Message from NETSEA President
November 12th, 2019
I welcome all of you to the NETSEA website. As we venture into 2020, I wonder if back in the year 2000 we would have thought that soon we will have self-driving vehicles using the automated driving system. Autonomous Vehicles will have the capability of sensing their environment and moving safely within the driving roadways with little or no human input. The first truly autonomous cars appeared in the 1980's with CarnegieMellonUniversity's Navlab. In 1995 CMU's NavLab5 completed a coast-to- coast drive of the US. It traveled from PittsburghPennsylvania (where CMU is) to San DiegoCA. In 1991, the US allocated $650 million for research on the National Automated Highway System. In 2016 the European Commission allocated funds to advance their Autonomous Vehicles. Audi took a lead role in developing these Autonomous Vehicles.
Rhode Island has Legislation (S-2514) in the Senate Judiciary Committee which permits the use of vehicles equipped with autonomous technology on Rhode Island roads. S-1841in Massachusetts defines autonomous vehicles and would allow the operation of autonomous vehicles on the public roadways if the manufacturer certifies that all safety standards are met. It also permits testing by manufactures on public roads. This legislation is pending and is a Senate Study Order.
Why am I writing about this? As we move forward with this technology I wonder what the role will be of the Driver Education Instructor. As vehicles become self-driving, what will we teach our students? Will we even have students? Will we be an automobile technologist teaching how to drive a self-driving vehicle? As we look to the future what will our Teacher Prep courses look like and what will our curriculum look like?
I do not have the answer to those questions but I know we need to start thinking about it. According to NHTSA data in 2018, when Vehicle Technology was evident in newer vehicles we had a 2.4 percent decline in overall fatalities. This is the second consecutive year of reduced crash fatalities. Data shows that fatalities among children 14 and younger declined 10.3 percent; alcohol-impaired driving fatalities went down 3.6 percent; and speeding related fatalities declined 5.7 percent. We also found a 4.7 percent decline in Motorcyclist fatalities. We are seeing the same trend in 2019. However pedestrians and bicyclists fatalities increased by 3.4 percent.
Yes, technology played a vital role in reduced fatalities. I believe so did Education. Whether you use AAA curriculum, the ADTSEA Curriculum, Fred Mottola's Driver Behavior Curriculum through his National Institute for Driver Behavior or something else that deals with Risk Taking Behaviors, we as teachers make a difference.
NETSEA is committed to continue to provide Professional Development Opportunities to our traffic safety community. Our workshop on November 16 in Manchester, NH provides workshops on the following topics:
- The role Non-prescription and OTC Drugs play on the effects of Driving and Public Safety.
- Automated Driver Assistance Systems
- Returning to Drive After a Concussion
- Adapted Van Demonstrations
Current Adaptive Driving Equipment and Technologies
- Basic Sign Language (ASL) for the Driving Instructor
- Parent's Roadmap to Teen Driving Safety
NETSEA is committed to be part of the solution to reduce not only deaths on our roadways but injuries as well. Even though our fatality rate has gone down, our crash rate has not significantly changed. According to the National Safety Council, in 2017 there were 4.6 million motor vehicle incidents where the injury costs were estimated at $433.8 billion dollars. Obviously wearing seat belts and reducing speed would help in reducing the severity of the crash.
We, the NETSEA board would love to know what you need from us. How can we help you make a difference? Our officers and board members would love to hear from you. Below are the folks on the NETSEA board.
Barbara E. Brody, M.Ed
NETSEA Board President
2019 NETSEA BOARD OF DIRECTORS