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.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires automakers to pass along claims of car defects from consumers. By gathering this information, the NHTSA can spot trends and determine when a mandatory recall should be initiated. While the laws requiring defect reporting are more than a decade old, the system still falls short of expectations.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Automatic emergency braking systems are a technological solution to a common type of car accident, the rear-end collision. Distracted, fatigued, impaired or infirm drivers may apply brakes too late or too softly to avoid an accident. AEB systems provide automatic braking or supplemental braking to reduce the severity of a crash or avoid it altogether. These systems are not standard features on new vehicles at this time. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently took steps to encourage the technology, without going through the process of making it a federal requirement.
Most parents are aware that their children need to be placed in car seats when they are young. Finding and installing the right car seat is not as easy as it sounds. Other decisions, such as when to turn a rear-facing car seat around, when to switch to a booster seat and when to allow your child to ride with just a normal seat belt are also not necessarily straightforward. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers advice to parents and guardians looking to make the safest choices for kids. They offer several tips to make the decision-making process easier.
In a ranking of the 100 most populated cities in the U.S., Chicago finished 93 in terms of the best cities to be a driver. The rankings were based on 21 metrics including things like road conditions, safety, costs of vehicle ownership, traffic and more. Chicago's ranking as the 8th worst city in which to be a driver will come as no surprise to the many people who rely on their cars to get around.