In 2016, there were 37,461 vehicle accident deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That was a 5.6 percent increase from 2015. However, the Road to Zero Coalition has announced a plan to eliminate such deaths on California roads and others throughout the country. While Road to Zero believes that all traffic fatalities are preventable, the group acknowledges that its goal is ambitious.
It's been well documented that distracted driving is a major cause of accidents in California and across the county. Despite that fact, data collected by a mobile technology startup suggests that distracted driving is on the rise.
California drivers may have heard about the driver who was killed in March 2018 while their Tesla was on autopilot; in another accident involving an autonomous vehicle, a self-driving Uber car hit and killed an Arizona pedestrian. However, some experts caution that it is important not to react disproportionately to a low number of accidents by autonomous cars since they can significantly improve highway safety.
California residents who are involved in an accident with a self-driving car could have limited recourse if automakers get their way. Per Uber's terms of service, the families of those who are killed in its self-driving vehicles have to go to arbitration as opposed to court to settle the matter. A group of senators are now asking other major car companies if they plan to do the same with their autonomous vehicles.
A study shows that drivers in California and across the country express a great deal of concern about distracted drivers but continue to engage in these behaviors when behind the wheel themselves. In the survey, conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety as part of the annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, the number of drivers who say they have recently used a handheld cell phone while driving has shot up by 46 percent since 2013. At the same time, 88 percent of respondents also said that distracted driving poses a major threat.
According to government statistics, 1 to 2 percent of all accidents in California and across the U.S. are caused by drowsy driving. However, researchers from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a study that suggests the numbers may be even higher.
In California and across the U.S., the opioid crisis has been affecting the general workforce. In the past five years, urine testing has shown an annual increase in amphetamine, marijuana and heroin use. With the legalization of marijuana in numerous states, drugged driving has increased. For these reasons, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking for ways to improve safety and reduce traffic deaths.
Some people in California may be careful about never driving while drunk, but they might not use the same type of caution when it comes to speeding. Traffic fatalities have been on the rise for the last several years, and various experts have pondered whether smartphones or some other factor is to blame. The National Transportation Safety Board has done a study and concluded that speed is responsible for many of these deaths.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, the level of humankind's measured intelligence and the number of car accident fatalities on roadways in California and other states across the nation are both on the rise. The 8 percent increase that was recorded during 2015 was the largest jump in auto crash fatalities in 50 years. The upward trend continued in 2016 when more than 40,000 lives were reported lost in deadly collisions nationwide.
California residents may have heard about how roundabouts may be safer than traditional intersections. A study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation found that there was an 86 percent reduction in fatal accidents at sites analyzed in the study. This was because there was no chance of a "T-bone" accident in which a vehicle was hit from the side by another vehicle.