California motorists may be interested in a new safety report pertaining to Tesla's automated driving features. According to testers with Consumer Reports, Tesla's updated Navigate on Autopilot feature has serious issues. A test on Model 3 showed that the semi-autonomous Autopilot feature made several mistakes. For example, the system made illegal passes and cut off approaching automobiles.
Drivers in California and across the U.S. may be looking forward to the advent of self-driving cars. However, many people overestimate the abilities of current vehicle safety technology. The Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making has published a discussion between a professor of cognitive sciences and a NASA scientist on the way that drivers interact with car safety tech. It appears that a lack of training is creating confusion.
There will be about 3.6 million teens graduating from high school in the late spring and early summer of 2019. This means that there could soon be millions of California teenagers driving to and from parties and other graduation events. Parents are encouraged to talk to their sons and daughters about the hazards of driving while distracted or under the influence of drugs. Teens should also be warned about the dangers of driving while drowsy.
Phones, as most California residents know, are some of the most widespread sources of distraction among drivers. In an online study that involved nearly 2,000 U.S. drivers, 99% named phones as one of the top three distractions. Nearly half of the respondents also said that they make distracted driving their top concern behind the wheel.
Distractions are a blind spot for many drivers in California. The problem is a nationwide one, and a new study from Root Insurance has shed some light on it. Of those surveyed, 47% said they make distractions a top concern when driving, and 99% placed phones among the top three distractions. Yet respondents themselves would use their phones behind the wheel, spending an average of 13 minutes a day on them.
Truckers in California may be interested in research from the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, which found that a majority of truck accidents in North Dakota occurred in the state's oil region. This research was spurred by several high-profile accidents along the Highway 23 bypass. The main reason for this problem is thought to be driver fatigue from overwork. While data from the oil region is particularly troublesome, fatigue is a serious issue on roadways all over the country.
Researchers have used radar data to determine how precipitation can affect the risk for fatal highway crashes. California residents should know that the results of this study are more precise than those of previous studies, which would rely on police reports or field observations to determine if there was precipitation at the time of a crash.
California residents who own a newer pickup truck should know that there may be a discrepancy between drivers-side safety and passengers-side safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety began crash testing both sides in 2017, and after a round of crash tests involving 11 newer two-row pickups, it discovered that passengers are indeed at a higher risk for injuries or death than drivers.
As an increasing number of severe and deadly car accidents are linked to distracted driving in California and across the country, lawmakers in one state are considering a technology that could show if a driver was using the phone during a crash. Most states already ban texting, emailing or surfing the internet while driving, but many drivers continue to engage in these dangerous practices. Nevada legislators are considering permitting police to use a so-called "textalyzer" to determine if a driver was using a phone before or during a collision.
California drivers should know that the average text message takes five seconds to read. In those same five seconds, a vehicle going 55 mph will travel the length of a football field. This is just one illustration of the hazards of distracted driving. This form of negligence can raise the risk of a crash in a highway work zone.