Friday, July 10, 2009
Hardware Fix for a Software Problem
A new study concludes that more than half of United States highway fatalities are related to bad roads.
"The group said its research concluded that roadway deficiencies contribute to more than 22,000 fatalities, with poor roads leading to 10 roadway-related crashes every minute (5.3 million a year) and contributing to 38% of non-fatal crash injuries."
So ask myself; "Self, what do they mean by "road deficiencies" and is that really the problem?"
"Miller added that PIRE’s [Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation] study identifies ways transportation officials can improve road conditions to save lives and reduce injuries. For example, he said immediate solutions for problem spots include: replacing non-forgiving poles with breakaway poles, using brighter and more durable pavement markings, adding rumble strips to shoulders, mounting more guardrails or safety barriers, and installing better signs with easier-to-read graphics.
The report also suggested more significant road improvements should be made, including adding or widening shoulders, improving roadway alignment, replacing or widening narrow bridges, reducing pavement edges and abrupt drop- offs, and clearing more space adjacent to roadways.
“Although behavioral factors are involved in most crashes, avoiding those crashes through driver improvement requires reaching millions of individuals and getting them to sustain best safety practices,” Miller pointed out. “It is far more practical to make the roadway environment more forgiving and protective.”
Once again deflecting the dreadful driving skills of American motorists. Changing the culture is too hard. Let's blame an inanimate object instead of the operator of the automobile. If only the highway were more "forgiving" and not so mean, we would be just fine. I am not responsible, I am a victim here! Sheesh!
All of the "fixes" proposed (Highlighted above) are attempts to allow drifting or out-of-control motor vehicles more room to recover. I find this appalling! Is it not a reflection of our societies tolerance of irresponsible behavior? Better to install break-away light poles than expect Americans to avoid steering their automobiles into them.
It is foolishness to think we can reduce the carnage by making safer roads while ignoring the attitude of society toward responsible public behavior. There is no shame in poor driving skills, and no scandal if you cause a wreck and property damage. Changing this cavalier attitude would be more effective than "fixing the roads".
Technology is doomed in an arms race with fools; There are so many of them and they are persistent and innovative!
Addendum: A sad commentary highlighting this sad state of incivility and accepted carnage can be found at Carbon Trace.