Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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The horrifying fatal school bus accident in Chattanooga in November that killed five children has highlighted the frailties in the system that make it difficult to track accidents and take steps to effectively prevent similar deadly crashes.

In November, a bus left Woodmore Elementary School with approximately 37 students on board, crashed into a tree, and flipped over. Six children were killed, and several others injured, including six who were injured seriously enough to be rushed to the intensive care unit. The driver of the bus was arrested on charges of vehicle homicide. At least one of the children on the bus was a kindergartner.

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), this year alone, there have been at least 700 accidents involving metro Atlanta school buses, or approximately 2 crashes a day.  However, that data may be incomplete.  Officials admit that the database lacks data on many accidents, and this makes it difficult for officials to track accident rates, pinpoint causes, and take steps to eliminate these accidents. Those steps include retraining school drivers, strengthening training and safety standards, and identifying accident trends in particular areas. Better accident data could also help identify dangerous drivers, who can then be removed from the system.

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The seatbelt still continues to be the most effective life-saving device in modern automobiles, and new research indicates that Americans are now using it at record highs.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently reported that American motorists are buckling up at greater rates than ever before. The Agency reported that as many as 90% of all American motorists now buckle up when they drive. That percentage also includes all front seat passengers.

During 2015, seat belt use helped save as many as 14,000 lives in accidents. Since 1975, NHTSA estimates that more than 345,000 lives have been saved as a result of the use of seatbelts.  However, failure to wear seat belts still kills.  In spite of high seat belt usage rates in 2015, as many as 40% of traffic accident fatalities that year were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.

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Many accidents that are caused when a vehicle veers out of its lane and hits another car are believed to be the result of motorists being sleep deprived, driving under the influence alcohol or drugs, or suffering a serious medical condition. A new study confirms this.

According to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, incapacitation was the key factor in approximately 34% of lane-drift accidents studied as part of the research. Incapacitation here refers to a motorist dozing off while sleeping, blacking out in a medical emergency, or passing out under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The research focused on approximately 630 lane-drift accidents that occurred between 2005 and 2007, and found that in approximately 17% of the accidents, the driver fell asleep at the wheel just before the accident. In another 17% of the crashes, the driver either blacked out at the wheel due to drug or alcohol use, or suffered a medical emergency like diabetic shock, seizure or heart attack.

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Motorists trying to catch critters are at a serious risk of injuring themselves and others in accidents. According to an analysis of Twitter posts related to Pokémon Go, far too many people are playing the game as they are driving or walking.

In fact, according to statistics, there have been at least 14 accidents directly linked to persons playing Pokémon Go. These accidents occurred in July. In one incident, a motorist drove his car into a tree. In other incidents, motorists suddenly slammed on their brakes and jumped out of their cars in busy traffic to catch the critters. Pedestrians have also been found walking into traffic as they were playing.

The analysis of Twitter posts found that approximately 18% of tweets involved persons who were playing Pokémon go while driving. 11% of the tweets seemed to indicate that a passenger in the car was playing. About 4% of the tweets involved pedestrians who were struck by cars or almost struck by cars while playing Pokémon Go.

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Thousands of accidents in the United States every year are linked not to drunk driving, or speeding, but to road debris. According to a new study, these accidents killed as many as 500 people between 2011 and 2014.

The data were released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, and found that road debris was responsible for more than 200,000 car accidents in the United States over a four-year period. These resulted in approximately 39,000 injuries and 500 fatalities. An analysis of the data indicate worse news. It appears that accidents that are linked directly to road debris have increased by 40% since the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety began analyzing these risks back in 2011.

Most accidents seem to be the result of drivers swerving the car in order to avoid hitting a piece of debris on the road. About 37% of all fatalities occurred in accidents like these. In these cases, the driver is at a high risk of losing control of the steering and the vehicle.

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Distractions play a major part in accidents involving teenage drivers. However, the impact of distraction on teen safety may be much higher than earlier believed. According to a new report by AAA, about 60% of all teen driver car accidents involve distractions of some kind.

The American Automobile Association says that most teenage drivers involved in accidents are talking on the cell phone, texting, or engaged in other distractions while driving. These other distractions include talking to passengers in the car.

The study found that 15% of accidents involving teenage drivers can be traced to talking to passengers.

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When it comes to preventing distracted driving, all of the onus is on motorists. While there are laws in place to punish distracted drivers, these are often difficult to enforce or incorporate mild punishments, and are therefore not as effective as needed. Far too many motorists are very comfortable with texting while driving.

It is these types of motorists that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is targeting with a new social media initiative. As part of the effort, NHTSA’s official Twitter account has been naming and shaming Twitter users who reference distracted driving or using cell phones while driving in a flippant way.

The agency’s Twitter feed has garnered a lot of attention in recent weeks for its very targeted, specific, and clear messages to Twitter users who joke about texting while driving, or seem nonchalant about the dangers of distracted driving. In one message, the agency sharply scolds a Twitter user who seems blasé about the dangers of using the SnapChat app while driving.  In another, it offers words of appreciation and praise for a user who seems very clued-in to the dangers of distracted driving.

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Almost all motorists recognize the dangers associated with driving while distracted or drunk, but did you know that driving while emotionally distressed also significantly increases your risk of being in a motor vehicle collision? New studies confirm that persons driving while upset, sad or angry place themselves and other motorists at substantial risk.

According to a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, motorists who are driving when they’re angry, sad or otherwise emotionally off-center increase their accident risk by ten fold. In fact, according to the study, the risks of driving in an emotionally distressed state are much higher than driving while distracted. The study found that driving while engaged in activities that caused the driver to take his or her eyes off of the road, like using a cell phone or texting, doubled the accident risk for motorists.

There is a reason why emotional driving may be even more dangerous than distracted driving and other types of dangerous behaviors. When a person is emotionally off kilter, they often fail to recognize how it may impact their ability to drive safely. In comparison, motorists who text while driving or use a cell phone while driving are usually aware that what they’re doing increases the risk of an accident. In other words, if you’re driving in an emotionally fatigued or overly excited state, you may not appreciate the need to slow down or be more cautious while driving.

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Seatbelts are arguably the single most important automobile safety invention in history. However, when seatbelts are defective, there is a serious risk of injury to car occupants.

Seatbelt use across the United States is at close to all-time highs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2015, seatbelt use across the United States reached 88.5%. That was an increase from 86.7% recorded in 2014. Although that is not believed to be a statistically significant difference, it is encouraging to note that Americans continue to buckle up even though cars now come with several high-tech safety features. The fact is that in many different types of accidents, it is the seatbelt that significantly reduces the risk of serious injuries or death.

Make sure that you and other people in your car are always buckled-up while driving. Children must not be restrained in seatbelts unless they have reached the proper age and weight.

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Calendar year 2015 did not provide great news for motorists in Georgia. Not only was there a spike in the total number of people killed in car accidents across the state last year, but there also appears to be a rise in the number of people killed in alcohol-related car accidents.

The rise in Georgia’s car accident fatalities numbers is concerning. After declines were reported for close to nine consecutive years, traffic accident death numbers actually increased in 2015. In 2015, more than 1,300 people died in car accidents, and at least 25 % of those fatalities are estimated to have involved an impaired motorist.

The 25% number has not been confirmed yet, because the final numbers are still being compiled. Exact details about the alcohol percentage in each of these fatalities is not yet known, but based on past data, it’s quite reasonable to believe that the 2015 numbers involving drunk driving was very high. According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that two years ago, 27% all traffic accident fatalities were directly linked to intoxicated motorists. It can take months for lab results to arrive and be verified, and final statistics for 2015 will not be confirmed until months from now. However, all initial indicators point to an increase in the number of people killed as a direct result of being involved in an accident with an intoxicated motorist.