In every seat in every vehicle sold in Texas and across the U.S. there are seat belts. They’re not optional, and there’s no extra charge for them. Whether you purchased your vehicle, are leasing it or are driving a rental, you paid for that seat belt. Why not use it? If you’re involved in an accident, using a seat belt could mean the difference between life or death, or between a serious or a minor injury, or maybe no injury at all.
Nearly 3,000 people not using seat belts were killed or seriously injured in vehicle accidents in Texas in 2017, reports the Texarkana Gazette. Using a seat belt improves your chances of surviving a vehicle accident by 45% to 60%. The Texas Department of Transportation Austin District is trying to increase seat belt use through a public safety …
The bad news is that Texas is still No. 1. With 3,722 deaths on Texas roads last year, the state once again had the most traffic fatalities in 2017, according to statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Texas also held this spot in 2016.
The good news is that the numbers show improvement. The 2017 figure is down slightly from the 3,797 who died on the road in 2016. This 2 percent drop narrowly beat the national average in a year when overall road deaths decreased across the country. California—the only other state with more than 3,500 deaths—saw a 6 percent drop, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Also, Texas falls in the middle of the field in deaths per capita, behind much smaller states in the West and Midwest, the Chronicle says.
Alcohol-related driving fatalities made …
Summer is over and fall is in full swing, which means that the holiday travel season is right around the corner. For many families, Thanksgiving is the first major travel occasion of the fall, as drivers hit the road to reunite with friends and family. In fact, it is usually the most-traveled holiday for American travelers. Whether you’re going across the country or around the corner, staying for a week or just dropping in for supper, all travelers need to keep basic safety in mind to avoid accidents that can be costly—and even deadly.
Here are some tips to make sure you and your family get there—and back—safely and happily.
Get your vehicle checked. Especially if you’re going to be traveling a long distance, you want to make sure your car is ready for the trip. Have your mechanic check …
The limousine that crashed in New York state in early October, killing 20 people, should not even have been on the road. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stated days after the Oct. 6 accident that the vehicle had failed its latest safety inspection—and the driver did not even have the proper license.
The limousine itself was what some have called a “Frankenstein vehicle”—basically an SUV that has been cut in half and stretched out.
“When we look at limousines and stretch limos, we see a really Frankenstein system of cars that potentially are cut up and put back together with parts and pieces that were not original to them,” Deborah Hersman, president, and CEO of the nonprofit National Safety Council and former chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, told Texas Public Radio. “And additionally, some things may be …
How badly can you be hurt in a minivan crash? The answer, according to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), depends not only on what kind of minivan you’re in, but also whether you’re the driver or the passenger.
The IIHS recently conducted tests on three popular minivans and discovered that some are better than others at protecting passengers, according to a Consumer Reports article.
The institute rated the Honda Odyssey tops of the three, giving it a “good” rating for passenger safety. The Chrysler Pacifica was deemed “acceptable.” At the bottom of the pack, the Toyota Sienna’s “marginal” rating was attributed to the risk of potential leg injuries. (There are four possible IIHS ratings: “good,” “acceptable,” “marginal,” and “poor.”)
The IIHS ran all three minivans through its latest test, called the passenger-side small-overlap …
When it comes to safe driving, Austin doesn’t fare as badly as other cities, but there’s certainly room to improve.
Insurance company Allstate recently unveiled its 2018 America’s Safest Drivers report, which ranks the 200 largest cities in the United States based on collision frequency. Austin comes in at 159th in the nation.
The average driver in America will experience a collision once every 10 years, according to Allstate claims data. In Austin, that average shrinks to 7.1 years between claims, Allstate said.
Austin has dropped one place on the list since last year, when the Bat City ranked 158th.
The country’s safest drivers are found in Brownsville, TX, where drivers go an average of 13.6 years between claims, according to the report. Collisions in Brownsville are 26.3 percent less likely compared to the national average, …
More than one hit-and-run crash occurs every minute on U.S. roads, according to 2018 research by the American Automobile Association. These accidents resulted in a record number of deaths in 2016: 2,049, a 60 percent increase since 2009. Hit-and-run fatalities occur nearly six times a day in the U.S., reports the Washington Post.
With so many accidents causing so much destruction, the obvious question is: Why do so many drivers flee the scene of an accident? What goes through the mind of a hit-and-run driver?
Now, some recent research has provided some insight.
“The brain can do really extreme things,” Emanuel Robinson, a psychologist at Westat’s Center for Transportation, Technology and Safety Research, told the Washington Post. “Anytime we get into an accident we get emotional.”
Although most drivers will stay at the scene of an accident, “the …
You’re riding in a vehicle with dozens of other people, when it suddenly veers off the road and into a body of water. It sounds alarming, but it’s an experience tourists pay for all the time when they board a “duck tour.”
Duck boats—vehicles that can operate on land and in water—have been operated as tourist attractions in harbor, river, or lake cities in the U.S. since 1946, many using surplus military amphibious landing vehicles from World War II. And while the majority of duck tours go off without a hitch, there have been exceptions with sometimes deadly results.
Since 1999, there have been 12 incidents in the U.S. involving duck boats, resulting in 44 deaths. The most recent of these has also been the deadliest: the July sinking of a duck boat on Table Rock Lake near Branson, …
Scooters have emerged as an affordable and popular way to travel in the city, but there are unforeseen consequences of this trend.
One company, Lime, is feeling the squeeze after a woman crashed one of their rental stand-up scooters in Austin in early August, striking a curb and slamming head-first into the pavement, the Austin American-Statesman reports. The rider was not wearing a helmet, despite Lime’s policy that all riders must wear them.
Lime operates dockless electric scooters and pedal-assist bikes in more than 60 U.S. cities and several cities in Europe. To ride them, a customer can use the Lime app to find and unlock a scooter nearby, then park the scooter at the end of the ride and use the app to lock it. The goal of scooter-sharing companies like Lime and Bird, which have been called …
Some advocates are concerned that America’s top automotive safety watchdog may not be so watchful these days – and that the highways may become less safe as a result.
According to Consumer Reports, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched only 13 defect investigations in 2017, the fewest in its 47-year history. In previous years, the federal organization had conducted many more – 204 at its peak in 1989.
“The American public is relying on this agency to be a cop on the beat,” Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a Washington watchdog group, told Consumer Reports. “People expect the federal government to protect them. … Absent that, there’s going to be a tremendous void in motorist safety.”
But the agency, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), says that fewer investigations are …