Some 939 people were killed in red light running crashes in 2017 — a 10-year high and a 28% increase over the 731 lost lives in 2012, according to a data analysis conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The data indicates a steady increase in red light running fatalities over approximately the last six years. 

For example, 2013 saw 739 people killed due to motorists who failed to halt at a red light. In 2014 it was 761 fatalities, followed by 831 in 2015, and 874 in 2016.

The fatality figures include road users of many kinds — red light running drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists.

The data shows that nearly half (46%) of people killed in red light running collisions were passengers of the red light runner or individuals in other vehicles. In addition, over 5% of those who lost their lives were pedestrians or cyclists.

Just over 35% of those killed were the drivers who ran the red light.

Every day, more than two people are killed on the nation’s roads by impatient and reckless drivers blowing through red lights, notes the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

In fact, 28% of fatalities that happen at signalized intersections are due to a driver running a red light.

Yet research shows drivers are astutely aware of the dangers of red light running. For example, the AAA Foundation’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index found that 85% of drivers view red light running as very dangerous, however nearly one in three say they ran through a red light within the past 30 days when they could have safely stopped.

In addition, more than two in five drivers say it is unlikely police will stop them for blowing through a red light.

On the positive side, some deterrents are working. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that when properly implemented, red light cameras reduced the fatal red light running crash rate of large cities by 21% and the rate of all types of crashes at signalized intersections by 14%.

Source: Automotive Fleet

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Amazon’s plan to run on 100% renewable energy by 2030 will include 100,000 battery-electric delivery vans, which the e-commerce giant will purchase from Rivian Automotive Inc.

CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled plans to buy 100,000 electric vans from Rivian that will be custom-built for Prime deliveries. This deal follows a $700 million investment in Rivian by Amazon earlier this year. The first Rivian vehicles would arrive in 2021. 

“We’re done being in the middle of the herd on this issue — we’ve decided to use our size and scale to make a difference,” Bezos said. “If a company with as much physical infrastructure as Amazon — which delivers more than 10 billion items a year — can meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early, then any company can. I’ve been talking with other CEOs of global companies, and I’m finding a lot of interest in joining the pledge. Large companies signing The Climate Pledge will send an important signal to the market that it’s time to invest in the products and services the signatories will need to meet their commitments.”

With this plan, Bezos said Amazon would reach 80% renewable energy use by 2024 and 100% by 2030, up from 40% today. 

The electric Rivian Prime vans will be assembled at a 2.6-million-square-foot manufacturing plant, previously owned by Mitsubishi, in Normal, IL.

The Amazon order is a big contract for Rivian, which is aiming to launch its R1T plug-in pickup and R1S sport utility vehicle late next year. Those Rivian vehicles are projected to offer a range of more than 400 miles per charge, and have a base price between $68,000 and $72,500, the company said in February. The R1T pickup can tow 11,000 lbs., and go from zero to 60 mph in 3 about seconds, company officials said.

Financial terms of Amazon’s van deal were not released. 

“Bold steps by big companies will make a huge difference in the development of new technologies and industries to support a low carbon economy,” said Christiana Figueres, the United Nations’ former climate change chief and founding partner of Global Optimism. “With this step, Amazon also helps many other companies to accelerate their own decarbonization. If Amazon can set ambitious goals like this and make significant changes at their scale, we think many more companies should be able to do the same and will accept the challenge.”

Amazon Employees for Climate Change has been pressuring Amazon this year to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and detail how it’s preparing to deal with business disruptions caused by climate change. Inside Amazon’s annual meeting in May, an employee speaking on behalf of the group asked for the opportunity to share her concerns with Bezos directly but was denied. Shareholders later voted down their proposal for Amazon to disclose a comprehensive climate change plan. 

The employee group on Thursday called Amazon’s pledge “a huge win.” 

“We’re thrilled at what workers [have] been able to achieve in less than a year,” the group said in a statement. “But we know it’s not enough.”

Amazon has already launched 15 utility-scale wind and solar renewable energy projects that will generate over 1,300 MW of renewable capacity and deliver more than 3.8 million MWh of clean energy annually — enough to power 368,000 U.S. homes. Amazon has also installed more than 50 solar rooftops on fulfillment centers and sort centers around the globe that generate 98 MW of renewable capacity and deliver 130,000 MWh of clean energy annually.

Source: Fleet Owner

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As Hurricane Dorian begins crawling up the East coast, automakers are doing their part to help. GM announced today that they will offer free OnStar Crisis Assist services to all owners of properly equipped Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles who live in the impacted regions. The connected car platform can help those fleeing disasters with real-time directions, free calls, routing to shelter, food and water, providing an in-vehicle WiFi hot spot, booking hotel rooms and more.

If you own a GM vehicle that is a 2006 model or newer, it’s likely it has OnStar hardware installed. Car owners who no longer pay for OnStar can still access the service for free during the hurricane. Advisors will be available to assist 24/7.

GM isn’t the only automaker providing natural disaster support. Tesla is helping those impacted by Hurricane Dorian by offering free Supercharging, enabling Powerwall’s “storm watch” feature and enabling more range on some vehicles. Electrek noted that owners of a Powerwall — Tesla’s lithium ion battery — who were in Dorian’s path noticed that storm watch mode had been activated. The special emergency mode automatically charges the Powerwall at full capacity so it can provide backup power.

The Category 3 hurricane is expected to get close to Florida’s east coast by Tuesday evening and last through Wednesday. And local government and emergency services appear to be taking it seriously. “Hurricane Dorian is the strongest storm to ever threaten the state of Florida on the east coast,” said Jared Moskowitz, director of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management. “No matter what path this storm takes, our state will be impacted.”

Source: engadget, OnStar

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Time is money and when it comes to the amount of time Americans waste sitting in traffic each year, the total cost is significant – $166 billion.

Texas A&M Transportation Institute recently published its 2019 Urban Mobility report and the picture it paints is of an urban gridlock issue that has only been getting worse each year since 1982, the first year with official data on the subject.

In its report, TTI also lists ways that congestion can be addressed. The group advocates for more of everything, roads, transit, squeezing as much efficiency out of the existing system as possible, reducing demand through telework, better balancing demand and roadway capacity by adjusting work hours, and smarter land use. But TTI also admitted that there is no silver bullet when fixing the nationwide problem.

“No single approach will ever solve this complex problem,” says Tim Lomax, a report author and Regents Fellow at TTI. “We know what works. What the country needs is a robust, information-powered conversation at the local, state and national levels about what steps should be taken. We have many strategies; we have to figure out the right solution for each problem and a way to pay for them.”

Part of the problem is actually the result of a good thing, more Americans are working and driving to work. From 2016-2017, the U.S. added 1.9 million jobs, according to TTI, and with unemployment near all-time lows, more Americans are joining the workforce every month.

Since 1982, the nation’s workforce has grown almost nonstop by just over 50% to the current total of 153 million. The average number of hours per commuter lost to traffic delay has nearly tripled in that time, climbing to 54 hours a year per person. And the annual cost of those delays has nearly doubled to its current rate of $1,010 per person, per year.

“Simply put, travel demand is growing faster than the system’s ability to absorb that demand. Once considered a problem exclusive to big cities, roadway gridlock now afflicts urban areas of all sizes and consumes far more of each day, making rush hour a long-outdated reference,” said David Schrank, a TTI senior research scientist and report author.

Part of that total is due to the inefficient fuel mileage of driving in gridlock traffic. The amount of fuel wasted in stalled traffic has more than tripled since 1982, to 3.3 billion gallons a year.

TTI said that the average freeway traveler has to allow almost twice the expected trip duration to ensure dependable arrival for time-sensitive events such as medical appointments, day-care pickup and airline flights. Instead of the 20 minutes needed in light traffic, it’s best to plan a 34-minute trip, according to TTI.

Of course commuters are not the only ones using our roads with time sensitive appointments. The problem affects manufactures, carriers and shippers and those delays are also passed on to the consumer.  While commercial trucks make up only 7% of road traffic, they account for 12% of congestion cost, according to TTI.

“Those minutes don’t sound like much, but they add up quickly over a year,” said Schrank “Eventually, we’re talking billions of wasted hours, and the cost of delay at that scale is just enormous.”

The 2019 Urban Mobility Report, which examines conditions in 494 urban areas in every state and Puerto Rico, is available online.

Source: Work Truck Online

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