There aren't as many people losing their lives in Illinois and the rest of the United States from vehicle-related accidents as last year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This information comes from NHTSA data that compares vehicle crash statistics from 2017 against figures for the previous year. In fact, crash-related deaths were down for all vehicle types, except for large trucks in urban areas, SUVs and tractor-trailers.
Safety-minded drivers in Illinois can take certain steps to reduce the risks of accidents with pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers. Since school is back in session, it's important to be especially vigilant around children pedestrians and buses. Drivers will want to keep their eyes moving from side to side as kids may dart out onto the street, often without using a crosswalk.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently tested electronic driver assist systems from five different brands of vehicles. It outlined its findings in a report called "Reality Check." After collecting data on both public roads and on a track setting, it was determined that these systems could put drivers and passengers at risk. For instance, the systems could actually steer an Illinois driver into a crash or fail to see a parked car.
Distracted driving is being blamed for an uptick in fatal car accidents throughout Illinois and the rest of the country over the past four years. Researchers from the University of Utah, with help from AAA, conducted a study of drivers to find out how much attention in-car technology demanded while driving. Even though some devices allowed drivers to pay more attention to the road than others, most of them had some element of distraction. Researchers found that both mobile and automated technology had a negative impact.
According to data from Drivemode, motorists in Illinois and throughout the country are most likely to text between the hours of 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. During that hour, drivers sent an average of 6.87 messages. Of 6.5 million message analyzed, 22 percent were sent between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. The data was collected from 177,000 users of Drivemode's app over the course of a year.
The use of cellphones and other electronic devices by drivers is prohibited in Illinois, but a study released recently by a startup technology firm from California suggests that distracted driving laws actually do very little to make the nation's roads safer. After analyzing anonymized data gathered from its customers, San Francisco-based Zendrive found that cellphone use by motorists rose in 2017 in virtually every state. The figures also indicate that distracted drivers may be a far more severe road safety hazard than government agencies like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believe.
Illinois drivers who use their cellphones behind the wheel might be as dangerous as drivers who simply let their minds wander. A study by Erie Insurance examined a national database of fatal accidents and their causes as determined by law enforcement.
In Illinois and across the U.S., distracted driving is becoming a sort of epidemic. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has shown that in 2015, for example, nearly 3,500 people died and 391,000 were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers. Any activity that takes a driver's eyes off the road constitutes a distraction, whether it's talking on the phone, talking to other passengers, eating and drinking, or adjusting the radio.
People in Illinois who follow the development of autonomous cars may have heard about a fatality involving a pedestrian in March. According to one professor at the University of Arizona, the state where the accident occurred, the problem with the programming of autonomous cars is that they are being programmed to drive like humans. He says this results in the cars making the same types of errors human drivers would.
Daylight saving time can lead to more and more drowsy drivers on the road, according to a new study from AAA. Drivers in Illinois will want to know what the organization recommends in order to prevent drowsy driving and prepare for the changes that daylight saving time brings. Prevention is especially important because drowsiness accounts for nearly 10 percent of all car crashes in the country.