Louisiana residents may have heard of the dire predictions that are being made concerning driverless cars and the insurance industry. Back in 2016, a report from Morgan Stanley estimated that the industry would contract to about 20 percent of its current size by the year 2040. However, new research and the recent spate of accidents involving autonomous vehicles both suggest a more gradual and less drastic change.
According to the US Department of Transportation, 37,150 people died on America's roads in 2017. This is a 10 percent increase of the fatality rates from 2014, and researchers across the nation believe that distracted driving is a major factor. Louisiana drivers should know about a recent AAA analysis conducted by researchers at the University of Utah. The results show that there are different levels of distraction depending on the type of technology used.
For the better part of a decade, a growing number of car accidents in Louisiana and other states have been blamed on drivers distracted by technology. Ironically, it's technology that could play a role in blocking certain communications while driving that may help curb the problem. According to a National Safety Council survey, about half of the more than 2,000 drivers surveyed would leave such technologies in place to minimize distractions.
The seat belt laws in Louisiana are among the strictest in the nation as even rear seat passengers in the Pelican State can be ticketed for not buckling up. Road safety advocates have long urged lawmakers in other states to pass similar legislation, and the findings of a study published by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health on March 29 could make these arguments more persuasive. A team of researchers studied liver injuries suffered by car accident victims between 2010 and 2015, and they found that seat belt use greatly increased the chances of surviving such an injury.
As self-driving technology becomes available to more drivers in Louisiana and elsewhere, many are becoming complacent by trusting the software to operate their cars without them. Some motorists allow the self-driving technology to take over while they watch movies, play games or even take a nap.
According to a recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 88 percent of respondents said that distracted driving is becoming increasingly common. The study included 2,613 licensed drivers 16 or older in Louisiana and elsewhere who had operated a vehicle in the past 30 days. The number of respondents who said that they used a cellphone regularly while driving increased by 46 percent since 2013.
Most drivers in Louisiana have heard of whiplash, but they may not be aware that this condition is just one type of soft tissue injury. The straining, spraining or tearing of the soft tissues of the body, which include the muscles, tendons and ligaments, can be caused by any sudden and uncontrolled movement. These conditions arise most often in car accidents because of the suddenness of an impact.
A recent study reveals that rear automatic braking systems can prevent accidents when backing up, but only about 5 percent of the vehicles sold in Louisiana and around the country feature the technology. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested the effectiveness of the rear automatic braking systems fitted to six 2017 model year vehicles using a series of car-to-pole and car-to-car tests, and they found that this technology can reduce rear crashes by as much as 62 percent.
Much has been written in recent years about the advent of autonomous vehicle technology and the road safety dividends that self-driving cars could provide. While vehicles lacking a steering wheel and pedals may still be several years away, the technology that has been developed by the scientists and engineers working on autonomous vehicle systems is already preventing accidents and saving lives in Louisiana and around the country.
Distracted driving is widespread in Louisiana and around the country. Many experts believe that distractions, especially smartphones, are the cause behind the rise in traffic deaths. In a Consumer Reports survey, 52 percent of drivers with smartphones admitted that they text, send emails, play music, watch videos, and surf the web on them while behind the wheel.