Articles Posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents

drug-related accidents- photo of pills spilling from prescription bottlesAlthough alcohol-related accidents are on the decline, accidents involving drivers impaired by drugs – including prescription medications – are on the rise.

Statistics relating to drug use and fatal motor vehicle accidents are revealing. It isn’t always the use of illegal drugs or the misuse of prescription medications that is to blame; even those who use the drugs as prescribed can be impaired. Medications affect individuals differently. Many medications including sleep aides, pain relievers, stimulants, antidepressants and even over-the-counter medicines, can leave users feeling drowsy. Taken in combination, these drugs can have even more serious effects.

To better understand the severity of this trend and to learn ways not to become a victim, read “Prescription Drug Abuse Becoming More Common Reason for Accidents.”

 

Distracted driving photo of arms of driver with one hand on steering wheel and the other operating a cell phoneDespite all the warnings about the dangers, drivers in the U.S. continue to operate cell phones while behind the wheel. In fact, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 660,000 drivers can be found using their cell phones in some manner at any given time.

Safety issues related to distracted driving have reached epidemic proportions over the past 10 years, resulting in an average of 3,000 deaths and 450,000 injuries due to distracted driving-related accidents each year. While cell phones represent only one of the distractions drivers face today, it is believed they divert drivers’ attention more often and for longer stretches of time than other distractions. Will adopting more laws restricting cell phone use cure this epidemic? Read “Liberty v. Tyranny: More States Pass Laws Outlawing Cell Phone Use While Driving” to reach your own conclusions.

Safety Sensors - photo of windshield of yellow school busAlthough a law requiring all new school buses in New Jersey to be equipped with sensors that would alert drivers if someone or something was passing in front of or behind their vehicles was signed more than a year ago, most school districts have yet to implement it.

Abigail’s Law, named after Abigail Kuberiet, a two-year-old who died in 2003 after being struck while walking in front of a school bus, was adopted in an effort to prevent similar accidents in the future. However, regulations regarding the implementation of the law are still under review by the State Department of Education. School districts are hesitant to install the sensors, estimated to cost between $1,750 and $2,500 per bus, until the regulations are released. To learn more, read “New Jersey School Buses Still Unequipped With Safety Sensors.”

Photo of driver yawning behind the wheel of carThis time of year it is not uncommon for people to push through to accomplish everything on their to-do lists, even when that means sacrificing some sleep. But depriving yourself of the recommended amount of sleep can have serious consequences, especially for drivers.

A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that missing even two or three hours of sleep in a night increases your risk of an accident by four times over a driver who has gotten the recommended amount of sleep. It’s tantamount to driving drunk, yet one out of every 25 drivers admitted to driving drowsy when surveyed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To learn more about how sleep deprivation can affect your driving, read “Driving while drowsy can be more dangerous than thought.”

Photo of man fastening seat belt over his lapThere’s truth behind the slogan, ‘Seat Belts Save Lives.’ In fact, last year alone seat belts were credited with saving some 14,000 lives. At the same time, however, these safety harnesses can contribute to the injuries drivers and passengers suffer as a result of motor vehicle accidents.

Part of the problem, according to researchers, is that seat belts essentially are designed to restrain middle-aged males, and the force they use could be too strong for smaller passengers, particularly women and older people. While these researchers encourage all drivers and passengers to continue using seat belts, there is one professor at Ohio State University’s School of Medicine, on a crusade to see improvements that would allow seat belts to adjust to the individual person. To learn more, read “When seat belts pose a safety hazard.”

teen-driverrs-400-05083531dA recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association revealed that the country has seen an almost 10 percent increase in fatal car accidents among teenage drivers this past year except in New Jersey where such accidents have actually declined. Could New Jersey’s graduated drivers’ license (GDL) program be the reason?

While all states have some sort of GDL program for teens, New Jersey’s system has some strict requirements. For one thing, any driver between the ages of 16 and 20 must first hold a learner’s permit before getting a probationary license that will last for at least one year. Elsewhere in the country, teens can opt out of their state’s GDL program by age 18. To learn more about how New Jersey’s GDL may be saving teen lives, read “More teens are dying behind the wheel – how NJ’s bucking the trend.”

driverless cars: photo of two men and a woman looking at two cars involved in crashIt has been predicted that by the year 2020 there will be some 10 million driverless cars on the roads. In preparation for this, the auto industry has been including such features as park assist and crash avoidance technologies on more and more vehicles in recent years. While drivers adjust to the thought of relinquishing all navigational control to their vehicles, the government is grappling with some practical matters that the new fully-automated vehicle technology will bring.

The Department of Transportation recently released new policies aimed at balancing safety with this new technological advancement. These policies address such issues as how to assess a vehicle’s crashworthiness, how to prevent hacking of the automated systems; and how to cope with a system failure. To learn more, read “Department of Transportation Releases Policy on Driverless Vehicles.”

Meanwhile, insurers and lawyers both are dealing with the question of responsibility in the event of accidents involving driverless cars. For more on this, read “Who’s Responsible for Self-Driving Car Accidents?

teenage-drivers-400-05083542dFor most people, Memorial Day marks the start of the carefree days of summer; for teen drivers, however, the 100 days following this holiday are considered the deadliest.

Once school lets out, most teens are focused on having a good time with friends. Often these good times entail travelling – to friends’ houses, the beach, a pool, or a nearby amusement park. Curfews are often extended, meaning these teens are out and about till later hours. Add all this to inexperience behind the wheel and the number of distractions teens face today and you have a recipe for potential disaster.

As a parent, you may be surprised to learn what is considered the biggest distraction for teen drivers today. Read “Summer Days Are Deadliest for Teen Drivers & Texting Isn’t the Reason;” it can give you some information to help your teen have a fun and safe summer on the road.

 

Distracted driver: photo of woman behind wheel of car applying lipstick in rear view mirrorYou may be adept at multitasking in your job or your home life, but when it comes to driving your attention needs to be focused. That message is being stressed this month as police in New Jersey crack down on distracted driving offenses.

Because it involves many aspects of attention, text messaging is considered the most alarming distraction a driver can engage in; however, it is not the only potentially dangerous diversion. Anything that takes a driver’s primary focus off the road, including eating, drinking and grooming, is considered a driving distraction. This month, police throughout the State are making a concerted effort to discourage this behavior. To learn more, read “N.J. Distracted Driving Crackdown In April: What Could Land You a Ticket?

black and white photo of a modern gearshiftAutomakers are constantly updating technology in their cars to give drivers a better experience and to make the cars more efficient. One of their latest innovations, however, is being investigated by The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) to determine whether it is jeopardizing the safety of the vehicles and increasing the risks of accidents.

The current trend among car makers is to install electronic gear shifts, particularly in their luxury model vehicles. These gear shifts have a very different feel to them and, drivers admit, take some getting used to, mainly because they lack the tactile and visual response of traditional gear shifts. Some drivers and safety experts claim this increases the potential for drivers to inadvertently put their cars in the wrong gear.

The NHTSA is investigating reports of about 120 accidents, some of which resulted in injuries requiring hospitalization. The investigation is targeting more than 850,000 cars, most of which are Jeep Grand Cherokee 2014 and 2015 models. One of the biggest complaints is that the vehicles under investigation do not have fail-safe features that would ensure proper gear selection. To learn more about this potential problem, see “Are new electronic gearshifts putting drivers at risk?