Two young Pennsylvania men have been ordered to stand trial on involuntary manslaughter and vehicular homicide charges in connection with a 2015 street race that left three young people dead and a teen seriously injured. The two 20-year-olds are said to have been behind the wheels of a Chevrolet Impala and an Acura TL that raced each other at speeds of nearly 100 mph in a Northeast Philadelphia business park on July 29, 2015.
As the school term ends for the summer, Pennsylvania families may be focused on planning vacations and other activities as they take advantage of the break. With free time on their hands, teenagers often focus on social activities as well as summer employment. However, it is also important to revisit basic driving safety concepts as the season begins to reduce the risk of serious or even deadly car accidents. AAA considers the period between Memorial Day and the return to school to be the deadliest 100 days of the year on the roads.
Many Pennsylvania drivers are well aware of the emotional and financial impacts inherent in automobile accidents. Costs associated with medical attention and car repair are compounded by the time and income lost from work. Unfortunately, when the economy is good, there is a higher number of vehicle accidents on U.S. roads.
The insurance industry in Pennsylvania and across the country may well feel that it is under existential threat. Self-driving cars are very close to being available to the public, and they bring with them the promise of fewer automobile accidents. Self-driving vehicles have stellar safety characteristics so far, with absolutely no fatality or injury accidents after test-driving for millions of miles. This is good news for every single American who uses the roads, but it poses the possibility of devastation to the insurance industry.
Although Pennsylvania roads may be safer as motorists refrain from activities such as texting or using hand-held smartphones while driving, distractions can occur in spite of these efforts. Statistics suggest that a majority of motorists believe that today's engineering with technology devices incorporated into the dash implies that these tools are safe. However, the use of these tools is more a matter of convenience than safety because the engagement of the brain is still distracting.
Pennsylvania residents who have been following the development of autonomous driving technology may have heard that on Feb. 14, a Google self-driving car became involved in an accident with a Mountain City, California, bus. The company stated that the self-driving vehicle was at least partially responsible for the accident.
Pennsylvania motorists may not know that there has been an increase in car accident deaths. Analysts compared car accident data from the first nine months of 2015 to car accident data from the first nine months of 2014 and found a 9.3 percent increase in traffic fatalities. The recent rise in traffic fatalities followed several years of slow but steady declines.
Pennsylvania motorists may recognize the concerns that many agencies have with the idea of driverless cars being approved for use on public roads. Software glitches, hacking and other potential malfunctions may cause safety agencies to hesitate in approving new phases of production and testing, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made an important move towards facilitating further development of autonomous vehicles.
Pennsylvania residents may recall media reports about a coal dust explosion in West Virginia that claimed the lives of 29 mineworkers in 2010. Following the tragedy, the Mine Safety and Health Administration began to conduct what are referred to as special impact inspections that are designed to hold mining operations that flout safety regulations accountable. The safety agency say that an increase in the number of this type of inspection was largely responsible for a dramatic reduction in the number of mineworkers who lost their lives in workplace accidents in 2015.
Commuters in Pennsylvania would do well to keep their tempers from flaring when they are stuck in heavy traffic. The aggression-fueled mistakes associated with road rage have been killing more people in recent years. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 208 people died in accidents attributed to road rage in 2008. The death toll had risen to 392 by 2012.