Holidays are often accompanied by an increase in dangerous driving. Drinking and driving may be the most notorious of holiday traffic problems, but countless serious car accidents are caused by people running red lights and committing other moving violations. According to a study by the National Coalition for Safer Roads, Memorial Day weekend may be the most dangerous time of year for drivers. The number of drivers running red lights increases by more than 27 percent on this weekend than on non-holiday weekends. The result of these traffic violations is an increase in fatalities and serious injuries occurring at intersections all over the country.
In 2009, more than 7,000 fatal accidents occurred at intersections or were intersection-related, according to the Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration. That equaled more than 20 percent of the total fatal motor vehicle accidents that year. Intersection safety is a major area of concern all across the country, particularly in more congested places such as Chicago.
The auto industry has recently come under fire from national safety groups for employing technology that can distract a driver while the vehicle is in use. New research has pointed to a problem that could increase the danger to children if a car accident occurs. Many of the top-selling cars of the last several years make it difficult to properly install child safety seats. Manufacturers are failing to account for child restraints when designing passenger seats.
Ever since cell phones became popular almost 20 years ago, Chicago residents have heard about the dangers of using them while driving. However, after almost two decades of research, there is still debate as to whether cell phones increase the likelihood of a serious car or truck accident. In addition, there is data that suggests the use of a hands-free device instead of handheld devices does nothing to increase driving safety.
The Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board called out the makers of electronic products that contribute to distracted driving for putting sales figures over the safety of their consumers. In December, the NTSB called for a complete ban on cell phone use while driving in an effort to reduce car accidents caused by distracted driving. The focus on technology producers follows an announcement by Intel Corp. that it will be devoting significant resources to furthering its "vehicle infotainment" line of technology products. The issue is among several being discussed at the distracted-driving forum in Washington D.C.
A correctional officer was killed and three others were seriously injured when a pickup truck struck them during a jog last week. The fatal accident happened around 7 p.m. Tuesday evening. After striking the officers, the driver of the truck left the scene without stopping. He turned himself into authorities and is facing four felony charges of failing to stop after an accident. He may face further criminal charges once the investigation into the incident is complete.
Traffic accidents are a common occurrence on Chicago roads, but these crashes are always unexpected for the drivers involved. One of the most disturbing recent trends in Chicago car accidents is the number of wrong-way crashes occurring throughout the metro area. Wrong-way crashes typically result in serious personal injuries and local officials are scrambling to figure out how to prevent them.
While many states have adopted bans on texting while driving, the acceptance for a total ban on portable electronic device use while driving has not caught on to the same level. The National Transportation Safety Board called for such a ban last December in response to mounting evidence that cell phones are a growing cause of serious car and truck accidents. The Vice Chairman of the NTSB is testifying on that recommendation for the New York State Senate Committee on Transportation today as part of the effort to gain the support of lawmakers across the nation.
Distracted driving was linked to more than 3,000 deaths last year, according to estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Cell phone use was a primary culprit in many of those fatal car and truck accidents. The size of the problem has led the National Transportation Safety Board to recommend a nationwide ban on using personal electronic devices, including cell phones, in any capacity while driving.
Wisconsin drivers are about to get a reminder about the dangers of driving drunk and riding in a car without a seat belt. The statewide campaign known as "Booze and Belts" will last until December 17th and is intended to reduce the number of deaths and injuries due to car and truck accidents. Police departments all over the state have been cracking down on people who do not wear their seat belts in connection with the nationwide Click it or Ticket campaign. Now the state is further stepping up efforts to arrest and convict drivers for not buckling up.