Articles Tagged with 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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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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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. 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.

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Japanese auto parts manufacturer Takata Corporation has announced that 2.7 million more airbag inflators will be recalled over concerns that a chemical in the inflator may rupture while the airbag is being deployed sending fragments into cars that can injure drivers and passengers. This most recent recall adds to what is already the largest ever auto safety recall.

The defective airbag inflators are used in certain 2007-2012 model year Ford, Nissan, and Mazda vehicles. The largest recall group is Ford. A spokesman for the Ford Motor Company has said that the issue covers roughly 2.2 million vehicles. Nissan plans to recall 515,000 Versa models in the United States, and an additional 112,000 Versa models worldwide. While Mazda has said that the new recalls will cover a much smaller number of vehicles, only 6,000.

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