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Instituting a Safety Culture in our Transportation System: Parallel Visions and a Plan Khalil J. Spencer Chair, Los Alamos County Transportation Board.

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Presentation on theme: "Instituting a Safety Culture in our Transportation System: Parallel Visions and a Plan Khalil J. Spencer Chair, Los Alamos County Transportation Board."— Presentation transcript:

1 Instituting a Safety Culture in our Transportation System: Parallel Visions and a Plan Khalil J. Spencer Chair, Los Alamos County Transportation Board Board Member, Bicycle Coalition of New Mexico Information taken from ongoing projects by the National Center for Bicycling and Walking and The American Automobile Assn. Foundation

2 43,000 fatalities per year. Safety?

3 What is a “safety culture” and how would it work? A worldview that asserts that safety is not a goal, but a core value that must be preserved in the workplace Not sacrificed to expediency Core values drive goals and objectives, not the other way around.

4 Parallel Visions: AAA Foundation and NCBW AAA Foundation: promote a “safety culture.” (develop) a Safety Culture Index (SCI), with which to quantify the present state of affairs... (focus) upon developing safety cultures in highway safety agencies at the state and local levels NCBW: redefine societal perspective on motor vehicle crashes, reducing their occurrence, and… significantly decreasing the …number of injuries and fatalities.

5 But the problem…context! Chapter 9: Fragments of a Movement—(Lisa Lewis, Partnership for Safe Driving) “Many…movements (for roadway safety) … have something in common…organizing around a single problem…without awareness of or concern for the context in which it is occurring…” A Safety Culture provides such a context

6 So how does one achieve a safety culture? Competing visions of safety: Garbage Can (Cohen, et al. 1972) organizational model—safety is one of many competing, incompatible interests (i.e., the present traffic situation). High Reliability model: safety is a compelling interest and core value (TJP model). (see Scott D. Sagan, The Limits of Safety, Charles Perrow, Normal Accidents In a safety culture, safety is a core value. All aspects of an endeavor are looked at in the context of how the parts influence safety (nuclear, airline, chemical industries)

7 ALARA: borrowed from the nuke industry— sets minimizing injury as a core value “As Low As Reasonably Achievable” ALARA asks and we answer before we start: how do we prevent this accident/injury? Integrated approach: examine all aspects of a problem for the risk analysis before endeavor goes forward. Retains focus on safety as core value in spite of other competing values (faster, cheaper, sexier, bigger) Translates into tangible concepts in accident minimization, as follows…

8 ALARA Tools Substitution of a less dangerous device such as a bicycle, transit, Corolla Reduced exposure: lower VMD requirements for same connectivity--smart P&Z Engineering Controls that protect and control without user input: ABS, SMS, speed governors linked to GPS Administrative Controls that elucidate hazards and social directions (speed laws, driving tests) Personal Protective Equipment such as seat belts, helmets. Use indicates awareness of safety. Realistic, often-repeated training and drills to ensure competency in a crisis: real driver ed.

9 Weaknesses of tools if not seen as part of a safety culture Inconsistent with “closed course, don’t try this at home” or “Get out of my way…” Create passive behavior, i.e., the gizmo will protect me “ Engineered controls can be expensive (stability management systems), seen as oppressive (i.e., GPS speed limiters) Admin. rules (traffic laws) ignored if no negative consequences for violating them Vehicle mismatch can defeat defensive measures (i.e., SUV vs. subcompact) Low quality of driver training & licensing not reflective of real world situations, (none required for bike-walk)

10 Safety culture: behavioral-based Get inside people’s heads! Civil, not defensive driving (society, not “me”) (Apr. 2006) Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and NHTSA found that almost 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds of the event*. (from Insurance Information Institute web site) yet cell phone use is endemic * ~1 football field at 60 mph

11 Accountability Instead of auto “no fault”, use airline and nuke model: zero accidents are the goal and people accountable for harm done Long-term paradigm-shift in DWI is a potential model Use of devices such as legally-certified EDR’s (automotive black boxes) to provide better crash data and hold accountable.

12 What would an ALARA-based safety program look like? A theme: prevention, not “crash control” Most vulnerable users define safety standards Parts not ends in themselves, but part of a whole Accountability and recurrent training, certification Evaluate risk factors for a clear understanding of how traffic works BEFORE operational decisions are made. Ownership: not imposed, but buy-in

13 What would an ALARA-based safety program look like? Constant review and improvement (feedback) “High reliability organization” rather than a “garbage can” of competing and incompatible interests, which means… Traffic engineers, marketers, law enforcement, end-users, lawmakers, health professionals, safety modelers, advocates all on same page.

14 TJP Locally: Los Alamos downtown HS + UNM MS + res gs LANL res

15 Current Diamond Dr. Profile, soon to change Don’t fall...

16 At the local level: Education One principle employer (LANL) & school district. If they require a safety-culture based drive-bike-walk training program, would cover lion’s share of residents (got 3 LCI’s...) Police Chief has regular community safety meetings Safety op-eds by LAPD, BSC, T-Board

17 At the local level, Enforcement Low crime,so police can concentrate on traffic, since it could be people’s greatest risk. LAPD has recently increased patrols, underage alcohol sales stings, and DWI checks MANY have DOE security clearances. These are revocable for bad character. Fines (esp. speeding) > $250 must be reported. Use to put “fear of God’ into drivers. Make LANL employment contingent on safe behavior

18 At the local level, Engineering Design in consideration of hazards (HS, College, and LANL on same main drag) (Co Bike Plan) Safety is high priority. (roundabouts vs. signalized intersections) County’s new transit system (less dangerous device, alternatives for youth and elderly). Large, higher speed roads (Trinity Drive) should not be a design feature of urban areas unless they are both grade separated and do not impede bike or ped modes. Effective traffic calming

19 Central Ave: 85%-ile < posted 25 mph speed limit Bulbouts & lane width reduction in commercial/government district

20 Proposed model: Sweden The concern for human life and health is an absolutely mandatory element in the design and functioning of the road transport system. This means that a road traffic safety mode of thinking must be clearly integrated into all the processes that affect safety within the road transport system. The level of violence that the human body can tolerate without being killed or seriously injured shall be the basic parameter in the design of the road transport

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