NHTSA "Highway Safety Facts" Released

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10NR28 - MRF News Release - NHTSA "Highway Safety Facts" Released

6 October 2010

Contact: Jeff Hennie, Government Relations and Public Affairs
NHTSA "Highway Safety Facts" Released

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) has learned that, based on a "Highway Safety Facts" report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood believes that, "Highway safety programs and equipment saved thousands of lives in 2009."  The September 27, 2010 report unveiled by NHTSA claims that in 2009, 12,713 lives were saved by seat belts and child restraints, and that minimum drinking age laws saved "hundreds more." LaHood went on to reassure the American public that, "Safety is my number one goal." 

In addition, the NHTSA report claims that motorcycle helmet use saved 1,483 lives in 2009. Exactly how the feds reached these seemingly arbitrary sums is not detailed in the report, other than lists of numbers that were collected from the states.  You can read the report for yourself here: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811383.pdf

US DOT Secretary LaHood and NHTSA Administrator David Strickland unveiled a new 5-Star Safety Ratings System that will use more rigorous tests, better crash data, and higher standards to make safety ratings tougher and vehicles safer for Americans.  The program is now new; it's just getting an overhaul. For example, the program will now use smaller female crash test mannequins alongside the adult male and child mannequins.  The new standards also reward cars that have new crash avoidance features like Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), and Forward Collision Warning (FCW). 

The MRF is supportive of employing technology to save lives, so long as the collision avoidance technologies can detect even the smallest vehicles on the roads. The MRF also reminds that nothing can take the place of good old-fashioned blind-spot and path-of-travel awareness.