Several studies have confirmed a phenomenon known as illusory superiority. That is the phenomenon that causes relatively high percentages of people to identify themselves as above average. In terms of driving, roughly 80 percent of people consider themselves to be above average drivers. Some studies have gone so far as to suggest that the less competent the person, the more likely they are to overrate their abilities. Those who cause car accidents may be among the most confident in their driving abilities.
Sooner or later, most drivers will make a mistake that could lead to an accident. Driver error is a common cause of car wrecks. Drivers can be distracted, exhausted, irritated or confused at exactly the wrong moment, leading to a serious crash. Eliminating driver error would drastically reduce the number of auto accidents that occur every year on American roads. The National Transportation Safety Board is hoping that connected-vehicle technology can help. Cars that communicate with one another, with the road, and with drivers may prevent thousands of accidents every year.
The Illinois House of Representatives has passed a bill to ban the use of handheld cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. The measure is intended to reduce the distracted driving accidents caused by drivers paying attention to their phones, rather than to safe driving. The bill now goes to Governor Pat Quinn. If he signs the bill into law, Illinois will become one of the earliest states to take this step in combating distracted driving.
Texting and driving is a crime in most states, including Illinois. The practice has been banned due to the sharp increase in the chances of a car accident coming from a driver who is distracted by his or her cell phone. The behavior is often attributed to young people for whom cell phones have become an integral part of life. A recent study shows that, while teens certainly text and drive with alarming frequency, adults are actually greater offenders of texting behind the wheel. Teens may simply be mirroring the behavior of their parent's generation.
Illinois is again considering becoming one of the handful of states that ban the use of hand-held cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. The majority of states, including Illinois, already ban texting while driving as a behavior associated with distracted driving accidents. A proposal to ban hand-held cell phone use was defeated in Senate last year. A new proposal was endorsed by a state House committee earlier this month. If the bill is passed by the full House, it will go to the state Senate where a similar bill was defeated last year.
Do as I say, not as I do. As a training tool, that admonition has long proven ineffective. In the case of distracted driving and other dangerous practices behind the wheel, a new study has shown that teens will emulate their parents' poor driving habits and car accidents will often be the result. In a survey conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions, two-thirds of teens indicated that their parents do not obey the driving rules they set for their children. Unsurprisingly, roughly the same percentage of teens ignore the safe driving advice and repeat the poor driving habits of their parents.
The laws against texting and driving that have swept the nation in recent years draw a distinction between the distraction offered by text messaging and the distractions that have long been part of the driving experience. A new study has shown some distractions are, in fact, more dangerous than others in terms of causing car accidents. The study also demonstrated that people often do not realize how much their driving suffers when they split their attention between tasks.
Motor vehicle fatalities have been declining for many years. Despite a significantly larger population, 2010 statistics regarding fatal car crashes were comparable to the numbers seen in the 1950s. In fact, 2010 saw the fewest fatalities per miles driven ever recorded according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Despite the tremendous improvement in preventing motor vehicle deaths, it seems there has been almost no progress in cutting down on speeding and aggressive driving.
There are more drivers aged 70 and older on the roads now than ever before. As the Baby Boomer generation ages, that population will expand, as will the information and misinformation regarding older drivers and serious car accidents. With no set guidelines about how to deal with age and the right to drive, it is important for people understand the real impact of older people on the roads before placing unnecessary restrictions on the licenses of elderly Americans.
The recent tragedy in Florida in which 11 people lost their lives has called attention to a problem faced in many states. When is the potential for a serious car accident so great that a road should be shut down? Florida officials briefly shut down Interstate 75 because a brush fire and foggy conditions had lowered visibility to unsafe levels. Shortly after deciding to reopen that stretch of highway, the dangerous conditions caused a massive wreck involving semi trucks, a motor home and multiple cars. The accident has left people wondering who has the responsibility to close roads and what criteria do they use to make their decisions?