Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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New data finds a drop of 5% in the number of pedestrians killed in auto   accidents in the United States last year.

The  Governors Highway Safety Association recently released new data that finds a 5.4% drop in the number of pedestrians being killed in auto accidents compared to the previous year.  In 2023, a total of 7,318 pedestrians were killed in car accidents.

While the news of a drop in the number of deaths is encouraging, it is too early for celebration.  The fact is that pedestrian accident numbers continue to remain stubbornly high.  According  to Governors Highway Safety Association data,  the numbers in 2022 were a  14% increase over pre- pandemic numbers.   Pedestrian deaths accounted for close to 18% of  all auto accident deaths in 2022. Between 2010 and 2022, there was a shocking 77% increase in pedestrian accident wrongful deaths, and the increase in overall traffic accident deaths was just 22 percent during this time.

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While pedestrians overall are more likely to be injured in auto accidents, older pedestrians above the age of 50 are more likely to suffer serious personal injuries when they are involved in slip and fall accidents, compared to auto accidents.

There has been much focus recently on personal injuries involving pedestrians in car accidents.  The increase in pedestrian accidents is being blamed for an overall spike in the number of people being personally injured in auto accidents across the country.  Researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health analyzed data involving pedestrians who had suffered personal injuries in slip and fall accidents, and compared the data with the numbers involving pedestrians involved in auto accidents.

The Columbia University study found that while the risk to pedestrians involved in auto accidents remains high, the overall public burden is greater when older pedestrians are injured in slip and falls in comparison. The study found that 32 percent of pedestrian personal injuries in  auto accidents were defined as “emergency” or   “critical”.  In  comparison, 19% of persons  who suffered slip and falls had personal injuries that were defined as  “emergency” or “critical.”  However, pedestrians above the age of 50 in fall accidents were 3.9 times more likely to suffer  “emergent” or “critical” injuries,   compared to ones who had been involved in auto accidents. In fact, the Columbia University study described as alarming the number of older pedestrians who suffered serious personal injuries after fall accidents and needed emergency care.

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A  safety group in France is advising male drivers to drive more like female drivers in order to reduce their risks of being involved in auto accidents.  This  has raised the age old question –  are female drivers truly safer than men?

According to the group, which advocates for victims of car accidents, female drivers in France are less likely to be involved in fatal car accidents compared to males. The group says that 84% of all fatal car accidents involve male drivers.  It also claims that 93% of all drunk driving-related car accidents involve males.

Here in the United States as well, there has been data to show that female drivers do tend to be involved in fewer fatal car accidents compared to males.    One of the reasons could be the fact that males simply drive more vehicular  miles contributing to higher accident risks.

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A new study finds that many patients who are on life support after suffering a brain injury could actually make a recovery.

In cases of a severe brain injury after an auto accident, truck accident or any other kind of accident where there has been severe trauma to the head, doctors may make the decision to place the person on life support.  The  decision to end life support is  an excruciatingly painful decision for family members to make.  In  many cases, the decision is taken within 72 hours after the person has suffered the brain injury.  However,  the results of a new study seems to indicate that waiting longer to remove life support may be beneficial.

For the study, the researchers examined data involving 3,100 patients who had suffered traumatic brain injury and had to be immediately transferred to a hospital. Out of these, 90 patients were removed from life support within a few days and died soon after.  For purposes of comparison, the researchers then focused on a group of 90 patients who were very similar to the first group on most counts, but continued to remain on life support.

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The month of May is being commemorated as National Bicycle Safety Month,  an ideal time just before the year’s peak cycling season kicks off to remind bicyclists  and motorists about the bicycle accident risks facing these vulnerable users.

In 2021, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 1105 fatalities involving bicycle accidents. More than  45,000 bicyclists were injured in these accidents. In the last ten years alone, there has been a 37 percent increase in the number of bicyclist deaths in auto accidents recorded across the country.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there are 80 million bicycles in the United States.   Bicyclists  compete for space with motorists, creating conditions that are often most dangerous to the person riding the bicycle. Many of these accidents  are preventable, and require an understanding of cyclist rights as well as the key motorist mistakes that may cost a bicyclist his safety or even his or her life.

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Alcohol- related car accident death numbers have increased significantly even as the number of arrests have dropped.

In 2022, according to figures released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, close to 13,500 people died in auto accidents caused by an impaired driver.  That  was almost the same as the numbers in 2021, but a was 33% higher than in   2019. The numbers in 2022 were the highest on record since 2006.

During  the same period of time, there  was  a significant drop in the number of arrests made for DUI around the country. In 2019, police made close to a million arrests for DUI around the US while that number dropped to just 788,000 arrests  in 2022.  During the pandemic,  police departments across the country suffered staffing shortages which made it harder for them to enforce DUI laws and  arrest violators.

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Close to 40% of all car accidents involving delivery vans could be prevented if all vans came equipped with four important safety features.

According  to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, auto tech could play a key role in helping reduce the number of auto accidents caused by delivery vans in the United States.   Delivery  vans have become a ubiquitous presence on American roads,  and their number has only grown since the pandemic when online purchases became the norm. With the e-commerce boom not expected to slow down anytime soon, it is important for regulators and auto makers to act to make these vehicles safer for all motorists on the road.

Light vans were already a very popular vehicle in the United States, but their popularity has boomed since the pandemic.  As  many as 500,000 such vehicles are sold every year in the United States.  The number of such vehicles simply boomed during the pandemic, spurred by a 43% increase in e-commerce rates.

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Traffic  signs that can monitor motorist behavior and display messages that are tailored to target such behaviors may be the next step forward as federal and state officials consider innovative ways of reducing the number of car accidents in their jurisdictions.

Across the country, some jurisdictions are experimenting with pilot programs using smart sign boards that display targeted messages to motorists.  These   smart signs are designed to  capture dangerous driving behaviors like failure to wear seat belts or use of cell phones while driving.  If  the technology spots a motorist driving without wearing a seat belt or using a cell phone while driving, it immediately flashes a warning message to the motorist.  For example, a distracted driver may see a “Phone Down” message on a sign board as he is approaching. Similar messages will be posted when the system finds motorists driving  at  excessive speeds. Motorists who are driving responsibly may be rewarded with a smiley face flashing from the traffic sign.

The  signs are operated by infrared and microwave technology, and are not designed to punish or cite violators.  However,  they can warn motorists if they are engaged in behavior that increases their risks  of being involved in a car accident.  The  technology is very interesting, and traffic safety experts will be eagerly awaiting the results of the pilot program that is currently running in at least two major American cities.

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The results of a new study show that more  Americans are working and driving on very little sleep. Sleep deprivation is a major cause of drowsy driving -related car accidents which kills thousands of Americans every year. These auto accidents also often result in catastrophic personal injuries.

According to the Gallup poll,  Americans are getting even less sleep than they used to.  More Americans report getting less sleep than they need or would like compared to a decade earlier.  In 2013, for example, a similar poll found that 56% of Americans believed they had gotten the amount of sleep they needed, while that number dropped to just 42% in this new poll. In 2013, 43% of Americans believed that they did not get enough sleep, and that number ballooned to more than half of all Americans in the new poll.

Sleep experts recommend at least 8 hours of sleep for the average adult, but more than a quarter of Americans are barely getting that.  What’s more alarming is that more than 50% of Americans say that they survive on just 6 to 7 hours of sleep every day, while 20% get less than 5 hours of sleep, which is truly worrying. Getting 5 hours of sleep or surviving on that low amount of sleep was not even heard of back in the 1940s. Women below 50 seem to be more sleep-deprived, with only 36% admitting to getting enough sleep.  In  contrast, 48% of men believed that they are getting enough sleep.

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In  2017, 40% of automobile marketing focused on the performance or speed of the cars.  According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, such promotion of speeds can undermine  efforts towards reducing car accidents numbers resulting in a significant number of personal injuries and wrongful deaths.

According to the analysis, the percentage of automobile marketing that focuses on performance has not budged much over the past few decades.  In 1998, for instance, as much as half of all automobile marketing efforts focused on the speed of the vehicle while in 2017, that number had dropped to  40%.  Clearly, automobile manufacturers continue to feel comfortable emphasizing  the performance and speed of these vehicles.  Unfortunately,  when it comes to  automobiles and their features, a clip of a speeding car is not just another advertisement.  Rather, it can encourage motorists to engage in dangerous and risky driving behaviors like driving at high speeds.

Every year, as many as 12,000 people are killed in auto accidents caused directly by a speeding driver.  More  than 300,000 people are injured in such accidents.  The  number of people being injured and killed in speeding- related car accidents has increased over the past few years with a spike  during the pandemic.  During those months when lockdowns ensured fewer vehicles on the road, too many motorists drove at high speeds, complacent  in the knowledge  that they would not be cited  for speeding violations.    Unfortunately, those behaviors have continued even after the pandemic  ended and  traffic volumes went back to normal.

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