Experts have already shown that distracted driving is a major issue in New York, as in every other state, but the issue only gets worse in the summer. This may be because there are more people on the roads who are going on road trips and vacations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that there are 20 percent more miles traveled and 29 percent more road deaths in June, July and August than in the winter months of December, January and February.
Drivers in New York may have heard reports saying that insurance companies will experience a sudden decline in revenue once driverless cars become more mainstream. A 2016 report from Morgan Stanley predicted that by 2040, the insurance industry would contract to only 20 percent of what it is now. However, recent accidents involving driverless cars, in addition to new research, point to a potentially different future.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Fourth of July is the deadliest day of the year for motorists in New York and throughout the country. The IIHS studied the five most recent years that have accurate fatal car crash data (2010 to 2014), finding that an average of 118.4 people die each year on July Fourth. This is 28 more deaths than the average daily toll.
People in New York generally associate alcohol use with impairment that makes driving dangerous. A report from the Governors Highway Safety Association has documented a rise in the presence of opioids and marijuana in drivers who perished in car accidents in 2016 compared to 10 years earlier.
Drivers in New York who are wondering what can be done to address distracted driving, especially when it arises from smartphone use, should know about a couple devices. One of them is on the market already and is called Drive ID. Developed by Cellcontrol, a Louisiana-based company, this solar-powered device attaches to the windshield and is able to block all messages and social media updates as well as access to video games.
May is Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, which is designed to help young drivers in New York and elsewhere get ready for summer driving season. It also aims to help parents successfully coach teen drivers as they gain experience on the road.
New York drivers and passengers are encouraged to wear their seat belts at all times even if their vehicles have air bags. This is because individuals who wear one can reduce the odds of experiencing a severe liver injury in an accident by 21 percent. In a study of 51,202 car accident cases, 15 percent of patients had a severe liver injury. Of those patients, 15 percent died as opposed to just 8 percent who had a minor or moderate liver injury.
Under New York state law, it is illegal to use a handheld device to text or make phone calls. Drivers can get around this law by using hands-free devices to chat while their vehicle is moving. However, a study from researchers at The University of Texas found that using a wearable may not be any safer than using a traditional smartphone while driving.
When it comes to driving safety, northeastern states such as New York have the worst overall scores compared to the rest of the nation. This is attributable to the prevalence of speeding and hard braking, according to driving safety app Everdrive. However, distracted driving from phone use is a bigger problem in the southern part of the U.S.
Road safety experts often blame New York distracted driving accidents on the popularity of cellphones and other mobile electronic equipment. However, a study released by Erie Insurance to coincide with Distracted Driving Awareness Month suggests that daydreaming may actually be an even greater hazard for road users. Researchers studied accidents in the United States that claimed 172,000 lives over the last five years, and they determined that 61 percent of the distracted driving crashes involved a motorist who was lost in thought.