Technical service bulletins are a way for auto manufacturers to inform dealerships and service departments about minor issues that might require repair in their vehicles. They are also used to alert these groups about potential issues that are not yet fully understood. The bulletins do not generally require repairs of the problem and fall far short of the safety impact of a recall. General Motors has recently come under fire for its use of these bulletins in situations where a recall was likely the appropriate action. The issue has been raised in connection with the delayed recall of millions of vehicles, including Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 models, which have been found to contain faulty ignition switches. The safety issue has been connected to 13 fatal car accidents and numerous injuries.
A growing number of states have enacted laws banning the use of handheld cell phones by drivers. No laws have yet been passed banning hands-free technology by drivers. This distinction may be fueling the perception that hands-free technology is the answer to rising safety concerns about distracted driving. Unfortunately, no research supports the notion that hands-free devices are actually any better at preventing distracted driving car accidents. More than 30 studies have shown that there is no safety difference between handheld and hands-free devices in terms of their impact on safe driving. The National Safety Council is working to overcome the misperception of hands-free devices as a safer alternative.
When you drive on a regular basis, you quickly identify points along your most common routes that cost you time. Traffic statistics go a step farther and help identify patterns of accidents, congestion and delay. One common source of trouble that many people fail to identify is the difficulty with left turn during periods of congestion. While a left turn in an area or during a time where little traffic is on the road might be an easy matter, high-density traffic makes some turns a slow and potentially deadly proposition. If there is a convenient way for you to avoid a left turn on your drive, you are probably better off going around and getting to your destination with only right turns. This can help you avoid accidents and may even help you get where you're going faster.
Not all vehicle recalls are alike. The ignition switch problems in several types of GM vehicle have now been tied to 13 deaths, including 12 in the United States. More than 2.5 million vehicles have been recalled, including Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 models, as well as a number of Saturn Ion, Pontiac Pursuit, Pontiac Solstice, Chevrolet HHR and Saturn Sky models manufactured between 2005 and 2011. The potential for deadly accidents has led lawmakers and representatives of injured drivers to push GM to take stronger action to protect the owners of these recalled vehicles.
In 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution declaring April the National Distracted Driving Awareness month. Every April, law enforcement and safety experts work to spread awareness about the dangers of distractions behind the wheel. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving crashes were responsible for more than 3,000 deaths in 2011, alone. Combating this dangerous practice is a top priority in making highway travel safer for everyone.