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Springfield Virginia Motor Vehicle Accidents Blog

Operation Safe Driver Week set for July 14-20

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will be on the lookout for unsafe drivers from July 14 to 20. The event is called Operation Safe Driver Week, and it will affect both CMV and passenger vehicle drivers in Virginia and across the U.S. The focus of this year's event is once again speeding.

The 2018 Operation Safe Driver Week resulted in speeding citations for 16,909 passenger vehicle drivers and 1,908 CMV drivers. Several were cited for traveling too fast for the road conditions they were in (17 CMV drivers and 714 passenger vehicle drivers, to be exact). A total of 57,405 citations and 87,907 warnings were issued. In all, law enforcement contacted with 113,331 drivers during the event.

Truck crashes go up, putting other drivers at risk

Most Virginia residents are aware that truck accidents usually turn out worse for the occupants of any smaller vehicles that are involved. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration states that 72% of all fatalities in truck crashes are passenger vehicle occupants. More and more people are being put at risk as truck crash numbers rise.

Between 2014 and 2018, Florida has seen the year-end number of large truck accidents jump from 23,515 to 32,513. According to the Florida Department of Transportation, speeding was the No. 1 driver-related factor in these crashes. With a new federal law requiring drivers to use digital logs, many are speeding in order to make up for lost miles (most truckers are paid by the mile).

What are the biggest risk factors in a commercial truck crash?

Staying safe on the road typically means you have to engage in defensive driving or at least proactive attempts to minimize your risk. Understanding the risk factors on the road is critical to making the right harm-reduction choices while driving.

As someone in a passenger vehicle, you probably understand that commercial trucks pose a moderate risk to you. They are large, make wide turns, have huge blind spots and don't stop quickly. All of that can lead to increased risk for a serious accident. Learning the biggest contributing factors to commercial crashes can help you stay a little bit safer on the road.

Study: even light rain makes fatal car crash likelier

Virginia residents already know that heavy rain, ice and snow greatly increase the risk for car crashes. The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society has stated that these elements increase the risk for fatal crashes by 34%. However, even light rain has a negative effect, as one study from the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies has found.

Researchers studied 125,012 fatal car crashes that occurred in the lower states from 2006 to 2011, using weather radar data to find out if it was raining at the time of each crash and how much. This is more precise than information from the nearest weather station or from police reports, which previous studies have had to rely on. In fact, this is the first study of its kind to use such data. Researchers also factored in the number of cars on the road.

Distracted driving, especially among Gen Z, a nationwide issue

Root Insurance has recently released the results of its second annual distracted driving study. In it, 47% of respondents said that distracted driving is their top concern on the road. Nearly all participants placed phone use among the top three distractions. Yet it appears that many drivers throughout Virginia and across the U.S engage in distracting behavior even though they know it is wrong. Moreover, they criticize others for the same behavior they themselves exhibit.

In the study, motorists admitted to using their cellphones for an average of 13 minutes a day. For 38%, the presence of law enforcement does not induce them to put down their cellphones. The top phone-related distractions were group chats (52%), followed by social media such as memes and newsfeeds (33%) and video streaming (18%).

Volvo announces new technology for avoiding car accidents

In Virginia and across the United States, many drivers expect to drive safer vehicles when they opt for Volvo Cars. The automobile manufacturing firm plans to make their future automobiles even safer. Using unprecedented technology, Volvo Cars will begin installing in-car cameras and sensors in all its vehicles. Beginning in 2020, the company will also place a 112 mph speed limit on its automobiles.

The sensor will monitor drivers to discern whether they are capable of driving their vehicles without causing accidents. Drivers who are intoxicated or distracted by using their cellphones do not typically pay attention to warning signals, so the cameras will detect a driver's distraction. The vehicle will then attempt to remedy the situation. If a camera notices that the driver is acting in an irresponsible way, the vehicle can lower the speed limit and park itself in a safe area.

IIHS: higher speed limits have raised number of fatal crashes

Virginia residents may remember how the 55-mph speed limit was abolished in 1995. Since then, 41 states have increased their speed limit to at least 70 mph on the highway with seven states adopting an 80-mph speed limit on some of their highways. Six states have increased the speed limit since 2013.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has linked this increase in speed limits to a rise in car crash fatalities. After analyzing traffic fatality data from 1993 to 2017 (and controlling for factors like young drivers and seatbelt use), it concluded that 36,760 more fatalities arose than would have been expected if the speed limits did not go up. Every five-mph increase raised the number of roadway fatalities by 8.5 percent.

IIHS: pickup front passenger safety inferior to driver safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has been conducting crash tests on both the driver and front passenger sides of vehicles since 2017. After a round of crash tests with 11 modern two-row pickup trucks, researchers found a discrepancy in the level of protection offered by both sides. Virginia residents are at a higher risk for injury or death when sitting in the front passenger seat of many newer pickups.

Of the 11 vehicles, the Toyota Tundra had the worst rating, "poor," when it comes to front passenger safety. IIHS researchers noted that the pickup would struggle to maintain its structure during testing. This may be partly because the Tundra has not undergone a major redesign since 2014 whereas some of the other vehicles in the test have been recently overhauled.

Struck from behind: Avoiding a rear-end crash

It's a fear that many people have: a rear-end crash caused by a driver who isn't paying attention. Rear-end collisions can happen anywhere. You might be stopped at a stop sign in a neighborhood, waiting at a traffic light at a busy intersection or delayed by slowed traffic on the interstate. Regardless of your location, if the driver behind you is moving too quickly or doesn't stop in time, you can become the victim of a rear-end collision.

As a driver who doesn't want to get hit by other vehicles, you may be wondering if there are steps you can take to avoid being injured by a distracted or reckless driver. In terms of a rear-end collision, you can take certain actions to potentially lessen the severity of a crash or avoid one altogether.

Controversial "textalyzer" the subject of bill proposal

Virginia residents may have heard that Nevada state legislature is proposing the use of a controversial device called the "textalyzer" among its police force. The device, developed by the Israel-based company Cellebrite and the subject of a previous proposal made by the New York legislature, may be effective in curbing the widespread and deadly trend of distracted driving.

What the textalyzer does is scan phones for user activity, such as the opening of a Facebook messenger call screen. With this information, police can determine if a driver was distracted prior to a crash. Cellebrite states that the device does not store or access any personal content, but concerns remain that it may violate the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

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