In 2013, several new measures will govern the conduct of Illinois drivers. The new laws include enhanced efforts to combat distracted driving which has been referred to as a "national epidemic" by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The laws govern a range of behaviors that have been connected to deadly driving incidents.
After a crash in which the air bags deploy, vehicles that are still roadworthy require maintenance. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a warning to consumers who have had replacement air bags installed after car crashes over the past three years. The NHTSA has discovered that counterfeit air bags have been installed in some vehicles repaired during that time frame. These air bags may fail to deploy in the event of another accident. In addition, some counterfeit bags have been found to discharge metal shrapnel when they do deploy. The counterfeit air bags have not yet been tied to any injuries or fatalities.
The National Transportation Safety Board published its conclusions regarding a single-engine airplane crash that occurred in Naperville in October 2010. The report concluded that the aviation accident was caused by the pilot's "failure to abort the takeoff when he realized the airplane was not attaining sufficient takeoff and climb performance." Shortly after the flight began, the plane crashed into a fitness club. The pilot and his wife were seriously injured in the accident, but the patrons and employees inside the fitness club were unharmed.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is seeking approval for a new method by which patients can report medical mistakes. Federal officials explained that unreported medical errors are a lost opportunity to make health care safer. Unless hospitals choose to report their own errors, information that could be used to reduce infections, improve surgical practices and otherwise enhance the quality of health care is often lost.
For many years, traffic fatalities have gone down as safety technology has improved. In the first six months of 2012, fatal motor vehicle accidents increased 9 percent when compared to the first half of 2011, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That increase represents the largest such jump since the NHTSA began gathering the data in 1975. In terms of raw numbers, the NHTSA estimates that 16,290 people died in traffic crashes from January through June 2012. In 2011, the number was 14,950.
Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill making self-driving cars legal on the roads of California. Self-driving cars, such as the "Google car" have received increased attention as the tech company has poured significant resources into making the technology viable. According to a Google co-founder, the company believes that the technology could be able to reduce car accidents and reduce congestion within a handful of years. The bill sets the rules for the testing and operation of autonomous vehicles in California.
The National Transportation Safety Board recently released the testimony of the pilots involved in two separate near mid-air collisions out of O'Hare earlier this year. The pilots referred to the potential collisions as "near misses" and testified that the air traffic controllers involved did not issue warnings until after the pilots identified the danger and took evasive action. No injuries resulted from the incidents in question and the Federal Aviation Administration has not levied any discipline against the air traffic controllers involved.