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Yet another study finds that as lockdown went into effect around the country in the early months of 2020, many motorists began driving cars at speeds higher than their normal speeds.  Of course, this greatly increased the risk of car accidents resulting in severe injuries or death. Safety advocates fear that many of these behaviors might be hard to shake off now.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently conducted a study in the state of Virginia that only confirms what federal data has indicated recently – that speeding as a motoring behavior has become much more widespread since 2020.  In the new study, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety researchers analyzed data from several Virginia Department of Transportation speed counters.  The analysis then compared the percentage of drivers who were driving 10 mph above the speed limit between March and June 2020.

They found that while traffic volumes dropped by a significant 25% across the state, there was a 30% to 40% increase in the number of vehicles driving at 10 mph over the speed limit, compared to the same period of time in 2019. The only place where there was little difference in the number of speeding drivers was in rural areas where the numbers remained unchanged.  Elsewhere across the state, speeds accelerated even as traffic volumes fell.  On weekdays, there was a 43% increase in the number of motorists driving at least 10 mph above the speed limit, but during weekends, that percentage increased to 63%. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety research found that motorists were comfortable driving at excessive speeds because of the lack of rush hour traffic.

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Even as federal transportation authorities grapple with a spike in deaths in all types of car accidents, a new study finds that high visibility traffic enforcement campaigns may possibly hold the key to reducing those numbers and keeping motorists safe.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently revealed that auto accident death numbers are on the rise.  Those numbers were extremely high in 2020, a year in which American motorists drove fewer vehicle miles than in previous years.  In 2021, according to projected estimates, those numbers were at their highest in more than a decade.   This increase has been high enough to spur federal transportation authorities into action. The new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief has announced his Roadway Safety Strategy, a plan that aims to combine efforts towards safer roads, vehicles and motorists to reduce car accident death numbers.

A new analysis by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that high visibility traffic law enforcement campaigns like those that are frequently conducted to encourage motorists to buckle up or drive safely or at posted speeds may be effective in helping reduce car accident fatality numbers

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Newer intersection assistance technologies could reduce the number of car accidents resulting in serious injuries or deaths involving senior drivers by as much as one-third.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently published the results of a new study that finds that intersection assistance technologies which include lane assist, vehicle- to- vehicle connectivity and other type of technological features can go a long way in helping mitigate the kind of risks that place a senior driver at risk of a car accident.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety researchers compared 5 auto safety features that are currently available on many automobiles, and compared their impact on the safety of senior drivers with others that are not as widely available. The technologies that are currently available include front crash prevention systems, brighter headlights, lane departure warning systems that warn the motorist when the car is in danger of veering away from its lane and blind spot detection systems that can alert the motorist to blind spots that are not visible to the driver.  All of these technologies can significantly help seniors deal with the risks arising from failing vision, poor reflexes, restricted mobility and the other challenges that make it difficult for them to drive safely.

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The federal administration spends millions of dollars in traffic safety campaigns every year.  An analysis of the effectiveness of these campaigns finds that unless these education campaigns are also combined with practical action, they may have a very limited impact on traffic safety or the number of car accidents which occur each year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s traffic safety campaigns  encourage motorists to drive safely, wear seatbelts and avoid driving under the influence of alcohol.  One stellar campaign that the federal agency conducts annually is the Click it or Ticket campaign that encourages motorists to wear seatbelts while driving.  The campaign is credited with increasing seatbelt usage across the country, and usage rates are currently now at above 90%. This is a very respectable percentage, although it is still imperative that we reach out to the 10% of motorists who fail to wear seat belts. Individuals who fail to wear a seatbelt are those who are most likely to suffer a personal injury in a car accident. To learn more about personal injury matters involving car accidents, please visit our website.

However, according to some experts, it is not the campaign by itself that has promoted seat belt use.  Rather, it is the fact that newer automobiles now come with a seatbelt warning system that gives a motorist time to wear the seatbelt and make sure that everyone else is also buckled in before the driver operates the car.  In one such system, the car will not start until a few seconds after the ignition is turned on to give the motorist time to buckle up.

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A motorcycle accident is more likely to result in fatal injuries than any other type of motor vehicle accident.  This is mainly because a motorcycle rider does not have the protection being in an enclosed vehicle, but also because many motorcycle accidents can result in serious head injuries.  This is why a wearing a motorcycle helmet while riding a motorcycle is critical in preventing injury.

Georgia is one among several states that have universal motorcycle helmet laws requiring all riders and passengers on motorcycles to wear helmets while riding.  Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that universal helmet laws go a long way in increasing helmet usage among passengers and riders, thereby preventing the kind of serious crash-related injuries that can result in death.   If you are riding a motorcycle in Atlanta, you must wear a helmet regardless of your age, riding experience or whether you are a rider or a passenger on a motorcycle.

Universal motorcycle helmet laws make sense, and it can be hard to understand why only a few states have these laws in place.  It wasn’t always like this. Several decades ago, the administration had tied universal motorcycle helmet laws to state accessibility to construction funds.  As a result, all states excluding 3, had universal helmet laws.  However, when these incentives were removed, many states went ahead with the decision to repeal universal helmet laws within their borders. This has proved to be a disaster for some of these states that have recorded high percentages of traffic accident fatalities involving motorcycle crashes since the laws were repealed.

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2021 was a deadly year for truckers and other persons involved in accidents with large commercial trucks and 18-wheelers.  The latest data by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reflected a 13% increase in the number of deaths in accidents involving large trucks last year, compared to 2020.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its latest traffic crash data for 2021, and the figures are bleak.  Overall, traffic fatalities were up by as much as 10.5% from 2020.  Interestingly, many of these fatal accidents occurred during the day time and on rural or artery roads.  Overall, these were the highest traffic accident death numbers on record since 2005.  Many in the industry and in the federal administration believe that these rates are at “crisis levels”.

The news on the trucking safety front was not much better. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration considered any commercial truck weighing at or above 10,000 pounds as a large truck for the purposes of data collection.  The figures included not just smaller trucks, but also non-commercial trucks.  There were a total of 5,601 deaths involving truck accidents in 2021, compared to a total of 4,965 accident deaths the previous year, a significant 13 percent increase.  Increases in deaths in crashes involving at least one truck were recorded in all months, except January, February and October of last year.

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Drivers on Georgia’s roads and highways have no doubt seen them – the overhead warning signs of traffic problems up the road.  Road signs and warning signs are play an important role alerting drivers of upcoming dangers on the roads.  The Georgia Department of Transportation has decided to extend a data gathering program involving connected vehicles to more areas around the state.

The program is the latest phase of an initiative that was launched in 2019.  The initiative is a collaboration between the Georgia Department of Transportation, Panasonic, Kia Motors and The Ray, a transportation tech company.  The aim of the initiative was to gather data using vehicles connected to each other along limited stretches of highway. The first phase of the program involved four Georgia Department of Transportation vehicles that were connected with each other and collected data as they traveled frequently on routes along an 18 – mile stretch of interstate 85.

However, the program has now been expanded to cover rural areas and a greater number of vehicles. In this phase, the program will involve 7 Kia vehicles that are part of the connected vehicle environment. The aim is to collect real time traffic data as these vehicles travel every day. The difference between this phase and the previous phase is that the 7 Kia cars are being driven by employees who will be going about their daily lives and work routines, traveling to work and on errands, all the while gathering important data about the effectiveness of connected vehicle programs in ensuring motorist safety. The potential for data gathering is, therefore,  huge in this phase.

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Anyone who has driven on the highways in the Atlanta area knows that construction and changes in traffic patterns are never ending.  Not only is there a maze of highways in the Atlanta area but the connecting points of the various highways are also always being shifted one way of another.

The interchange at interstate 285 and interstate 20 East is one of the busiest interchanges in the state, and has been a particularly dangerous one for motorists.  It’s one of the deadliest junctions in Georgia, and responsible for causing hundreds of accidents every year. However, if plans to fix this particular piece of roadway are successful, the rate of deadly accidents at this interchange could soon be minimized.

The design of this junction creates a sort of optical illusion that does not warn drivers about the steep curve that lies ahead until it is possibly too late to stop.  These hazards have been responsible for causing a large number of accidents over the years.  In fact, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation between 2016 and 2021, there were a total of 3,000 motor vehicle accidents occurring at the interchange.  These accidents resulted in more than 110 deaths.

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An accident with a tractor trailer truck is one of the worst types of motor vehicle accidents, and they usually result in serious if not fatal injuries. If there’s one thing that safety advocates as well as the trucking industry agree on, it is the need for speed limiters on commercial trucks. The federal administration recently announced its intention to move forward with rule making on this critical safety issue.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently issued its Notice of Intent that shows its intent to move forward with rulemaking on the issue of requiring speed limiters on commercial trucks and tractor trailers.   According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, it has been able to identify that speed is a critical safety issue when it comes to large commercial trucks and 18 -wheelers. The agency identifies speed management as a critically important precautionary measure that can help reduce the risk of serious injuries and fatalities involving truck accidents.

The administration has focused on the problem of high speeds involving commercial truck for a while now. The new notice of intent follows up on a proposal that was determined in 2016 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  The 2016 proposal called for the installation of speed limiters on trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds. However, the proposal did not determine a maximum speed limit. That will now happen with the federal administration’s new move in this regard. Over a period of time and with inputs from not just American trucking groups, but also the public, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will be able to determine a speed limit for commercial trucks.

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A traumatic brain injury occurs when there is a jolt or blow to the head, and this can occur in any number of accidents, like an auto accident or a slip and fall accident.  A fall does not have to occur from a height for an injury to occur.  A fall that occurs when a person is walking or when he trips or slips, could also result in a blow to the head that is serious enough to cause an injury.

We are constantly learning about the many ways in which a traumatic brain injury can continue to impact victims of car accidents, slip and fall accidents or other types of accidents.  It goes without saying that a catastrophic brain injury can affect every aspect of a victim’s life and his or her loved ones.  Scientists recently analyzed the findings of five different studies on risk-taking behavior in rats, and determined that brain injuries can affect decision- making abilities.

Studies on decision -making abilities in humans after a traumatic brain injury have earlier been conducted through the Iowa Gambling Task. In this experiment involving decks of cards, subjects are made to choose from decks of cards, and understand over a period of time that two out of 4 decks involve high rewards and higher risk of losses, while the remaining two decks involve lower risks and lower rewards. This experiment was the basis for the Rodent Gambling Task in which researchers used sugar pellets to encourage the rodents. The animals were made to choose among four ports, two of which involved a large number of pellets, but also a higher punishment in the form of a timeout.

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