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Thousands of injuries every year occur in accidents caused when motorists crash into disabled vehicles that have been parked onto the side of the road and are not visible to motorists.

According to a new report published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, these accidents result in hundreds of fatalities every year.  The data analyzed revealed that there were 566 car accident fatalities between 2016 and 2018, all involving accidents featuring a disabled or stopped vehicle. In all of these accidents, visibility was rated as a likely factor in the accident. These accidents resulted in more than 14,371 injuries, and cost more than $8.8 billion in lost income and other accident-related losses.

Visibility is often a major factor in these accidents. The researchers found that 95% of accidents involving stopped vehicles featured a vehicle crashing into the stationary or stopped vehicle. More than 50% of the fatalities involved a car hitting a person who was walking back to the stopped vehicle or working on the disabled vehicle. As many as one in 5 severe injuries were the result of such pedestrian motorists walking around the disabled car.  When the stopped vehicle situation occurs at night, it makes the chances of a collision ever more imminent.

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In 2020, when the majority of people were staying at home, there was a record increase in dog adoptions and online shopping.  Normally, these two event would seem unrelated, however a significant increase in the number of mail deliveries across the country last year led to a significant increase in the number of dog bite attacks recorded across the country in 2020. The US Postal Service recently released a statement which defined the most dangerous states for postal workers last year as well as the cities that recorded the highest number of dog bites involving mail carriers.

Fortunately, Georgia does not figure in the list of states with the highest number of recorded attacks against mail carriers in 2020. No Georgia city featured in the list of cities that saw the highest number of attacks involving postal workers. For purposes of the list, the Postal Service considered any dog bite-related injury to the mail worker, or any incident resulting in a complaint to a supervisor.

Mail workers are some of the most frequent victims of dog bites in the metro Atlanta region. With summer here, it’s time not just for families but also dog owners to be mindful of the increased risk of dog bites. Most Americans last year relied on online deliveries of their basic needs, and online shopping rates soared, leading to increased exposure of all mail carriers to dog bites. Long periods of being locked up at home without exercise and walks also led to an increase in canine aggression levels. Exercise is crucial in maintaining canine health and dog experts believe that lack of exercise led to an increase in dog bites last year, especially those involving children.

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Summertime is usually a busy season for teen drivers as many prepare to get their driver’s license during the school break.  A new driver in the family can also mean that a new car is needed.  However, as new car production has dropped over the past year and the prices of used cars have skyrocketed, teens and novice drivers may find it harder to buy safe cars to drive.

A global shortage of microchips has caused a drop in the production of new cars.  Simultaneously, prices of used cars shot up in 2020, making used cars very expensive for parents of young teen drivers. Typically, parents of teen drivers prefer to buy used cars so that their children gain experience driving in an affordable car before they move on to a new car of their own. This has also traditionally been the thinking of parents in the Atlanta area for decades.

However, the market for used cars has ballooned in 2021, and prices for some models have increased significantly. This means that many teens now have a much smaller range of models from which to choose. The danger is that many parents might neglect the importance of safety features when buying a car for their child. Many older cars do not come with key safety technologies, and it is likely that in a seller’s market parents may feel the pressure to choose a car that is within their budget but  not necessarily the safest one for their child.

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Every year, over 36,000 people are killed in motor vehicle accidents on our nation’s roadways.  On top of that, 3 million people are injured every year as a result of a car crash.  Lawmakers are introducing a system approach to help reduce these injury statistics.  A set of 4 new bills that have been introduced in the US Congress tackle serious problems facing American motorists, and cover a range of subjects including auto safety and distracted driving.

The set of bills has been introduced by Senator Richard Blumenthal (Democrat-Connecticut) and Senator Edward Markey (Democrat -Massachusetts) who both sit on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.  All 4 bills are specifically focused on improvements in traffic safety strategies and infrastructure. The bills cover issues that significantly impact the safety of Georgia motorists, including distracted driving, the speed with which auto recalls are initiated in the United States as well as the safety and stability of car technology.

The first bill aims to understand more about the problems of distracted driving and solutions that can help resolve this menace. The bill is called the Stay Aware For Everyone Act, or the SAFE Act, and it will require the Department of Transportation to conduct studies into how auto technologies like driver monitoring technology can reduce the incidence of distracted driving by reducing driver distractions. The bill requires the DOT to specifically study driver disengagement as well as the possible irresponsible use of auto technology that could cause distractions.

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Summer driving season will be upon us soon, and with more people out and taking road trips this summer, the number of automobile accidents is bound to increase.  The National Transportation Safety Board last month released its list of transportation safety recommendations for 2021, and tackled critical areas like distracted driving, speeding and drunk driving.

Every year, the National Transportation Safety Board releases its much awaited Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements. In the recent 2021- 2022 list, the National Transportation Safety Board gave its recommendations on a number of critical traffic safety areas that are responsible for causing thousands of accidents every year.

As expected, and as on most of its annual lists, the National Transportation Safety Board calls on state and federal authorities to invest in the prevention of accidents caused by the use of alcohol and drugs.  Accidents involving alcohol and drug- impaired driving are far too common, even in 2021.  The Board has drastic recommendations for the prevention of drunk driving accidents and recommends that states, like Georgia, roll back their minimum blood alcohol concentration limits to 0.05%, and require all motorists convicted of drunk driving to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles.

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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, can be a very difficult condition to live with, and over a period of time can severely impact a person’s driving abilities. For this reason, it is very important for family members and caregivers to monitor the patient’s condition, and step in to take away car keys when these skills are severely impacted to prevent accident risks.

The ALS Association is marking ALS Awareness Month, and is drawing attention to this much-feared, but little known-about condition. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a rare condition that can over a period of time lead to cognitive, physical and movement limitations. The symptoms of ALS can progress very quickly.  The average person who is diagnosed with ALS dies within a period of 5 years after receiving a diagnosis. The disease can progress very quickly, exacerbating the limitations it imposes, especially those involving the person’s physical and cognitive abilities.

Because ALS is a condition that progresses so quickly, it is very important for family members to make decisions about the patient’s independence, especially his mobility and driving, after a diagnosis.  Those abilities could worsen quickly as the disease progresses. Last year, one study found that patients who suffered from mild to moderate progression of the disease could continue driving safely. That study found that in spite of the weaknesses in movement and cognition that these drivers suffered, their driving abilities were on par with other persons who did not suffer from the disease. However, even in that study, the researchers warned that the findings of the study should not be taken to mean that patients with ALS can drive safely and without restrictions.

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The month of May marked the beginning of national bicycle safety month.  Thanks to a greater focus on helmet usage and other factors, there has been a significant reduction in the number of American children suffering serious head injuries in bicycle accidents.  However, adults continue to be at risk of suffering head injuries in these accidents, with injury rates in this section of the population barely budging.

According to a new study by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, there was a significant drop of close to 50% in bicycle-related head injuries in children between 2009 and 2018. The researchers credit a number of factors for this significant drop in injuries in this section of the population.  The most important factor has been the increased usage of bicycle helmets.  Awareness campaigns that have pushed for the use of helmets in children have led to a greater awareness of the risk of bicycle-related head injuries in this section of the population. These injuries can be especially dangerous in little ones.  Several cities, including those in Georgia, have also significantly invested in the construction of bicycle lanes that have ensured that children and adults are not exposed to motorists and the risks of accidents involving cars.

However, those same safety interventions do not have seem to have had any effect on the number of head injuries in adults.  During the same period of time, the rate of traumatic brain injury involving bicycle accidents among adults dropped by less than 5.5%. This in spite of the fact that there was an increase in bicycle accident-related fatalities among adults during the study. In fact, in 2018, the number of bicycle accident fatalities involving adults in the United States was the highest in over two decades. According to the researchers, the drop in bicycle head injuries involving children has been as much as 9 times greater than those involving adults.

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Summer vacation season is fast approaching, and many Atlanta families are preparing to make trips out of town.  Many of these trips will involve long drives to faraway destinations.  These long drives, unfortunately, can come with an increased risk of fatigued or drowsy driving.

The Better Sleep Council is marking the month of May as Better Sleep Month, and is encouraging Americans to practice the good sleeping habits in order to avoid feeling the effects that fatigue and lack of sleep deprivation can cause. For motorists, sleep deprivation is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Several studies have indicated that a motorist who is driving after having had little sleep in the previous 24 hours, is as much at risk of being involved in a car accident as a person who’s driving under the influence of alcohol.

Maintaining consistent sleep patterns is key to getting sufficient sleep every day.  Ideally, you should be sleeping at the same time every day. Avoid scrolling through your mobile phone or exercising before you sleep.  Relaxing activities like reading will help put you in a better mood for sleep. The Better Sleep Council also recommends that you avoid alcohol and smoking before bed.

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The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety kickstarted its nationwide bicycle safety awareness program by making a number of stops across the state of Georgia. Several cities played host to the new public awareness campaign that is focusing especially on bicycle safety in the month of May.

The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is commemorating the month of May as National Bicycle Safety Month. As part of the campaign, the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety conducted a “Capital to Coast 2021” program across the state. This program involved an educational tour that covered 5 cities in Georgia- Atlanta, Athens, Macon, Savannah and Brunswick.

The campaign focused on important bicycle safety issues, including enhancing bicycle helmet usage. The risk of many injuries, especially head injuries in bicycle accidents, can be reduced with the proper usage of bicycle helmets.  The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety has been focusing on increasing awareness of the need for helmet usage and the safe ways of wearing helmets.

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This April, transportation safety authorities in Georgia conducted a campaign drawing attention to the high risks facing construction workers in work zones.  It’s also equally important for truck drivers to be aware of these risks.

Large trucks are involved in a significant percentage of the total number of accidents that occur in American work zones every year.  The last week of April this year was commemorated as National Work Zone Awareness Week to draw awareness to the special risks facing construction workers working in these zones. In 2019, which is the last year for which data on these types of accidents is available, there were a total of 842 accident deaths occurring in work zones across the United states. That was a significant increase from the 757 fatalities in work zones that occurred in 2018.

Truck accidents account for a significant percentage of these types of accidents. While truck accidents constitute approximately 5% of all vehicular traffic, they are involved in a staggering 33% of all accidents that occur in work zones.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is specifically calling on commercial truck drivers to look out for construction workers in work zones, and follow all safety protocols while driving through these zones.

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