West Virginia drivers may be interested to learn that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 3,166 people died in fatal car accidents in 2017. A significant number of the fatal accidents involved distracted driving, which is often caused by smartphone use, using navigation/infotainment systems and eating while driving. However, there are ways that drivers can make the roads safe for everyone.
Cars in West Virginia and the rest of the U.S. could someday feature external airbags if a European auto parts manufacturer has its way. If perfected, the technology would significantly reduce traffic-related injuries and fatalities.
Most drivers in West Virginia and across the U.S. believe that the rear seats, being away from the windshield and dashboard, are safer than the front seats. This was true back in the 1990s, but recent improvements to front seat safety have made rear seats the less safe of the two. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has called rear seats a danger zone.
A study published in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention has found that women run a higher risk than men for serious injuries in a car crash. West Virginia residents should know that women are especially prone to suffer injuries to the spine, abdomen and legs. In fact, their risk for these lower-body injuries is double that for men.
Independence Day appears to be the most dangerous of the major holidays in the US when it comes to drunk driving fatalities. West Virginia residents should know that the DUI fatality rate for this holiday is 42.4, which equates to an average of 42.4 deaths per day. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that there were 1,192 DUI fatalities reported on this holiday from 2010 to 2017.
The national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been calling for automakers to devote more research and development in the effort to create drunk driver prevention systems. West Virginia residents are probably aware that DUI is a major cause of auto accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that in 2017, drunk driving crashes led to 11,000 deaths and over 200,000 injuries. DUI is behind 29% of all roadway fatalities.
A recent survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests that many West Virginia drivers do not know just how their advanced driver assistance systems work. More than 2,000 drivers across the U.S. participated in the study. They were asked in particular how they would drive with five systems, including Tesla's Autopilot and the Traffic Jam Assist for Audi and Acura, without having the names of the automakers revealed.
A 2018 J.D. Power study indicated that more than 50 percent of new car owners said new advanced safety features helped avoid an accident during the first 90 days of ownership. Drivers in West Virginia may already be familiar with technologies like automatic braking and blind spot alert; they are becoming increasingly common on roadways all over the country. Companies like General Motors and Volvo have publicly announced goals of achieving zero fatalities from car accidents, and the safety features that already exist are steps in that direction.
Thanks to ongoing safety improvements, new vehicles protect drivers and front-seat passengers better than ever before. However, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, safety improvements for rear-seat passengers are falling behind. This could endanger the lives of backseat riders in West Virginia and across the U.S.
West Virginia residents may be interested to hear that the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has pinpointed a period of 100 days as being the deadliest for teen drivers. This stretches from Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer, to Labor Day; during this time, the risk for fatal car crashes involving teens goes up an average of 15%. Parents of teen drivers will want to ensure that their teens know safe driving practices.