With the holidays, there is always the danger that some Kentucky residents will drink and drive. Every year across the U.S., there are hundreds of DUI-related crashes around the holidays. Unfortunately, the Fourth of July has the worst fatality rate of around 42 deaths per day. Second is Memorial Day (39.5), followed by Labor Day (38.1), New Year's (31.7), Thanksgiving (27.9) and Christmas (27.7).
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, teen drivers are 15% more likely to get in a fatal car crash during the summer: in particular, in the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The reason is that teens, who are inexperienced to begin with, spend more time on the road during this season. Kentucky residents can imagine how events like the Fourth of July celebrations also have a role to play in more drivers, and potentially inebriated drivers, being on the road.
With the addition of automatic braking systems, airbags and crash avoidance technology, car manufacturers are making cars safer than ever before. Unfortunately, over 37,000 people in Kentucky and across the United States died in 2017 as a result of a car accident. When looking for a new vehicle, shoppers are taking note of technology advancements that can help reduce these statistics.
Even drizzling rain can significantly up the risk of getting into a car crash in Kentucky and elsewhere, according to a new study. The findings were recently published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
Self-driving cars have a while to go before they can be deemed road-ready according to a report from the Rand Corporation. Many drivers in Kentucky would agree, especially when they consider the history of these vehicles. In May 2016, one man died when his Tesla, which was on Autopilot, crashed into a truck. In March 2018, a self-driving Uber vehicle fatally struck a pedestrian in Arizona.
Kentucky drivers can become inattentive to the road if they use their phones, adjust the radio and even talk with passengers. In the five seconds that it takes to read the average text message, drivers going 55 mph will travel the length of a football field.
The use of opioids may be a factor in some fatal two-car accidents in Kentucky and around the country. It is nearly two times more likely that drivers who cause these accidents will test positive for opioids compared to the other drivers in the accident according to a study that was published in JAMA Network Open. Among all fatal accidents, failure to stay in the correct lane was the most common cause.
Kentucky readers may be concerned to learn that US traffic deaths exceeded 40,000 for the third straight year in 2018, according to the National Safety Council. In addition, approximately 4.5 million people sustained serious injuries in car accidents last year.
It is not a good idea to drive on Kentucky roadways when sleep-deprived. Driving while tired can be just as dangerous as driving while drunk. According to a Consumer Reports study, prescription sleep aids could be contributing to the problem. Of 1,767 people surveyed, roughly 20 percent said that they drove within seven hours of taking them.
Excessive alcohol consumption can impair a driver's reaction time, depth perception and peripheral vision, all of which increase the risk for an auto accident. Many drunk driving crashes in Kentucky are fatal. In fact, about one-third of all traffic-related fatalities in the country are DUI crash deaths. Drivers under 24 and motorcyclists are among those most susceptible to drunk driving crashes.