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Reduce or eliminate distractions while driving

Drivers need to be able to devote their full attention to the roadway, so there isn't any room for distractions of any type. While many people automatically associate cellphones with distracted driving, there are many things that can cause a driver's focus to divert from the roadway.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that there are three different types of distractions to be aware of. These include:

  • Manual: Taking your hands off the wheel
  • Visual: Taking your eyes off the road
  • Cognitive: Taking your mind off driving

Construction industry sees uptick in elevator-related fatalities

Working in the construction industry is inherently risky, with the nature of your job exposing you to numerous potential health and injury hazards every day. While fall risks, in particular, are highly common in your line of work, the number of construction workers losing their lives in falls involving elevators is on the rise.

According to Construction Dive, the death rate among construction workers who died in accidents involving elevators doubled between 2003 and 2016. Also, the majority, or 53%, of construction workers who died in elevator-related incidents lost their lives in falls, and often because they fell into elevator shafts. Nearly half of all construction worker fatalities that resulted from elevator falls also claimed the lives of those who fell more than 30 feet.

Americans are apprehensive about computers driving cars

Vehicles that operate on New York roads and others throughout the country have limited autonomous capabilities. However, according to AAA, it is unlikely that there will be a truly self-driving car on the road for many years or decades to come. This is partially because Americans have many questions about how safe such a vehicle would be. A survey conducted by AAA revealed that only 12% of respondents would feel comfortable riding in a car that drove itself.

Roughly half of those who responded to the survey needed to know more about how safe such a vehicle was before they would get in one. The survey also found that roughly half of respondents said that they wanted to know if a car that drove itself could be vulnerable to hackers. Finally, many people said that it wasn't clear who would be liable in the event that a self-driving car was involved in an accident.

Class bias one reason why drivers may not yield to pedestrians

The Journal of Transport & Health has published the results of a study analyzing the various factors that can influence a driver's decision to yield or not yield to a pedestrian. Drivers in New York should know that 6,283 pedestrians were killed in the U.S. in 2018.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which found the above statistic, also found that male pedestrians are twice as likely to be killed as female. Racial minorities saw a higher fatality rate. In descending order, the highest fatality rates were among American Indians/Alaska Natives, blacks and Hispanics, followed by whites.

Risk factors for drunk driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly one-third of motor vehicle crashes are caused by drunk or impaired drivers. Furthermore, it is estimated that one person is killed every 50 minutes in a drunk driving crash in New York or elsewhere in America. NHTSA data indicates that men are statistically more likely to cause a drunk driving crash compared to women.

Roughly a quarter of drunk driving accidents are caused by those who are under the age of 21. This is in spite of the fact that it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol whether they are planning on driving or not. Government data indicates that those between the ages of 21 and 24 are the most likely to drive while under the influence of alcohol. A person is considered legally drunk if he or she has a blood alcohol content higher than .08.

Study: school start time may affect how safely teens drive

Teens in New York, as elsewhere, are at risk for drowsy and distracted driving. The two can go together as drowsiness impairs judgment and leads teens to take more risks and become unsafe. Teens tend to sleep for 8 to 10 hours and wake up late in the day, and this habit can put them in danger when school starts early in the morning.

The Journal of Clinical Medicine has published a study that tentatively links later school start times with a reduction in the rate of car crashes, especially distraction-related crashes, that involve teen drivers. Researchers focused on Fairfax County in Virginia, which, back in fall 2015, pushed back its school start time from 7:20 a.m. to 8:10 a.m.

Five tips for teen drivers to avoid distraction

In a survey conducted by The Zebra, 38% of drivers aged 18 to 24 admitted to texting while on the road. The problem is clearly not a lack of education, as the overwhelming majority of drivers know that what they are doing is wrong. In New York, as elsewhere in the U.S., this means that a great many accidents are caused by drivers who never thought it could have happened to them.

There are three forms of distractions: cognitive, visual and manual. In short, the first distracts the mind, the second the eyes and the third the hands. While phone use comprises all three, something as simple as eating and drinking or changing radio stations can prove to be dangerous to drivers. The following five tips, though, can keep drivers, especially teen drivers, from falling into these dangers.

NHTSA's car safety rating system needs upgrading, new report says

In the 1990s, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration established a five-star rating system for vehicle safety. Many drivers in New York and across the U.S. rely on this rating when purchasing a vehicle, which is why it's important to know that some experts believe the rating system needs updating. A former leader in the development of NHTSA's crash testing program published a report about this in October 2019.

The author states that the crash testing on which the rating system is based is insufficient. The federal government is lagging behind Europe, Asia and Latin America in this regard. The report states that Europe crash-tests its vehicles four times as much as the U.S. before rating their safety.

Amherst car collision sends six to hospital

Reports claim that six people were injured following a car crash that occurred in Amherst on Jan. 31. It involved two vehicles -- an Amherst Police vehicle and a 2012 Chevrolet with five occupants. According to the Amherst Police Department, the officer was responding to a call when the crash arose. As for who was at fault, this has yet to be determined; the crash is under investigation.

The occupants of the 2012 Chevrolet were all University at Buffalo students with the driver identified as a 20-year-old woman from Centereach. The five were taken to the Erie County Medical Center. Of those, three (including the driver) were listed in stable condition and two in critical condition. The police officer, who had non-life-threatening injuries, was transported to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.

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