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.
Iowa motorists who are interested in the autonomous car industry may be aware of a fatality that occurred in March when a self-driving Uber vehicle hit and killed a pedestrian. The police chief of Tempe, Arizona, where the accident occurred, says it would have been difficult for anyone to stop under the circumstances since the pedestrian was not in a crosswalk and the road was dark.
Some Iowa drivers might be engaging in dangerous behaviors such as talking on cellphones and texting while driving but still believe they are safe. According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, almost 58 percent of people said they believed talking on a cellphone while driving was dangerous, but about 50 percent also said they had talked on a handheld phone while behind the wheel. More than three-fourths said they thought it was dangerous to text and drive, but almost 45 percent had read a text or email while driving and 35 percent had sent one.
It is an unfortunate fact that people across Iowa are injured in car accidents every day. Whether these injuries are minor or serious, they may not always show up at the accident scene.
Iowa motorists should know that car accident injuries can vary depending on factors like speed and the presence of safety features. For example, a vehicle going 15 mph can hit a stationary car and cause the other party to suffer only minor injuries. However, the results will be much different if a car is going 40 mph. Safety belts could save an occupant from going through the windshield, and airbags can prevent trauma to the head.
Iowa drivers who get in an accident may wonder about the aches and pains they're experiencing in its aftermath. If these pains are accompanied by inflammation and loss of function in the limbs, they indicate an injury to the soft tissues of the body. These include the muscles, ligaments and tendons, and they can be strained, sprained or torn when stretched by the sudden movements of a car accident.
Government figures indicate that drowsy driving causes between 1 and 2 percent of the motor vehicle accidents in Iowa and throughout the U.S. However, a recent study from the American Automobile Association suggests that the true figure could be much higher. Researchers from the AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety used in-vehicle cameras and other equipment to monitor more than 3,500 drivers for several months. Their figures show that fatigue played a role in about 10 percent of the accidents they witnessed.
Iowa drivers have good reason to be worried about the threat posed by distracted drivers on the roadways. Smartphones and text communication have become ubiquitous, and with that popularity has come a wide rage of easy distractions that can divert drivers' eyes and minds from traffic. Recent years have seen an ongoing uptick in the number of fatal car accidents; many experts have correlated this increased danger with the rise of smartphone popularity and its associated distractions.
When someone in Iowa is involved in a car accident, reporting it to their insurance company may not be something they look forward to. Insurance rates sometimes go up after an accident, but reporting accidents is advised except in a few rare cases.