Despite a renewed focus on traffic safety and advances in technology, the United States experienced its third year of over 40,000 annual traffic deaths in 2018. The trend affects drivers throughout Texas and across the country.
The number of fatalities resulting from large truck crashes is rising. According to statistics published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 4,761 deaths related to large truck crashes in 2017. In 2016, the number was 4,369. Drivers in Texas should be aware of the dangers presented by trucks on the road as tractor-trailer accidents are often more severe than other motor vehicle crashes.
Though it will take a while before they are perfected, external airbags are already known to provide great safety benefits. The ZF Group has its own strategy for developing external airbags that go on the sides of a vehicle to protect occupants from side collisions. Texas residents may want to learn more about these features.
Texas roads are filled with all types of vehicles. Motorists are used to sharing space with delivery vans, motorcycles, tractors and even horses. However, one category of vehicle poses a significantly larger public safety hazard to passenger cars. The sheer size of large tractor-trailers makes them a danger to everything in their path.
Driver fatigue and distracted driving are two of the biggest issues that can lead to motor vehicle accidents on the nation's highways. Truck drivers are not the only drivers who may be hit with fatigue and distraction problems, however. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that approximately 100,000 accidents comprised of all types of vehicles occur each year in this country because of fatigue or distracted driving.
A growing number of Texas car buyers are choosing vehicles equipped with advanced systems designed to anticipate and prevent accidents. However, this technology may not be as effective as they believe. This was the conclusion reached by researchers from the American Automobile Association's Foundation for Traffic Safety after they polled 1,200 owners of 2016 and 2017 passenger vehicles equipped with advanced driver assistance systems.
A study conducted by Volvo and The Harris Poll made some interesting findings regarding distracted driving. Texas drivers should know that the number one distraction for people behind the wheel is mobile devices. The people who admit to using their phones while driving, though, fall unexpectedly into several groups.
A growing number of road safety advocates are urging officials in Texas and around the country to consider replacing traditional traffic lights and stop signs with roundabouts or traffic circles. Roundabouts slow traffic down rather than stopping it, which prevents high-speed broadside or head-on collisions involving vehicles speeding to avoid red lights. Experts say that in addition to reducing traffic accident fatalities and injuries, roundabouts save taxpayers money by reducing the strain placed on emergency services.
Drowsy driving can be one of the most common and deadly dangers to face motorists on Texas roadways. Whether people are returning home from a long day of work or simply dealing with a poor night's sleep, fatigued driving occurs all too frequently. One report by the American Automobile Association noted that the number of crashes involving drowsiness could be eight times higher than official estimates suggest. In addition, another survey showed that 60 percent of American adults admitted to driving while sleepy and a full 37 percent of respondents said that they had fallen asleep behind the wheel at least once.
Texas residents may have read media reports concerning a pedestrian in Arizona who was struck and killed by an SUV that was being used to test autonomous vehicle technology by the ride-sharing company Uber. The accident serves as a reminder that drivers should remain vigilant at all times even if their vehicles are equipped with the latest electronic safety systems, and a startup technology company is developing software designed to ensure that they do.