Recently in Automobile-Related Fatality Category

December 4, 2013

Single-Car Accidents Are the Most Deadly in the DMV


In 2012, 273 lives were lost as results of single-car crashes in Maryland. In 2011 and 2012 combined, there were a total of 1,541 reported deaths due to single-car crashes in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia. This means that 60 percent of all traffic fatalities in these jurisdictions were a result of single-car crashes. One would think that multicar accidents would be the leading cause of deaths in the United States, but surprisingly it isn't. This statistic is even higher when considered on a National level. Nationally, single-car fatalities in Maryland, DC and Virginia make up 65 percent of fatalities.

Single-car accidents are, for the most part, avoidable by drivers. It is suspected that single-car fatalities are a result of unbelted drivers, drunk drivers, distracted drivers, as well as speeding and driving while drowsy. Some research, conducted by the AAA Mid-Atlantic, shows that some factors associated with these single-car fatalities are inattentiveness, over-correction of the vehicle and oddly enough, trying to avoid a crash all together.

It is for these factors, and many more, that in 2012, the overall number of people killed increased, nationally. In the District of Columbia alone, in 2012 there were 157 people killed due to single-car crashes.

In Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia two-thirds of area commuters drive to work and therefore; are most likely victims themselves of single-car accidents and deaths. In order to avoid these accidents and fatalities drivers must pay attention to the road, follow traffic signs and signals, obey all traffic laws, and be alert to their, and, of their surroundings. Drivers should make sure and get enough sleep, be attentive and not get behind the wheel while drunk or intoxicated, in order to avoid these kinds of collisions, and all car collisions in general.

August 21, 2013

Crash Statistics for the State of Maryland

Automobile accidents are the number one killer of people between the ages of 4 and 34 years of age. More people are killed in Maryland by automobile accidents than homicides. Out of all the accidents that occur in Maryland it is determined that 90% of them could have been avoided and are as a result of driver error. See the charts below:
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January 3, 2013

Head on Collisions

Head on automobile collisions are often the most serious types of crashes. It occurs when the fronts of two vehicles collide into each other. Head on collisions typically occur at intersections and on highways. Head on crashes at intersections occur when one driver fails to obey a traffic light or other traffic signals, such as a stop sign or yield sign. Highway head on crashes can occur when one driver goes the wrong way on an exit ramp or when a driver crosses the center line or a median barrier separating vehicles traveling in opposite directions.
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Factors that contribute to head on crashes include driver impairment, driver negligence, poor road design, or insufficient road signs. Most head on collisions are due to driver factors, such as driver behavior, visual acuity, reaction speed, distraction, fatigue, and unfamiliarity with the roadway where the collision occurred.

Any type of head on collision is exacerbated when one or both of the vehicles are traveling at high speeds. A high speed head on collision, whether it occurs on a highway, roadway, exit ramp, or intersection can result in serious injuries to the drivers and passengers. Head on collisions can even be fatal. Although head on collisions account for only 2 percent of all automobile crashes in the U.S., they account for 10 percent of fatal crashes. Injuries suffered from head on crashes can include the following:

• Brain Injury
• Head Injury
• Spinal Cord Injury, including Paralysis
• Broken Bones
• Whiplash
• Burns
• Lacerations

Some of these injuries can be permanent in nature and so an experienced attorney can make sure that you are properly compensated for your damages. Your health is the most important thing and you should reach maximum medical improvement before you settle any claim and accept any monetary value from any insurance company.

December 17, 2012

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

More than 300 people died nationally in 2010 in motor vehicle accidents in which a distracted driver was involved and about 416,000 people were injured, according to a government report published in July 2012.

Distracted drivers are people who are not paying attention to the road and are otherwise distracted from the important task of driving. These distractions can include talking with passengers, eating and/or drinking, using electronic devices, such as cell phones, and other technological devices, such as GPS systems and satellite radio systems.

Texting while driving is the most common, serious and deadliest distraction of them all, because the drivers mental, visual and physical attention is diverted from being able to drive safely. Texting and using other electronic devices causes up to 25% of all crashes, nationwide, according to a report published by the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Distracted drivers; mainly those who text while driving, are 23 times more likely to be involved in car crashes, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. That is why it is illegal to text while driving in 39 states, including Maryland and Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.

If you are driving and witness the following behaviors it is important for you to take some steps to save yourself from harm.

If you see a driver:
- Going much faster than the posted speed limit, going much slower than the speed limit, changing lanes without signaling, weaving in and out of traffic, cannot maintain lane position and stops longer than needed at a traffic light or sign

You Must:
- Assume that the distracted driver doesn't see your vehicle
- Give your vehicle space from the distracted driver's vehicle
- Try to pull ahead or slow down from the distracted driver
- If you cannot slow down or pull ahead of the distracted driver, call 911

October 25, 2012

No Correlation between Car Accidents and Size of Cities

Frequency of Car Accidents is completely unrelated to the size of the city in which you live in. A recent report released by the automobile insurance Allstate, which was conducted in various major cities has come to show that the size of the city does not directly influence the likelihood of an automobile crash. The report is titled "Allstate America's Best Drivers Report". The report states that the District of Columbia and Baltimore, Maryland have the shortest time between accidents, while Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Boise, Idaho and Fort Collins, Colorado have the longest periods between accidents. Therefore; Allstate considers Sioux Falls drivers the "safest drivers" in the United States.

Living in a larger city does not necessarily mean you are at a higher risk of being involved in an automobile accident. Car accidents are a major health hazard, regardless of where you live, because they are the leading cause of death for persons between 5-24 years of age. In 2009, 2.3 million adult drivers and passengers ended up in emergency rooms as a result of automobile crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2011, the U.S. saw the fewest number of automobile fatalities since 1949, but that still meant that 32,000 people were killed.

Accidents can happen anywhere and at any time. It is up to the driver to stay alert, follow driving laws, not drink and drive, wear their safety belts and not text or talk on a handheld device while driving.

October 17, 2012

Counterfeit Airbags Warning Issued by the NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a warning earlier this week about numerous counterfeit airbags that may have been installed within the last three years by repair shops. These counterfeit airbags were sold for use as replacement parts in vehicles that have been involved in automobile accidents. They look almost identical as real airbags but are extremely dangerous. Some of the dangers include: partially inflating airbags and airbags that deploy but project out fragments inside the vehicle.
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Testing done by the NHTSA, on about 10 different counterfeit airbags, identified certain makes and models of vehicles to whom these counterfeit airbags may have been available to, but they believe that the issue of these counterfeit airbags affect only about 0.1 % of vehicles in the United States. That percentage means that less than 240,000 cars and trucks, on the road today, have been affected in the U.S. The only vehicles at risk are those that had an air bag replaced within the past three years at repair shops that are not part of a new car dealership or if you purchased your replacement airbag online on such sites as Ebay or other uncertified sites.

VEHICLES FOR WHICH COUNTERFEIT AIR BAGS MAY BE AVAILABLE:

As of today, NHTSA is aware of counterfeit air bags available for the following vehicle makes and models:

Make Model Year(s) Model(s)
Acura 2009-2011 TSX
Audi 2006-2009 A3, A4, A6, A8, Q5, Q7
BMW 2007-2011 X5, E70, E60, E61
2008-2010 5-series, 528i, 535i
2004-2007 5-Series, 525i, 530, 535, E60, E61
2007-2011 E90, E91
Not listed E92, E93
2007-2011 X5, E70
2004-2007 525i, 530, 535
2011-2012 X3
Buick 2010-2011 Lacrosse
Chevrolet 2011-2012 Cruze
2006-2010 Aveo
2011-2012 Volt
2012 Camaro
Ford 2012 Focus
2005-2009 Mustang
Honda 2003-2012 Accord
2006-2011 Civic
2002-2011 CRV
2007-2011 Fit
2009-2011 Pilot
2009-2011 Insight
2009-2011 Crosstour
2011 Odyssey
Hyundai 2007-2011 Elantra
Not listed Genesis
Not listed Sonata
Infiniti 2007-2011 G35, EX35
Kia 2010-2011 Soul/Forte
2004-2009 Spectra
Land Rover 2012 Range Rover Evoque
Lexus 2006-2011 IS250, IS350, IS-F
2003-2008 GX470
2007-2009 RX350
Not listed ES350
Mazda 2004 Mazda 3
2010-2012 Mazda 3
Mercedes 2009-2011 C, GLK
2010-2011 E350, E550
2007-2008 S550
2006-2009 ML
2009-2010 GL, ML
Mitsubishi Not listed Outlander
Nissan 1992-2002 Quest
2010-2011 Quest
2009-2011 Cube
2007-2011 Versa
2009-2010 Murano
Not listed Altima
Subaru 2008-2009 Forester
2008-2009 Imprezza
2008-2009 Outback
2010-2011 Legacy
Suzuki 2007-2010 SX4
Toyota 2002-2006 Camry
2012 Camry
2009-2011 Corolla, Matrix
2007-2011 Yaris
2004-2011 Highlander
2004-2011 Sienna
2004-2011 Tacoma
2010-2012 Prius
2003-2006 Tundra
2007-2011 Tundra
2003-2006 Sequoia
2003-2010 Land Cruiser
2004-2007 Highlander
2008-2010 Highlander
2004-2009 4Runner
2007-2009 Solara
2005-2011 RAV4
Volkswagen 2006-2010 Jetta
Volvo Not listed XC60, XC70
Not listed V70, S60, S80

October 11, 2012

There Are More Gun Deaths Then Automobile Deaths in the DMV

According to a report published by the Violence Policy Center, in 2010, gun deaths outnumber motor vehicle deaths in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control was used to complete this report.

In the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia (DMV) there were a total of 1,512 gun deaths in 2010 and 1,280 motor vehicle deaths. Specifically: 99 firearm deaths and 38 motor vehicle deaths in the District of Columbia, 538 firearm deaths and 514 motor vehicle deaths in Maryland, and in Virginia there were 875 firearm deaths and 728 motor vehicle deaths.

Firearm deaths, nationwide, in 2010, were 31,672 and 35,498 motor vehicle deaths. Firearms are the only consumer product sold in the United States that is not regulated by the federal government for health and safety. Automobile safety, however; has been overseen by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) since 1966.
Deaths as a result of firearm use almost equal motor vehicle deaths even though there are about three times as many vehicles on the road then firearms.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is responsible in enforcing the U.S.'s limited gun laws, but it has none of the health and safety regulatory powers as the NHTSA. The health and safety regulations of firearms are left to the individual state.

The report published by the Violence Policy Center offers a few policy recommendations in order to improve data collection on firearms violence, increase regulation of the firearms industry and to reduce gun deaths and injuries. Some of their suggestions are:

- Detailed and timely data collection of gun production, sale, use in different crimes;
- The analysis of the types, make and models of firearms that are commonly or most often associated with injury, crimes and death;
- The implementation of safety standards for firearms
- Ban the sale of non sporting purpose guns;
- Limit the firepower of guns sold to the public;
- Expand the categories of persons prohibited from owning and possessing guns;
- Implement better restrictions on the carrying of loaded guns in public places;
- Person with a history of domestic violence and mental health issues should be restricted from being able to own and possess firearms; and
- Educate the public, through campaigns, about the risks associated with firearms.

If, these suggestions are taken into consideration by local, state and the federal governments, firearms deaths could be prevented. For more information visit the various websites sited.

September 18, 2012

Maryland Law Requires Police Officers on Duty to Wear Their Seat Belts to Save Their Lives

Maryland police officers are dying in motor vehicle accidents more than by any other reason in the last few years. As a matter of fact, according to Larry Harmel, the executive director of the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association, nine out of the last 11 Maryland Police officers that died in the line of duty were killed as a result of automobile accidents.
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Just last month, Officer Adrian Morris was killed while in a high speed chase on I-95. Officer Morris was swerving to avoid hitting other cars when he lost control of his vehicle, flipped several times and was ejected from his vehicle and died. Officer Morris was not wearing his seat belt at the time.

According to the National Highway Safety Office, more than four out of 10 officers, between 1980 and 2008, were killed in the time of duty as a result of car crashes, and these officers were not wearing their seat belts at the time of their accidents.

Maryland and the District of Columbia make it mandatory for all police officers to wear seat belts while inside their cruisers/vehicles. Virginia, however, is one of the 10 states that exempt officers from seat belt laws while in the line of duty.

Therefore, all Police officers in the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia are being urged to buckle up in order to avoid preventable deaths.

September 10, 2012

Dangers of Distracted Driving

The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) has published the following video regarding distracted driving and how it can and does cause a lot of automobile accidents. The Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) also helped and participated in the making of this video. The video was created because 152,000 people were injured as a result of distracted driving between 2007 and 2011. Out of these 152,000 people injured, 1,100 of them were killed as a result.

August 30, 2012

Your Vehicle Is In Danger of Being Hacked by Computer Viruses

Computers and electronic communication systems that are installed in today's modern vehicles have the hazard of being hacked. Intel's McAfee, one of the best known software companies that fight PC viruses, is currently working to protect these computer and communication systems so that viruses can not affect your modern vehicle.

Automakers have failed to adequately protect these systems, leaving them vulnerable to hacks by attackers looking to steal cars, eavesdrop on personal conversations and even harm passengers by causing vehicles to crash automatically.

According to the SAE International, no violent attacks using computer viruses have been reported to date.

These viruses, worms and Trojans can be delivered to your automobile through onboard diagnostics systems, wireless connections and even tainted CDs played on radio systems.

The concern for automobile computers and electronic communication systems being hacked came from research conducted by a group of computer scientists from the University of California and the University of Washington, who published two research papers, in May and August of 2011, showing that computer viruses can infect cars and cause them to crash, harming both the driver and passengers. This group of computer scientists figured out how to attack vehicles by putting viruses onto compact discs. When victims try to listen to the CD, the vehicle is infected through the car radio and can make its way across the network and other vehicle systems. One of their examples is an attack called "Self Destruct". This is when a 60 second timer pops up on a car's digital dashboard and starts counting down. When it reaches zero the virus can immediately shut off the vehicle's lights, lock its doors, turn the engine off and release or slam on the brakes.

Therefore; the SAE's Vehicle Electrical System Security Committee, a committee of more than 40 industry experts, is working hard to develop specifications which would reduce the risk of vehicles being infected with viruses.

August 7, 2012

Automobile Fatalities on the Rise in Virginia

In the first three months of 2012 traffic deaths in the state of Virginia have jumped by 13.5 percent, compared to last year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). So far this year, there have been 403 reported automobile accident related fatalities. The reason for the higher number of deaths this year is because a lot of the automobile accidents involved multiple fatalities per accident.

The number of traffic deaths nationwide has also increased. According the to the NHTSA there have been an estimated 7,630 automobile related deaths in the first three months of 2012, making it the second largest year-to-year quarterly increase in fatalities since the NHTSA started recording traffic fatalities in the mid 1970's.

The fact that we had a mild winter also has something to do with the increase in motor vehicle accident fatalities. That is because the milder the weather the more people go outdoors and drive. Severe weather keeps people off the roads, but milder weather conditions make people want to travel more.
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According to the Federal Highway Administration, vehicle miles traveled in January, February and March of 2012 increased by about 9.7 billion miles, 1.4 percent more than 2011. That means that the more miles traveled, the higher the risk of being involved in an automobile accident, therefore; drivers need to be more careful and practice safer driving, which include, but at not limited to, making sure one is buckled up, giving oneself plenty of time to get to your destination and never drive while impaired by alcohol, drugs and/or when tired.

July 5, 2012

How Common Are Seizures While Driving?

Seizures are defined as episodes of disturbed brain activity that cause changes in attention or behavior.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are two main types of seizures. The first is Primary Generalized seizures, which involve both sides of the brain and the second is Partial seizures, which involve smaller regions of the brain.

Suffering a seizure while driving is extremely rare, but it is far more likely to end in death than suffering a seizure anywhere else. In a 2009 report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration it was determined that:

- only about 1.3% of all drivers have been involved in a medical emergency crash;

- older drivers are more likely to be involved in medical emergency crashes;

- drivers involved in medical emergency crashes usually are aware of their medical
condition prior to the accident;

- drivers who suffer from a medical condition and are involved in medical emergency crashes are more likely to be severely injured or to die as a result; and

- the most dangerous time of day for medical emergency crashes are between 6am and noon.

Therefore; drivers who suffer from seizures should contact their state's motor vehicle department to see what their rules are in regards to drivers with this medical condition. Rules vary from state to state and some states may bar you from driving for a period of time.

June 19, 2012

Helmet Laws Reduce Motorcycle Accident Deaths

Motorcycle.jpgStates that have helmet laws implemented have fewer motorcycle accident deaths than those that do not, according to a new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report states that five times more motorcyclists die as a result of not being required to wear a helmet in the states that do not have helmet laws when compared to the states the do. In 2010, there were 4,502 motorcycle accident deaths in the U.S. That means that about 14% of traffic deaths were motorcycle deaths. That number is huge, considering that motorcycles represented less than 1% of vehicles on the road that year.

There are 20 states and the District of Columbia that have helmet requirements. Maryland and Virginia are included. In 2010, 739 deaths involved bikers not wearing helmets in these 20 states and the District of Columbia and there were 504 in the three states that do not currently have helmet laws. The three states that do not have helmet laws are Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire.

In the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia all riders must wear a helmet and in Maryland that includes low-power cycles as well. Low power cycles are mopeds, scooters and various other 2-wheeled cycles.

May 21, 2012

Bicycle Safety

According to a 2009 study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 50,000 bicyclists were injured and 630 of them died from automobile related accidents, therefore; before going on the road and riding a bicycle, here are a few tips:

- Always wear a helmet
- Use a bicycle that is the right size for you
- Make sure the tires are inflated to the correct pressure and that the brakes work properly
- Wear bright colors to make yourself visible to motorists
- Install rear and front lights onto you bicycle that are bright and visible
- If at all possible, avoid riding your bicycle at night.

In the United States, bicycles are considered vehicles, so cyclists are expected to follow the same traffic rules as a car driver. Therefore; here are a few rules while riding your bicycle on the street:

- Obey all traffic laws
- Yield to pedestrians
- Ride your bicycle in the same direction as traffic
- Make sure to signal when you make turns
- Be careful near parked cars as someone might suddenly open the door
- Be careful with vehicles coming in and out of driveways or side streets

For more information visit the NHTSA's website

May 3, 2012

The Higher Your Body Mass Index the Less Likely a Driver Is To Buckle Up

Obese SeatBelts.jpgIn a study conducted at the University of Buffalo, using data from the National Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it was determined that 67 percent of normal weight drivers wear seatbelts while obese drivers do not.

Drivers considered to be overweight or obese are determined by their Body Mass Index (BMI). A person who has a BMI of 25 or more is considered obese by the World Health Organization, a person with a BMI of 30-35 is slightly obese, a BMI of 35-40 is moderately obese and a BMI of over 40 is considered morbidly obese. Considering that one-third of the US population is overweight and one-third is considered obese, this is of a great concern.

Obese drivers may find it more difficult to buckle up a standard seatbelt and therefore do not wear a seatbelt as often as normal weight drivers, so that means that the heavier the driver, the less likelihood that seatbelts were used.

Not buckling up is very dangerous because it delivers more force to the body much more quickly while also increasing the chances of being thrown about the car. Therefore, morbidly obese drivers have a 56 percent higher chance of death as a result of an automobile crash than normal weight drivers.