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NHTSA 2010-2015 plan comments 12/7‏

December 7, 2009

NHTSA 2010-2015 plan comments 12/7‏

[Some of the comments]

My comment regards the use of DRLs on automobiles and trucks and the way
that it marginalizes the safety of motorcycles. It used to be that
motorcycles stood out from the crowd of vehicles on the road simply
because they were mandated years ago to have headlights that
automatically went on when the ignition was activated. Now, motorcycles
blend into the general scene because so many vehicles have DRLs.
Emergency vehicles have a similar problem. I also feel that whenever I
am in front of a car or truck with DRLs, I am being “pushed” agressively
down the road. It causes a distraction that removes the driver’s
attention to the job at hand — being aware of what is in front of your
vehicle. DRLs should be banned. Drivers who like DRLs can easily turn on
their lights whenever they want to rather than having everyone forced to
use them.

Robert H. Kraft
There are several things that would improve traffic safety if
implemented. First, outlaw daylight running lights on automobiles and
trucks. These lights cause a distracting glare that can cause accidents.
They also make motorcycles with headlights on less visible. Using lights
in times of decreased visibility is a good idea, running lights,
especially high beam lights during clear daylight times reduces traffic
safety. Many studies have been done and none show any reduction of
accidents due to daylight running lights. Instead, the studies show
motocyclsts and pedestrians are at more risk where cars and trucks are
using daylight running lights. Please outlaw these dangerous lights.
Second, many intersections, particularly interstate highway exit ramps,
branch at the connecting highways with one branch swinging left and the
other swinging to the right. A branch swinging to the right is not a
major problem and may, in some cases be helpful. However, for traffic
turning left, it is much better if the connection is at a right angle
rather than swinging to the left. Many or even most vehicles have better
and less blocked views to the right if they are at a 90 degree angle to
the highway they are turning onto. If the vehicle is pointed to the
left, blind spots when trying to see traffic coming from the right are
increased. In addition, if the vehicle is at a 90 degree angle to the
roadway it is turning left onto, the driver will have to turn his or her
head in a much smaller arc to check for traffic in both directions, thus
allowing a much safer entrance into the highway. This is particularly
important in areas where the sight distance is short due to hills,
curves or other obstructions. All intersections where traffic is turning
left should meet the highway which is being turned left onto at a 90
degree angle. This will also save millions of dollars on excessive
pavement used to point traffic to the left. Third, it is known that
around 75% of all accidents are caused by following too closely.
Advertising campaigns should target tailgaters and encourage motorists
to maintain safe distances from the traffic ahead. Law enforcement
officers should make following too closely the main thing they watch for
and write tickets for. Speed, in and of itself is not a specific danger,
following too closely at any speed is a definite danger. Fourth, extend
the time lights stay yellow at intersections to a more reasonable time.
You should never have to slam on your brakes and come to a dangerous
stop to avoid running a light. The yellow should stay on long enough to
allow traffic that is too close to go through the light and to allow
traffic further back to come to a safe stop. Fifth, set speed limits
higher to decrease accidents. 55 mph speed limits on interstate highways
as is the case in many city areas, with traffic moving at 70 to 75 mph
is very dangerous as some motorists will try to maintain 55 in order to
avoid a ticket. This causes a gap between the main traffic speed and the
speed of those trying to avoid a ticket. With disparate speeds on the
same highway, accidents are more likely to occur. The same is true in
non-city areas where the speed limit is 65 or 70 and the traffic speed
is 80 to 85. Increase the speed limits to the speed the traffic is
moving at to decrease accidents. Sixth, ban all mandatory motorcycle
helmet laws. Deaths per 100,000 miles of travel on motorcycles are
higher in states with mandatory helmet laws than in states with no
helmet laws. Helmets do not stop major trauma to the head at speeds
above 15 mph, yet the young and the ignorant think they do and will take
chances with a helmet on that they would not take if not wearing a
helmet. This is a cause of many deaths. Allow riders to decide for
themselves whether or not to wear helmets and motorcyle deaths will
decrease. Seventh, ban all mandatory seat belt laws. In about half of
all accidents, wearing a seat belt will save you or lessen your
injuries, in about 30 percent of all accidents, a seatbelt will kill you
or make your injuries worse. In about 20 percent of all accidents,
seatbelts will make no difference whether they are used or not. The most
important thing here though, is the often forgotten or ignored fact that
you are most safe if an accident does not occur at all. Your studies
have shown that distracted driving is extremely dangerous. As much or
even more so than drunk driving. Many people, myself included, find seat
belts to be extremely distracting. They hurt, they chafe, they are, in a
word bothersome, thus distracting. The thought of the wrecks I have seen
where people died due to seat belts makes them rather scary to me and
thus even more distracting and worrisome. In short, I and many others,
are more likely to have an accident if we are distracted by being forced
to wear seatbelts. There is also the invulnerability factor. As with
motorcycle helmets, many drivers, particularly the young and the
ignorant think they are invulnerable because they are wearing seat
belts, thus they will drive more recklessly than they otherwise would
and will have more accidents. Banning mandatory seat belt laws will save
lives, not only for motorists and passengers, but also for pedestrians
and bicyclists due to the distraction factor present in seat belt use
for many people. Allow the drivers to decide whether or not to wear a
seat belt and save lives.

Perry Lafayette Elrod III
NHTSA-2009-0171 After over 5 years of posting the same complaints
against Daytime Running Lights (DRL’S), here we go again… 1) DRLs
create an unsafe condition for pedestrians and motorcyclists by allowing
them to be lost in the glare of oncoming DRLs. 2) If everyone has their
lights on it?s the same as no one having their lights on. 3) This was
true 10 years ago, 5 years ago, this year, next year, and will be true
into the far distant future. These never ending studies are probably
good for keeping your jobs but will not change the fact that DRLs are
unnecessary and dangerous. .

Patrick Smith

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 8, 2009 12:19 am

    I don’t know why cars are mandated but I believe motorcycles should be. It seems to be mind boggling sometimes about the things the Government come up with that doesn’t have a real impact on motorcycle safety.

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