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February 3, 2014

State Highway Safety Laws in 2013

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety published a report titled, "2014 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws", in which the District of Columbia was ranked as the best for having the most basic traffic safety laws in the United States, while South Dakota was ranked the worst.

The 2014 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws is in its eleventh year of publication and it uses the following criteria:

- Grades all 50 states in the United States and the District of Columbia;
- Grades based on 15 basic traffic safety laws;
- Takes into consideration the progress in the last 25 years; and
- Considers the risks that put drivers and children at risk.

The purpose of the report is to advance state and federal highway and vehicle safety laws, programs and policies in the United States. It is published by a group of leading consumers, both health and safety organizations and insurance agents and companies whom when gathered together are known as the Advocates.

In the report, it states that the District of Columbia has 12 laws related to basic traffic safety laws. The report gives three different ratings to each state. They range from Green (Good), Yellow (Caution) and Red (Danger). This year was the first year that a safety law was included for enforcing seat belts to rear seating passengers. In order for any state to receive a green rating it had to have included a law enforcing all vehicle passenger safety. Also, a state had to have 11 to 15 laws including both primary enforcement seat belt laws, nine or more laws including both primary enforcement seat belt laws and an all-rider helmet law.

States with a rating of Red have less than seven laws on the books and do not include front and rear seat passenger seat belt laws, therefore; they are deemed dangerous states for drivers and passengers.

There where however six new state laws enacted in 2013. They were the following:
- Primary Enforcement of Seat Belts
- All-rider motorcycle Helmet Use
- Booster Seats
- Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) for teen drivers
- Impaired Driving
- All-Driver Text Messaging Restrictions


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.
Head on Collision.jpg
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.

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.

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.

June 12, 2012

LATCH System Regulation Updates

Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system regulations will change for child safety seats, according to the safety guidelines established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The change in guidelines will take place in 2014. The LATCH system is designed to hold up to 65 pounds (child and car seat weight combined). The new rule is called the FMVXX 213 and will go into effect on February 27, 2014. The rule will require car seats with internal harnesses to have a label indicating the maximum child weight for using lower LATCH anchors to secure the car seat in a motor vehicle. The new label would specify a maximum child weight between 45 to 53 pounds for using lower LATCH systems.

June 5, 2012

Dangerous Vehicles on the Road

Car Crash.jpg
The following vehicles have been determined to be the most dangerous vehicles on the road, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS):

1) Dodge Ram 1500; score 2/5; bad ratings: side collisions and rollover

2) Colorado Crew Cab; score 3/5; bad ratings: side collisions, rollover & rear end
collisions

3) Mazda CX-7; score 4/5; bad ratings: rollover and rear end collisions

4) Mazda CX-9; score 4/5; bad ratings: rollover and rear end collisions

5) Nissan Pathfinder; score 3/5; bad ratings: rollover and rear end collisions

6) Jeep Wrangler; score 3/5; bad ratings: side collisions and rear end collisions

7) Suzuki SX4; score 2/5; bad ratings: rollover and rear end collisions


These vehicles were deemed the most dangerous based on 4 rating categories of the IIHS tests. The categories were: (1) a front crash test where a vehicle travels at 40 mph and hits a barrier head on; (2) a side-impact crash test where an SUV type vehicle strikes the driver side of the testing vehicle at a speed of 30 mph; (3) rollover crash testing where the vehicle is hit by metal plates on the corners to determine force capacity before the vehicle rolls over; and (4) a rear-end crash test where seats and seat belts are tested for protection against whiplash and other head and neck injuries.

Consumer Reports and crash safety ratings performed by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the JD Power's Initial Quality reports were also used to analyze the vehicles performance.

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.

January 30, 2012

Teen Automobile Related Fatalities on the Rise in Virginia

eating while driving.jpgBetween January 1, 2012 and January 24, 2012 there have been 11 teen automobile related fatalities in Virginia. At the same time period in 2011 there were only three. This is a huge increase that could be avoided if certain precautions were taken. The most common factors in the fatal automobile crashes are speed, distractions, alcohol, no use of seat belts and cell phone use.

Virginia safety organizations are urging teen drivers, as well as their parents, to take precautions to prevent further tragedies. Some of the precautions suggested are:
Teens:
- Obey posted speed limits;
- Do not Text, Talk or use handheld devices while driving;
- Do not drive distracted by changing radio stations, eating or by having too many passengers in the vehicle;
- Commit to driving safely;
- Always wear your seat belt.

Parents:
- Talk to your teen about the dangers of speeding and driving distracted;
- Set clear rules for driving and let them know that it is a privilege and not a right. They need to earn the privilege and that there are consequences to their actions;
- Set curfews, passenger limitations and make clear the punishment if these rules are broken.

Schools and Safety Organizations:
- Discuss the increase in teen fatalities, so that they are aware;
- Educate students on safe driving practices through interactive methods. Use visual displays, videos, guest speakers and programs;
- Post seat belt reminders and no cell phone use signs all over school property and all parking areas.

For more safety tips and information, visit the following websites: www.yovaso.net and www.blueridgecrashteams.org

December 16, 2011

Automobile Related Fatalities Decreased in Maryland in 2010

774604_car_accident_1.jpgThe number of automobile accident related fatalities decreased by about 10 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 2009 to 2010. In 2009, there were 549 automobile accident related fatalities and in 2010 there were only 493. The reason there was a decrease is because there are better air bags and anti-rollover technology in newer vehicles, drivers are using their seatbelts properly and more often and there has been an improvement in safe-driving campaigns in the state of Maryland, according to the AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Another factor for the decrease is that Maryland police officers and other law enforcement officers have been cracking down more on drunk drivers. Repeat offenders have had to install start up kits/breathalyzer machines in their vehicles that do not allow the vehicle to start/turn on if there is alcohol in their system.

Also, speed limits are followed more by drivers because of red light and speed cameras all over the state of Maryland. Therefore, drivers are respecting the speed limit in certain areas more. Another factor is that in the state of Maryland it is prohibited to use a handheld device while driving. Be it for talking on the phone, texting, viewing messages or communicating through media outlets while driving.

When you consider all these factors, one can better understand how there has been a 10 percent decrease in automobile accident related fatalities in Maryland. One can only hope that there has been a bigger decrease in 2011.

November 16, 2011

Women Have Greater Risks for Injury During Car Crashes

The University of Virginia researchers used information gathered by the National Highway Safety Administration on over 45,000 crash victims in a ten year span, to show that women have a higher risk of injury during car crashes in the United States. Their study was published in late October of this year. The study showed that on average, women are up to 5 and a half inches shorter then men, weight about 35 pounds less then men and drive sedans (more then SUV's). With these factors in mind it was determined that 47% of the over 45,000 crash victims were women who suffered severe injuries.

The researchers determined that men have more neck strength and are more muscular over all then women. Also, men sit differently in vehicles and therefore; their heads fit better against the head restraints in vehicle then women. Car safety devices, they determined, are designed largely for men, therefore women are at higher risk for injuries.

In the meantime, researchers at the University of Virginia are instructing women to continue to use seat belts properly and maintain proper seating posture.

June 9, 2011

Odometer Fraud

Odometer.jpgThe Office of Odometer Fraud Investigations (OFI) was established in 1984 and consists of four regional offices, staffed with a criminal investigator and an administrative support staff. Their mission is to reduce the cost of vehicle ownership by stopping odometer fraud.

When purchasing a used vehicle one must consider the safety of the vehicle. Things such as safety belts, air bags, brakes and the like, but one must also consider the vehicle's odometer. A vehicle's odometer is used to determine the wear and tear of the vehicle and if this has been altered or tampered with then it can affect your safety. Some sellers tamper with odometers, and therefore you buy a vehicle thinking it is much newer and safer then it really is.

The OFI is responsible for making sure that odometers are not tampered with or rolled back. The organization works hard at tracking down crime rings that continuously purchase high-mileage vehicles, alter their odometers, and resell them.

Therefore, when purchasing a used vehicle make sure and compare the odometer mileage with maintenance and inspection records. You should also consider the wear and tear of the vehicle with the mileage of the vehicle. Most dealerships can also provide you with a CARFAX report when purchasing a vehicle, and you can review the report for the vehicles history and prior ownership.

April 26, 2011

New Air Bag Requirements in the U.S.

Airbags Deploy.jpg47 percent of people killed in rollover accidents are ejected from their vehicles, according to a Reuters report. Ejections from rollover accidents account for most fatalities. Most ejections occur through the side windows of vehicles.

Rollover accidents account for one third of all crash fatalities. That is about 10,000 deaths per year over the past 10 years, making them the deadliest of all motor vehicle accidents. This is one of the most important reasons why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has come up with new air bag requirements.

The NHTSA is requiring manufacturers to enlarge side curtain air bags, make them stay inflated longer and make them deploy in all types of serious accidents. These new requirements are designed to save lives, by creating another barrier to ejection from vehicles, even when windows are down or when drivers and passengers are not wearing their seat belts.

In 2013 the new air bags will begin to appear in vehicles and be in full implementation by 2017. The new air bag rules will apply to vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less. The implementation of these new air bags will cost the manufacturer an average of $31 per vehicle, but it is predicted that the new rule will save an average of 373 lives and 476 serious injuries per year.

March 28, 2011

Air Bag Safety

Air Bags are not soft like pillows. In order for them to work and save lives, they come out of the dashboard at about 200 miles per hour, faster than the blink of an eye. The force of the air bag can hurt people who sit too close to it.

Child Safety:
- Children 12 and under should not ride in the front seat. They should ride buckled up in the rear seats.
- Infants in rear facing child seats should never ride in the front seat of a vehicle.
- All children under the age of 12 should ride in the rear seat and in approved child safety seats, according to their age and size.
Adult Safety:
- Every adult should buckle up with a lap and shoulder safety belt.
- The lap belt should be worn under the abdomen and low across the hips. The shoulder belt should come across the collar bone, away from the neck, and come across the breast bone.
- Both driver and front seat passenger seats should be moved as far back as practical, specially, for shorted people. Keep as much distance as possible between you and the airbag.

Public/Private Partnerships of automobile manufacturers, insurance companies, child safety seat agencies, health professionals, and child health and safety organizations together make up the Air Bag Safety Campaign, whose focus is on driver, passenger and child safety. They came up with a simple to teach and simple to remember air bag message they call the ABC's:
Air bag Safety -
Buckle Everyone!
Children in Back

In Summary, children under the age of 12 are safest when properly restrained in the back seat of vehicles. When a child under the age of 12 is properly restrained in the back seat they are up to 29 percent safer than those children that sit in the front seat.

For more information, please contact the Air Bag Safety Campaign at (202)625-2570 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Auto Safety Hotline at (800)424-9393 or www.nhtsa.dot.gov