Louisiana motorists may be pleased to hear that a preliminary report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicated that the total number of traffic deaths nationwide dropped by 1% during 2018. With a few exceptions, the number of car accident fatalities has declined steadily year over year for decades, but the data at the end of 2016 seemed to be cause for concern that U.S. roadways were growing more dangerous. Then 2017 saw a 2% drop in the number of traffic deaths and the NHTSA report suggests that a similar but smaller decline occurred in 2018.
Louisiana's seat belt laws are some of the toughest in the nation and require all passenger vehicle occupants to buckle up, but road safety advocacy groups say that even stricter regulations are required to protect rear-seat passengers. Advances in airbag and seat belt technology have greatly improved crash survivability for drivers and front-seat passengers, but these safety features do little to protect those seated in the rear of vehicles.
Louisiana residents should know that a teen driver's risk for a crash or near-miss actually goes up once drivers obtain their license. In a recent study from the National Institutes for Health and Virginia Tech University, 90 teens had their driving monitored from the time they had their learner's permit to their first full year as licensed drivers.
A recently published study suggests that motorists in Louisiana and around the country greatly underestimate the dangers of driving in rainy conditions. A team of researchers led by a data analyst from the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies examined the prevailing weather conditions when 125,012 fatal motor vehicle accidents occurred between 2006 and 2011, and they found that even light rain increased the chances of being involved in a deadly collision by 27%. The study was published on March 29 in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
New cars sold in Louisiana may come with modern safety features such as automatic emergency braking systems, or AEB. A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that AEB greatly reduces the rate of accidents involving injuries.