After a 9 year old boy was killed in a crash with a car last month, many commenters wondered if the driver was speeding, and some expressed a wish that cars be equipped with black boxes.
The thing is that many cars are equipped with a "black box" and it's likely the one in this crash, an Infiniti Q56, was as well.
Automotive "black boxes" are now built into more than 90 percent of new cars, and the government is considering making them mandatory.
And that's up to 96% in 2013.
In cars, they're usually called Electronic Data Recorders (EDR) or sometimes the Airbag Control Module,
EDRs are part of a car's safety system, which has to make split-second decisions, for example, whether to pull seat belts tighter or inflate the airbags. And engineers like to see data from real-world crashes to track how those systems are working. So the EDRs save the crash data, and as safety systems grow more complex, the recorders keep saving more information.
They weren't designed for investigative purposes but rather for safety. However, in at least one recent bicycle fatality similar data were used to prosecute a driver.
Such data would seem to be very useful to the public. It could help car and road designers make both safer, and it could help to prosecute drivers whose negligence leads to a death or injury of another. And for those reasons, the "National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed making the devices mandatory on all new cars, starting next year." But Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass wants to let drivers opt out of using them.
"I would argue that this is a device that the average person should be able to turn off if they so desire," he says.
The reason appears to be privacy concerns.
"Consumers should have control over the information collected by event data recorders in vehicles that they own and they should have the option of disabling the device if they choose to do so. This is a basic issue of privacy," stated Congressman Mike Capuano.
I have to disagree, because while the EFF and Capuno have some valid concerns (about who can access the data, what it records and who owns it), those are addressed by current regulations.
In keeping with NHTSA's current policies on EDR data, the EDR data would be treated by NHTSA as the property of the vehicle owner and would not be used or accessed by the agency without owner consent.
EDRs do not collect any personal identifying information or record conversations and do not run continuously
So, drivers already have the right to "opt out", just after the crash - unless they're a suspect in a criminal investigation. Codify the current regulations capping the data types and quantity and defining who owns it and who can access it into law if there are concerns about the regulations being changed, but don't let drivers turn the devices off.
If one is worried that this is a privacy violation, consider that - with a warrant - we can make drivers submit to a blood test. You can't tell me that downloading data off their car's computer is more invasive.
Govtrack gives the law, co-sponsored by western Virginia's Morgan Griffith, a low chance of passing (4%), so I guess for once gridlock is working. But for the sake of making roads safer, and prosecuting unsafe drivers, we need to make the installation and use of these devices mandatory, while putting in reasonable privacy protections for drivers.
DDOT filled a lot of potholes, but many were not patched well - and not with cyclists in mind.
On the Fort Totten Metro "Anna Chamberlain, a DDOT transportation planner, talked about how streetscape improvements could calm traffic, making streets around the Metro station more pedestrian- and bike-friendly. DDOT is also working to improve connections to the Metro, as some areas lack clearly defined walking paths. The agency will begin designing a path connecting the Metro to the Metropolitan Branch Trail within the next few months."
Failed to report this earlier. CaBi set new one month records in April and then again in May, with 256,968 trips in month as the new high. Ridership was up 38% from 2012 in April and 31% in May. Though mileage data hasn't been updated since March, it's likely the system had it's 5 millionth mile in June. Trips per bike per month are down only a little from 2012, despite a nearly 40% increase in bikes.
Bicycle related crashes in Farifax County are up 25% from 2011 to 2012. That seems like a lot even if increased cycling is considered. I wonder if it's better reporting. "As part of their study, Fairfax County police also determined about a quarter of the bicyclists were not wearing reflective clothing at the time of their crashes. Police said they're teaming up with private cycling groups to help educate folks on how to properly share the road." OK, but how many of those crashes were at night? And did the bike have reflectors or lights? I often don't wear reflective clothing, and it isn't required by law.
I had the day off yesterday, and so took a few hours to ride the CCT/GBT/MBT loop. Things have really changed since I last did it 2 years ago - especially on the CCT. So many new buildings going up. I rode the new bike lanes on Hamilton and there is a very odd bike lane at one of the intersections that I would've taken a photo of if my phone had not died. The real event on Hamilton was that I was nearly struck by lightening. I think it hit the chimney of the house next to me. A few cars had their car alarms go off and I felt what I can only describe as a push, like a sudden gust of wind. Let's just say that my bike shorts suddenly got warmer on the front. Scary stuff.
Bike lanes don't reduce the severity of crashes, but do reduce their frequency. "The data show that other factors may be more important in reducing the severity of cyclists' injuries, including the speed of motor vehicles traveling near them and how much light there is." Other factors, including alcohol use, riding in darkness (even with streetlights) and a road's posted speed limit.
In a program sponsored by AAA, Ohio police officers will issue helmet-clad children riding bikes a safety citation that that can be redeemed for a free child's cone at Dairy Queen and a free goodie bag with a coloring book, crayons, water bottle and bike safety book.
"All of the major candidates to replace Bloomberg as mayor expressed support for bicycling at a recent forum, notes Paul Steely White, executive director of the local group Transportation Alternatives."
The study showed that drivers were most often to blame for crashes.
Twenty-two percent of collisions between cars and cyclists occurred when a vehicle door opened unexpectedly on a cyclist. Eighteen percent occurred when a motorist did not see a cyclist, and 12 percent occurred when a cyclist rode into oncoming traffic.
Of the 891 crashes in which causes were listed, cyclists ran a red light or rode through a stop sign before colliding with a car just 12 percent of the time.
In an effort to make the city safer for cyclists, police will begin to hand out $20 citations to cyclists who run red lights; and the mayor’s office may push for a law requiring helmet use by bike riders of all ages.
Among cyclists who were injured and who required medical assistance, about half were not wearing a helmet, almost twice the percentage of total riders who do not wear helmets.
the city planned to install side guards on some public works trucks and that it would encourage private truck companies to do the same.
Just heard the report on WAMU. A pedestrian was crossing Penn near 12th. Penn is closed for the parade, but a cyclist was riding down it anyway. The cyclist called out to the pedestrian, but nonetheless was unable to avoid hitting her. According to the eyewitness, the cyclist never slowed her bike down. The pedestrian hit her head and was being taken to the hospital.
I went to see Donald and Ivanka Trump talk at the Washington Post today. He's exactly the same in person (all superlatives, arrogant etc..) but less crazy and more charming. Ivanka might have a future in politics if she wants one. She's very good at staying on message.
CaBi set a new one-day record - 9854 trips - yesterday.
The proposed path would be begin at the Frederick MARC station, where bikes would share the road with cars. It is possible that the bikes on the road could be a traffic concern, Gammon said; however, traffic is so slow in that area that he did not think the shared lane would affect drivers.
The path would connect to secondary pedestrian trails at Fifth and Seventh streets, giving bikers an alternate route if they wanted to avoid biking with cars downtown.
At Fifth Street, where there is more space along the road, the trail will become a dedicated bike lane.
The design had several safety features including raised crosswalks and "bike boxes," which help bikers make left turns by putting them ahead of traffic at intersections.
The biggest safety feature would be a new bridge over Md. 26 at Clemson Corner.
“Yeah, he’s really pissed off,” says Escobar. “The docks block our access to the roof that we need access to for our AC unit. We don’t have access to the roof from the inside, so we have to use a ladder, which is now going to have to go over the docking stations.”
“My main concern is garbage,” says Kolesnyk. “With more people comes more garbage. But I am green-oriented, so at the same time I think the bikes are a big advantage for New York City.”