChORUS serves as the trusted, reliable, and centralized source of information about road safety for aging drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists. ChORUS offers tools and resources for transportation planning as drivers age. 
     
  • Overcome Senior Driver Concerns With Occupational Therapy
    The newly launched older driver video, made possible by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), provides a look into the ways occupational therapy can assist in senior drivers retaining their independence and mobility. An occupational therapy practitioner focuses on Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs), which are activities that permit individuals to live independently and contribute to overall quality of life. For older drivers, age-related illnesses, chronic conditions, and sudden changes in health, such as a stroke or a heart attack, can impair driving ability. Changes to an older driver’s health do not automatically mean giving up independence or, in this case, the keys to the car. An occupational therapist can aid older drivers in maintaining their mobility through consultation, evaluation, and recommendations to their driving experience. Watch the video to learn more about how occupational therapy practitioners can help seniors drive toward independence. Speak to your primary care physician about community mobility and partnering with occupational therapy. 
     
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment and Driving Safety: Early Action With Patients 
    This free web-based course for healthcare providers focuses on the management of older drivers with mild cognitive impairment. 
     
  • Older Driver Safety: It Takes a Team!  
    This free web-based course for healthcare providers focuses on raising awareness of risk factors for unsafe driving in older drivers, to provide a framework for assessment of the older driver, and to highlight tools to develop a driver agreement. 
     
  • Older Driver Safety and Cannabis Use
    This free web-based course for healthcare providers focuses on improving clinicians' understanding of the increases among cannabis use among older drivers and the possible impact on driving safety. 
     
  • Hot Topics in Older Driver Safety: Leveraging Resources for Driver Safety Assessment and Rehabilitation
    The next course, coming soon, relates to leveraging resources for driver safety assessment and rehabilitation. The course will be offered at the Driver Safety: The Clinician’s Connection website.
     

School Buses

  • Safe Steps to the School Bus  (PDF, 748 KB)
    Getting to school on time and ready to learn starts with the trip to school. Whether walking to the bus stop or all the way to school, parents and caregivers play a critical role in building their child’s pedestrian safety skills. Spending time walking together can also be a chance for parents and children to connect and for children to understand the world around them as they build their independence. Parents and caregivers can help their child by encouraging safe behaviors while walking. This resource provides tips for pedestrian safety for any walking trip, with some special considerations for the trip to and from the school bus.
     
  • Education on Proper Use of Seat Belts on School Buses (PDF, 857 KB) January 2021; DOT HS 812 999
    NHTSA sponsored a project to understand how school districts that purchase large school buses with seat belts can maximize their effectiveness and benefit by improving proper usage. The project obtained observational data related to the impact of seat belts on student behavior on buses and on bus driver distraction. This report synthesizes anecdotal data collected from school districts across the United States. Through interviews, surveys, and material collected, the project team examined the common components of the seat belt use policies, such as how policies were carried out by school bus drivers, and consequences for non-compliance, to better understand the factors that can influence seat belt use. In general, the most important factors in successful planning seem to be training, education, and enforcement. Most interview and survey respondents said they observed that seat belts on school buses contributed to calmer and less distracted environments for school bus drivers. While the opinions about seat belts often varied from driver to driver, the project team heard from drivers and supervisors that those drivers who invested more time and effort into seat belts (e.g., by maintaining and enforcing a consistent seat belt use policy) derived the most benefit. 

 

Featured Resources

Drug-Impaired Driving Criminal Justice Evaluation Tool

Countermeasures That Work: A Highway Safety Countermeasure Guide For State Highway Safety Offices, Ninth Edition, 2017

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is engaged in numerous activities to reduce drug-impaired driving, including conducting research and developing tools, resources, and promising practices to assist states and local communities. To aid in evaluating efforts to address drug-impaired driving, NHTSA has developed the Drug-Impaired Driving Criminal Justice Evaluation Tool. The tool is designed to assist with identifying program strengths and opportunities for improvements. After asking two organizations to test the model to explore weaknesses and identify areas for refinement, NHTSA now wishes to learn from other practitioners what improvements and refinements could add value to the tool.

Countermeasures That Work: A Highway Safety Countermeasures Guide, Ninth Edition (PDF, 6.74 MB) April 2018; DOT HS 812 478
The guide is a basic reference to assist State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) in selecting effective, evidence-based countermeasures for traffic safety problem areas. These areas include: Alcohol- and Drug-Impaired Driving; Seat Belts and Child Restraints; Speeding and Speed Management; Distracted and Drowsy Driving; Motorcycle Safety; Young Drivers; Older Drivers; Pedestrian Safety; and Bicycle Safety. The guide describes major strategies and countermeasures that are relevant to SHSOs; summarizes strategy/countermeasure use, effectiveness, costs, and implementation time; and provides references to the most important research summaries and individual studies.

 

Training Opportunities

Certification Training on the Impaired Driving Assessment Tool
Contact: probationfellow@csg.org 
The APPA is offering a free certification training via a four-hour live webinar on the Impaired Driving Assessment (IDA). The training is geared toward DWI and Hybrid Drug Court teams, probation departments, and treatment providers looking to use a validated assessment tool to work more effectively with this challenging population. 

Transportation Safety Institute Training Courses
Visit U.S. DOT’s Transportation Safety Institute website for virtual and in-person training sessions. Impaired-driving-related courses include: Introduction to Impaired Driving Program Management, Impaired Driving Program Management, and Impaired Driving Leadership Summit.

 

Traffic Safety Marketing

Screenshots of NHTSA marketing campaigns and logos

U Drive. U Text. U Pay. 
The 2021 U Drive. U Text. U Pay. national distracted driving enforcement campaign runs from April 5-12, 2021. It’s supported by the “Connect-to-Disconnect” enforcement blitz on April 8, which is followed by social norming and social media efforts with the “If you’re texting, you’re not driving” and “#justdrive” tags. Sample earned media templates, how-to guides, and downloadable graphics are available to support these outreach efforts.

Coming Soon to TSM

Child Passenger Safety

  • Heatstroke Prevention and Awareness
    National heatstroke prevention day is May 1, 2021. The 2021 campaign will launch on April 28, supported by a $2.1M national paid media campaign targeting the states that have the most vehicular heatstroke deaths. Messaging is focused on parents 25-44 years old—specifically parents of children 2 and younger and other caregivers such as grandparents and daycare providers. Everyone has a role in helping to ensure no child dies in a hot car.
     
  • Child Passenger Safety
    New assets (coming fall 2021) for Child Passenger Safety campaign with the Ad Council. Highlighting the importance of always securing children in the right seat, material will include English and Spanish TV, radio, print, outdoor, and digital banner ads.
     

Impaired Driving

  • If You Feel Different, You Drive Different
    New social norming TV ad for drug-impaired driving campaign with the Ad Council (coming fall 2021). The new ad will feature the tagline with a target audience of males 18-34 who may smoke marijuana and drive high.
     
  • Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over 
    New digital video (coming winter 2021). The new video aimed at males 21-34 will communicate the enforcement message that if you are driving while impaired, you may get pulled over and face consequences. 
     
  • July 4th Impaired Driving Earned Media and Other Campaign Material
     
  • Fourth of July Impaired Driving Campaign
    NHTSA’s Fourth of July Impaired Driving campaign brings awareness to the driving public to not drive while impaired (by alcohol or other drugs) and to plan ahead for a safe ride home. The primary messages for alcohol-impaired driving include Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, and Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over. The primary messages for drug-impaired driving include If You Feel Different, You Drive Different and If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI. Campaign material can be found on the Traffic Safety Marketing website. 
     

Motorcycles

  • May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and National Ride to Work Day is June 21, 2021
    According to NHTSA, in 2017 there were 5,172 motorcyclists killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes – a decrease of 3 percent from the 5,337 motorcyclists killed in 2016. Of the 5,172 motorcyclists killed in traffic crashes, 94 percent (4,885) were riders and 6 percent (287) were passengers. Motorcyclists are significantly overrepresented in traffic crashes and fatalities. In 2017, motorcycles made up 3 percent of all registered vehicles in the United States and accounted for only 0.6 percent of all vehicle miles traveled. Per registered vehicle, the fatality rate for motorcyclists in 2017 was 6 times the fatality rate for passenger car occupants. Even the smallest momentary lapse in a vehicle driver’s awareness can result in the death of an unseen motorcyclist.
     

Rail Crossings

  • Rail Grade Crossing
    The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have launched the Stop. Trains Can’t. national rail grade crossing safety campaign to increase public awareness about being safe around rail grade tracks and reduce crossing deaths and injuries. Assets include English and Spanish TV, radio, print, outdoor, and digital banner ads. The campaign runs from March 22 through April 12, 2021, and the second flight is from September 6-27, 2021.
     

Seat Belt Use

  • Click It or Ticket
    The 2021 national Click It or Ticket (CIOT) enforcement mobilization runs from May 24 to June 6, 2021. Driving or riding unbuckled will result in a ticket, no matter what state you’re in. Look for a new CIOT digital advertisement and social media graphics.
     
  • Thanksgiving Holiday Travel
    Buckle UpEvery Trip. Every Time.
    November 24-28, 2021
    This Thanksgiving weekend, millions will hit our nation's roads, eager to spend time with family and friends. It’s one of the busiest travel times of the year, and unfortunately more people on the roadways means more vehicle crashes. Use these social norming marketing tools, which can be distributed to fit your local needs and objectives. This material can help your office partner with other states, communities, and organizations on this seat belt safety initiative.

 

Coming Soon

Enforcement

  • E-Warrant Technical Report
    This is expected to be released prior to Lifesavers. The Impaired Driving Division will follow up as soon as possible with official publication information when the report has been published. 
     
  • Countermeasures That Work, 10th Edition
    Countermeasures That Work is a basic reference to assist State Highway Safety Offices and other highway safety professionals in selecting effective, evidence-based countermeasures for traffic safety problem areas. NHTSA released the 9th edition in 2018 and expects to release the 10th edition in 2021.
     
  • High-Visibility Enforcement: Assessing Change and Identifying Opportunities
    This final report, which is part of the National Cooperative Research and Evaluation Program, describes the lessons learned from interviews with state officials about whether support for high-visibility enforcement (HVE) among law enforcement has changed over the past decade, and from interviews with law enforcement officials about noteworthy or innovative strategies being used in their jurisdictions to increase HVE participation.
     
  • State of Knowledge and Practice for Using Automated License Plate Readers for Traffic Safety Purposes
    This final report, which is part of the National Cooperative Research and Evaluation Program, provides a qualitative assessment of the feasibility of using automated license plate readers as a potential countermeasure to improve traffic safety.
     
  • An Examination of the Predictive Validity of Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program Evaluations 
    This final report examines the relationship between the Drug Evaluation and Classification evaluations completed by Drug Recognition Experts and the results from blood samples to determine connections between the measures and drug classes confirmed by blood samples as well as which combinations of factors offer the best predictive validity.
     

Impaired Driving

  • Impaired Driving State Landscapes
    The “Impaired Driving State Landscape” documents are a new set of fact sheets/infographics on impaired driving in the United States. The purpose of the documents is to provide an overview of impaired driving fatality rates, legislation, and prevention mechanisms of each state. The documents aim to help users better understand the complexities and differences between states, within each NHTSA region. 
     
  • July 4th Impaired Driving Earned Media and Other Campaign Material
     
  • Evaluation of On-Site Oral Fluid Drug Screening Devices
    This final report, which is part of the National Cooperative Research and Evaluation Program, assesses the forensic reliability of on-site (field) drug screening devices in a laboratory setting.
     
  • A Primer for Evaluating Underage Drinking and Driving Programs
    This primer assesses relevant traffic safety results and delineates the key program components related to drinking and driving and alcohol-involved crash reductions for underage drivers.
     

Motorcycles

  • Methodology for an Observation Survey of Motorcycle Personal Protective Equipment: A Pilot Test
    This final report describes the development and implementation of (1) a sampling and statistical analysis plan that is adaptable for each state and allows a probability-based estimate of personal protective equipment (PPE) use; (2) protocol for capturing information on PPE use; and (3) the results of a pilot test of the methodology.
     

Older Drivers

  • Physical Fitness Training and Older Driver Performance and Exposure
    This final report contains the results of an assessment of whether a physical fitness training program can improve the safety mobility of older drivers.
     

School Buses

  • Examination of Three Districts Implementing Stop Arm Cameras to Enforce Laws Against Illegal Passing of Stopped School Buses
    The final report presents the results on an evaluation of the extent to which drivers do not stop for school buses loading and unloading students before and after a public information program and implementation of a stop-arm bar camera enforcement program in three jurisdictions.
     
  • Indirect Effects of School Bus Seat Belt Installation
    This final report contains the results of a literature review and program scan to identify behaviors influenced by installing and using seat belts on school buses.
     

     

    New Publications on the Web

    Screenshots of report covers

     

    Social Media Practices in Traffic Safety (PDF, 3.07 MB) May 2019; DOT HS 812 673
    This study researched how State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) are using social media, and the opportunities, benefits, and challenges social media presents. While social media continues to rapidly evolve, this report provides statistical analysis on the state of the practice of SHSO social media. It also describes new and creative ways SHSOs are sharing information, ideas, and other content – and how these activities can be measured or tracked.

    Examination of the Traffic Safety Environment During the Second Quarter of 2020: Special Report (PDF, 1 MB) October 2020; DOT HS 813 011
    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reviewing national changes in roadway travel and changes in drivers’ behavior that have occurred since the start of the COVID-19 public health emergency, with an emphasis on the second quarter (Q2) of 2020. Most important, we are learning about the impact on motor vehicle crashes and fatalities. This report draws from an array of sources to bring together as much information as possible to provide an understanding of our current traffic safety environment, and to better address our changing traffic safety needs. Prior economic downturns, such as the financial crisis of 2008, provide some comparison for reduced roadway travel and changes in travel patterns. As this report documents, although there are some similarities with that time frame, there are many differences in impact on speeding and other dangerous driving behaviors, such as reduced seat belt use. This report explores changes in countermeasure use including traffic enforcement and public communications and outreach. This report also examines the question of whether some people – who continued driving even when many communities had stay-at-home guidelines – may be inherently higher-risk drivers. The report draws on sources such as emergency medical services (EMS) and hospital trauma center data as we examine this issue.

    Child Passenger Safety

    • Awareness and Availability of Child Passenger Safety Information Resources (PDF, 3.45 MB) December 2020; DOT HS 813 035
      Child restraint systems (CRSs) are an effective method to reduce the risk of child injury in motor vehicle crashes. Research indicates that hands-on instruction demonstrating the installation and use of CRSs is effective in reducing misuse of CRSs. Child passenger safety technicians (CPSTs) currently provide one-on-one instruction on the proper use and installation of CRSs at thousands of child car seat inspection stations nationwide. The primary objective of the Awareness and Availability of Child Passenger Safety Information Resources (AACPSIR) survey was to estimate the degree of awareness parents and caregivers have of CPST inspection stations. The researchers recruited a nationally representative sample of caregivers who drove children regularly. Key data analysis methods included descriptive analyses, cross-tabulation analyses, weighted linear regression or logistic regression analyses, and causality analysis to determine the effects of distance on the use of child car seat inspection stations. In addition, exploratory linked analysis to the National Survey of the Use of Booster Seats (NSUBS) data was conducted to examine the relationships among selected AACPSIR outcome variables and selected explanatory variables from the AACPSIR and NSUBS data. The study found that two-thirds of adults who drove children on a regular basis had heard of inspection stations (67%). Drivers who transport children frequently indicated they were confident their CRSs were installed correctly. However, the AACPSIR survey found that 19 percent of children were not riding in the correct CRS for their height and weight. There were higher rates of improper selection in the 2- to 3-year-old and the 8- to 9-year-old age groups than among other ages.
       
    • Evaluation of Correct Child Restraint System Installation (PDF, 2.8 MB) July 2020; DOT HS 812 976
      This research project used an experimental design, called an “incomplete factorial” type, with a convenience sample of 75 novice and 75 experienced child restraint system (CRS) users to test whether user experience, child’s age/weight/height, vehicle characteristics, and CRS characteristics are associated with installation errors. This study identified conditions related to correct and incorrect CRS use to inform programming and education with the goal of increasing correct use. The results help frame the target population for programming and education as not only novice users, but also experienced users, as the study did not find a significant difference in errors by experience.
       
    • A Guide to Implementing Child Passenger Safety Inspection Stations (PDF, 378 KB) March 2021; DOT HS 812 692
      This guide provides recommendations for implementing child passenger safety inspection stations. Inspection stations are an effective way to increase the proper use of car seats, booster seats and seat belts. This guide is intended for anyone looking to implement an inspection station in their community. 
       

    Distracted Driving

    • Distracted Driving Enforcement Demonstrations: Lessons Learned (PDF, 1.94 MB) December 2020; DOT HS 812 505
      At any given daylight moment in America in 2017, some 481,000 drivers were using cell phones while driving. In that year 3,166 people died in crashes involving distracted drivers. In 2015 there were 391,000 people injured in distraction-affected crashes. In 2016 there were 457 fatal crashes that involved drivers with cell phones. Police crash reports said that in all these fatal crashes the drivers were talking on, listening to, or manipulating cell phones. The strategies and approaches in this guide focus on the complexity of the problem and enforcement strategies to combat texting while driving and cell phone use. “Distraction” includes several serious types of driver inattention such as eating, grooming, or talking to other passengers, among other causes. Two of the most common are texting and talking on a cell phone while driving. In 2016 more than 1.939 trillion text messages (SMS and MMS kinds) were sent in the United States. This guide describes three NHTSA-funded enforcement demonstration programs held at six sites, Hartford, Connecticut; Syracuse, New York; Sacramento Valley, California; Delaware; the southwest area surrounding Danbury, Connecticut; and a suburban area north of Boston, Massachusetts. Key lessons learned describe insights and ideas for law enforcement and State Highway Safety Offices to consider as tactics to combat distracted driving. These include spotters on overpasses and elevated roadways and using taller SUVs and trucks to get better elevated observation angles. Police know texting offenders frequently commit traffic violations such as lane departure, traveling too slowly, or weaving on high-speed highways. Targeted enforcement using stationary patrols, spotters, and roving patrols also result in high levels of observed violations.
       

    Emergency Medical Services

    • Characterizing Ambulance Driver Training in EMS Systems (PDF, 1.26 MB) December 2019; DOT HS 812 862
      Reducing ambulance crashes due to human error is a priority for the National Highway  Traffic Safety Administration. One possible way to address the issue is by limiting driver errors through ambulance operator education and training. Little, however, is currently known about existing practices. The primary objective of this project was to characterize ambulance operator education and training across the United States through discussions with personnel in State EMS offices and through an Internet-based survey of local EMS agencies to determine their operator training and supervision practices. The study also examined selected existing ambulance Emergency Vehicle Operator Course (EVOC) training programs to determine their content and consistency with the state-of-the-art. The results of this study suggest that most ambulance operators receive some form of training, but the survey responses and the review of existing EVOC training programs by subject matter experts suggest that the duration, content, and overall quality of the training may not be sufficient to have the desired impact on ambulance operator safety performance. A lack of state-level oversight and documentation limit the ability to make any definitive statements as to how many ambulance operators in each state are completing EVOC and which programs they are completing.
       
    • Fatigue in Emergency Medical Services Systems (PDF, 558 KB) August 2019; DOT HS 812 767
      This project produced five evidence-based guidelines (EBGs) for fatigue risk management tailored to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) operations using the National Prehospital EBG Model Process and the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology. 1) Use fatigue/sleepiness survey instruments to measure and monitor fatigue in EMS personnel. 2) EMS personnel work shifts shorter than 24 hours long. 3) EMS personnel have access to caffeine as a fatigue countermeasure. 4) EMS personnel have opportunities to nap while on duty to mitigate fatigue. 5) EMS personnel receive education and training to mitigate fatigue and fatigue-related risks.
       

    Enforcement

    • Best Practices for Implementing a State Judicial Outreach Liaison Program (PDF, 1.4 MB)  March 2019; DOT HS 812 676
      This report was previously published under the title Guidelines for Creating State Judicial Outreach Liaisons, Report No. DOT HS 811 783, in July 2013. This edition was revised and re-titled in March 2019. It now has two parts: Part I is for the State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) and includes information on the scope and purpose of the State Judicial Outreach Liaison (JOL) program; Part II is focused on launching the program and includes information helpful to both the SHSO and the new State JOL. The criminal justice system plays a critical role in deterring unsafe driving behaviors and assigning appropriate consequences for impaired driving and other traffic offenses. From arrest to prosecution to sentencing, it is important that all stakeholders in the criminal justice system are aware of the efforts being made to reduce traffic fatalities. To that end, peer-to-peer training, education, and outreach are used in promoting proven and promising practices. NHTSA has supported the development of a network of criminal justice professionals who utilize peer-to-peer education.
       
    • Law Enforcement Phlebotomy Toolkit: A Guide to Assist Law Enforcement Agencies With Planning and Implementing a Phlebotomy Program (PDF, 1.2 MB) March 2019; DOT HS 812 705
      A law enforcement phlebotomy program is a proven strategy to mitigate the time and cost issues associated with drawing blood from drivers suspected of driving while impaired (DWI) and therefore obtain the evidence necessary to prosecute impaired drivers. This toolkit provides information and resources to aid state and local law enforcement agencies in the implementation of a law enforcement phlebotomy program. The information in this toolkit is compiled from existing, successful law enforcement phlebotomy programs.

    Impaired Driving

    • The Status of College Impaired Driving: A National Call to Action  (PDF, 78.7 MB)
      In this report, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) worked to determine the scope of impaired driving among 18- to 24-year-olds on traditional and non-traditional college campuses, and developed strategies that can be used to address the problem. This required an extensive review of existing programs and literature on impaired driving among this demographic, and a comparison of implemented countermeasures to understand where programmatic gaps exist. Utilizing its College Leadership Council, SADD also conducted two listening sessions with college students to learn more about social norms on campuses today. Based on these findings, SADD determined that programming must be tailored to specific risk factors such as gender and age, focused on correcting social norms in order to reduce risky behavior, and deployed by students to achieve peer-led behavioral change. SADD also intends to work within existing university systems to add impaired-driving programs and education.
       
    • Alcohol Ignition Interlock Use Rates Following Changes in Interlock Legislation  (PDF, 1.47 MB) November 2020; DOT HS 812 989
      Ignition interlocks are effective at preventing driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol while installed on vehicles. However, the rate of interlock use is low relative to the numbers of DUI arrests and convictions, even in states that mandate interlock use for all DUI offenders. Accordingly, there is interest in identifying ways to increase interlock use, including by expanding the types of offenses for which an offender is eligible or required to use an interlock. This study examined how changes to interlock law affected interlock use in Florida and West Virginia. Each state had expanded the types of DUI offenses that result in mandatory or voluntary use of an interlock. The study compared the number of new interlock installations, interlocks-in-place (interlocks currently installed), installations as a proportion of those eligible to use interlocks, and lack of use or low use of the vehicles with interlocks, before and after the states modified their laws. The analyses found statistically significant increases in interlock use in both states after changes were made to their interlock laws. The Florida data showed increases of 21.8 percent in all DUI offenders mandated to install; 69 percent in first offenders mandated to install; 122.3 percent more installations overall; and 27.8 percent more installations for first offenders mandated to install. The West Virginia data showed an increase of 242 percent in interlock installations after a 2010 change in the interlock law, and an increase of 60 percent after a 2014 change to interlock law; however, the measure “interlocks-in-place” did not reveal changes, which may be due to limitations in the data used to capture the number of installations and removals. The results showed an increase in interlock installations after changes to DUI law expanded the types of DUI offenses, such as a “high-BAC” offense, that mandate or permit an alternative sanction, interlock use. This outcome, though not surprising, suggests that previously some offenders avoided enrolling in interlock programs. Results also showed that barriers to interlock use can emerge when the law requires that offenders fulfill obligations unrelated to their DUI charge to qualify for interlock programs, such as paying past fines or child support. Finally, the study highlights the importance of interlock data systems for states to track trends in interlock use and evaluate interlock programs.
       
    • Drug and Alcohol Prevalence in Seriously and Fatally Injured Road Users Before and During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PDF, 1.2 MB) October 2020; DOT HS 813 018 
      A gap in knowledge exists regarding drug use among drivers and other road users (pedestrians, bicyclists) who are seriously or fatally injured in crashes in the United States. This study examines the prevalence of alcohol as well as selected over-the-counter, prescription, and illegal drugs in the blood of seriously or fatally injured drivers and other crash victims near the time of their crashes before and during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Data was collected at Level 1 trauma centers and medical examiner offices. The 3,003 participants represent a convenience sample of roadway users who were seriously or fatally injured during the study period. Trauma centers and medical examiners made available small volumes of blood for toxicological analyses from the total collected during their normal clinical procedures. The results indicate drug prevalence was high among seriously and fatally injured roadway users before the public health emergency began and was even higher during, especially for alcohol, cannabinoids (active THC), and opioids. Drivers in particular showed significantly higher overall drug prevalence during the public health emergency, with 64.7 percent testing positive for at least one active drug, compared to 50.8 percent before. Drivers also showed an increase in testing positive for two or more categories of drugs going from 17.6 percent before to 25.3 percent during the public health emergency. Of particular note, active THC was more prevalent among drivers during the public health emergency than alcohol (32.7% versus 28.3%), and opioid use among drivers almost doubled from 7.5 percent to 13.9 percent. Overall, the results of this study suggest the highway safety community should be concerned about the impact of other drugs as well as alcohol. In particular, the observed cannabis and opioid prevalence rates before and during the public health emergency could be indicative of a growing problem. These findings are prevalence rates only and cannot be used to determine whether the people were impaired at the time of their crash.
       

    Motorcycles

    • Motorcyclists’ Attitudes on Using High-Visibility Gear to Improve Conspicuity: Findings From a Focus Group Study (PDF, 3.13 MB)  May 2019; DOT HS 812 704
      In its Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act, Congress directed NHTSA to establish a cooperative program the National Cooperative Research and Evaluation Program (NCREP) to conduct research and evaluations of state highway safety countermeasures. NCREP was continued in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. This program is administered by NHTSA and managed jointly by NHTSA and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Each year, the states (through GHSA) identify potential highway safety research or evaluation topics they believe are important for informing state policy, planning, and programmatic activities. One such topic identified by GHSA, the reasons why motorcyclists use or do not use high-visibility gear, formed the basis for this project. Prior research on multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes suggests that difficulty detecting motorcycles is a relevant factor. A potential countermeasure to this phenomenon is for a motorcycle rider to wear high-visibility gear, especially at night or in low-light conditions. Yet, many riders do not wear high-visibility gear. This report describes a study that explored why riders choose, or do not choose, to wear high-visibility gear. Eighteen focus groups of 137 riders in Rockville, Maryland; Los Angeles, California; Austin, Texas; and Ann Arbor, Michigan, discussed their attitudes, beliefs and preferences regarding high-visibility gear. As much as possible, the groups consisted of riders of the same gender and who ride the same motorcycle type (cruiser, touring motorcycle, or sport motorcycle). Findings revealed that a minority of participants regularly wear high-visibility gear, and most of these cited a history of being in a crash or knowing others who had been in crashes with other vehicles as the reason for using high-visibility gear. Primary reasons for not wearing high-visibility apparel were objections to its appearance and the belief that it does not fit with their riding culture. Participants indicated that, to increase its acceptance among motorcyclists, the comfort and look of high-visibility gear must improve.
       
    • How to Identify Safe Motorcycle Helmets - Electronic Brochure (PDF, 570 KB) September 2019; DOT HS 807 880
      It’s clear: motorcycle helmets save lives. To help protect the lives of motorcycle riders, the U.S. Department of Transportation requires that all motorcycle helmets sold in the United States meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218. This brochure helps riders know what to look for in a safe helmet.
       

    Occupant Safety

    • 2016 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey; Volume 1, Methodology Report (PDF, 4.62 MB) December 2019; DOT HS 812 851
      The 2016 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey used address-based sampling with a multimode methodology to produce nationally representative estimates of self-reported behaviors, attitudes, and knowledge related to various motor vehicle occupant safety topics among United States adults 18 and older. The current report is the first in a series of four volumes describing the survey and the results: Volume 1: Methodology Report; Volume 2: Seat Belt Report; Volume 3: Child Passenger Safety Report; and Volume 4: Emergency Medical Services, Crash Injury Experience, and Other Traffic Safety Topics.
       
    • 2016 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey; Volume 2: Seat Belt Report (PDF, 1.19 MB) December 2019; DOT HS 812 727
      The 2016 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey used a multimode methodology to produce nationally representative estimates of self-reported behaviors, attitudes, and knowledge related to various motor vehicle occupant safety topics among United States residents 18 and older. The current report is the second in a series of four volumes being published: Volume 1: Methodology Report; Volume 2: Seat Belt Report; Volume 3: Child Passenger Safety Report; and Volume 4: Emergency Medical Services, Crash Injury Experience, and Other Traffic Safety Topics.
       
    • Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey; Volume 3: Child Passenger Safety Report (PDF, 680 KB) June 2020; DOT HS 812 913
      The 2016 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey used address based sampling with a multimode methodology to produce nationally representative estimates of self-reported behaviors, attitudes, and knowledge related to various motor vehicle occupant safety topics among United States adults 18 and older. The current volume is the third in a series of four volumes describing the survey and the results. The others are Volume 1: Methodology Report; Volume 2: Seat Belt Report; Volume 3: Child Passenger Safety Report; and Volume 4: Emergency Medical Services, Crash Injury Experience, and Other Traffic Safety Topics.
       
    • 2016 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey, Volume 4: Emergency Medical Services, Crash Injury Experience, and Other Traffic Safety Topics (PDF, 731 KB) January 2020; DOT HS 812 788
      The 2016 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey used address based sampling with a multimode methodology to produce nationally representative estimates of self-reported behaviors, attitudes, and knowledge related to various motor vehicle occupant safety topics among United States adults (18 and older). The current volume is the fourth in a series of four volumes describing the survey and the results: Volume 1: Methodology Report; Volume 2: Seat Belt Report; Volume 3: Child Passenger Safety Report; and Volume 4: EMS, Crash Injury Experience, and Other Traffic Safety Topics.
       

    Older Drivers

    • Older Drivers’ Self-Regulation and Exposure (PDF, 1.42 MB) April 2020; DOT HS 812 930
      This study’s goal was to gain insights into the extent to which older adults appropriately self-regulate their driving behaviors as their functional skills decline. The study examined relationships among functional abilities as assessed by a clinical test battery, behind the wheel (BTW) driving performance as measured during an on road evaluation, and naturalistic driving behaviors (exposure) captured by video and tracking devices over a month of naturalistic driving. Many of the functional assessment measures predicted performance on the BTW evaluation. Notably, reduced visual acuity and contrast sensitivity, as well as poorer scores on Trail Making Tests A and B, simple and choice reaction times, and Snellgrove Maze Test completion times reliably predicted worse BTW performance. Analyses of the exposure data showed that many of the participants who exhibited poorer performance on the functional and BTW assessments limited their driving to less demanding contexts. Worse functional and BTW performance were associated with participants’ driving lessons’ demanding driving contexts, especially higher speed and nighttime driving. The findings suggest that many people who experience functional declines may regulate to a certain extent when, where, and how they drive. However, some of those with the poorest functional and/or BTW scores did not appear to limit their driving.
       
    • Activity Level, Performance and Exposure Among Older Drivers (PDF, 4.43 MB) September 2019; DOT HS 812 734
      This project explored the relationship between the fitness of older people – operationalized through multiple measures of physical activity level and cognitive status – and their driving performance and exposure. A certified driver rehabilitation specialist conducted on-road evaluations for a study sample (n=67; mean age=78.6) recruited from senior residential communities in the vicinity of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. GPS and video recorders installed in study participants’ own vehicles collected naturalistic driving data for approximately one month. Functional status assessments included measures of head/neck/torso flexibility; lower limb strength, balance, and proprioception; visual search with divided attention; and executive function. Activity levels were gauged through the Phone-FITT questionnaire; the VO max questionnaire and body measurements; and a pedometer that participants wore around their ankle for a month to record active minutes per day, steps per day, gait speed, and daily distance. Because of their complementary nature, the physical activity measures were combined into a single, continuous scale ranging from 1 (lowest level of physical activity) to 100 (highest level of activity), termed the Unified Physical Activity Index (UPAI). Subsequent correlations between UPAI scores and road test scores (operational, tactical, strategic, and total) showed that, while higher physical activity levels generally were associated with better road test performance, in all cases relationships were very weak, accounting for less than 3 percent of the variance in the performance evaluations. Similarly, UPAI scores failed to account for more than 1.5 percent of the variance in multiple measures of trip frequency, distance, or time, or of scanning behavior as characterized by frequency of side glances and over-the-shoulder checks. Correlations between functional status measures and performance and exposure also were very weak; the strongest (inverse) relationships, accounting for about 5 percent of variance, were between head/neck flexibility and shoulder checks per minute and between trails B score and minutes of driving per day. Logistic regression found that Trails B and Snellgrove Maze Test scores significantly predicted pass/fail outcomes on the road test, and a multiple regression model relating trails B (and other variables) to driving minutes per day indicated that the trails B relationship was statistically significant.
       

    Seat Belt Use

    • Psychological Constructs Related to Seat Belt Use, Volume 1: Methodology Report (PDF, 840 KB) December 2020; DOT HS 813 032
      The Psychological Constructs Related to Seat Belt Use (PCRSBU) survey was designed to “go beyond” demographic correlates of seat belt use (e.g., age, income, race) and identify psychological constructs that may help explain additional variance in seat belt use among the general U.S. population. The survey was administered in 2018 to a representative sample of U.S. residents 16 or older who reported driving or riding in a car in the past year. This volume, methodology, is the first of two describing the survey and its results. Volume 2 is the results report. 
       
    • Psychological Constructs Related to Seat Belt Use, Volume 2: Results Report (PDF, 906 KB) DOT HS 813 029; December 2020
      The Psychological Constructs Related to Seat Belt Use (PCRSBU) survey was designed to “go beyond” demographic correlates of seat belt use (e.g., age, income, race) and identify psychological constructs that may help explain additional variance in seat belt use among the general U.S. population. The survey was administered in 2018 to a representative sample of U.S. residents aged 16 years or older who reported driving or riding in a car in the past year. Analyses of survey results demonstrated that people with greater willingness to delay gratification, greater life satisfaction, more aversion to risks, greater perception of risk in various driving situations, greater loneliness, and more resistance to peer influence were more likely to be full-time seat belt users. People with greater impulsivity and inclination to engage in risky behaviors as acts of “social resistance” were less likely to be full-time belt users. Additionally, mediation analyses revealed that the psychological constructs fully explained some of the observed effects of demographic variables (age, sex, and one regional difference) on seat belt use. The results of this study may be useful both for identifying people at higher risk of seat belt non-use and for developing countermeasures targeted at high-risk occupants. The current volume is the second of two volumes describing the survey and the results. The other report is Volume 1: Methodology Report
       
    • Characteristics and Predictors of Occasional Seat Belt Use Using Strategic Highway Research Program 2 Data (PDF, 3.93 MB) February 2020; DOT HS 812 840
      The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that despite the recent trend towards higher national seat belt use rates, 10% of drivers still only use seat belts occasionally. The current study examined occasional seat belt use among participants in the Strategic Highway Research Program 2 (SHRP2) Naturalistic Driving Study. The study was exploratory research with the specific objectives of: (1) identifying individual factors that differentiate seat belt user groups, and (2) identifying the impact of situational factors in seat belt use patterns of occasional seat belt users. Seat belt use data were available for 895 SHRP2 participants, and researchers examined belt use within and across each driver’s trips. Approximately 10 percent of study participants were clearly occasional seat belt users. The data provided evidence for two types of occasional seat belt users: those who made a pre-trip decision to buckle or remain unbuckled for the entire trip, and those who made a within-trip decision to buckle or unbuckle for part of the trip. Occasional seat belt users were more likely to be older and male, in addition to differing across several other demographic and psychological variables. Situational factors, such as trip distance, average speed, and start time also predicted occasional seat belt use.
       

    School Buses

    • Education on Proper Use of Seat Belts on School Buses (PDF, 856 KB) January 2021; DOT HS 812 999
      NHTSA sponsored this project to understand how school districts that purchase large school buses with seat belts can maximize their effectiveness and benefit by improving proper usage. The project obtained observational data on the impact of seat belts on student behavior on buses and on bus driver distraction. It examined how policies were carried out by school bus drivers, and consequences for non-compliance. In general, the most important factors were training, education, and enforcement. Most survey respondents said seat belts on school buses contributed to calmer and less distracted environments for school bus drivers.
       

    Speeding

    • Analysis of SHRP2 Speeding Data (PDF, 6.40 MB) March 2020; DOT HS 812 858
      Speeding-related crashes continue to be a serious problem in the United States and attempts to address this problem through a variety of approaches have not led to a substantial reduction in speed-related fatalities. A better understanding of speeding behavior is needed to inform the development of new speeding countermeasures. To address this issue, researchers conducted an in-depth investigation of driver speeding behavior using SHRP2 NDS data, which included numerous observations across various situations, environments, and driver characteristics. The research activities encompassed several steps. Sampling and data processing activities were conducted to obtain a set of trips that was suitable for examining multiple aspects of speeding. Key measures were then extracted from the trip data, including: (a) periods in which drivers had an opportunity to speed (which served as an exposure measure), and (b) speeding episodes within those periods. Using these data elements, situational and driver-specific predictors of speeding were examined using descriptive statistics and regression analyses. In addition, speeding episodes were used to identify different types of speeding and to develop a typology of speeders. Five types of speeders were identified, and these groups differed in terms of their aggregate speeding behavior, demographic characteristics, and attitudes about speeding and risk taking.
       
    • Analysis of SHRP2 Speeding Data: Methods Used to Conduct the Research (PDF, 3.76 MB) March 2020; DOT HS 812 793
      This report describes the methodologies and datasets used to prepare a set of data reductions that supported analyses of speeding behavior as discussed in the Findings Report from the same study (Richard, Lee, Brown, & Landgraf, 2019). Importantly, it is intended to be a guide that provides helpful insights for researchers to use when navigating the process of Strategic Highway Research Program 2 (SHRP2) data acquisition and processing. The report focuses primarily on the methods used to (1) obtain and process trip time series data, (2) prepare data reductions to extract free flow episodes (FFE) driving in free flow conditions where drivers have the opportunity to speed and (3) extract speeding episodes (SE). The workflow for preparing the data reductions consisted of three components: data acquisition, data management, and data processing. Data acquisition consisted of identifying variables of interest, selecting variables, obtaining a data sharing agreement, preparing and submitting data requests, and retrieving data extracted by the SHRP2 data contractor (VTTI). Data management included tracking the status of each trip during processing; retrieving, manipulating, and storing data in a relational database management system; database administration; data security; and data quality management. Data processing included developing and implementing data processing software tools that cleaned the data; parsed them into Trips, FFEs, and SEs; and produced data reductions suitable for analysis. Lessons learned during the conduct of the research are provided.
       

    Young Drivers

    • Young Driver Survey (PDF, 3.09 MB) October 2019; DOT HS 812 761
      The overrepresentation of young drivers in crashes and road fatalities is a serious public health concern and imposes substantial human, social, and economic costs. Contributing factors to crash risk include exposure, inexperience, distraction, recklessness, and social influence from peer passengers. Fortunately, young driver motor vehicle crashes are preventable, and proven strategies can improve the safety of young drivers on the road. The Young Driver Survey explored traffic safety attitudes and beliefs of young people 16 to 21 years old residing in Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. This questionnaire explored issues with the driving experiences of younger drivers and identified key challenges to safety measures. About 18,000 respondents (n = 17,698) completed the survey.