With an eye towards eliminating or reducing the number of injured, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a new set of initiatives for reducing injuries in the short term called the 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements. Some of these measures are also the focus of the National Safety Council, which has a broader mission to improve safety in all segments of our lives.
There is no disputing the fact that driving while drowsy is extremely dangerous. Now the American Automobile Association has found that one third of all drivers surveyed admitted that they had driven at least once in the previous month while they were so tired that they had difficulty keeping their eyes open. This is confirmed by another study that found that 27 percent of all Americans have trouble falling asleep or remaining asleep.
The parents of an 18-year-old riding as a passenger in the front seat of a Tesla S have filed suit against the auto manufacturer. The car was driven by another 18 year old who was also killed when the vehicle crashed into a wall of an exit ramp in Tampa Bay, Florida. A third passenger suffered injuries when thrown clear of the car.
On the job deaths involving heavy-duty truck drivers or semi-truck drivers hit a record hit a record high in 2017. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 840 truckers died, which is up from 786 in 2016 and part of an overall 25 percent rise since 2011. This ominous news is only furthered by the fact that the trucking industry has an average of 26.8 deaths per 10,000 workers, as opposed to overall average across all professions of 3.5 deaths per 10,000 workers.
Driverless cars will soon be part of the transportation landscape. An important reason for this technological advance is the reduced cost and size of the technology as well as technological advances in artificial intelligence (AI) to operate vehicles. However, AI is now being used in pilot program to predict and avoid motor vehicle accidents by human drivers as well.
Autonomous vehicles are certainly part of our future, but as of now they cannot safely navigate more than a light dusting of snow. This is a very real problem for those of us who live in the Snow Belt. This is an uncomfortable reality for engineers and manufacturers who are putting their faith in technology to handle the extremely complex job of safely driving a vehicle.
The National Transportation Safety Board has announced a three pronged approach to reducing the number of pedestrian fatalities. This is in response to the 46 percent rise in pedestrian deaths between 2009 and 2016 (the most recent year of comprehensive data). According to Bloomberg, the total of 5,987 in 2016 is the highest number since 1990.
Many assume that the most dangerous month for driving is December with its winter conditions and holiday reverie. Others will point to July with the July 4th holiday, which also ranks high as a dangerous time to be on the road. However, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the most dangerous month for traffic-related fatalities is August with the seemingly random date of August 2 as the most dangerous day of the year. The calculations are based on statistics compiled 2012-2016 by researchers at the IIHS -- August 2 had a total of 505 traffic fatalities in a month that has 15,914 fatalities over that five-year period.
Bicycles account for about 2 percent of motor vehicle crashes here in the U.S., but this number is on the rise. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), the most common serious injuries are to the head, which is a clear reminder of why it is so important for riders to wear helmets. While Pennsylvania does not require adults to wear helmets, riders under 12 years of age must use one if they are on pedal cycle. If there is a helmet law, however, riders are four times more likely to use a helmet than if there is no law.
Winters can be long and dreary, filled with driving snow, black ice and sub-zero temperatures. During that time, it's a safe bet that those who own boats likely dream of these warm summer months where they can take friends and family out on the water to get a break from the heat.