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New data finds a drop of 5% in the number of pedestrians killed in auto   accidents in the United States last year.

The  Governors Highway Safety Association recently released new data that finds a 5.4% drop in the number of pedestrians being killed in auto accidents compared to the previous year.  In 2023, a total of 7,318 pedestrians were killed in car accidents.

While the news of a drop in the number of deaths is encouraging, it is too early for celebration.  The fact is that pedestrian accident numbers continue to remain stubbornly high.  According  to Governors Highway Safety Association data,  the numbers in 2022 were a  14% increase over pre- pandemic numbers.   Pedestrian deaths accounted for close to 18% of  all auto accident deaths in 2022. Between 2010 and 2022, there was a shocking 77% increase in pedestrian accident wrongful deaths, and the increase in overall traffic accident deaths was just 22 percent during this time.

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The number of people being killed in motorcycle accidents reached record numbers in 2022 with more than 6,000 lives lost that year.

With  so much of the focus on people being killed in pedestrian accidents or car accidents, it  is easy to miss the fact that motorcyclists are losing their lives in large numbers in accidents too.  In fact, in 2022, according to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 6,222 motorcyclists were killed in accidents. This is the highest number of motorcycle accident deaths on record.  It is also a 23% increase on the number of deaths recorded in 2019.

Motorcycle wrongful deaths  accounted for 15% of all traffic accident deaths recorded in 2019.   The  numbers recorded were also three times higher than the numbers in 1997. About 63% of all motorcycle accident fatalities occurred in accidents involving other vehicles, while  37% involved only the motorcycle.

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While pedestrians overall are more likely to be injured in auto accidents, older pedestrians above the age of 50 are more likely to suffer serious personal injuries when they are involved in slip and fall accidents, compared to auto accidents.

There has been much focus recently on personal injuries involving pedestrians in car accidents.  The increase in pedestrian accidents is being blamed for an overall spike in the number of people being personally injured in auto accidents across the country.  Researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health analyzed data involving pedestrians who had suffered personal injuries in slip and fall accidents, and compared the data with the numbers involving pedestrians involved in auto accidents.

The Columbia University study found that while the risk to pedestrians involved in auto accidents remains high, the overall public burden is greater when older pedestrians are injured in slip and falls in comparison. The study found that 32 percent of pedestrian personal injuries in  auto accidents were defined as “emergency” or   “critical”.  In  comparison, 19% of persons  who suffered slip and falls had personal injuries that were defined as  “emergency” or “critical.”  However, pedestrians above the age of 50 in fall accidents were 3.9 times more likely to suffer  “emergent” or “critical” injuries,   compared to ones who had been involved in auto accidents. In fact, the Columbia University study described as alarming the number of older pedestrians who suffered serious personal injuries after fall accidents and needed emergency care.

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Older people who suffer mild mental declines are likely to make the decision to give up driving in order to eliminate their risks  of being involved in auto accidents.

Concerns  about senior drivers have increased over the past decade with the increase in the number of motorists above the age of 65 driving on our streets.  With life expectancies at all time highs,  it is natural that we see many  senior drivers on our roads.  Driving  is  key to senior  physical and mental health.  However, seniors may suffer from several age- related declines and  impairments that reduce their ability to drive safely and increase their risks of being involved in a car accident.  Vision  may begin to fail and hearing may become less sharp as the years go by.  Even  more disturbing are the mental or cognitive declines that seniors may face as they get older.

A new study finds that most seniors who   begin to suffer mental declines like forgetfulness make the decision to give up driving on their own. As part of the study, the researchers tracked  213 seniors above the age of 72.    None  of the seniors suffered from symptoms of mental decline at the beginning of the study,  but as the years progressed, some of them began to suffer from deficiencies  including impairment in memory, judgment and reasoning.

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As electric cars become more popular on our roads, there are frequently more reports of car accidents involving these vehicles with pedestrians.

The demand for electric vehicles has nowhere near peaked, and as the number of such vehicles increases on our roads, we are understanding more about the specific dangers involving such cars.  While electric cars have their  advantages, they can be extremely silent, and this can pose a threat to  vulnerable users on our roads, like pedestrians. According to the results of a new study, pedestrians are as much as three times more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents involving electric cars compared to gas powered cars.

Both electric and hybrid cars were found to be more dangerous compared to gas powered cars.  The rate of accidents was 5 wrongful deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in the case of electric cars, and just 2.5 wrongful deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in the case of gas powered vehicles.

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A  safety group in France is advising male drivers to drive more like female drivers in order to reduce their risks of being involved in auto accidents.  This  has raised the age old question –  are female drivers truly safer than men?

According to the group, which advocates for victims of car accidents, female drivers in France are less likely to be involved in fatal car accidents compared to males. The group says that 84% of all fatal car accidents involve male drivers.  It also claims that 93% of all drunk driving-related car accidents involve males.

Here in the United States as well, there has been data to show that female drivers do tend to be involved in fewer fatal car accidents compared to males.    One of the reasons could be the fact that males simply drive more vehicular  miles contributing to higher accident risks.

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A new study finds that many patients who are on life support after suffering a brain injury could actually make a recovery.

In cases of a severe brain injury after an auto accident, truck accident or any other kind of accident where there has been severe trauma to the head, doctors may make the decision to place the person on life support.  The  decision to end life support is  an excruciatingly painful decision for family members to make.  In  many cases, the decision is taken within 72 hours after the person has suffered the brain injury.  However,  the results of a new study seems to indicate that waiting longer to remove life support may be beneficial.

For the study, the researchers examined data involving 3,100 patients who had suffered traumatic brain injury and had to be immediately transferred to a hospital. Out of these, 90 patients were removed from life support within a few days and died soon after.  For purposes of comparison, the researchers then focused on a group of 90 patients who were very similar to the first group on most counts, but continued to remain on life support.

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The month of May is being commemorated as National Bicycle Safety Month,  an ideal time just before the year’s peak cycling season kicks off to remind bicyclists  and motorists about the bicycle accident risks facing these vulnerable users.

In 2021, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 1105 fatalities involving bicycle accidents. More than  45,000 bicyclists were injured in these accidents. In the last ten years alone, there has been a 37 percent increase in the number of bicyclist deaths in auto accidents recorded across the country.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there are 80 million bicycles in the United States.   Bicyclists  compete for space with motorists, creating conditions that are often most dangerous to the person riding the bicycle. Many of these accidents  are preventable, and require an understanding of cyclist rights as well as the key motorist mistakes that may cost a bicyclist his safety or even his or her life.

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Alcohol- related car accident death numbers have increased significantly even as the number of arrests have dropped.

In 2022, according to figures released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, close to 13,500 people died in auto accidents caused by an impaired driver.  That  was almost the same as the numbers in 2021, but a was 33% higher than in   2019. The numbers in 2022 were the highest on record since 2006.

During  the same period of time, there  was  a significant drop in the number of arrests made for DUI around the country. In 2019, police made close to a million arrests for DUI around the US while that number dropped to just 788,000 arrests  in 2022.  During the pandemic,  police departments across the country suffered staffing shortages which made it harder for them to enforce DUI laws and  arrest violators.

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Close to 40% of all car accidents involving delivery vans could be prevented if all vans came equipped with four important safety features.

According  to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, auto tech could play a key role in helping reduce the number of auto accidents caused by delivery vans in the United States.   Delivery  vans have become a ubiquitous presence on American roads,  and their number has only grown since the pandemic when online purchases became the norm. With the e-commerce boom not expected to slow down anytime soon, it is important for regulators and auto makers to act to make these vehicles safer for all motorists on the road.

Light vans were already a very popular vehicle in the United States, but their popularity has boomed since the pandemic.  As  many as 500,000 such vehicles are sold every year in the United States.  The number of such vehicles simply boomed during the pandemic, spurred by a 43% increase in e-commerce rates.

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