Pennsylvania residents who follow developments in the technology sector are likely aware that several carmakers have vowed to bring fully autonomous vehicles to market within the next few years. Recent fatal accidents involving a Tesla sedan with its Autopilot feature engaged and a self-driving SUV being tested by the ride-sharing company Uber have prompted some experts to speculate that the transition to autonomous motoring is happening too quickly. A recent report from the Rand Corporation seems to add weight to these arguments.
Speeding is a factor in nearly one-third of all automobile-related fatalities, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association. Yet speeding is considered culturally acceptable among many drivers in Pennsylvania and across the U.S., and this mindset cannot be changed except through better education and stricter law enforcement, among other things.
Many people in Pennsylvania may be interested in technologies that could improve driving safety. One company, ZF, is developing external airbags that cushion a car's exterior in case of a crash in order to reduce the risk of injury or death. Every year, thousands of people across the country lose their lives in car crashes, and technologies that could make these accidents less deadly are appealing to many. ZF is not the first company to develop external airbags, but the company released tests that claim injury severity could be reduced by 40 percent if the bags deploy.
Safety should be the top concern of every driver in Pennsylvania, especially since distractions are now so widespread. The first step in staying safe on the roadways is to drive attentively. This means never reaching for the phone or picking things up from the floor. "Buzzed" and drowsy driving are examples of impairment that are to be avoided by all motorists.
Mobile phone use plays a role in about one in four car accidents in Pennsylvania and around the country, according to some analysts. Despite laws prohibiting the use of phones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel, most road safety advocates expect the problem to get worse in the years ahead. A team of Australian researchers recently asked 447 South East Queensland drivers about the crash risks associated with phone use. Researchers discovered that this dangerous behavior is more common among inexperienced motorists and women.
In Pennsylvania, as in other states, the construction industry is full of safety hazards. Falls from elevated surfaces are especially frequent. Nationwide Insurance recently found that out of the more than 10,000 workers' compensation claims that it processed in the past five years, nearly a third were concerned with falls. Falls can be prevented, though, with the right safety training.
Accidents involving distracted drivers claimed 3,477 lives around the country in 2017 according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figures, and most road safety experts expect the death toll to rise even higher in the years ahead. The alarming rise in distracted driving accidents and fatalities is generally blamed on cellphone use behind the wheel, and a study from the technology firm Everdrive suggests that one in three American drivers, including many in Pennsylvania, engage in this potentially deadly behavior every day.