Recently in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Category

April 16, 2014

Autonomous Vehicles May Be Introduced In the District of Columbia

A couple of states in the United States have begun to legalize the operation of autonomous vehicles. Autonomous vehicles are also known as driveless cars, driver-free cars and self-driving cars. By Autonomous it is meant that a vehicle is capable of fulfilling the human transportation capabilities of a traditional car. An autonomous vehicle is capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input or interaction. These vehicles sense their surroundings with the use of radars, GPS and computer vision. It is with these tools that the vehicle is able to navigate through streets as well as obstacles on the road. These vehicles keep track of their position even when conditions change in their surroundings.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has established an official classification system for Autonomous vehicles. The 5 levels are as follows:

Level 0: Drivers completely control the vehicle at all times;

Level 1: Individual vehicle controls are automated, such as electronic stability control or automatic braking;

Level 2: Two or more controls can be automated in unison, such as cruise control in combination with lane keeping; and

Level 3: The driver can fully cede control of all safety-critical functions in certain conditions. The car senses when conditions require the driver to retake control and providers a sufficiently comfortable transition time for the driver to do so.

Level 4: The vehicle performs all safety-critical functions for the entire trip, with the driver not expected to control the vehicle at any time. As this vehicle would control all functions from start to stop, including all parking functions.

These autonomous vehicles may be introduced in the District of Columbia in the coming weeks since new rules were introduced last week. The District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles published a set of new guidelines last Friday, in accordance with the Autonomous Vehicle Act of 2012, to allow drivers to obtain licenses for self-driving vehicles, and if there are no objections, will go into effect in 30 days. If this goes into effect, the District of Columbia would be the first jurisdiction to license self-driving operators. The process to obtain these special self-driving operator licenses is as simple as taking a self-driver training seminar, filling out the proper paperwork and paying the $20 fee. The application process means that each person trying to obtain this special license needs to acknowledge that they will be deemed the "Driver" of the vehicle while it is operating in autonomous mode, and are therefore responsible for speeding, rolling thru stop signs, and missing or passing thru traffic signals. This means that they are subject to the same traffic laws that non-autonomous cars and drivers have to follow.

Each applicant will also have to complete a training seminar and obtain certification in the operation of autonomous vehicles. These courses will be provided by self-driving car dealerships and manufacturers. Once the course is completed, forms executed, license fee paid and license obtained, each driver will have a new "A" printed on their license to show that they are certified to operate an autonomous vehicle. Once the operator is issued a license the final step is to apply for a special license plate that will only be used for self-driving cars.

Some of the advantages of autonomous vehicles are that fewer traffic accidents and collisions will happen, due to the system's increased reliability and faster reaction time compared to human drivers, roadway capacity will increase and traffic congestion decreased due to the reduced need for safety gaps and the ability to better manage traffic flow, relief of vehicle occupants from driving, higher speed limits, removal of constraints on occupants' state, due to the fact that the drivers age, blindness, distractedness, intoxication or other impairment will not matter, and alleviation of parking scarcity, are a few of the advantages of autonomous vehicles.

Some of the obstacles however are Liability for damages, software reliability, resistance for individuals to give up control of their vehicles, Cyber security, the implementation of legal framework and the establishment of government regulations for self-driving cars, drivers will become less experienced when manual driving is needed and the loss of driver related jobs.

March 4, 2014

What to Do When You Are Involved In An Automobile Accident

More than 5 million automobile accidents occur each year, nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If you were involved in an accident, would you know what to do and what information to obtain in order to set up an insurance claim? Well here are some helpful hints and tips for you to do following a crash.

1) Be Prepared - this means that before you hit the road, it is important that you understand your automobile insurance policy and the coverage that you have. Your automobile insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver. Therefore; it is important that you carry a current insurance card in the car along with the registration to your vehicle. If needed, have your insurance agent explain all the coverage you have and the specific elements included in our policy. Such things as: your deductible, collision coverage, what your liability coverage limits are, Personal injury protection or medical payments coverage, uninsured and underinsured limits, etc. All these items help protect you when you are involved in an accident and the other driver is held at fault or responsible for the collision.

2) After you are involved in an accident, it can be a hectic and stressful situation. It is sometimes difficult to remember what to do, but the most important thing is to obtain the following information from the other person or persons involved in the accident: their name, their insurance information; which should include; name of the insurance carrier and policy number.

3) The following should be done immediately after the accident occurs:
- Assess the scene and try and remain calm.
- Call the police and inform them of any injuries. If the police cannot be immediately dispatched to you, make sure and file and incident report over the phone.
- Do not admit fault at the scene. Be courteous to the other party, but do not admit fault.
- Take photographs of the damage to all vehicles involved and damage to any property surrounding the area.
- Exchange your name and insurance information with the other party; and
- Obtain the names and contact information for any witnesses.

4) Filing a Claim - It is important to file a claim with the insurance company as soon as possible. It is at this time that details of the accident are still fresh in your mind. When you make the initial call to your insurance carrier make sure and have all the information you obtained from the other party, witness information and if available; the incident or police report number, so that a copy of the police report can be obtained. Once the claim has been set up you will be given a claim number and the contact information for the representative assigned to your claim. Your insurance company should be able to contact the other insurance company involved and establish liability. Once it has been determined who was at fault for the accident your property damage can be taken care of. You will be given information for body shops and collision centers the insurance company deals with directly, if not you can chose your own shop, but it must be certified and have all the proper licenses to operate. A rental vehicle may be given to you, depending on the coverage, while your vehicle is being fixed. If your vehicle is deemed a total loss you will have the option of keeping your vehicle as a salvage or to turn over your vehicle to the insurance company. The choice is yours. As far as your medical expenses and treatment, that is covered by the at fault insurance carrier. Make sure and keep copies of all medical bills, records, prescription receipts and any other out of pocket costs you may have to submit to the insurance company so your claim can be properly examined.

5) Retain an attorney that specializes in automobile accidents and personal injury cases. Once you obtain an attorney they will handle all aspects of your claim directly with the insurance company. Your only job, after you obtain an attorney, is to get better, get the proper medical treatment and make sure you reach maximum medical improvement.

When a person is involved in an automobile accident and is injured, it is important to seek the aid of an experienced attorney. It will be the attorneys' responsibility to get you the best possible monetary settlement in order to cover all your medical expenses and compensate you for your pain and suffering. So, when you have been involved in an automobile accident, make sure and contact our office and we will do all we can to get you the best possible result.

November 26, 2013

Cycling Deaths Are on the Rise

In 2012, Cycling deaths increased by 6.5 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2011, 682 cyclists died while riding in traffic and in 2012 the number of deaths rose to 726. 37 percent of those deaths were for people between the age of 45 and 64. The second leading age range of deaths were cyclists between the age of 25 to 34.

It was determined by research conducted by the NHTSA that the leading cause of cyclist deaths was drivers who failed to yield the right of way. Drivers who failed to yield the right of way caused 188 deaths out of the 726 deaths in 2012. That means that 26 percent of cyclist deaths in 2012 were as a result of drivers who failed to yield the right of way to cyclist.

The two other leading causes of cyclist deaths were drunk drivers, which caused 65 deaths and cyclists who wore dark clothing and no lighting gear when traveling in the dark, which caused 62 deaths. 25 percent of Cyclist deaths occurred between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., while almost half of the deaths occurred between noon and 6 p.m. (49.4 percent to be exact). 15 percent of deaths occurred between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m..

Other contributing factors to cyclist deaths were cyclists who failed to obey traffic signs, cyclists who rode their bikes the wrong way on roads and improperly crossing intersections and roadways.

The NHTSA's press release on this subject focused mainly on highway deaths.

September 3, 2013

Safe Driving in School Zone Tips

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) an average of 14 children die each year in school transportation related accidents, therefore; now that schools are back in session, children safety should be a priority for all drivers traveling in school areas.

D.C., Maryland and Virginia have the following school safety laws in effect:

- It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading children. The only exception to this rule is when you are traveling on a divided roadway.

- All traffic traveling directly behind a school bus must come to a complete stop until all children have loaded or unloaded the school bus and the lights on the school bus have turned off.

- The 10 feet surrounding the school bus is considered to be the most dangerous area for children, therefore; make sure and give more than the minimum amount of space between your vehicle and the school bus. In Maryland a vehicle must be at least 20 feet behind the stopped school bus and in the District of Columbia a vehicle must be at least 15 feet behind the stopped school bus.

- Keep a proper look out of children entering or exiting the school bus because most children consider the area that the school bus stops as a safe area and so they may be unaware of their surroundings or dangerous situations that could arise.

- School buses use yellow lights to advise drivers that they are approaching a stop and when the red lights and extended arm signal appear it means the school bus is at a complete stop and unloading or loading children.

- There are fines and points associated with speeding in a school zone. If you are issued a citation you will also be given 3 points on your license. If you are going more than 20 mph over the posted speed limit in a school zone you will be given 6 points on your license, a hefty citation and be charged with reckless driving. You may even lose your license for six months.

- When you approach a school zone, the safest thing to do is to travel at 25 mph as a maximum speed, unless otherwise stated by the posted speed limit signs.

- the majority of crashes involving children and school buses occur between 3 pm and 4 pm on weekdays, therefore; use extra caution during these times in school zones, as well as in the early morning hours.

August 7, 2013

August Is the One of the Deadliest Months for Pedestrians and Drivers Nationwide

Yield-To-Pedestrians-Safety-Sign-K-4103.gifAccording to a study conducted by the Department of Transportation it is safer to be a pedestrian in the state of Virginia then in any other state nationwide. It was reported that less than 10 percent of traffic fatalities in Virginia involved pedestrians. It was stated in the report that in both 2010 and 2011, 73 pedestrians were killed as a result of an accident involving another vehicle each year, in the state of Virginia. This means that pedestrian fatalities in Virginia are holding steady while they increase nationwide.

In the neighboring state of Maryland the percentage was 21 percent and in the District of Columbia it was determined that 20 percent of traffic fatalities involved pedestrians. It is important to know that everyone is responsible for the safety of pedestrians. Drivers, the pedestrian and people in decision making positions are all responsible for the safety of pedestrians.

Most pedestrian fatalities occur in urban areas, at night and involve alcohol, increasingly. Therefore; these areas should have better sidewalks, crosswalks, signals and overall, be safer for pedestrians.

AAA Mid-Atlantic conducted a study which determined that August is the deadliest driving month nationwide. The dates specifically seem to be August 3rd, 4th, 6th and 12th. Out of over 10,000 motor vehicle accidents on the highways of Virginia, there were 5,800 injuries and 74 deaths, making it the second deadliest month in 2012. The first deadliest month in Virginia in 2012 was July. It was the few days before, during and after the Independence Day celebrations on July 4th. In 2011, Virginia was ranked the 16th deadliest state to drive in, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Therefore, if you plan on hitting the road in August make sure and buckle up, drive safely, keep an eye out for pedestrians and children playing outside, try to have the least amount of distractions while on the road, do not get behind the wheel if you have consumed any amount of alcohol and/or drugs, and overall drive with a little more caution then normally.

July 11, 2013

A Motor Vehicle is Stolen Every 40 Seconds in the U.S.

July and August are the worst months for car thefts nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA has reported that a motor vehicle is stolen every 44 seconds in the United States and that over 40 % of the vehicles stolen are stolen as a result of the owners and/or drivers fault. Owners/drivers tend to leave vehicles unlocked or worse, with the key in the ignition. The NHTSA also reported that out of all the vehicles stolen in the United States, that only 52 % of them are ever recovered.

Here is a list of the top 5 vehicles stolen in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia (as reported in 2010 by the National Insurance Crime Bureau):

D.C.
Dodge Caravan
Honda Accord
Jeep Cherokee
Honda Civic
Toyota Camry

MD
Dodge Caravan
Honda Accord
Honda Civic
Ford Pickup (Full size)
Toyota Camry

VA
Honda Accord
Ford Pickup (Full size)
Honda Civic
Toyota Camry
Dodge Caravan

If your vehicle is stolen, make sure and contact the police as soon as possible to file a stolen vehicle report. Also, make sure and contact your automobile insurance company to file a claim within 24 hours of when you discovered your vehicle stolen.

May 13, 2013

The Safe Rental Car Act

A new bill will be presented named "The Safe Rental Car Act" to the U.S. Senate sometime this year, where it states that Rental car companies are to ground any recalled vehicles within 24 hours of receiving a recall notice from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The time limit is extended to 48 hrs if a rental company has more than 5,000 of the affected vehicles in its fleet. At times, certain recalls provide a list of temporary measures that can be taken until the complete fix is available. If such an option is made available, rental car companies are allowed to continue to rent those recalled vehicles until the replacement parts are available and distributed accordingly.

The bill, if passed, would also give the NHTSA the right to investigate rental car companies' compliance with the law. Passing the Safe Rental Car Act has its ups and downs, according to rental car companies such as Hertz, Budget, Enterprise, etc. Some rental companies say it's too hard a law to abide by because depending on the vehicle that is being recalled, rental companies might be forced to ground thousands of vehicles, which would in turn affect the customer, reduce the inventory available at each rental company and any recalled vehicles already out on loan would have to be replaced immediately.

Secondly, some recalls are less serious than others. For example, if a vehicle is being recalled for brake failure or fluid leaks or engine troubles then that recall is important and should be immediately grounded but if the recall is for a proper tire pressure label then that recall is not as important, serious or dangerous to the renter.

Lastly, rental companies, sometimes, point out that taxis do not have to follow the same legislation as rental companies, and to them, that is not fair. They consider taxis as vehicles that take a non-vehicle owner from one place to another and should therefore follow the same legislation, rules and laws as rental car companies in order to maintain the safety of the driver and passenger in these recalled vehicles.

However; if the new bill is passed, it is only for and in the best interest to the public/consumer. When renting vehicles, the rental companies are ultimately taking risks and taking responsibility for the vehicles that they are renting to the public. It is simply one of the risks that come with the rental car business.

December 26, 2012

Dangers of Rollover Accidents

There are about 280,000 rollover accidents reported each year, which result in over 10,000 deaths annually, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Sport utility vehicles (SUV's) are more likely to rollover when involved in an automobile crash because they carry heavier loads which make them top heavy and thus more likely to rollover.

Rollover accidents occur when a vehicle is unstable when making turns and traveling at high speeds. It has to do with the relationship between the center of gravity and the track width. When there is a lot of weight on the center of gravity it can cause the vehicle to rollover when making sharp turns or sharp changes in direction. Often, rollover accidents are a result of a flaw in the design of the vehicle and/or tires, or cause by the actions of another driver.

Most often rollover accidents occur when a driver loses control of a vehicle and it causes the vehicle to slide sideways and ultimately rollover. Sometimes the vehicle can hit a curb, guardrail, tree stump, or soft and/or uneven ground on the side of the road, causing the vehicle to rollover.

Rollover accidents are among the most serious and lethal of all motor vehicle accidents. These types of accidents come suddenly and without warning. Therefore; the NHTSA introduced a rollover rating system in 2001. The system reports rollover safety in a 5 star system. 5 stars equals a rollover risk of less than 10%, while one star indicates a 40% or greater rollover risk. Make sure and analyze the 5 star rollover rating system when purchasing your vehicle.

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.
airbag-fatalities.jpg
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.

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 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.

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.
Auto Crash.jpg
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.