This year has been a momentous one for the car insurance and automotive industries. The first self-driving cars with public access hit the roads in Pittsburgh, and car insurance rates increased at the highest rate in 13 years. Auto insurers began offering more digital services and usage-based insurance options, and distracted driving became an epidemic. But what about all the statistics and research? A lot was discovered this year. Here are the coolest—as well as the scariest—statistics of 2016.
Seat belt use is at a historic high of 90%
Seat belts significantly reduce the risk of fatality and major injury in car accidents and the NHTSA found that seat belt use reached a high of 90%, as of June 2016. Of course, we all still want that number to be 100%, but 90% is impressive progress. Seatbelts have saved an estimated 345,000 lives since 1975—now that’s cool!
The deadliest interstate is in Florida
The most dangerous interstate is in Florida. The I-4 highway is 132 miles long and has a fatality rate 1.4 deaths per mile in the past six years, a rate higher than any other interstate in the United States. Despite its smaller size, it is dangerous, in part because of its high traffic volume
Missing 1 to 2 hours of sleep doubles driver’s crash risk
Drowsy driving is often an overlooked driving danger. An AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study found that missing 1 to 2 hours of the recommended 7 hours nearly doubles a driver’s crash risk. Drivers who have slept for less than 5 hours have a crash risk comparable to someone who is driving drunk. Getting those zzz’s is important. Furthermore, 21% of total fatal crashes involve drowsy drivers and men have 2 times more drowsy driving crashes than women.
Pokémon GO is disastrous for driving
Pokémon GO is disastrous for driving. Since the game’s July 2016 release, drivers have been playing the game behind the wheel. Over a 10-day period, there were 14 car crashes associated with the mobile app and one driver even drove his car into a tree. In that same study, there were also more than 110,000 discrete instances where drivers or pedestrians were distracted by Pokémon GO. Just drive out there!
American drivers think they are safer than self-driving cars
The public isn’t quite sold on autonomous vehicles yet. 81% of adults would feel safer driving themselves than in a self-driving car, even though experts believe autonomous cars could eliminate 90% of all auto accidents in the U.S.
Americans feel the most pressure to drive distracted from loved ones
Why do we drive distracted? A study from the National Safety Council found that 82% of Americans feel the most pressure to drive distracted from loved ones. The second highest pressure was from work—54% of drivers feel pressured to drive distracted due to work obligations.
57% Americans feel comfortable asking drivers to put the phone down
The cool news is that nearly 60% of Americans do feel comfortable asking other drivers to put their phone down if they feel unsafe. The not-so-great flipside of that means there are still over 40% percent that don’t feel comfortable asking drivers to put their phones down or that don’t feel unsafe with distracted drivers.
Fatalities were up 9 to 10% this year
Regardless of whose transportation research you look at, fatalities were up this year. At least they were for the first half of the year, as the second half has not been released as of yet. The National Safety Council found that traffic fatalities were up 9% while the NHTSA found that fatalities were up 10% more during the first six months of this year over the first half of 2015.
Drivers are driving .4 miles of every 11 miles distracted.
EverDrive research found that drivers drive .4 miles of every 11 miles distracted. So, a driver on a 216-mile trip, traveling from Boston to NYC may likely be driving nearly 8 miles of that distracted. At high speeds, that is especially dangerous.
87% of American drivers admit to risky driving behavior
According to an AAA study, 87% of drivers admit to engaging in at least one risky behavior behind the wheel in the past month. This includes distracted driving, drowsy driving, speeding, impaired driving and more.
2 out of 3 drivers may pull into parking lots distracted
The National Safety Council found that 66% of drivers may pull into shopping lots distracted. Many drivers assume that parking lots are safe because of the low speeds, but there are a lot more hazards, including pedestrians and additional blind spots. Distracted drivers only make parking lots even more dangerous.
Americans say they’re safe drivers but their actions say otherwise
Over 96% of Americans think they are safe drivers, yet 61% admit to using their phones on some drives, most drives or all drives. Americans may be confused about how often they do drive distracted and it’s causing a dangerous distracted driving epidemic.
Well, the scary statistics may outweigh the good ones but let’s hope these numbers help scare drivers straight. If Americans can put their phones down and start focusing on driving, we can make 2017 a safer year on the roads!
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