Car Carnage Wrapup + GM Ignition Switch recall

Phew, 10 dead in just two incidents. In Arizona. In the past few days. The news had been dominated by headlines and Congressional hearings revolving around approximately 13 deaths over something like a decade ( and throughout the entire county, of course) that are linked to a defective GM ignition switch part. Here is how in one instance the defect is said to be linked to the driver’s death, from the Detroit Free Press describes how “…(the victim) got into her Chevrolet Cobalt, jammed down the accelerator and lost control in a nearby cul-de-sac, slamming into a tree. The impact crushed her against the steering wheel. She wasn’t wearing a seat belt; she’d been drinking, too. Despite the crash, the air bags didn’t go off…”. I don’t know if that’s typical or not, presumably some of the crashes could be due to loss of power (brakes/steering) but that’s besides the point…

I can’t help thinking that if as much attention were paid to the ~ 400,000 other traffic deaths that have occurred in the US over the past decade, we might get somewhere on the problem of traffic fatalities being a leading cause of death among Americans. Along the same lines as the gm-ignition switch; there’s an excellent editorial in the AJPH Sept 2014 (Vol 104 No 8) by human-factors traffic safety expert Leonard Evans recounting a similar drama with Toyota, but how US policy is topsy-turvey and misses the big picture due leading to “Twenty Thousand More Americans Killed Annually Because US Traffic-Safety Policy Rejects Science”

Five killed during high-speed pursuit near Tuba City

(Tuba City is in Northeast AZ). This one has it all; reckless driving, high speeds, etc…

April 01, 2014 6:30 am • MICHELLE McMANIMON Sun Staff Reporter
A high-speed pursuit ended in tragedy over the weekend when a suspected drunk driver who was being chased by Navajo Police Department officers slammed into another vehicle, killing five people and leaving one critically injured…According to information from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the pursuit began Friday night in Tuba City after Navajo PD received several calls regarding a vehicle that was driving recklessly through town. Two Navajo PD officers in a patrol car followed the vehicle, believing the driver to be intoxicated, as it fled eastbound on U.S. Route 160. “Speeds during the pursuit reached 100 miles per hour,” said DPS spokesman Sgt. Gary Phelps. At around 9:03 p.m., about 25 miles east of Tuba City, the suspect vehicle crossed over the center line on U.S. Route 160 into oncoming traffic and crashed head-on into a vehicle containing a family of four. The Navajo PD officers who began the pursuit were about a mile behind the suspect vehicle at the time of the crash…The other vehicle contained a family of Japanese nationals. A 50-year-old man, a 42-year-old woman and their 16-year-old son were all killed in the collision….

2 women, 3 children killed in crash on I-10

3/30/2014 Tire difficulties caused the driver of Ford F-250 (a heavy-duty pickup) to lose control and crossover the median on I-10 near Picacho Peak (sort of between Phoenix and Tucson) and collide with a semi-truck. The five killed were all passengers of the pickup, and were said to be all belted but ejected. The driver of the pickup was seriously injured.  azcentral.com

Phoenix man faces charges of theft, child abuse

3/30/2014 Not a traffic fatality — just a reminder that they drive among us:

A Phoenix man that led police on a high-speed pursuit with his 5-year-old daughter in the car was arrested Sunday, authorities said. Jesus Olivares, 23, was arrested upon his release from a hospital,.. Olivares was suspected in a shoplifting incident Thursday at the Walmart on 75th Avenue and McDowell Road… Olivares continued on, ran a red light at 83rd Ave and McDowell Road and blew through several more, touching speeds of over 100 miles per hour on Interstate 10, according to a police report. The report also stated that Olivares’ 5-year-old daughter was in the vehicle during the chase and did not have a seatbelt on… azcentral.com

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