Aggressive driving and road rage are related, but distinct problems. Aggressive driving is substantially more common and involves violations of traffic laws. Road rage is assault either using or related to a motor vehicle. The distinction is important because aggressive drivers may be able to convince themselves that they are not a problem because their behavior does not rise to the level of road rage. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration makes that clear in its efforts to combat the problem of aggressive driving.
Driving too fast for road conditions is a common cause of accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Roughly 1.4 million fatal crashes were attributed to weather conditions from 1975 to 2000. While people might think that driving during the winter is the most dangerous time that is not actually the case. Icy or snowy roads may deter many people from traveling, leading to a reduction in traffic fatalities. Rain can pose a substantial threat to drivers. The American Auto Association reports that wet weather leads to 1.2 million crashes every year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a new campaign focusing on seat belt use. The campaign specifically targets parents and children aged 8 to 14. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adult seat belt use tops the list of ways to reduce injuries and fatalities in motor vehicle accidents. Seat belt use is on the rise across the country, though usage varies by state.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not investigate every motor vehicle crash. There are far too many crashes to review each one. Instead, the NHTSA uses a sampling of crashes to analyze overall trends. More than 20 sites have been designated for this sampling, including Chicago and Los Angeles. Since 1988, the NHTSA has analyzed approximately 4,700 crashes per year, nationwide.
The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System is a telephone survey conducted each year in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey of more than 147,000 people from 2009-2010 included questions to determine how many drivers had nodded off or fallen asleep while driving in the previous 30 days. The CDC was attempting to gain a clearer understanding of drowsy driving and the behaviors that are connected to drowsy driving accidents. The survey reported that 4.2 percent of drivers admitted to falling asleep or nodding off behind the wheel.
When the first snow falls, it can seem as if every driver around you has never driven in winter conditions before. The drivers who spent all summer risking serious motor vehicle accidents by tailgating, speeding and driving distractedly do not seem to realize that the danger has heightened. Some drivers behave as if their SUVs are unaffected by ice. Others drive act as if they are surrounded by land mines, ready to explode if they make the slightest movement. The increased congestion and reduced control inevitably lead to collisions, injuries and fatalities.
A group of states' attorneys general have teamed up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Ad Council on a campaign to increase public awareness about the dangers of texting while driving. The campaign targets drivers in the 16-24 years old range, a group associated with a high rate of car accidents, as well as a propensity to text and drive. The goal is not to increase legislation and penalties surrounding distracted driving, but rather to explain to younger drivers the risks they are taking. The Ad Council hopes to reach up to 8 million of these at-risk drivers with the message, "Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks."
The Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Committee has proposed a city ordinance that would allow police officers to ticket people who talk or text on a cell phone while bicycling. The ordinance would require riders to use a hands-free device to use a cell phone while the bike is in motion. The measure is meant to reduce the number of collisions with motor vehicles and pedestrians.
This post is the final in a series of posts on the four most common factors that contribute to motor vehicle accidents.
This post is the third in a series of posts on the four most common factors that contribute to motor vehicle accidents.