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Back to 2016 news stories

June 20, 2016

When Will U.S. Citizens And U.S. Politicians Recognize The USA Highway Holocaust That Occurs Each Year And Do Something About It?

By Mike Hampson, owner, Helicopter Links

(San Diego, California, USA): Did you know? Since 1950, in the United States alone, more than 32,000 people have died each year due to road vehicle accidents? This horrific, tragic and staggering road vehicle death-toll, apparently, is joyfully ignored by the media, almost all U.S. citizens and by our politicians.

The records of "motor vehicle fatality rates" date as far back as 1899.* From 1966 to 1973 over 50,000 people per year, died on U.S. roads! For 113 years (from 1899 to 2012), over 3.5 million people have died on the roads in the United States of America.* This is why I call it the USA Highway Holocaust and as far as I know, no one is talking about it. Not the media, not politicians and certainly, not the general public. There is simply no excuse for this disgusting annual death-toll.

Yet, when helicopter crashes occur, the general public, the media and politicians sound very loud warning cry's of desperation to ensure there will be better safety measures and controls in the future.* There is certainly something very wrong with our priorities here in the USA.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (USA), in 2015, there were 138 helicopter accidents in the USA and 17 fatal helicopter accidents.* (I can't find the number of people killed in these accidents on the FAA website.)

Be that as it may, compare 17 fatal helicopter accidents to 35,485 people who died in horrific motor vehicle accidents in the USA in 2015. Are you not outraged at these death by road vehicles statistics are not being taken seriously the media and politicians?

Doesn't it make you wonder why people get bent out of shape when there are deaths by helicopter but not by car deaths? Because there seems to be no public outrage or media calls for action due to roads deaths, does this mean that it's acceptable to diminish the person's death when on land? Do deaths by motor vehicle mean that these deaths are insignificant and can be brushed off and ignored?

While the entire aviation industry's goal is to have 100% safe flights, the really big questions is why isn't the media, the general public and politicians outraged by deaths by motor vehicles? Where are the community activist meetings demanding that politicians stop these needless motor vehicle deaths? Where is the public outcry? What will it take to get politicians and the general public to demand we apply the same strict rules of aviation safety to road vehicles?

About 17 years ago, I was a part-time unpaid Equal Rights activist. (Looking back, I almost regret putting in so much unpaid labor time. All that work and no pay!) However, one of the few things I took away with me was when a woman activist friend of mine said to me, "It all boils down to education." She said, "Racism, sexism, Equal Rights, Transgender people, etc., can be understood by almost anyone, through education."

This is what is takes. Education. The same is true for ending the U.S. Highway Holocaust. Education.

Non-profit helicopter organizations promote 100% safe helicopter flights, many helicopter companies promote this and achieve this, and even helicopter pilots write articles urging all helicopter pilots to have 100% safe flights and to never risk taking a dangerous flight due to being fearful of reducing company profits.

So why don't we take the same position from the helicopter industry towards safety on the road? The answer is this, we could but we don't. At least at this point in time. What we need is to educate our entire nation that safety on the road is just as critical and as important as safety is for people in the air.

This is one of the main reasons why Helicopter Links does not typically publish helicopter crash stories on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Because the more urgent matter for the media should be, to report the extremely enormous amount of motor vehicle deaths in the USA than to report the few deaths by helicopter.*

Take a look at aviation, pilots are retrained each year to make sure they are proficient at their job. It's called recurrent training. This is why aviation has some of the best safety records for moving vehicles in the world. In fact, training (or education) is so important in aviation, that there is a multi-billion dollar industry in the making and selling of aviation simulators.

Here are my recommendations to greatly reducing the number of deaths by road vehicles in the USA.

While I can't go over all driving tips in this article since that's for a classroom or another website, I feel that some of these driving tips that I mention are so important, that they really need to be reviewed.

1. Bring Back Government Funded High School Driver's Training. I'd bring back driving training in all high schools and have it federally funded. That way all high schools will have the money to train teenagers whether their tax base is large or small. This funding should be used for the driver training instructors, classes and cars. If you don't know, driver training cars have two sets of instruments, steering wheels and foot controls for both the student and the teacher.

When I was a teenager, I still remember to this day, taking a driver's training course and it was my first time driving down a road. Then, my instructor wanted me to quickly turn right onto a side street. I was too nervous and I couldn't do it, so he grabbed his instructor's steering wheel which automatically disengaged all my car controls and he used the breaks to quickly slow the car down and then he turned. "I couldn't believe this could be done!", I thought. I really learned from this experience. I think drivers training cars are a key component for training people to be good drivers.

2. Mandatory Recurrent Training For All Drivers. I propose to require drivers to retake driving school every 7 years. I would make this a national priority by giving government paid leave to all drivers while taking their driving classes and the driving tests. This would mean lots more employment for people hired to teach driver's education.

3. All Drivers Need To Recognize That All Other Drivers Are Trying To Get To Their Destinations Just As You Are Trying To Do. We need a new mind set needs to permeate the minds of American drivers. Instead of working against each other while driving, all drivers need to be encouraged to work together, so that we can all get to our destinations safely. What a concept!

From driver instructors, to the media and to politicians, we all need to teach everyone to be the helpful driver. To help others merge on roads and things like this. (Driving instructors, in driving training cars, can also be used very effectively to help timid drivers, who are currently causing problems for the typical driver, to become better drivers.)

4. We Need To Address Slow And Bad Drivers. We need to understand that some drivers are slow drivers. They need to learn that driving too slow can actually be dangerous to other drivers! Should really slow drivers realize their limitations and stop driving altogether? What is the responsible course of action here? This issue needs to be addressed in a fair manner by the driver and by the government.

5. All Drivers Need To Responsibly Get Off The Road When Confused About Where They Are Trying To Go. Drivers who are confused when trying to find their destination need to safely pull over on the side of the road and get their bearings, instead of slowing down or stopping in the middle of the road and holding up traffic or causing accidents.

I regularly see people just stopping their cars in the middle of a street for apparently no reason! I'll tap my horn and then they drive on normally. What is going on in people's minds? Have they gone mad? (Hint: If you are driving your car down the road and you need to stop, make sure it's safe to stop, that is, put on your turn signal and then safely turn off the road and into a parking space. That is how to safely stop a car. You don't stop your car in the middle of a road because you need to reply to a text.)

Drivers also need to stop making illegal turns because they want to save time. I am now seeing more drivers who are stopped at a stop light (later I realize they are in a wrong lane to turn), and then they cross one or more lanes illegally in front of the traffic behind them because they realize they've made a mistake and don't want to drive around the block correctly and take extra time to get to their destination. This is nuts but I see people driving like this almost every day.

When drivers make a mistake, instead of driving illegally to fix their error, they should continue on down the road and make a legal turn to correct their driving error. It seems like common sense to me. Drive legally or end up in a car accident or possibly die. What is the better choice? One hint to be a better driver is to obey the traffic signs but assume no one else is.

6. Use Your Turn Signals. Turn signals are there for a reason. If you aren't using your turn signals, you are not being a nice and considerate person. Period.

7. Be Aware Of Your Surroundings. It's the responsibility of the driver to know what is in front of you, on both sides and behind you. There is the quick glance method of driving. That means to know what is going on behind you or on either side of you when driving, you quickly look in your mirrors for a second and then quickly look to the front to make sure you keep your eyes on the road in front of you. If the driver is driving and pretends they don't have to be aware who is beside and behind them, then these are the drivers who are most likely, causing problems for other drivers.

8. Sidewalks. In California, it used to be that all drivers would stop for people walking across a crosswalk. Today, it seems that many drivers will not stop for pedestrians or will drive fast trying to intimate the pedestrian, so they can get their car through the crosswalk.

Pedestrians strolling through a crosswalk at a slow pace and who never look left or right to see if there is oncoming traffic are in the wrong. All pedestrians need to look before they cross a crosswalk. Pedestrians don't have to run but they should at least walk at a decent pace. However, drivers need to remember there are some people who can't walk fast due to bad knees or they might have had a recent accident and now can't walk at a fast pace. I had a friend of mine who broke his toe recently and he simply could not walk fast due to the pain. He was very upset that cars would intimidate him in crosswalks.

Let's be honest. If a car stops too early for a pedestrian who has just stepped into a crosswalk but the pedestrian is on the other side of the two-way road and it's clear that it is extremely safe to for the car to cross the crosswalk, then by stopping too early and waiting for the pedestrian, this backs up traffic unnecessarily. You see, driving is a complex task. This is why it's important for all drivers to concentrate on driving so that split second good decisions can be made.

It takes two to tango. Pedestrians need to look before they walk and continue to look both ways while walking on a crosswalk and drivers need to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Pedestrians and drivers BOTH need to work together. Just because a person is driving an $80,000.00 USD or $120,000.00 USD car, doesn't give them the license to be break any traffic law they want and does not give them the right to be mean to others when driving. All drivers need follow all traffic laws and be nice to other drivers and pedestrians.

9. Be Super Responsible Drivers. All drivers need to realize that when they are behind the wheel of a car, they are responsible for all their actions. A driver's responsibility is just like the responsibility of an airplane or helicopter pilot. Drivers need to take driving seriously. Years ago, I remember I was about to take off as a passenger in the copilot's seat of a helicopter on a training flight. The helicopter pilot said to me, we can joke all we want when in the hangar and on the ground but when we get inside the helicopter, that's when the joking stops. It's important for all drivers to concentrate on their job. To drive the damn car safely!

Therefore, all drivers need to stop holding cell phones in their hands, whether it's talking or texting. This means do not hold the damn phone in your hand when waiting at traffic lights or when driving. I am finding more and more, that when the traffic light turns green, that the first car in line is not going. That's because the driver is texting and is not looking for the light to change. When a driver is the first person at a traffic light, that driver has the responsibility to watch the light and when the light turns green (as long as no other cars are running a red light), then they need to press that gas pedal and go! We also need to remind people to not comb their hair, brush their teeth, put on make-up or do any other activity in the car while driving.

In Summary:

We as a society need to collectively understand that there is one thing that people want. To have nice lives and take care of themselves and loved ones. How do we know this? There is a little known world Gallup poll taken in 2010. Gallup considers this poll to be one of their very most important polls they've ever conducted. Gallup took an international poll from people of all ages, wages and from 160 countries. The question went something like this, "If you could have one thing, what would it be?" The answer was, "A good job." Because if you have a good job, you can take care of yourself, families, partners, loved ones and friends, and have a good life.*

Also, while writing this article, I went online to look up driver tips. I was surprised at all the things I did not know which will make me a better driver. And remember, not only look at websites but be sure the look up driving tip videos on YouTube. Some of the videos also include great tips on cleaning the car, better ways to store things in a car and more.

For people to have nice lives, we have to ensure that proper education, training and good products are made for all drivers, to keep everyone as safe as possible on our roads so that everyone can enjoy their entire life without dying before their time.

If you have any questions for us, please feel free to give us a call +1 (858) 413-7074 or email us at staff@helicopterlinks.com and let's discuss how Helicopter Links can help you advertise to buyers in the buying process.

-End article.

References:

"List of motor vehicle deaths in U.S. by year" Wikipedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in_U.S._by_year

"U.S. Helicopter Accidents Decrease"

https://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=8740

"Sensationalism" Wikipedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensationalism

"If It Bleeds, It Leads: Understanding Fear-Based Media"

www.psychologytoday.com/blog/two-takes-depression/201106/if-it-bleeds-it-leads-understanding-fear-based-media

"What the Whole World Wants"

http://news.gallup.com/opinion/chairman/187676/whole-world-wants.aspx


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