Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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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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Drunk driving accidents can result in serious, if not fatal, injuries and have devastating consequences on all those involved. When states lower the maximum blood alcohol concentration level that a motorist can be driving with in his system, it can lead to an overall reduction in the number of people driving under the influence of alcohol, and consequently, the number of car crashes involving such intoxicated drivers.

In Georgia, as with most other states in the country, the maximum blood alcohol concentration limit for motorists is .08 %.  If a motorist is driving with a blood alcohol concentration above .08%, he can be arrested for driving under the influence. Some states have been experimenting with lower blood alcohol concentration limits in an effort to understand whether this can further help reduce the incidence of intoxicated driving. Early results of those experiments are now out. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration specifically focused on a single state that happens to be the only state in the United States that has successfully experimented with lower blood alcohol concentration levels.

Utah happens to be the only state in the country that has a blood alcohol concentration limit of .05 %. In 2019, that state lowered the blood alcohol concentration limit to.05 % from the previous .08%. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in its estimate found that as a result, the number of fatal accidents dropped by 19.8% in that state.  There was a significant drop of 18.3% in the fatality rate. In 2019, the state recorded 225 fatal accidents in spite of an increase in the vehicle miles travelled compared to the previous year. That was a drop from the 259 fatal accidents that had been recorded in 2016.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is projecting a significant 12% increase in the number of people killed in traffic accidents in the first nine months of last year. According to the projected estimates by the federal agency, a total of 31,720 people were killed in traffic accidents between January and September of 2021. That makes it an increase of 12 percent from the same period of time the previous year.

But the news gets worse.  This increase marks the highest number of deaths in traffic accidents in the first nine months of any year since 2006. That means that fatalities during the first nine months of 2021 are projected to be the highest in more than 15 years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also estimates that the number of vehicle miles travelled in the first nine months of 2021 also increased by close to 2 percent compared to the same period of time the previous year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration divided the country into several regions with Georgia falling in Region 4. This region accounted for a 14% increase in fatalities in the first nine months of last year. Georgia’s performance mirrors the national average, and the state recorded a 12.2 percent increase in traffic accident deaths in 2021 compared to the previous year. In 2020, 1,185 deaths had been recorded in traffic accidents in the first nine months of the year, and that number has increased to 1,330 deaths in 2021. Increases were seen in 38 states, while in 10 states the numbers actually decreased, and in two states, there was no change in the numbers between 2020 and 2021.

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Under Georgia’s current laws, drivers are prohibited from holding a cell phone while driving a car. If a recently introduced bill becomes law, that could soon change.

Senate bill 356 was recently introduced in the Georgia Senate, and would allow drivers to use their hands to hold a cell phone while the car is not in motion or when the car is at a stoplight. The bill has been introduced as a way to provide an easy solution to a common dilemma facing many Georgia drivers. According to those introducing the bill, motorists often complain that they find themselves waiting at stoplights behind drivers who are looking down at their cell phones in their hands and, therefore, not aware of the change in lights. According to the bill writers, allowing motorists to use cell phones while at stop lights would encourage them to hold their cellphone up, which would also allow them to notice the change in lights, thereby preventing them from blocking motorists behind them.

The bill is already getting a lot of pushback from interested parties. At a recent hearing, lawmakers heard from physician groups, associations of police officers and other traffic safety advocates.  They said that allowing motorists to use their hands to hold a  cell phone while at the wheel simply increases the range of distractions and is completely unnecessary.  Opponents of the bill say that allowing cell phone use of any type when a motorist is driving, regardless of whether he is at a stoplight or not, is a bad idea that immediately puts motorists in a distracted frame of mind.

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Driving under the influence of alcohol on its own is dangerous enough, but when a person drives under the influence of both alcohol and drugs, there is an even more dangerous impact on his ability to drive safely. A new analysis of previous studies that have focused on the effect of a combination of alcohol and drugs on a person’s ability to drive safely underscores what safety advocates have always known –  that drugs combined with alcohol is a potent auto accident risk.

The analysis of more than 57 previous studies was published recently in the journal Addiction.  The researchers were specifically looking at studies that proved a link between a combination of alcohol and drugs on traffic safety.

According to the analysis, the combination of drugs and alcohol has a much more severe and detrimental  impact on a person’s ability to drive safely, compared to the influence of only alcohol or only drugs. What is interesting is that the review underscores the different kinds of impact that alcohol and drugs can have on a person’s ability to drive safely. Alcohol, for instance, encourages impulsive and rash driving behaviors like speeding, that  significantly increase the risk of being involved in an accident. Drugs, however, do not encourage speeding. In fact, persons driving under the influence of drugs may actually drive slowly, but that does not mean that they are driving safely. Dangerous driving behaviors  like veering from the lane are very common when a person is driving under the influence of drugs.

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The federal administration is moving ahead in its plans to reduce the number of Americans being killed in traffic accidents every year with the announcement of a new strategy with the same objectives.

The Department of Transportation has published its National Roadway Safety Strategy with a goal of reducing the number of people killed in traffic accidents.  95% of transportation-related accidents in the country occur on our roads and highways.  The Department of Transportation estimates that 20,160 people died in transportation related accidents across the country in the first six months of 2021. That was an increase of 18.4%, compared to the first six months of the previous year. These numbers do not include the thousands of injuries that have occurred in these accidents, leaving victims severely or permanently injured, and burdening families with medical and other expenses.

In 2019, according to the Department of Transportation, Georgia ranked in the top 25% of states in number of fatalities with a total of 1,491 fatalities occurring in the state in transportation related accidents that year. Georgia is also close to the top of the list when it comes to the number of deaths per 100 million vehicle miles travelled with a rate of 1.12 roadway traffic fatality deaths for every 100 million miles travelled.

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Georgia highway safety efforts will benefit from a multi-million dollar grant by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. The grant will provide more than 2 million dollars in funding to the Georgia Department of Public Safety and Augusta University, and is meant to spent exclusively on highway safety.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, the money will be used to enhance the agency’s data analysis processes, provide technical assistance to agencies across the state and enhance support for motor vehicle safety programs.  The grant to Augusta University will be used specifically to encourage motor vehicle safety in young motorists. Augusta University will receive more than $16,000 in aid to the Georgia Young Adult Program.

The Georgia Department of Public Safety is taking the safety of child passengers very seriously, and plans to use much of the funding to develop programs that help keep child passengers safe in accidents. More than a million dollars, for instance, is going towards the expansion of child car safety seat use across the state. The money will go to the Injury Protection Program’s Child Occupant Safety Program, and the goal is to enhance the use of child car safety seats across the state by providing child safety seats. The program will also use the funds to increase education across the state about the need to keep children restrained in child car safety seats that are appropriate for their age and weight. The program will also invest the funding in the expansion of training programs not just for healthcare professionals and child care providers, but also emergency personnel and firefighters.

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It’s no secret that stress levels have skyrocketed in people over the last couple of years, and one of the effects of this increase can be seen in the spike in the number of car accidents across Georgia last year, many of which have resulted in serious injuries.

The unusual circumstances of the pandemic have only exacerbated pre-existing stress and anxiety levels of Atlanta motorists. In addition to the stress caused by work, family, or children, motorists now find themselves having to deal with uncertain prospects and a sluggish economy. All of these factors can contribute to reducing a driver’s ability to drive safely.  Driving can be a stressful affair, especially if you are driving at night or on busy routes. Driving on unfamiliar roads can also increase stress levels. All of these factors are compounded in drivers who are already dealing with other forms of anxiety, causing them to become irritable, anxious and unable to focus on the task of driving.

Here are some ways that you can reduce stress while driving. While these tips may not help to alleviate stress caused by work or external factors, they can help you maintain optimum concentration levels at the wheel.

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Often, recovery after a brain injury can focus only on the physical aspects of healing including recovery of mobility, movement and the ability to perform routine tasks and take care of one’s needs. Lost in the treatment plan may be the psychological damage and emotional distress that many brain injury victims continue to face months after the injury.

Brain injuries are severe injuries that seriously impact a person’s ability to lead a normal life.  These are catastrophic injuries that can impact a person’s ability to perform even daily routine tasks, like looking after himself, eating or bathing.  A brain injury can impact a person’s vision or hearing. These are some of the more commonly known effects of a brain injury. Lesser known or acknowledged is the long-term emotional damage inflicted by these injuries.

We know enough about some of this damage. For instance, we know that brain injury patients tend to have a higher risk of falling into depression in the months after the injury. Other mental health issues like anxiety may also be seen.  Did you know that brain injury patients may also suffer from severe anger and rage control issues?

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