Accidents in Pennsylvania and around the country involving passenger vehicles that slide underneath tractor-trailers claim about 300 lives each year. Federal regulations require logistics companies to fit rear underride guards to their large trucks, but no such rule exists for side and front underride guards. Bipartisan bills that would mandate the installation of side and front underride guards were recently introduced in both the Senate and the House, and they are supported by a coalition of road safety groups that say their passage could save dozens or even hundreds of lives each year. The bills also bring the rules dealing with rear underride guards up to date.
While the dangers of fatigued driving are well understood, they're often ignored. Virtually all respondents to a recent AAA poll referred to the practice as completely unacceptable. However, almost a third of them also admitted to recently getting behind the wheel while dangerously fatigued. Data like this is especially concerning to road safety when Pennsylvanians move their clocks forward by one hour to mark the beginning of daylight saving time.
America's opioid crisis is hitting Pennsylvania's roadways, according to a new study published in JAMA Network Open. The study found that drivers found at fault for causing fatal two-vehicle crashes were almost twice as likely to test positive for prescription painkillers as drivers who did not cause the crash. The study was released in mid-February.
Distracted driving can be a problem for drivers in Pennsylvania and throughout the country regardless of the driver's age. However, statistics show that it is a major problem for teen drivers. Over 58 percent of accidents involving a teen driver occur because he or she was distracted at the time of the crash. According to a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, cellphone use was not the main cause of distracted driving.
Road Safe America has released its analysis of federal crash data pertaining to deaths caused by big-rig trucks. According to the data, Pennsylvania ranked fifth in states had the highest number of truck crash fatalities in 2017.
Pennsylvania drivers might be more likely to engage in more high-risk behavior using their phones than in previous years. Observational studies carried out by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2014 and 2018 found that in 2018, there was a 57 percent higher chance of seeing a driver using a cellphone for email, texting or in some other way besides talking. On the other hand, the number of drivers seen using phones to talk went down.
From 2009 to 2016, the number of fatal large truck crashes went up 27 percent. This is according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System. In all, 3,986 people died in large truck crashes in 2016, and 66 percent of those fatalities were passenger vehicle occupants. Pennsylvania motorists can avoid becoming a statistic, though, if they consider some tips for avoiding truck crashes.
Many drunk driving crashes in Pennsylvania end in fatalities. Across the U.S., drunk driving fatalities make up approximately a third of all traffic-related fatalities. There are several common causes of these fatalities, such as the incurring of head trauma and excessive blood loss. Hitting the steering wheel or another hard surface, as well as being struck by flying debris, generally results in trauma.
Statistics show that cars with external airbags could experience a reduction in accident injury severity by up to 40 percent. However, there are some issues that will need to be addressed before Pennsylvania drivers have this technology on their vehicles. For instance, it will be necessary to ensure that the airbags only deploy when intended. The airbags would use a combination of lidar, radar and similar technology to determine if a collision is imminent.
Drivers will want to prepare for the challenges of winter driving, and one of the first steps is to ensure a properly winterized vehicle. They could check antifreeze levels, replace the windshield wipers and consider getting snow tires. A mechanic could inspect components like the battery, spark plugs, brakes and ignition. Drivers should also carry jumper cables, tire chains, ice scrapers, flares and other essentials in case of an emergency.