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AAA: deaths from red light running crashes hit 10-year high

AAA has released a report on red light running in New York and across the U.S. A total of 939 people died in red light running crashes in 2017, the latest year for which there is car crash data. This number represents a 10-year high and a 28% increase when compared to 2012. One third of the victims were the offending drivers while the rest were occupants in the other vehicle, pedestrians or bicyclists.

The same AAA report found that while 85% of drivers acknowledge that running red lights is wrong, one in three drivers admitted to doing it at least once in the past 30 days. Two in five thought it unlikely that the police would catch them doing it. The trend should not be surprising; relatively few drivers will run a red light while inattentive or distracted whereas many do it knowingly out of impatience. Speeding is the form of improper driving that leads to the most car crash deaths.

2017 sees 10-year high in red-light running crash deaths

In the most recent year with car crash data, 2017, there were a total of 939 deaths arising from red-light running. This marked a 10-year high. In New York and across the nation, drivers who are impatient, reckless or distracted are claiming two lives every day. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says the numbers are still rising. Those who die in 65% of these crashes are not the offending drivers.

Of course, drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists who are injured in red-light running crashes may not be entirely free from blame. This is where a few safety tips can come in handy. Drivers, first of all, must practice defensive driving. When a light turns green, they should not rush out into the intersection. Instead, they should pause and then accelerate, looking both ways at the same time.

Americans more likely to text and drive than Western Europeans

New York readers might be interested to learn that American drivers are more likely to use their cellphones and other devices while behind the wheel than their Western European counterparts, according to a new study by Liberty Mutual. The study also found that millennials are the worst offenders.

For the study, researchers surveyed 8,000 drivers in the U.S. and Western Europe. They found that 67% of all American drivers included in the survey admitted they used their cellphones to text, send email or open an app while behind the wheel. In comparison, 60% of all Western European drivers admitted they engaged in the same behavior. Meanwhile, 86% of American millennials admitted they use their cellphone while driving compared to 73% of Western European millennials. In addition, 79% of American millennials said they text while driving compared to 65% of Western European millennials.

Getting to know the Fatal Four on construction sites

Construction sites are dangerous areas by nature. In fact, the number of construction site accidents has increased in the past few years.

While some freak accidents are unavoidable, there are some instances where workers may be able to safely eliminate accidents at work. Being aware of the type of work that can lead to serious injury or death on a construction site, known as the Fatal Four, can aid in decreasing that risk. 

Dangers of night driving

At night, when it's hard to see and be seen, drivers only raise their risk for an accident. This is especially true of teen drivers in New York and across the U.S. Based on 2016 data from NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, the National Safety Council found that 19% of fatal crashes involving a 15- to 17-year-old driver take place between 6pm and 9pm and that 18% of fatal crashes involving 15- to 19-year-olds arise between 9pm and midnight.

Around the ages of 15 and 17, most teens have received their permit or have just barely received their license, and their inexperience puts them at a high risk. Add to that the fatigue that comes over everyone between 6 pm and midnight, and this six-hour period becomes an area of serious concern. Many teens are coming home from school events or from work during that time.

Subaru Crosstrek in more at-fault crashes than any other car

The Subaru Crosstrek is involved in more at-fault crashes than any other newer model vehicle in the U.S. This is according to a survey from Insurify, a vehicle insurance comparison site with a database of over 1.6 million insurance quotes. In fact, Insurify has compiled a list of the top 10 vehicles that get into accidents in New York and the rest of the nation.

The ironic thing about the Subaru Crosstrek reaching No. 1 is that its 2019 model received the highest possible safety grade from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. Specifically, Insurify found that accidents have affected 25.81% of all the Crosstreks on the road.

Drowsy driving is an inherent risk in the ride-sharing industry

Ride-share drivers in New York should know that being drowsy behind the wheel is an inherent risk in their line of work. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine points out that these drivers may work for extended periods of wakefulness and disregard any symptoms of fatigue that they experience. Many even feel that the value of sleep is overrated.

Ride-sharing companies have taken some steps to combat the trend of drowsy driving. Uber, for instance, requires its drivers to go offline for six hours after 12 hours of work. Lyft mandates the same rest period for those who drive 14 hours. However, the AASM finds these measures to be insufficient. Drivers may hold several jobs, even with various ride-sharing companies, or drive when sleepiness reaches a peak, such as late at night and early in the morning.

Tips to avoid distracted driving

Motorists in New York and across the U.S. know that distracted driving is dangerous, but a significant portion of them continue to engage in the behavior. Unfortunately, this has tragic consequences. In 2017, at least 3,166 people were killed in car accidents caused by distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, there are some safety measures people can take to ensure they don't lose focus behind the wheel.

For example, experts say that drivers should either turn off their cellphones or place them in "Do Not Disturb" mode when they get behind the wheel. This will prevent them from being distracted by texts or phone calls while the vehicle is in motion. They also say that drivers should avoid eating while operating a vehicle. Eating, opening food wrappers, and food spills can all cause drivers to take their eyes off the road, which can lead to accidents.

Smart cars may prove too distracting for older drivers

Seat warmers, reverse parking cameras and automatic windshield wipers are just a few of the technological advances available for drivers in New York and across the United States. While these high-tech perks can make driving more enjoyable, they don't come without risk. A new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found that older drivers may become distracted by this new technology, putting them at risk of traffic accidents.

The study looked into the driving habits of 128 participants. The participants were divided into two age groups. One group consisted of younger drivers ages 21 to 36, and the other group consisted of older drivers ages 55 to 75. Both groups were asked to drive one of six 2018 model cars. The vehicles were deemed "smart cars" that had a variety of technology features, which included voice activation controls and navigation screens. Drivers were asked to drive for two miles while operating various technologies in the car.

Local law, the DOB and the uptick in construction accidents

The construction industry in New York City is alive and well, but the same does not apply to a large number of unfortunate workers.

Data from the Office of the Comptroller shows a significant increase in construction-related injuries and fatalities in New York City. A local law mandates safety training, but the training deadline keeps changing.

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