Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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According to new data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seatbelt use rates declined in 2020. Federal authorities are concerned that these low rates could continue through 2021 as well.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that there were 38,680 deaths in traffic accidents recorded across the country in 2020. Almost fifty percent of them involved motorists or passengers who were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.  Seatbelt use was found generally lower in rural as compared to urban areas.  The lack of seatbelt use in rural areas also meant a higher percentage of serious accidents or deaths from car accidents.

2020 was an extremely unusual year in terms of traffic safety. Traffic volumes dropped significantly, especially between March and July, typically some of the busiest as well as some of the riskier months of the year. However, even as traffic volumes dropped and transportation safety authorities believed that accident rates would also correspondingly drop, the very opposite happened. The emptier streets only led to an increase in dangerous driving behaviors, including speeding and drunk driving.

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Even with the passing of recent laws such as the Hands-free law banning cell phone use while driving, Georgia could still do more to help prevent car accidents and protect motorists and passengers when they are involved in crashes according to national road safety advocates.

Advocates for Auto and Highway Safety is an alliance of groups that are invested in traffic and highway safety, including enforcement representatives, media personnel, public health advocates and insurance companies, all united in a common mission to reduce the rates of accidents that injure and kill so many every year. The group releases an annual road map for individual states to use as a set of guidelines to reduce the risk of accidents and save more lives ever year. This year too, the coalition has released the 2021 roadmap for traffic safety, and the report has recommendations for Georgia to implement as well. The coalition is dedicated to the reduction of accident and injury risks, and the road map is drafted with a view to helping keep all users of our roads safer.

The roadmap for Georgia kicks off with a call to instate primary enforcement of rear seat belt laws in Georgia. Currently, primary enforcement only applies to front seat passengers. The road map also addresses the protection of child passengers in traffic accidents by calling for a law requiring all children below the age of two to be restrained in rear-facing car seats. Too often, children below this age are moved to forward-facing seats or booster seats at great risk to their safety.

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The massive $1 trillion infrastructure bill that is set to pass has good news for American motorists and traffic safety advocates.  It contains language that could signify the administration’s intention to reduce the accident risks caused by impaired drivers.

Driver detection technologies that currently exist as part of driverless cars also help reduce the risks from drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs. In the quest for the fully automated vehicle, automakers have invested heavily in technology that can easily override a driver and prevent an accident. These systems could also be very useful if integrated in current automobiles, and the administration seems to focusing in this direction.

The provision would require the Department of Transportation to develop a technology standard within a period of three years. It would then give automakers a period of two years to develop and integrate these safety tech systems. The provision could require automakers to integrate technology in their automobiles that could detect if drivers have consumed alcohol. The system could prevent the driver from starting the car if the alcohol count is too high, or could place other restrictions on the motorist, thereby restricting his ability to drive and cause harm to himself and others. Another approach could be having technology like lane departure warning systems that could self correct if the car veers off its lane.  Eye tracking technology is also in various stages of development at some companies.  Volvo has also invested in drunk driving detection technology in the driverless vehicles that it is developing.

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There may have been fewer cars on the road in 2020, but the number of accidents, most notably fatal ones, did not decrease as would have been expected.  In fact, nearly every traffic accident category showed an increase in fatalities in 2020, a disturbing trend that needs to be corrected through bold, appropriate action.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in June released data on traffic accident deaths in 2020, divided by sub categories. The data was contained in a report tiled Early Estimates of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities and Fatality Rate by sub categories, and clearly indicated that deaths rose in every traffic accident category from rollover crashes to weekend accidents, and beyond.

  • Car accident deaths were up by 5 percent to 23,395
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In some states, the population of older drivers is projected to reach as much as 20% over the next decade. But does a population comprised significantly of drivers automatically mean higher accident numbers?

There are many myths and misconceptions about senior drivers.  Here we debunk just a few of them.

Seniors must give up driving privileges in order to remain safe

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With many school districts across Georgia, including in the metro Atlanta region, beginning in-person learning over the next few weeks, it is important for schools, students and parents to keep essential safety tips in mind.

Most school districts across Georgia have announced that they will begin in-person learning soon, and some school districts have actually already begun welcoming students back to school.

If you are a parent, you should be aware of some essential safety precautions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is asking parents to take extra care while picking up and dropping their children to school.  Look out for child pedestrians around the school. Look out school buses that may be very busy in the school zone. Avoid speeding within a school zone. Stick to safe speed limits in these areas and be mindful of the reduced speed limits during school hours.  Be additionally careful when you are around a crosswalk.  Do not block pedestrians near a crosswalk or force them to walk around your car. Look out for crossing guards or school patrol officers waiting for you to stop.

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Drivers who have a history of rash or negligent driving practices are very likely to continue indulging in these practices in the future, increasing their risks of an accident.

According to researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, past driver behavior is a very good indicator of future accident risk. In other words, drivers who have a history of poor driving, including speeding, drunk driving, driving under the influence of drugs and distracted driving are very likely to continue to engage in these practices. According to the researchers, this is the reason why we saw increased traffic accident fatalities in 2020 in spite of a reduction in traffic volumes. Even with lower volumes of traffic, Atlanta roads saw a higher number of traffic accident fatalities last year, with distracted driving, speeding and drunk driving pushing those numbers upward.

Past behavior is a reliable indicator of future driving. For example, a motorist who has a history of driving at high speeds will continue to be at risk of speeding. If anything, the behavior of such drivers is only exacerbated when the roads are less congested. In 2020, the streets saw lower traffic crash traffic volumes, but the empty streets only encouraged drivers who were already very prone to speeding to drive at very high speeds.

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There is good news for Atlanta motorists – Georgia is ranked as one of the states with the lowest rates of accidents caused by distracted drivers.

According to a recent report released by Zutobi, rates of distracted driving across the country have increased significantly in recent years. Some states have a bigger problem with distracted drivers, compared to others.

Fortunately, Georgia ranks at the bottom of the list, with a low rate of accidents caused by distracted drivers. The crash rate for Georgia was 3.1%, with just over 3 distracted driving- related accidents for every 100 fatal accidents recorded in Georgia. According to the report, Georgia had a total of 1,377 fatal car accidents in 2019, and out of these, 43 crashes were related to distracted motorists.

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The federal administration is signifying its intention to monitor even more closely the evolution of the car automation sector.  One sign is that it will require companies manufacturing so-called “driverless cars” to submit information about crashes involving these vehicles in the future.  Although driverless cars have not become a regular site on Georgia roads or in the metro Atlanta area, it is only a matter of time before they become more common.

There have been recent reports of car accidents involving such driverless vehicles.  Some of these accidents have even resulted in injuries. There are at least 100 companies currently involved in designing and manufacturing technology to assist drivers or take over for them. Some of the more popular of these companies include Tesla and General Motors’ Cruise. Tesla, for instance, has been involved in more than one accident involving its driverless cars. The federal administration now wants to get more involved in monitoring accidents involving these cars, just like it does with accidents involving other automobile models.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently issued an order to this effect to 108 technology companies that are currently involved in manufacturing autonomous cars. The order requires these companies to submit detailed information about vehicles that have been involved in an accident. The federal administration wants information about any accident in which the vehicle’s automated driving system or level two Driver Advanced Driver Assistance System were in effect at the time of the crash. A level two Driver Advanced Driver Assistance System includes adaptive cruise control, lane centering systems and many of the other technologies that are currently available on many vehicles today. Vehicles like Tesla’s models include multiple such safety features.

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Summer is peak travel season in Atlanta, and also, unfortunately, one of the more accident – prone times of the year. Did you know that your accident risk spikes significantly over the next few weeks because of the following five factors?

Speeding is a major cause of accidents during summer. People travel more during summer, and unfortunately many of them underestimate travel times and leave their homes far too late to reach their destinations on time, which explains why so many drivers speeds on Atlanta streets during summer. Leave your home with plenty of time to reach your destination to avoid the need to rush and drive at high speeds.

Congested roads are a common scene during summer. You are sharing the roads with a greater number of motorists than during other times of the year, and this is something that you must factor in when you make your travel plans. Expect traffic jams and delays, and leave home with plenty of time to spare. With more vehicles on the road, the chances of an accident are exponentially greater.

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