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Study finds that drivers with ADHD are more likely to crash

New York motorists and parents who have children getting ready to drive may be interested to learn that adolescents who have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are 36 percent more likely to become involved in a car crash. However, research indicates that the risks surrounding young drivers with ADHD are manageable.

ADHD is a condition that has a number of different symptoms, including impulsive behavior, hyperactivity and difficulty staying attentive. If the symptoms are untreated, they can cause a driver to become impaired in a way that resembles drunk or intoxicated driving. As such, these behaviors often cause drivers to become inattentive while the vehicle is in motion, resulting in a serious car accident.

How night shift workers risk drowsiness on the road

In New York and the rest of the U.S., drowsiness caused by night shifts and rotational shifts has become a public health hazard. Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital have conducted a study to determine how shift work can lead to poor driving performance and sometimes accidents.

A total of 16 night shift workers were selected for the study, which consisted of two driving sessions on a closed driving track. Participants drove after sleeping an average of 7.6 hours the previous night, and then drove for a second time after a normal night shift. In half of all the sessions, drivers failed to maintain control of their vehicle.

Car crash deaths increase in New York and rest of U.S.

In 2016, a total of 37,461 people in America died in car crashes, according to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This marks a 9-year high in the number of car crash deaths, outnumbered only by 2007 when 41,259 people were killed.

The increase comes as a shock to some, especially those who recall that the Obama administration made it a goal to eliminate roadway deaths as much as possible over the next 30 years. The plan is expected to take off with the development of self-driving cars; the House of Representatives has even approved a proposal to this end, which could garner exemptions for automakers that deploy self-driving vehicles.

Cellphones distract drivers in 3 ways

Motorists looking at their cellphone screens instead of concentrating on the road ahead are becoming an alarmingly common sight in New York, and federal accident data suggests that the popularity of modern smartphones has led to a surge in distracted driving deaths. Figures from the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration reveal that accidents involving one or more distracted drivers claimed 3,154 lives and caused more than 400,000 injuries in 2013 alone.

Cellphone use while behind the wheel is particularly dangerous because it distracts drivers in several ways. People are visually distracted when they look away from the road to read text messages or screen incoming phone calls, and they are cognitively distracted when they engage in conversations or compose text messages. Cellphones also cause manual distractions when drivers take their hands off the steering wheel to use their phones.

How pedestrians and motorists can prevent accidents

New York residents who walk everywhere may be dismayed to learn that there has been an increase in the number of fatal pedestrian accidents over the last few years. In fact, it was estimated that there were 6,000 pedestrian fatalities across the country in 2016 alone, a 22 percent increase over 2014. Because pedestrians are more vulnerable if they are struck by motor vehicles, it is important that they take steps to reduce the risks of becoming involved in a pedestrian accident.

Pedestrians can help prevent accidents by identifying and minimizing the risks they may face. For example, they should avoid jaywalking and only cross when they are at crosswalks or intersections. This also includes avoiding stepping into the street between two parked cars. Pedestrians can also increase visibility to drivers by wearing bright clothing, even during the day. At night, using reflector strips can help motorists see them in the dark.

Study shows that crash avoidance systems are working

A new report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that collision avoidance systems are making the roadways safer throughout New York and the rest of the U.S. However, the technology is still not standard in the vast majority of new vehicles.

The goal of the IIHS is to reduce injuries and deaths that result from motor vehicle crashes. Many auto insurance carriers and auto insurance organizations support the IIHS, and that's one reason why the recent findings could get the attention of car manufacturers.

New tech promises: car accidents thing of the past

Auto manufacturers seek to improve safety with design every year. New York drivers will have noticed that wider social trends undercut the ability of a design change to prevent car accidents. Texting and driving is just the latest example of the negligent driver responsible for a growing number of fatal car accidents.

Many large companies are betting that driverless cars are the next big thing. Safety is a powerful sales point. The Department of Transportation reports that about 94 percent of fatal car accidents are the result of human error. It is conceivable that computers following rules and algorithms could immediately nearly eliminate the risk of a car collision. Some auto manufacturers have signaled the ability to begin rolling out autonomous vehicles as soon as 2021.

New device uses shocks to keep drivers awake

New York motorists may not be aware that drowsy driving can be just as deadly as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that drowsy driving may be responsible for up to 6,000 fatal motor vehicle accidents on U.S. roads every year.

Many drivers depend on things like caffeine and blaring music to help them keep awake while behind the wheel. However, a company called Creative Mode has developed a product that it believes will work better. The device, known as Steer, is designed to be worn around a driver's wrist, where it monitors sweat levels and heart rate for signs of drowsiness. If Steer believes a driver is sleepy, it will deliver vibrations and shocks. The shocks are harmless, but they are supposed to help raise serotonin and cortisol levels in the driver's body, which could help people stay awake. The founder of the company came up with the idea after a friend fell asleep while driving and crashed into a tree, breaking his collarbone. Steer currently has almost 100 supporters on Kickstarter, and it will retail for approximately $230.

Rise in road fatalities related to speed limit increase

New York drivers who are concerned about traffic safety might try not to go above the speed limit. Even though many drivers take this precaution, a research study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that the increase in state speed limits over the past two decades correlates with an increase in traffic fatalities.

According to researchers, an approximate 33,000 people died between 1993 and 2013 as a direct result of the relaxation and then ultimate repeal of the national 55 mph speed limit. Cars have become safer since 1993, and traffic death rates have for the most part declined. Nonetheless, according to the study, traffic fatalities could have been even lower if states were still obligated to keep their maximum speed limits at 55 mph.

Accident deaths are increasing despite advances in auto safety

Increased traffic congestion in New York and around the country has made the nation's roads more dangerous in recent years despite significant advances in automobile safety systems and equipment, and most experts believe that fatalities will fall only slightly in the years ahead. Traffic levels are higher because fuel costs are low and the economy is thriving, and these conditions are expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave automotive technology and design improvements much of the credit when a study conducted several years ago revealed that driver death rates had fallen by more than a third in just three years, but fatalities are now climbing again. The number of Americans killed in car accidents surged by 7 percent in 2015 after falling steadily since the 1970s, and government crash data suggests that 2016 was even more deadly on the nation's roads.

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