The mobile workforce in Oklahoma has become constantly connected via smartphone, and this may be the reason why it sees such high auto accident rates in recent years. Motus, the vehicle management and reimbursement platform, has made a link between the two trends in its 2018 Distracted Driving Report.
Oklahoma residents should know about the danger of hydroplaning; that way, they will be prepared the next time they head out in the rain. Hydroplaning occurs when a vehicle slides or skids uncontrollably on a wet surface. The risk for hydroplaning is at its greatest during the first 10 minutes or so of rainfall because the water will immediately mix with the oily residue on the road; after that period, the residue tends to wash away.
Oklahoma residents, especially teen drivers and their parents, might be interested in the results of a study conducted by the National Institutes for Health. Together with Virginia Tech University, researchers analyzed the behaviors of 90 teen drivers in Virginia from the time they obtained their learner's permits to their first year as licensed drivers. Using dashcam footage and software data, they found that licensed teen drivers are less safe.
Drivers distracted by cellphones are involved in about one in four motor vehicle accidents around the country. Public information campaigns warning Oklahoma motorists about the dangers of using cellphones while behind the wheel have had little impact, and most road safety advocates believe that the problem will get worse rather than better in the years ahead. A team of Australian researchers polled 447 drivers about their attitudes toward distracted driving and cellphone use, and they found that more than two-thirds of them thought the dangers were overblown.
In 2016, there was a report from Morgan Stanley entitled "Are Auto Insurers on the Road to Nowhere?" which estimated that with the introduction of driverless cars, the auto insurance industry would dwindle by 80 percent by 2040. Oklahoma residents should know that newer research, in addition to the spate of fatal accidents involving driverless cars, is painting a different picture of the future.
Oklahoma residents who are wary about going out on the road on holidays have good reason for it. A recent analysis from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that Independence Day is the deadliest holiday in America for fatal car crashes. The IIHS studied fatal car crash data from 2010 to 2014, 2014 being the last year with accurate data, and found that every year on July 4, an average of 118 people died.
Incidents of distracted driving are increasing in Oklahoma and across the U.S. An analysis of driving data by Cambridge Mobile Telematics shows that American drivers engaged in distracted driving during 36 percent of trips in a tested six-month period. This represents a 5 percent increase over the same test period last year.
While Tesla is rightfully considered a pioneer in self-driving vehicle technology, that technology still has a long way to go before it can be proven safe. A recent accident in Utah illustrates this fact. The driver of a Tesla Model S crashed into a fire truck and broke her ankle because, even though the Autopilot program was on, she was looking down at her phone. The reaction to this accident, or, rather, to the news coverage it received, should make residents of Oklahoma wonder about Tesla's priorities.
Oklahoma residents may be aware that the increase in distracted driving accidents has largely been blamed on the proliferation of smartphones and other electronic devices, but a study released by Erie Insurance suggests that drivers who daydream or become lost in thought while behind the wheel may be a far more serious road safety hazard. The Pennsylvania-based insurer determined that distraction was the cause of about 10 percent of America's road fatalities over the last five years, but cellphone use was cited as the distracting influence only 14 percent of the time.
If a person in Oklahoma does anything while in a vehicle to take his or her focus off of the road, it is considered distracted driving. For instance, if a person is eating, drinking or on a cellphone, that driver is not fully focused on the task of driving safely. Those who send or read text messages will take their eyes off of the road for five seconds.