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Proven safety tips for drivers out in the bright sunlight

Drivers in New York know that the sun is at its brightest in the early morning and late afternoon, but they may not know that the brightness is liable to create visual illusions. For this and other reasons, bright sunlight increases the risk for a fatal car accident by 16 percent. With the following safety tips, drivers can avoid crashes in these conditions and protect their eyes at the same time.

First, drivers should always keep a pair of sunglasses handy in their vehicle. These guard against harmful UV rays and lessen the brightness of the sun. Next, they should use their sun visors when the sun's rays hit their front windshield or side windows. Almost every vehicle has these, and they are all designed not to hinder the driver's vision.

Additional safety courses help teens drive safer

Smartphones, smartwatches and tablets are just a few of the distractions vying for a teenager driver's attention as he or she hits the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in children ages 15 to 18. In 2015, 99,000 teenage drivers were injured in collisions, and 1,972 teenage drivers were involved in collisions that resulted in a fatality.

Studies have found that most motor vehicle accidents are the result of distracted driving, weather-related issues or lack of knowledge of car control. Both teenage drivers and older drivers lack experience and knowledge in what to do if an unexpected problem suddenly occurs when driving. One program, called Tire Rack Street Survival, was developed to help teenagers become safer drivers by teaching them how to react to other drivers on the road as well as emergency situations.

Limo ride ends in accident and claims 20 lives

As the end of the year approaches, the roads will see an increase in traffic and motor vehicle accidents. Most people do not realize there is still the possibility of limo accidents and injuries. Though there are more popular options to get around town, such as with Uber, Lyft and other upcoming rideshare companies, many New Yorkers still travel in limos.

Limos are not accident-proof, and contrary to popular misconceptions, they are not the safest vehicles on the streets. Often modified, many of them lack the necessary safety features to keep passengers and drivers safe. Their large size and weight are often catalysts in collisions that result in severe injuries and death.

OSHA kicks off trenching and excavation safety initiative

Some of the most dangerous jobs that construction workers in New York and elsewhere face each year involve trenching and excavation. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 130 workers were killed while taking part in trenching and excavation operations between 2011 and 2016.

In order to increase worker safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration kicked off a National Emphasis Program aimed at trenching and excavation issues on Oct. 1. During the three-month initiative, the agency will provide education and prevention outreach to various contractors in the construction industry, including excavation employers, permitting organizations, water works supply companies and plumbing companies. It will also offer compliance assistance support and establish a national reporting system for OSHA trenching and excavation inspections.

AAA recommends 100 practice hours for teen drivers

Statistics released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that teenage motorists are far more likely to be involved in fatal crashes when they are driving with teen passengers. New York residents, especially those with teen drivers in the household, might be interested in the specifics of the study.

The research indicates that when teenagers are driving and crash with teen passengers, the death rate for all people involved is increased by 51 percent. For the occupants of other vehicles sharing the road, the rate of fatalities jumped by 56 percent. The rate was 45 percent higher for the teen driver and 17 percent higher for cyclists and pedestrians.

Construction workers at high risk for dangerous fatigue

Brooklyn workers often face exhausting workloads. Unfortunately, tiredness on the job can be a serious risk factor for injuries, accidents and other safety problems. According to one study by the National Safety Council, 69 percent of employees are tired at work, including many people whose jobs involve safety-intensive tasks and procedures. In particular, construction, transportation, manufacturing and utility workers experience frequent high levels of fatigue at work, but often do not recognize that it could lead to safety problems.

All four industries involve frequent shift work, a setup known to contribute to fatigue. While 90 percent of employers surveyed in the study said that fatigue can affect people's safety and well-being at work, only 72 percent of employees said that their tiredness was a safety issue. However, tired workers can lead to serious workplace accidents and injuries, especially in industries that are already known for significant safety concerns. Experts urged employers to take action to help prevent workplace fatigue, including scheduling people to minimize the risk of a serious incident.

Tesla's Autopilot report has little data to back up its claims

Drivers in New York may be familiar with the various criticisms of Tesla's Autopilot program. One significant claim is that Autopilot, which uses adaptive cruise control and steering assistance, makes drivers too complacent. While Tesla's vehicles have always done well in crash testing, they have also been involved in several crashes, at least two of them fatal.

In response to these concerns, Tesla has published its first voluntary Vehicle Safety Report on the Autopilot program. Between July and September 2018, the Autopilot feature registered one accident or crash-like event for every 3.34 million miles that drivers had it engaged. Those who did not engage the feature saw one accident or crash-like event for every 1.92 million miles.

Advanced car safety features are still limited

According to a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, most drivers have too much confidence in advanced vehicle safety features. Researchers found that many in New York and throughout the country don't understand exactly what these features can do. For instance, 25 percent of study participants didn't look before changing lanes because they had blind spot monitoring features on their vehicles. Roughly 40 percent of drivers were confused as to the difference between what the forward-collision and the emergency braking systems did.

The forward-collision warning system merely tells drivers when an accident may be imminent. However, the emergency braking system will actually stop the car in certain situations. Regardless of how many advanced features a vehicle has, they are not meant to replace the capabilities of a human driver. Those who drive vehicles with emergency braking or adaptive cruise control still need to pay attention to the road.

Where do most car accidents occur in Brooklyn?

A car crash can occur at a moment's notice. As much as someone may take precautions to avoid such an auto accident, you cannot always anticipate how other drivers will behave. 

Part of anticipating other drivers' behavior involves knowing what areas of the city are prone to traffic collisions. Although they can occur anywhere, research from Auto Insurance Center has found the areas of New York, particularly Brooklyn, where car crashes are most likely to occur. According to data from recent years, Queens has the highest rate of collisions out of the boroughs. However, Brooklyn is not far behind, and it actually has the highest rate of car accident fatalities in the area. 

Motus connects smartphones to rise in mobile worker car crashes

Drivers in Brooklyn are probably aware that distracted driving is a serious safety issue. According to the 2018 Distracted Driving Report from Motus, a workforce management company, this issue is especially common with the mobile workforce. Mobile workers are always connected, so it's not surprising that they would be prone to using their smartphones behind the wheel.

The report actually links the increase in smartphone ownership with the rise in auto accidents among mobile workers. In 2013, 55 percent of mobile workers owned smartphones whereas 77 percent did in 2017. In that same five-year period, the number of crashes among mobile workers rose from 5.7 million to 6.4 million.

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