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Springfield Virginia Motor Vehicle Accidents Blog

Summer driving can carry accident dangers

Drivers in Virginia may wonder how best to improve road safety while driving in the summer. More and more drivers take to the roads during the warm months for vacations, day trips and family activities. This can include an increased number of teenagers on the road, especially since school is out for the summer. Unfortunately, summer driving can carry particular dangers for newer teen drivers, especially when they drive on crowded roads.

May is recognized each year as Global Youth Traffic Safety Month because motor vehicle accidents are the No. 1 killer of teens across the country. By promoting safe driving habits, teen drivers can be kept safer on the roads, even during the busy summer months. Summer driving can include heavy highway traffic, construction projects and an increased number of pedestrians and cyclists on the road. Parking lots can be particularly crowded, and family outdoor activities can mean children frequently dart out into the roads.

Trucker distraction could decrease with tech and data analysis

Distracted driving is a growing trend in Virginia and in the rest of the U.S. with cellphone use alone responsible for 26 percent of all collisions in the country. Every day, according to data analysis firm Zendrive, an estimated 69 million drivers pick up their phones and use them at least once. Other technologies, like GPS and infotainment systems, have created an addiction for many.

Commercial truck drivers are especially prone to distraction, and when they get in accidents, they can cause their companies to get sued, shipment delays and loss of reputation. This is why many fleets are taking advantage of new safety tech and data analysis.

Safety group outlining plan to eliminate fatal accidents

Roadways across Virginia and the entire country are facing a large increase in fatal car accident rates. Despite the surge, a transportation safety coalition has recently released a report offering their plan to eliminate fatal accidents by 2050.

The group, known as the Road to Zero Coalition, is made up of 675 different members, including the National Safety Council. The report released by the group on April 23 is a road map to eliminating fatal accidents. This is a lofty goal given that over 100 Americans die on roadways every day.

Top causes of accidents caused by semitruck drivers

It doesn't matter how hard you try, if you're a driver in the state of Virginia you'll always find yourself in close proximity to commercial vehicles, such as semitrucks.

While sharing the road with semitrucks is a way of life, there's something you need to know: A mistake could cause an accident that results in serious injury or even death.

Distracted driving is more problematic in certain states

Virginia motorists are in the middle of the pack when it comes to using their mobile phones while driving. This is according to data released by Everdrive, a mobile app that tracks driver safety practices. While around 38 percent of car trips in Virginia involve a driver using their mobile phone, the number is higher in other states. Most of the states with the highest percentage of phone use while driving are in the South. The highest rate is in Mississippi, where 47 percent of car trips involve phone use.

The percentage of motorists using their phones behind the wheel is also significantly high in Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. Distracted driving, which has claimed thousands of lives, is a major public safety concern. In 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 more were injured in car crashes that involved distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Of course, distracted driving is not limited to phone usage or texting; even non-technological distractions like eating and drinking can be dangerous when behind the wheel.

Reach an amicable trucking accident settlement via arbitration

The victim of a trucking accident in Virginia and elsewhere around the country has the legal right to file a lawsuit for the purpose of receiving monetary compensation. A personal injury attorney decides whether the victim has a legitimate case. Trucking accident lawsuits are typically filed in court. However, many plaintiffs reach out-of-court settlements.

Trucking accident victims frequently reach settlements without appearing before a jury. A professional arbitrator may intervene in an objective manner in an attempt to reach a settlement that's ideal for both parties. Many trucking accident cases are settled via alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques, which include method like mediation and arbitration.

Distracted driving and car accident fatalities

Because the dangers of using a cellphone while driving get so much attention, some Virginia motorists may think it is a leading cause of accidents. However, a study by Erie Insurance found that cellphones are in second place to daydreaming as a leading distraction for drivers.

The study used data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. This is a nationwide database that records motor vehicle accidents and their causes as reported by law enforcement. Researchers looked at 172,000 fatalities over five years and found distracted driving to be an element in 10 percent of them. Only 14 percent of the distracted driving accidents were caused by people using cellphones, but 61 percent happened when at least one person involved was daydreaming.

Professor says autonomous vehicles should not mimic humans

People in Virginia who follow developments in the autonomous car industry may be aware of a fatal accident that occurred in March involving a pedestrian and an autonomous Uber vehicle. The pedestrian reportedly stepped into a dark area of the road where there was no crosswalk moments before the car came along.

Although local police say that the car was likely not at fault in the accident because a driver probably could not have stopped in time, an Arizona State University professor of computer science says that teaching cars to drive like humans is a flawed approach. According to the professor, people have higher expectations for autonomous vehicles than they do for human drivers. One fatal accident with a self-driving car could destroy the industry, yet cars are taught to drive in a way that leads them to make the same types of errors that human drivers make.

Spring is motorcycle season once again

Winter may still be battering parts of the Northeast, but signs of spring are emerging in Springfield. The warmer temperatures of April will bring many restive riders out on the roads for the first motorcycle ride of Spring 2018.

These early riders can be at a bit of a risk disadvantage, however, as many drivers simply aren't expecting to see that many two-wheeled cycles back on the roads after the long winter. This combination of oblivious drivers and eager riders can unfortunately have tragic consequences.

More drivers distracted on the roadways

Many drivers in Virginia know just how dangerous distracted driving can be; nevertheless, they continue to widely engage in these behaviors when they step behind the wheel. This is what is indicated by the results of a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, part of the annual Traffic Safety Culture Index that aims to measure American drivers' attitudes and behaviors toward highway safety. The research found that the number of drivers who say they have recently conducted a conversation on a handheld mobile phone while driving has gone up 46 percent since 2013, at the same time that 88 percent of participants noted that distracted driving is a rising major safety concern.

While the participants in the survey identified distracted driving as a threat akin to drunk or aggressive roadway behavior, they also admitted to participating in these dangerous behaviors. The study included 2,613 licensed drivers across the country ages 16 and older, who were asked to assess their own and others' driving.

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