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A combination of proven and time-tested strategies like expansion of seatbelt usage and cracking down on intoxicated driving could help save as many as half a million lives in auto accidents across the world every year.

According to a new study, hundreds of thousands of lives are lost across the world every year in car accidents, and many of these lives could be saved if simple strategies are implemented by governments. In a new study that was published recently in the Lancet journal, researchers analyzed car accident statistics around the world and identified the strategies that can be used to prevent these auto accidents and the resultant wrongful deaths. An overwhelming majority of car accident fatalities, according to the study, are linked to  drunk driving,  failure to wear seat belts,  and high speeds.  These are the three most critical factors in auto accidents, no matter which country you are driving in. They are also some of the most preventable factors.

A strong focus on reducing the incidence of drunk driving, for instance, would help save hundreds of thousands of lives in car accidents every year.  Stringent enforcement with tougher penalties for violations can help the government reduce the incidence of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs in this country.  Similarly, enforcement should be at the crux of any campaign that calls on drivers to drive at posted speeds.  It is not as if drivers are not aware of the dangers of drunk driving or driving at high speeds.  Rather, this knowledge is often ignored.  Stronger enforcement of existing rules and penalties for violations can encourage motorists to drive at safe speeds.

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Pedestrian accidents account for a significant percentage of the total number of people killed in motor auto accidents every year.  Technologies like auto emergency braking systems that are specifically designed to help vehicles to avoid striking pedestrians  have been touted as the way forward as companies and  regulators come together to reduce these car accident risks.  However,  a new study suggests many of those systems do not work very well during the night time.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently  rated vehicles based on  the effectiveness of their pedestrian auto emergency braking systems, and found that only a few of the models included in the study performed well in preventing auto accidents that occurred at night or in poorly lit conditions. In  daytime or well-lit conditions, these systems worked very well with 19 out of the 23 models studied performing very well in preventing pedestrian accidents.  However, when it came to night time conditions, the results were markedly different.  Only a few vehicles performed well in night time conditions.

Even more concerning is the finding that vehicles like small size pickups and SUVs are less likely to perform well  in poor visibility conditions.   This is even more disheartening because these are the vehicles that  can cause the  most serious injuries to a pedestrian in an accident.  When a pedestrian is involved in an auto accident with an SUV or a small pickup truck, the risk of serious injury or even death can be significantly  higher.  In fact, the disparity between protection for pedestrians  during  well -lit and unlit conditions is so high that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is considering introducing a night time test for pedestrian automatic emergency braking systems.

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The first three months of 2022 had more devastating news for American motorists with traffic and car accident wrongful deaths during this period of time hitting a 20-year high.  All estimates seem to suggest that far from offering hope for the future, the news on the traffic safety front does not seem to be getting better for motorists in Georgia and around the country.

The new estimates released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirms that there were more than 9,500 auto accident deaths in the first 3 months of this year.  According to the agency estimates, 9,560 people lost their lives in auto accidents across the United States in January, February and March of 2022.  That was a 7% increase from the number of wrongful deaths recorded in the first three months of 2021 when 8,935 people were killed in car accidents.  In still more devastating news for auto safety regulators, those numbers mark the highest number of auto accident deaths on record  since 2002.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also reports that the projected traffic crash death rate increased to 1.27 auto accident deaths per 100 million vehicles travelled . The news was not all grim, however.  At least 19 states and Puerto Rico recorded declines in car accident deaths during the first quarter of this year.

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The weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day are often referred to as the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer” for teen drivers.  Safety organizations are asking parents to pay attention to their children’s driving habits in order to reduce the risk of fatal auto accidents.

Car accidents are a major risk for teen drivers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that auto accidents are the second biggest factor in teen deaths.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that in 2020, 1,885 teen drivers lost their lives in car accidents.  That was an increase of 17% from the previous year.  Close to 190,000 drivers were injured in traffic accidents in 2020.

Teen drivers are at risk of being personally injured or killed in all types of car accidents including alcohol-related auto accidents, distracted driving car accidents and speeding- related car crashes. In 2020, 29% of teen drivers killed in car accidents had some amount of alcohol in their system at the time of the accident, while 82% of those persons had a blood alcohol concentration limits that were higher than the legal limit of .08.

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A US Senator is calling on the federal administration to strengthen frontal visibility standards for SUVs in order to prevent the kind of auto accidents caused when drivers are unable to see child pedestrians walking in front of the SUV. This visibility issue has resulted in pedestrian accidents which, all too often, result in the wrongful death or serious personal injury to the child.

SUVs are the most popular vehicles in the United States.  They are, unfortunately, also some of the deadliest vehicles on the road.  Because of their large size and bulk, SUVs pose a major threat of serious personal injuries and even wrongful death to occupants of a smaller vehicle involved in an auto accident with an SUV.  SUVs also come with a higher risk of a rollover.  Rollover car accidents are linked to a high risk of personal injuries and wrongful deaths.

Approximately 50% of all cars manufactured in the United States are now SUVs.  Sales of SUVs have risen even as overall car sales have fallen across the country. American motorists’ appetite for large vehicles does not seem to be ending any time soon, considering the popularity of large- sized SUVs in the market.

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Last year, Georgia made it legal for commercial establishments to sell to-go alcoholic drinks in sealed containers.  There have been concerns, however, that  to-go alcoholic drinks can increase a motorist’s risk of driving under the influence of alcohol and being involved in an auto accident.

The demand for alcoholic drinks which are sold in containers and are meant for persons to carry home with them skyrocketed during the pandemic when bars and restaurants were restricted in the number of patrons they could serve.  Seven states, including Georgia, passed laws that allowed the sale of these sealed containers of alcohol,  with restrictions imposed on these sales.  In Georgia, to-go cocktails must contain a maximum of 3 ounces of alcohol.  The container must be sealed with no option for a straw. Further, the person taking the alcoholic drink must store these somewhere safe like a locked glove  box and the container must not be opened while driving.  The law never meant for the use of these to-go cocktails by persons to drink while driving.  You  cannot drink these to-go cocktails as you do other non-alcoholic beverages while driving.

However, safety advocates have been concerned that the law allowing availability of alcohol in the car places all the responsibility for safe use of these drinks on the motorist. However, the law does not take into consideration the fact that motorists might be tempted to open the container and drink at the wheel. While initial data seemed to suggest that there is no significant increase in the risk of drunk driving car accidents as a result of to-go cocktail sales, states that have allowed the sale of such alcoholic beverages to go have seen an increase in drunk driving car accidents.  The flip side, however, is that states that do not allow or severely restrict the sale of these cocktails have also seen an increase in alcohol-related auto accidents in the past two years.  It is hard, therefore, to pinpoint the sale of alcoholic beverages as the reason for the spike in car accidents.

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Spurred by a recent spike in the number of people being killed in car accidents caused directly by speeding motorists, the federal administration is taking long awaited action. It is launching a nationwide campaign that specifically targets drivers who may be at risk of driving at reckless speeds.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently announced that it would launch a nationwide traffic safety campaign titled Speeding Wrecks Lives. The campaign will run across the country and will target motorists between the ages of 18 and 44, a demographic that the agency believes is much more likely to be at risk of driving at high speeds.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driving at high speeds is entirely preventable.  It has also been recently linked to a spike in the number of auto accident deaths recorded around the country.  There has been a very specific increase in the number of speeding related car accidents both in 2020 and 2021.  The spike has been alarming enough for the federal administration to take notice.

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Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are very effective in helping reduce the risk of drunk driving auto accidents, but may not be really useful in preventing other types of car accidents.  In fact, the drop in drunk driving car accident wrongful deaths could actually be offset by the deaths in other types of auto accidents in which these ridesharing services are more likely to be involved.

In a new study. researchers compared car accident rates involving Uber and Lyft vehicles in cities where these are available. The researchers did not compare cities where ridesharing services are available with those where these services are not.  Rather, they compared individual ride hailing trips and compared the car accidents involving these trips.

They found that overall, the services were definitely helpful in reducing the risk of drunk driving auto accidents for obvious reasons. Safety advocates recommend that a person who is intoxicated choose a ride sharing service or taxicab instead of driving himself in an intoxicated condition.  To this extent, Uber and Lyft services seem to be very beneficial in helping intoxicated persons reach home safely without getting behind the wheel themselves. While intoxicated drivers may have other options, including mass transit or taxis, rideshare services seem to win out because of speed, convenience and ease of use to users who are more likely to prefer these.

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There were a total of 20 deaths recorded in auto accidents across the state of Georgia over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

The Georgia Department of Public Safety recently released statistics related to the number of car accidents and deaths that occurred within the state’s borders over this year’s Fourth of July weekend.  The holiday weekend typically sees a significant number of traffic auto accidents resulting in personal injuries and deaths, and this year was no different.  In fact, the number of people killed in car accidents over the holiday weekend this year was higher than in the previous two years.  However, it was a drop from the 26 deaths that were recorded in 2019.

The number of deaths was significantly higher this year compared to last year.  In 2021, there were a total of 11 fatalities recorded over the Fourth of July holiday weekend in Georgia.  Those deaths were recorded over a holiday weekend that lasted for 54 hours. This year, even though the holiday weekend lasted for a total of 78 hours, the number of people killed in car accidents was actually close to 100% higher. In fact, the number of auto crash deaths crossed the 17 mark just 48 hours into the holiday weekend, making it much higher when compared to last year. A total of 295 auto accidents were reported to state troopers out of which 171 resulted in personal injuries.

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The Governor’s Highway Safety Association has released a new report that provides recommendations to state highway offices on steps that they can take to reduce the incidence of distracted driving. A significant number of car accidents are caused by drivers who are distracted due to their use of telephones, radios, eating and other activities in their car.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Association released the report titled Directing Drivers’ Attention: State Highway Safety Office Roadmap for Combating Distracted Driving.  In the report, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association presents a number of recommendations that states can use in order to reduce the risk of drivers causing auto accidents while distracted. These types of car accidents are a significant cause of personal injuries that occur in accidents.

The recommendations are broad- ranging, and include everything from enforcement and law making to infrastructure and education. One of the more important topics that the Governor’s Highway Safety Association addresses in its report is the role of distracted driving laws.  The Governor’s Highway Safety Association is recommending that states amend their Graduated Driver’s Licensing laws to restrict the number of passengers that teen drivers can have in their car.  Teen passengers can be a major source of distraction for novice drivers. Fortunately, Georgia has already adopted this measure. New teen drivers in Georgia cannot have a passenger who is not a family member during the first 6 months of driving and then is gradually, over time, allowed to have passengers who are not relatives.

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