Occupants and Non-occupants

Early morning head-on freeway crash SR51 near Indian School. The driver known only as a 27 y.o. man from Ohio was driving a (new?) Corvette the wrong way. Police think the driver may have been impaired. Really? You don’t say. The name hasn’t been released but expect aggravated assault charges when he’s released from hospital.

Two Tempe officers hurt in wrong-way crash on SR-51 in Phoenix

The two police officers who were injured were released from the hospital after a couple of days, the w-w driver is hospitalized with “non life threatening injuries”. Police have still not revealed the driver’s name and only say that charges, if any, wouldn’t be leveled until he was released.

Occupants and Non-Occupants

The official definition is

Occupant Any Person Who Is In Or Upon A Motor Vehicle In Transport. Includes The Driver, Passengers, And Persons Riding On The Exterior Of A Motor Vehicle.

But NHTSA seems to consistently release stats in three buckets, Occupants, Non-Occupants (so, peds, pedalcyclists, and also other personal mobility devices like scooters, wheelchairs, etc) and Motorcycles.

Eg. NHTSA’s Traffic Safety Facts Annual Reports 2017 (the latest published) breakdown was

  • 24,973 Occupants (67% of total)
  • 5,172 Motorcyclists
  • 6,988 Non-Occupants
  • 37,133 Total

so Occupants were 67% vs. motorcyclists + nonoccupants = 33%.

Statistical Abstract of US 2012 gives years 1975-2009 (see table 1106). Newer numbers could be obtained from NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts series (most recent data year is 2017)

Occupant (percentage of total deaths) reached highs thru the period 1996-2000 of 80%

In summary, over the long arc of time back to 1975 — occupants of MVs accounted for between 67% and 80% of total traffic fatalities… with 67% being now, the lowest in recorded history. These trends are likely to continue (i mean: the 67% figure is likely to continue to decline) as engineering advances increase the safety of enclosed occupants (or at least, increase it faster for those inside a vehicle compared to everybody else outside a vehicle).

This is likely to have increasingly negative effects on driver behavior. Risk compensation, and all that.


One thought on “Occupants and Non-occupants”

  1. https://efficientgov.com/blog/2019/12/27/why-us-cities-are-becoming-more-dangerous-for-cyclists-and-pedestrians/
    Makes similar obvservations, e.g. that
    “(globally) more than half of all traffic deaths are pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. In the United States, driver (probably actually means both drivers and passengers) fatalities fell from 27,348 in 2006 to 23,611 in 2017, but pedestrian and cyclist fatalities increased from 5,567 to 6,760”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *