Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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Gig economy workers and parents are much more likely to be distracted by smartphone apps while driving, exposing them to the risk of an auto accident. This is a simple idea that the majority of these drivers do not understand.

It’s a myth that distracted driving only involves the use of cell phones for texting or having conversations while driving.  As smartphones become more sophisticated and as we rely more and more on smartphone apps for daily routine activities, we find that motorists are at risk of using these apps while at the wheel with possibly disastrous consequences.  A new study finds that gig economy workers are up to four times more likely to use a smartphone app while driving.  Examples are rideshare drivers who may frequently use smartphone apps in order to connect with potential riders.  Similarly, delivery workers are also much more likely to use smartphone apps while driving as part of their daily work routines.

Parents of young children are also very likely to use smartphone apps while driving.  A parent driving his child to school, for instance, might be likely to check on a weather app to learn the forecast ahead, or traffic updates for the route. The study found that drivers of children below the age of 18 were as much as 50% more likely to use a smartphone app while driving.

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New automobiles that come with advanced safety technology have reduced the disparity between male and female motorists in the kind of injuries caused in car accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released the results of a new report which finds that newer automobiles, particularly those of model years 2010 and later, do a much better job of protecting female motorists against personal injuries and reducing the disparity in injuries between female and male drivers.

These findings were published in a report titled Female Crash Fatality Risk Relative to Males With Similar Physical Impacts. Traditionally, there has been a discrepancy between male and female motorists in the outcomes of auto accidents.  Women are almost 40 percent more likely to suffer injuries in car accidents.

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In spite of the fact that so -called “autonomous” cars have been involved in several auto accidents, including fatal crashes, over the past few years, motorists driving these automobiles tend to be complacent and engage in distracting tasks at the wheel.

Many  cars with self-driving automation, including Tesla, have recently been in the spotlight for the car accidents involving these automobiles.  Some of these auto accidents have actually resulted in fatalities. Other cars with partial automation technology like  Super Cruise Cadillac have also been involved in car accidents.  However, knowledge  about these accidents does not seem to stop the motorists who drive these cars from driving recklessly.  A  new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety finds that many motorists driving these cars continue to perform distracting activities, like snacking or texting while at the wheel of these partially autonomous vehicles.

These partially autonomous systems involve two main types of systems that are geared at preventing accidents.  One  is adaptive cruise control which helps control and set the pace at which the vehicle travels,  and the other is lane departure  technology which keeps the car in its lane. These technologies are very effective in helping prevent car accidents, but under no circumstances are they fully autonomous technologies that can replace humans.

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A judge in Fulton County has set a bond for a motorist who police allege, caused a drunk driving accident on I- 20 early in the month.  The impact of the crash caused one of the passengers in the car the motorist hit, a 21-year-old woman to be ejected from the car.  She sustained fatal injuries.  The other people in the car were also injured, and still recovering in the hospital.

This judge set a bond of $310,000 for the alleged driver on charges that range from DUI to first degree homicide.  For the family of the woman killed in the accident, it’s been a frustrating experience to see the man they believe responsible for their loved one’s death out on bond.

There has been a decline in injuries and fatalities caused by drunk driving accidents across Georgia.  For example, in 2008, there were 416 deaths caused by drunk driving accidents.  That was a decline over 2007, and mirrored the drop across most of Georgia, and, in fact, most of the country.  Much of this decline can be attributed to better enforcement efforts  .Law enforcement has become more aggressive about cracking down on drunk drivers randomly over the weekends and major holidays.

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Auto safety group Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety has released its annual report on performance and highway safety measures. This year, Georgia has been ranked well, notching up a Green ranking, the highest on the list, a finding that is encouraging to the Atlanta car accident attorneys at our firm.

The 9th annual Roadmap to State Highway Safety Laws compares all 50 states and grades them based on their adoption of 15 basic traffic safety laws. The 15 laws include everything from seatbelt and motorcycle safety to graduated driver’s licensing programs and distracted driving measures.

Georgia received a Green ranking, and the report found that the state performed well by implementing at least 11 of the laws the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety recommends.  However, many feel Georgia could do better.  One of the ways that the state could improve its highway safety record is by raising the minimum age for getting a learner’s permit, and enacting stricter nighttime and passenger restrictions on graduated driver’s licensing programs for teen drivers.  Sadly, teenage drivers are some of the biggest victims of auto accidents every year.  Stronger graduated driver’s licensing laws in Georgia may help save more teen lives in accidents every year.

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Laws requiring drivers and passengers to wear seat belts have been around for decades.  This is beYour car’s seat belts are the front line defense in protecting you from injury if you are a victim of a car accident.  Seat belt reminders that emit an audible alert when a driver is not buckled up are useful tools that can help increase seat belt usage rates and reduce the number of injuries and fatalities in auto accidents every year. A new study, however, shows that many seat belt reminders are not that effective.  Auto manufacturers must be made aware of how beneficial this tool can be.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has developed a new rating program that aims to encourage car manufacturers to improve their seat belt reminder technologies.  According to federal standards, a seat belt reminder system should emit an audible signal that lasts for a minimum of 4 to 6 seconds.  In the case of a visual signal, the alert must continue for a period of at least 60 seconds. However, the Insurance Institute for Highway safety has conducted earlier research that indicates that alerts that continue for much longer can be more effective in encouraging motorists to buckle up before they begin driving. In fact, the research found that seat belt usage increases by as much as 34% when audible alerts last much longer than just 4 to 6 seconds. The research indicates that increased seatbelt usage can save as many as 1,500 lives in auto accidents every year.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, audible signals must not only be long-lasting, but must also be loud enough to allow the motorist to hear the signal. Some of the systems that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety studied as part of its research, had alerts that were barely audible above the cabin noise and other vehicle noise.  In others, there was a 25 -second gap between intermittent audible signals, and this could be too long a gap to prove effective in encouraging a motorist to buckle up.

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A new study finds that a significantly high number of people who consume alcohol and drugs go ahead and operate a motor vehicle after doing the same, raising their risks of being involved in an auto accident.

According to the study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as many as two-thirds of persons who consumed alcohol and imbibed marijuana also  admitted to driving within 2 hours after the fact. The results of the study are disturbing because each of these behaviors is dangerous on its own.  Your risk of being involved in a car accident increases substantially even if you are only under the influence of alcohol or only under the influence of drugs.  A  combination of the two, however, would be lethal behind the wheel.

As many as 7 out of 10 drivers in the study admitted to driving after consuming alcohol.  Only  about one in 10 drivers admitted to driving after having ingested both alcohol and drugs.  However,  among these, 33% admitted to operating a motor vehicle within 2 hours after ingesting alcohol and marijuana.

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Motorists in rural areas in states like Georgia that have higher speed limits in these communities are likely to be at a much higher risk of car accidents compared to motorists in those states where the speed limits in rural communities are lower.  However,  speed is not the only factor in the high rate of auto accidents in rural areas.

More insight about the risks of travelling on rural roads is contained in a new report by the Governors’ Highway Safety Association and State Farm.  The report titled “America’s Rural Roads : Beautiful and Deadly” focuses on the high rate of car accidents in rural roads and analyses the factors  in these auto accidents.

Motorists  in rural Georgia may drive at a speed limit of 70 mph on most roads.  That speed limit is on the higher end as the report suggests.   Out of the 12 states with the lowest per capita rate of car accidents on rural roads, 7 were states with  a maximum speed limit of 65 mph or less.  Only two states had a maximum speed limit of 75 mph.  This seems to be a clear indication that high speeds – which are  very easy to achieve on  low trafficked rural roads  – can be a factor in these auto accidents.

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A new report commissioned by the National Safety Council has a number of auto safety predictions for the next couple of decades,  including the prediction that even with new technology, cars and trucks will continue to remain the biggest source of auto accidents for the foreseeable future.

In 2021, the National Safety Council commissioned a report on transportation and auto safety for the next 20 years.  The report titled Mobility, Technology and Safety:  The Next 20 Years has now been released.  The report has a total of 10 predictions, all related to auto and motor vehicle safety.

The number one prediction on the list is that in spite of moves towards reducing the number of automobiles on our roads and increasing access to alternate modes of transportation, motor vehicles, including cars and trucks will continue to remain the primary source of auto accidents over the next few decades. These vehicles are involved in an overwhelming majority of the total number of motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian accidents every year.

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While many states like Georgia have enacted laws targeting the prevention of car accidents caused by distracted driving,  some states have found more success in the use of these laws than others.  A new study finds that the secret to the success of these laws lies in their nature as well as the words used to define them.

Georgia’s laws that ban the use of cell phones while driving specifically prohibit a motorist from using his or her hand to hold a cell phone or other device while driving a vehicle.  A new study conducted by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety finds that laws that are specifically worded to prevent motorists from using their hands to hold a cell phone or other device might be more successful in preventing  these behaviors and reducing the risk of car accidents caused by distracted driving,  compared to laws that do not have such specifically designed language.  The most successful laws, the study finds, are those that limit the use of hands to hold a cell phone for just the barest minimum possible interaction.

Many states have found it challenging to draft laws to reduce distracted driving. Part of the challenge has been the fact that over the past decade, cell phones have gone from being devices that people used to call people and have phone conversations with them and to send text messages, to mini personal computers.  Cell phones now act as cameras and GPS systems, and most Americans use them as payment portals.  Most of us check emails on cell phones rather than on computers.  In an environment like this, it becomes challenging to define the kind of activities that are prohibited while using a cell phone.

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