Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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Car designs of the recent past have focused greatly on improving the safety of front seat occupants.  Such safety improvements have led to better restraint systems, seat-belts, and airbags.  Advanced seat belt systems and airbags now make it easier for front seat passengers and drivers to escape serious injuries or death in the event of an accident.

However, rear seat passengers have not been as lucky.  Protections for passengers in the back seat have not kept up with the pace of other car safety improvements.  For instance, side airbags are present to protect back seat passengers in a side crash, but there are no front airbags for these passengers as there are for front seat riders.  Similarly, seat belts in the back seat usually do not have the same tension capacity as front seat belts. The result is that rear-seat passengers continue to be at risk of serious injuries in accidents.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently analyzed more than 100 crashes where rear seat occupants were seriously injured or killed. They found that the most common injuries to back seat passengers were injuries to the chest. This was the most common cause of serious injury or fatality to back seat passengers, regardless of whether they were adults or children.

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Every year, hundreds of motorists and construction workers in Georgia are injured in accidents in highway work zones. To raise awareness about the important of safety in these zones, the Georgia Department of Transportation recently launched a special awareness and education campaign.

The campaign is called Drive Like You Work Here, and it aims to raise awareness about the special dangers construction workers face while working in highway work zones.  These construction workers provide a vital service to the nation, namely by helping with infrastructure development projects that are oftentimes the lifeblood of our state’s economy. However, they are also frequently at risk from motorists who fail to understand the need to pay special attention they drive through these congested work zones.

It is not just construction workers who are at risk when motorists drive through these highway work zones without paying attention, but the motorists themselves are also at risk for serious injury when they are inattentive or speed through a zone. In the year 2018 alone, there were 52 accident related fatalities in work zones in Georgia.  These fatalities were all members of the public, meaning none of the fatalities involved a construction worker.

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There is never a shortage of tractor trailers or commercial trucks on Georgia roads.  This seems especially true during rush hour in metro Atlanta.  Trying to maneuver around a large commercial truck or 18-wheeler can be challenging, to say the least. One of the main reasons why driving around a large truck is tricky is due to the fact that the truck driver may not always see your car, which makes the chances of a being in an accident that much greater.   More often than not, when a passenger vehicle is hit in an accident by a large commercial truck, the resulting injuries can be very severe.

Here are some tips on what you should always keep in mind when driving around a large commercial truck or tractor trailer.

Do not come to a sudden stop in front of the truck.  These trucks have a much larger stopping distance. This means that it takes them much longer to come to a complete stop after the driver applies the brakes. If you are driving in front of a tractor trailer, braking suddenly can mean that the truck may crash right into your car with devastating consequences.

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The opioid overdose epidemic has been a top-priority for safety advocates as well as federal agencies for several years now. However, a little-known fact that has not garnered as much press is that opioid use has also contributed to an increase in the number of car accidents linked to drivers who were driving while under the influence of these painkillers.

A dependence on opioid medications or painkillers like Oxycontin has been blamed for a nationwide crisis that has raged unabated. In 2017 alone, 47,000 Americans died as the result of an opioid overdose. Deaths from opioid overdoses increased 14% nationwide in that year.  In Georgia, however, opioid deaths increased over 16% in 2017.  And to make it more a part of the daily conversation, social media has been awash with images and videos of addicts passed out or dead in their cars, sidewalks and commercial spaces.

Now, researchers at the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia University Medical Center say that there is ample evidence that opioid painkillers and drivers high under the influence of medications like Oxycontin are also causing an increasing number of car accidents. Their conclusions are based on results from a study that was conducted on 18,000 drivers involved in fatal accidents between 1993 and 2016. According to the researchers, the number of fatal car accidents involving drivers under the influence of opioid painkillers actually tripled over this 25-year period.

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Atlanta recently received the dubious honor of being ranked 4th in the nation for having the most aggressive drivers, according to GasBuddy.  Aggressive driving involves hard braking, swerving, but most often speeding.  Accidents caused by speeding kill more people than any other accident factor, including drunk driving or distracted driving.

In the U.S, speeding accounts for at least one-third of all traffic fatalities every year, and has continued to be the single biggest factor contributing to crashes over the past two decades. In 2017, the last year for which conclusive data is available, speeding caused 27 percent of all traffic fatalities.

Speeding is a major traffic safety issue primarily because of the tremendous impact that results in an accident caused by speeding, compared to a moderate-speed accident. There are a number of other safety concerns associated with speeding. For example, data shows that motorists who are more prone to drive at high speeds are prone to other risk factors such as a failure to wear seatbelts. In 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 49 percent of all people who died in speeding-related accidents were not wearing their seatbelts at the time of the crash, compared to 21 percent of motorists who were not in high-speed accidents.

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Pedestrian safety statistics in the United States are have been pretty grim lately. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that in 2016, there was a pedestrian accident fatality every 1.5 hours in the United States.  Even more alarming, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) found that the number of pedestrian deaths in 2018 were at a 28-year high.

Georgia was one of five states that accounted for almost half of the number of pedestrian deaths just in the first six months of 2018.  In the Atlanta area, pedestrian deaths were also on the rise, especially in 2017, with an alarming number pedestrian accidents occurring on highways.

A recent report by the GHSA found that pedestrian deaths were higher among certain groups including the poor, people of color, and those without health insurance, as these groups were more likely to live in areas that have fewer sidewalks and are otherwise more dangerous for pedestrians.  The GHSA also found that, the elderly and children were especially vulnerable to being struck as a pedestrian.

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The ways in which a motorcyclist can be injured while riding on the streets of Atlanta is numerous.  But one accident scenario that carries the most serious risk of leaving a motorcyclist with devastating injuries is when a motorcycle crashes into a car making a left turn.

According to estimates, as many as 40 percent of all motorcycle accidents involve a car making a left turn in front of the motorcycle or at an intersection. Many of these situations involve car drivers who incorrectly gauge the distance between their vehicle and the motorcycle.  When this happens, it usually results in the motorcycle crashing into the car, often at high speeds.  In other cases, the car driver may be distracted and fail to notice the motorcyclist pulling up alongside them.

Often, these accidents occur at intersections when the motorcycle is riding straight and a car driver suddenly makes a left turn in front of him.  There are many dangerous intersections located throughout the metro Atlanta area, thereby setting the scene for these types of accidents for countless motorcycle riders.  The impact of an accident like this can be devastating, and the motorcyclist may be at risk of sustaining injuries that include brain injuries, spinal injuries, fractures, major or severe cuts and lacerations, facial injuries and other serious injuries. Such injuries can still occur even if the motorcyclist is wearing all the required and recommended protective gear. Some of these injuries can leave a motorcyclist with possibly long-term damage, reducing his ability to lead a normal, productive life.

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The DOT’s National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration recently announced some welcome news for motorists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists around the country – traffic accident fatalities for 2017 were down by 2 percent.  This decline followed two prior years of large increases.  The decline in fatalities also continued for the first half of 2018.

Overall, according to data from the Department of Transportation, a total of 37,133 people died in traffic accidents across the country in 2017. That was a decrease of 2 percent from the previous year. This was also in stark contrast to the 6.5 percent increase in fatalities from 2015 to 2016 and the 8.4 percent increase from 2014 to 2015.   The trend also appears to have carried over into Georgia as total traffic deaths on Georgia roadways decreased in 2017 after two large years of increases in 2015 and 2016.

The data has more good news. It shows a 2 percent decrease in pedestrian fatalities. This was a traffic safety area that had been a huge source of concern for safety advocates because of the increase in pedestrian accident fatalities over the past several years. In 2017, federal authorities recorded the first decline in pedestrian accident fatalities since 2013, and that is welcome news indeed.

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Safe Driving on New Year’s Eve

Few holidays are more universally celebrated than New Year’s Eve.  Unfortunately, the holiday sees a dramatic uptick in the number of accidents, especially those involving alcohol and speeding. According to some estimates, Americans are much more likely to drink over New Year’s Eve than any other time of the year.  In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports that an average of 300 people die nationally between the week of Christmas and New Year.  That makes the streets of Georgia especially dangerous to be on this time of year.

Celebrating responsibly should be a no-brainer, but far too many people ignore basic safety precautions, and end up causing injuries not just to themselves, but also to other motorists on the road. This New Year’s eve, take steps to avoid becoming just another drunk driving accident statistic.

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Thousands of trucks travel on Georgia’s highways and interstates every year, moving freight and working as indispensable components in the state’s trade and commerce system.  However, there are also countless accidents every year involving these massive vehicles on Georgia’s roads that result in dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries.

Large trucks and tractor trailers, by their very nature and design, are more likely to cause serious injuries to the occupants of the smaller vehicle when they are involved in an accident.  These trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and their bulk can make any collision with them especially dangerous.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s statistics from 2006 to 2016 portray an interesting picture of Georgia’s truck safety record. A look at the data indicates that the state was able to make significant progress in reducing the number of people killed in truck accidents between 2006 and 2010. During this 5-year period, there was a continuous decline in truck accidents beginning with 232 fatalities in 2006 to ending at 153 in 2010.