Why The Most Common Causes For Fatal Car Accidents Are Distracted Drivers
After years of decline, data shows a sudden spike in car crash fatalities in 2015. With speeding, intoxication, and cell phone use ranking amount the top culprits, some call for better education, laws and enforcement.
Orange County California, United States – September 18, 2015 /MarketersMedia/ —
There is a new epidemic in town and according to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it has left 3,154 people dead and 424,000 injured. The culprit? Distracted drivers.
According to the NHTSA and the National Safety Council (NSC), 2015 is shaping up to register the most car-related deaths in the U.S. since 2007. NHTSA reports auto accident deaths jumped 9.5% in the first three months of 2015; and NSC says there has been a 14% increase in the first six months of the year.
After years of decline, the spike of auto accident-related deaths is a troubling; and though official conclusions have not been published, experts agree that one of the most common causes for fatal car accidents are distracted drivers.
Distracted driving occurs when drivers look away from the road, take their hands off the wheel, or focus on non-driving tasks. Unfortunately, drivers engage in non-driving tasks during more than half of the time they spend driving and it costs the U.S. nearly $40 billion every year.
Classic distracted driving behaviors used to include eating or talking to other passengers, but more recently, far more distracting practices such as texting, checking email, watching videos, and replying to Facebook posts have become common. Driver distractions have joined alcohol and speeding as leading factors in fatal and serious injury car crashes, with texting being the most dangerous. And with a more robust economy and cheaper fuel prices, more people are driving and, as a result, more drivers and passengers are exposed to the results of others’ bad decisions behind the wheel.
Although most people believe they can consistently perform other tasks while driving, researchers agree that multi-tasking is a myth, and that the human brain can only fully concentrate on one cognitively challenging task at a time. Performing more than one such task requires the brain to quickly switch back and forth between the activities, thus not allowing the brain to fully engage in either task. In fact NHTSA has observed that, when drivers who use cell phones watch the road, they still fail to see up to half of their driving environment.
In spite of the fact that 40 states currently ban texting and driving, many drivers still text while behind the wheel.
Police say that these activities are often difficult to detect, and law enforcement agencies are working to change that. In many instances, state and federal agencies are providing funding to implement programs that will aid law enforcement to crack down on texting drivers. Authorities are using big-rig drivers to help identify drivers who are texting while driving. The technology allows them to have a bird’s-eye view of what drivers are doing, and once spotted, state troopers are called to pull over irresponsible drivers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Commission is also working with towns nationwide to experiment with various high-visibility enforcement measures. For instance, individuals called “spotters” may be hired to stand where they can see vehicles approaching and then report unlawful texting to officers who then issue citations.
Automakers, regulators, and safety experts are also trying to utilize technology to prevent accidents. For instance, automakers have collaborated with parts manufacturers to introduce technology that minimizes the distractions of car-based telephony such as voice controls and, most recently, BMW’s “gesture control.” Heads-up displays are also being developed to project information holographically in front of drivers so they need not to look away to check the speed, directions, or which song is playing on the radio. Recent automotive research suggests that such technologies can help otherwise distracted drivers pay more attention to road conditions.
The increased connectivity recently enabled by new cell phone technology has resulted in dangerous conditions for drivers. Unfortunately, while the public is aware of the risks associated with distracted driving, data shows the behavior continues. NSC officials believe a combination of better education, laws, and enforcement will make roads safer for everyone.
Drivers must be aware that making a phone call or texting while driving is not worth what happens after a car accident. However, if the unfortunate happens, a car accident lawyer can be of tremendous help to individuals wondering what to do next. To know more about the First Steps Following A Personal Injury Auto Accident visit the site here: www.autoaccidentlawyeroc.com/first-steps-following-a-personal-injury-auto-accident
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