Most people here in New York have experienced a car crash at some point in their lives. Usually, the damage to the vehicles involved is minimal and no one gets seriously hurt. However, not everyone is so lucky and some may end up losing their lives. Motor vehicle accidents have numerous causes, but one that researchers find particularly concerning are those accidents caused by distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has some sobering statistics that might make people think twice about the way that they drive.
People often assume that younger drivers are better than older drivers. Though there might be some statistical evidence for that claim, it isn't always true. Car crashes can be caused by anyone of any age. One recent car accident here in New York shows just how true that idea is after an 82-year-old man died in a crash that may have been caused by a 22-year-old woman.
The consumption of alcohol is a common way for people to celebrate or relax. Generally speaking, there is nothing wrong with New York adults of legal age having a few drinks with friends. The potential for problems happens when someone who has been drinking gets behind the wheel of a car. Many people assume that if they've only had a drink or two, they're perfectly safe to drive, and their blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, may even test below the legal limit. However, a new study suggests that even low amounts of alcohol in the bloodstream may contribute to motor vehicle accidents.
Getting into a car accident seems to be a fact of life for most people. The hope is that if it happens, it will be minor and no one will get seriously injured. Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents can result in someone's death all too often. Though safety experts and industry leaders are always working to improve the chances that people can survive a car crash, fatalities still happen. One recent study even found that they may be on the rise in New York City, one of the busiest areas of the entire nation.
In New York, as elsewhere, it's illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter or higher. Drunk driving, though, is widespread and leads to an alarming number of car crashes. In 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one person was killed in a drunk driving crash every 50 minutes.
The journal Current Biology has published a study saying that daylight saving time contributes to a 6% increase in fatal traffic accidents every year in the week following the change. New York residents should know that this amounts to more than 28 fatal crashes a year. The effect of the DST transition is seen most especially in the early morning hours and in those areas that are further west in a given time zone.
The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine published a study suggesting a link between school start times and the rate of car crashes involving teen drivers. Parents of teen drivers in New York should know that the later school starts, the less risk there likely is of teens losing sleep and becoming drowsy behind the wheel.
Many people in New York look forward to the development of autonomous vehicles, hoping to remove the issue of human error from roadway safety. However, current technology has not yet reached the stage where cars can truly operate on their own. Partially autonomous innovations have led to safety options like lane-change alerts and collision detection, but auto accidents still continue to pose a major danger on the road. For Americans aged 15-29, car crashes are the leading cause of death. Over 3,000 people lose their lives in motor vehicle accidents every day, and many more are seriously injured as a result.
Three intersections in New York City are among the nation's worst traffic accident hotspots according to a study released on Jan. 29 by a San Francisco-based nonprofit group. After scrutinizing 1,846,245 car accidents that took place in the United States in 2018 and 2019, Go Safe Labs found that the points at which Interstate 95 meets the Harlem River Drive, Sedgewick Avenue and Riverside Avenue near the George Washington Bridge ranked second, fifth and eighth in the country for number of collisions. The researchers put this down to the huge volume of traffic that crosses from New Jersey into Manhattan each day.
When New York roads are covered in snow and ice, it may be best to stay home. According to to the Department of Transportation, 22% of car accidents in the United States are attributed to snow, sleet or ice. Those who have to travel during periods of severe weather should inspect their vehicles before they leave. Ideally, a car will have emergency supplies such as road salt in the event that it becomes difficult to move because of snow or ice.