Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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As the number of older American increases, so does the number of elderly drivers out on the roadways.  Older drivers above the age of 70 are much safer now on the roads that they used to be. However, several factors, including a slowness to adopt newer auto technologies, could be working against them, and could expose them to the risk of accidents.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently published the results of a study that focused on how accident rates for seniors have actually dropped over the past few years. The study focused on the period between 2009 and 2017, and found that during the first half of the study, the rates of car accidents involving seniors actually dropped.

That may not be all good news, however. The first half of the study period coincided with the Great Recession, and that was the time when there was a drop in the rates of all types of auto accidents. During the latter half of the study, accident rates involving seniors stayed consistent, while accident rates involving middle-aged drivers started increasing again.

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The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is joining hands with federal agencies to help keep teen drivers safe as part of National Teen Driver Safety Week. This year, the week will be commemorated between October 18 and 24.

A number of events have been planned to mark the campaign which is specifically focused at reducing the risk of accidents involving teens. These include an event called Rock the Belt to encourage drivers to buckle up while driving. Teen drivers tend to have low rates of seat belt usage while driving, and the Rock the Belt campaign will encourage greater rates of seat belt usage among teen drivers.

The campaign also includes a Rollover Simulator lesson plan which involves a PowerPoint presentation, videos of rollover simulations, data on the consequences associated with rollover accidents as well as the risk factors, that contribute to these deadly accidents including drowsy driving and speeding.

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The pandemic has required many to stay at home from work and school, leaving far few vehicles on the roads,  However, contrary to expectations, the number of highway accident deaths in the United States actually increased significantly during the first half of 2020. This was in spite of the lower traffic volumes during the pandemic.

As the Covid-19 pandemic began spreading across the United States, many states including Georgia imposed shelter-in-place orders, discouraging travel, and shutting down businesses. This led to significant drops in traffic volumes from March right through June this year.

That should typically have resulted in lower accident death rates. This, however, has not happened. If anything, the highway fatality rate has actually increased. According to the National Safety Council, there has been a significant 20% increase in the number of highway accident deaths in the first 6 months of 2020, compared to the same period of time in 2019. This increase has occurred even in the face of lower traffic volumes, as a result of the pandemic. The highway accident death rate has increased even though there was a 17% drop in the number of miles travelled by American motorists in the first 6 months of 2020.

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Self-driving cars are being held up as the way of the future, but may not be able to prevent all types of accidents, especially the majority of accidents that can be linked to driver error.  Those findings came from a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

According to the researchers, auto safety design and advancements in technology will help self-driving vehicles identify and avoid many of the hazards that drivers are susceptible to, but this ability, by itself, would not be sufficient to prevent the majority of accidents that occur on American roads.

The data for the study came from the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey. The researchers identified accident factors that were specifically linked to driver error, and categorised these accidents into 5 types.

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Vehicles that have in-car alcohol detection systems that prevent motorists from driving a car under the influence of alcohol could significantly help reduce the number of accidents caused by alcohol impaired drivers every year.

These results came from a new study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The study was undertaken to determine how technology could help reduce the risks of motorists drinking and driving. Such motorists cause a significant number of auto accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia every year.

In fact, nationwide, approximately 30% of traffic accident deaths annually are the result of drunk driving. Every year, as many as a million people are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

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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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