Louisiana motorists might be pleased to learn that, for the second year in a row, traffic fatalities around the country have declined. According to estimates released by the National Safety Council, 38,800 people died in roadway accidents in 2019. This figure represents a 2% decline from the confirmed total in 2018 and a 4% decline from the number of fatalities in 2017.
Louisiana residents may depend on the safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration when choosing what car to buy. The agency instituted the 5-star safety rating system in the 1990s, basing it on the New Car Assessment Program that it developed in the 1970s. Now, a leader in the development of that program released a report showing how the current rating system does not hold up under certain changes.
Every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance holds a 72-hour inspection spree of commercial motor vehicles called the International Roadcheck. Truckers in Louisiana should know that the 2020 roadcheck is set to take place from May 5 to 7, during which time they may be stopped at random for an inspection.
Many Louisiana motor vehicle accidents happen when a driver runs a red light. One of the most basic aspects of safe driving is understanding that red means stop. Still, many drivers will go through the red signal for a variety of reasons. A strategy that many cities use to discourage the practice is by installing red-light cameras.
A recent study by the AAA Foundation suggests that some modern safety technology can actually lead to distracted driving. Louisiana drivers may be interested in learning more about these systems and why they are so distracting.
Drunk driving crashes claim the lives of some 30 people every day in Louisiana and across the U.S. Lawmakers, looking to technology to curb this trend, have introduced a bill in Congress that would, if passed, lead to the development of an alcohol detection system. This system would then be installed on all new vehicles by 2024.
Opioid users in Louisiana know that such drugs can cause psychomotor and cognitive impairment in those who have yet to develop a tolerance. Such impairment can affect one's driving, which is why not a few drivers who cause crashes test positive for opioids. In 1993, 2% of all crash initiators tested positive for them, but in 2016, the percentage rose to 7.1%.
Smartphones, in-vehicle technologies and other devices are causing more distracted driving accidents in Louisiana and across the U.S. In fact, the National Safety Council reports that distracted driving crashes kill at least nine Americans and injure another 100 each day. In addition, a 2016 study found that almost 50% of U.S. drivers admit to texting, using a GPS app or browsing social media while behind the wheel.
Daylight saving time has come to an end in Louisiana and across the United States. While turning the clock back means people can spend an extra hour in bed, studies show that any disruption to sleep patterns can lead to an increase in traffic accidents.
Teenage drivers pose a risk to other vehicle operators in Louisiana due to numerous factors such as cellphone usage, interacting with friends in the car and other distracting behaviors. However, as the days become shorter, another risk to be aware of is nighttime driving. Driving in the dark is challenging for everyone, but it is particularly difficult for younger drivers.