Drivers in South Carolina, as anywhere else in the U.S., can be distracted by a number of things, and phones are at the top of the list. Wakefield Research conducted an online study to which nearly 2,000 U.S. drivers responded, and what it reveals about distracted driving trends may be of interest. The results have been shared by Root Insurance, an insurer that gives discounts to drivers who avoid phone use.
According to a recent Rand report, self-driving cars in South Carolina and throughout the country would need to drive millions, or perhaps billions, of miles before they are truly considered safe vehicles. News reports issued during the past several years have suggested that self-driving cars will reduce traffic congestion and car accidents. However, self-driving vehicles may not have ample safety controls to warrant their so-called preventive features.
South Carolina residents with 2017 or 2018 model Nissan Rogues should be aware that many of these vehicles have been found with defective automatic emergency braking systems. In March 2019, the Center for Auto Safety, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization, recommended a formal investigation into the false activation of AEB on 2017-2018 Nissan Rogues. There have been more than 800,000 such cases.
South Carolina residents with modern pickup trucks should know that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has been conducting crash tests on these vehicles. Since 2012, it has been conducting small overlap front collision tests for the driver's side, and it started to test the passenger side in 2017. It turns out that passengers in these pickups are more liable to suffer injury or death than drivers.
Many vehicle buyers in South Carolina choose pickup trucks with two rows of seats because they offer an attractive combination of practicality, durability and value, but a recent series of crash simulations conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests that they do not do a very good job of protecting their passengers in a crash. The Virginia-based nonprofit group put small and medium-sized pickup trucks manufactured by Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Nissan and Honda to the test, and only the Dodge Ram 1500, Ford F-150 and Nissan Titan were found to provide good protection to passengers in front-side collisions.
Researchers at the University of Missouri have found that drivers who are distracted for any length of time are 29 times more likely to get in a crash or near-collision in a highway work zone. The distractions in question can be anything from calling or texting to talking with a passenger. South Carolina residents should know that this study has been published in the Journal of the Transportation Research Board.
Drunk driving is behind many crashes in South Carolina. Other motorists may, on occasion, even suspect that someone on the road is drunk or impaired in some other way. For example, the driver may weave in and out of lanes, make wide turns, make illegal turns, brake erratically and react slowly to traffic signals. The driver may have his or her face close to the windshield and visibly appear drunk.
The National Transportation Safety Board wants anyone in South Carolina or elsewhere in the United States sharing the road with drivers to be as safe as possible. This is why the agency has released its biannual Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements. The NTSB has no regulatory power although the independent agency's suggestions are often influential.
A recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study reveals that drivers distracted by cell phones are becoming an increasingly serious problem in South Carolina and around the country. After observing motorist behavior in four Virginia communities in 2014 and then again in 2018, researchers from the nonprofit group did not see a significant increase in cell phone use. However, they did notice that drivers were using their phones in much riskier ways.
In a recent AAA survey, 70 percent of U.S. adults expressed a desire for new vehicle tech like infotainment systems. However, these systems come with features that are not only irrelevant to driving in South Carolina but also distracting. University of Utah researchers conducted a study for AAA that focused on 30 infotainment systems on new 2017 cars. The automakers represented included Honda, Toyota, Ford, Dodge, Audi and Tesla.