Holidays entail celebrations and festivities, but they also cause an increase in the number of accidents, some of which may be fatal. Pennsylvania residents may be surprised to learn that the Fourth of July has such a negative effect on public health that the holiday is considered to be the deadliest in the U.S.A.
Drivers in Pennsylvania should know that although alcohol-related car accidents have slightly declined over the past decade, there has been an increase in drug-related crashes. The Governors Highway Safety Association conducted a study recently that analyzed fatal car crash data from 2016 and compared it to the data of 2006. It found that the percentage of fatally injured drivers with drugs in their system rose from 28 to 44 percent.
Many safety advocates in Pennsylvania want to reverse the dangerous trend of distracted driving. Since the main factor in this trend is smartphone use, it may sound ironic to say that new technology will be the solution. However, the introduction of two new devices may be convincing enough as proof. While one product is currently in its pilot phase, the other is already on the market.
Most Pennsylvania motorists understand the importance of paying attention while in a vehicle, even if it has self-driving technology. Nevertheless, a 26-year-old woman was recently involved in a crash after engaging the Autopilot feature on her Tesla. The woman had her hands off of the steering wheel for 80 seconds before crashing into a firetruck while going 60 miles per hour. The woman told police that she had been looking at her phone when the collision occurred.
Knowing the risk of car crashes on the roadways, many Philadelphia residents may be intrigued by the potential of semi-autonomous driving technology. While self-driving cars once seemed like something out of a science-fiction story, there are multiple corporations working to develop those theories into a reality. From Tesla to Uber, some of the most advanced tech companies have been developing autonomous technologies, from full-on self-driving vehicles to assistance software designed to help drivers improve their safety on the road.
By the year 2050, the rate of fatal road traffic accidents in Pennsylvania could be reduced to zero. At a time when more than 100 daily deaths take place on the streets and highways of the United States, an initiative to reduce that statistic by 100 percent may sound overly ambitious, but that is what the Road to Zero Coalition intends to work on over the next few decades.
Pennsylvania drivers use mobile phones on approximately 37 percent of their trips behind the wheel. This rate puts them around the national median, according to figures from Everdrive, a mobile app that tracks the safety practices of drivers. Everdrive used data from 300,000 of its users across the country to compile the report. The states with the most widespread phone usage while driving were mostly in the southern part of the country; Mississippi topped the list, followed by Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.
Drivers in Philadelphia and other cities across the United States might find that daydreaming is just as dangerous while driving as other activities in the car. Many television shows, movies and announcements have been made to alert drivers to the dangers of texting and talking on the phone while driving. There are very few warnings about daydreaming and simply not paying attention while on the road.
Pennsylvania motorists who are interested in the development of self-driving cars might be aware of the recent fatality that occurred when an Uber vehicle hit a pedestrian in Arizona. The local police said that it appears the accident was not the fault of the vehicle, which was in autonomous driving mode, because any driver would have had difficulty seeing the pedestrian in time to stop. However, an Arizona State professor says expectations for autonomous vehicles differ from those for human drivers. Mistakes by self-driving vehicles that result in injury or death could shut down the industry.
Bucks County drivers may worry about running into a distracted individual when they get behind the wheel, but they often engage in the same behaviors that they know to be dangerous. A study produced by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety as part of an annual Traffic Safety Culture Index shows that many Americans know the dangers of cellphone use while driving yet continue to text and talk behind the wheel. In fact, the number of drivers who report conversing on a handheld mobile phone while driving has shot up 46 percent since 2013 while 88 percent of survey participants expressed concern about rising levels of distracted driveway.