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Arizona traffic safety alliance teams up with Let’s Talk Self-Driving

May 23, 2019

Partnered with Red Means Stop Traffic Safety Alliance

barbara hero image

Red Means Stop Traffic Safety Alliance, an educational advocacy organization dedicated to ending red-light running, is joining Let’s Talk Self-Driving to raise awareness about how self-driving technology can improve road safety.

Let’s Talk Self-Driving is a Waymo-led public education campaign representing a diverse set of communities coming together with the shared belief that self-driving vehicles can save lives, improve independence, and create new mobility options for all. The campaign brings together national safety groups like AAA, National Safety Council, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving as well as local organizations including East Valley Partnership, Foundation for Blind Children, and Foundation for Senior Living.

Barbara Hoffman, Executive Director of Red Means Stop, believes in the power of self-driving technology to reduce red-light running accidents. Barbara lost her son Michael to a red-light runner in 2004, and his tragedy motivated her interest and advocacy in road safety. She said red-light running by distracted drivers is a troublingly widespread problem.

“Distracted driving has been one of our top problems in Arizona, across the nation and the world,” she said.

A solution to distracted driving

Barbara, who has researched how to alter bad driving behavior, said one possible solution could be to take human error out of the equation entirely. Self-driving technology holds the potential to do just that.

“If self-driving technology can take human error out of the equation,” Barbara said, “then we will have so many more families that don’t have to go through the pain that I went through.”

She noted that around 40,000 people die on U.S. roadways each year, and human error is involved in 94% of crashes.

“People are still breaking the laws and they’re still driving distracted,” Barbara said. “They’re still driving drunk, and if self-driving cars can take care of all of these problems, I think that’s the way of the future.”

Self-driving technology can detect pedestrians and stop lights

Fully self-driving cars like Waymo’s are designed for the technology to perform all the tasks of driving from start to finish on every trip. Waymo’s sensors allow it to see 360 degrees up to nearly three football fields away and scan constantly for moving things, such as pedestrians, and still objects, such as stop lights and stop signs.

But Waymo’s self-driving technology doesn’t just detect objects: it can tell them apart. Waymo’s technology can identify pedestrians and even predict whether they might jaywalk. Waymo’s multi-layered sensor suite of LiDAR, radar, and cameras works together seamlessly to paint a detailed 3D picture of the world.

Waymo’s LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) system works day and night by beaming out millions of laser pulses per second—in 360 degrees—and measuring how long it takes to reflect off a surface and return to the vehicle. Waymo’s high-resolution camera system detects color, helping Waymo vehicles spot traffic lights, construction zones, school buses, and the flashing lights of emergency vehicles. Waymo’s system also beams out wavelengths that are able to travel around objects like rain drops, making radar effective in rain, fog, and snow, regardless of the time of day.

Waymo’s fully self-driving technology also has detailed, onboard, internal maps that contain traffic information, such as the locations of traffic lights and street signs.

About Red Means Stop:

Red Means Stop was founded with a mission to prevent deadly crashes and to honor victims and their families. To this end, it educates drivers about traffic safety and the dangers of distracted driving and red-light running. Red Means Stop also shares poignant real-life stories and advocates for victims of red-light running crashes.

This partnership begins exactly 20 years after Red Means Stop was founded in 1999.

About Let’s Talk Self-Driving:

Other Let’s Talk Self-Driving partners include AAA Northern California, Nevada & UtahEast Valley PartnershipFoundation for Blind ChildrenFoundation for Senior LivingMothers Against Drunk DrivingNational Safety Council; and Waymo.