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 …
It may not be much comfort if you’re the one getting a traffic ticket, but drivers in the Lone Star State may actually be getting off easy compared to other parts of the country. But does lax enforcement of traffic laws make a state less safe?
A recent report from personal finance site Wallet Hub puts Texas at the bottom of the list of “Strictest States on Speeding and Reckless Driving.” The state ranked 51st overall in a study that collected data from all 50 U.S. states as well as Washington D.C. The study assigned points to states based on several metrics related to speeding and reckless driving; the points were totaled to arrive at the overall strictness rank.
Among the factors that kept Texas in last place are:
- Speeding is not automatically considered reckless driving: In
When the police ask you to take a Breathalyzer test, it’s usually already too late. The damage — sometimes property damage, sometimes injury or loss of life — has already been done. But what if there were a way you could tell if you were impaired before you got behind the wheel? Well, there’s an app for that.
DRUID is one of a recent (and ever-growing) crop of phone-based applications that allow drivers to measure their level of impairment before they turn the key.
How It Works
DRUID, which was specifically formulated to measure impairment from marijuana, asks users to complete a series of cognitive and physical tasks while sober to establish a baseline performance score. Reaction time, decision making, hand-eye coordination, balance and time estimation are measured while the user’s attention is divided.
This score is then compared to …
In April, two California companies launched dockless scooter systems in Austin. The City Council limited the two companies – LimeBike and Bird – to 500 scooters each, until the city determines the feasibility of dockless scooter systems.
In theory, riders use a scooter and leave it next to a bike rack or some other out-of-the-way area; but by mid-April, the city had impounded 55 scooters that were blocking sidewalks, roads, or public areas. By mid-May, the city was scrambling to regulate scooters and published 10 pages of rules and six pages of licensing requirements.
Scooter Laws in Texas
The Austin Department of Transportation’s new rules address several safety concerns. The rules apply to scooters and bikeshare bicycles.
Companies operating either of those devices in Austin are now required to:
- By Aug. 1, outfit all units with technology that tells the
In January, the National Safety Council announced that in 2016, 161,374 people died from accidental injuries. That was the first year in recorded history that accidental injury was the third leading cause of death.
The NSC analysis of fatality data found accident-related fatalities increased 10 percent in 2016, compared to the previous year. In the same time period, vehicle crash deaths increased 6.8 percent. Crashes killed 40,327 people, and unintentional opioid overdoses claimed 37,814 lives.
Fatal accidents are usually preventable. But inattention, judgment errors, and outright negligence continue to cause fatal accidents year after year. In the press release about its analysis, NSC president and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman said, “Our complacency results in 442 deaths each day.”
Traffic Crash Fatality Trends
Overall, U.S. motorists are safer now than they were years ago. In 1996, the crash fatality rate was …
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
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 …
After June 21, the longest day of the year, the sunrise occurs a bit later each day and sunset is a bit earlier. By December 21, Austin’s day is just over 10 hours long – about four hours shorter than in June. The gradual decrease in daylight means more people are commuting to and from work in the dark, which increases their risk of a crash.
According to the National Safety Council, the risk of a fatal crash is three times greater for nighttime drivers than daytime drivers. Drivers who understand the risks associated with driving in the dark are more likely to stay safe on the road.
Nighttime Driving Risks
Visibility is the greatest challenge of nighttime driving. Although headlights and street lights illuminate the road ahead, drivers simply can’t see as far as they can during the day. …
According to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board, speeding-related crash fatalities decreased nationwide between 2012 and 2014. But speeding is still a factor in about 30 percent of annual crash fatalities.
In the report, “Reducing Speeding-Related Crashes Involving Passenger Vehicles,” the NTSB offered several recommendations for reducing the incidence of speeding. Those recommendations were for three of the federal agencies that oversee various aspects of traffic safety: the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Federal Highway Administration. The NTSB also made recommendations for specific states, including Texas.
Texas Behind Other States in Speed Enforcement
The NTSB encouraged Texas and six other states to amend their state laws that forbid the use of automated speed enforcement (ASE) systems. ASE systems use either hidden or visible traffic cameras to detect traffic violations …
Effective Sept. 1, a new Texas law makes it illegal to engage in texting while driving. People ticketed for violating the law could pay $99 for a first offense and up to $200 for subsequent offenses.
Safety advocates say Texas is long overdue for a statewide texting ban, as 47 states already had such laws. But more than 90 cities in Texas already have laws that forbid texting while driving, and some of those laws are stricter than the state ban.
Gov. Greg Abbott said that during the special 30-day session that began July 18, a topic of discussion would be ensuring the state texting ban supersedes local bans. If that happens, some cities may lose the gains they’ve made in terms of enforcement.
Results of Texas Texting While Driving Law
Austin already had a texting ban in place when, …