Teenagers laughing and driving a car

The 100 Deadliest Days of the Year for Teen Drivers

Teenagers laughing and driving a carThe teenage years… exhilarating and dangerous.

They’re particularly dangerous for teen drivers.

According to new data from AAA, for every mile traveled, 16-17-year-old drivers are four times more likely than drivers 18 and older to be involved in a crash and three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash.

In just the last five years, over 5,000 people have been killed in car crashes involving a teen driver.

Another sobering fact… according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of fatal car crashes involving teen drivers has risen 10% in just the last year alone.

The data also reveals that the roughly 100 days from Memorial Day to Labor Day are the most treacherous for these young drivers.

Why are these 100 days so dangerous?

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This Maneuver Is One of the Most Dangerous When Driving…

Left hand turn signalDid you know that making a left-hand turn is considered one of the most dangerous maneuvers when driving a car or truck?

Yup.

These turns are dangerous for the driver, pedestrians and oncoming traffic.

In fact, according to the latest highway safety data, 31% of all serious accidents involve left hand turns.

The percentage of right-hand turns that cause a problem?

1.2%

Did you also know that all of the delivery routing programs for companies like UPS and Pepsi preclude left hand turns across traffic because early studies by MIT determined they were not only time-consuming but dangerous (and companies wanted to avoid the expense associated with their drivers being badly hurt and their trucks incurring substantial damage in the event of being struck by an oncoming vehicle).

Now fast forward to driverless cars. The engineers designing these modern marvels claim that “teaching” a driverless car to safely manage a left-hand turn is in fact one of their most difficult challenges facing product developers.

“How can that be,” you ask?

Continue reading “This Maneuver Is One of the Most Dangerous When Driving…” »

Drug Abuse and Driving

As we and others have previously reported – Connecticut is in the midst of a drug abuse crisis. It’s a crisis that the Centers for Disease Control characterize as an epidemic.

Did you know approximately 52,000 Americans are dying every year from drug overdoses? That total almost equals the total number of U.S. servicemen and women killed during the entire Vietnam War.

People are not only dying at high rates, millions more are hopelessly trapped by addiction to a wide range of illicit drugs.

Think about it. Millions of Americans and tens of thousands of Connecticut’s citizens addicted to drugs.

Among other things – that means that millions are driving under the influence across the U.S.

Some experts put the number of drivers driving impaired by drugs at 10 million, though that estimate is believed to grossly understate the problem.

Why do we suspect the data?

The National Highway Safety Administration recently reported that the percentage of drivers testing positive for drugs in a 2014 survey was a whopping 20 percent.

Translation?

As many as one out of every five drivers you pass on the road may be impaired. One in five…

Continue reading “Drug Abuse and Driving” »

Can Technology Help Protect Drowsy Drivers?

We’ve written often about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Interestingly, research now shows that drivers who are sleep deprived are as dangerous as drivers who have had three or four drinks before getting behind the wheel.

Put another way – a drowsy driver is essentially a drunk driver.

How is that possible? Continue reading “Can Technology Help Protect Drowsy Drivers?” »

Fatal Car Accidents on the Rise in Connecticut and U.S.

Unbelted drivers accounted for over 50% of all traffic fatalities in 2016.

The fervent hope of traffic safety experts and automakers was that new safety technologies would make automobile accidents, particularly fatal ones, increasingly rare.

Add technology to concerted efforts to curb driving under the influence and the use of cell phones by drivers, and roads should be the safest they have been in years – right?

Data from 2016 shows just the opposite with a 10% jump in the number of people dying in car accidents in Connecticut in 2016, the second consecutive year of such increases.

And the U.S. as a whole – also two consecutive years of rising death rates (up 14%) – the first such two-year rise in more than 50 years.

So what’s going on?

Continue reading “Fatal Car Accidents on the Rise in Connecticut and U.S.” »

What Tired Drivers Have In Common with Drunk Drivers

Photo credit: CountyLemonade via Foter.com / CC BY

Photo credit: CountyLemonade via Foter.com / CC BY

Much has been written about the dangers of drinking and driving – and for good reason. Alcohol dramatically affects a driver’s ability to operate a car or truck. Those effects include:

  • Reduced reaction time
  • Impaired vision
  • Feeling relaxed and drowsy
  • Reduced concentration
  • Difficulty doing several tasks at once

Interestingly, researchers now report that drivers who are sleep deprived are as dangerous as drivers who have had three or four drinks before getting behind the wheel.

Put another way – a drowsy driver is essentially a drunk driver.

What’s more, sleep deprivation is considered a serious public health problem in Connecticut and around the country. It’s estimated that 35% of the adult population in the U.S. gets fewer than seven hours of sleep a night and that 12% get less than five.

Why do we think driving when tired is a problem?

Continue reading “What Tired Drivers Have In Common with Drunk Drivers” »

Are Phone Makers Enabling Distracted Drivers?

Phone companies enabling distracted driving?A recent fatal car accident between a passenger car and pick-up truck, led the family of those killed in the accident to sue Apple Corporation.

Why?

The plaintiff’s are arguing that Apple has the technology to block cell phone use while driving but does not deploy it.

Does the case against Apple have a chance in Court?

Most legal experts seem to think not, citing the difficulty in claiming the phone itself was to blame for the accident.

But do Apple and the other phone companies actually have the technology to block phone use during the act of driving?

Yes.

Apple does have a patent for such technology. The patent, granted in 2008, would create technology to “lock out” a driver’s phone by using sensors to determine if the phone was moving and in use by a driver. If so, it would prevent certain functions, like texting.

So why hasn’t this technology been deployed?

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Used Car Buyers Beware!

Used car buyers beware!

Photo credit: Curtis Gregory Perry via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

 

Many of us often look to used car options when replacing an old car or buying a first car for a child. In fact, thirty-eight million used cars were sold in the U.S. just last year. Buying used is a strategy that can have a number of financial advantages.

One big disadvantage… there’s no explicit federal law that requires the sellers of used cars to fix problems related to safety recalls or even inform buyers a recall was issued. And sadly – serious, and in some cases deadly car accidents are the result.

The truth is – even though car companies are required to make an effort to reach the current owner of all vehicles to notify them of any recalls – that task has proved nearly impossible for car makers. Buyers two or more times removed from the original car purchaser simply do not enjoy the recall protections afforded new car buyers.

Are recalled and potentially dangerous used cars being sold in Connecticut?

Continue reading “Used Car Buyers Beware!” »

Teens Add New Dangerous Behavior While Driving…

Teens add another dangerous activity to distracted driving

Research data has consistently shown that teenagers continue to text and drive to an alarming degree.

It is also well known that texting while driving is leading to the first annual increase in car accident fatalities in the U.S. and Connecticut in 50 years.

Now add something more…

A new study conducted by a group called Students Against Distracted Driving has just been released. It shows that two thirds of all teens admit to using apps like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to look at and post new messages – while driving.

Astonishingly, when teens were asked to rate the various driving behaviors by how dangerous they are, by a wide margin teens in the study stated that posting or commenting on social media apps was less dangerous than texting while driving.

Less dangerous?

It’s an established fact that teenage brains evaluate risk differently than adult brains. It’s also a fact that teenage drivers are the most at risk demographic group for fatal car accidents.

So what can parents do to help their teens remain safe?

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Car Sunroof Warning…

Photo credit: JoeInSouthernCA via Foter.com / CC BY-ND

Photo credit: JoeInSouthernCA via Foter.com / CC BY-ND

Imagine driving down I-84 in Hartford on a bright sunny day when all of a sudden your sunroof explodes violently.

Sound far-fetched?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is actually investigating hundreds of complaints from consumers on this very issue.

The exploding glass has caused both serious car accidents as well as injuries to passengers – according the traffic safety agency.

One woman in Indiana reports that she was recently driving her Chrysler Town & Country minivan, with her three children in the car on a local interstate at 60 mph, when her sunroof exploded.

She said it sounded like a bomb had gone off.   After pulling over on the highway shoulder, she pulled the partition on the sunroof back to look at the window and found a gaping hole and shards of glass everywhere.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently investigating Kia, Nissan, Chrysler, and as many as three other car companies on a dozen different models with similar sunroof designs.

What is causing these sunroofs to explode?

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