Articles Posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents

teen-driver-crash-risk-400-04575501d-300x200Lack of skill and experience may be partially to blame for the high rate of serious car accidents involving teen drivers, but it doesn’t explain the disparities in risk levels among equally inexperienced drivers. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Centre may have found the answer.

The researchers discovered a link between the rate of development of a teen driver’s ‘working memory’ and his or her crash risk. “Working memory’ is associated with the ability to accurately perform moment-to-moment tasks that are essential to safe driving.

Teen driving statistics are frightening. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drivers in the 17- to 19-year-old age group are at a higher risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident than drivers in any other age group. In fact, drivers age 16 to 17 are nine times more likely than adult drivers to get into an accident and six times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident. Can this new information be used to improve these numbers and keep our teens safe on the road? Read “Study links youths’ slow ‘working memory’ to high crash rates” to find out.

electric-scooter-400-03992047d-200x300There has been a noticeable increase in the popularity of electric scooters in recent years and, with that, an increase in the number of facial and head injuries being reported by emergency departments. According to a recent Rutgers study, the correlation between the two may be due, at least in part, to a lack of standardized regulations.

The study revealed that over the past 10 years, emergency departments reported 990 injuries to the head and face directly resulting from electric scooter use. Most of the injured were men ranging in age from 19 to 65 years; although 33 percent of those injured were children between the ages of 6 and 12 years. The study further disclosed that 66 percent of those injured reported that they were not wearing helmets while riding.

Laws regulating electric scooters and the use of helmets and other protective gear vary by state and those variations can be significant. Some states have no regulations regarding electric scooters or helmet usage while others, like New Jersey, apply the same laws to electric scooters as they do to bicycles. Read “E-Scooter Injuries on the Rise; Researchers Urge Helmet Laws” for further details.

winter-driving-400-08199838d-300x200When weather forecasts call for accumulating snow or even a wintry mix, drivers should take precautions. Wintry weather reduces the friction of the roadway as well as a driver’s ability to control his or her vehicle, leading to an increased risk for accidents and injuries.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, 24% of weather-related motor vehicle accidents take place on roadways covered by snow, slush or ice, and 15% occur while snow or sleet is falling.  Many of these accidents occur when drivers panic and make sudden, jerky movements behind the wheel. Turning the wheel too quickly, slamming on the brakes or stepping too hard on the accelerator can cause your vehicle to lose what little traction it has on a slippery road, leading to a loss of control.

The best advice, of course, is to stay off the roads during a winter storm, but that isn’t always practical. For tips to help reduce your risk of an accident if you must drive through a winter storm, read Car and Drivers’How to Drive Safely in Snow.”

traffc-fatalities-rise-400-04617293d-300x200Reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that, on a national level, traffic accident deaths decreased by 1.8% in 2017, but that wasn’t the story in New Jersey. In fact, 624 people lost their lives on New Jersey roads last year, representing a 3.7% increase in traffic fatalities from 2016.

The NHTSA report further indicated that deaths from alcohol-related accidents in the State were down last year. So, what’s behind the increase motor vehicle accident fatalities? Read “Traffic deaths continue to increase in N.J. Experts cite 3 main reasons” to find out.

new-car-seat-guidelines-400-05271727d-300x191Riding in automobiles is one of the most dangerous things children in the U.S. do on a daily basis, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Injury. However, the the Academy points out, using the right car and booster seats correctly can help reduce risk of serious injury to a child by more than 70%.

With this in mind, the Academy recently revised its guidelines on car seats, urging parents to keep their young children in rear-facing seats even longer than previously recommended. This position, the Academy says, offers better protection to young children’s heads and necks in the event of an accident. To learn more about how to protect your child while riding in your car, read “Experts drop kids’ age limit for rear-facing car seats.”

bike-safety-400-09030790d-300x263Each year as summer approaches, more and more bicyclists hit the road to take advantage of the warmer weather and longer daylight hours. Whether you are riding on a major street or on a back country road, sharing the road with other motor vehicles presents a risk for serious injury. According to the most recently available statistics, there were more than 800 bicycle fatalities on U.S. roads in 2015. That number represents over 2% of all U.S. traffic deaths for that year.

New Jersey has laws about sharing the road designed to make it safer for both motorists and cyclists. The laws for cyclists cover everything from safety equipment to where on the road they should ride. To learn more about how to keep yourself and your family members safe while bicycling this summer, read “NJ Bike Laws and Safety – Here’s What You Should Know.”

car-seat-safety-400-04204763d-200x300For decades now parents have understood that, when traveling by car, the best way to protect their young children from injury in the event of an accident was to make sure the children were properly secured in their car seats. But questions relating to the proper use of car seats still plaque parents and caregivers today: What type of car seat does my child need? Have I installed the car seat correctly? At what age should I turn the car seat around?

New Jersey is one of eight states to have laws stipulating that children under the age of two years be placed in rear-facing car seats. Studies have shown that these seats offer the most protection for very young children in front- and side-impact collisions. Now, a new study reveals this is true for rear-impact accidents as well. To learn more, read “Don’t turn around: . . .”

accidenti-fatalities-400-07681738d-300x162In 2015 New Jersey joined several other states in adopting a traffic safety strategy to cut the number of traffic accident-related deaths in half by the year 2030, yet traffic fatalities in the State continue to rise.

A recent report by the New Jersey State Police revealed there were 46 accident-related deaths in the State this past January, one more than in January 2017 and four more than in January 2016. Distracted driving was identified as a major contributor to this increasing fatality rate, leading some to believe that the eventual introduction of self-driving cars could play a major role in reducing the number of accidents and related injuries and deaths in the State. To learn more, read “NJ Counting on Self-Driving Cars to Cut Traffic Deaths by Half.”

drowsy-driving-400-05906446d-300x200We’re overtired, overindulged and overstimulated and it is affecting our driving. In fact, recent data shows just how serious these issues, particularly drowsy driving, have become and automakers are making strides in doing something to help combat our bad driving habits and reduce the number of accidents on our roadways.

The risks associated with drunk driving and distracted driving have been widely publicized, but not as much attention has been given to the dangers of drowsy driving. A new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that it’s a bigger problem than originally suspected. In fact, the Foundation reported that 9.5 percent of all crashes in the study involved sleep-deprived drivers, as did 10.8 percent of the more serious accidents. This contradicts an earlier federal report that put the drowsy-driving accident rate at only 1 to 2 percent.

Most drivers admit to being aware of the risks associated with driving while tired, yet we still continue to fight the need for sleep. In the meantime, automobile manufacturers are looking for ways to help alleviate the problem. To learn more about this threat to roadway safety and what steps are being taken to combat it, read “Drowsy driving is eight times more prevalent than government data suggests, says AAA.”

Photo of flashing emergency lights; NJ's law requires motorist to move over when they see flashing lights to avoid injury to emergency personnelWhat do you do when you’re driving and you see emergency lights flashing on the side of the road? What does the law say you should do?

In New Jersey, the law requires motorists to switch lanes, provided they can do so safely, and reduce their speed when passing emergency vehicles pulled off to the shoulder of the road. This law is intended to help protect emergency responders and those they are assisting from potential injuries from passing motorists. Emergency responders, however, are concerned that too many motorists either are unaware of the law or choose to ignore it. To find out more about motorists’ reactions in emergency situations, read “Do you follow NJ’s Move Over law? Cops don’t feel safe.”