Hidden Cameras Make Safer Drivers
Love them or hate them, a new study finds that speed cameras really do help stop drivers from speeding—particularly when the camera is hidden. Drivers may not appreciate getting a ticket, but speeding is one of the biggest contributors to traffic fatalities. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cite speeding as a factor in 29 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths in the United States. Evidence suggests that speeding cameras can substantially reduce traffic collisions, including ones in which drivers are seriously injured or killed. However, research also suggests that speeding cameras can actually increase rear-end collisions in certain circumstances.
Bike Visibility Does Little to Change Drivers’ Dangerous Overtaking
A recent bill in the state of Wyoming would require all bicyclists to wear no less than 200 square inches “of high-visibility fluorescent orange, green or pink color clothing visible from the front and rear of the bicycle.” Though lawmakers in favor the bill argued that the new wardrobe requirements were for bicyclists’ own safety, research on driver behavior doesn’t necessarily back this up. In fact, new research is showing that “high-vis” clothing is not as effective at increasing bicycle safety as is often assumed. A study by University of Bath psychological scientist Ian Walker finds that high-visibility clothing is unlikely to prevent the most dangerous passing behavior from drivers.
Combining Cannabis and Alcohol Amplifies Crash Risks
Cannabis and alcohol are the drugs most commonly detected in the systems of drivers involved in crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Decades of research has looked at the impairing effects of drinking alcohol and driving, but little research has investigated how these two drugs affect behavior behind the wheel when combined. A team of Australian researchers, led by psychological scientist Luke Downey of Swinburne University of Technology, carried out a double-blind, placebo-controlled experiment to find out how drivers react when these two drugs are combined.
Why We Worry About Shark Attacks, Not Car Crashes
Our perceptions of risk don’t always match reality, being swayed by factors beyond logic and numbers.
New Windshield Displays May Unleash an Invisible Gorilla
Several companies are already investing in new technology aimed at deterring distracted driving by projecting graphics from a cellphone—text messages, weather, collision warnings—directly onto a driver’s field of view on the windshield. Proponents of this technology argue that it will increase road safety by providing drivers with useful information without having to take their eyes off the road. Rather than glancing down at a cellphone to read a text or check the map, directions and messages will appear directly in the driver’s line of sight.
Racial Bias Extends to the Crosswalk
Black pedestrians are at far greater risk of being fatally hit by a car than white pedestrians, according to research from the CDC. From 2000 to 2010, the pedestrian fatality rate for black and Hispanic men was twice the rate for white men, even after controlling for factors such as socioeconomic status, location, and alcohol use. The results of a new study reveal one factor that may help explain why – the findings suggest that whether a driver yields to a pedestrian may largely depend on a pedestrian’s race.