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An accident with a tractor trailer truck is one of the worst types of motor vehicle accidents, and they usually result in serious if not fatal injuries. If there’s one thing that safety advocates as well as the trucking industry agree on, it is the need for speed limiters on commercial trucks. The federal administration recently announced its intention to move forward with rule making on this critical safety issue.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently issued its Notice of Intent that shows its intent to move forward with rulemaking on the issue of requiring speed limiters on commercial trucks and tractor trailers.   According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, it has been able to identify that speed is a critical safety issue when it comes to large commercial trucks and 18 -wheelers. The agency identifies speed management as a critically important precautionary measure that can help reduce the risk of serious injuries and fatalities involving truck accidents.

The administration has focused on the problem of high speeds involving commercial truck for a while now. The new notice of intent follows up on a proposal that was determined in 2016 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  The 2016 proposal called for the installation of speed limiters on trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds. However, the proposal did not determine a maximum speed limit. That will now happen with the federal administration’s new move in this regard. Over a period of time and with inputs from not just American trucking groups, but also the public, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will be able to determine a speed limit for commercial trucks.

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A traumatic brain injury occurs when there is a jolt or blow to the head, and this can occur in any number of accidents, like an auto accident or a slip and fall accident.  A fall does not have to occur from a height for an injury to occur.  A fall that occurs when a person is walking or when he trips or slips, could also result in a blow to the head that is serious enough to cause an injury.

We are constantly learning about the many ways in which a traumatic brain injury can continue to impact victims of car accidents, slip and fall accidents or other types of accidents.  It goes without saying that a catastrophic brain injury can affect every aspect of a victim’s life and his or her loved ones.  Scientists recently analyzed the findings of five different studies on risk-taking behavior in rats, and determined that brain injuries can affect decision- making abilities.

Studies on decision -making abilities in humans after a traumatic brain injury have earlier been conducted through the Iowa Gambling Task. In this experiment involving decks of cards, subjects are made to choose from decks of cards, and understand over a period of time that two out of 4 decks involve high rewards and higher risk of losses, while the remaining two decks involve lower risks and lower rewards. This experiment was the basis for the Rodent Gambling Task in which researchers used sugar pellets to encourage the rodents. The animals were made to choose among four ports, two of which involved a large number of pellets, but also a higher punishment in the form of a timeout.

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Safety organizations in Georgia and around the country are marking the month of May as National Motorcycle Safety Month, and President Joe Biden himself recently issued a statement recognizing the importance of prioritizing the safety of motorcyclists.

This May, transportation safety agencies in Georgia have planned a number of programs to bring awareness to motorcycle safety issues. The Georgia Department of Driver Services Commissioner says that it is important for all Atlanta drivers and motorcyclists to understand that motorcyclists and riders can be kept safe through a combination of avoiding distracting behaviors, staying within speed limits and respecting the rights of all on the road.

Georgia has an admirable record as far as motorcycle safety is concerned in that the state is one of just 19 other states and the District of Columbia that have passed universal motorcycle helmet laws. These laws require all persons riding a motorcycle to be wearing a helmet at the time.

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Recalls on cars can be made for a number of issues, most of which in safety concerns.  These can include faulty brakes, seatbelts and even headlights.  A number of recent car recalls have involved vehicles that are at risk of engine fires even when they are parked.  The federal administration has recently launched a new feature on its website that specifically alerts owners to the dangers of fires and other critical safety risks with these defective automobiles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides information about car safety recalls on its website.  However, a number of recently recalled vehicles have involved critical safety risks like engine fires.  In 2022 alone, Kia Motors and Hyundai have initiated recalls of more than 485,000 automobiles because of engine fire risks. The risk in all of these automobiles is that the cars can catch fire not only when they are being operated, but also when they are parked. The companies admit that they have received at least 11 reports of fires that occurred in these automobiles, although none of these resulted in injuries.

Any kind of car fire can lead to catastrophic consequences.  In the case of a car that is being driven, both driver and passengers could be at risk of injuries. In the case of a parked car, it is not just the car that is at risk of fire damage, but cars parked nearby as well as structures are also at risk of major damage. Recalls of such cars are critically important because of the risk of injuries as well as property damage.

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There is no shortage of road signs on Georgia’s roads warning drivers of construction, traffic patterns and accidents.  Traffic safety signs warning Atlanta drivers to avoid drunk driving or stay within speed limits can help remind motorists about the need for such safe driving practices. However, not all traffic safety signs in Georgia have a positive effect on reducing motorist accident risks.  In fact some may have the opposite effect.

A recent study actually found that traffic safety signs that display the number of fatalities that have occurred on that stretch of road or in the city recently could actually have a detrimental effect on motor safety. Many states now have these traffic safety signs that provide the tally of the number of fatalities recorded in the area. They are meant to catch a driver’s attention, and imprint on a motorist the need to drive safely at all times. They are meant to warn drivers about the very real risks of being involved in a serious accident. Unfortunately, these traffic signs could actually be having a detrimental effect on motorist safety. The study found that the signs caused a slight increase in the number of accidents on these roads.

The results of the recent study published in the Science journal found that when signs displayed a tally of the road traffic accident deaths to motorists, it actually resulted in a slight increase of 1.35% in the number of traffic accidents recorded on the six-mile stretch after the sign. When it came to the 5 -mile stretch after the accident death count sign, the accident rate actually increased by 1.52%. The researchers believe that the impact of these signs is equal to increasing the speed limit by as much as 5 miles an hour, or reducing the number of highway safety troopers by 6 to 14%.  The researchers were also able to calculate the number of accidents related to these traffic safety signs, and say that in the state of Texas at least, the death tally sign campaign resulted in 2,600 traffic accidents and at least 16 traffic accident deaths in one year alone.

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Distracted driving has become more and more problematic over the years.  Fatal distracted driving accidents are more likely to involve motorists between the ages of 18 and 34. It is this demographic that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration targeted recently in a campaign against distracted driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s nationwide distracted driving campaign ran between April 4 and 11 this year. The campaign was called U Drive. U Text.  U Pay and it focused on reminding drivers about the dangers of using electronic communication devices like cell phones at the wheel.  Most motorists think that the most dangerous thing that they could be doing with a cell phone while at the wheel is texting or talking on cell phone. The truth is that there are a wide variety of other very distracting tasks that a motorist can perform while at the wheel. These can include reading and replying to emails, uploading photos and videos on social media and taking selfies while driving. All of these are very distracting activities that can significantly increase the potential for a deadly accident.

You do not even have to be engage with your cell phone throughout the time you are driving for the risk to increase significantly.  Merely taking your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel for a few seconds can be sufficient to cause a disastrous crash.

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Many American cities, including our very own Atlanta have adopted the Vision Zero goal of reducing traffic accidents to the minimum over the next few decades. However, while the goal is laudable, the reality is that most American cities have struggled in their efforts in meeting this goal.

The Vision Zero goal is a commendable one, and has become very popular with cities around the world. Atlanta has its own version of the Vision Zero goal. According to the Atlanta Department of Transportation, the Vision Zero goal is a systems-driven approach to  reducing traffic accident fatalities through measures like speed management and better street design.  There is no denying that there can be no progress made in reducing traffic accident facilities to the absolute minimum unless we take into consideration the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.

In most European countries that have adopted Vision Zero, the program has been successful.  According to this Blomberg report, Oslo, the capital city of Norway is a prime example of what can happen when transportation agencies and the population come together with a single goal in mind – to minimize fatal accidents that are entirely preventable.  Fatal accidents in Oslo are so rare that they result in a full-blown investigation and not just a police report when they occur.

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Tractor trailer accidents are some of the worst motor vehicle accidents.  Truck driver drug use is a significant factor in accidents, and new data shows that this continues to be so. The federal administration’s latest report on drug test violations confirms that the risk from truck drivers operating under the influence of drugs is very much real and present.

In fact, according to the data by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there was a significant increase of 10% in drug violations in 2021, compared to the same period of time in 2020.  The number of actual positive test results increased by approximately 3% to a total of approximately 55,200.  The administration considered a refusal to take a test as a violation which could explain the 10% increase.

However, the data also finds that there has been a significant 10% increase in positive test results for cocaine and a 5.4 % increase in positive test results for marijuana. The number of truck drivers abusing cocaine while driving could actually be much higher than the official estimate because the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration currently does not include the results of hair tests for cocaine.

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Faulty car brakes can cause horrific accidents usually resulting in serious injuries.  Federal regulators are working on new laws in the next couple of years that would require auto manufacturers to install automatic emergency braking systems in their cars. Safety advocates, however, are calling on regulators to require manufacturers to install systems that work in all light conditions, including at night.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made it clear that it will be working on completing rulemaking by 2024, requiring auto manufacturers to install pedestrian automatic emergency braking systems in all their automobiles. These systems work at detecting pedestrians in the path of the car. There is significant research that shows the efficacy of these systems in helping protect pedestrians against accidents. For instance, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has conducted research that clearly shows the benefits of pedestrian automatic emergency braking systems in helping motorists to avoid pedestrians. Collisions with motor vehicles are a major cause of injuries and fatalities in pedestrian accidents every year.

The researchers found that the systems significantly help prevent collisions in the daytime. There isn’t significant data pointing to the effectiveness of the systems at night, however.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is calling on federal regulators to pressure automakers to install pedestrian automatic emergency braking systems that work both in the daytime as well as at night. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, it has found in its studies that these systems can be enhanced to make them very effective during low visibility conditions like night-time as well.

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The recent shortage of available cars for purchase has made it difficult for consumers to get their vehicle of choice.  Ideally, one would want to get the safest car available to protect them in an accident.  However, the average American driver is much more likely to be aware of all the features on his large screen television than the car uses to get around safely every day. This lack of knowledge is even more glaring among used car buyers who often have little knowledge about the accident prevention features that their car includes.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found recently in a study that buyers of used cars do not have all information about the technologies in their vehicles.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a survey of drivers who had bought automobiles between 2016 and 2019. The survey group included more than 400 owners who had bought their new vehicles in a showroom, while the rest consisted of motorists who had bought used cars.

The survey found that buyers of both old and new cars were not completely aware of the safety features that their vehicle included.  Just about two-thirds of new car buyers, for instance, were aware of information relating to the adaptive cruise control feature on their cars. This feature includes all the conveniences of traditional cruise control, but also slows and speeds up depending on the distance with the car ahead, thereby reducing the risk of a fender bender or accident.  However, this feature needs to be turned on to be effective.

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