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Why pedestrian deaths are increasing

In 2016, there were 5,987 pedestrian deaths in the United States. That was a 27 percent increase since 2007, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). During this same time period, all other types of traffic fatalities dropped by 14 percent. It is believed that cell phones and marijuana are among the main culprits for the rise in pedestrian deaths.

In states where recreational marijuana use was legalized between 2012 and 2016, there has been an increase in pedestrian deaths. Specifically, there was a 16.4 percent increase between the first half of 2016 compared to the same time in 2017. During that same time period, there was a 5.8 decrease in pedestrian fatalities in all other states. However, there have been some question as to whether marijuana use on the part of drivers or pedestrians is responsible for those numbers.

AAA survey shows an increase in distracted driving

A March 2018 survey of traffic behavior and attitudes in the United States has claimed that self-reported phone use while driving has skyrocketed since 2013. Ironically, the research also reveals that the vast majority of the people who were surveyed consider distracted driving to be a major danger for everyone on the road. Drivers across New York are at greater risk of a collision if they are distracted by their mobile devices while driving.

The study, which was authored by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, was created to highlight attitudes and behaviors regarding traffic safety. The survey data comes from information provided by over 2,600 drivers across the United States that have reported to have driven in the past 30 days.

Causes of death in drunk driving accidents

Even New York residents who don't drive should be wary of drunk motorists. These reckless drivers present a danger to pedestrians, city buses and everyone on the streets. In fact, drunk driving is involved in one-third of all traffic accident fatalities. Fatal car accident injuries can occur due to a number of factors, including the severity of the injury and the time it takes for emergency responders to arrive.

It's important to note that even a small amount of alcohol can impair a driver's reaction time. That's why all states have set the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers at .08 percent. For younger people, the risk of getting in a drunk driving crash is higher. In addition to having less driving experience, young people are more likely to travel in groups and have more distractions while driving.

Car accidents and the injuries they cause

Different types of injuries will arise from a car accident, with the severity depending on factors like speed, impact location, and the presence of safety features. New York drivers will want to know, or relearn, the types of injuries that occur and how.

The most common injuries (and those of least concern, relatively speaking) are scratches, bruises, and fractures. They can arise from car accidents where one car is stationary and the other is traveling at a low speed. Normally, the impact location is in the rear or the side opposite the victim. Back and neck injuries may arise from rear-end collisions at higher speeds. Whiplash, a condition where the muscles and other soft tissues in the neck are sprained or strained, is a frequent outcome of rear-end collisions.

Marijuana holiday may be linked to fatal car crash increase

For marijuana users in New York and the rest of the U.S., April 20 is an unofficial holiday. This means an increase in marijuana use on and around April 20, even in states where recreational marijuana is illegal. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana impairs driving skills, so it's not unnatural to link the holiday with more accidents.

A study has found that every April 20, the number of fatal car crashes increases as a direct result of the holiday. Researchers analyzed the U.S. government's fatal car crash data between 1992, when the holiday was just becoming popular, and 2016. They found that an increased fatal crash risk of 12 percent, or 142 additional deaths, attended the holiday.

Stopping distracted driving can involve technical solutions

The threat posed by distracted driving can be a major danger for New York motorists. The ubiquitous presence of smartphones has meant that texting while driving, emailing and using other apps are constant distractions. In fact, a number of experts on safety have cautioned that the apparent ongoing increase in fatal car accidents in recent years is linked to the growing popularity of smartphones. Of course, however, smartphones aren't the only cause of driving distractions; even the car's own built-in navigation and entertainment systems can divert a driver's eyes.

There is a widespread recognition of the practical dangers caused by driving while texting. However, surveys show that large numbers of drivers continue to engage in - and admit to - these practices. In a survey by Consumer Reports, over half of the licensed drivers who are also smartphone owners said that they sometimes browse the web, text or send email while behind the wheel. Sometimes, obstacles can help to prevent this behavior. For example, smartphone manufacturers include driving mode options that block incoming notifications and send automatic replies to text messages that arrive.

NTSB report proposes ways to discourage speeding

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, speeding is the main cause behind the increase in traffic deaths in New York and across the U.S. The agency has released a report showing how 31 percent of all traffic fatalities from 2005 to 2014 were the result of speeding. The number of fatalities (112,580) was second only to the number of drunk driving deaths (112,948).

The NTSB has shown how going even 10 mph over the speed limit can drastically cut down the chances of a pedestrian surviving a collision, from a 60 percent chance at 30 mph to a 40 percent chance at 40 mph. The report states that current speed limits do not help.

Tips for avoiding pedestrian accidents

Pedestrian accidents can involve just about anyone at anytime, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the three groups that are most at risk are people 65 and older, children ages 5 to 9, and people who have had too much to drink. Drivers in New York will want to consider the following tips so that they can safely share the road with pedestrians.

It all begins with backing out of the driveway. Drivers should take their time and turn their head back rather than rely only on the mirrors. They should also be cautious around crosswalks since pedestrians always have the right-of-way on them. It's easy to forget that any intersection, whether or not it is marked, is a crosswalk by law. Violating pedestrians' safety buffer in these areas can sometimes lead to fines.

Bicycle use expected to surge with L train closure

New Yorkers who rely on the L train to get into Manhattan from Brooklyn may need to find alternative means of transportation. The L train crossing under the East River is scheduled to be closed for 15 months while it undergoes planned repairs.

According to news sources, the city is encouraging people to turn to bicycles as their means of transportation. Currently, an estimated 7,600 people already use bicycles to cross from Brooklyn to Manhattan over the Williamsburg Bridge. The New York City Department of Transportation said that the number of bicyclists who travel over the Williamsburg Bridge is expected to triple during the L train closure period.

President's proclamation urges impaired driving prevention

New York residents should know about the dangers of impaired driving; even one alcoholic beverage can affect driving performance and increase the risk of an accident. There is no better time to raise awareness of this than the holiday season, which is partly why President Trump has signed a proclamation designating December 2017 as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

The Trump administration has done several things to reduce the number of fatalities resulting from impaired driving; for example, it supports American companies devoted to innovations like ride-hailing services and the manufacturing of self-driving vehicles, and it has even reduced harmful regulations to smooth the way for technological development. However, as the president recognizes, every individual has a responsibility to try and prevent impaired driving. Bringing up the topic with family, friends, schools, and community organizations is encouraged.

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