Some Minivans May Be More Dangerous for Passengers Than for Drivers
Some Minivans May Be More Dangerous for Passengers Than for Drivers

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

Austin Drivers Get Ranked in National Study - Find out How We Stack Up
Austin Drivers Get Ranked in National Study – Find out How We Stack Up

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, …

Hit-And-Run Drivers: What Are They Thinking?
Hit-And-Run Drivers: What Are They Thinking?

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 …

Duck Boat Incidents in Other Cities Raise Concern in Austin
Duck Boat Incidents in Other Cities Raise Concern in Austin

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, …

School Bus Driver Shortage Could Have Safety Implications
School Bus Driver Shortage Could Have Safety Implications

When any organization or industry has a labor shortage, they may have to take extraordinary measures to fill a role. When that role is driving children, what are the implications for child safety?

This is not a hypothetical situation in Texas, where the transportation director for the Round Rock Independent School District faced the beginning of the school year needing to fill more than 20 bus driver positions.

“When my day starts off, the first thing I do — me and my supervisors — we look at who we can hire out there. Who’s applied for jobs,” Scott Copeland told KXAN-TV. “We hire people in as quick as we can.”

And candidates aren’t easy to find, Copeland says—at a recent job fair, “we put banners out and we only had three people show up.”

In Dallas, officials were considering …

Recent Tragedy Calls Safety of Texas Child Care Institutions into Question
Recent Tragedy Calls Safety of Texas Child Care Institutions into Question

On a mid-July afternoon, a bus returned to the Discovering Me Academy day care center in northwest Houston after a field trip. Nobody noticed that one of the children, 3-year-old Raymond Pryer Jr., stayed on the bus.

Nobody found the boy, called “RJ” by his family, until his father arrived to take him home that evening, more than three-and-a-half hours later. By then, RJ had died inside the bus, which had reached 113 degrees.

As of late August, Houston police were still investigating the incident, and no criminal charges have been filed, the Houston Chronicle reports. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is also still investigating.

“It seems to me this is just gross negligence,” said Alan Rosen, the constable of Precinct 1 in Harris County, at the time. “It’s just tragic.”

In August, RJ’s parents filed …

Scooter Safety Is Becoming a Major Concern in Austin
Scooter Safety Is Becoming a Major Concern in Austin

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 …

Are Regulators Paying Less Attention to Vehicle Defects?
Are Regulators Paying Less Attention to Vehicle Defects?

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 …

Are Lenient Traffic Laws Making Texas More Dangerous?
Are Lenient Traffic Laws Making Texas More Dangerous?

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

Big Risks for Big Rigs: Why Are Fatal Large Truck Crashes Increasing?
Big Risks for Big Rigs: Why Are Fatal Large Truck Crashes Increasing?

Every day, tractor-trailers share the roads with cars, pickups, and SUVs. But what some tractor-trailers don’t share is the advanced safety technology that helps the passenger vehicles stay accident-free.

According to Consumer Reports, research shows that safety features currently available in passenger cars, such as a forward collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB), are reducing crashes as they become more available.

Now, experts are wondering if those features could help curb a disturbing trend: the increase in deaths in crashes involving large trucks.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 37,461 people died on the road in 2016, the last year for which statistics are available – an increase of 5.6 percent from 2015. Of those fatalities, more than 4,300 occurred in accidents involving large trucks in 2016, up 5.4 percent from the year before. In …