Drivers in Iowa may be safer on rural roads than urban ones. This was one of the findings of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which released its most recent Fatality Analysis Reporting System Data on Oct. 3. Overall, fatalities from motor vehicle accidents were down by 2 percent after a rise in 2015 and 2016, and pedestrian fatalities were down for the first time in five years by 1.7 percent. However, there was a significant increase in fatalities involving trucks.
Iowa residents and many other Americans own smartphones, and smartphone use has been linked to an increase in motor vehicle accidents. According to research by Motus, smartphone ownership has increased from 55 percent in 2013 to 77 percent in 2017. During that time, car accident rates have increased by 12.3 percent. Mobile workers are partially responsible for this increase as they drive 49 percent more than the typical American.
Rainy season can be a dangerous time for drivers in Iowa. When roads are slick and visibility is low, the effects of negligent drivers can be magnified. Drivers may encounter thunderstorms, heavy rain and flooding. When the weather is acting up, drivers may need to be additionally cautious in order to avoid a disaster.
A July 2018 report from the National Institutes of Health shows that a typical teen driver is a lot more dangerous on the road during their first three months of being licensed. Compared to the last three months of driving with an adult, teens are eight times more likely to get into an accident once they start driving alone. While none of the 90 teen drivers tested in the study were from Iowa, experts believe that the results could apply to the entire country.
Iowa motorists may be interested to learn that data from the National Safety Council shows that there has been a nationwide increase in car crash fatalities over the past few years. Its preliminary estimate for 2017 is that 40,100 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2017. This is down from the 40,327 deaths recorded in 2016. However, it was the second consecutive year where the number topped 40,000. Such a high number was last seen in 2007.
For many Iowa drivers, being able to listen to music, use navigation systems and make phone calls or texts while they are on the road can make driving more bearable. However, built-in infotainment systems and smartphone use can also make driving far more dangerous. In fact, many believe that distracted driving was a factor in some of the estimated 37,150 traffic fatalities that occurred in 2017.
Iowa residents will want to know what risks to look out for on the Fourth of July so that they can celebrate the holiday safely and responsibly. Esurance and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety both state that July 4th is the single worst day for fatal car crashes, so drivers should be extra careful.
Though alcohol-impaired driving saw a slight decline between 2006 and 2016, that same time period has seen a 16 percent increase in fatally injured drugged drivers. This is according to a new report that Iowa residents should know more about. The study, which was conducted by the Governors Highway Safety Association, found that 44 percent of fatally injured drivers in 2016 tested positive for drugs. About 51 percent of those drivers had two or more drugs in their system.
Self-driving cars have recently seen a wave of accidents, so residents of Iowa who are wary about them may be wondering how the makers of self-driving technology are responding. In the case of one accident that occurred in May, the response is disconcerting. In this case, a Utah driver crashed her Tesla Model S into a fire truck, and although the Autopilot program was on, she was distracted by her phone. The driver survived with a broken ankle.
Iowa residents may believe that their smartphones are the greatest impediment to driving safely. However, letting their minds wander while behind the wheel could actually be the greater danger. Getting lost in thought is believed to be a natural reaction to performing a mundane task. It is also believed that the advent of self-driving cars might not do much at first to decreased the rates of distracted driving.