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The insurance industry-funded Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is calling out its governmental counterpart, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for distracting drivers from genuine safety concerns.
Consumer Reports cites a release penned by IIHS president Adrian Lund as saying that unintended acceleration and distracted driving have drawn focus away from other threats, thanks largely to the efforts of NHTSA and the national media. Instead of focusing on runaway sedans and texting teens, Lund says that we should really be worried about speeding drivers and running red lights. IIHS says that last year, those two factors alone were responsible for 13,500 deaths and millions of injuries.

Compare that against the 6,000 deaths associated with distracted driving, and the IIHS point becomes clearer. So, why are the feds so concerned with an issue that's (statistically, at least) half as dangerous as speeding and running red lights? Lund says it's because the general public isn't exactly warm to the idea of more legislation to curtail speed.

What do you think? Is the IIHS position more valid than NHTSA's? Is it the other way around? Follow the jump for an informal poll on the matter.

[Source: Consumer Reports | Image: Mr. Wabu via CC 2.0]
IIHS vs. NHTSA: Whose position is more valid?
IIHS's call for more attention on speeding and running red lights 126 (15.6%)
NHTSA's recent focus on distracted driving and safety defects 122 (15.1%)
Both are equally important. IIHS and NHTSA complement each other. 193 (23.9%)
I take neither side. IIHS and NHTSA are simply promoting their backers' agendas. 366 (45.4%)


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  • 35 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Shacks!! Totally wreck.. Some peace of advice, all cars before using it needs to be done on vehicle inspection. Services were in they gonna check your car for less accident..
      • 4 Years Ago
      This article is somewhat vague. I find it hard to believe that speeding (how fast?) and running red lights (when?) can possibly be more dangerous than some bozo texting.

      To answer the question as to why we should be more concerned with teens texting? It is a growing trend, and in many cases, it is harder to avoid someone texting than speeding or running a red light. The idiot texting could be driving the speed limit, with traffic and then boom!! He doesn't look up to see that traffic is stopped or that there is a slight bend in the road and goes off an embankment, or even worse, into oncoming traffic.

      Sure speed and running red lights may kill more in general, but could that be because more people do it? I would like to see a comparison between the percentages of wrecks caused by texting/sexting compared to instances where someone going 15mph over the speed limit or running a red light.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Between the evil speeders and cellphones, neither of which have shown an increase in accidents when outlawed, I guess I should just stay home and watch an almost endless stream of Allstate, State Farm, Geico, and Progressive commercials mixed in with government drunk driving and "Click it or ticket" propaganda.
      Weird, when you force EVERYBODY to pay you at gunpoint you can afford to advertise 24/7 even during a depression!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sorry but if GM was to survive, the gov't needs to keep its boot on Toyota's throat.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The difference is stop signal running and speeding are already illegal. Up the penalties, but they are already there. Texting, phoning, and 'distracted' driving have no cohesive laws against them. One can still make a call while driving, just by using an earpiece. Or in some places you can phone everywhere except a school zone.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The law about not texting or using a cell phone in a school zone is ridiculous. If it is unsafe to do near a school then it is unsafe do it anywhere. In a school zone you are already driving at a significantly reduced speed anyway. Personally I wish that cell phone usage would be restricted to use in the home. But if you are going to make some law then it should apply everywhere. If this law is to protect our kids then it would have to apply to wherever kids, which is pretty much everywhere.



        • 4 Years Ago
        e149: "Personally I wish that cell phone usage would be restricted to use in the home."

        That is the funniest thing I've read all week.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Catfight, classic.
      • 4 Years Ago
      My understating is that the Insurance Institute is funded by insurance companys, who make lower or less frequent payout if people aren't injured.

      Rear crashes are the most common kind of crash by far. If car have effective head restraints, insurers won't have to pay for medical care. Similarly, IIHS encourages manufacturers to make effective bumpers (most/all still don't) because it will cost them less to repair.

      Safe cars might not make any money for insurers, but they'll lose less money on them.

      If it's all a conspiracy, but a by-product is safer cars, I'm all for it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @paul34

        That's what I said, albeit in a long-winded way.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's not a conspiracy, it is a consequence of a somewhat free market.

        Insurance companies make more money when they pay out fewer claims, and so it is in their interest, for profit reasons, to have safer cars. At the same time, we benefit by having safer cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      IIHS's data is very skewed, they count speeding as a factor in accidents when speed is over the speed limit. When 85% of people are over the speed limit of course the majority of accidents are going to be over the speed limit! It does not mean that it is a factor in collisions.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well, the "unintended acceleration" was a non-issue but it hard to side with insurance business since they are chiefly profit driven while safety is an afterthought.
      • 4 Years Ago
      As much as I hate to side with a government agency, IIHS is off their rocker as usual. This is the same bunch that's tried to ban sportbikes at least twice.

      http://www.ridelust.com/michigan-police-chiefs-admit-speeding-tickets-are-about-money/
      "... Deaths are not caused by speeding. They’re caused by drinking, drugs and inattentiveness."
      • 4 Years Ago
      it's simple. the insurance biz can make more money off of higher premiums if drivers are cited for speeding and running red lights. all of this focus on preventing things from happening are a non-starter for insurance companies. they make nothing when cars are safe. they make no money when people don't get cited for moving violations.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think the insurance companies would make more money if people weren't having accidents. Think about it logically. Even if a driver were paying an astronomical amount for insurance, say $4000 a year, having a single accident in ten years can easilyh erase the entire amount paid up to that point. Investigation fees, possible court fees, medical, all this before the car damage, I think its pretty obvious that a safe driving public, with the rare "real accident" would make insurance companies far more than what currently exists.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Regarding speeding and running red lights thing...raise the speed limits (where it makes sense, of course. Try a 4 lane through Minnesota at 55...yay...I'm sleeping at the wheel, now who's dangerous?) and instead of shortening the yellow lights to 2 seconds with a camera, raise them to 5-6 seconds so people have a chance to slow down. But I guess that would screw up the revenue from those silly little infractions. Montana's death rate went up with the introduction of speed limits among other things they did to make highways "safer".
        • 4 Years Ago
        Not only that, but I recall reading an article about how accidents are categorized, and all kinds of unrelated things get lumped under the "speeding" heading, making the number wildly inaccurate. Where the data is properly broken out, excessive speed makes up between 4 and 6% of all fatal accidents. Failure to look/pay attention tops the roster by a large margin at over 35%.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @MikeMachine; @BeeHaze: You guys are right on the money, literally. Insurance companies absolutely hate to pay out. They base and raise premiums based on a risk assessment. Higher risk drivers pay higher premiums because they're more likely to be involved in an accident and subsequently, the insurance company must eventually cover the losses. If everyone were crashing left and right - day and night, insurance companies would go bankrupt eventually. That's why insurance companies always want to know the estimated annual mileage you expect to drive because the more miles you drive, the higher your risk.

        They do have a legitimate reason for pushing safe driving and safer cars. It's in everyone's best interest, but it's true, insurance companies will post higher profits if there are fewer and fewer accidents. The same is true for medical insurance and well, just about every other insurance.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I wish there was a reading comprehension test required to post here...

        Read the article: The IIHS is calling for NHTSA to study and provide solutions to REDUCE the numbers of red-light runners and speeding tickets.

        Why? Insurance companies make money when they don't have to pay. They already get a nice fat check from every one of us, every month. When we crash our cars, they pay. They want safer cars which cost less to repair, and safer drivers who don't cause accidents in the first place. Eliminating these problems is a win for both drivers AND insurance companies.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I bet better driver education and testing like in Germany would save more lives than just giving out a bunch of tickets.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Most institutions and companies lose focus on what they are supposed to be good at(ex. McDonald's, Volvo, Lotus). They all branch out into different things in the name of greed.
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