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Technologies aim to take drunk drivers off the road

Drunk driving is a scourge on the roads in Louisiana and across the country. This is why there have been so many efforts made to eliminate the behavior. Nevertheless, crashes related to drunk driving took 10,874 lives in the United States in 2017 alone, according to federal statistics. Now, Volvo is looking to help prevent drunk driving by installing autonomous technologies that could detect symptoms of intoxication and distraction behind the wheel.

According to Volvo, these technologies would enable the car to send multiple warning signals to the driver. If the driver behind the wheel does not respond, the car would be able to actively intervene. The auto manufacturer said that the purpose of the technology would be to stop potentially deadly car accidents before they occur. If impairment is detected, the car could slow its speed and park on the side of the road. The company said the technology would be available for installation by the early 2020s.

Employer pressure a factor in distracted driving

Though distracted driving is a form of negligence, Louisiana residents should know that there are many reasons for it. The Travelers Companies, after surveying more than 2,000 consumers and executives, has been able to identify some of them in its 2019 Travelers Risk Index.

One factor in distracted driving is workplace accountability. Eighty-seven percent of executives in the survey said they expect their workers to be connected even outside the office. Seventy-four percent do not think of distracted driving as a great concern. As a result, many workers feel pressured into answering work-related messages when on the road; 20 percent said they do, mostly out of fear of upsetting their boss.

Commercial truck driver exhaustion can endanger others

Many driver-related factors can influence the likelihood of a serious motor vehicle collision. Both impairment and distraction can drastically increase the likelihood of a driver experiencing a significant collision. However, exhaustion or fatigue are also significant concerns when it comes to safely arriving at your destination.

If you have ever gotten behind the wheel of a car when feeling tired, you likely already know how hard it is to drive safely when you feel exhausted. Exhaustion directly impacts your ability to quickly respond to stimuli. It also impacts your ability to focus on your surroundings. The combination of those two consequences can be quite dangerous for drivers.

Critics say NHTSA unresponsive to rise in truck crash deaths

Large truck crash deaths are on the rise. According to the federal government, there was a 28 percent increase in them from 2009 to 2017. A total of 4,102 people died in truck crashes in 2017 with 68 percent of those being car occupants. Louisiana residents should know that many truck safety groups are proposing a remedy to this trend: new truck safety technology.

Specifically, the National Transportation Safety Board has been recommending forward collision warning and mitigation systems for all heavy trucks since the 1990s. On at least 10 occasions, it proposed a mandate to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal regulatory agency in charge of making regulations. However, NHTSA has not followed through.

Pedestrian fatalities might have hit 30-year high in 2018

Pedestrian deaths are rising in Louisiana and across the U.S. according to a new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association. Preliminary numbers show that 2018 might have been the deadliest year for pedestrians in almost 30 years.

GHSA analysts examined preliminary data gathered by state agencies over the first half of 2018. They estimated that around 6,227 pedestrians lost their lives on American roads last year, which is 250 more than died in 2017. The total also represents the highest number of pedestrian deaths since 1990 and a 51.5 percent increase from 2009, when 4,109 deaths were reported.

U.S. traffic deaths once again top 40k mark

Advanced safety systems could help drivers in Louisiana and elsewhere in the country experience fewer accidents. While such technology is promising, it's not yet widely used. This may be one of the reasons why U.S. traffic-related deaths have topped the 40,000 mark for the third year in a row according to the National Safety Council. Traffic fatalities did dip slightly from the previous year although there was a small uptick in serious crash injuries over the same period.

The National Safety Council notes that traffic fatality rates vary from state to state; Hawaii, Minnesota and Nevada, for instance, are some of the states that had significant traffic death increases while Maine, Kansas and New Jersey were among the states with decreases.

Large truck crashes

As many citizens of Louisiana may already know, large trucks can be hazardous to motorists in smaller vehicles. From 2009 to 2007, big rig crashes claimed 35,882 lives. This increase comes even though the number of miles driven by these trucks has decreased.

There are many factors that contribute to this problem, according to safety advocates. Researchers with Road Safe America say that most states with the worst big rig fatality rates have max speed limits of 70 mph. This is often too high for vehicles that can reach a weight of 80,000 pounds easy. Big rigs need a much longer distance than smaller vehicles to come to a complete stop.

Distracted drivers are everywhere on Louisiana roads

New Orleans seems to be home to the perfect combination of factors for incredibly dangerous driving. The city is known as a seasonal and cultural drinking destination, especially during Mardi Gras. The tendency of tourists to overindulge while visiting can lead to people who are both unfamiliar with the roads and under the influence of drugs or alcohol driving on the streets.

Those aren't the only risks. There is also the serious concern of drowsy driving from people who are too tired to be behind the wheel, as well as distracted driving. Tourists and locals alike may feel the need to respond to text messages or emails while driving. Some might even use social media to show off their current location.

Averting the widespread problem of drowsy driving

Drowsy driving is almost unavoidable for most drivers in Louisiana, even when they have the best intentions. Part of the reason is a lack of comprehensive public transit systems, but a lot has to do with human negligence. Many do not get the recommended seven hours of sleep every night, nor do they grasp the proper value of sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation says that being awake for 24 hours is like having a blood alcohol content of .10. The use of prescription sleep aids and other drowsiness-inducing drugs can compound the problem. Sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea may leave drivers drowsy even when they sleep seven or more hours.

Medication can lower car crash risk for ADHD patients

It's generally recognized that most new drivers in Louisiana can improve their skills with practice. The same rule applies to drivers diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, a recent analysis of 2.3 million adult drivers with ADHD in the U.S. shows that medication prescribed for this neurodevelopmental disorder could help against the perils of distracted driving. Medication along with behavioral therapy may assist these drivers with judgment calls and impulse control, which are two common symptoms of ADHD.

The study looked at data from health insurance claims made from 2005 through 2014. All the drivers had an ADHD diagnosis and were over 18 years old with an average age of 32. A full 83.9 percent, or 1.9 million, of the people researched had filled a prescription for ADHD medication. It was determined that those drivers who took their ADHD prescription were involved in significantly fewer car accidents than drivers who did not take their medication.

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