Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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The administration has finalized a rule that is meant to protect motorists and drivers of light passenger vehicles from serious injuries in a truck accident with large commercial trucks for tractor trailers.

A serious underride truck accident can involve devastating personal injuries, including decapitation. In these truck accidents, the motorist may hit the back of the tractor trailer, resulting in the smaller passenger vehicle sliding under the tractor trailer.  Head and neck personal injuries are common in such types of truck accidents, and decapitation is not unheard of either.

For years now, passenger safety advocates have called for stricter restrictions on the design of commercial trucks and 18-wheelers that will prevent such truck accidents from taking place. The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently announced that it has finalized rules that will update the current federal standards for underride protection. As part of the rule, trucks must come with rear impact guards that will absorb the energy of the impact, and prevent motorists from sliding under the tractor trailer.

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Yet another study finds that as lockdown went into effect around the country in the early months of 2020, many motorists began driving cars at speeds higher than their normal speeds.  Of course, this greatly increased the risk of car accidents resulting in severe injuries or death. Safety advocates fear that many of these behaviors might be hard to shake off now.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently conducted a study in the state of Virginia that only confirms what federal data has indicated recently – that speeding as a motoring behavior has become much more widespread since 2020.  In the new study, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety researchers analyzed data from several Virginia Department of Transportation speed counters.  The analysis then compared the percentage of drivers who were driving 10 mph above the speed limit between March and June 2020.

They found that while traffic volumes dropped by a significant 25% across the state, there was a 30% to 40% increase in the number of vehicles driving at 10 mph over the speed limit, compared to the same period of time in 2019. The only place where there was little difference in the number of speeding drivers was in rural areas where the numbers remained unchanged.  Elsewhere across the state, speeds accelerated even as traffic volumes fell.  On weekdays, there was a 43% increase in the number of motorists driving at least 10 mph above the speed limit, but during weekends, that percentage increased to 63%. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety research found that motorists were comfortable driving at excessive speeds because of the lack of rush hour traffic.

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Even as federal transportation authorities grapple with a spike in deaths in all types of car accidents, a new study finds that high visibility traffic enforcement campaigns may possibly hold the key to reducing those numbers and keeping motorists safe.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently revealed that auto accident death numbers are on the rise.  Those numbers were extremely high in 2020, a year in which American motorists drove fewer vehicle miles than in previous years.  In 2021, according to projected estimates, those numbers were at their highest in more than a decade.   This increase has been high enough to spur federal transportation authorities into action. The new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief has announced his Roadway Safety Strategy, a plan that aims to combine efforts towards safer roads, vehicles and motorists to reduce car accident death numbers.

A new analysis by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that high visibility traffic law enforcement campaigns like those that are frequently conducted to encourage motorists to buckle up or drive safely or at posted speeds may be effective in helping reduce car accident fatality numbers

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Newer intersection assistance technologies could reduce the number of car accidents resulting in serious injuries or deaths involving senior drivers by as much as one-third.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently published the results of a new study that finds that intersection assistance technologies which include lane assist, vehicle- to- vehicle connectivity and other type of technological features can go a long way in helping mitigate the kind of risks that place a senior driver at risk of a car accident.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety researchers compared 5 auto safety features that are currently available on many automobiles, and compared their impact on the safety of senior drivers with others that are not as widely available. The technologies that are currently available include front crash prevention systems, brighter headlights, lane departure warning systems that warn the motorist when the car is in danger of veering away from its lane and blind spot detection systems that can alert the motorist to blind spots that are not visible to the driver.  All of these technologies can significantly help seniors deal with the risks arising from failing vision, poor reflexes, restricted mobility and the other challenges that make it difficult for them to drive safely.

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The federal administration spends millions of dollars in traffic safety campaigns every year.  An analysis of the effectiveness of these campaigns finds that unless these education campaigns are also combined with practical action, they may have a very limited impact on traffic safety or the number of car accidents which occur each year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s traffic safety campaigns  encourage motorists to drive safely, wear seatbelts and avoid driving under the influence of alcohol.  One stellar campaign that the federal agency conducts annually is the Click it or Ticket campaign that encourages motorists to wear seatbelts while driving.  The campaign is credited with increasing seatbelt usage across the country, and usage rates are currently now at above 90%. This is a very respectable percentage, although it is still imperative that we reach out to the 10% of motorists who fail to wear seat belts. Individuals who fail to wear a seatbelt are those who are most likely to suffer a personal injury in a car accident. To learn more about personal injury matters involving car accidents, please visit our website.

However, according to some experts, it is not the campaign by itself that has promoted seat belt use.  Rather, it is the fact that newer automobiles now come with a seatbelt warning system that gives a motorist time to wear the seatbelt and make sure that everyone else is also buckled in before the driver operates the car.  In one such system, the car will not start until a few seconds after the ignition is turned on to give the motorist time to buckle up.

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Drivers on Georgia’s roads and highways have no doubt seen them – the overhead warning signs of traffic problems up the road.  Road signs and warning signs are play an important role alerting drivers of upcoming dangers on the roads.  The Georgia Department of Transportation has decided to extend a data gathering program involving connected vehicles to more areas around the state.

The program is the latest phase of an initiative that was launched in 2019.  The initiative is a collaboration between the Georgia Department of Transportation, Panasonic, Kia Motors and The Ray, a transportation tech company.  The aim of the initiative was to gather data using vehicles connected to each other along limited stretches of highway. The first phase of the program involved four Georgia Department of Transportation vehicles that were connected with each other and collected data as they traveled frequently on routes along an 18 – mile stretch of interstate 85.

However, the program has now been expanded to cover rural areas and a greater number of vehicles. In this phase, the program will involve 7 Kia vehicles that are part of the connected vehicle environment. The aim is to collect real time traffic data as these vehicles travel every day. The difference between this phase and the previous phase is that the 7 Kia cars are being driven by employees who will be going about their daily lives and work routines, traveling to work and on errands, all the while gathering important data about the effectiveness of connected vehicle programs in ensuring motorist safety. The potential for data gathering is, therefore,  huge in this phase.

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Anyone who has driven on the highways in the Atlanta area knows that construction and changes in traffic patterns are never ending.  Not only is there a maze of highways in the Atlanta area but the connecting points of the various highways are also always being shifted one way of another.

The interchange at interstate 285 and interstate 20 East is one of the busiest interchanges in the state, and has been a particularly dangerous one for motorists.  It’s one of the deadliest junctions in Georgia, and responsible for causing hundreds of accidents every year. However, if plans to fix this particular piece of roadway are successful, the rate of deadly accidents at this interchange could soon be minimized.

The design of this junction creates a sort of optical illusion that does not warn drivers about the steep curve that lies ahead until it is possibly too late to stop.  These hazards have been responsible for causing a large number of accidents over the years.  In fact, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation between 2016 and 2021, there were a total of 3,000 motor vehicle accidents occurring at the interchange.  These accidents resulted in more than 110 deaths.

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Recalls on cars can be made for a number of issues, most of which in safety concerns.  These can include faulty brakes, seatbelts and even headlights.  A number of recent car recalls have involved vehicles that are at risk of engine fires even when they are parked.  The federal administration has recently launched a new feature on its website that specifically alerts owners to the dangers of fires and other critical safety risks with these defective automobiles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides information about car safety recalls on its website.  However, a number of recently recalled vehicles have involved critical safety risks like engine fires.  In 2022 alone, Kia Motors and Hyundai have initiated recalls of more than 485,000 automobiles because of engine fire risks. The risk in all of these automobiles is that the cars can catch fire not only when they are being operated, but also when they are parked. The companies admit that they have received at least 11 reports of fires that occurred in these automobiles, although none of these resulted in injuries.

Any kind of car fire can lead to catastrophic consequences.  In the case of a car that is being driven, both driver and passengers could be at risk of injuries. In the case of a parked car, it is not just the car that is at risk of fire damage, but cars parked nearby as well as structures are also at risk of major damage. Recalls of such cars are critically important because of the risk of injuries as well as property damage.

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There is no shortage of road signs on Georgia’s roads warning drivers of construction, traffic patterns and accidents.  Traffic safety signs warning Atlanta drivers to avoid drunk driving or stay within speed limits can help remind motorists about the need for such safe driving practices. However, not all traffic safety signs in Georgia have a positive effect on reducing motorist accident risks.  In fact some may have the opposite effect.

A recent study actually found that traffic safety signs that display the number of fatalities that have occurred on that stretch of road or in the city recently could actually have a detrimental effect on motor safety. Many states now have these traffic safety signs that provide the tally of the number of fatalities recorded in the area. They are meant to catch a driver’s attention, and imprint on a motorist the need to drive safely at all times. They are meant to warn drivers about the very real risks of being involved in a serious accident. Unfortunately, these traffic signs could actually be having a detrimental effect on motorist safety. The study found that the signs caused a slight increase in the number of accidents on these roads.

The results of the recent study published in the Science journal found that when signs displayed a tally of the road traffic accident deaths to motorists, it actually resulted in a slight increase of 1.35% in the number of traffic accidents recorded on the six-mile stretch after the sign. When it came to the 5 -mile stretch after the accident death count sign, the accident rate actually increased by 1.52%. The researchers believe that the impact of these signs is equal to increasing the speed limit by as much as 5 miles an hour, or reducing the number of highway safety troopers by 6 to 14%.  The researchers were also able to calculate the number of accidents related to these traffic safety signs, and say that in the state of Texas at least, the death tally sign campaign resulted in 2,600 traffic accidents and at least 16 traffic accident deaths in one year alone.

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Distracted driving has become more and more problematic over the years.  Fatal distracted driving accidents are more likely to involve motorists between the ages of 18 and 34. It is this demographic that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration targeted recently in a campaign against distracted driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s nationwide distracted driving campaign ran between April 4 and 11 this year. The campaign was called U Drive. U Text.  U Pay and it focused on reminding drivers about the dangers of using electronic communication devices like cell phones at the wheel.  Most motorists think that the most dangerous thing that they could be doing with a cell phone while at the wheel is texting or talking on cell phone. The truth is that there are a wide variety of other very distracting tasks that a motorist can perform while at the wheel. These can include reading and replying to emails, uploading photos and videos on social media and taking selfies while driving. All of these are very distracting activities that can significantly increase the potential for a deadly accident.

You do not even have to be engage with your cell phone throughout the time you are driving for the risk to increase significantly.  Merely taking your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel for a few seconds can be sufficient to cause a disastrous crash.

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