Articles Tagged with car accidents

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: . . .”

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.”

Photo of woman behind the wheel of a car yawning depicts growing problem fatigued driving poses on nation's roadsEvery state in the nation has laws against drunk driving, and most have laws against using cell phones and engaging in other distracting behaviors while behind the wheel. Few states, however, have addressed the dangers of fatigued driving.

New Jersey is one of only two states that currently have laws designed to crack down on fatigued driving. Under New Jersey law, sleep-deprived drivers involved in fatal accidents could face charges of vehicular homicide.

It is estimated that sleep-deprived drivers are involved in more than 300,000 accidents every year and that over 6,000 of those accidents are fatal, according to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Often drowsy drivers can exhibit behaviors similar to those of drunk drivers – impaired judgment, slower reaction times – putting them at greater risks for accidents. The condition is difficult to prove and few law enforcement officers are trained to recognize it. To learn more about the dangers of drowsy driving, the efforts that could help reduce the associated risks, and why enforcement of these efforts is so difficult, read “Why It’s Hard to Crack Down on Drowsy Driving.”

vehicle-technologies-400-04836694d-300x200Car buyers today are hard-pressed to find vehicles that aren’t equipped with technologies designed to make things easier and safer for drivers, but do these technologies actually accomplish that? Not according to recent research by the AAA Foundation. In fact, the research has shown that voice-activated programming takes drivers’ attention away from the road for longer than they realize, increasing the risk of crashes and injuries.

One of the problems is that drivers often find the in-vehicle “infotainment” systems complicated and frustrating. Is the technology at fault or is it the way in which drivers use the technology that causes the problem? Read “Deadly distractions? . . .” and decide for yourself.

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.

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.”