New York motorists should be aware that the Department of Transportation plans to scale back federal rules on the number of hours truck drivers can remain driving before being required to rest. The trucking industry has long since been advocating for a relaxing of the rules. Detractors of the federal agency's plans state that such a move will make the regulations inadequate and will result in safety hazards as a result of fatigued drivers.
Many drivers in New York are under the impression that advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS, are able to replace them behind the wheel. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has conducted a study to see just how widespread these misconceptions are. Researchers say that drivers' ignorance, combined with imperfect technology and misleading advertising from the automakers themselves, is creating a dangerous situation.
Many New York car buyers may be interested in the advanced autonomous technology offered by Tesla. However, a recent series of tests conducted by Consumer Reports magazine suggest that the company's Autopilot feature may not be as safe as its marketing materials claim. After putting cars equipped with Autopilot through their paces, Consumer Reports concluded that using the system was more stressful than driving.
Despite the attention focused on distracted driving and other smartphone-linked dangerous behaviors, one of the most consistent threats to roadway safety in New York and around the country is speeding. As a result, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is focusing on that during its upcoming Operation Safe Driver Week. During the week, police will be looking for commercial vehicles as well as passenger cars violating safety rules, particularly speeders. In fact, speeding is linked to 94% of all traffic accidents, even when other causes were also involved in the incident, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
A study from the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society shows that wet road conditions, including from rain, sleet and snow, increase the risk of deadly crashes by an average of 34%. Even very light rain, which most people would describe as a drizzle, can increase the chances of fatal crashes significantly. Data analysts looked at more than 120,000 accidents from 48 states, including New York, to come up with these statistics.
Distracted and impaired driving are serious problems in New York and throughout the country. Volvo has a plan to reduce to ensure that drivers are sober and attentive while operating their vehicles. The manufacturer will put sensors and cameras in its vehicles starting early in the 2020s. They are designed to detect actions that may indicate that a car is being driven in an unsafe manner.
In Garden City and across the United States, approximately 80 percent of drivers talk on their cell phones while driving. Three out of every 10 drivers admit that they barely escaped from getting involved in car crashes because of their distracted driving activities. The Travelers Companies, Inc., an insurance company, recently published the new 2019 Travelers Risk Index. The index included about 2,000 drivers who were questioned about distracted driving.
In March 2018, an Uber autonomous vehicle failed to detect a woman as she crossed a shadowy area of an Arizona street and struck her. She died, and the self-driving industry took a major hit. As a result of the accident, automakers have taken a fresh look at the way they test autonomous cars in New York and around the world.
From 2015 to 2017, more and more of the fatal crashes that occur involve large trucks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has noted that the number of large truck occupant fatalities went up each year during that period as well. In particular, fatal work zone crashes involving one or more large trucks saw an increase in percentage for each of the three years. This trend affects New York and the rest of the nation.
The Governors Highway Safety Association has released a report that looks afresh at the role of speeding in many automobile-related fatalities in New York and across the U.S. It is estimated that excessive speed is behind one-third of all such fatalities. Despite the existence of state and federal policies and programs meant to reduce speeding, it continues to be thought of as culturally acceptable among many drivers.