Texas drivers may be a bit more anxious when they get into their vehicles these days, especially if they're aware of the latest statistics from the National Safety Council. The NSC reports that car accident fatalities increased nearly 15 percent over a two-year span. This marks the sharpest increase in more than 50 years. There are several factors that likely contributed to this alarming trend.
Federal data shows that in all but six states, there was an increase in the number of large truck crash deaths from 2009 to 2017 (the latest year for which statistics are available). Texas saw the greatest increase, followed by California, Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania. In all, 35,882 people died in large truck collisions during that eight-year period.
Distracted driving has received a great deal of attention from safety advocates, police and the public in Texas. Many people equate the problem of distraction on the road with the use of cell phones while driving. People may be tempted to text, talk or surf the internet on their mobile devices while in traffic, and the practice has been linked to a number of severe car accidents. However, research indicates that other types of distracted driving may be even more dangerous. Despite the rush of developments aimed to curb mobile phone use behind the wheel, relatively little has been done to address boredom, daydreaming and general inattentiveness.
Drunk driving crashes are an all too frequent occurrence in Texas. In fact, drunk driving fatalities make up about a third of all roadway crash fatalities in the country. The Lone Star State's legal limit is a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent, and though this may seem like a small amount, it's actually enough to impair a driver's reaction times.
Most vehicle owners in Texas already have the benefit of internal airbags in their vehicles that deploy during crashes. Developers at ZF are now testing the potential of external airbags to cut down on injuries. Their initial tests of air bags positioned along the sides of cars showed that injuries among vehicle occupants could go down by 40 percent with the additional safety technology.
Drivers in Texas who regularly get behind the wheel in vehicles with automatic emergency braking (AEB) technology can take comfort in knowing that they're benefiting from an effective safety feature. This is the big takeaway from a study by the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS), which focused on crash data related to 10 vehicle models from a leading U.S. auto manufacturer over a two-year period. The automaker supplied IIHS researchers with VIN numbers, so they could comb through available accident data to compare crash frequency in autos with and without the AEB systems.
With the end of Daylight Saving Time, drivers in Texas may find themselves commuting home in the dark. Unfortunately, this brings certain challenges as statistics show that 50 percent of all traffic deaths occur at night. The following is a brief summary of those challenges.
With the widespread use of smartphones and a productivity culture that forces truckers to stay awake longer, the threat of distracted driving is growing among trucking companies in Texas and across the U.S. Fleet managers should know that there is plenty of science to back the claim that distractions, whether visual, manual or cognitive, raise the risk for accidents.
Texas readers may be interested in knowing that the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will be kicking off "Brake Safety Week" in mid-September. During this initiative, technicians will perform roadside inspections on the brake systems of commercial trucks across North America.
Motorcyclists face numerous challenges on the roads that automobile drivers don’t. Motorcycles do not have a protective metal barrier, they are much less visible than other vehicles and their bikes are more vulnerable to weather and terrain. As a result, motorcycle safety recommendations are crucial to keep riders safe.