There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the development of autonomous vehicles for use in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation. Some of the most serious concerns relate to the safety of self-driven cars, an issue overseen by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, the agency responsible for developing guidelines related to the nation's roads and vehicles. The companies working on development of driverless vehicles recently received good news as Google was notified of the NHTSA's decision to allow the software underlying such vehicles to be classified as a driver.
Pennsylvania motorists should be aware of Volvo's claim that it will make 'death-proof" vehicles by 2020. The Swedish automaker has promised that there will be no serious injuries or fatalities in its vehicles by that deadline. The growing adoption of autonomous technologies across the automotive industry includes Volvo as well as Google, Ford and Tesla. Volvo is still in the early stages of developing driverless vehicles that replace human drivers with computer control systems.
On Jan. 12 motorists were alerted to a traffic detour by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. The detour was caused by an accident involving two tractor trailers, a car carrier and another vehicle near the Somerset interchange at milepost 107 westbound. Traffic was detoured at the Breezewood interchange and motorists were allowed to get back onto the turnpike at the New Stanton interchange 86 miles later.
Pennsylvania road users who suffer injury, loss or damage due to the negligent actions of motorists may pursue civil remedies, but this option may not be available to them if the driver concerned flees the scene. Those in this situation who are able to should first gather as much information as necessary for the police. Thoughts are often difficult to marshal following an accident, but a description of the vehicle involved as well as its driver could be of vital help to law enforcement. Hit-and-run victims should also gather the names and contact details of as many witnesses as possible.
A family involved in the fatal Feb. 7 crash that involved Caitlyn Jenner is suing her for the distress and suffering from their injuries. This may not be surprising to Pennsylvania fans of the television star, who is facing two other lawsuits related to the accident.
Pennsylvania pedestrians can be particularly vulnerable in motor vehicle accidents, which means that motorists need to be alert to driving conditions and pedestrian activity. The risks for a pedestrian in a wheelchair can be even greater in an accident, an issue that was identified during a study that tracked statistics from 2006 through 2012. During this period, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recorded nearly 530 deaths among pedestrians using wheelchairs. Pedestrian deaths total approximately 5,000 per year, and more than 75,000 pedestrians suffer injuries from car accidents each year.
Pennsylvania motorists may be interested in the results of a 2015 survey conducted by the American Automobile Association. According to its findings, an estimated 43 percent of drivers in the U.S. admitted to having nodded off at the wheel while operating a motor vehicle at least one time in their lives. This study follows an earlier AAA research project conducted in 2010 that suggests that drowsy driving is a factor in one out of every six fatal traffic accidents.
Parents have good reason to be concerned about the decisions that their children make on Pennsylvania roads. On a national level, motor vehicle accidents lead in causing teen deaths. Approximately half of the teenagers who die in such accidents are the drivers, and nearly 25 percent of teen drivers involved in fatality accidents test positive for alcohol in their systems. Peer pressure may be a factor causing young people to drive after consuming alcoholic beverages, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is tackling this issue as it launches a new public service effort.
According to the Traffic Safety Facts 2008 Report compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 2.3 million intersection-related accidents took place in 2008. As a result of those collisions, nearly 7,800 people died and about 733,000 were injured. Of those crash-related deaths, around 10 percent were caused by someone running a red light.
Legal experts from Pennsylvania and around America have been watching the development of the self-driving car with great interest. This new technology, currently allowed to be tested in only four states, shows the promise of utterly transforming America's roads and the motoring experience.