Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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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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Many American cities, including our very own Atlanta have adopted the Vision Zero goal of reducing traffic accidents to the minimum over the next few decades. However, while the goal is laudable, the reality is that most American cities have struggled in their efforts in meeting this goal.

The Vision Zero goal is a commendable one, and has become very popular with cities around the world. Atlanta has its own version of the Vision Zero goal. According to the Atlanta Department of Transportation, the Vision Zero goal is a systems-driven approach to  reducing traffic accident fatalities through measures like speed management and better street design.  There is no denying that there can be no progress made in reducing traffic accident facilities to the absolute minimum unless we take into consideration the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.

In most European countries that have adopted Vision Zero, the program has been successful.  According to this Blomberg report, Oslo, the capital city of Norway is a prime example of what can happen when transportation agencies and the population come together with a single goal in mind – to minimize fatal accidents that are entirely preventable.  Fatal accidents in Oslo are so rare that they result in a full-blown investigation and not just a police report when they occur.

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Faulty car brakes can cause horrific accidents usually resulting in serious injuries.  Federal regulators are working on new laws in the next couple of years that would require auto manufacturers to install automatic emergency braking systems in their cars. Safety advocates, however, are calling on regulators to require manufacturers to install systems that work in all light conditions, including at night.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made it clear that it will be working on completing rulemaking by 2024, requiring auto manufacturers to install pedestrian automatic emergency braking systems in all their automobiles. These systems work at detecting pedestrians in the path of the car. There is significant research that shows the efficacy of these systems in helping protect pedestrians against accidents. For instance, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has conducted research that clearly shows the benefits of pedestrian automatic emergency braking systems in helping motorists to avoid pedestrians. Collisions with motor vehicles are a major cause of injuries and fatalities in pedestrian accidents every year.

The researchers found that the systems significantly help prevent collisions in the daytime. There isn’t significant data pointing to the effectiveness of the systems at night, however.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is calling on federal regulators to pressure automakers to install pedestrian automatic emergency braking systems that work both in the daytime as well as at night. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, it has found in its studies that these systems can be enhanced to make them very effective during low visibility conditions like night-time as well.

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The recent shortage of available cars for purchase has made it difficult for consumers to get their vehicle of choice.  Ideally, one would want to get the safest car available to protect them in an accident.  However, the average American driver is much more likely to be aware of all the features on his large screen television than the car uses to get around safely every day. This lack of knowledge is even more glaring among used car buyers who often have little knowledge about the accident prevention features that their car includes.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found recently in a study that buyers of used cars do not have all information about the technologies in their vehicles.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a survey of drivers who had bought automobiles between 2016 and 2019. The survey group included more than 400 owners who had bought their new vehicles in a showroom, while the rest consisted of motorists who had bought used cars.

The survey found that buyers of both old and new cars were not completely aware of the safety features that their vehicle included.  Just about two-thirds of new car buyers, for instance, were aware of information relating to the adaptive cruise control feature on their cars. This feature includes all the conveniences of traditional cruise control, but also slows and speeds up depending on the distance with the car ahead, thereby reducing the risk of a fender bender or accident.  However, this feature needs to be turned on to be effective.

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The federal administration has released the final traffic accident fatality data for the year 2020, and the results are even worse than we expected. The administration confirms that the number of traffic accident deaths in 2020 was not just high, but also actually the highest on record in 15 years.

According to the data by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 38,824 traffic accident fatalities in 2020. This was a significant 6.8% increase in the number of traffic accident deaths recorded in 2019.  In 2019, there were a total of 36,355 traffic accident fatalities recorded by the federal administration.

However, there was a significant decrease in the number of overall accidents and injuries in 2019. In fact, there was a staggering 22% decrease in accidents since 2019. Interestingly enough, the number of people injured in accidents actually dropped by approximately 17% in 2020, compared to the previous year.

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Despite efforts to the contrary, larger vehicles including SUV’s continue to be in strong demand by drivers.  Pedestrians may be in danger from all vehicles on the road, but may be at an especially higher risk of being struck by larger vehicles like SUVs and minivans compared to passenger cars.

That information comes from a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The organization studied the risk to pedestrians from a number of different types of vehicles, and found that larger vehicles have a higher rate of being involved in pedestrian collisions, compared to smaller cars.  Not only are larger trucks more prone to hitting pedestrians, but these accidents are also much more likely to result in severe injuries.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety looked at accidents involving single vehicles at several locations, including intersections. The study found that the rate of fatal injuries in an accident by a left -turning vehicle was much higher in the case of SUVs with a rate that was twice as high compared to head-on accidents. The risk was also three times higher for vans and minivans.  This risk of hitting a pedestrian while making a left turn was the highest in the case of pickup trucks with a rate that was 4 times higher.

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Car accidents are one of the leading causes of serious injury and even death every year.  Safer vehicles play a key part in helping prevent a large number of fatal accidents every year.  The federal administration is considering upgrades to its rating system for new vehicles so customers can make safer and informed decisions about the vehicles they drive.

Statistics show that more than 3,000 people die on American roadways every month.  Many of these deaths occur in accidents that are preventable through better vehicle design.   Safer auto design used to be a key element in safety efforts a few years ago which is why we had important safety legislation like laws strengthening roof strength in order to prevent the kind of serious injuries that result from rollover accidents.  That lead to a cut in the number of fatal rollover accidents recorded every year. However, there doesn’t seem to have been as much legislative focus on vehicle safety design or changes to the existing system that make it possible for customers to buy safe cars in recent years.  This could also probably explain, at least in part, the increasing number of traffic accident fatalities recently. According to new statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, those numbers increased to record highs this year.  The agency is currently planning an update to its star rating system for new vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s five star rating system known as the New Car Assessment Program will be upgraded to better reflect the various new technologies that are now included in automobiles to prevent accidents. In particular, the plan is to include four new safety technologies including blind spot prevention and intervention, lane departure warning systems and pedestrian accident-avoidance technologies in new vehicles.  The plan also includes more updates to the current testing procedures for new vehicles as well as stronger criteria for driver assisted safety systems.

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Driving at night or in inclement weather in a car with poor visibility due to headlights can be very dangerous and a recipe for a car accident.  However, for decades, federal laws have prevented high beam and low beam lights in a car from being operated at the same time. That comes to an end soon as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration scraps the old standard, thereby allowing adaptive headlights to become common in automobiles.

While most other types of car components and tech, including seat belts, have adapted and evolved over the years, headlight tech has remained the same. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108 determined that both high beam and low beam lights could not be operated together. That prevented the widespread adoption of technology like adaptive headlights which are found in other countries that do not have such restrictions.

The technology consists of dozens of cameras that can provide different types of lighting depending on the road conditions and can direct the flow of the lighting with precision. That means that high beam and low beam lights can be deployed simultaneously to extend visibility in all directions without blinding other drivers.

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