Speaking at a recently-held forum in Washington, D.C., a representative of the NHTSA said that 5,000 to 7,000 deaths occur each year because of drowsy driving. The forum was part of National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, which aims to educate drivers in Maryland and around the country about the dangers of getting behind the wheel while tired. The NHTSA representative was a former National Transportation Safety Board member who shared data collected by that agency over the past several years at the forum.
Maryland parents may have seen the October 2015 campaign on 'party fouls," aimed at reducing the prevalence of teenagers getting behind the wheel while drunk. The campaign is a partnership between the Ad Council and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that has continued since the 1980s. Between the debut of the famous 'Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving" campaign in 2005 and 2013, the number of young male drivers who said they would seek transportation as opposed to driving while buzzed increased from 38 to 47 percent.
Red-light running remains a serious concern in Maryland and around the country. An estimated 165,000 people are injured by red-light runners each year. In 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 762 fatalities resulted from people who had broken the law and ran red lights at intersections causing crashes, and approximately half of those victims were not the violators, but pedestrians, drivers or passengers hit by the person running the red light.
According to Google, 94 percent of car accidents are attributed to human error. It is believed that making the transition to autonomous vehicles could significantly reduce the number of collisions in Maryland and around the country. However, there is still a chance of an accident occurring regardless of who or what controls the vehicle. Currently, several automakers plan to introduce autonomous vehicles in the future or have begun testing them already.
An accident took place in Maryland on Sept. 28 involving four vehicles at around 7:55 a.m. The collision occurred on the Thomas Johnson Bridge, and charges are pending against the driver believed to be responsible. He was operating a 2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer when he crossed into the southbound lane from the north by driving over the solid yellow center line for unknown reasons.
Maryland drivers who own General Motors cars may have heard about a recall the company issued in February 2014 in connection with the ignition switch in 2.6 million of its vehicles. Several people were criminally charged in fatal accidents in which the defect is now considered the cause, and others may be forthcoming. The people had described their cars as increasing speed or stopping on their own and were not believed.
Maryland residents who have been in auto accidents often incur injuries without realizing that they have been harmed. Whether a victim has suffered serious trauma that is overshadowing less noticeable problems, or the shock of the collision has left an individual unaware that he or she has suffered harm, symptoms may not show up for hours or days after a crash.
While individuals under the age of 21 make up approximately 10 percent of all licensed drivers in Maryland and across the United States, they cause a disproportionate number of fatal crashes. These accidents, which often involve drunk driving and distracted driving, are due in large part to teen-specific behaviors. For example, experts believe many young drivers have an invincibility complex that leads them to engage in dangerous activities.
At one time or another, many Maryland motorists have driven over the posted speed limit, whether they were traveling on city streets, freeways or rural roads. Before they do so again, however, they should consider the consequences, the least of which is a traffic ticket on their driving record.
According to the NHTSA, roughly 600 people are killed each year and 900 are injured due to collapsing car roofs after a rollover. However, regulations regarding the stability of car roofs had not been updated since they originally went into effect in 1973. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 216 required a vehicle's roof to be able to withstand a force equal to 1.5 times it weight up to 5,000 pounds without moving more than five inches.