According to the NHTSA, drunk driving accidents account for 29% of all traffic fatalities. In 2017, 11,000 people were killed and a further 200,000 were injured in New York and throughout the country by drunk drivers. However, there may be technology available that could help prevent those who are impaired by alcohol from operating a motor vehicle. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that implementing this type of technology could prevent 7,000 deaths per year.
Road design can have a major impact on the severity of car accidents in New York. For example, some road crossings are marked only by stop signs, especially in rural areas. This can even be true when each road has a high speed limit of 55 mph. While these roads receive relatively low traffic volume, these types of crossings may mean that the car accidents that do occur are far more likely to lead to severe injuries or fatalities. Cars and trucks on rural, sparsely populated roads may be more likely to run stop signs or even miss them due to brush or other obstructions in the way.
Tesla introduced its Navigate on Autopilot feature in 2018 and has since made several updates to it. Anyone in New York who is interested in the development of semi-autonomous cars likely knows what this feature is. It is able to control a vehicle's speed while keeping the vehicle centered in its lane, and if the driver tries to change lanes with no hands on the wheel, it will flash a warning. It can even pull a car back into its lane if it senses a collision.
The National Institutes for Health and Virginia Tech University have conducted a study on the driving habits of teens with a learner's permit and those who have been newly licensed. New York motorists may be interested to hear the results.
Volvo Cars has announced a couple plans to reduce the risk of car crashes with its vehicles. Volvo owners in New York may have already heard that the automaker will set the maximum speed limit on its vehicles to 112 mph starting in 2020. The second plan is to install cameras and sensors in the vehicles that monitor drivers for any signs of intoxication or distraction.
Many experts in New York have raised hopes about the future presented by autonomous vehicle technologies. Self-driving cars could help to minimize traffic congestion and reduce or even eliminate dangerous car accidents. However, to date, the technologies have lagged behind the dream of the self-driving vehicle. In addition, once safe systems have been developed, serious testing will be necessary to determine that autonomous vehicles are truly safe for American roadways. If the cars are allowed to enter the market before safety testing is completed, the results could be disastrous.
After surveying more than 2,000 consumers and executives on the subject of distracted driving, the Travelers Companies gathered its findings in its 2019 Travelers Risk Index. Those findings, a sample of which is given below, may interest drivers in New York.
Most New York drivers understand how dangerous it is to drive while sleepy. It can impede a person's ability to react quickly and make good decisions when behind the wheel. March 15, 2019 was designated as World Sleep Day. Its purpose is to bring awareness to the dangers a person faces when they get behind the wheel while tired.
The National Safety Council has reported that 2018 saw a 1 percent decrease in traffic deaths from 2017, which saw 40,231 deaths, but that the number still exceeded 40,000. It is the third year in a row to do so and represents a startling 14 percent jump from traffic death rates in 2014. Also, about 4.5 million people were seriously injured in crashes in 2018. New York residents should know that driver behavior is one factor in this trend.
The Governors Highway Safety Association has reported on the lack of progress in efforts to reduce speeding-related crashes. New York residents should know that speeding is to blame for nearly one-third of all motor vehicle-related fatalities with many of these being pedestrians and bicyclists. Speeding increases the chances of an accident as well as the severity of one, while decreasing speed even a little bit does the opposite.