Self-driving cars may not be a regular sight on Texas roads yet, but car manufacturers are automating more and more vehicle systems. As the world transitions to fully autonomous vehicles, drivers are beginning to overestimate the capabilities of the autonomous technologies in their cars. A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers with safety technologies in their cars such as lane-keeping assist are more likely to engage in distracted driving habits.
Drunk driving is a nationwide issue, as Texas residents know, but a bill has been proposed that could do something to curb the problem. If implemented, the RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone) Act of 2019 would take steps to mandate alcohol detection systems on all newly manufactured vehicles by 2024. It would fund research and development toward this end and establish a pilot program before implementation.
Traffic safety experts say that distracted driving in Texas and elsewhere is becoming more dangerous than drunk driving. According to a new report, the problem is linked to America's growing cellphone use.
Researchers who studied more than 18,000 fatal two-vehicle accidents in Texas and around the country discovered that the drivers responsible for causing the crash were more than twice as likely as the other motorists involved to be under the influence of opioid drugs or alcohol. The study, which was published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open in February 2019, was based on Fatality Analysis Reporting System data. The FARS database is maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The dangers that motorists and pedestrians face on Texas roads may be intensified when drivers are distracted. Studies have shown the impact distracted driving has in causing auto accidents that lead to death or injury. One study showed that every day, around nine people die in automobile accidents linked to distracted driving. That same study showed that around 100 people are injured because of distracted driving each day.
Texas residents who have to contend with wet, icy or snowy roads in winter should consider the following safety tips. After all, everyone is supposed to practice safe driving at all times regardless of how harsh the weather is.
Drivers in Texas may find it harder to stay awake during their commute home in the week following the end of daylight saving time. This change disrupts the body's sleep/wake cycle and circadian rhythms, and so while the body adjusts, a person will naturally feel tired. However, the risk that this poses for drivers should not be underestimated.
Town planners in Texas and around the country are staring to propose building roundabouts instead of installing traffic signals or stop signs at busy intersections. Roundabouts, which are extremely common in Europe, improve road safety and reduce traffic congestion, but they remain rare in the United States. However, that is likely to change in the years ahead as the benefits of roundabouts and the drawbacks of traditional intersections become clearer.
Just like most young adults around the country, Texas teenagers can't wait to get behind the wheel and feel the freedom and independence that driving brings. Of course, with that comes the responsibility to act safely and properly while behind the wheel, which, for many young people, is a little slower to develop than the enthusiasm for driving itself. In recognition of this, although young people who otherwise qualify may get a learner's permit at age 15, every driver under 21 must go through the Graduated Driver License Program, which bestows increasing driver status based on time and good driver performance with the ultimate goal of earning an unrestricted license.
As a large state, Texas presents motorists with long stretches of road. That's why lawmakers have chosen to raise speed limits over the years. One road even allows people to travel at 85 mph. Forty-one states have increased speed limits since the national 55 mph rule ended in 1995. Researchers looking at the possible link between higher speed limits and increased traffic fatalities determined that 36,760 extra deaths occurred nationwide due to higher speed limits.