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Traffic Safety Trends to Keep an Eye On in 2021

Let’s be honest, we all want to return home safe and sound after a long drive. According to IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), more than 35,000 people a year are killed related with vehicles. Along with that, some three million people are hurt and injured in car crashes in the United States every year. With the new year of 2021 arrived, the world has the new trend and standard for automobiles. A car no longer needs to be fast, fancy or sustainable. It needs to be safe. And in order to satisfy the needs of customers, there are various people and organizations working to make the traffic safe. Leave all the traffic safety stories behind, we welcome the year of 2021 with our list of traffic safety trends that car owners are looking forward to. 

Emptier Roads, yet Worse Driving

As a report in October 2020 from NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), the traffic deaths in the nation decreased over the year of 2019. To be more specific, there were more than 36,000 fatalities in vehicle traffic crashes in 2019. The number was less than 2 percent compared with the year of 2018. However, 2020 was different due to the factor of COVID-19. The NHTSA estimates a continued drop in fatalities for the first 6 months of 2020. In the second quarter of 2020 with the restriction due to COVID-19, the volume of traffic sharply declined. The traffic volume reduces at a pace even bigger than fatalities. This leads to the result of fatality rate per 100 million car miles traveled raising, while the overall number of deaths decreased.

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Empty roads, yet worse driving (Photo source: Pexels)

We can give you a clean explanation for the year of 2020. According to reports: “Drivers who remained on the roads engaged in more risky behavior, including speeding, failing to wear seatbelts, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.” And the rate of deadly crashes per mile driven through the first 6 months of 2020 was the highest in the last 10 years. To make it simple, there are fewer traffic deaths during the pandemic, but we worry about the trend. In 2021, with the pandemic still here, we are looking forward to fewer traffic deaths. 

A Program of Slow-Down Pilot

We all understand that speed is the main factor of most accidents. With the information provided from the NHTSA, the GHSA, also known as the Governors Highway Safety Association, has a plan. They decided to start a Speed Management Pilot Program this year. Pam Shadel Fischer from GHSA said: “We have a culture of speeding in this country”, and therefore, this slow-down pilot program will be useful. In order for it to work, she expects the program to activate like the Click it or Ticket seat belt program, which started in North Carolina then expanded the whole country. She also stated that the program will include both urban and rural roads in order to boost the maximum efficiency.

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In January 2020, there was a proposal for the pilot which was later published by the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). It indicated that the program would include tactics like “traffic calming”. These tactics include adding pavement markings,making narrower roads, using lidar and radar, automated traffic enforcement focusing on speeding prevention, along with “saturation patrols”. Another great way to do is to install various speed bumps, just like what Detroit has performed. 

A New Leader 

It is now official that Joe Biden is the president of the United States. And along with that, there are changes in the system, one of the changes is the position of transportation secretary. Pete Buttigieg, who was introduced by President Joe Biden, is the person in charge for this position. Indiana, the former mayor of South Bend, said that infrastructure and traffic are the main priorities in this stage.

And to show that he is the man worth Joe Biden’s trust, Buttigieg plans to include a strategy called national Vision Zero. He creates this strategy with the purpose of decreasing as well as eliminating traffic casualties. He also referenced the need for long-term, roadway-safety-focused transportation bills, as well as focused on the safety for bike and pedestrian. Last but not least, Buttigieg also wants to invest in rural-road safety, along with increased funding for the Highway Safety Improvement Program. 

 

Assault on Drunk Driving

With MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), NHTSA is required by two pieces of proposed legislation to include the technology to prevent drunk-driving in all newly created automobiles. To be more precise, there will be a blood-alcohol test system with the purpose of preventing a car from being started by an inebriated driver. If this is possible, this kind of passive drunk-driving prevention innovation could save around 10,000 lives every year and bring an end to drunk driving.

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We need new solution for drunk driving (Photo source: Pexels)

Along with that, we have the HALT Act. Introduced two years ago in the House of Representatives, this problem becomes a crucial part of the transportation bill. This forces the Department of Transportation with a task related to alcohol. And it is to add a device to detect alcohol with an ignition interlock machine to the country’s Motor Vehicle Safety Standards requirements. The same with the calling from the RIDE Act (Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act) in 2019. The call is for in-vehicle anti-drunk-driving technology, and it is expected to be publicly available in 2021. According to MADD president Helen Witty, this technology is the main key to prevent accidents as well as deaths from drunk driving. 

On the other hand, the technology left many questions related to reliability and safety. After all, the machine that is capable of stopping a driver from activating a car might raise many problems. The best way to tell  is to wait when the actual program is introduced. 

Dangerous-Vehicle Abatement

In early 2020, mayor Bill De Blasio of New York City signed this program into law. It lets officials in New York City have the right to seize automobiles driven by the state’s most dangerous and reckless drivers until they complete a safety course. To be more specific, car owners violate more than 15 school speed cameras will have their cars impounded. Drivers violate more than 5 red-light cameras in a period of 1 year also face the same result. They need to complete a DOT-run accountability course in order to release their own vehicles. 

The reason why we can expect this program to work is the number of cameras. According to the spokesman at City Hall, New York City has prepared for this. They installed more than 1210 speed cameras across 750 school zones. Not to mention, the city has reduced speed limits on nine major corridors across the city. They perform these tasks with the purpose of providing safety for drivers. 

Conclusion

In 2021, our experts gather here the top 4 most crucial traffic safety trends to keep an eye on. No matter how effective they are, it is worth expecting a drop in accidents case in the United States. 

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