The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration remains committed to the battle against distracted driving, according to top official David Strickland. The NHTSA Chief suggested that one day the organization would have a national program to deal with distracted driving similar to the programs implemented to address drunk driving and the importance of seat belt use. Some had questioned if the commitment to distracted driving as a safety issue would remain in place after Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced his impending retirement. Secretary LaHood made distracted driving something of a personal crusade during his time in the role.
While many automobile manufacturers are working on self-driving cars, few have been willing to place a timeline on the release of the new technology. Volvo has now announced that it plans to release an initial batch of self-driving cars in 2014. The Swedish company, long considered a leader in safety technology, indicates that it hopes to release a 'no death' car fleet by 2020. The cars are intended to be impossible to crash though the expedient of loading the car with sensors that will make it impossible to steer the vehicle into other objects.
The National Transportation Safety Board 10 Most Wanted Safety Improvements covers travel by road, rail and air. The list offers areas where all types of transportation can be made safer through, training, awareness and technological improvements. Over the following months, the NTSB will work with safety groups, industry leaders, regulators and individuals to make safety improvements that will reduce car accidents, aviation accidents, bus accidents and train accidents.
Illinois State Police have issued driving safety tips and the yearly reminder that winter weather means dangerous driving conditions for Illinois motorists. Ice, snow, sleet and high winds can all lead to deadly car accidents, particularly early in the season when drivers have not yet become accustomed to dealing with winter weather. The Thanksgiving holiday weekend included 839 car crash injuries in 2011, including 8 fatal incidents. Holidays may add to the danger because families feel pressure to drive in conditions that might normally cause them to stay home. In addition, the days off of school lead to an increase in young, inexperienced drivers taking to the roads.
The National Transportation Safety Board announced that it will release its 2013 Most Wanted List next Wednesday, November 14, at a press conference in Washington D.C. The Most Wanted List highlights the NTSB's advocacy priorities for the year. Generally speaking, the list is meant to increase the attention paid to issues involving transportation accidents and safety. The list is accompanied by safety recommendations that the NTSB believes would save lives if adopted.
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.
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.
It is common knowledge that alcohol causes drivers to suffer an elevated risk of accidents. Many studies have likewise connected things like illegal drug abuse and cell phones to dangerous driving. A new study has shown a link between legal antidepressants, including Prozac and Seroxat, and motor vehicle accidents. According to research from the University of Taiwan, the use of antidepressants and certain other psychotropic medications can increase a person's chances of getting into a car accident by as much as 70 percent.
Older age requirements for driver's licenses are now in place in 30 states and the District of Columbia. The fatal auto accident rate begins to rise for drivers when they hit their 70s, jumps when they hit 80, and surpasses the crash rate for teen drivers after age 85. Illinois responds to the issue of aging drivers by requiring drivers older than 75 to take a road test when having their licenses renewed. When drivers turn 81, they get licenses that must be renewed every two years, instead of every four years. At 87, drivers must have their licenses renewed every year.