Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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If you’re out driving on the roads anywhere, there is no doubt you’ve seen them – traffic signs.  Traffic safety signs play a huge part in helping reduce traffic accident fatalities every year. However, for many motorists, they are usually routine, and extremely easy to ignore.

To help improve noticeability, the Georgia Department of Transportation had recently announced a contest that invited residents of Georgia to submit their ideas for traffic safety signs, and the results are out. The contest had been announced last fall, and was meant to revamp traffic signs across the state, and make them more interesting and eye-catching. Residents were asked to submit their captions for traffic signs in several categories. These categories included distracted driving, impaired driving, seat belt use, work zone safety, and general safety.

The Georgia Department of Transportation received hundreds of entries for the contest, and chose the best and wittiest one-liners in the contest. Here’s a sampling of some of the captions that made the winners’ list.

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Red light running fatalities in the U.S. have reached a 10-year high. In 2018, 846 people were killed and 139,000 injured in red light running crashes. Half of those fatalities included pedestrians, bicyclists, and people in other vehicles. In fact, drivers running red lights kill at least two people every day.

A red light violation occurs when a vehicle enters an intersection any time after the traffic signal turns red. In Georgia, this violation is generally considered a misdemeanor, and is punishable with fines as high as $1000.  In addition to fines, penalty points can be added to the motorist’s driving record.

Although there is no typical violator profile, data from fatal red light crashes do show certain trends. Red light runners are more likely to be young or male. These drivers often have prior accidents, or they may have been convicted of alcohol-impaired driving in the past. Red light runners are also more likely to speed or be under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident. In addition, these drivers are less likely to have a valid driver’s license.

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Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has rolled back his decision allowing new drivers to receive their driver’s licenses without a road test.

The order allowing drivers to skip road tests was issued on April 23rd  after the state had implemented massive social distancing measures and shelter-in-place orders in the face of the expanding COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, Governor Brian Kemp’s office released an order that immediately suspended driving tests for teen drivers. The order made no mention of rescheduling the road tests.

However, criticism from parents as well as traffic safety advocates seems to have pressured the Governor to reconsider his decision, and thankfully better sense has prevailed. Governor Kemp has now signed a new order which makes it clear that all new drivers who have received their licenses since the April order must take the road exam. After the April order suspending driving tests, as many as 20,000 Georgia teens had obtained their driver’s licenses without appearing for road tests. These teens must now take their road tests in order to retain their licenses.  The new order gives drivers until September 30th to fulfill this requirement and take their tests.  The order also provides for individuals to take the test either remotely or with a supervisor in the vehicle.

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Gas prices have been falling all over the country in the past few weeks.  In most places around the metro Atlanta area, a gallon of gas in now less than $2.00.

The last time gas prices were this low, there was a boom in the sport utility vehicle market.  And while sales of SUV’s dropped somewhat when gas prices were at a peak several years ago, these large vehicles have never lost their popularity among drivers.  In fact, SUV sales have risen consistently since the 2009.  In 2019, sales of SUVs made up 70% of all new vehicle sales.

Many buyers of sport utility vehicles often cite a perception of increased safety as one of the reasons for driving an SUV.  In other words, a driver behind the wheel of an SUV feels relatively safer in their larger vehicle as opposed to a regular sedan.   This may be because a driver of an SUV is seated higher than in a regular passenger vehicle and feels as though they have a greater line of sight.

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The National Transportation Safety Board is calling on Georgia and other states to take stringent action to reduce the number of bicyclists killed in accidents every year.

The National Transportation Board recently released its first report on bicycle safety since 1972.  The Board makes note of the fact that there has been a spike in bicycle accident deaths, specifically the 857 bicycle accident deaths that occurred in 2018.  There was an increase in bicycle accident deaths in 2018, even as there was an overall drop in auto accidents that year.  Those numbers were an increase of 6.3 percent from the previous year. In fact, the bicycle accident death toll in 2018 was the highest number on record since 1990.

The record fatality numbers in 2018 is likely the reason why the National Transportation Safety Board has decided to address the issue of bicycle safety for the first time since 1972. The Board makes note of the poor infrastructure that is often the cause of bicycle accidents. Too many cities in Georgia have seen an increase in their bicycle population, but oftentimes there is no safe infrastructure in place to support it. This situation has resulted in a staggering increase in bicycle accident deaths in urban areas. Since 2009, the number of bicycle accident deaths in urban areas has increased by a whopping 48 percent.

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Lately, there have been quite a few news stories of people driving on the roads with excessive speed.  While most people are currently under shelter-in-place orders, this means that there are fewer cars on the road and less traffic to navigate.  In fact, pictures have been circulating widely of empty roadways in the usually most traffic congested cities.  This has resulted in some drivers taking advantage of the empty streets and pushing the envelope on speed limits.

In the metro-Atlanta area, this behavior has been seen both on the local streets in town as well as the area’s highways.   Some drivers are not only engaging in excessive speeding, but there are others that are actually racing on the streets.

This driving at excessive speeds has caused deadly accidents with devastating results.  Most recently in Atlanta, an 11 year-old child was struck and killed by a speeding driver, and a police officer was also killed in a deadly high speed accident.

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Ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft became very popular very quickly over the past few years.  Although people are not using these services as much recently due to the COVID-19 crisis, ride-sharing will most likely make a comeback once the current shelter-in-place restrictions are lifted.

Uber and Lyft have been around since 2010, and the rise of these ride-sharing services has proved very useful in helping reduce the incidence of drunk driving accidents. However, the rate of other accidents, including pedestrian accidents involving these cars, has actually increased.

Uber and Lyft became very popular among people wanting safe rides back home. These ride-sharing services have been found to be especially useful in helping curb the number of drunk drivers on our streets. Uber allows riders to hail rides if they are too drunk to drive themselves home. That translates into safer options for a person to get home and a reduced chance of being involved in a drunk driving accident. The rates of alcohol-related accidents in several cities have dropped as a direct result of intoxicated persons being encouraged to use Uber rides that are so easily available.

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In the past few weeks while the country, and globe, has been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of workers in a variety of fields have been laid-off, furloughed, or told to work from home.

However, there are still several industries and businesses that remain open during these times.  The businesses that do remain open are usually ones that have seen a surge in demand, such as grocery or other essential retain, and delivery providers.  With the sudden increase in the need for additional workers, many employers have had to forego the usual interview requirements, safety screening or training in order to meet new demands.  While having people still be able to participate in the workforce is essential during these times, will these short-cut hiring practices result on more problems, and more specifically accidents, down the road?

One of the potential problems that may result is more on-the-job injuries by employees who were not adequately trained or protected to perform their jobs.  States have laws that require most employers to have workers compensation insurance in case their employees become injured on the job.  In many states, including Georgia, filing a workers compensation claim is the exclusive remedy that an employee has against an if he or she sustains an injury at work.   The more employees are performing tasks that are unfamiliar to them, the more likelihood there is of any injury.

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Daylight Savings Time kicks in across Georgia on March 8th.  And while many people look forward to the longer daylight hours, the change in time also means disrupted sleep schedules as people lose that one hour of sleep.  This in turn means many people are getting behind a wheel and driving to work or elsewhere while drowsy.  Unfortunately, drowsy driving is a cause of many accidents across the metro Atlanta region every year

Starting March 8 and through the month of November, clocks in Georgia will be set forward by an hour. That means losing an hour of sleep in your schedule. Many Georgians are already sleeping less than the recommended 8 hours per night, and losing one more hour due to spring time change only increases the risk of drowsiness while driving to work. This spring, take steps to avoid driving while drowsy.

First, get to bed an hour earlier to make up for the loss of sleep.  Avoid staying up late at night with social media on your phone, computer, or other electronics.  Always being on social media can be a cause for loss of sleep, and while it may be tempting to check your phone for one more Instagram update or Tweet one last time before sleeping, keep in mind that it can be dangerous for your state of mind and your driving skills the next day.  Plus, the blue light exposure from electronics right before you go to bed will only prolong you being able to fall asleep.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many 2.5 million people in the United States suffer a brain injury every year.  Brain injuries can be a result of many types of accidents including slip and falls, car accidents and bicycle accidents.  Brain injuries are especially common in motorcycle accidents and can occur even if a motorcyclist is wearing a helmet while riding.

A brain injury can forever change a person’s life.  Traumatic brain injury can severely disrupt a person’s ability lead a productive and normal life. Depending on the severity of the injury, there may be numerous repercussions on the individual’s ability to perform daily routine functions.

A complete treatment for a brain injury has proven elusive, although there are advancements that can help reduce the severity of the injury, and thereby, the consequences of the injury. Typically, these treatments have to be administered within the first few hours of the brain injury in order to limit the severity of the injury.

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