As a responsible parent with a teen driver, you probably already know the unsettling fact that U.S. teens have more vehicle crashes than any other age group. You may also know the grim statistics that most crashes involving teens (60 percent) are caused by distracted drivers, and 10 percent of teen drivers who are killed on the road were driving distracted.
Even though Louisiana doesn't get the kind of heavy snowfalls and blizzards that our friends in the northern states deal with this time of year, we're not strangers to wintry conditions. Many Louisianans have already been dealing with icy, snowy roads this season.
Even with all of the new safety technology being built into vehicles, including back-up cameras, sensors that know if we're getting too close to another car and multiple types of warnings that can jolt a daydreaming or distracted driver to attention, the number of fatal crashes on our roads is rising. While the number of these crashes had been in decline for half a century, it's risen over the past two years.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has come under fire from another federal agency, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), for its lack of oversight. Specifically, it was criticized regarding only requiring voluntary reporting for things like medical records of drivers. The FMCSA is charged with overseeing the safety of commercial motor vehicle, including trucks and buses.
In Louisiana, where we get battered by heavy rains, the possibility of hydroplaning is a significant danger for drivers. It happens when drivers hit standing water in the road. The vehicle's tires are no longer on the road's surface, which can make steering the car or controlling it in any way virtually impossible. Hydroplaning often sends drivers into a panic, which only exacerbates the situation.
It took seven months, but Louisiana State Police have arrested and jailed a man for causing a fatal car crash this March in Metairie. The crash killed an 88-year old man.
We usually associate distracted driving with texting and talking on the phone. However, a recent study of 30 new model cars found that the elaborate bells and whistles common in 2017 vehicles can be dangerously distracting.
Unfortunately, some drivers simply cannot seem to stay off their phones, even when their driving through marked school zones during the school year. About one in three drivers engage in texting and other unsafe behaviors even in these zones.
A Meraux, Louisiana, man was killed over Labor Day weekend when his motorcycle hit the back of a Nissan Titan truck. The 31-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene on LA 23 in Belle Chasse.
The dangers of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in those who drive trucks and operate trains have been widely reported. One physician with the Harvard School of Public Health noted last year, "Drivers with untreated obstructive sleep apnea who were noncompliant with treatment had a five-fold increase in the risk of serious preventable crashes."