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Drowsiness: its effect on drivers and its symptoms

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the police report an estimated 100,000 drowsy driving crashes every year in New York and across the U.S. However, a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests that the actual number of drowsy driving crashes may be triple that. In other words, drowsiness is a danger to drivers that often goes unrealized and unreported.

Crash risk goes up for teen drivers once they are licensed

Teen drivers in New York as well as their parents may be surprised by the results of a study conducted by the National Institutes for Health and Virginia Tech University. Researchers analyzed the behavior of 90 teen drivers and measured their risk for crashes and near-misses with other vehicles. That risk was eight times higher in the first three months that teens spent driving alone than in the previous three months they spent with parental supervision.

Traffic fatalities exceeded 40,000 in 2017

New York motorists may be concerned to learn that there were approximately 40,100 traffic-related deaths in 2017, according to preliminary figures from the National Safety Council. It is the second year in a row that motor vehicle accidents claimed more than 40,000 lives in the U.S. In 2016, 40,327 people were killed on American roadways.

Studies show that reducing distracted driving is still a priority

Many drivers in New York become distracted by the new technology out there, including not only smartphones but also infotainment systems and automated features like Tesla's Autopilot. Data from Agero, a provider of roadside assistance systems, suggests that drivers between the age of 17 and 22 are especially prone to distraction: they use their smartphones a full 12 percent of their time behind the wheel.

Alcohol and heavy traffic combine to make July 4th deadly

Higher gasoline prices and heavy traffic congestion will not be enough to keep motorists in New York and around the country at home during the upcoming July 4th celebrations according to the American Automobile Association. The nonprofit advocacy group expects 39.7 million Americans to make road trips of 50 miles or more to celebrate the nation's birthday, which would make this year's Independence Day celebrations the busiest in decades for travelers.

FMCSA releases report on 2016's fatal truck crashes

The data on fatal large-truck crashes in 2016 has been thoroughly analyzed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and its findings may be of interest to drivers in New York and across the U.S. Fatal crashes with large trucks resulted in 4,317 fatalities in 2016, which is up from 4,094 in 2015. They also involved more large trucks -- 4,213 compared to the previous year's 4,074. In all, the FMCSA noted a 3 percent increase in the number of these crashes.

Drowsiness a hazard in the rideshare industry

Drowsy driving has long been a public safety issue in New York and the rest of the nation. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, approximately 328,000 annual crashes occur in the U.S. due to drowsy driving; 109,000 of those crashes result in injuries and 6,400 involve a fatality. Drowsy driving has become so widespread that the National Transportation Safety Board has included "reduce fatigue-related accidents" in its 2017-2018 Most Wanted List of life-saving changes.

NHTSA on the dangers of distracted driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration continues to raise the public's awareness of distracted driving and its dangers. Drivers in New York probably see others behind the wheel who are using their phones, and this is not uncommon. NHTSA estimates that each day, 660,000 drivers do so during the daylight hours. The agency states that distracted driving led to nearly 3,500 deaths and 391,000 cases of injury in 2015.

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