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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that partially automated driving systems in several vehicles are not very effective in helping prevent distracted driving. In fact, automated driving systems are likely to increase distracted driving auto accidents.

Partial automated driving systems are present in several automobiles these days.  These are not technically self -driven cars, although manufacturers sometimes do position these as self -driven vehicles. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, its researchers analyzed a number of vehicles manufactured by major automakers, including BMW, and found that many of these systems fail at protecting motorists  against distractions or helping them focus on the road.

Many motorists prefer partial autonomous  systems because they believe these make driving easier. These  systems have  a few safety features that are automated, but drivers are responsible for tackling many of the routine tasks involved in driving.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety analyzed vehicles manufactured by BMW, Mercedes Benz, Ford and General Motors, and found specific challenges   with the way the partial automated systems in these vehicles failed to address problems involving driver distraction.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study found that while many of the systems do  have some safeguards in place to protect drivers,  these safeguards are not robust enough to help prevent car accidents.

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Persons who have suffered a spinal injury in car accidents or motorcycle accidents are at a much higher risk of suffering heart disease down the line.

That information comes from a study conducted in Korea where researchers analyzed data on more than 5,000 patients who had suffered lumbar, cervical or thoracic spinal injury. They were looking at how many of these spinal injury survivors developed heart conditions including myocardial infarction, heart failure and atrial fibrillation.  They found that persons who had suffered lumbar and cervical spinal injury had a greater risk of myocardial infarctions and heart failure.   The rates were slightly higher among those persons who had suffered severe disability as a result of their spinal injury.

The  researchers believe that one of the reasons for this is the fact that spinal injury survivors have very limited mobility and ability to exercise.  This  causes the heart muscles to become weak due to the lack of exercise. The   researchers also believe that it is important for doctors  treating a person with spinal injury to factor in the increased risk of cardiac disease, including myocardial infarction, atrial fibrillation and heart failure. It is important for spinal cord injury survivors and their families and caretakers to understand the higher risk of these specific heart conditions as a result of the injury.  More  education and awareness is needed,  and greater efforts must be put into   patient counselling.

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New research provides yet more evidence that the bodies of women and men react differently to car accidents.  According  to a new study, women who have been involved in a car accident  are more likely to suffer from shock  after the crash.

Several studies in the past have established  the different ways in which male and female bodies respond to the trauma of a car accident.  Overall, while men are  more likely to be involved in auto accidents, women are much more likely to suffer personal injuries in a car accident, with the rate being approximately 73% higher than for males. They are also much more likely to suffer fatal injuries in an accident. Women are much more likely to suffer certain types of injuries compared to men in auto accidents. For instance,  they are much more likely to suffer from lower body injuries or leg injuries compared to men.

A new study finds that women are also much more likely to go into shock after a car accident even when their personal injuries are not as severe  compared to men.  The  study focused on 56,000 victims of car accidents, approximately 50% of whom were women. The researchers  found that  even when their injuries were less severe or fewer than that of   males in an accident, women were more likely to suffer symptoms of shock. While  healthy adults have a shock index of between 0.5 and 0.7,  the women injured in car accidents in the study displayed  a shock index of greater than 1.0.  A person with a shock index of 1.0 is at risk of  symptoms of hemorrhagic shock  including a drastic and rapid fall in blood pressure, body temperature and heartbeat, often resulting in death.

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An analysis of traffic data from the last total solar eclipse in 2017 predicts an increase in auto accident rates during the next eclipse expected on April 8.

Astronomers have predicted a total solar eclipse on April 8.  This  eclipse is likely to be similar to the Great American Eclipse of 2017.  According  to a new study,  the 2017 total solar eclipse was accompanied by an increase in the number of car accidents during the eclipse.  The  researchers  warn   that a similar surge in car accident numbers is to be expected during this eclipse as well.

Eclipses   are typically more likely to be associated with eye injuries than with car accidents.  However,  the researchers stress that it is not the reduced visibility during the eclipse that causes an increase in car accidents.  Rather, it is in the hours soon after the eclipse when people are traveling back home from the site of observation when accidents are more likely to occur.

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Federal transportation officials as well as state officials met in the nation’s  capital recently to discuss ways to reduce car accident wrongful deaths.

Most states were represented at the gathering with 17 states declining  to participate, and out of these, 10 of those states had traffic accident death rates that were higher than the national average in 2021.  For most transportation officials, the past couple of years have been frustrating to say the least. After several decades of declining traffic accident deaths,  the years  since the pandemic  have actually seen traffic accident deaths inching  upwards once again.  There have been increases reported in almost every category of accidents, from pedestrian accidents to speed – related accidents and distracted driving – related accidents.  Clearly,  new challenges have emerged since the pandemic and fresh strategies are required to deal with these.

Some states reported at the conference that  they have successfully limited the impact of poor driving on accident numbers through very simple steps.  These steps  have involved the use of simple techniques, like rumble strips on highways as well as reflective tape on stop signs in order to help motorists pay stronger attention to the task of driving. Some states are investing in corridors for pedestrians.  Others have increased fines on speeding while some states have focused on construction work zone safety with a specific focus on protecting construction workers in these dangerous zones. Many of these initiatives have  met with great success,  and provide a blueprint for other states to follow these efforts.

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The  United States recently crossed a  painful  milestone as it recorded 4 million car accident wrongful deaths since the first fatality was recorded in 1899.

The milestone is especially poignant because it comes as transportation authorities are grappling with the problem of increasing car accident deaths across the country, especially since the pandemic.  While there has been a slight progress in helping reverse that trend, car accident deaths, especially those related to distracted driving and speeding have simply skyrocketed over the past 2 years,  undoing much of the progress that has been made in this field over the past decade.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Association is calling for better implementation of the National Roadways Safety Strategy , safer infrastructure, better protection for pedestrians  and bicyclists,  and stronger laws against distracted driving and drunk driving, as well as efficient after – accident care as the key to helping reduce the number of people being killed in these very preventable car accidents every year.

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Several studies have confirmed that speeding rates  increased during the pandemic, but disturbing new data from a mobile analytics company finds that  American motorists have also been engaging in  other types of dangerous behaviors at higher rates since the pandemic.

New  data by Cambridge Mobile Telematics, a company that offers apps that can be downloaded to lower motorist insurance rates finds that the rates of distracted driving actually increased during the pandemic. What is worse  is that those distracted driving rates have actually continued even after the pandemic. The Cambridge apps that can be downloaded by drivers measure a number of parameters, including the actions involved in holding a phone and interacting with an unlocked screen while driving.

The analysis found that there was an increase in the rates of both interaction with an unlocked screen, as well as phone motion by as much as 20% between  2020 and 2022. For instance,  the company states that in 2022,  drivers used their phones for  these  activities on close to 60% of all their trips.  These are alarming  figures, and should be worrying to any traffic safety expert.  Far  from cutting down on distracted driving behaviors like using cell phones while driving, American motorists are actually engaging with their phones even more than ever before, placing them at risk of  being involved in  car accidents. Most distracted driving behaviors occur when the car is at 50 miles per hour.

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Persons who have suffered a brain injury in an auto accident may be at a higher risk of developing brain cancer later in life. This the shocking finding of a new study which could have a significant impact on personal injury claims.

A  new study that was conducted on military vets finds that a brain injury significantly increases the risk of brain cancer. The study focused on more than 1.9 million vets, and the results are disturbing.   Brain  cancer is a relatively rare cancer, and only one percent of the general population has the risk of suffering from this disease.  However, among  veterans  who have suffered a brain injury, the risk  of developing malignant cancer is as much as 90% higher than in the general population.  Additionally,  in those cases in which the injury has resulted in penetration of the skull, victims  were found to have a three times higher risk of suffering brain cancer.

The researchers take pains to point out that while the study has been conducted on veterans, and  that while the exact same results may not be seen in the  civilian population, more severe or penetrative brain injury is likely to lead to a higher risk of brain cancer among civilians as well.

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Emory University will kick off a study later this year that will focus on the rates of seatbelt use as well as distracted driving rates among motorists in Georgia. The study is extremely important because the failure use a seatbelt and distracted driving account for a significant number of the personal injuries and wrongful deaths suffered in car accidents.

The  study is courtesy state funding for the  Injury Prevention Research Center at Emory. The Georgia Governor’s Office of  Highway Safety  has announced a grant of more than $296,000 for the division.  The  money will be used to better understand the kind of factors that affect driving behaviors among motorists in Georgia. The  Injury Prevention Research Center plans to send trained observers to more than 400 sites across the state, and study factors like gender and age group that affect rash driving behaviors.

The  Emory researchers will specifically focus on seatbelt usage rates across Georgia.   This is a particular area of concern for Georgia transportation authorities. Seatbelt usage rates across the state have been on a steady decline over the last couple of years. Georgia transportation authorities recorded seatbelt usage rates of 89.3% in 2022,  and these rates had dropped  to 87.6% last year.

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In 2022, an average of 5 people died in car accidents in Georgia every single day.  The state is now making strong efforts to help reduce those numbers and keep people safe on the roads. There is not one solution to the issue, which requires a multifaceted approach.

The Georgia Department of Public Health recently received funding of approximately $2.5 million specifically to be used in road safety initiatives.  The  grant by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be used to fund initiatives like the distribution of child car safety seats to motorists in Georgia.  The  funds will also be used to study and research factors involved in car accidents, specifically speeding and other common factors. More than $200,000 has also been earmarked for education and awareness campaigns across Georgia, as well as risk assessments of senior drivers above the age of 55.  The child car seat distribution initiative has already kicked off, and hundreds of parents across Georgia have received their safety seats.

The metro Atlanta region is a specific area of concern for Georgia transportation safety authorities.  Out of the last nine car accident deaths recorded in the state, 5 occurred in the metro Atlanta region alone.  These wrongful deaths have included fatalities in car accidents caused by drunk drivers and fatal auto accidents involving pedestrians.  Law enforcement officers in Georgia say that the biggest causes of car accident fatalities in the state remains drunk driving, speeding, distracted driving and rash driving.  Road rage is on the increase, and that has meant a spike in aggressive driving.

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