Some experts question their safety
The rules of the road are meant to ensure all of the drivers are safe. The vast majority of drivers follow these rules. If everyone were to do the same, we would almost never have serious motor vehicle accidents.
It is a common belief that multitasking is a way to get more done in a limited amount of time. In reality, multitasking can be inefficient and, when done in the wrong situations, dangerous. Distracted driving accidents are just one area where the myth of multitasking is causing harm. Pedestrians also suffer elevated accident rates when they engage in texting, chatting or other tasks that take their attention away from getting safely to where they are going. The ability to focus your attention on a single task and do so until it is complete is highly valuable. That is true for almost every activity you do, including driving.
When asked in a survey, 94 percent of drivers acknowledged that texting behind the wheel is dangerous. That survey, conducted in 2011, was one of the first to identify a serious problem in targeting distracted driving. While admitting the practice was dangerous, one-third of survey respondents indicated that they had texted while driving in previous month. They knew it was dangerous, but they did it anyway. Awareness campaigns and data indicated an increase in fatal car accidents caused by distracted driving do not seem to be enough. The question is, what can states do to get drivers to put down their phones?
A growing number of people are using bicycles as a primary mode of transportation in U.S. cities. Chicago is aware of the trend and is looking to create a more bike-friendly infrastructure designed to reduce the number of deadly interactions between cars and bicycles. While changes can be made to make biking in Chicago safer, it is important for drivers and riders alike to be prepared to make considerations geared toward a safer, more easily navigable place to live and work.
A survey was commissioned by CarInsurance.com to ask drivers how insurance companies should screen and price car insurance policies. The results showed that many drivers consider texting behind the wheel a serious concern. Distracted driving has drawn substantial scrutiny recently as it has been tied to a rise in fatal car accidents. While many people continue to engage in the behavior, motorists in general seem to consider it a serious problem.
Fatalities caused by motor vehicle accidents rose from 2004 to 2005. Since that time, U.S. car crash deaths have dropped steadily. Estimates from 2012 show that trend may have come to an end. According to the National Safety Council, car crashes claimed some 36,200 lives in 2012. That would represent a five percent increase over 2011. While no single factor can account for the change, the NSC report suggested that an increase in the total number of miles driven may explain an increase in traffic deaths.
Every year, a non-profit group known as Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety grades all 50 states and Washington D.C. concerning the implementation of road safety laws. Illinois is considered "significantly advanced" and has enacted 12 of the 15 laws recommended by the group. The grades are drawing increased attention after a lull in the passage of highway safety laws. With the surge in fatal accidents in the first three-quarters of 2012, safety regulators are examining what more can be done to prevent highway fatalities.
Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made a proposal that would require the installation of event data recorders in all new vehicles starting in September 2014. The head of the NHTSA has now said that black boxes are "essential to auto safety" and also indicated that the government will take steps to protect the privacy of motorists. At the same time, he indicated that he does not support the suggestion of some privacy advocates that motorists be given the option to turn off the event data recorders.
Toyota has completed construction on a new facility designed specifically to test a new wave in automobile safety: cars that communicate with one another, and with the road. The systems being tested are intended to help reduce car accidents caused by driver error by giving drivers warnings about an impending collision or even by taking action to avoid an accident on their own. Among the scenarios being tested are warnings given about pedestrians in the roadway, red light warnings for a driver approaching too quickly, and warnings about cars approaching at intersections.