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Car Accidents Archives

Distracted driving may be far more common than you think

The use of cellphones, smartphones and other devices seems ubiquitous today. The National Safety Council says that distracted driving related to the use of technological devices is an epidemic. For that reason, the safety advocacy group has declared April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Many people in the Chicago area may be aware that distracted driving occurs - but most people are likely unaware how frequently the problem occurs on our roads.

Traffic Fatalities Generally Increase From July through September

Traffic fatalities are generally higher in the United States during the late summer months than any other time of the year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency recently released its "Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities in 2015." The report shows that (with the exception of 2014) more people were killed in traffic accidents during the third quarter (July to September) each year from 2005 through 2015.

The Link Between Vehicle Speed and Fatal Pedestrian Accidents

When a car strikes a pedestrian, there is very little chance the pedestrian will escape without injury. Even at low speeds, cars are capable of doing tremendous damage. A recent analysis of the relationship between vehicle speed and the likelihood of a fatal pedestrian accident demonstrates just how dangerous cars are to people on foot. The study further broke down accident data to show how the age of the victim affects the survivability of a car-pedestrian collision.

Preventing Auto Accidents with an Airline Safety Model

The U.S. Department of Transportation includes 12 agencies dedicated to various transportation concerns. Among those agencies are the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Secretary of the USDOT, Anthony Foxx, is pushing the NHTSA to use FAA programs and culture as a model for the future. The NHTSA has been beset with controversy after two years of record highs in vehicle recalls and high profile auto defect problems. Mr. Foxx has referred to the new direction as a "proactive safety culture."

Distracted Driving Accidents and Cultural Change

Among the ten items listed on the National Transportation Safety Board's Most Wanted List for 2016 is a call to disconnect from deadly distractions. Distracted driving has been identified as a large and growing problem among highway safety experts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 3,179 died in fatal accidents in 2014 due to distracted drivers. State Farm reports that nearly 30 percent of survey respondents acknowledged using the Internet while driving in 2015. That figure is up from 13 percent in 2009.

Decals and Teen Drivers

In Illinois, a person who is under the age of 18 and who violates the nighttime driving restriction may have his or her driving privileges suspended. This is one aspect of the Illinois Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program. GDL programs are in place in a number of states across the country. A common problem in many of these states is enforcement. Adult drivers are allowed to drive at night. They are not restricted in the number of passengers they may carry under a certain age. These restrictions are solely the province of young drivers subject to the GDL guidelines. One way to assist police in enforcing the provisions of a GDL is to also require that applicable drivers display a decal, indicating their status. New Jersey became the first state to require such a decal in 2010. Recent research has indicated that the decal program positively impacts teen driver safety.

Latest Estimates in Traffic Fatalities Released

The traffic fatality numbers from the first half of 2015 represent an estimated increase from the prior year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the final numbers for 2014 traffic deaths, as well as the estimate for 2015, this week. The NHTSA cited the increase in calling for renewed efforts to combat the dangerous behaviors that contribute to so many fatal car and truck accidents. With an estimated increase in both the fatality rate and total fatality numbers, 2015 is on pace to reverse a long-standing general trend of safer motor vehicle travel.

Drowsy Driving Statistics Reveal a Widespread Problem

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is encouraging people to avoid driving when they are fatigued. The NHTSA recently wrapped up National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week and is looking at ways to put a stop to a widespread problem. The head of the NHTSA estimated that somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 deaths per year are caused by drowsy driving. He pointed to statistics gathered by the National Transportation Safety Board showing that fatigue was a contributing factor to nearly 40 percent of major NTSB highway investigations from 2001 to 2012.

Teen Driver Safety Week Emphasizes Household Rules

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is sponsoring Teen Driver Safety Week this week (October 18-24). The NHTSA is calling on parents and guardians to do their part in keeping young drivers safe. The agency is pushing the slogan "5 to Drive" to help parents set guidelines for the teen drivers in their homes.

A Call for Tighter Regulation

A scandal uncovered by one agency has led another to consider cracking down on the auto industry. The Environmental Protection Agency recently discovered that Volkwagen carefully engineered software to skirt U.S. emissions standards. VW diesel vehicles were programmed to run differently when being tested than during normal operation. After an EPA investigation, Volkswagen could be fined billions of dollars for its actions. The head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggested that the actions of VW's executives demonstrate the need for tighter regulation in the realm of safety.

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