This article needs to be updated.June 2018)(
Elaine Marie Wood
August 2, 1968
|Died||March 18, 2018 (aged 49)|
Tempe, Arizona, U.S.
|Burial place||Phoenix, Arizona|
|Education||Apache Junction High School, Apache Junction, Arizona|
|Known for||First pedestrian to be killed by a self-driving car|
|Home town||Tempe, Arizona|
|Spouse(s)||Mike Herzberg (until his death); Rolf Erich Ziemann (until Elaine's death)|
The death of Elaine Herzberg (August 2, 1968 – March 18, 2018) was the first recorded case of a pedestrian fatality involving a self-driving (autonomous) car, following a collision that occurred late in the evening of March 18, 2018. Herzberg was pushing a bicycle across a four-lane road in Tempe, Arizona, United States, when she was struck by an Uber taxi, which was operating in self-drive mode with a human safety backup driver sitting in the driving seat. Following the collision, Herzberg was taken to the hospital where she died of her injuries.
As a result of the fatal incident, Uber immediately suspended testing of self-driving vehicles in Arizona, where such testing had been welcomed since August 2016. Uber also decided not to renew its permit for autonomous vehicle testing in California when it expired at the end of March 2018.
Herzberg was specifically the first pedestrian death involving a self-driving car; a previous fatality, in which the driver of a semi-autonomous car was killed, had occurred almost two years prior. A Washington Post reporter compared Herzberg's fate with that of Bridget Driscoll who, in the United Kingdom in 1896, was the first pedestrian to be killed by an automobile.
Herzberg was crossing Mill Avenue (North) from west to east, approximately 360 feet (110 m) south of the intersection with Curry Road, outside the crosswalk, close to the Red Mountain Freeway. She was pushing a bicycle laden with shopping, and had crossed at least two lanes of traffic when she was struck at approximately 9:58 pm MST (UTC−07:00) by the self-driving car, an Uber Volvo XC90 taxi, which was traveling north on Mill. The vehicle had been operating in autonomous mode since 9:39 pm, nineteen minutes before it struck and killed Herzberg. It seems that the car's human safety backup driver, Ms. Rafaela Vasquez, did not intervene before the collision as the vehicle did not appear to slow down or swerve. Vehicle telemetry obtained after the crash showed that the human operator responded by moving the steering wheel less than a second before impact, and she engaged the brakes less than a second after impact.
The first accounts of the crash were conflicting in terms of vehicle speed and posted speed limit, with some of the disparity sourced to a preliminary police investigation, which incorrectly stated that the car was traveling at 38 mph (61 km/h) in a 35 mph (56 km/h) zone and did not attempt to brake. The New York Times later reported the speed limit was 45 mph (72 km/h). Evidence subsequently surfaced of a cozy relationship between Uber and the state Governor that allowed and protected an immature technology on the streets, and may have influenced preliminary conclusions of the accident. Moreover, the county district attorney's office recused itself from the investigation, due to a prior joint partnership with Uber promoting their services as an alternative to driving under the influence of alcohol. Some later points of focus by federal investigators have indicated that the absolute maximum speed permitted by law may not be material in the nocturnal crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) sent a team of federal investigators to gather data from vehicle instruments, and to examine vehicle condition along with the actions taken by the safety driver. Their preliminary findings were substantiated by many event data recorders and proved the vehicle was traveling 43 miles per hour (69 km/h) when Herzberg was first detected 6 seconds (378 feet) before impact; it was unable to determine that emergency braking was needed another 4 more seconds. A vehicle traveling 45 mph (72 km/h) can generally stop within 195 feet (59 m). Because the machine needed to be 1.3 seconds (76 feet) away prior to discerning that emergency braking was required, whereas at least that much distance was required to stop, it was exceeding its assured clear distance ahead, and hence driving too fast for the conditions. A total stopping distance of 76 feet itself would imply a safe speed under 25 mph, whereas human intervention was still legally required. Computer perception–reaction time would have been a speed limiting factor had the technology been superior to humans in ambiguous situations; however, the nascent computerized braking technology was disabled the day of the crash, and the machine's apparent 4 second perception–reaction (alarm) time was instead an added delay to the still requisite 1–2 second human perception–reaction time. Video released by the police on March 21 showed the safety driver was not watching the road moments before the vehicle struck Herzberg. Notwithstanding perception and reaction times, 43 mph also commands a braking distance slightly greater than 76 feet.
|Vicinity of Mill Avenue (running north–south) and Curry/Washington (east–west) in Tempe, Arizona|
Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir stated the collision was "unavoidable" based on the initial police investigation, which included a review of the video captured by an onboard camera. Moir faulted Herzberg for crossing the road in an unsafe manner: "It is dangerous to cross roadways in the evening hour when well-illuminated, managed crosswalks are available." According to Uber, safety drivers were trained to keep their hands very close to the wheel all the time while driving the vehicle so they were ready to quickly take control if necessary.
The driver said it was like a flash, the person walked out in front of them. His [sic] first alert to the collision was the sound of the collision. [...] it’s very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode (autonomous or human-driven) based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway.
Tempe police released video on March 21 showing footage recorded by two onboard cameras: one forward-looking, and one capturing the safety driver's actions. The forward-facing video shows that the self-driving car was traveling in the far right lane when it struck Herzberg. The driver-facing video shows the safety driver was looking down prior to the collision. The Uber operator is responsible for intervening and taking manual control when necessary as well as for monitoring diagnostic messages, which are displayed on a screen in the center console. In an interview conducted after the crash with NTSB, the driver stated she was monitoring the center stack at the time of the collision.
After the video was released, journalist Carolyn Said noted the police explanation of Herzberg's path meant she had already crossed two lanes of traffic before she was struck by the autonomous vehicle. The Marquee Theatre and Tempe Town Lake are west of Mill Avenue, and pedestrians commonly cross mid-street without detouring north to the crosswalk at Curry. According to reporting by the Phoenix New Times, Mill Avenue contains what appears to be a brick-lined path in the median between the northbound and southbound lanes. However, posted signs prohibit pedestrians from using it, as it is strictly ornamental.
Michael Ramsey, an autonomous car expert with Gartner, characterized the video as showing "a complete failure of the system to recognize an obviously seen person who is visible for quite some distance in the frame. Uber has some serious explaining to do about why this person wasn’t seen and why the system didn’t engage."
James Arrowood, a lawyer specializing in driverless cars in Arizona, noted the software may have decided to proceed after assuming that Herzberg would yield the right of way. Arizona law (ARS 28-793) states that pedestrians crossing the street outside a crosswalk shall yield to cars. Per Arrowood, "The computer makes a decision. It says, 'Hey, there is this object moving 10 or 15 feet to left of me, do I move or not?' It (could be) programmed, I have a right of way, on the assumption that whatever is moving will yield the right of way."
As of March 2018[update], Uber autonomous vehicles were unable to meet a self-imposed goal of 13 mi (21 km) between manual interventions. For comparison, autonomous vehicles from Waymo were reaching 5,600 mi (9,000 km) and vehicles from Cruise Automation were exceeding 1,200 mi (1,900 km) between interventions.
The recorded telemetry showed the system had detected Herzberg six seconds before the crash, and classified her first as an unknown object, then as a vehicle, and finally as a bicycle, each of which had a different predicted path according to the autonomy logic. 1.3 seconds prior to the impact, the system determined that emergency braking was required, which is normally performed by the vehicle operator. However, the system was not designed to alert the operator, and did not make an emergency stop on its own accord, as "emergency braking maneuvers are not enabled while the vehicle is under computer control, to reduce the potential for erratic vehicle behavior", according to Uber.
Brad Templeton, who provided consulting for autonomous driving competitor Waymo, noted the car was equipped with advanced sensors, including radar and LiDAR, which would not have been affected by the darkness. Templeton stated "I know the [sensor] technology is better than that, so I do feel that it must be Uber’s failure." Arrowood also recognized potential sensor issues: "Really what we are going to ask is, at what point should or could those sensors recognize the movement off to the left. Presumably she was somewhere in the darkness."
In a press event conducted by Uber in Tempe in 2017, safety drivers touted the sensor technology, saying they were effective at anticipating jaywalkers, especially in the darkness, stopping the autonomous vehicles before the safety driver can even see pedestrians. However, manual intervention by the safety drivers was required to avoid a collision with another vehicle on at least one instance with a reporter from The Arizona Republic riding along.
Uber announced they would replace their Ford Fusion-based autonomous fleet with cars based on the Volvo XC90 in August 2016; the XC90s sold to Uber would be prepared to receive Uber's vehicle control hardware and software, but would not include any of Volvo's own advanced driver-assistance systems. Uber characterized the sensor suite attached to the Fusion as the "desktop" model, and the one attached to the XC90 as the "laptop", hoping to develop the "smartphone" soon. According to Uber, the suite for the XC90 was developed in approximately four months. The XC90 as modified by Uber included a single roof-mounted LiDAR sensor and 10 radar sensors, providing 360° coverage around the vehicle. In comparison, the Fusion had seven LiDAR sensors (including one mounted on the roof) and seven radar sensors. According to Velodyne, the supplier of Uber's LiDAR, the single roof-mounted LiDAR sensor has a narrow vertical range that prevents it from detecting obstacles low to the ground, creating a blind spot around the vehicle. Marta Hall, the president of Velodyne commented "If you’re going to avoid pedestrians, you’re going to need to have a side lidar to see those pedestrians and avoid them, especially at night." However, the augmented radar sensor suite would be able to detect obstacles in the LiDAR blind spot.
On Thursday, June 21, the Tempe Police Department released a detailed report along with media captured after the collision, including an audio recording of the 911 call made by the safety driver, Rafaela Vasquez and an initial on-scene interview with a responding officer, captured by body worn video. After the crash, police obtained search warrants for Vasquez's cellphones as well as records from the video streaming services Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu. The investigation concluded that because the data showed she was streaming The Voice over Hulu at the time of the collision, and the driver-facing camera in the Volvo showed "her face appears to react and show a smirk or laugh at various points during the time she is looking down", Vasquez may have been distracted from her primary job of monitoring road and vehicle conditions. Tempe police concluded the crash was "entirely avoidable" and faulted Vasquez for her "disregard for assigned job function to intervene in a hazardous situation".
Records indicate that streaming began at 9:16 pm and ended at 9:59 pm. Based on an examination of the video captured by the driver-facing camera, Vasquez was looking down toward her right knee 166 times for a total of 6 minutes, 47 seconds during the 21 minutes, 48 seconds preceding the crash. Just prior to the crash, Vasquez was looking at her lap for 5.3 seconds; she looked up half a second before the impact. Vasquez stated in her post-crash interview with the NTSB that she had been monitoring system messages on the center console, and that she did not use either one of her cell phones until she called 911. According to an unnamed Uber source, safety drivers are not responsible for monitoring diagnostic messages. Vasquez also told responding police officers she kept her hands near the steering wheel in preparation to take control if required, which contradicted the driver-facing video, which did not show her hands near the wheel. Police concluded that given the same conditions, Herzberg would have been visible to 85% of motorists at a distance of 143 feet (44 m), 5.7 seconds before the car struck Herzberg. According to the police report, Vasquez should have been able to apply the brakes at least 0.57 seconds sooner, which would have provided Herzberg sufficient time to pass safely in front of the car.
The police report was turned over to the Yavapai County Attorney's Office for review of possible manslaughter charges. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office recused itself from prosecution over a potential conflict of interest, as it had earlier participated with Uber in a March 2016 campaign against drunk driving.
According to the preliminary report of the collision released by the NTSB, Herzberg had tested positive for methamphetamine and marijuana in a toxicology test carried out after the collision. Residual toxicology itself does not establish if or when she was under their influence, and hence an actual factor. Inhibited faculties can hypothetically factor into ones relative ability for last-minute self-preservation. However, her bare presence on the roadway far in advance was the factor which invoked the machine's duty to brake; the common legal duty to avoid her and other objects being general and preexisting.
On May 24, NTSB released a preliminary incident report, the news release saying that Herzberg "was dressed in dark clothing, did not look in the direction of the vehicle… crossed… in a section not directly illuminated by lighting… entered the roadway from a brick median, where signs…warn pedestrians to use a crosswalk… 360 feet north." Six seconds before impact, the vehicle was traveling 43MPH, and the system identified the woman and bicycle as an unknown object, next as a vehicle, then as a bicycle. Only 1.3 seconds before hitting the pedestrian with her bike did the system flag the need for emergency braking, but it failed to do so, as the car hit Herzberg at 39 MPH. Most road hazards do not wear high-visibility clothing.
While jaywalking can constitute the illegal preemptive of control of the roadway, it is not necessarily the proximate cause of an accident. Had Herzberg instead been a moose or a disabled school bus in legal control of the roadway, passengers of the self-driving car—which failed to assure a clear stopping distance within its radius of vision—may have been killed instead. Motor vehicle operators must always be watchful for children, animals, and other hazards which may encroach into the roadway.
Prior to the fatal incident, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey had encouraged Uber to enter the state. He signed Executive Order 2015-09 on August 25, 2015, entitled "Self-Driving Vehicle Testing and Piloting in the State of Arizona; Self-Driving Vehicle Oversight Committee", establishing a welcoming attitude to autonomous vehicle testing. According to Ducey's office, the committee, which consists of eight state employees appointed by the governor, has met twice since it was formed.
In December 2016, Ducey had released a statement welcoming Uber's autonomous cars: "Arizona welcomes Uber self-driving cars with open arms and wide open roads. While California puts the brakes on innovation and change with more bureaucracy and more regulation, Arizona is paving the way for new technology and new businesses." Emails between Uber and the office of the governor showed that Ducey was informed autonomous vehicle testing would begin in August 2016, several months ahead of the official announcement welcoming Uber in December. On March 1, 2018, Ducey signed Executive Order (XO) 2018-04, outlining regulations for autonomous vehicles. Notably, XO 2018-04 requires the company testing autonomous cars to provide a written statement that "the fully autonomous vehicle will achieve a minimal risk condition" if a failure occurs.
After the collision that killed Herzberg, Uber ceased testing autonomous vehicles in all four cities (Tempe, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Toronto) where it had deployed them. On March 26, Governor Ducey sent a letter to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, suspending Uber's autonomous car testing in the state. In the letter, Ducey stated "As governor, my top priority is public safety. Improving public safety has always been the emphasis of Arizona's approach to autonomous vehicle testing, and my expectation is that public safety is also the top priority for all who operate this technology in the state of Arizona." Uber also announced it would not renew its permit to test autonomous cars in California after the California Department of Motor Vehicles wrote to inform Uber that its permit would expire on March 31, and "any follow-up analysis or investigations from the recent crash in Arizona" would have to be addressed before the permit could be renewed.
Legal woes for Uber were among the collision fallout. Herzberg's daughter retained the law firm Bellah Perez, and together with the husband quickly reached an undisclosed settlement on March 28 while local and federal authorities continued their investigation. Herzberg's mother, father, and son also retaining legal counsel. While a confidential settlement buried the liability issue, it suggested a sufficient legal cause of action. The abundance of event data recorders left few questions of fact for a jury to decide.
The incident caused some companies to temporarily cease road testing of autonomous vehicles. Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang has stated "We don’t know that we would do anything different, but we should give ourselves time to see if we can learn from that incident." Uber acknowledged that mistakes were made in its brash pursuit to ultimately create a safer driving environment.
Later in the year, Uber issued a reflexive 70-page safety report in which it stated the potential for its self-driving cars to be safer than those driven by humans, however some of their employees worry that Uber is once again taking shortcuts to hit internal milestones. To be legal in all states for private use, or anywhere at the commercial level, the technology must hard code assured clear distance ahead driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the American Automobile Association had previously identified nighttime driving as an area for safety improvement. This follows similar changes in attitudes against tolerating drunk driving, starting in the late 1970s through the 1990s, and has occurred in concert with a cultural shift towards active lifestyles and multi-modal use of roadways which has been formally adopted by the National Association of City Transportation Officials.
the driver of a Tesla Model S electric sedan was killed in an accident when the car was in self-driving mode
an average baseline for motor vehicle stopping distances...for a vehicle in good condition and...on a level, dry stretch of highway, free from loose material.
preliminary findings from federal regulators investigating the crash confirmed what many self-driving car experts suspected: Uber’s self-driving car should have detected a pedestrian with enough time to stop, but it failed to do so.
"This crash would not have occurred if Vasquez would have been monitoring the vehicle and roadway conditions and was not distracted," the report says. A crash report also indicated that the self-driving vehicle was traveling too fast for the road conditions.
It is negligence as a matter of law to drive a motor vehicle at such a rate of speed that it cannot be stopped in time to avoid an obstruction discernible within the driver's length of vision ahead of him. This rule is known generally as the `assured clear distance ahead' rule * * * In application, the rule constantly changes as the motorist proceeds, and is measured at any moment by the distance between the motorist's vehicle and the limit of his vision ahead, or by the distance between the vehicle and any intermediate discernible static or forward-moving object in the street or highway ahead constituting an obstruction in his path. Such rule requires a motorist in the exercise of due care at all times to see, or to know from having seen, that the road is clear or apparently clear and safe for travel, a sufficient distance ahead to make it apparently safe to advance at the speed employed.
The assured clear distance ahead (ACDA) rule holds the operator of a motor vehicle responsible to avoid collision with any obstacle that might appear in the vehicle's path.
[pg 2-15] 2.6.4 – Speed and Distance Ahead: You should always be able to stop within the distance you can see ahead. Fog, rain, or other conditions may require that you slowdown to be able to stop in the distance you can see. ... [pg 2-19] 2.8.3 – Drivers Who Are Hazards: Vehicles may be partly hidden by blind intersections or alleys. If you only can see the rear or front end of a vehicle but not the driver, then he or she can't see you. Be alert because he/she may back out or enter into your lane. Always be prepared to stop. ... [pg 2-26] 2.11.4 – Vehicle Factors: Headlights. At night your headlights will usually be the main source of light for you to see by and for others to see you. You can't see nearly as much with your headlights as you see in the daytime. With low beams you can see ahead about 250 feet and with high beams about 350-500 feet. You must adjust your speed to keep your stopping distance within your sight distance. This means going slowly enough to be able to stop within the range of your headlights. ... [pg 13-1] 13.1.2 – Intersections As you approach an intersection: Check traffic thoroughly in all directions. Decelerate gently. Brake smoothly and, if necessary, change gears. If necessary, come to a complete stop (no coasting) behind any stop signs, signals, sidewalks, or stop lines maintaining a safe gap behind any vehicle in front of you. Your vehicle must not roll forward or backward. When driving through an intersection: Check traffic thoroughly in all directions. Decelerate and yield to any pedestrians and traffic in the intersection. Do not change lanes while proceeding through the intersection. Keep your hands on the wheel.
Extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions, such as those caused by snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke, adversely affect visibility or traction. Speed shall be reduced when such conditions exist. If conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued and shall not be resumed until the commercial motor vehicle can be safely operated. Whenever compliance with the foregoing provisions of this rule increases hazard to passengers, the commercial motor vehicle may be operated to the nearest point at which the safety of passengers is assured.
The cars have reacted more slowly than human drivers and struggled to pass so-called track validation tests...Dara Khosrowshahi, the chief executive, acknowledged errors in Uber’s earlier driverless car efforts. “We did screw up,” he said in comments provided by Uber...as recently as a few weeks ago, the company’s autonomous vehicle unit, Uber Advanced Technologies Group, or A.T.G., was still experiencing track testing “failures” on different versions of its software, according internal company emails. To match the reaction time of a human driver at 25 m.p.h., the cars needed to drive “20% slower than a human,” Brandon Basso, a director at A.T.G., said in a Nov. 1 email. Even at slower speeds, the cars were passing only 82 percent of track tests, according to company documents...a test in early November ran Uber’s vehicles through more than 70 categories at 25 m.p.h., they failed in 10 of them, including being slow to recognize another car that didn’t yield.
A video shot from the vehicle’s dashboard camera showed the safety driver looking down, away from the road. It also appeared that the driver’s hands were not hovering above the steering wheel, which is what drivers are instructed to do so they can quickly retake control of the car. ... Uber moved from two employees in every car to one. The paired employees had been splitting duties — one ready to take over if the autonomous system failed, and another to keep an eye on what the computers were detecting. The second person was responsible for keeping track of system performance as well as labeling data on a laptop computer. Mr. Kallman, the Uber spokesman, said the second person was in the car for purely data related tasks, not safety. ... When Uber moved to a single operator, some employees expressed safety concerns to managers, according to the two people familiar with Uber’s operations. They were worried that going solo would make it harder to remain alert during hours of monotonous driving.
The documents indicate police are seeking manslaughter charges against Vasquez...."This crash would not have occurred if Vasquez would have been monitoring the vehicle and roadway conditions and was not distracted," the report says....A crash report indicated that the self-driving vehicle was traveling too fast for the road conditions.
Though a blood test exists that can detect some of marijuana's components, there is no widely accepted, standardized amount in the breath or blood that gives police or courts or anyone else a good sense of who is impaired. ... "And it shocked everyone, including ourselves, that we could measure, in some of these individuals, THC in the blood for 30 days," says Marilyn Huestis, a toxicologist with the University of Maryland School of Medicine who recently retired from leading a lab at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. ... Conversely, another study showed that people who weren't regular consumers could smoke a joint right in front of researchers and yet show no evidence of cannabis in their blood. So, in addition to being invasive and cumbersome, the blood test can be misleading and a poor indicator of whatever is happening in the brain.
Self-driving vehicles hold the potential to drive more safely than a human driver. Computers can look in all directions at once, and they don’t get distracted, fatigued, or impaired. (pg 13)
Any person driving a motor vehicle on a highway shall drive the same at a careful and prudent speed not greater than nor less than is reasonable and proper, having due regard to the traffic, surface, and width of the highway and of any other conditions then existing, and no person shall drive any vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than will permit the person to bring it to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead, such driver having the right to assume, however, that all persons using said highway will observe the law.
§ 257.627(1) A person operating a vehicle on a highway shall operate that vehicle at a careful and prudent speed not greater than nor less than is reasonable and proper, having due regard to the traffic, surface, and width of the highway and of any other condition then existing. A person shall not operate a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than that which will permit a stop within the assured, clear distance ahead.
§ 4511.21(A)(A) No person shall operate a motor vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar at a speed greater or less than is reasonable or proper, having due regard to the traffic, surface, and width of the street or highway and any other conditions, and no person shall drive any motor vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar in and upon any street or highway at a greater speed than will permit the person to bring it to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead.
A. Any person driving a vehicle on a highway shall drive the same at a careful and prudent speed not greater than nor less than is reasonable and proper, having due regard to the traffic, surface and width of the highway and any other conditions then existing, and no person shall drive any vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than will permit the driver to bring it to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead.
The passenger vehicle occupant fatality rate at nighttime is about three times higher than the daytime rate. ...The data shows a higher percentage of passenger vehicle occupants killed in speeding-related crashes at nighttime.
motor vehicle crashes in 2013 were the leading cause of death for children age 4 and every age from 16 to 24. ... An average of...one fatality every 16 minutes. ... The estimated economic cost of all motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States in 2010 (the most recent year for which cost data is available) was $242 billion. ... When quality of life valuations are considered, the total value of societal harm from motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2010 was an estimated $836 billion. ... Speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
AAA’s test results suggest that halogen headlights, found in over 80 percent of vehicles on the road today, may fail to safely illuminate unlit roadways at speeds as low as 40 mph. ...high-beam settings on halogen headlights...may only provide enough light to safely stop at speeds of up to 48 mph, leaving drivers vulnerable at highway speeds...Additional testing found that while the advanced headlight technology found in HID and LED headlights illuminated dark roadways 25 percent further than their halogen counterparts, they still may fail to fully illuminate roadways at speeds greater than 45 mph. High-beam settings on these advanced headlights offered significant improvement over low-beam settings, lighting distances of up to 500 feet (equal to 55 mph). Despite the increase, even the most advanced headlights fall 60 percent short of the sight distance that the full light of day provides.
Since 1980 the average horsepower of U.S. cars more than doubled, and speed limits have risen significantly, greatly increasing the potential for damage, loss of life and injuries. ... "One might argue that transportation equipment, and in particular the motor vehicle, must be the most dangerous machines that we interact with on a daily basis," the researcher states. "The annual toll in motor vehicle crashes exceeds the deaths resulting from the next most dangerous mechanical device, firearms, by about 40%."
the relative risk of an injury crash when travelling at 65 km/h in a 60 km/h speed limit zone is similar to that associated with driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 g/100mL. By strange coincidence, if the blood alcohol concentration is multiplied by 100, and the resulting number is added to 60 km/h, the risk of involvement in a casualty crash associated with that travelling speed is almost the same as the risk associated with the blood alcohol concentration. Hence, the risk is similar for 0.05 and 65, as noted; for 0.08 and 68; for .12 and 72, and so on...
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