One of the first lawsuits involving the collision of a self-driving car and a human driver was filed in California. The accident happened in December in heavy traffic outside of San Francisco. The lawsuit claims a Chevrolet Bolt that was operating in autonomous driving mode suddenly veered back into the motorcyclist's lane, knocking him to the ground. At the time of the incident there was a backup driver behind the wheel of GM's vehicle.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released fatal traffic crash data collected from all 50 states and the District of Columbia for calendar year 2016. According to NHTSA, there were 37,461 people killed in crashes on U.S. roadways during 2016, an increase from 35,485 in 2015. The number of vehicle miles traveled on U.S. roads in 2016 increased by 2.2 percent, resulting in a 2.6 percent increase in fatalities from 2015. NHTSA found that distracted driving and drowsy driving fatalities declined, while fatalities related to other reckless behaviors such as speeding, alcohol impairment, and failure to wear a seatbelt increased from the previous year. Fatal traffic crashes increased from 2015 to 2016 in almost all segments of the population including passenger vehicle occupants, occupants of large trucks, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, alcohol-impaired driving, and time of day (daytime/nighttime).
According to the "State of Safety" report by the National Safety Council, Texas is one of 26 states which received either a 'D' or an 'F' for overall safety. According to the report, in 2015 a total of 10,208 deaths occurred in Texas. Of that figure, 3,722 fatalities occurred on the road, 6,020 fatalities occurred in the home and community, and 460 fatalities occurred in the workplace.
A recent study by Rice University's Kinder Institute found that intersections with stop lights are nine times more likely to have a fatal crash with pedestrians and bicyclists than those without stop lights. The study was prompted by the death of Rice University Professor Marjorie Corcoran who was hit and killed by a METRO light rail train near the Houston Medical Center in February. During the study, researchers examined records of all traffic crashes within the city of Houston from January 2010 to September 2016. Throughout this six-year period, there were 3,952 intersection-related automobile accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists. Of those accidents, 90 resulted in a fatality, 1,802 resulted in an injury, and 2,060 were no-injury crashes. From 2012 to 2015, researchers noted a 42 percent increase in intersection-related collisions in Houston.
Yesterday, traffic on some of Houston's busiest freeways was snarled due to mishaps involving commercial trucks.
With the holiday season in full-swing comes an increase in traffic as more people hit the roads to visit family and friends, finish their holiday shopping, and attend holiday parties. The increase in people on the road also increases the chances of traffic accidents caused by distracted, aggressive, or impaired drivers.
Studies have shown that the drilling and fracking boom has been a major contributor to fatal accidents for industry workers, and also for vehicle drivers on Texas roadways. Texas currently has one of the highest accident rates of any state in the country.
With the back to school season in its second week, it is important to remember that with the return of children in classrooms means heavier traffic and congestion on the streets of Houston. A couple years ago in 2012, just outside of Houston on I-10, one of the most severely documented car accidents in Texas occurred. The tragic event, involving almost 150 vehicles, left two dead and as many as 100 injured. The pileup, attributed to dense fog and high traffic, caused three separate pileups to begin on Interstate 10 in both directions. An officer reported that when an SUV crashed into vehicles in front of them, a tractor-trailer then rammed from behind, running over the SUV, killing its occupants.
As the first day of school approaches for many schools across the country, pedestrian, bicyclists, and traffic congestion will dramatically increase in school zones. Due to this increase in traffic, it is essential for drivers to stay alert during peak commuting hours on school roads. Although drivers should always be vigilant for adult pedestrians, they should pay special attention for children pedestrians and bicyclists, as they are at a higher risk for injury.
The Associated Press recently reported that deaths of younger teen drivers increased sharply in the first six months of last year. This was based on a report released earlier this week by state highway safety officials.