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Children are the most important cargo transported in a vehicle. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. That’s why it’s so important to choose and use the right car seat and make sure seatbelts are properly used every time your child is in the car.  Unlike adults, young children rely exclusively on others to make sure they are safely secured when sitting in a passenger seat in a vehicle.  It is our job to make sure a child is buckled up or if they require a car seat to make sure it is the proper one and they are safely secured. https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTNmbKMmynznajO_rqhOl6MM0oZjfPmwnNP1oM9QZHRcLX4MWOwEw

Under Pennsylvania law, children under the age of 4 must be properly restrained in an approved child safety seat anywhere in the vehicle.  Children under 2 must be secured in a rear-facing car seat until the child outgrows the maximum weight and height limits designated by the car seat manufacturer.  Children from age 4 up to age 8 must be restrained in an appropriate booster seat.  Children from age 8 up to age 18 must be in a seat belt.

PennDot’s Car Seat Recommendations

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Harley Davidson is recalling 250,000 motorcycles world-wide to fix an issue that has the potential to cause the brakes to fail.  175,000 of those motorcycles are in the United States.

The investigation began in July 2016 when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received 43 complaints of problems with the brakes, including reports of 3 crashes and 2 injuries.  This led the NHTSA to pressure Harley Davidson to declare a recall.

The recall notice says that “deposits may form on components within the brake system if the DOT 4 brake fluid is not replaced for a prolonged period of time beyond the 2-year maintenance schedule specified in the Owner’s Manual.”  The deposits can cause a valve in the antilock brake control unit to stick. The recall service involves a full flush of the brake fluid, but no parts need to be replaced.

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced on January 25, 2018 that it is launching a new initiative to fight drugged driving.  With a national opioid epidemic and numerous states legalizing marijuana, drugged driving is an increasing problem on America’s roadways.  The NHTSA, through its initiative, is making it a top priority to improve safety and reduce deaths caused by drug impaired motor vehicle crashes through creative solutions.

“Nobody can solve drugged driving alone, but by sharing best practices we can begin to save lives today – we cannot afford to wait,” said Heidi King, NHTSA Deputy Administrator. “And by advancing the science and the data, we can address this problem for our communities in the future.”

The NHTSA is hosting a summit on March 15 to kick off its initiative.  According to the agency, the summit will explore the best practices for educating the public on the overall risk of drug-impaired driving; collecting consistent data; testing and measuring driver impairment levels; and enforcing Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) laws.141202-F-IT851-124

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The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance with the mission to make America’s roads safer by advocating for the adoption of federal and state laws, policies and programs to prevent motor vehicle crashes, deaths, and injuries.  The Advocates rate all 50 states and the District of Columbia on what they consider the 16 fundamental traffic safety laws divided into 5 different issue sections.  On January 22, they released the “2018 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws.”  The report is intended to serve as a guidance tool for legislators hoping to reduce preventable motor vehicle accident deaths and injuries.  None of the 50 states or the District of Columbia have adopted all 16 of the laws.

The 16 Fundamental Traffic Laws

  • Occupant Protection
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Most people know the dangers of drinking and driving.  However, drowsy driving is not as well-known and can cause equally dangerous levels of impairment.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 846 fatalities recorded that were drowsy-driving related in 2014. NHTSA estimates drowsiness is at least a contributing factor in more than 100,000 crashes across the country each year. The reported drowsy-driving crashes and fatalities have remained mostly consistent across the past decade.

Finding accurate numbers of crashes caused by drowsy driving are not yet possible.  Crash investigators can look for certain signs that drowsiness likely contributed to driver error, but these clues are not always recognizable or definite.  It is likely the numbers of drowsy driving accidents far exceed the reported numbers.  130522-F-XD880-252

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Takata, a Japanese air bag manufacturer, is recalling an additional 3.3 million defective air bag inflators as it continues to add to the largest automotive recall in U.S. history.  Through the series of recalls, 19 automakers have had to recall up to 69 million inflators in 42 million vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted the notice of the expanded recall on the agency’s website over the weekend.

The latest recalls are for frontal air bags in certain 2009, 2010 and 2013 vehicles made by Honda, Toyota, Audi, BMW, Daimler Vans, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar-Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Tesla.

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1 person was killed in an alcohol-impaired vehicle crash every 50 minutes in the United States in 2016.  That’s about 29 people a day.  Drunk-driving fatalities have fallen by 1/3 in the last 30 years. However, even with campaigns such as Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”, drunk driving crashes still claim over 10,000 lives per year.  In 2016, 28% of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States were the result alcohol impairment. 11064883376_6771bd6c4a_b

Alcohol impairs thinking, judgment, muscle coordination and reaction time. These abilities are crucial to operating a vehicle safely.  After only a few drinks you may feel that you are capable of safely driving.  However, even a small amount of alcohol can lead to impairments even slight ones that can endanger your life, your passengers, and anyone else on the road.

When transitioning into the New Year, many people like to make resolutions to start fresh and make smarter decisions to better their lives.  This New Year make the resolution that you will never get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or taking any substance that will impair your ability to drive.

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The winter season has arrived which means the possibility of snowy and icy weather is always present in Pennsylvania. This snowy and icy weather makes travel on the roadways difficult and dangerous.  Motorists should avoid traveling during winter storms if possible.  However certain situations make it impossible to avoid driving in bad weather. If you must be on the road during a winter storm you should use caution while driving.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, over 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 people are injured in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy or icy pavement each year.  Additionally, nearly 900 people are killed and nearly 76,000 people are injured in vehicle crashes during snowfall or sleet each year.pexels-photo-12875

Heavy snow can greatly restrict or virtually eliminate a driver’s visibility.  With freezing temperatures, roads that look wet may actually be icy which can lead drivers to take less caution then is needed to travel safely.  Driving in wintery conditions is hard enough when taking proper care.  Don’t add bad decision making and recklessness to the equation or there could be disastrous results for you or the other motorists on the road.

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Pennsylvania is ramping up its continuing effort to become the “proving ground” for self-driving vehicles.  Earlier this month, Pennsylvania held its first Automated Vehicle Summit.  The event was held September 11-12 in State College.

Advocates of automated vehicles are hoping to make the roads safer by removing the human error element that leads to so many car accidents.  However, the process of proving to the world that these cars will indeed make the roadways safer is still in the works.  The most interesting question is whether there is a need to show that self-driving cars are as close to 100% safe as possible or whether it just needs to be shown that they are simply safer than human controlled vehicles.

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Leslie Richards was the keynote speaker at the Summit.  Other officials from PennDOT, state police, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and the state departments of Community & Economic Development and Labor & Industry were among those that also participated in the summit.

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More than 33 people were injured, at least 4 of them seriously, when a high-speed train crashed into an empty train at a suburban station near Philadelphia early August 22.  One passenger described it as a “bloody scene.”

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) said the incident happened at around 12:15 a.m.   SEPTA spokeswoman Heather Redfern said an inbound Norristown High Speed Line train crashed into an unoccupied stationary train at the 69th Street Terminal (one of SEPTA’s busiest terminals) in Upper Darby, Pa.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0a/SEPTA_text.svg/2000px-SEPTA_text.svg.pngSEPTA officials initially reported that 42 people were injured in the crash. However during a press conference that evening, Ruben Payan, the lead investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said that the 42 number was the amount of people onboard the train.  The actual number of those injured in the crash is 33 which includes the conductor.  While 4 of the injured are in critical condition, all of the victims are expected to survive.