Those who use ridesharing services in Connecticut or elsewhere may not stop to consider that their drivers may be too tired to do their jobs safely. However, drowsy driving in the rideshare industry is a significant problem according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. This is true despite attempts by Uber and Lyft to cut down on drowsy driving by instituting hours of service rules.
The ice and snow of winter can pose a challenge to drivers. That's why preparation is essential. For example, there are many drivers who do not even understand certain vehicle safety features. The National Safety Council, together with the University of Iowa, is helping to educate drivers on new vehicle technologies through a campaign called, "My Car Does What?"
Motor vehicle crashes pose a significant danger to people in Connecticut and across the country, and fatalities are on the rise. Approximately 40,000 people were killed in car accidents in 2016. This number represents a 6 percent increase over 2015 figures and a 14 percent increase over the 2014 figures. This means that the roadways are becoming more dangerous. However, it is often difficult for government agencies and safety researchers to fully understand the reasons for car crashes. They rely on the information recorded by local police at the time of an accident to tabulate national statistics.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released the 2017 statistics acquired from its Fatality Analysis Reporting System. It seems that the overall number of fatalities occurring because of motor vehicle accidents across the nation were down by almost 2 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year. However, Connecticut residents should be aware that not all of the news is positive.
Smartphone ownership in the U.S. stood at 55 percent in 2013, but now more than three in four Americans carry the ubiquitous devices. Road safety experts say that the corresponding surge in distracted driving in Connecticut and around the country is one of the chief reasons that the number of car accidents rose by 12.3 percent from 5.7 million to 6.4 million during the same period. According to a study, drivers in the United States covered 107 billion miles in 2017 while distracted by a cellphone.
Thousands of teenagers die around the country each year in motor vehicle accidents, and police investigations often reveal that they were ignoring posted speed limits or staring at cellphone screens when they died. Public information campaigns have done little to deter young drivers from behaving recklessly behind the wheel, but a Baylor University study suggests that supplemental driver's education programs that bring teenagers face-to-face with the consequences of speeding and distraction could succeed in Connecticut and across the U.S. where more conventional approaches have failed.
Car manufacturers are constantly attempting to improve their information and entertainment products to impress their clients. However, Connecticut residents might be surprised to learn that a study from AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that these same systems might be contributing to distracted driving and the resulting accidents.
According to the NHTSA, there were 3,477 deaths attributed to distracted driving in Connecticut and throughout America in 2015. Distracted driving occurs when a driver is doing anything that takes his or her focus from the road. This could include eating while driving, talking with a passenger or changing a radio station. Sending text messages is another dangerous and common way in which drivers can be distracted.
For people in Connecticut and across the United States, autonomous vehicles can seem like an exciting technology for all the possibilities they offer. Not only could they potentially cut down on the daily annoyances of commutes and traffic jams, but self-driving cars could be a major boon for roadway safety. A great deal of writing and reporting on automobiles today is focusing on the potentials of the future development of fully autonomous vehicles.
Connecticut motorists may be pleased to learn about the steps that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is taking to stop people who get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs. In part because of the legalization of marijuana and the rampant opioid use in the United States, there is a urgency to address the increase in drugged driving accidents.