For three consecutive years, from 2016 to 2018, the number of roadway deaths in California and across the U.S. has exceeded 40,000. There are a number of factors that must be considered before the real reason for a crash can be determined. According to the National Safety Council, there are 23 such factors. Unfortunately, a recent NSC study found that no state captures all 23 of these factors in its police reports.
A report released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests that California drivers are not as likely to talk on their phones while behind the wheel as they once were. However, they are more likely to be using their phones in other distracting ways. The study compared data gathered during observational surveys in 2014 and 2018. Researchers watched drivers at stoplights or while driving by and noted how many were using their phones. They also gathered information on how the phones were being used.
If drivers in California are careful and follow traffic laws, they can reduce their risk for an accident. In the U.S., car crashes kill thousands of people every year, and most of them are due to human error. The following are some of the most common errors that lead to accidents.
A law went into effect in California on January 1, 2019, that requires that repeat drunk drivers and first-time DUI offenders who cause injuries have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. California is one of almost 30 states to have such a law on their books, but a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on January 11 proposed a far more sweeping regulation. If passed, the Abbas Stop Drunk Driving Act would require auto manufacturers to fit interlock devices on every new passenger vehicle sold in the United States.
The ongoing opioid epidemic in California and around the country is having a profound effect on road safety according to a study published in the online journal JAMA Network Open. After analyzing National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports on 18,321 fatal two-vehicle accidents that took place over a period of more than 20 years, a pair of Columbia University researchers concluded that getting behind the wheel after taking drugs like fentanyl or hydrocodone doubles the chances of being involved in a deadly crash.
California drivers may be surprised to learn the impact that driving while distracted is having on accident rates. Recently, an insurance company that focuses on providing discount insurance for customers who do not use their phone while driving highlighted the results of a distracted driver study. According to the study, upward of 47% of drivers believe that distracted driving is one of the top concerns they have while on the road and view it as something that can impact road safety.
Many California motorist are wary about self-driving cars, and for good reason, as several serious accidents have been linked to them. In May 2016, a driver who had his Tesla Model S on Autopilot died when the vehicle collided with a truck. In March 2018, a self-driving Uber vehicle in Arizona struck and killed a pedestrian.
Texting while driving is banned in California and many other states across the country. Still, distracted driving continues to be a serious threat to roadway safety, taking thousands of lives and injuring many more people every year. As a result, legislators in one state are considering technology that could allow police to determine whether a driver was using his or her cellphone at the time of a crash. This would mark the first time a state has allowed this currently untested technology to be actively used by law enforcement to determine responsibility for a crash.
Drivers in California and around the country need to get enough sleep in order to safely operate their vehicles. Unfortunately, daylight saving time cuts into the sleep time of many drivers, making it more likely they could get into a crash, according to researchers from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Although traffic deaths declined in California and throughout the country last year, they still topped 40,000 for the third straight year. This was according to the National Safety Council. It was also reported that serious injuries were up 1 percent in 2018 compared to 2017. Driver distraction is cited as a key reason why traffic fatalities are so common. Since 2008, infotainment systems and smartphones have grown in popularity.