The National Transportation Safety Board has advocated for the use of collision avoidance technology for some time. In a recent report, the NTSB has once again advanced the idea that these systems should be standard equipment on all vehicles. The report suggests that thousands of deaths and injuries each year could be prevented with the implementation of crash avoidance technology.
Distracted driving is widely acknowledged as a dangerous activity. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, More than 95 percent of licensed drivers believe that drivers who text, email or use social media while driving are a "somewhat" or "very" serious threat to their personal safety. This belief has not put an end to distracted driving, however. More than one-third of survey respondents admit to reading texts or emails while driving. More than one-quarter admit to writing or sending texts and emails while driving. An insurance company is using a new tool to help encourage drivers to avoid distracted 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.
A 2014 survey of U.S. drivers shows that the issue of impaired driving has changed significantly over recent years. The Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers is conducted periodically by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The survey was first conducted in 1973. Since its inception, the survey has shown a dramatic decrease in the number of drivers with alcohol in their systems. Unfortunately, it has also shown an increase in the number of drivers using marijuana and other illegal drugs, as well as prescription drugs. The survey is voluntary and anonymous.
The National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary data concerning 2013 transportation fatalities. According to NTSB figures, 34,678 people were killed across all modes of transportation in 2013. That represents a slight decrease from 2012, during which 35,796 died in transportation accidents. The data groups all deaths from highway accidents, aviation accidents, marine, rail and pipeline transportation accidents. The acting chairman of the NTSB called the total "very troubling" while acknowledging that it represented a slight improvement.
Distracted driving is a massive problem that has garnered more attention since cell phone use became commonplace. Cell phones are far from the only cause of distracted driving, however. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 2012 saw more than 3,300 deaths and 421,000 injuries caused by distracted drivers. According to Forbes, more than 60 percent of distracted driving deaths are caused by drivers who were daydreaming. The NHTSA estimates that the average driver is distracted 30 percent of the time. For whatever reason, many drivers fail to put their full concentration where it belongs - on the task of driving safely.
According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System census numbers, the United States has seen a 25 percent drop in traffic deaths since 2004. The Secretary of the Department of Transportation has stated that the U.S. fatality rate is "at its lowest point ever." In 2013, the country saw 1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. The Deputy Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says credit for this belongs largely to the work of law enforcement and his agency's work. The DOT credits federal regulations and regulators. It is clear that improvements have been made. To further those improvements, it is important to analyze what is actually working to reduce highway deaths.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has frequently repeated its goal of eliminating traffic deaths throughout the country. Vision Zero is the term used to describe this admirable goal. Several U.S. cities have adopted traffic safety measures with the stated goal of achieving zero traffic deaths. As a nation, the picture is not so rosy. The numbers for 2013 show just how far away from that goal we are. Nearly 38,000 people died in traffic accidents last year, including more than 4,700 pedestrians.
The week of Thanksgiving is known to be one of the deadliest of the year in terms of fatal car crashes. There are several factors that contribute to the increase in severe accidents this time of year. For the victims of Thanksgiving car accidents, the reasons matter less than the outcome. Every year, families are torn apart when negligent drivers cause deadly wrecks.
Two recent studies have called into question the safety of voice-activated technology used by drivers. Distracted driving accidents injured an estimated 421,000 people in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA defines distracted driving as "any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving." The definition does not say anything about taking the driver's hands off the wheel. This is an important thing to note due to the rise of hands-free and voice-activated technology.