These Medications May Affect Your Driving

It’s cold and flu season, which means many Americans are heading to the store to stock-up on over-the-counter medicines. OTC medicines can help minimize symptoms of illness, but they can seriously interfere with your ability to drive.

Before you take any medication, read the label carefully. Some medications are known to cause marked drowsiness, and even those that aren’t associated with drowsiness could interact poorly with prescription medications.

Cold and Allergy Medicines That Cause Drowsiness

Antihistamines are widely used to treat symptoms of colds and allergies. But some of these medicines can be dangerous for drivers. When purchasing OTC antihistamines, consider the following:

  • Diphenhydramine – This active ingredient in Benadryl helps relieve symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, itchy nose, and watery eyes. But diphenhydramine is also the active ingredient in some OTC sleep medications, so taking it before driving

The Rise of Digital Spying in Divorce

When marriages turn sour, some people turn to digital surveillance to monitor their spouse’s behavior. According to an NPR report, some family law attorneys say that digital spying has become so common, it’s changing how they handle divorce cases.

People are using GPS monitors, software, and other devices to monitor not only the physical location of their current or ex spouse, but also their online activity. One partner may be trying to gather evidence that could help them prevail in a divorce. But in at least one case, a woman’s ex-husband was using a GPS device to track her movements long after they had split. Prosecutors couldn’t charge the ex-husband with a crime, as he and his wife had joint ownership of the car.

Lack of Clarity

Employers may legally use digital surveillance to track employees’ online activity, and …

Traffic Accident Deaths
U.S. Ranks Poorly in Preventing Traffic Deaths

At first glance, the United States traffic fatality rate – 7 deaths per every billion miles traveled – may seem to indicate that the nation’s roadways are fairly safe. But numbers can be deceiving.

Among a handful of comparable industrialized countries, the U.S. now has the highest traffic fatality rate – and has made the least progress since 1990 in reducing traffic fatalities, according to The New York Times.

France, which in 1990 had the highest traffic fatality rate (25.7 per billion road miles traveled), showed the most improvement; by 2015, the country had decreased crash deaths to 5.9 per billion road miles traveled. In 1990, the U.S. crash fatality rate was better than that of France, Israel, Canada, Australia, and Germany, and ranked just slightly behind the United Kingdom and Sweden. But since then, all of those countries …

Airbag Injury
Recent Takata Air Bag Death Highlights Failings of Recall System

In December 2017, Honda and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration confirmed that, in July, a faulty Takata air bag inflator had caused another death. The victim was driving a 2004 Honda Civic, and the air bag ruptured during a crash, releasing deadly shrapnel into the vehicle’s interior cabin.

The death last year was the 20th linked to the faulty inflators since Honda issued the first recall 15 years ago. What began as a relatively small recall of Honda vehicles has gradually grown to be the largest U.S. automotive recall on record. And in January 2018, another 3.3 million vehicles from 14 automakers joined the list of recalled vehicles, bringing the total number of recalled vehicles in the U.S. to about 40 million.

What’s especially frightening about this recall is that as of November 2017, no automaker had completed …

Red Light Accident
Why Running Red Lights is a Major Problem in Urban Areas

According to data released in 2017 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, crashes in which drivers ran red lights killed 771 people and injured about 137,000 people in 2015. One study in Fairfax, Va., found that every 20 minutes at every intersection, a driver ran a red light.

It’s easy to understand why these crashes are especially dangerous in urban areas with busy intersections – drivers who run red lights are likely to strike another vehicle in the side. These “T-bone” crashes often result in severe injuries, especially in older-model cars that aren’t equipped with side air bags. And in urban areas, running a red light could result in pedestrian or bicyclist fatalities.

The IIHS recorded a re-creation of an actual T-bone intersection crash that occurred when a Ford F150 truck ran a red light. The YouTube video of …

Thanksgiving Driving Safely
Does Your Vehicle Get Top Safety Marks? (Spoiler: Probably Not)

If you’re the proud owner of a 2018 vehicle, you might assume that it comes with the best safety features available. But that’s not necessarily true.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, only 15 of the 2018-model-year vehicles it tested qualified for its highest safety rating. IIHS has been conducting crash tests on new cars since 2006, but last fall’s test of 2018 models was the first that considered passenger–side overlap-crash safety, and headlight safety.

Overlap crashes are frontal impacts that affect just one corner of the vehicle. IIHS notes that manufacturers have long looked at improving overlap-crash safety for the driver’s side, but the passenger’s side hasn’t been a high priority. IIHS said it hopes that overlap-crash safety will soon be symmetric, protecting drivers and passengers equally.

And The Winners Are…

To qualify for the best …

Distracted Driving
Stricter Licensing Requirements Aim to Combat Distracted Driving

The Texas Department of Public Safety is implementing policy changes to make sure all new drivers understand the dangers of driving while distracted.

In 2015, TxDPS debuted its Impact Texas Teen Drivers program, which requires drivers ages 16 and 17 to complete a course on distracted driving before taking their driver’s test. But people applying for their first driver’s license at age 18 or older haven’t had to fulfill the same requirement.

In May 2017, TxDPS announced its Impact Texas Young Drivers program, which, as of Sept. 1, requires all drivers applying for their first license to complete a free, one-hour distracted driving course before taking their skills test. And any new driver age 24 or younger must also complete a six-hour driver education course. In 2018, TxDPS will introduce its Impact Texas Adult Drivers course, specifically for new drivers …

Rideshare Accident
Why We Need to Establish Accountability in the Rideshare Industry

In November, the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office fired an attorney after she had a dispute with an Uber driver. The disagreement began when the woman told the driver to take a route different than the one on his GPS. As tension escalated, the driver hit the “record” button on his phone, capturing audio of the prosecutor verbally insulting him. He then called police when she refused to exit his vehicle.

This incident raises two interesting questions: If the driver hadn’t recorded what happened, would anyone have believed his story about the assistant district attorney? And what steps has Uber taken to ensure passengers aren’t subject to abuse and violence? That second question is at the heart of a recent lawsuit, in which two women who were sexually assaulted by their Uber driver say the company isn’t doing enough …

A Safer Future for Austin Motorists?

The Texas Transportation Commission recently awarded $5.6 million for roadway improvement projects in eight counties. In Travis County, funds are earmarked for improving the intersection of RM 2244 (Bee Cave Road) and Cuernavaca.

That busy intersection has been the scene of numerous crashes, in part because of geography. The two curving roads have blind spots that may make it harder to see approaching cars. And as the greater Austin population grows, traffic is increasing on high-speed suburban roads, raising safety concerns.

Road Improvement Projects

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, about 25,000 vehicles per day travel along Bee Cave Road, and by the year 2026, daily traffic is expected to average 33,400 vehicles per day. The road was built in 1956 and was not designed to accommodate modern-day traffic. To ease traffic congestion and improve overall safety, TxDOT launched …

Pedestrian Injury
What Texas Officials are Doing to Increase Pedestrian Safety

In 2016, 29 pedestrians died in Austin traffic crashes, and that wasn’t a fluke occurrence. On average, 28 pedestrians die every year in Austin crashes. So officials are stepping up efforts to reverse this trend.

The Texas Department of Transportation announced the launch of “Be Safe Be Seen” on November 29, for the purpose of reducing pedestrian fatalities along Austin’s Interstate 35 corridor and in other heavy-traffic areas. The campaign will focus on providing reflective bags and accessories to the pedestrian population most at risk of being struck by vehicles: homeless people and schoolchildren.

Homelessness as a Risk Factor

The Austin-American Statesman reported in 2015 that 50 percent of Austin-area homeless people are at risk of premature death. And while there are many risk factors that contribute to the risk of death among Travis County homeless populations, traffic accidents caused …