Published on:

The federal government is not amused by the witty highway safety messages that are posted on several highways across the country, including in Georgia, to prevent auto accidents.   The federal government has banned these humorous electronic safety messages across the country.

The Federal Highway Administration, which is in charge of regulating the nation’s massive network of highways, recently released a 1000 – page manual which also includes rules for the design of safety signs. The manual  makes it clear that it considers these messages to be distracting. Rather than preventing auto accidents, the FHA believes the messages make car accidents more likely.

Over the past few years, several states including Georgia, have attempted  to attract motorist  attention to highway safety issues by posting humorous safety messages that use wordplay,  a pun-friendly  style or references to pop culture to grab eyeballs.  Georgia transportation safety experts experimented with these witty signs, and in 2020, held a contest to find the most humorous sign ideas.  Winning entries included gems like You Look Great, But the Selfie Can Wait, Better Late Than Never, and our favorite If You Missed the Exit, It’s OK, We Made More Up Ahead, and began flashing on several highways after these were picked out of hundreds of entries.  Over the next few months, however, many of these messages may simply be phased out as a result of the new federal rules.

Published on:

Driving under the influence of marijuana can be dangerous in any age category, but the drug may have a unique impact on the car accident risks of senior drivers.

According to the results of a new study, seniors who smoke marijuana and drive may have their auto accident risks impacted by their drug use. The results of the study were published in the January issue of JAMA Network Open. The study found that seniors who use marijuana may suffer from especially serious effects of the drug due to their declining cognitive skills. In  the study, the researchers found that seniors who were driving under the influence of marijuana began veering in and out of lanes about 30 minutes after using the drug. Irresponsible lane changes can increase your risk of being involved in a car accident.

Marijuana use can affect motor coordination and also affect decision – making abilities.  It can also affect reasoning and memory.  Declining cognitive function in seniors may already exacerbate the effects of the drug, and marijuana use, the researchers say, only compounds the effects of aging – related cognitive declines.  Additionally, seniors are very likely to be  on medications and these medications may also impact their cognitive function and aggravate the effects of marijuana use. For instance, common medications like those that are used to treat cardiovascular problems, hypertension, diabetes and other common problems that can affect seniors could result in side effects when combined with marijuana.

Published on:

Older drivers may be at a high risk of being involved in car accidents, and those risks are simply exacerbated if they also suffer from migraines.

Migraines  are a common condition, especially among older people, but they may be dangerous for senior drivers.  According  to the results of a new study, older drivers who suffer   from migraines are as much as three times more likely to be involved in a car accident.   The results of the study were published  recently in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society. According to the researchers, migraines are already a common concern among older drivers with as many as 7% of senior drivers already diagnosed with migraines.   The  researchers believe that many   migraines  are undiagnosed  which means we probably have an increasing population of older drivers on our roads who have their driving abilities impacted by their severe headaches and remain unaware of this. The researchers found a threefold  increase in car accident risks for senior drivers in the 12 months after a diagnosis.  Medications  taken to control migraines do not seem to have any impact on car accident risks.

The researchers recommend that senior drivers who have recently been diagnosed with migraines discuss  the effects of the condition on their driving abilities with their doctor.  Be  especially careful about the kind of medications that you take to control the pain while you drive. Also understand the dangers of introducing alcohol to the mix when you are already on medications to treat your migraines.  Senior  drivers already face a number of safety risks when driving and these  could simply be compounded by their migraines.

Published on:

While car accident wrongful death numbers in the rest of the developed world have been falling significantly, they have actually been on the rise in the United States.  Part of the reason for this, experts say, is the presence of massive or large automobiles on our roads.

Tall SUVs are extremely popular, and have been so for decades.  The  race to make these cars bigger and better has, unfortunately, resulted in serious safety consequences for motorists and pedestrians. Some of these tall trucks, especially those with blunt trunks, aim directly at the torso or neck of the average American woman. The height of these vehicles makes it almost impossible for motorists to see shorter pedestrians, like young children behind the car.  Even more devastating is the kind of impact that an auto accident with one of these monster-sized cars can result in.  An auto accident with a smaller car may leave passengers suffering injuries in the leg, while an accident with a tall pick up truck or SUV can leave a passenger with personal injuries to the upper torso or the head and neck, and these personal injuries can be infinitely more serious. They are often also fatal.

Not only are these cars bigger and stronger, but they also come with large blind zones in front of the vehicle. That means they are at risk of causing severe and catastrophic personal injuries to vulnerable users of the road like pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicycles involved in an auto accident with these tall pickup trucks and SUVs.  Of special worry is the large blind zone in front of these large vehicles.  In one study, experts wanted to study how difficult it is for the driver in one of these cars to identify child pedestrians in front of the car. The experts made children sit in a row in front of the car. They found that a woman driver sitting in the driver’s seat was only able to see the 10th child in the row.  Even an alert driver may not be able to identify child pedestrians in front of the car.  The kind of car accidents that these large cars cause are devastating and often result in deaths.

Published on:

All manufacturers of light vehicles who signed a 2016 agreement  have fulfilled the commitment they made to equip their vehicles with crucial auto emergency braking systems to prevent car accidents.

The 2016 agreement was brought about by the efforts of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.  Twenty automakers participated in the agreement in which they agreed to substantially increase the number of manufactured vehicles equipped with automatic emergency braking systems. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, between August and September 2023, additional automakers fulfilled their pledge of installing auto emergency braking systems on 95% of their light vehicles. With this, all 20 automakers that signed the agreement are in fulfilment of their commitment.

This means that a majority of the light vehicles that weigh less than 8,500 pounds on our roads will be equipped with this crucial car accident prevention technology. Some auto manufacturers, including Honda, now have close to 100% of their light vehicles equipped with auto emergency braking systems while other manufacturers have at least 95% of their light vehicles equipped with these car accident prevention systems.

Published on:

Auto accident prevention technologies like forward collision warning systems do a very good job of reducing the risk of auto accidents involving passenger vehicles, but may not be as effective in preventing motorcycle accidents and trucking accidents.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently released the findings of two new studies which found that forward collision warning systems and automatic emergency braking systems are very beneficial in reducing the risk of car accidents involving passenger vehicles,  but not as effective in preventing accidents involving motorcycles and trucks. The studies focused on more than 160,000 auto accidents involving passenger vehicles, large trucks and motorcycles.

According to the studies, these systems can help reduce the risk of rear-ender auto accidents involving passenger vehicles by as much as 53%.  However, they were found to reduce the risk of accidents involving large commercial trucks by only 38% and motorcycle accidents by 41%. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as many as 5,500 lives could be saved every year if auto accident prevention systems were enhanced to make them more effective in identifying and reducing the risk of colliding with large tractor trailers.  An additional 500 lives could be saved in motorcycle accidents if these technologies could be improved to help identify motorcycles that are  notoriously harder to identify for motorists.

Published on:

A spinal cord injury can result in loss of muscle to a larger extent than can be  attributed to lack of movement and mobility.   A new study points to one of the lesser known, but longer term consequences of a spinal cord injury after an auto accident.

A spinal cord injury is a serious personal injury that is caused when there is an injury to the spine during an auto accident, or motorcycle accident or pedestrian accident.  Spinal cord injuries may also be caused in slip and fall accidents.  The  degree and severity of the spinal cord injury can depend on the location of the vertebrae where the injury occurs.  Spinal cord injuries can result in loss of movement and mobility making it impossible for the person to  stand, walk and otherwise use his or her limbs.  These personal injuries  significantly alter a person’s life and  his ability to earn a living and live a  normal life after the personal injury.

A new study finds that there are long term consequences of a spinal injury that we may not be aware of.  The  study recently found that a spinal cord injury can cause significant muscle wastage in patients.  Some degree of muscle wastage in patients who have suffered a spinal cord injury is to be expected because of the lack of movement and exercise that can cause muscles to wither away.  According  to the study, however,  the kind of muscle wastage that a person with these injuries suffers cannot simply be explained away by lack of movement.  In fact, the researchers believe that it has more to do with the ability of the adrenal glands to receive nerve signals.

Published on:

Many teenagers have poor sleep hygiene, and this can increase their risks of being involved in drowsy driving-related car accidents.  A new study shows that poor sleep quality in teenagers can occur because of their addiction to texting and video games.

It is no secret that teenagers are addicted to their smartphones, but it is specific types of smartphone usage that may be especially detrimental to teenagers and their sleep patterns. Researchers at Penn State analyzed smartphone behavior by teenagers and its impact on their sleep patterns.  They found all smartphone usage was not the same as far as impact on sleep hygiene goes.  The study found that interactive activities like texting or playing video games have the most detrimental effect on a teenager’s sleep quality.

Interestingly enough, these activities do not even have to take place close to the teenager’s sleep time for it to affect his sleep duration or time.  Even daytime activities like playing video games can impact sleep quality and duration.  For  every one hour more  than  usual that a teen  played a video game, his usual bedtime was delayed by 10 minutes.

Published on:

The federal administration has kickstarted the rule-making process that would require drunk driving car accident prevention technology on all new cars.

This welcome announcement was made by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which recently  announced that it has started work on the rule- making process that would require  impaired driving prevention systems on all new cars.  These  systems  that work to prevent drivers from operating a vehicle include technology that measures the amount of alcohol on a person’s breath and prevents him from operating the engine if it detects a certain amount of alcohol in his system.  This  technology is very similar to the ignition interlock systems that are currently used in several states, including Georgia, as penalties for repeat drunk driving offenders.  Other  technologies that will be reviewed  include camera systems that can monitor eye movements in order to identify if a driver is impaired or driving under the influence of alcohol.

At this point, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiative   would  allow  regulators to collect data about the various systems that are currently in place in automobiles and their impact in reducing the incidence of driving under the influence of alcohol.  If things reach their preferred conclusion, we could have drunk driving auto accident prevention sensors, cameras or other systems in all new cars as a standard feature.  There is no doubt that this could significantly help reduce the number of car accidents caused by impaired drivers.

Published on:

The use of automated enforcement like red light camera systems can be a sensitive and touchy subject for most Atlanteans,  but as federal administration officials focus harder on preventing auto accident wrongful deaths and serious personal injuries, the presence of such systems on American roads is only likely to increase.

A recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association and State Farm focused on the various types of automated enforcement  systems that are currently in place on American roads, effectiveness  of these systems and the sensitivities  involved in the implementation of these systems.  The  most common automated enforcement technologies  currently on our roads include red light camera systems, speed camera systems and school bus stop arm camera systems.  Some jurisdictions have also begun preliminary  experimentation with  cameras to identify when people  are driving without seatbelts and when motorists are using cell phones while driving.

The need for automotive enforcement, especially speed camera systems, has become even more dire over the past few years as speeding  rates across the country have skyrocketed.  The  number of people being killed in car accidents directly related to speeding has also   increased.  Law  enforcement departments across the country have been struggling with reduced  staffing, and that has meant departments looking more and more towards the use of automation to help with enforcement.

Contact Information