Teens are just as liable as adults to engage in what one National Safety Council representative calls the Three D's: drugged, distracted and drowsy driving. In New Jersey and across the U.S., 3.6 million teens will be graduating from high school, which means graduation parties and more inexperienced drivers on the road.
New Jersey drivers should know that every day in this country, 9 people die and 100 are injured in distracted driving crashes. These crashes often involve the use of phones and in-vehicle tech, such as dashboard touchscreens. It makes sense, then, that the National Safety Council has designated April to be Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Some new research on this concerning trend has come in time for April 2019.
Federal data shows that more and more people are dying in large truck crashes in New Jersey and across the U.S. In 2017, a total of 4,102 people died in such accidents, marking a 28 percent increase from 2009. Rear-end collisions are among the most common types of accidents between large trucks and passenger vehicles, and they can also be among the most devastating.
The widespread use of prescription opioids has been called an epidemic, and people in New Jersey could be at increased risk when drivers abuse these drugs. A study that looked at data about fatal two-car accidents found a relationship between opioid use and motor vehicle crashes. Researchers identified which drivers were considered responsible for causing accidents and if they had prescription opioids in their bodies. Among people labeled crash initiators, they had almost twice the likelihood of testing positive for opioids compared to drivers who were not responsible for crashes.
Some ridesharing drivers in New Jersey and across the U.S. are endangering both themselves and others through sleep deprivation. This is because many of them overwork themselves to meet certain salary incentives. Most ridesharing drivers are independent contractors, which means they are never screened for medical conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea.
Traffic accidents are a major concern to people in New Jersey and around the world. Indeed, World Health Organization statistics indicate that motor vehicle accidents are the eighth most common cause of death on a global level. In 2016, deaths related to traffic reached 1.35 million in 2016, moving ahead of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS as a major public health and safety risk. The figures were released as part of the WHO's 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety. The report's foreword noted that roadway safety often does not receive sufficient attention as a global issue.
While it may be tougher to drive on New Jersey roads when the weather gets cold and snowy, it is not impossible to do so safely. To avoid an accident, drivers should increase their following distance to at least eight seconds behind the vehicles in front of theirs. Furthermore, it is not a good idea to use cruise control or to accelerate too quickly. Those who are driving up a hill should not stop or slow down.
Truckers in New Jersey, as elsewhere, may find themselves frustrated by current hours-of-service guidelines. For example, many complain about the rule requiring them to take a 30-minute rest break after driving for eight consecutive hours; according to them, it can create delays, force them to speed to make up for lost time and bring on drowsiness earlier in their shift.
New Jersey residents who are mobile workers or the employers of a grey fleet may be interested to know the results of the 2018 Distracted Driving Report offered by Motus, a workforce management company. Motus has linked the increase in car crashes among mobile workers to an increase in smartphone ownership.
New Jersey residents who plan on taking a road trip during the summer are probably aware that others have similar plans. This means more cars on the road and, unfortunately, more crashes. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car and motorcycle crashes are the number one cause of traumatic brain injuries. This should be a cause for concern for everyone out on the road.