Articles Posted in Automobile Accidents

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Most holidays, alcohol consumption increases for many people.  St. Patrick’s Day is one of the holidays where alcohol consumption is at its highest level.  This also makes it one of the deadliest times of year on the roadways.  This is because many individuals make the unfortunate decision to get behind the wheel after drinking.  The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are promoting their annual campaign to avoid the dangers of driving impaired as part of a national Saint Patrick’s Day “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.”

The NHTSA reports that drinking and driving account for nearly 1/3 of vehicle fatalities in the United States. NHTSA also reports that St. Patrick’s Day is one of the deadliest holidays on our nation’s roads.

PennDOT data shows there were 28 alcohol related motor vehicle accidents on Saint Patrick’s Day in 2017.  That was an increase from 26 in 2016 and 23 in 2015.size0

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The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminds the public that as daylight saving time arrived on Sunday March 11 it is a good time of year to check to see if your vehicle has any open recalls.  This reminder is a part of NHTSA’s Safe Cars Save Lives Check for Recalls campaign.

The Safe Cars Save Lives Check for Recalls campaign encourages the public to check their vehicles at least twice a year.  Much like changing the batteries in your smoke alarms, a good reminder to check for recalls is the time of the year when the clocks change (every March when setting clocks forward and every November when setting clocks back.)

Last year, there were 813 new vehicle safety recalls affecting more than 30 million vehicles in the United States. .

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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.

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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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.