Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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The upcoming holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for emergency rooms throughout the country and in Atlanta.  Injuries and accidents are more common during this time, and there are a number of reasons people find themselves having to go for treatment at an overcrowded ER from food poisoning and alcohol related accidents to kitchen and fire accidents.

Here are some ways you can help reduce your chances of requiring a visit to the ER this holiday season.

While indulging in your Thanksgiving feast, take steps to avoid being exposed to food poisoning. Be sure not to consume undercooked or expired food, and always be aware of any food recall notices

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According to the most recent statistics, more than 100 million Americans suffer from diabetes or have pre-diabetes.   In Georgia, almost 1.2 million people suffer from diabetes, and an estimated 241,000 have diabetes but don’t even know it.

Suffering from diabetes can place a driver at risk for certain symptoms that can increase their chances of being in an accident.  A person who suffers from diabetes may suffer from sudden low levels of blood sugar that can cause symptoms such as disorientation and confusion. This could trigger a potentially devastating medical emergency at the wheel.

Clearly, there are many motorists in who are driving under the ever-present risk of having a medical emergency at the wheel.   Persons who suffer from diabetes may continue to drive, but it is important for them to understand if their symptoms are so severe that it could impact their safety and increase their accident risk. No one suggests that diabetics avoid driving. However, as with several other medical conditions, it is important for you to know if your symptoms are so severe that they could possibly cause you to black out or become disoriented.

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According to the National Transportation Safety Board, speeding motorists pose a serious problem on our roads. Between 2005 and 2016, speeding-related accidents killed more than 132,500 people.  In Georgia, the annual number of speeding fatalities in 2008 to 2017 averaged from 1200 to over 1500 each year.  Until authorities and communities address the very real risk posed by speeding, no real progress can be made in reducing the number of accident fatalities in the United States.

There are two ways in which speeding increases the risk of fatalities.  First, a speeding motorist is less likely to be able to respond in time to prevent an accident.  Second, the kinds of injuries that occur in a speeding-related accident are very often fatal, due to the high speeds and resulting high impact involved. In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board statistics show that the number of speeding-related fatalities accounted for approximately one-third of all traffic fatalities. That number was close to the number of people who died in drunk driving accidents during that same period. However, while a lot of attention and activism is directed towards drunk driving, speeding generally does not get as much focus as an accident factor.

The National Transportation Safety Board identifies community trends to raise speed limits as one of the reasons why speeding continues to claim so many lives every year, pointing out that higher limits only encourage drivers to drive even faster.  In 2015, the maximum speed limit on Georgia highways was raised from 65 mph to 70 mph.  Georgia is also one of the few states that has anti-speed trap laws.

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Statistics show that seatbelt usage rates for adults riding in the backseat of a car are much lower than for those in the front seat.  Unfortunately, far too many adult passengers believe that buckling up when they are riding in the backseat is not always necessary.

According to a recent survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 4 out of 5 backseat passengers believe that seatbelts are unnecessary on short trips or while riding in a taxi. Backseat passengers have a false sense of security and believe that they are safer when they are seated in the back seat and therefore don’t need to wear a seatbelt.  Unfortunately, these statistics hold true in the Atlanta area as well.

Obviously, that logic is flawed.  Every person in a passenger vehicle is at risk of injuries in an accident, regardless of where they are sitting in a car. Riding in the backseat can be just as safe as riding in the front seat, unless you’re not wearing a seatbelt. A few decades ago, when auto safety technologies were not as cutting-edge as they are now, front seat passengers had a much higher risk of dying in an accident. However, since the introduction of advanced airbag systems and other safety technologies, safety for front seat passengers and drivers has increased dramatically.

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Climate change has been in the news for years now regarding its effects on weather related tragedies.  From eroding coastlines, rising poverty levels and soaring temperatures -climate change is blamed for an entire range of global disasters. Every region on the globe, including Georgia, has seen dramatic shifts in its weather.  However, could these changes in weather also be linked to increasing highway accident fatality numbers?

It appears that they could. Traffic safety experts have been trying to understand why road accident fatality numbers have been increasing since 2015, after several decades of a downward trend in fatality numbers. Earlier, safety experts focused on increasing rates of cell phone use by motorists as the leading factor causing this increase. However, they were later able to debunk that theory because there was no increase in smartphone use during the period of time that they studied.  They then changed their focus to another possible factor-the weather.

Temperature increases are likely to be at least partly the reason why we are seeing an increase in the number of people dying in traffic accidents. Warmer weather simply means more people out on the road. People drive, walk, bicycle and ride their motorcycles more in warmer weather, than in wet or snowy weather. The experts found in their analysis that pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists –   people who are much more likely to be out walking, riding or bicycling during warmer weather – accounted for a large percentage of traffic accident fatality fatalities during the study period.

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The recent passing of the Georgia Hands-Free Law is intended to reduce the number of distracted-driver related traffic accidents.  But did you know that using hands-free, voice-activated technology to operate your cell phone while driving actually poses its own set of challenges?  A new study finds that the more complex the task you are performing using voice-activated technology, the greater the distraction level and danger to you.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently conducted a study of the various types of voice-activated technologies that are now present and built-in in so many automobiles these days. These new technologies allow motorists to perform a variety of tasks without moving their hands away from the steering wheel or their eyes from the road. Motorists may use these technologies for reading and dictating text messages, sending and reading e-mails, and even posting on Facebook and other forms of social media. However, as the research suggests, the technology is not entirely foolproof.

The researchers at the AAA Foundation found that the more complicated and complex the task, the greater the distraction level. Advanced commands, like those used for sending e-mails or posting on Facebook, seemed to pose a much more dangerous level of distraction to motorists, compared to tasks that were less mentally challenging.  Most motorists do not consider driving using voice-activated technology to be a major risk. However, if you find yourself looking at your cell phone to spell check an email, the lack of visual attention to the road, even for a few seconds, could cause a serious accident.

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It is no secret that pedestrian fatality numbers in the state are on the rise. According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, in 2017 alone 1,454 pedestrians died in accidents across the Georgia.

As the number of pedestrian accidents in Georgia continues to increase every year at least one community is taking firm steps to reduce those deadly statistics. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety recently lauded the community of Macon for the steps that the city is taking to reduce pedestrian fatalities. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety recently announced a grant of $20,785 to the city of Macon and its On the Move campaign.

The city of Macon has seen more than its share of pedestrian accident fatalities, and it was recently ranked second in Georgia in the number of pedestrian fatalities per capita. In response to those alarming statistics, the city’s administrators have put their heads together to announce a new initiative. The Macon Commissioner recently announced the Macon-Bibb Pedestrian Safety Review Board to analyze pedestrian accident fatalities across the community. The Board recently announced the Cross the Walk campaign. The campaign is designed to inform and educate people about safe and responsible ways of crossing the street.

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As you’re making plans to ring in the New Year, make sure you are not unwittingly breaking Georgia laws if you are hosting a New Year’s Eve party this year.

While you want your guests to enjoy your event, if you are planning on serving alcohol, you should be aware of the fact that you could be held accountable for your guests’ actions after they have had a few drinks at your party. That accountability is outlined under Georgia’s dram shop and social host liability laws.

Under Georgia law, a social host, or a person who hosts an event or a party, may be held liable for any injuries caused by persons who have consumed alcohol served by the host. In other words, you could be held accountable for serving alcohol to a person who leaves your event and causes an accident that results in injuries.

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Lawmakers in Georgia are looking closer at steps that can be taken to strengthen the state’s laws targeting distracted driving in order to reduce the number of accidents involving electronic distractions.

In 2016, there were more than 1,500 fatalities on Georgia highways, a one-third increase from 2015.   It’s not clear how many of those fatalities were directly linked to the use of electronic devices while driving. However, it is very likely that the overall national increase in traffic accident fatalities is directly linked to more motorists using cell phones and texting while driving.

In fact, statistics show that just in last year alone, the Georgia Department of Driver Services issued more than 3,800 citations to motorists who were found using phones while driving. That was an increase of more than 30% from 2015.

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Everyone knows of the dangers of using a cell phone while driving, but there is yet another driving distraction that most people in Georgia are not aware of – daydreaming.

Most of us would not consider daydreaming to be a dangerous activity.  However, driving while daydreaming significantly increases your risk of being involved in an accident.  In fact, driving while daydreaming is one of the leading causes of accidents.  Unfortunately, most people may not even realize the dangers associated with driving while daydreaming since it is something most of us do at the wheel at one point or another.

New research shows that most people are likely to daydream when they are behind the wheel, especially when driving familiar routes.   In a recent study, participants submitted to a driving simulation and had their brain activity analyzed during the simulation.  The researchers found that people’s minds were more likely to wander, i.e. daydream, when they were involved in a routine driving activity such as driving the same route several times as opposed to driving in unfamiliar settings.  The daydreaming occurred more than 70% of the time during the study.  Even more concerning was the finding that the participants were only aware that they were distracted approximately 65% of the time.