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January 29, 2013

Rear-End Collisions

A rear-end collision is one of the most common types of traffic accidents. It occurs when one vehicle collides with the one in front of it, often as a result of the lead vehicle's sudden deceleration which does not permit the trailing vehicle sufficient time to stop.

Injuries sustained by passengers and drivers in either vehicle range from mild to severe although occupants in the lead vehicle typically suffer more serious injuries. The size of the vehicles and the speed upon impact also matters. The occupants of compact car struck by a speeding SUV will likely sustain much more serious injuries than if struck by a slow-moving car of relative size. To understand the impact of a rear-end collision, consider this example: Crashing into a parked vehicle of comparable size at 60 miles per hour is equivalent to crashing into a brick wall at 30 miles per hour.

Injuries

Although bumpers on automobiles are designed to cushion the impact of a vehicle collision, they are of course not full-proof. Even low-speed rear end collisions can cause serious injuries, particularly for the occupants in the lead vehicle, because of the unexpected and sudden nature of the impact. Examples of typical injuries include:

• Soft tissue injury of the cervical spine (i.e. whiplash)
• Soft tissue injury of the lumbar spine (lower back pain)
• Spinal cord injury
• Facial and head injury

Compensation

In virtually all rear-end collisions, the trailing car is at fault. Even if the lead car stops suddenly, the trailing car is considered liable because drivers are supposed to maintain a safe distance behind the cars in front of them. Occupants struck by another vehicle from behind deserved to be compensated for their injuries. Passengers in the trailing car that rear-ends the front car also deserve to be compensated.

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

November 26, 2012

Young Adults More Likely to Drive Drowsy

The AAA Foundation conducted a survey recently which found that young people, between the ages of 16-24, are more likely to drive drowsy than older people. It is estimated that one in seven licensed young drivers admitted to having fallen asleep behind the wheel at least once while driving in the past year, when compared to one in ten of all licensed drivers who confessed to falling asleep during the same time period. The AAA Foundation estimates that one in six deadly automobile crashes involve drowsy/sleepy drivers.

Sleep deprivation can impair drivers by causing slower reaction times, vision impairment, lapses in judgment and delays in processing information. It has been determined that being awake for more than 20 hours results in an impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration of .08%, which is the legal limit in all of the United States.

Therefore; if you are feeling sleepy/drowsy, do not get behind the wheel. Before attempting to drive an automobile, please do the following:

- Make sure and get at least 8 hours of sleep
- Don't be rushed to get to your destination. Make sure and give yourself enough time to arrive at your destination
- Avoid driving long distances alone
- Take a break every 100 miles or 2 hours, whichever comes first
- Take a nap if needed. Find a rest stop and take a 15-20 minute nap. This allows your ssystem to recharge
- Do not use alcohol or medications that may make you drowsy
- Avoid driving at times you normally sleep
- Consume Caffeine. It has been proven that caffeine increases alertness

November 13, 2012

Stop Sign Cameras in the District of Columbia

Stop Sign.jpgPhoto enforced stop signs have been very successful in the Washington, D.C. area, since they were implemented this fall. These cameras improve safety at intersections by monitoring vehicles and also help prevent pedestrians from being hit by automobiles that do not come to a full stop at stop signs. These cameras act as police officers, on continuous duty watching for violators all day every day, at a minimal cost of actual people doing the job. The District of Columbia cannot afford to post police officers at every dangerous intersection for this duty alone, even for hours a day, much less all day and all week long. Therefore; these cameras are a classic example of technological leaps forward in the United States.

When these cameras were first installed in the D.C. area there was a 30 day transition period when offending drivers were only issued warning tickets, but now that the 30 day transition period is over, drivers receive citations in the mail. The fine for running through these stop signs is $50. The fine for blocking an intersection is $100 and the fine for failing to yield to pedestrians is $250. In order to avoid these fine, under the law the car has to come to a full and complete stop before the crosswalk in order to be considered a legal stop.

In 2011 alone, existing traffic cameras generated $55.1 million dollars, and it is expected to be even more in 2012, now that the stop sign cameras for been implemented all over the city. To date, 16 stop sign cameras have been placed at dangerous intersections all over the District, most of which are near schools.

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 3, 2012

Older Driver Safety in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia

According to the Associated Press, older drivers are on the road more than ever before. Nearly 34 million drivers are 65 or older. By 2030, deferral estimates show there will be about 57 million, making up about a quarter of all licensed drivers.

Older drivers have the highest rate of deadly crashes per mile even though they don't drive as often as younger drivers. Measured by miles driven, older drivers crash rates begin to rise in their 70s and even more in their 80s, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Health Issues can also impair older drivers. Health issues such as: arthritis and dementia, slower reflexes and they also use multiple medications, which can impair their driving. On average, about 60% of seniors voluntarily cut back their driving. Most avoid driving at night, on interstates and during bad weather. Older drivers seem to have more difficulty with intersections, making left turns, and changing lanes and/or merging. This is due to their gradual decline in vision and reaction times that come with aging.

In the District of Columbia seniors are required to have more vision tests, are required to renew their licenses more often than younger drivers and starting at the age of 70, older drivers must submit a doctor's certification that they are healthy enough to drive every time they renew their licenses. In Maryland, the Motor Vehicle Administration requires all people, starting at the age of 40, to take eye exams, and in Virginia, starting at the age of 80, drivers must renew their license in person and also pass an eye exam.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed a national guideline for older driver safety earlier this summer. The proposal recommends that every state needs a program to improve older driver safety, doctors should be protected from lawsuits id they report a possibly unsafe driver and driver's licenses should be renewed in person after a certain age. These recommendations would push states to become more consistent and have safer roads.

September 25, 2012

"Give Bikes 3 Feet When Passing - It's the Law", in Maryland

In October of 2010, the state of Maryland enacted the vehicle law, SB 51, which states the rules of the road in regards to keeping three feet of space between a vehicle and a bicyclist when passing a bicyclist. This includes bicycles and motor scooters.

Therefore, a new campaign was announced by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) this week for Cyclists in order to remind drivers and bicyclists that the SB 51 law exists. The new campaign is being called the "Give Bikes Three Feet When Passing - It's the Law" in order to promote bicycles safety.
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It has been proven that in the fall months more people use bicycles to commute around Maryland, D.C. and Virginia, therefore; the MVA added this new slogan to their outer envelopes of more than 120,000 vehicle registration renewal notices and in addition, distributed over 5,000 yard sticks (3 feet in length) all over Maryland to visually illustrate the distance drivers must provide when overtaking a bicycle.

This new campaign will educate the public and possibly change behaviors in order to have fewer bicyclists injured and killed on Maryland roads. It mainly means that everyone should share the roads. For more information, please visit the www.mva.maryland.gov

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.
Police Cruiser.jpg
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 31, 2012

Pedestrian Detection

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 4,280 pedestrians and 618 bicyclists died as a result of accidents with motor vehicles in 2010. You would think that with all the new safety technology in vehicles these alarming number of pedestrian and bicyclists deaths would be less, but they are not. That is why General Motor's (GM) is developing Wi-Fi Pedestrian Detection Technology. This new technology will be installed in GM vehicles to increase a drivers' awareness and prevent pedestrian/driver accidents.

The new Wi-Fi detection device will detect pedestrians and cyclists that carry smartphones, to drivers who carry smartphones, when the pedestrian/cyclists are in the drivers' blindspot or stepping into the roadway from behind parked cars. The communication will be directly between the smartphone of the driver and pedestrians/cyclists. The information will reach users within a second because the connection is between two wireless devices and therefore does not need to go through mobile phone towers. This new technology is said to work between two wireless devices separated by as much as two football fields in distance from one another, therefore; it should give a driver sufficient warning of a pedestrian/cyclist and ultimately decrease vehicle/pedestrian accidents in the United States.

GM is also working on a free application that can be downloaded by bike messengers and construction workers to help vehicles identify them as well.


July 24, 2012

Ford Motor Company Recalls 2013 Ford Escape SUV's

M-2013-Ford-Escape.jpgFord Motor Company has recalled the 2013 Ford Escape that comes equipped with 1.6 liter four cylinder engines.

The recall was issued of the 2013 Ford Escape 1.6 liter four cylinder engine vehicles because the vehicles have a faulty fuel line that can cause an under hood fire. This recall affects about 11,500 Escapes in the US and Canada, mainly vehicles built at the Ford Motor Company Louisville, Kentucky plant. All other Escape models are not affected. The danger of an under hood fire only occur while the vehicle is in motion, therefore; do not drive the vehicle. Call your dealership, immediately. Dealers will pick up your Escape and drop off a rental car that can be used until the repairs are finished at no cost to you, the owner/customer.

Three under hood fires have been reported since June 9, 2012. Two were reported by employees that were test driving the vehicles at the Louisville Kentucky Assembly plant and one by an owner in Canada. No injuries were reported, but this caused the recall of the 2013 Ford Escape 1.6 liter four cylinder engine vehicles.

There was a second recall issued on the 2013 Ford Escape. The second recall issued has to do with the carpet padding that can interfere with braking.