Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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Georgia needs to focus even harder on the safety of rear seat passengers, and enact stronger GDL or Graduated Driver Licensing laws to help prevent more deaths in auto accidents every year.

That information comes from a new report by Advocates for Auto and Highway Safety.  Every year, the organization releases its annual roadmap for auto and highway safety for the coming year.  The 2023 edition of the roadmap was released recently, and states were given separate ratings based on the advancements that they have made in achieving the previous roadmaps’ objectives.  States marked Green are denoted to having made significant progress on enacting laws that are designed to help prevent wrongful deaths in car accidents and other types of auto accidents, while those that have been marked Red have failed to make any progress that can help reduce preventable deaths in accidents every year.  Georgia received a Yellow rating, which recognizes that the state has taken some steps to prevent fatal accidents,  but could be doing more to minimize the number of preventable wrongful deaths in auto accidents every year.

According to the report, over a 10-year period, Georgia saw a total of 14,530 traffic accident facilities.  In 2021, there were a total of 1,806 deaths recorded in auto accidents according to the report. The report also calculates that the annual cost of auto accidents in Georgia is close to 14 billion dollars.

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State transportation agencies are often very slow to act on safety initiatives that would help minimize the number of auto accidents involving pedestrians,  especially when these initiatives would also mean slowing down traffic. That attitude which also exists in Georgia means that pedestrian safety is compromised, contributing to high numbers of pedestrian accidents.

The Pew Trust has a new report out on how state transportation agencies often stonewall initiatives that could help make it safer and easier for pedestrians and bicyclists to use our roads. The report makes mention of neglect by transportation safety agencies across the country, including in Georgia.  In some cases, local agencies had called for improvements in areas that were pedestrian accident magnets only to find that the state agencies that had the final say in making these areas safer, simply ignored these calls. The result of such inaction has been an increase in pedestrian accidents across the country.

It is no secret that pedestrian accident wrongful deaths have been increasing steadily over the past decade.  In Georgia too, the number of people being killed in car accidents involving pedestrians has continued to rise year after year. One problem is that the current infrastructure exists to serve the needs of motorists.  According to the report, state transportation agencies prefer to prioritize the speedy movement of traffic rather than the rights of pedestrians and bicyclists.  Therefore, you have city streets that often resemble highways, and these roads are often used at high speeds by motorists who ignore the risk to pedestrians, bicyclists and other vulnerable users who may be using these roads. The report also finds that when city streets look like highways,  motorists are much more likely to drive at unsafe speeds, placing pedestrians and other vulnerable users of these roads at risk.  The researchers at Pew Trust recommend making these roadways narrower and adding sidewalks in order to reduce speeding.

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Record  numbers of motorists are expected to throng Georgia highways this Thanksgiving, and  traffic enforcement agencies are warning of a higher risk of auto accidents. This is true with all holidays, but especially with holidays that result in extended days off for many workers. All holidays of this nature see a spike in the number of car accidents and, unfortunately, wrongful deaths.

This year, authorities are gearing up for a significant increase in the number of motorists on Georgia’s roads and highways.  Across the metro Atlanta region and beyond, families will be traveling to meet up with friends and relatives as they celebrate the holiday under more normal circumstances.  Over the past three years, roadway travel over the Thanksgiving holiday dropped significantly.   This year, however, the story is markedly different. Authorities believe that there is likely to be an increase of approximately 26,000 motorists on Georgia roads over the Thanksgiving holiday compared to the same period of time last year.

Not only is Thanksgiving a time when people typically travel, but this year the crowds are expected to be even more intense since this is the first holiday since the pandemic that conditions are expected to be relatively normal. Georgians, in general, are traveling much more than they were during the pandemic, and vehicle miles traveled have increased significantly.

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The  US Department of Transportation and a number of related federal agencies are rolling out a series of campaigns and measures to help reduce the number of auto accidents injuring and killing pedestrians every year.

The  month of October is being marked as National Pedestrian Safety Awareness Month, and the Department of Transportation is spearheading efforts to raise awareness about the rights of pedestrians and the need to keep them safe. There has never been a better time to bring awareness to the rights of pedestrians than now.   In  2020,  an average of  18 pedestrians were killed  every day in the United States. A total of 6,516 pedestrians were killed in auto accidents that year.

This  is a staggering total by any estimate.  It has led to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg commenting that Americans now live in a time when it is safer to fly than walk.  Other federal transportation officials have also commented on these statistics, saying that it is unacceptable that Americans are unsafe when they walk.

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A new study finds that while many motorists have a high opinion of their driving skills, the reality may be quite different.  The  study finds that many drivers remain unaware of basic safety rules, including road signs, and have a much more elevated opinion of their own driving skills than the reality, thereby increasing their auto accident risks.

The  results of the study were released by insurer Progressive.  The  company focused on 599 motorists, and these motorists were asked questions about their driving skills and knowledge. The results of the study clearly find a gap between drivers’ knowledge of motoring safety including basic  road signs like those related to school safety,  and the reality on the roads.

For  instance, the results of the study finds that an overwhelming majority or 94% of the drivers were able to identify a sign for a lane ending. However, only 65% were able to identify a school crossing sign correctly. This lack of knowledge is extremely dangerous.  Driving  safely and lowering speed limits in school zones  and around school crossing areas is absolutely imperative,  and failure to  identify these signs can increase the risk of car accidents involving child pedestrians.

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People who suffer from cardiovascular disease may be at a higher risk of suffering from slip and fall accidents that expose them to serious personal injury.

According to a new study whose results were published in the journal Circulation:  Cardiovascular Quality Outcomes,  more research is needed to understand the causes of increased fall risks in people suffering from cardiovascular disease.   An earlier study from 2018 found that as many as 60% of people who suffer from cardiovascular disease had a moderate to high risk of suffering a slip and fall accident.

There are several risk factors that might expose a person who suffers from  cardiovascular conditions to have an elevated fall risk.   Hypertension or a spike in blood pressure may cause dizziness or a sudden loss of consciousness which could directly lead to a fall hazard.  A  person recovering from a stroke may continue to suffer from dizziness, while one who suffers from diabetes may suffer from neuropathy in the foot that could affect balance and, therefore, slip and fall accident risks.

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Thousands of Georgia motorists  may be at risk of car accidents caused when they are driving defective or dangerous vehicles that have been included in recalls.

When  the  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announces a recall of a vehicle for potentially dangerous design or manufacturing defects,  automakers and other related parties immediately work to contact customers and let them know about the defect that has led to the recall.  From then on, motorists are given information about bringing these cars in for repairs or replacement of defective parts, if necessary.

However, thousands of these defective, dangerous cars may continue to be sold in the used car market.  This  is a problem because used car sellers are not required by the law to inform customers  about any potentially dangerous defects in the design and manufacture of the cars.  While  automakers have a legal responsibility to inform their customers about a recall,  used car dealers do not have any such obligation to inform buyers about any car accident risks.

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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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