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Operation Safe Driver Week to target speeding truckers

In an effort to reduce speed-related truck accidents, law enforcement officers in Arizona and across the United States will soon participate in Operation Safe Driver Week, which is sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. The annual event, which is slated for July 14-20 this year, will target drivers of commercial and passenger vehicles who are speeding or committing other types of traffic violations.

Statistics from several agencies show that speeding is a significant problem on U.S. roads. For instance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that speed was a contributing factor in 94 percent of all motor vehicle accidents in 2015. Meanwhile, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that speeding was the top cause of driver-related accidents for both large commercial trucks and passenger vehicles in 2016. Finally, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute says that speed has played a role in more than 25 percent of traffic fatalities since 2008.

Volvo to add in-car cameras to monitor for drunk driving

By the early 2020s, all vehicles made by Volvo will include technology that can monitor drivers for signs of drunk or distracted driving and potentially intervene, according to an announcement by the company. The move is intended to reduce traffic-related injuries and deaths in Arizona and around the world.

According to data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,874 Americans were killed in drunk driving accidents across the United States in 2017. In an effort to reduce those numbers, Volvo will start installing technology that uses onboard cameras and sensors to assess drivers' actions and determine if they are showing signs of impairment or distraction. For example, if a driver fails to steer a vehicle for extended periods of time, has his or her eyes closed, demonstrates very slow reaction times or weaves across traffic lanes, the vehicle will issue warning signals. If the driver fails to respond, the vehicle will slow down and find a safe place to park.

Some trucking accidents linked to driver fatigue

Truck driver fatigue can pose a serious threat to others on Arizona roadways. Because of the size and mass of semi-trucks, other drivers, passengers, cyclists ,and pedestrians are at much greater risk of catastrophic injuries or fatalities in case of a collision. Many factors can escalate the risk of a crash, including distracted driving or intoxication. However, the nature of the trucking industry makes drowsy driving particularly likely. Truckers drive for many hours at a time, often in the dark, over long stretches of monotonous highways.

These conditions can help to foster exhaustion, something that poses a serious risk to others on the road. Accidents are more likely when truck drivers are exhausted, especially when they violate federal hours of service regulations. Truckers can drive 11 hours out of a 14-hour workday and are required to keep electronic logs, a change that came in 2017 in response to deadly truck crashes linked to fatigue.

Weather Channel sued over fatal crash with reckless storm chasers

Arizona residents may remember how the two stars of the Weather Channel show "Storm Wranglers" were killed while chasing a tornado near a town in Texas. A livestream of the chase, which occurred on March 28, 2017, shows what happened up to their collision with another vehicle. Like the two stars, the 25-year-old driver of that other vehicle died. He was a storm spotter employed by the National Weather Service.

Two years later, the mother of that victim filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Weather Channel for $125 million. Her lawyers claim that the crash happened when the storm-chasing duo ran a stop sign. Running stop signs was reportedly just one of many reckless acts that the duo would regularly commit for the sake of making their show more exciting. They would also speed, travel down the wrong side of the road and drive on private property and in ditches.

How can you increase your chances for a safe evening walk?

With the onset of spring and daylight savings time, the days are longer. After a hard day at work, you may be up for an after-dinner walk to get some fresh air and exercise.

However, you may be aware of the statistics about pedestrian injuries and death. How can you increase your chances for a safe, enjoyable evening walk?

Distraction raises risk for work zone crash on highways

Highway work zones are always a dangerous area for Arizona drivers to navigate because of their narrow lanes. Speeding, though, is not the only form of negligence that can lead to crashes in these zones. A study from the University of Missouri has found that distracted drivers are 29 times more likely to get in a collision or near-collision in highway work zones than drivers who are attentive.

These researchers could use the results of their study to recommend behavioral countermeasures for the reduction of crashes and injuries in highway work zones. These recommendations would be considered by the Federal Highway Administration, which funded the study, and by state transportation agencies; they could include complete texting bans and better public education.

Pedestrian fatalities increase in 2018

A new study by the Governors Highway Safety Administration claims that pedestrian deaths in the United States are reaching epidemic proportions. Since 2009, the annual pedestrian death toll has increased by about 50 percent. This may understandably cause alarm for many people who use the streets in Arizona.

Most pedestrians killed by vehicles are struck on local roadways after sunset. Night crashes account for roughly 90 percent of the increase in pedestrian fatalities over the past 10 years. In about half of these crashes, either the pedestrian or the driver was reportedly impaired by alcohol consumption.

Steps drivers can take to prevent an accident

From 2015 to 2017, the number of large truck occupant fatalities increased each year, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Furthermore, the number of fatalities and fatal accidents increased during this time period. However, the FMCSA acknowledged that crashes in Arizona and elsewhere generally have many factors. Therefore, the truckers were not singled out as the sole reason why this increase has taken place. This doesn't mean that there aren't steps that truckers can take to keep themselves safe.

Drivers are encouraged to put their phones or tablets in places where they won't fall or otherwise distract them. Mirrors, the radio and other tools should be adjusted before starting a trip to further prevent driver distraction. Generally speaking, it is against the law to hold a cellphone or other device while driving, so putting it in a holder may prevent a driver from incurring a citation as well as keeping safe.

Road Safe America touts the benefits of speed limiters

Citing federal data on large truck crash deaths, the highway safety group Road Safe America is once again calling for truck fleet owners to use speed limiters. Truckers in Arizona should know that 35,882 individuals died in large truck crashes between 2009 and 2017 (the latest year for which there is data).

All but six states saw an increase in these deaths in that eight-year period, with Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Texas and Nevada seeing the largest percentage increases. Texas, California, Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania experienced the greatest number of such deaths in 2017. The non-profit has shown that most of these states have truck speed limits of 70 mph or more, which is too fast for safe operation.

Conditions that contribute to motor vehicle accidents

When it comes to motor vehicle accidents in the Tuscon area, it is imperative to plan for the many issues and conditions that may arise and impact your safety. Cars, especially late model vehicles, have many safety features that minimize the risk of collision that some drivers take for granted. These safety features do not reduce the need for responsible driving behaviors and attentiveness, mainly when there are nasty road and weather conditions.

Many weather-related motor vehicle collisions are preventable with the help of precautions. Below are a few common weather conditions you should be mindful of every time you drive.

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