Thursday, August 2, 2007

Motorcycle fatalities

Aug 01 2007

Organ donation makes sense

Regulations and enforcement are needed to protect motorcyclists from themselves.

So far this year, nine motorcyclists have been killed in traffic accidents on Vancouver Island alone. Five deaths involved extreme speed. Another involved alcohol, no helmet and a crash into a vehicle. The rest resulted from driver error and collisions with a vehicle.

“These facts tell us helmet, safety gear, sobriety, experience, defensive driving and abiding by posted speed limits are good habits,” says RCMP Island District Traffic Services Staff-Sgt. Ted Smith.

Callum Campbell of the Vancouver Island safety council’s motorcycle training department notes, “A lot of accidents occurring on the island are speed related. And people are riding beyond their capabilities.”

One inexperienced 18-year-old riding a powerful Kawasaki failed to negotiate a corner and slammed into a rock face. “These victims are often so young,” says Adele Tompkins of the B.C. Coalition of Motorcyclists. “It’s heartbreaking.”

Tompkins suggests it’s time the B.C. government start looking at limiting the size of motorcycle a new rider may operate. She recommends a bike no bigger than 400 cc. during the first year.

Depending upon the stature of the student, a typical learner’s bike can be any size from 250 cc. to 750 cc. The problem comes when the biker is licensed to ride alone, without a coach behind him to oversee his behaviour.

He (usually it’s a he) buys the biggest bike he can afford and, once on the open road, disregards posted speed limits and gives no thought to blind curves. Add motorists who fail to see him and turn left in front of him or come out from a side street as he passes, and another life is snuffed out.

Until everyone shows more respect for highway rules and the risks of disobeying them, we need to educate young riders and drivers, their families, and experienced motorists to the demand for and benefits of organ donation.

Maybe if a license to drive was paired with an application to donate their organs in the event of a fatal mishap, more two-wheel riders – and four-wheel motorists – would slow down, driving to highway conditions and personal abilities.

In B.C. alone, some 400 patients are waiting for organs such as livers, lungs and kidneys. Some wait as long as three to five years, and die before an organ becomes available. More than 400 are waiting for corneal transplants to restore some vision.

Though 85 percent of British Columbians approve of organ transplants, only 15 percent have registered to be a donor. Each year, more Canadians could benefit from organ transplant while the number of available organs has dropped in Canada... though it has gone up in every other country.

A healthy adult can get along quite well with only one kidney. And livers grow back to their original size after donating a portion.

Because 12 percent of would-be living donors hesitate to offer a kidney or a portion of liver because of the costs involved (time lost from work, travel expenses to the hospital), a year ago $300,000 was set aside for a pilot project to reimburse live donors over the next three years.

This B.C. project is the first of its kind in North America.The money comes from the B.C. Transplant Society, the Kidney Foundation of Canada, and Provincial Health Services Authority and reimburses each donor to a maximum of $5,500. That covers travel costs to the Vancouver transplant hospital, post-transplant accommodation for a week, meals, and lost income if the donor cannot collect employment insurance; reimbursement equals what employment insurance would otherwise pay the donor.

In 2006, the project’s first year, 80 potential donors accessed the fund and had their expenses covered while they were medically assessed to determine if their organs were a suitable match.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New bumper stickers

Below is a proposal I would like to see become law, and probably so would lots of other people. Maybe it could be carried one step further, and have a colored rectangle such as: white for 25 years of driving with no insurance claims and no demerit points, green for...

What do you think? Why not leave a comment?

Do you want to be a better driver, a safer driver? Check out my defensive driver course here.

Bumper stickers could do more than tout a driver's political beliefs or sports affiliation, under bills proposed in the state Senate on Wednesday.

If the bills became law, stickers would warn others that the car contained a new driver, a DUI convict or a leadfoot.

The package of bills - sponsored by Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville, and others - would also require that the local department of family and children services office be notified if someone were convicted of driving under the influence with a child in the car.

Senate Bill 485, whose lead sponsor is Sen. Nancy Schaefer, R-Turnerville, would require that anyone convicted of three or more speeding offenses within five years put a sticker or magnet on their car declaring them an habitual speeder, and keep it on until their probation period ended.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Computer challenged?

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Vehicle Location Data

Vehicle location data improves operational efficiency, customer experience and ensures driver safety

Published: 27 June, 2007 Press Release issued: 27 June 2007

- Arqiva today announced a seven-year £3.5 million contract with Travel West Midlands (TWM), the leading bus operator in the West Midlands County and part of the National Express Group of companies.

The deal, which is an extension to the organisations’ existing managed service relationship dating back to 2002, will see the upgrade of all of TWM’s legacy radio equipment including the radio infrastructure, 1800 in-vehicle radio units and 200 hand-portable radios used by inspectors.

The replacement solution will provide TWM with a positional update from each of its vehicles every 30 seconds. This location information will be distributed across the 11 operational garages within the TWM area.

TWM will continue to benefit from Arqiva’s fully managed service approach, meaning that all ongoing maintenance and remote management of the company’s radio infrastructure is handled by Arqiva. TWM will be using the latest Keynet trunked radio solution and KM3000 mobile radios. Arqiva will ensure that existing communications are maintained during the switch to the new technology platform, meaning minimal disruption to the bus service.

As the largest urban bus network outside of London, TWM carries more than 10,000 messages an hour over its current radio network every day. The new communications technology will enable direct contact between the drivers and their base, which is essential in case of traffic congestion, breakdowns or other emergencies which could involve driver and passenger safety.

The vehicle location information will also allow improvements to be made to the operational efficiencies of TWM.

The decision to continue to utilise a private radio network is justified in times of emergencies or other incidents when it is crucial for TWM to be able to communicate with and efficiently manage its vehicle fleet. The choice of private network allows Arqiva to manage all radio communications on behalf of TWM ensuring it is constantly available.

Paul Williams, IT Director at Travel West Midlands, commented: “Working with Arqiva enables us to focus on our core business, keeping our buses on the road and on schedule and generally making travel simpler and safer for our customers.

The fully managed service ensures that all of our communications requirements are being looked after by Arqiva’s skilled technical resource and design engineers. We carry one million passengers every day and minimal disruption to our network is crucial at all times. Arqiva’s reliability, skill and pro-activeness are all key components in helping us achieve this.”

Arqiva is also working closely with Travel West Midlands to allow the radio bearer to be used to transfer real-time position data to a central location. The information is then distributed to passenger information points such as bus stops, giving details of the arrival time of the next bus.

Paul Williams continues: “The implementation of the new technology, with the ability to display Vehicle Location information, allows us to maximise operational savings and benefits. It also gives us the ability to provide up-to-the-minute information for our customers who are the prime beneficiaries of our efforts to deliver high-quality local bus services.”

“The contract with Travel West Midlands is a significant one for Arqiva and is testament to the strength of our managed-services proposition for the transport sector,” commented Alastair Davidson, Managing Director of Arqiva’s Public Safety division.

“Running an efficient, on-time service is paramount for companies such as Travel West Midlands and by outsourcing their communications requirements they are able to deliver on customer needs, without having to worry about their back-office infrastructure.”

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Drunk driving alert

TOKYO, June 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. announced it will incorporate a message alert against drunk driving into its CARWINGS (HDD) navigation systems*1, as a part of a wider campaign to help prevent drunk-driving. Nissan will gradually incorporate this new feature into its navigation systems on board new vehicles being built from late June for the Japan market.

The updated CARWINGS navi systems will display the drunk driving alert each time the ignition is turned on to remind the driver of the hazards of drinking and driving.

As an automaker, Nissan is committed to raising public awareness and educating drivers to the dangers of drinking and driving.

The company is actively engaged in a wide range of educational initiatives such as the Hello Safety Campaign*2 in Japan as well as serving as the national sponsor, for the third consecutive year, of Mothers Against Drunk Driving's (MADD) Strides for Change charity walks in the U.S.

As the national sponsor -- and as part of its commitment to child passenger safety -- Nissan employees conduct safety seat demonstrations and provide walk participants with a quick reference guide on the proper way to install car safety seats for all children up to age 10.

To date, the Strides for Change walks, which are now featured in dozens of cities nationwide, have raised millions of dollars to stop drunk driving.

The message alert is a pre-emptive passive safety measure that represents a first-step for Nissan to incorporate this feature across our products. Looking forward, Nissan intends to widen its use of technology to address the hazards of drunk driving.

Message Alerts
The alert "Do not drive after drinking!" appears automatically for about five seconds on the navigation panel between the hours of 5:30 p.m. and 05:00 a.m. when the vehicle's ignition is turned on. In the daytime between 05:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., the display message reads, "Let's continue safe driving today."

On a global level, Nissan is committed to building safe vehicles equipped with advanced safety technologies. In Japan, the company's safety vision is to cut in half the number of traffic fatalities or serious injuries involving Nissan vehicles by 2015 compared with the level in 1995.

Nissan is taking a holistic approach towards safety that extends beyond the technology built into its vehicles. To achieve a "safe driving environment", Nissan has embarked on the Intelligent Transport System Project (ITS) in the Kanagawa Prefecture -- aimed at reducing road accidents via the analysis of traffic data collected from on-the-road vehicles and traffic beacons.

In addition, Nissan is engaged in various road safety campaigns targeted at both adults and children, and continues to collaborate with partners from the government and private sectors.

*1: First installed on the Skyline released in November 2006 and is available either as a standard feature on certain models or as manufacturer option. *2: The safety campaign is held three times a year in conjunction with the national traffic-safety campaigns held over the spring, autumn and summer school holidays.

The 35th campaign (June 12 - July 1) featured a "Parent-child prevention of drink-driving" program. At the 36th campaign (July 7-8), Nissan will distribute educational kits on traffic safety including ways to help prevent drink-driving, to kindergarten aged children nationwide.

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
CONTACT: Tony Pearson of Nissan North America, Corporate Communications,+1-615-725-6928; or Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Communications CSR Department,Global Communications CSR and IR Division, +81-(0)3-5565-2141
Web site:

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Higher skill training

Higher skill training improves young driver safetyFriday, 29 June 2007, 5:16 pmPress Release: Automobile Association Media Release: June 29 2007 Research project confirms higher-level driving skills training improves young driver safety

The ground-breaking young driver study conducted by the University of Waikato and AA Driver Education Foundation has proved that training in higher cognitive skills - like visual search, hazard detection and risk management - can improve young drivers' performance behind the wheel.

Results of the young driver study were announced today at the Ministry of Transport, where delegates heard that even Dr Robert Isler - the senior lecturer in psychology who conducted the experiment - was surprised at just how much the youngsters he studied had improved.

SEARCH NZ JOBS Scoop VIDEO & AUDIO MORTGAGE Calculators Scoop MEDIA TRACKING Scoop NEWS by TOPIC "The results show that training in higher-level driving skills works!” says Dr Isler. “No-one has done anything like this before, that’s why it’s such a huge breakthrough for driver training with enormous implications on the way to best train young drivers.”

Teenage drivers are 19 times more likely to crash in their first six months driving solo, than in the months in which they were supervised. As a result, drivers aged under 25 account for 30% of road deaths and 30% of road injuries (2004 figures).

Students who only received training in higher-level skills developed a safer attitude to driving than those who received traditional car control, practical driver training,” he says.

"They were less likely to endorse following too closely, showed safer attitudes to overtaking, and were better able to correctly identify hazards.”

"Better still, those trained in higher cognitive skills showed as great an improvement in directional control of the car as those who had received practical training – which came as a surprise - you'd imagine directional control would benefit most from practical driver training."

“What we found is that the beneficial effects on driving of such cognitive skills training are so great that we know we can improve the safety of young drivers without even putting them behind the wheel – without exposing them to risk.”

The study, which was funded by the Accident Compensation Corporation, Tranzqual and the Road Safety Trust, featured 72 young drivers - half were the control group, and half attended a Taupo training camp last year.

Of those, one third received cognitive skills training and practical training; one third reversed the two; and one group received cognitive skills training only.

The double-blind study brought independent evaluators on site to examine the participants before, during and after each batch of training. Over a six month period all 72 participants then provided a follow-up fortnightly diary of driver behaviour, traffic infringements and the like.

In addition, eight students had black box data recorders fitted to their cars, recording speeds in excess of the open road limit; length, duration and route of each journey; and instances of excessive acceleration or braking.

Isler points out that the follow-up data is not as complete as he'd like. Self-assessment is potentially flawed, and the number of students driving with data recorders was not enough to provide statistically robust data.

“Some effects were the same as those obtained by practical training, but you can also decrease confidence with this type of cognitive skills training, which doesn’t happen in practical skills courses.”

Isler intends to make the most of his findings for future work, as this pilot study will provide the basis for a more extensive, large-scale study which Isler hopes to conduct next year. “150 young drivers would be involved with 75 on site. We’d have data recorders in every car, for up to two months in advance, to better evaluate before-and-after improvements and study how long those improvements last.”

“It doesn't take long for a young driver to learn the practical skills of driving - which may lead to over-confidence. It normally takes much longer to learn related cognitive skills, like hazard perception, risk management and self control.”

“This is because the brain's frontal lobe doesn't develop fully until 25, and young drivers are therefore more at risk from making inappropriate decisions when driving.”

Dr Isler hopes the frontal lobe project will drive development of evidence-based training interventions, based on best international practice, to help young drivers learn to keep themselves safe.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Speed and household income

Poll: Washington Driver Speed Connected to Household IncomeJuly 2, 2007

Washington drivers who earn a household income of more than $75,000 are more likely than their counterparts to speed and talk on a cell phone, according to data from a poll conducted by PEMCO Insurance Northwest.

"The poll data indicates that there is a correlation between income and driving behavior," said PEMCO spokesman Jon Osterberg. "Wealthy drivers are taking more safety risks when driving compared to their counterparts."

The poll results revealed that drivers with higher incomes say not only do they speed, but they also think talking on a cell phone while driving should be legal regardless of whether or not a hands-free device is used.

Earlier this year, Gov. Christine Gregoire signed a law that makes it illegal, as a secondary offense, for Washington drivers to talk on a cell phone without a hands-free device. The law will go into effect in 2008. Some proponents say the law does not go far enough to protect drivers.

The good news, however, is that drivers reported an eight percent decrease in the frequency with which they speed since 2005. The poll asked drivers how often they find themselves driving faster than the posted speed limit. In 2005, 20 percent of drivers reported speeding "often" compared to only 12 percent in 2007.

"While some drivers go faster than others, the general consensus was that people say they're less likely to speed compared to our results from 2005," Osterberg said.

Poll data revealed drivers who are more likely than their counterparts to speed are male, under 55 years old, have at least one child at home, and earn at least $75,000 in household income.

Data from the poll also showed drivers least likely to speed are females over the age of 55 who have no children and earn a household income of under $75,000.

"Interestingly, single drivers without children are least likely to speed," Osterberg said. "You might expect that drivers with children would take it easy on the roads and obey the speed limit, helping to ensure they'll be around to raise their kids."

Similar to the 2005 data, this year's poll revealed that about half of Washington drivers admitted to speeding. Of those who break the law, about three-quarters said they do so to keep up with the flow of traffic.

"We've seen changes in Washington state in the past two years that might contribute to drivers slowing down," Osterberg said. "Higher gas prices, growing roadway congestion, or increased drivers education and enforcement programs could all play a role."

According to the Federal Trade Commission, the faster one drives, the more fuel is used. To reach optimal fuel efficiency, drivers must maintain a speed of 55 miles per hour. Once acceleration exceeds 55 mph, fuel efficiency diminishes.

A growing population in and around Washington's urban areas means more cars and more drivers on the road. Based on increased traffic congestion, and coupled with high gas prices, drivers may be opting to -- or forced to -- slow down.

"Opportunity breeds temptation, and if drivers don't have either, they simply can't speed," Osterberg noted.

Since 2005, Washington has launched new initiatives to get drivers to slow down. In 2005, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission started a pilot program called Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks (TACT), which aims to increase awareness and reduce collisions between commuter cars and large commercial vehicles.

According to 2006 data from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, speeding violations were reduced significantly at target intervention sites, between 23 percent and 46 percent.
To view the survey results, visit