Articles Tagged with “car crashes”

car-night-180.jpgA new study raises the question of whether driving while using a cell phone is the safety risk or a symptom of a larger problem: an aggressive driver with dangerous habits.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found drivers who engaged in frequent cell phone use are higher-risk, even when their phone is out of use. The researchers studied the behavior of 108 Greater Boston drivers. About half admitted to frequent cell phone use while the others said they rarely talked behind the wheel.

The frequent cell phone users tended to drive faster, changed lanes more often and spent more time in the far-left lane. They were also more likely to accelerate rapidly and slam on the breaks.

The data supports the focus on cell phone use: The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates about 1 of 5 car accidents involve drivers who were on the phone.

But researchers say even as the number of cell phones has increased nationwide, the number of car accidents has not, leading to one possible conclusion that drivers who talk behind the wheel are also engaging in other risky behaviors.

Massachusetts is among 39 states which have banned texting while driving. Ten other states ban talking on the phone unless a driver uses a hands-free device. Recently in Massachusetts, lawmakers have considered full cell phone bans to reduce car crashes.

Researchers are investigating whether the answer lies beyond new laws. They are considering retraining programs for drivers which discourage cell phone use and provides warning about other bad habits. Focus is also on auto collision warning systems or sensors which identify when cars cross a lane.

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traffic_web.jpgThanksgiving is a special time of year when family and friends gather for tasty food and warm conversation. But before the turkey can be carved, many people have to travel. The majority of holiday travelers are driving. As they plan their trips, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is urging travelers to buckle up through its campaign, “Buckle Up America. Every Trip. Every Time.” Other government agencies are stressing good planning to help drivers avoid motor vehicle accidents.

Seat Belt Use
During the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday travel weekend, 303 passenger vehicle occupants died in motor vehicle crashes, according to the NHTSA. The majority of these deaths occurred at night, making it important to buckle up at all hours.

Plan Travel Times
The Wednesday before the holiday and Sunday following are the busiest travel days. If possible, plan to travel at other times.

Massachusetts 511 Traffic Updates
Visit the Massachusetts 511 website before you travel. It reports on traffic, car accidents and travel conditions throughout the state. Click here for more information.

Fuel Up
Make sure your gas tank is full before you start traveling.

Slow Down
Expect to have to travel below the speed limit in heavy traffic and make sure not to follow other vehicles too closely.

Stay Calm
Expect to see aggressive drivers on the road. Move away and never engage them.

Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 car crashes each year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths, according to the NHTSA. Rest up before making the drive.
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carcrash.jpgYou may think winter snowfall makes for treacherous driving. But government figures show August is actually the most dangerous month on the roads, making it an important time to take precautions.

Based on records dating back to 1994, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports more Americans die in car crashes in August than at any other time of the year. In August 2009, that number totaled 2,864 deaths.

September had the next highest rate of traffic fatalities, followed by July. Weekends are the deadliest time on the roads throughout the year. Nationwide in 2009, there were an average of 123 deaths each day on Saturdays and 107 deaths on Sunday.

Experts say motor vehicle deaths rise in August because more people are on the road traveling for vacation, taking day trips and attending summer events.

Because of these factors, it is paramount to practice safe driving. Here, our Massachusetts personal injury lawyers offer safety tips to protect you and your family:

  • Do not drink and drive.
  • Travel slowly at night and make sure you are familiar with your route.
  • Reduce distractions by putting away your cell phone and GPS.
  • When traveling with children, explain you must concentrate on the road.
  • On the highway, make sure children have distractions such as books and games.
  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.
  • Wear your seat belt.
  • Do not speed.
  • Talk to teenagers about taking safety precautions such as limiting passengers and avoiding night driving.

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