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Southeast Oklahoma Personal Injury Law Blog

Groups push for crash avoidance tech requirement on large trucks

Federal data shows a 28 percent increase in the number of large truck crash fatalities between 2009 and 2016. Using this data as a starting point, The Kansas City Star has published an article advocating mandatory crash avoidance technology on commercial trucks. Truckers in Oklahoma will want to know what supporters, opponents and those in between are saying at the moment.

The Star focused its criticism on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for not proposing any regulations that would mandate forward crash avoidance and mitigation systems on all heavy trucks. This is despite the fact that the National Transportation Safety Board has been urging such an action since the late 1990s. The NTSB, for its part, does not have the authority to act on such a recommendation itself.

AAA study finds people misunderstand vehicle safety systems

Some Oklahoma motorists who purchase vehicles with advanced safety features might overestimate the capabilities of those systems. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a study that found issues with driver understanding of features like adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, forward-collision warning and blind spot monitoring.

Adaptive cruise control adjusts speed automatically. According to the study, over one-fourth of drivers who have it are sometimes comfortable engaging in other activities while the cruise control is activated. This is widely considered unsafe.

Reality-based driving programs may reduce risky driving behavior

Oklahoma parents may not be aware that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents are the leading cause of accidental deaths for teens in the United States. A study that was published in the journal Transportation Research, however, found that supplemental risk reduction programs could increase young and new motorists' awareness regarding the dangers of risky driving.

The study focused on the Texas Reality Education for Drivers program. The participants included 21 teen drivers who were referred to the program by a parent, community groups, a court or a school administrator. At the beginning of the RED program, the participants filled out a questionnaire that reported the most risky behaviors that were exhibited while driving. They then completed the six-hour program, which involved talks with nurses and other health care staff, videos and activities involving coming up with a safe driving plan.

The dangers of distracted driving are real: How to help

As a driver, you should never take for granted your safety behind the wheel. Mindful driving at all times needs to be the rule, with zero exceptions.

The dangers of distracted driving are very serious, so you should never do anything to put your health and well-being at risk, which likewise imperils others on the road.

How car safety tech can minimize backup crashes

Oklahoma motorists may be interested to know that some modern safety add-ons for vehicles have been shown to help reduce crashes, especially backup accidents. A report states that rear automatic brakes can lower the chance for backup crashes by 62 percent. That number becomes 78 percent if the brakes are combined with rearview cameras and backup warning sensors.

In a study that tested the effectiveness of these three safety features, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave superior ratings to two automobile models -- the 2017 Subaru Outback and Cadillac XT5 SUV. Four vehicles with the combined safety tech garnered advanced ratings for their ability to avoid collisions and significantly reduce vehicle speeds. However, one vehicle failed to brake automatically and collided with a dummy automobile parked at an angle.

How roundabouts can prevent serious accidents

Roundabouts don't necessarily prevent accidents from occurring. However, they help to reduce the severity of an accident that occurs. This can save Oklahoma drivers and others from getting seriously hurt or killed in a crash. The reason why roundabouts make intersections safer for drivers, pedestrians and others who use a road is because they force vehicles to slow down. Furthermore, drivers don't have to pay attention to anything other than the presence of other vehicles in the roundabout prior to entering it.

Although placing a traffic light at an intersection can reduce accidents, they may be more severe in nature. This is because a driver may be tempted to time his or her attempt to go through it. The state of North Carolina is installing roundabouts in a variety of different locations in an effort to reduce the number of accident fatalities to zero.

Teen drivers become more dangerous after obtaining licenses

Most teen drivers in Oklahoma are excited about the idea of being behind the wheel on their own after they get their full license. However, a joint study by the National Institutes for Health (NIH) and Virginia Tech University suggests first-time drivers are more likely to be involved in a crash or accident during their first few months as a new driver. Using special equipment and software, researchers evaluated nearly a hundred teens from the period when they first received their learner's permit to a year after they got their license.

The study showed that teens are eight times more likely to be involved with car accidents or near-miss collisions during their first three months of driving without adult supervision. This is in comparison to the previous three months, when teens were required to have an adult in the vehicle. Specifically, unsupervised teen drivers are more likely to accelerate quickly, brake abruptly or overextend on turns. These risky behaviors did eventually decrease, although the instances of crashes did not.

Study looks at people most likely to use phones and drive

Some motorists in Oklahoma might be more likely to use their cell phones while driving. A study recently published by the Society for Risk Analysis found that women and people who were negative about safety were more apt to use their phones while driving. A group the study identified as "highly disinhibited" was also more likely to do so.

People who talk on their cell phones while driving are twice as likely to be in a motor vehicle accident than those who do not, and people who text and drive are six times more likely. It is estimated that in the United States, cell phone usage has been responsible for about 25 percent of all motor vehicle accidents.

Studies look at distracted driving dangers

Some Oklahoma drivers may be distracted by the infotainment systems included in their cars. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that these systems require a high attention level from drivers. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which run off smartphones, were slightly less distracting overall but still took the driver's attention away from the road.

With traffic fatalities high, distracted driving is a serious issue. In 2017, there was a small decline of less than 1 percent in traffic fatalities compared to the previous year, but there were still 37,150 deaths. Furthermore, since 2014, this is an increase of 10 percent. It is not yet certain what role distracted driving and smartphones have in these deaths, but some experts believe it is a significant one.

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