Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Image result for airbag recallOver the past few years, millions of vehicles equipped with Takata airbags have been recalled across the United States as reports of injuries involving defective airbags have snowballed. Now, a government audit stringently criticizes the federal administration’s product recall procedures, specifically pointing out to the Takata airbag scandal as an example of the agency’s inefficiency.

The USDOT’s Office of the Inspector General clearly states that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lacks the kind of processes and oversight that is necessary to make sure that product recalls are completed, and keep consumers safe. The audit report specifically blames the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s monitoring process that is not designed to ensure that remedies are tracked in a timely and efficient manner. The federal agency also does not have a system in place to completely and accurately verify recall completion statistics, even though it is authorized to do so.

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Image result for text and driveParents who use cell phones while driving are also much more at risk for other unsafe driving behaviors like drunk driving or failing to wear seatbelts while driving that place them and their children at risk of an accident.

Those findings and others come from a survey of parents and caregivers conducted by researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University Of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.  The survey finds that far too many parents take the risks of distractions while driving, far too lightly. Approximately 760 parents participated in the survey. According to the survey, in the preceding three months:

  • Approximately 50% of the parents admitted to using a cell phone while driving with children between the ages of four and 10
  • Approximately 52% of parents had used a hands-free phone to have a conversation while driving with a young child in the car.
  • 47% had used a hand-held phone to have a conversation while driving with a child in the car.
  • Approximately 33% of parents had read text messages while driving with their children, while 26% had sent text messages.
  • 7% or one in seven of the respondents admitted to using social media while driving with their children.

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Image result for hearing lossHearing trouble can mean not just difficulty hearing things properly, but also an increased risk of accidents caused because you’re unable to hear auditory accident cues.

Many seniors suffer from hearing loss as they get older. For many of these persons, hearing loss may be a natural part of aging, and may lead to social difficulties and inconvenience, and not much more. However, according to the results of a new study, hearing loss can actually be dangerous because it can impact a senior citizen’s ability to drive safely.

According to the researchers, hearing is a key sense that can help alert an individual to potential dangers in his environment. On a busy road, that could mean an oncoming car that can be heard, but may not be seen in time. For a pedestrian, it could mean being alerted to the sound of an approaching vehicle.  When hearing isn’t fine-tuned and sharp, injury risks increase.

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green eyes 2Lowering accident risks for older drivers continues to be a major challenge for Indiana transportation agencies as the number of such motorists in the state increases. A new study finds that better vision through cataract surgery can help reduce those risks.

The Canadian study found that accident rates for more than half a million drivers actually dropped after the drivers underwent a required cataract surgery. The decline was a fairly modest one of about 9%, but it does establish that improved vision as the result of a cataract surgery can help decrease driving risks.  Cataract surgery also seemed to substantially reduce accident risks among older drivers. Accident rates dropped by as much as 14%, among drivers above the age of 70. Overall, the researchers estimate that one accident can be prevented for every 5000 cataract surgeries that are performed.

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brain injury, concussion, traumatic brain injuryEven a mild concussion can have effects that are serious enough to exacerbate a person’s risk of suffering Parkinson’s disease.

Those findings come from a study conducted on 300,000 veterans. Approximately 150,000 of these veterans had suffered a mild, moderate or severe traumatic brain injury. The persons were monitored and tracked over a period of twelve years. At the end of the study period, the researchers found that suffering even a mild traumatic brain injury increased the risk of suffering Parkinson’s disease by as much as a staggering 56%. The risk was also high in the case of moderate and severe brain injury.

The authors of the study say that the results point to the need for increased monitoring and tracking of patients who suffer from traumatic brain injury, preferably for years after the injury.

Cold Weather Rider

You’re still much more likely to be injured while riding a motorcycle than driving a car, but those risks seem to have dropped somewhat. In 2017, there was a significant decline in the number of people killed in motorcycle accidents in the United States. However, that progress doesn’t seem to have percolated down to Indiana. Here, there was actually a significant increase in the number of people killed in motorcycle accidents in 2017, compared to 2018.

According to data from the Governors Highway Safety Association, preliminary statistics seem to indicate a drop of 6% in the number of motorcycle fatalities across the country in 2017, compared to 2016. Overall, there were 4,990 motorcycle accident deaths in the United States in 2017, a decline of 296 motorcyclist fatalities from 2016. It is a significant decline, and seems to indicate some progress in making the streets safer for motorcyclists to ride on. Even so, your risks as a motorcyclist are much higher than the risks of a motorist. Motorcyclists have a disproportionate risk of being killed or seriously injured in an accident. Fatalities for motorcyclists are as much as 20 times higher than for people riding in or driving passenger vehicles.

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Image result for highball glassIn spite of being aware of the risks of drunk driving, many teens choose to ride in cars being operated by intoxicated or impaired motorists anyway.

Those facts come from a recent study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. The researchers focused on accidents involving both alcohol- intoxicated and drug-impaired motorists. They found that teenagers are much more likely to ride in a car operated by a driver impaired by marijuana, than a driver intoxicated by alcohol.

The study was based on findings from between 2013 and 2014, and focused on young students who had just graduated from high school. The researchers found that at least one in three of the young teens reported that they had traveled in a car with an impaired motorist, on at least one occasion in the previous 12 months. Out of these, 23% of the young students surveyed said that they had traveled with a driver impaired by marijuana, while 20% had traveled in a car operated by a driver under the influence of alcohol.  According to the findings, teenagers need to be made more aware of the dangers of riding in a car with an impaired driver, especially one under the influence of drugs like marijuana.

Snowy-Roads-300x152A road made wet by ice and snow is not just a driving inconvenience, but also a potential safety hazard. This winter, as you continue to drive through hazardous conditions in Indiana, pay attention to the road and make sure that you and your car are equipped to deal with emergencies. The American Auto Association offers many tips for drivers to help reduce the risk of being involved in an auto accident this winter season.

Remember that driving in winter is especially challenging. It is no time to drive while fatigued. The changing visibility and weather conditions mean that motorists are much more likely to feel tired, leading to distraction and drowsiness while driving. This is potentially hazardous when you’re driving in an already very challenging environment.

The best defense against an accident in winter is adequately inflated tires. Before a trip, make sure that your tires are properly set at the right pressure, and avoid combining radial tires with other types of tires.

Slow-Driver-Image-300x216Speeding, or driving too fast, is one of the top three traffic accident factors across the state of Indiana every year. However, driving far too slowly can also be a real road hazard.

Take for example, a slow driver and a frustrated driver behind him. The frustrated motorist may get impatient and may try to overtake the slow-poke motorist, revving up speeds in a possibly dangerous situation. In a case like this, the slow motorist may not be directly responsible for an accident, but the bad driving has definitely contributed to a dangerous scenario. Drivers who go too slowly for the road conditions also contribute to road rage or aggressive driving by other frustrated motorists.

In fact, slow driving or left lane camping in some states, including Indiana, is considered such a serious hazard that there are penalties that apply to motorists who drive too slowly in the “fast lane”.  These penalties punish drivers who block the traffic in the left lane, possibly creating a serious traffic hazard.

Double YellowDrowsiness, medical emergencies at the wheel, or blackouts as a result of alcohol or drug use are linked to many lane departure accidents across the United States every year. That information comes from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, whose research focused on lane-drift accidents, in which drivers lost control of the vehicle and veered into the other lane. The researchers found that incapacitation was a factor in approximately 32% of all accidents linked to lane departure, and 42% of accidents that ended in fatal or serious injuries.

They also found that the driver fell asleep at the wheel in 17% of the accidents that were analyzed, and the driver was incapacitated either because he had suffered a medical emergency like a heart attack at the wheel, or blacked out as result of drug or alcohol use in another 17% of the accidents.

Crash avoidance technologies like lane departure warning systems are designed to reduce the risk of accidents that occur when a car veers into another lane. These accidents are much more common than you believe, and can have serious consequences. However, the crash reduction results of lane departure warning systems have been fairly disappointing thus far. These systems have not been found to reduce accident risks to the extent we had hoped. The systems are still fairly new, and we must wait many more years to see whether these systems can have the crash reducing effects that they promise.