October 15, 2009 by markarndt
The Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM) held its 53rd Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland from October 4th through October 7th, 2009. Highlights of Tuesday and Wednesday sessions included: a special session on Pre-Crash Technology moderated by Jim Fell of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), a keynote speech by Dr. Thomas M. Scalea, MD, FACS Physician-in-Chief of the University of Maryland R. Adam Cowley Shock Trauma Center and a presentation by Ted Miller, Ph.D. from PIRE titled Cost of Crashes Related to Road Conditions.
The special session on pre-crash technology included the presentations:
An Overview of NHTSA Research on Advanced Crash Avoidance Technologies by Ray Resendes Chief, Intelligent Technologies Research, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) included an interesting reference to General Motors’ 1939 World Fair Exhibit which is described by a two-part You Tube video. The substance of the presentation listed an array of state of the art technology including: Electronic Stability Control (ESC, 100% phase-in pursuant to FMVSS126 by 2012), adaptive cruise control (first in Japan in 1998), forward collision warning, forward collision avoidance and mitigation (set for a 2011 rulemaking decision), blind spot detection, lane departure warning, lane departure prevention (set for a 2001 rulemaking decision), crossing path detection (a backup sensor), fatigue detection, night vision assistance (around for about 10-years), automatic alcohol detection, crash notification and vehicle to vehicle communication (set for rulemaking decision in 2013).
The Latest in Crash Avoidance Vehicle Technology by Brian Fildes, PhD, Associate Director, Monash University Accident Research Centre – Europe, Prato, Italy presented results of the TRACE Report, a 2007 European project that identified 140 new safety technologies. Dr. Fields noted that it was possible that the report was already obsolete given the pace of commercial implementation and technological development of pre-crash technologies.
Crash Avoidance Technologies – Acceptance and Early Estimates of Effects by Adrian Lund, PhD, President, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) began his presentation with a summation of 50 years of crashworthiness improvement showing the IIHS recent test of a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air and a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu in a 40 mph frontal offset crash test. The test is a reflection of how improving the compartment has improved motor vehicle safety. Dr. Lund made a special note that motorcycle Anti-Lock Brake Systems (ABS) appears to reduce the chance of a fatal motorcycle crash by 30%; he noted that motorcycle ABS is like ESC for cars. The bulk of the presentation dealt with the IIHS analysis of driver perception and acceptance of Volvo’s pre-crash technologies; noteing that it appeared that most people seemed to like the prevention systems they had in their Volvo cars.
Dr Thomas M. Scalea keynote speech provided a compelling argument for the kind of trauma system used in Maryland. Examples were provided that illustrated treatment improvements that occurred because of the trauma system concentrates critical injuries at level 1 trauma centers. Dr Scalea’s talk was titled From Trauma Centers to Trauma Systems. The Maryland program encompasses 70 physicians from seven different academic departments in the University of Maryland, Baltimore. The nearly 100 bed trauma hospital employs over 300 nurses and a total staff of 450 people. This year the shock trauma will admit over 7700 patients.
Ted Millers presentation of the paper he co-authored with Eduard Zaloshnja, Ph.D was titled Cost of Crashes Related to Road Conditions, United States, 2006. According to the abstract the paper is the first study to estimate the cost of crashes related to road conditions in the U.S. The study used 2000-03 Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) data and applied logistic regression results to calculate the probability that road conditions contributed to the involvement of a vehicle in each crash. Dr Miller indicated that the estimated comprehensive cost of traffic crashes where road conditions contributed to crash occurrence or severity was $217.5 billion in 2006 and concludes with the observation that road conditions are largely controllable and that road maintenance and upgrading can prevent crashes and reduce injury severity. The study is particularly interesting in light of recent emphasis of the car as the nexus of pre-crash intervention technology. Elimination of crashes will require the proper emphasis of driver, environment and vehicles and the present study underlines the importance of the driving environment in the crash prevention matrix.