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Marietta Motor Vehicle Accidents Law Blog

Truck crash deaths rise, safety groups push for new tech mandate

Large truck crashes killed 4,102 people in 2017 with 17% being truck occupants and 68% being occupants of other vehicles. Georgia residents should know that this number represents a 28% increase when compared to 2009 statistics. Many of these fatal crashes are rear-end collisions, which is why many truck safety advocates are pushing for a mandate that all large trucks have a crash avoidance and mitigation system installed.

On at least 10 different occasions since the 1990s, the National Transportation Safety Board has petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to propose such a mandate. However, the NHTSA has failed to act on these suggestions.

NHTSA: Traffic deaths down 2.4% in 2018

In 2018, there were 36,560 traffic fatalities in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency states that 2018 is the second year in a row to experience a decline in such fatalities. Drivers in Georgia should know that there were 2.4% fewer fatalities and that the safety tech in newer vehicles may have partially contributed to this trend.

However, the statistics are still worrying. Nearly all of the victims died in preventable crashes. The number of pedestrian deaths was 6,283, the highest that it has been in 28 years. Consumer Reports claims that such deaths have risen 53% since 2009. From 2017 to 2018, there was a 3.4% uptick. In addition, the NHTSA reports a 1% rise in large truck crash fatalities.

Teenage drunk driving ranked by state

According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there were 623,000 teens aged 12 to 17 who were suffering from alcohol-related disorders across the U.S. This came to 2.5% of all those in that age group. Underage drinking is not only harming teens but also putting people on the road in danger. The CDC has shown that underage drinkers in Georgia and nationwide are more likely to drive drunk (5.5%, compared to 3.1% of those 21 or over).

When broken down by state, the number of drunk driving fatalities seems to rise the more high school students there are in that state who drink and drive. In Arkansas, for example, a startling 10.7% of high school students drink and drive, and 4.8 per 100,000 people die in drunk driving crashes: much higher than the national average of 3.4. On the other hand, 2.8% of students in Utah drink and drive, and the fatality rate is 1.7 per 100,000 people.

Monitoring trucker fatigue with ELDs

It has been known for a long time that people who drive semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles in Georgia may be at a high risk of experiencing fatigue when behind the wheel. Driving any vehicle while you are tired can increase the risk of getting into an accident, and this is certainly true when operating an extremely large and heavy truck. The tragedy that can result from a single truck accident is something that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration focuses on preventing when developing its rules for truckers.

The FMCSA instituted new regulations in the last few years that reduced the number of hours a trucker could drive in one day and in one working week. It also outlined the requirements for when a trucker must take a break and how long the break periods should last.

Drugged driver sets off multi-vehicle crash

People who live in Georgia have no doubt heard about the dangers of drunk driving over the years. Since the inception of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, numerous public awareness campaigns have promoted the importance of making wiser and safer choices if a person is going to consume alcohol. Sadly, plenty of people still refuse to listen to the facts and instead put their own selfish interests above the safety of others. However, it is not only the consumption of alcohol that poses this type of risk to people.

Driving under the influence of drugs can create a situation that is equally dangerous to driving under the influence of alcohol. These drugs may be illegal substances like methamphetamine or heroin, or they may be legal, prescription drugs. Either way, when a person is impaired due to the use of this type of substance, the risk of an accident can increase.

What makes nighttime driving more dangerous?

The setting of the sun and the arrival of evening does not mean motorists cease driving on Georgia roads. However, what people may not know as they head home from work or drive to the store is how much more dangerous driving is at nighttime. The National Safety Council provides some common reasons drivers should be on guard if they take a drive during the evening hours.

One of the major issues with driving at night is decreased visibility. Normal headlights afford drivers about 250 feet of visibility, with 500 feet if high beams are used. The drop in visibility puts drivers at greater risk of an accident since there is less time to react to an occurrence on the road, such as fallen debris or a vehicle swerving into your lane. Reaction time further diminishes if you drive at high speed.

Types of child car seats and restraints

It is a normal thing for parents to enjoy watching their children progress from one developmental stage or milestone to another. However, moms and dads in Georgia are cautioned about pushing too hard to move kids up to the next type of car seat until the children are truly ready to do so. Instead of viewing the move from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat as an exciting developmental advance, parents should remain focused on keeping their kids safe first and foremost.

HealthyChildren.org explains that there are multiple types of car seats and restraints. The first ones that would be used with a newborn come in two forms. One is designed to be rear-facing only while others may be positioned facing the rear or the front, allowing their use for a longer period of time. Some forward-facing seats are only intended for that position.

How can truckers prevent accidents from occurring?

Driving a larger commercial vehicle is no easy feat. There are a ton of things drivers must keep in mind, especially when it comes to the safety of other motorists. Fortunately, it is possible for truckers to greatly lower the risk of an accident, provided they take the right steps. Smart-Trucking.com explains some of these steps and how they prevent a serious issue from occurring. 

Being in a rush can land a person in quite a bit of trouble. This is especially true when operating a large vehicle. Truckers who are rushing to get from place to place are likely to make more mistakes, which in turn can lead to more accidents occurring. Speeding not only increases accident risk, it also results in more severe injuries and property damage should a crash occur. While all drivers are responsible for maintaining the proper speed and following traffic laws, it's crucial that truckers also do the same. 

Are teens more likely to drive distracted?

Distracted driving puts all motorists who share the road in danger. According to The Balance, 1,000 people are injured as a result of distracted driving on a daily basis. Additionally, 58% of the crashes involving teens include some element of distracted driving. This is an important factor to keep in mind; distracted driving is more than just texting behind the wheel. 

In fact, most distracted driving incidents involving teens occur due to passenger distractions, as opposed to mobile device usage. There are many different types of distracted driving, all of which pull the driver's focus away from the road. This includes eating behind the wheel, applying makeup, watching movies or tv, reading, adjusting a GPS, and talking on a hands-free device. While hands-free is touted as a safer alternative, it's still considered a distraction since your mind won't fully be on the task at hand. 

Speeding truck driver kills mother, daughters

People in Marietta likely realize the importance of being able to rely on semi-trucks to deliver cargo and freight across the country. Yet their role in the national economy does not minimize the danger that such vehicles can pose to others on the road around them. Their massive size may all but ensure that any accident they might be involved in produces catastrophic results. The hope is that not only are those driving them trained to the highest of industry safety standards, but also that they take the responsibility of keeping their vehicles under the complete control very seriously. 

Those drivers that do not take this responsibility to heart may end up causing untold harm. This fact was reaffirmed in a fiery crash that recently occurred in Indiana. A semi-truck crashed into a line of cars that was halted due to freeway construction. Ultimately, seven vehicles were involved in the crash. One of the cars caught fire, killing its occupants (a young woman and her two daughters). Seven others sustained injuries that required them to be hospitalized. Investigators say that the driver of the semi-truck was speeding before he hit the other vehicles. He has been arrested and charged with reckless homicide. 

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