HOME ATTORNEYS PRACTICE OVERVIEW BLOGCONTACT
MURRIETA
SAN DIEGO
OPEN PRACTICE AREAS

Murrieta Personal Injury Law Blog

Advice for reducing auto accident risk after sunset

Many California drivers are unlikely to remember the unit in driver's education class that focused on safe driving at night. The topic may have been left out altogether or passed over briefly. Failure to understand the limitations imposed on driver eyesight and cognition by darkness may be responsible for the auto accident rate being much higher after hours. The following driving tips from insurance provider State Farm can help drivers reduce their risk of car accident.

Injured California women die underrepresented in crash-tests.

Seat belts fit men and women differently. Men and women are not just different heights and weights. Men tend to gain weight in the abdominal area and women gain weight around their waists and thighs. The most frequent complaint about automotive seat belts is that they irritate drivers' necks. The seatbelt belongs over the driver's hips and under the driver's stomach. The driver sits safely at least 10 inches away from the steering wheel. Women tend to be more vulnerable than men during head-on collisions because they suffer injuries from airbags and the steering wheel.

Car accidents injure or kill 50 to 73% more California women than men annually. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), decades of research and human factors engineering goes into the creation and calibration of each male or female crash dummy. Female crash dummies are five feet tall, and they weigh 110 pounds. Becky Mueller, IIHS senior research engineer, reports that it will take at least 10 years of real accident and injury data to create more accurate crash-dummies. IIHS is waiting patiently for real accident victims' data to be collected.

California the third-worst state for senior-involved car crashes

Seniors can be unsafe behind the wheel, so it's not surprising that they contribute to many auto accidents. A study from The Senior List has ranked the 10 worst states when it comes to crashes involving seniors as well as the 10 safest states. Unfortunately, California is the third-worst state, surpassed only by Florida and Texas. After California comes Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

As for the safest states, the top five are New Hampshire, South Dakota, Delaware, Hawaii and North Dakota. While population has a lot to do with the rankings, there are some outliers. For example, Tennessee is not among the most populous states, but it had the eighth highest number of accidents involving seniors.

Most car accidents are preventable

California residents spend a great deal of time on the state's freeways and local roads. Although driving is second nature for many adults, it's also the single most dangerous activity they engage in. There are thousands of fatal automobile accidents every year in the U.S. To stay safe, it's important that drivers understand the most common causes of car accidents.

Although universally used, the term "car accident" can be somewhat misleading. Accident implies an event that may have occurred due to unfortunate and unavoidable circumstances. While some vehicle crashes are in fact the result of occurrences that could not have been prevented by the drivers involved, insurance analysts report the majority of incidents involving injury and/or property damage on the nation's roadways are caused by the negligent driving.

Drivers may want to avoid some California roads

According to the America's Safe Drivers Report 2019, Los Angeles is one of the most dangerous places for a person to drive. The report, which was issued by Allstate, found that the 405 Freeway was among the most dangerous roads in the city. Los Angeles landed at No. 6 overall on the list.

However, LA wasn't the only California city to be included in the top 15 most dangerous for drivers. Oakland, San Francisco and Glendale all made the cut as well. Highway 880 was considered the most dangerous in Oakland, and it was also considered the most dangerous in Hayward, which was number 15 on the list. Highway 101 was the most dangerous in San Francisco. Other cities to make the most dangerous list included Baltimore, Providence and Philadelphia. Baltimore was named the most dangerous city to drive in overall.

A few common problems lead to truck crashes

Accidents involving large trucks are likely to be more severe than other traffic crashes. While the average passenger vehicle in California weighs around 4,000 pounds, a semi truck could weigh as much as 20 times more. The most common reasons behind truck crashes are driver error, equipment failure and poor truck maintenance.

Truck drivers are required to have special licenses, and they have a heightened responsibility to use care and drive safely. However, some drivers make mistakes. For example, many drive while tired, distracted or intoxicated. Despite all these potential issues, statistics indicate that most semi truck accidents are the result of an error by a passenger vehicle driver.

NHTSA estimates 1% decline in roadway fatalities in 2018

After seeing a record jump in 2015 and 2016, the number of roadway fatalities in California and the rest of the U.S. has been gradually declining. If the estimates of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are accurate, 2018 will be the second year in a row to see a decrease, however slight it might seem.

The years 2015 and 2016 were the worst in terms of traffic fatalities since at least the 1960s, prompting many to suggest that a new era in driving had begun. There are grounds for such concerns: More drivers are, for example, letting smartphones and in-vehicle technology distract them from the road. But 2017 saw a 2% decline in traffic fatalities with 37,133 dying in motor vehicle crashes. In 2018, that number went down about 1% to 36,750.

Trucking industry may benefit from stricter drug testing

The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security has compiled data on the pre-employment drug tests of commercial truck drivers in California and the rest of the U.S., finding that many truckers who are habitual drug users are being accepted. This data is based on a survey of 3.5 million CMV drivers. In all, 301,000 truck drivers on the road today would fail if subjected to a hair analysis.

Another problem is that employers cannot submit hair test failures to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, a database said to go into effect in 2020. Employers, then, will have no way of knowing that a potential employee has failed previous tests. The reason is that the DoT only recognizes urine analyses. The Department of Health and Human Services has yet to produce guidelines for hair analyses.

Commercial fleet and driver safety highlights

The behavior of commercial vehicle drivers in California and other states can have a big impact on how safe the roads are for other motorists and truck drivers. This is why a fleet management systems provider has reviewed driving behaviors of more than 6,000 of its fleet customers. It focused on small and midsize businesses with 2 to 200 trucks.

The management systems provider considered several different factors related to commercial trucks, including average speeding events per day and mile as well as fatalities per vehicle miles traveled. Based on these criteria, the safest area for fleet drivers is within the East Coast, even with the infamous I-95 corridor and other common "problem" areas. Virginia, Washington and New Hampshire are among the states that ranked as the safest places for commercial fleet operators. The most dangerous states were in the South and Midwest with Oklahoma and Texas topping the list.

Multiple factors complicate truck accident injury claims

A crash with a big rig on a California highway can produce serious injuries among passenger vehicle occupants. The sheer size and weight of commercial trucks increase the force of impact. Although truck accident victims might apply the same personal injury laws to collect damages as car accident victims, the cases possess greater complexity.

Identifying the responsible party in a truck accident might become difficult when drivers operate trucks owned by separate companies. The cargo could possibly belong to a third party, which adds another layer of complication. When ownership and responsibility lack clarity, the assignment of liability could become contentious.

Tesla's Navigate on Autopilot feature may be flawed

California motorists may be interested in a new safety report pertaining to Tesla's automated driving features. According to testers with Consumer Reports, Tesla's updated Navigate on Autopilot feature has serious issues. A test on Model 3 showed that the semi-autonomous Autopilot feature made several mistakes. For example, the system made illegal passes and cut off approaching automobiles.

The study indicates that human drivers perform better at changing lanes than the Navigate on Autopilot feature. Plus, the Autopilot feature was responsible for other possible risks. For instance, it often failed to leave enough room between cars. The feature is not fully capable of self-direction because drivers must get involved in order to prevent possible collisions. The Autopilot feature has already failed to prevent three fatal car collisions.