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Springfield Virginia Motor Vehicle Accidents Blog

Pedestrian fatalities increasingly involve SUVs

Pedestrians in Virginia may be in greater danger from SUVs than from other types of vehicles, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Overall, pedestrian fatalities are on the rise. In 2016, they were at their highest number since 1990. From 2009 to 2016, the years studied by the IIHS, they were up in all circumstances, but SUVs hit and killed pedestrians at an average annual increase that was 3 percent higher than all the other types of vehicles combined.

Researchers theorize a number of different reasons both for the increase in pedestrian deaths and for the involvement of SUVs. From 2009 to 2016, registered SUVs increased in number by 37 percent. Because of the size of SUVs, they are more likely to injure pedestrians than smaller vehicles. Their designs, which often include a higher and more vertical front end, are also a factor. This means that SUV victims are more likely to be struck in the chest or head than the legs.

Teens with new driver's licenses can be dangerous

Teen drivers in Virginia may be more likely to cause car accidents in the first few months after they get their driver's licenses, according to one recent study. Conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Virginia Tech, the study placed dashcams inside teen drivers' cars to monitor the drivers and the roads. Software was installed to check acceleration and braking. All participants were monitored from the time they received their learner's permits until the end of their first year as licensed drivers. While teens have learner's permits, they must be accompanied by an adult when driving, but they can drive alone once they receive their licenses.

The differences were striking. Newly licensed teens in their first three months of driving solo were eight times more likely to have a car accident or a near-miss during that time than they were in the last three months of accompanied driving with a permit. The researchers found that teen drivers were likely to speed up too quickly, brake suddenly and turn sharply, leading to the possibility of a car accident. While the teens were actually safer drivers than adults were during the night hours and bad or rainy weather, they were dramatically more dangerous during clear, sunny days.

The worst insurance mistakes people make after a car crash

Whether due to bad weather or poor decision-making on the part of another driver, people end up in accidents every day. Some of those people only have to deal with property damage, their biggest problem being that they have to replace or repair their vehicles. Other people may suffer severe injuries, and in some cases, collisions prove to be fatal.

Regardless of what kind of accident you experienced, you need to make sure you are adequately protecting yourself. You probably already know there are some things you should do after a crash to ensure you receive insurance coverage and comply with the law.

Top risks for distraction while driving

Virginia drivers who drive while drowsy, with children in the car, while using a cellphone or while angry may be more likely to have an accident. Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have looked into each of those causes and some possible solutions.

It is conservatively estimated that more than one in five deadly motor vehicle accidents involves drowsy driving. Drivers who sleep just four to five hours a night are at least five times more likely to get in an accident compared to those who sleep seven or more. A nap is the best solution for drowsy drivers.

Study finds females more likely to be distracted drivers

The Society for Risk Analysis has published a study showing that women are more likely than men to use their mobile phones while behind the wheel. Virginia residents may want to know about the details of this study as phone use is one of the most prevalent forms of distraction for drivers. While talking on the phone doubles the risk for a car crash, texting and driving increases the risk by sixfold.

The study was a situation-based analysis showing how likely it was for different types of drivers to multitask with their phones. Among those who showed a strong intention to engage in distracted driving, there were four profiles: women drivers, drivers who frequently use their phones to call and text, drivers with a negative attitude toward safety and disinhibited drivers.

Truck driver fatigue in Virginia

Road safety experts say that fatigue plays a role in at least 100,000 motor vehicle accidents every year around the country. Drowsiness is an especially pressing concern in the logistics sector because commercial vehicles weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and can cause catastrophic damage when they crash. The competitive and time-sensitive nature of the industry often compounds the dangers by putting great pressure on truck drivers to complete their journeys quickly.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration responded to this threat by putting hours of service regulations into place that put strict limits on the amount of time that truck drivers can spend behind the wheel before rest becomes mandatory. The rules require truck drivers to rest for at least 10 hours before starting shifts that can be no longer than 11 hours, but road safety advocates claim that they are often ignored and trucking companies sometimes encourage this behavior by offering incentives to drivers who deliver their loads ahead of schedule.

Drivers more distracted by cellphones during the summer

Drivers in Virginia and elsewhere are more likely to be distracted by their cellphones during the summer according to a recent analysis by TrueMotion. As a result of the data, the Travelers Institute is warning drivers to keep their eyes on the road while going on summer vacations and road trips. In June, the Travelers Institute and TrueMotion partnered to present a symposium on distracted driving in Washington, D.C.

Researchers from TrueMotion, a smartphone telematics platform, examined the behavior of over 20,000 drivers from January 2017 until May 2018. They found that drivers were more distracted by their phones in June, July and August than during other months. In particular, they found that drivers used their cellphones approximately 15 minutes of each hour driven during the summer, which is about 10 percent more than they used their phones at other times of the year.

The 3 most common issues that cause commercial truck crashes

Sharing the road with commercial trucks often means embracing a certain degree of risk. Due to the discrepancy in size between passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles, the risk for severe injuries and catastrophic property damage is always present when these categories of vehicles collide.

Thankfully, there are steps that drivers in control of a passenger vehicles can take to reduce risks. Educating yourself about the three most common causes of commercial truck crashes is an important first step in improving your overall safety when sharing the road with large trucks.

Drugged driving involved in fatal crashes

When people in Virginia get behind the wheel, they may be worried about the threat of drunk driving from others on the road. However, recent statistics indicate that drug-impaired driving could present an even greater threat to safety. According to a 2016 report by the Governors Highway Safety Administration, nearly half of all drivers killed in car crashes had drugs in their systems. This marks a distinct increase from the last time this was measured in 2006; in that year, only 28 percent of fatally injured drivers were found to have drugs in their system.

Of the drivers who tested positive for drugs in fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2016, 38 percent were found to have marijuana in their system, 16 percent had evidence of opioids and 4 percent had both according to drug tests. While the number of drivers who are impaired by drugs seems to be on the rise, the opposite is true of drunk driving. In 2016, 41 percent of drivers in fatal crashes were found to be alcohol-impaired while that figure went down to 38 percent in 2016.

Brake safety week highlights truck inspections

When truck equipment is not properly maintained, other Virginia motorists could be at risk. This is one reason why the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is holding its Brake Safety Week in September. During the event, commercial drivers across the country will be subject to enhanced inspections and enforcement of brake maintenance regulations. In 2017, the brake safety event was reduced to a single day, but for 2018 it has returned to its week-long incarnation.

Because of the size and mass of large trucks, other drivers and passengers face a particular threat from negligently maintained truck brakes. During the one-day 2017 event, a full 14 percent of trucks inspected that day were removed from service for some type of brake violation. In addition, during another inspection campaign called Roadcheck, brake maintenance violations were the most common reason for trucks to be ordered out of service.

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