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?

Continue reading “The 100 Deadliest Days of the Year for Teen Drivers” »

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.” »

Pedestrian Accidents Ride Sharply on Connecticut Roads

Pedestrian accidents are on the rise in CTIn just the last 30 days, eight pedestrians have been struck and killed on Connecticut roads. Five were killed in separate accidents on just one day alone.

Why the sharp increase?

Law enforcement and safety experts believe there are a number of reasons… and they parallel the reasons for the first increase in fatal car accidents in the U.S. in 50 years.

What are the leading causes? Continue reading “Pedestrian Accidents Ride Sharply on Connecticut Roads” »

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?

Continue reading “Are Phone Makers Enabling Distracted Drivers?” »

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?

Continue reading “Teens Add New Dangerous Behavior While Driving…” »

Are Car Accidents Really Accidents?

car accidents are not accidentsWith the number of car accidents climbing at rates not seen in 50 years – some traffic safety experts are calling for a change.

A change in what we call these events.

Why?

Many in traffic safety think the word “accident” is a cop-out. After all, accidents are tied to fate – perhaps even the will of God – right?

So what do they have in mind?

The recommendation is that consumers and law enforcement start calling these events what they are – car crashes. And properly identify the causes – human error.

Did you know that virtually all crashes are tied to driver behavior/mistakes – distracted driving and intoxicated driving being among the top causes? It’s estimated that a mere 6% are caused by vehicle mechanical failures.

Continue reading “Are Car Accidents Really Accidents?” »

Police May Be Gaining New Tool to Catch Those Texting and Driving

texting and drivingThe public relations battle to get people to stop texting and driving appears to be failing.

In a newly released report – U.S. drivers readily admit they’re still texting and using Facebook, Snapchat and other social media platforms while they drive. And as a result – traffic fatalities are rising at their fastest rate in 50 years.

So what’s the solution?

That’s a question researchers and traffic safety experts are trying to answer.

One state thinks they may have a solution. Technology.

A group of legislators in New York are proposing that police departments be given new tools to immediately detect whether a driver was using a handheld device at the time of a car accident.

We’ve all heard of breathalyzers – right? Those are the devices police use to determine whether a driver is intoxicated.

The new tool being considered to help police crackdown on distracted drivers is called a textalyzer – a digital equivalent of the breathalyzer.

How will it work you ask?

Continue reading “Police May Be Gaining New Tool to Catch Those Texting and Driving” »

Connecticut. A Dangerous Place to Walk.

Pedestrian safety in CTThe Auto Insurance Center (a news and information website for insurance purchasers) publishes regular reports on pedestrian safety, looking at pedestrian deaths by state.

Where does Connecticut fall?

Twenty-eighth among the 50 states – and second worst in New England behind Rhode Island.

What’s the cause?

There are factors that seem to impact pedestrian safety in general more than others.

First – male pedestrians are far more likely than women to be injured or killed while walking along Connecticut roads. That statistic holds in every state except Delaware and Montana.

Population density seems to play a prominent role as well – although Ohio, a state with fairly dense population centers – is considered to be one of the top five safest for pedestrians.

Believe it or not – texting and walking is increasingly becoming a significant safety hazard.

 

Continue reading “Connecticut. A Dangerous Place to Walk.” »