Thank you all for attending a fantastic AAAM Conference this year! We had a 10-year record number of attendees, and a record number of papers, short communications, and posters. We had attendees from the US and Australia, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, India, Japan, Korea, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Uruguay, United Kingdom, and Switzerland. Thanks so much to our keynote speakers! We should thank our immediate past President, Gary Smith, for working to invite them to join us at AAAM. Thanks to the Scientific Programming Committee, which had many new members this year. They work very hard to pull off a successful conference and to that end I need to thank Scott Gayzik and Andrew Kemper, student program subcommittee chairs for a wonderful student conference, Matt Maltese as the SPC chair and of course Ashley Weaver who did a fantastic job with this year’s scientific program as our annual program chair. Last, thanks to our education program chair Amanda Agnew for her efforts and those who put on the AIS workshop ahead of our conference – Kathy Cookman, Kathryn Loftis, and Waqar Malik.
Some of the highlights for me were certainly the five (5) keynote speakers on the five pillars of road safety. We saw a video from Alex Furas – and those of you who saw it will likely never forget – showing a commercial truck stopping itself just prior to striking a child, with autonomous emergency braking. Alex observed a significant strength of AAAM is its different mixture of lawyers, physicians, engineers, public health sciences, etc, and called us to raise awareness of what is happening elsewhere. Teri Reynolds asked us to frame the way we approach policymakers in terms of solutions rather than problems, and not to write off treatment. She observed that prevention is great, but treatment is necessary and in no other disease area would it be acceptable to write off whole populations of people affected by disease the way that sometimes happens with trauma. Julio Urzua showed us how roads can have ratings, too – not a concept I was familiar with other than numerous CIREN cases I have seen where comments are made by police like “crashes always happen there…” It seemed to me we need more of this science in the United States. Oftentimes in CIREN case reviews, we see pictures only of the updated infrastructure, after the previous infrastructure or lack thereof contributed to the loss of life or serious injury. I know many of us were moved by Maria Rodriguez’s story of her brother, Gonchi, a Formula 1 driver. She has built on this to have a tremendous impact through her foundation and has been able to effect change by bringing issues associated with vehicle safety into the limelight for regulators and politicians. Tom Bishop of Amend showed moving pictures of children in Africa protesting the road safety conditions leading to the death of their schoolmates and is leading studies on motorcycle use and governmental policy and systems affecting road safety.
Please review this email to hear more about our conference, review photos from the conference and remember the experience. Congratulations to all those who won poster or paper/presentation awards and all our annual award winners.
Consider joining us next year, when we gather in Madrid, Spain! Fran Lopez-Valdes is assisting with the planning and Jason Hallman will be our annual program chair. We are transitioning to a new timing – Monday business meetings, Tuesday student symposium, and Wednesday to Friday for the main meeting. I hope to see you all there and many thanks for a successful conference this year!
Of course, I need to say a final thank you to our sponsors for the 2018 conference – Medical & Engineering Research Consultants, Nissan, Toyota, Graeme & Barbara French, Safety Forensics, Transportation Safety Technologies, and the VT-WFU SBES. Thank you all and to everyone reading this: please consider supporting the conference next year, we have several new initiatives we are working on we will tell you about over the coming year.
Joel Stitzel, PhD