Articles Tagged with Motor Vehicle Accidents

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The odds of getting into a crash increase with the number of cars on the road and Memorial Day weekend is one of the most heavily traveled weekends of the year.  The American Automobile Association (AAA) projects 34.6 million people will drive 50 miles (80 km) or more from home during this holiday period, the most since 37.3 million in 2005 and an increase of 2.4 million people from last year.

National Safety Council put out their highest estimate of Memorial Day holiday accident fatalities since 2012. The estimated number of fatalities is 12% higher than the average number of deaths that occurred during the previous six Memorial Day holiday periods.  The Council also estimates around 47,000 people may be seriously injured on the roads during the three-day holiday period, beginning Friday, May 26 and ending on Monday, May 29.

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“Memorial Day should mark the start of summer – not the start of another deadly driving season,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Paying attention, slowing down and being courteous can ensure you and your fellow travelers make it to picnics, beaches and BBQs rather than emergency rooms.”

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With the rising popularity of cell phone use over the years the amount of car accidents caused by distracted drivers has also increased.  More and more drivers are having trouble keeping their eyes on the road and instead are choosing to look at their cell phones to text, use Facebook and snapchat, read and send emails, or do any number of distracting things on their phone.  Even though almost all of the States ban texting while driving, the National Safety Council estimated that as many as 10,000 Americans were killed because of distracted driving last year.

If you are travelling at 55mph and are looking at your phone for 5 seconds you will travel the length of a football field without looking at the road and the possible dangers that exist on it.  By texting and driving you are essentially driving blindfolded and putting your life and the lives of others in danger.

In 2016, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a survey and found that 40% of drivers stated they have read a text or an email while driving, and nearly 1/3 reported typing one.  There have been numerous public service campaigns, such as “It can wait,” to convince people to put down their cell phones while they are driving but the distracted driving epidemic continues to exist at an alarming level.

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Teenagers dream about getting their driver’s license.  It is one of the milestones of their life.  However, handing over the car keys to their child is one of the most stressful moments of being a parent. That stress comes from the fact that vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 16 to 24 year olds.

May is National Youth Traffic Safety Month and PennDOT is encouraging parents of teenage drivers to review Pennsylvania’s Graduated Driver Licensing law.  The GDL law has been shown to be effective in reducing crashes and fatalities for teen drivers. The GDL lays out restrictions for drivers with a learner’s permit, as well as those with a junior license.

Last year, PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards began delivering personal safety messages to young drivers convicted of moving traffic violations. Driver’s between the ages 16 and 20 who were cited for driving violations received a personal letter from Richards reminding them of the importance of following the law and the consequences of developing bad driving habits so early in their driving experience.

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The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has applied to the US Department of Transportation hoping to have Pennsylvania be designated as an Automated Vehicle Proving Ground.  The purpose of the application is to help in the facilitation of the safe and innovative development of Automated Vehicle technologies.

The application puts forth the benefits of Pennsylvania as a testing location because of the already existing facilities, environments, and topography within the state. “This application further illustrates that we’re a national leader in supporting automated vehicle development with safety and flexibility in mind,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said. “We’ve put in significant work on this issue with our task force, with our partners in the legislature, and through close collaboration with the industry.”

The application also highlighted the Pennsylvania Autonomous Vehicle Policy Task Force, which recently issued its recommended guidance to assist with testing policies helping to make testing proving grounds a success.

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Summer SafetySummer brings many exciting things – warm weather, beach trips, days by the pool and more. However, it also brings a new list of potential dangers to the road.

This summer, stay safe by keeping these points in mind:

Increase in Younger Drivers

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Group of girls having fun with the carYou and your friends are about to pile into the car to embark on a day trip that is sure to be packed with all sorts of fun and adventure. The driver knows their role, but the fight for the front has only just begun as the passengers try to wage their arguments for who deserves the highly-coveted front passenger “shotgun” seat in the car.

After numerous futile “dibs” calls, a footrace that likely ended with a physical struggle in front of the car door, and pleas for sympathy from one friend claiming severe car sickness, a victor emerges and assumes their rightful throne while the less fortunate squeeze into the back where they will immediately begin barking for more leg room.

The story illustrated above is a familiar occurrence for friends and groups as they prepare to travel, but there’s actually a lot more that goes into “riding shotgun” than just full control over legroom and air vents.

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Ford Ranger Takata Airbag
More than 390,000 Ford Ranger pickup trucks are being recalled due to overly strong driver’s side air bags.

The airbags in the recalled 2004-2006 vehicles have been found to cause injury upon release. The faulty airbags played a role in the death of 52-year-old Joel Knight, a South Carolina native whose truck crashed and caused deadly shrapnel to penetrate his neck.

In addition to Knight’s accident, the airbags are responsible for nine other deaths and more than 100 injuries. Many of the airbags have also simply failed lab tests as well.

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Dangerous winter conditions cause accident on highway.

Dangerous winter conditions cause accident on highway.

January 10-16 is PennDOT’s annual Winter Driving Awareness Week and the department is urging all drivers to exercise winter-appropriate driving practices and to have their cars checked by mechanics as temperatures drop and winter conditions take hold of our roadways.

In order to stay safe this winter and prevent automobile accidents that could endanger your life as well as the lives of others, PennDOT is urging drivers to have vehicles professionally serviced. The unseasonably warm weather that blanketed the state earlier this winter has seemingly ended, with 2016 already proving to be colder in the first few weeks. That being said, a visit to the local mechanic is highly encouraged for all.

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5 Star Safety Rating image

US Department of Transportation has proposed changed to its 5 Star Crash Safety Rating system.

U.S. regulators have proposed an updated version of the five-star crash-test rating systems that will incorporate new technology and test dummies. The five-star crash-test ratings has been in place by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since the late seventies and although they have proven themselves highly credible among both car dealers and buyers, this update seeks to even further improve safety.

Some changes to the rating system include testing collisions that happen in the front at an angle in the hopes of decreasing pedestrian accidents, as well as adding half-star rating options so as to more closely gauge the accuracy of the rating. Dummies will also be updated to more truthfully simulate the human body, with bendable spines and necks. The NHTSA does not want to make things more complicated, but rather, more safe.