The Known Cause Of Traffic Accidents
12 September 2012
Here's good news from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The year 2010 goes down in the record books as the year when traffic fatalities reached their lowest level since 1949, when the record-keeping started.Even though the number of vehicle miles traveled increased by 1.6% that year traffic fatalities were down 2.9%. This makes it the lowest ever recorded.
What can drivers do? Distraction is the biggest cause of accidents and is responsible for more traffic accidents than anything else. Activities such as talking, or texting on cell phones, talking with passengers, handling food, and eating, are major problems causing every kind of confusion in the minds of drivers resulting in tens of housands of accidents.
This is such a pervasive problem that the national Highway Traffic Safety administration has redefined its methods for measuring drivers that are distracted. They are now calling it distraction -affected crashes. This category goes straight to the problem to identify accidents where the driver of a vehicle was most probably distracted. The older definition of this category included a broader spectrum of events such as simply having a cell phone somewhere in the car.
The newer definition zeros in on the actual act in the ways that a driver might be involved such as punching in numbers on a cell phone or worse, trying to compose a text on a cell phone while driving. Even hough the number of fatalities went down in the year 2010 NHTSA says approximately 3000 of the total deaths resulted from distraction affected causes. The year before that there were 5000 related fatalities. How many drivers actually use cell phones while behind the wheel? About 5%.
Controversial city and statewide texting bans may not be the solution. An Institute responsible for studying such data has concluded that a ban on cell phones did not change statistics.
Girls who are in the age bracket of 16 to 19 are twice as likely as boys to operate cell phones and other devices while behind he wheel. That fact comes to us from a study done by a national auto club.
Promising new information is coming in regarding driverless cars. Initial statistics show that these vehicles are less prone to accidents, certainly less prone to driver error through distraction, and are better equipped to deal with variables on the highway that could result in an accident. It remains to be seen just how much effect driverless vehicles will have on our nation's highways but it is certain that this technology is escalating in development and is going to affect the future of driving in America. Human assisted driverless cars have already been sanctioned in certain areas and with interest at a peak this technology is one of the most promising when it comes to saving lives on our highways.
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