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.
Sleep deprivation affects many drivers in New York on a daily basis. The National Sleep Foundation has compared it to alcohol intoxication, saying that being awake 24 hours is similar to having a blood alcohol content of .10 (a BAC of .08 means one is legally drunk). Since drowsiness raises the risk for car crashes, drivers will want to consider the following information.
Safety risks with vehicles are typically associated with some sort of defect inherent in the vehicle in question. Some part or system does not function as designed and causes a potential safety issue, and the driver, despite operating the vehicle in an otherwise safe manner and as intended, is placed at risk. Today's automobiles sold in New York are manufactured with varying inclusions of the latest technology available, but not all of these are aimed at enhancing or improving the functionality or safety of the driving experience. In fact, the issue arises whether some of these technologies should be placed in a vehicle at all.
New York residents should know that only a few countries in the world, including the U.S. and Mexico, allow drivers a blood alcohol limit as high as 0.08 percent. There are some countries such as Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Russia where it is illegal to drive under the influence of any alcohol at all.
ZF is a car parts manufacturer that is currently developing external airbags. The safety data that it has presented may prompt other manufacturers to consider this technology. Drivers in New York who are interested in vehicle safety tech will also want to take note although it will probably be a while before external airbags become standard features on vehicles.
Drivers in New York may be worried about the impact of distracted driving on road safety. Despite warnings, public awareness campaigns and new laws, people continue to text, surf and chat on their smartphones while behind the wheel of their cars. Even public officials have been seen live streaming on Facebook while driving. However, the families of people who have been killed in crashes due to distracted driving are demanding tougher penalties and harsher enforcement for operating a vehicle while distracted.