Ignition interlock devices are being installed in more and more vehicles. Texas and 33 other states require these devices in the vehicles of DUI offenders. Over the past decade, this technology has prevented hundreds of thousands of attempts made by drunk drivers to start their vehicles. The way IIDs work is simple: They are in-car breathalyzers that only let the sober drive away.
In Texas and the rest of the U.S., many teenagers drink alcohol and drive. According to the CDC, 3.1% of adults report driving after having too much to drink whereas 5.5% of teens report driving after drinking alcohol in any amount. In 1984, the National Minimum Legal Drinking Act set the minimum drinking age to 21.
Advanced safety technologies make new vehicles in Texas and around the country significantly less likely to become involved in a crash, according to a study released by General Motors. The study was conducted with the help of researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
According to a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study, teen drivers increase their risk for a car crash by 44% when they drive with just one teen passenger. This should give not only teens in Texas but also their parents pause. The National Safety Council states that teen drivers should not have any passengers in their car for at least the first six months after obtaining their license. If they can hold off for a year, this would be ideal.
All Texas motorists should have a strong interest in maintaining safe driving conditions. One consistent crash risk that has dramatically increased as a source of concern in recent years is driver distraction. This can be defined as any activity that causes drivers to take their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel or their attention off the task of driving.
Thousands of people die every year in Texas and across the U.S. in car crashes involving a distracted driver. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 3,166 fatalities in 2017 alone. Drivers should understand that anything that takes their eyes off the road constitutes a distraction: using the phone, adjusting the radio, eating, drinking, talking with passengers, etc. The following are some ways to prevent distracted driving.
For decades, the number of roadway fatalities had been going down. When the number spiked in 2015 and 2016, many thought that a new trend had begun, linking it to the proliferation of smartphones and other distracting technology, among other factors. In 2017, there was a 2% dip from the previous year with 37,133 fatalities in Texas and across the U.S.
Texas motorists may be excited about the potential of automation to offer greater safety and security on the road. However, current versions of autonomous technologies are still in development and designed to assist human drivers rather than taking over the process of operating the vehicle. Some car accidents have been linked to drivers who relied on self-driving technologies and failed to pay attention to the road ahead. Innovative electric car manufacturer Tesla has been a leading developer of these systems, with its Autopilot featured on many models.
The transition from having a learner's permit and adult supervision to having a license and no supervision can be a bumpy one for many teenagers in Texas. A study from Virginia Tech University and the National Institutes for Health measured car crash risk among 90 teen participants from the time they obtained their permit to their first full year of possessing a license.
Drivers in Texas may want to know about an online study from the market research firm Wakefield Research, which addressed the growing and dangerous trend of distracted driving. Nearly 2,000 U.S. drivers responded to the study.