Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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The administration has finalized a rule that is meant to protect motorists and drivers of light passenger vehicles from serious injuries in a truck accident with large commercial trucks for tractor trailers.

A serious underride truck accident can involve devastating personal injuries, including decapitation. In these truck accidents, the motorist may hit the back of the tractor trailer, resulting in the smaller passenger vehicle sliding under the tractor trailer.  Head and neck personal injuries are common in such types of truck accidents, and decapitation is not unheard of either.

For years now, passenger safety advocates have called for stricter restrictions on the design of commercial trucks and 18-wheelers that will prevent such truck accidents from taking place. The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently announced that it has finalized rules that will update the current federal standards for underride protection. As part of the rule, trucks must come with rear impact guards that will absorb the energy of the impact, and prevent motorists from sliding under the tractor trailer.

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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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The Governors Highway Safety Association says that pedestrian accident fatalities increased significantly in 2020 and the months after. Seven states, including the state of Georgia, contributed to more than 50% of those pedestrian accident deaths.

Previous data has shown that the number of motor vehicle crash–related deaths across the country overall has increased since 2020, and pedestrian accident fatalities seem to have constituted a significant percentage of the total. In 2020, according to data by the Governors Highway Safety Association, a total of 6,700 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents across the country. That was a statistically significant increase of 5% over the 6,412 pedestrians who were killed in accidents in 2019.

The pedestrian accident fatality rate in 2020 actually rose to 21% in spite of the fact that there were fewer vehicles on the road as a result of the pandemic. The fact that there were fewer vehicles on the road does not seem to have had any kind of negative impact on the number of accidents on our roads, and this is a matter of huge concern.

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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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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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New crash tests clearly highlight the importance of rear seat belts in preventing serious personal injuries in car accidents. The results of these tests are likely to spur efforts towards keeping back seat passengers safe in auto accidents.

Safety experts at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently released the results of new tests specifically focused on the role of seatbelts in preventing personal injuries to passengers riding in the back. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety was specifically looking at whether seatbelt technologies that have been shown to have excellent personal injury protection capabilities for front seat passengers and drivers, can also perform equally well in protecting rear seat passengers. The crash tests resulted in a new set of ratings for rear seatbelts, and this is the first time that ratings for rear seat belts have been released in the US.

These ratings will guide manufacturers as they design better automobiles that protect not just motorists and front seat passengers, but also passengers at risk at the back.  The push towards increasing safety for back seat passengers received a further boost this year with Uber announcing that its app will soon require back seat passengers to buckle in as soon as they get in the car.

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Teens account for a greater proportion of all speeding-related accident deaths in the United States, compared to all other age groups. Those disturbing facts come from a new report by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, which analyzed data between 2015 and 2019.

The report found that teen motorists, as well as their passengers between the ages of 16 and 19, accounted for a much higher proportion of accident deaths that were caused by speeding, with 43% of deaths occurring in this age group. In all other age groups, speeding accounted for approximately 30% of all deaths during the same time period.

According to the report, there were a total of 4,930 fatalities in accidents that were caused by speeding, between 2015 and 2019.  During this time, there were 15,510 teen driver and passenger accident deaths, and more than 5,200 of those occurred in accidents that were caused by speeding.

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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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August marks the 20th anniversary of the tragic death of Princess Diana. What many people are not aware of, however, is how Di’s tragic death in a Paris tunnel in 1997 significantly changed the driving landscape in France, and significantly reduced the number of car accidents.

After the accident in a Paris tunnel in 1997, French investigators came to the conclusion that the accident was the result of unsafe and dangerous driving practices. In 2002, the French government signed a number of new laws that were specifically designed to help reduce the incidence of unsafe driving. As a result of those laws, traffic accident fatalities in the country actually dropped by as much as one-third. This is a substantial reduction. According to Statista, the United States had 6.3 million car accidents in 2015. Therefore, if the United States was able to achieve a similar outcome, this would result in 2.1 million fewer car accidents each year.

In the new study, researchers claim that France’s decision to enact traffic safety laws in the aftermath of the tragic and high-profile death significantly improved traffic safety in that country, and may have helped save many lives. In fact, the study suggests that thousands of French lives could possibly have been saved as a result of these legal changes that were enacted. French road fatalities in the decades after the fatal crash fell by as much as 30% on an average, compared with an average of 15% in the United States.

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Earlier this month, Georgia officials joined hands with the Federal Highway Administration, OSHA, and various other local organizations to mark National Work Zone Awareness Week.

Using the slogan Work Zone Safety Is In Your Hands, this year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week aimed at educating construction workers about staying safe when in a zone, and encouraging motorists to be more careful when they travel through these areas.  Across Georgia, special safety stand-down events were conducted at work zone sites. These events encouraged employers to halt work across construction sites for one hour to pay special attention to safety practices at their construction sites. Employers used the hour to review safety practices currently in place, and to discuss potential hazards that continued to pose a safety risk to workers.

National Work Zone Awareness Week is designed to bring attention to the safety of not just construction workers in these zones, but also motorists who are traveling through these areas. Accidents that occur at construction work zones often result in serious injuries or death.

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