People in Connecticut may be concerned about their risk when they get behind the wheel, especially as National Safety Council statistics indicate that fatal car accidents are on the rise. In 2016, the latest year for which figures are available, 40,200 people lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents, a 6 percent increase over the previous year. The prior year experienced a 7 percent increase from the year before. Just taking 2015 and 2016 into account, accident-related deaths jumped by 13 percent, the largest increase in half a century.
Many drivers in Connecticut, as elsewhere, believe that speeding is culturally acceptable and do not mind engaging in it themselves. By doing so, however, they increase their risk for a crash, especially a fatal one. Pedestrians and bicyclists are often the victims of speeding crashes. If they only slightly decreased their speed, they could lower both their crash risk and the severity of any crashes that do occur.
Distracted driving is a widespread issue in Connecticut as elsewhere. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently looked into two observational surveys from 2014 and 2018, finding that the rate of distracted driving has not changed considerably. However, it did find that the ways in which drivers are distracting themselves have changed.
On Jan. 15, a woman was seriously hurt in a motor vehicle accident involving a box truck in Connecticut. The crash occurred at around 10:30 a.m. in Winchester.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there are approximately 328,000 annual car accidents that involve drowsy driving. That figure includes 6,400 crashes that cause fatalities and 109,000 that cause injuries to the people involved. Drowsy driving is among the most prominent risks on Connecticut roads, especially when it comes to the ride-sharing industry. Drivers who work for companies like Uber or Lyft are generally independent contractors, which means they make their own schedules. Some ride-share drivers are working too much and driving drowsy.
Connecticut drivers who are interested in the latest vehicle tech should also understand the potential drawbacks, especially with dashboard gadgets and GPSs. A recent AAA study conducted by researchers at the University of Utah shows that car infotainment systems, which come with GPSs and features for calling, texting, surfing the web and so on, distract drivers and raise the risk for an accident.
Truck drivers in Connecticut and across the U.S. are under more pressure than ever before, with driver shortages and by-the-load incentives pushing many of them to work long hours on little sleep. To help combat fatigue, some drivers are turning to illegal stimulants to stay alert on the road. However, these drugs are dangerous and could seriously impair driving performance.
The number of accidents is rising among truckers in Connecticut and across the U.S. While the early 2000s saw a concentrated effort among federal regulators and insurance companies to improve safety technology and driver safety campaigns, similar efforts have stalled over the past decade. It appears that poor driving habits across the trucking industry are largely to blame.
The World Health Organization has ranked traffic accidents as the eighth leading cause of death in the entire world, beating out HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Traffic accidents are also the leading global cause of death among those aged 5 to 29. Connecticut residents will want to know what sort of improvements have been made and what else is being considered.
External airbags may eventually become a reality on vehicles. However, it will take a while before car parts manufacturers perfect the technology. Drivers in Connecticut should know that these airbags could prove beneficial in the event of side-impact crashes. The ZF Group states that they can reduce the severity of occupant injuries by as much as 40 percent. ZF has even developed its own model of external airbags.