Recently in Governor's Highway Safety Association (GHSA) Category

April 29, 2013

Motorcycle Fatalities Continue to Increase in MD, VA and the District of Columbia

Speeding, alcohol, inexperience, impaired driving and the lack of helmet use are factors that affect the increase in motorcycle deaths in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Motorcycle deaths continue to climb. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 706 motorcyclists who died in 2010 would have survived if they had been wearing their helmets. In 29% of the fatalities in 2010, the motorcyclists had a blood-alcohol content about the legal limit and about 35% of the motorcyclists were found to be speeding. Other factors include, motor vehicle drivers not being attentive enough to their surroundings, violating the motorcyclists right of way and being impaired.

Only 19 states, including Maryland and Virginia, and the District of Columbia have helmet requirements and laws for all riders.

In the first nine months of 2012, there were 138 motorcycle deaths in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Nationwide, the number of motorcycle fatalities were 3,922, in the same period of time. Therefore, the number of motorcycle deaths has almost doubled in recent years. When all the motorcycle fatalities are calculated for 2012, it is believed that the number of deaths will be close to 5,000. Nationwide, 34 states reported more deaths in 2012 and 16 recorded fewer. In 2011, there were three motorcycle deaths in the District of Columbia, 63 in Maryland and 72 in Virginia.

The Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) believed that good weather, higher gas prices and an improving economy were the most common explanations for the rise in motorcycle fatalities. Troy Costales, the immediate past president of the GHSA stated that, "The fatality increase is disheartening." "Every motorcyclist deserves to arrive at their destination safely. These numbers represent real people - they are family, friends and neighbors."

Maryland currently has the following Motorcycle requirements: Helmets must be worn by the motorcycle operator and passenger at all times and eye protection must be used. The motorcycle helmet must have a windscreen or the motorcycle operator must wear approved eye-protective device.

The state of Maryland also offers rider training courses because riding a motorcycle requires special skills and concentration. The courses are offered to both new and experienced riders. The courses teach the participants the special skills and mental strategies necessary for responsible motorcycle operation. The course approved curricula meets and exceeds the standards established by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. For more information on these motorcycle rider training courses, please visit the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration's motorcycle training site.

April 5, 2011

4 Common Causes of Truck Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that almost 3,500 people were killed in the U.S. as a result of heavy trucks collisions, in 2009. Truck accidents are cause by various factors, but for of the most common causes of truck accidents are:

Driver Fatigue
Commercial truck drivers have deadlines to keep, and so they tend to drive for long periods of time and travel further than is safe. When a driver travels for long periods of time it becomes harder to pay sufficient attention to driving conditions and to respond properly to changing circumstances.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) came up with a set of regulations for commercial truck drivers to follow. The Hours-of Service (HOS) regulations states that after 10 consecutive hours off-duty, a truck driver may only drive a maximum of 11 hours, if carrying property. Also, the FMCSA limits the number of hours commercial truck drivers can drive in a seven or eight day period. New regulations, however, will be published by July 26, 2011, by the FMCSA.

When drivers are distracted, the likelihood of an accident increases. Most drivers in the U.S. are not allowed to send text messages while driving, according to the Governor's Highway Safety Association (GHSA). More than half of the United States has laws established forbidding texting while driving. The FMCSA, however, prohibits all commercial truck drivers from texting while behind the wheel.

Poor Road Conditions and Maintenance
When road conditions are bad, most drivers try and spend less time on the road. Truck drivers, however, have strong incentives to drive through all kinds of weather in order to arrive by their scheduled deadline.

Truck maintenance is also important. Properly maintained vehicles are safer to drive then those that have defects.

Other Drivers on the Road
Truck accidents are not always the result of the truck drivers fault; sometimes other drivers on the road contribute to truck accidents. Some vehicles try and go around trucks, or miscalculate when driving near or around trucks. You must remember that trucks have bigger blind spots than regular vehicles and therefore a driver must keep a proper distance between themselves and the truck.