According to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, multiple systems that are designed to make driving safer and easier are actually creating a greater risk of crashing. Virginia Tech Transportation Institute researchers, who conducted the study in collaboration with AAA, assessed video of actual driving behaviors and found that adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist technology systems were among the list of car safety systems that may lead to distracted driving. Adaptive cruise control helps drivers maintain a safe following distance on the highway by automatically accelerating or slowly down without the driver's help. Lane-keeping assist technology helps drivers stay in their lane by gently tugging the wheel when the car starts to drift out of lane. Both safety systems require the driver to remain alert and keep their hands on the wheel. When used correctly, these systems are designed to make roadways safer. However, researchers found that some drivers do not properly use or understand partially automated systems.
Car manufacturers are adding all kinds of bells and whistles to their vehicles. Some are touting safety features while others are simply for aesthetics and to make the vehicles seem cooler, fancier, and more technologically advanced.
Since 2000, over 67,000 people have died on Texas roads. There has not been any slowing down in this trend of fatalities as the daily average is approximately 10 deaths per day. Studies and statistics on this trend show that at least 90% of all of these fatalities were preventable and that fatalities occur both in metro and rural areas across Texas at high rates.
Over the last decade, the number of Americans killed while walking increased by 35%, and 2016 was the deadliest year for pedestrians since 1990. According to the "Pedestrian Danger Index," created by Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition, Texas is ranked as the eighth most dangerous state for pedestrians. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were 619 pedestrian fatalities in Texas during 2018.
Earlier this month, a California appeals court held that Apple Inc. was not liable for a fatal automobile accident involving a driver who was using the FaceTime application on his iPhone at the time of the crash. The accident occurred on December 24, 2014 on Interstate 35W in Denton County, Texas. Bethany and James Modisette along with their two daughters were stopped on the highway due to police activity when Garret Wilhelm crashed into the Modisette's vehicle at a high rate of speed. Wilhelm reportedly told police that he was using the FaceTime application on his Apple iPhone 6 Plus at the time of the collision. The entire Modisette family sustained injuries and one of the daughters, aged five, subsequently died in the hospital.
In 2017, Gabriela Torga, then 23 years old, was driving just after 5:00 in the morning when she veered from the left lane to the right shoulder. She overcorrected, slid counter-clockwise, hit the median and then slammed into a tree. She did not survive the crash. No one can definitively say whether Ms. Torga's cell phone was connected to the crash, but police say when the accident occurred, her phone was on and open to SnapChat and she was driving 55 mph in a 45 zone.
On Thursday, October 27, at approximately 10 p.m. the driver of a Jeep vehicle crashed into the back of a Houston Fire Department truck on the East Freeway in Houston. The accident happened while the Houston firefighters were clearing a minor crash from the road.
Last week, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced a new driving course to educate drivers on the dangers of distracted driving. Beginning on September 1, 2017, all skills examination applicants ages 18 and older must complete a free, one-hour "Impact Texas Young Drivers" (ITYD) course and obtain proof of course completion prior to taking the driving skills examination. In addition, drivers ages 18 to 24 will also be required to complete a six-hour adult driver education course prior to the skills examination. ITYD is the second course in the "Impact Texas Driver" program, which was developed in 2015 by the DPS with the aim of saving lives through awareness and education related to distracted driving. The first course, Impact Texas Teen Drivers, is a two-hour course that went into effect two years ago for drivers ages 15 to 17. In addition to the new courses, drivers are still required to complete the distracted driving module taught in the 32-hour teen driver education class along with six hours of adult driver education. The new ITYD course requirements are slated to go into effect the same day as the state-wide ban against texting and driving. The DPS also announced that a third course, "Impact Texas Adult Drivers" for drivers 25 and older, will be implemented in 2018. In the meantime, drivers in that age group will still be required to take the ITYD course to obtain a license.
It's 6:00 pm and you're driving your usual route home from work, when a familiar sound is heard indicating that you've received a text message. Should you check it?
Victims and the families of victims injured or killed in distracted driving wrecks met with state lawmakers in Austin on Thursday to support legislation banning texting and driving in Texas. The legislation-House Bill 62 and Senate Bill 31-mark the fifth time bills have been filed to ban using a phone while driving in Texas.