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NHTSA: Drop in Traffic Accident Fatalities in 2013

Friday, December 26, 2014

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System for 2013. The data clearly indicates a significant decrease of 3.1% in the number of people killed in traffic accidents in 2013, compared to the previous year. Since 2004, there has been an almost 25% drop in the number of people killed in accidents across the country.

There was also a drop in the number of people injured in accidents. Those numbers dropped by 2.1% in 2013, compared to the previous year. Overall, 32,790 people died in traffic accidents in 2013. 34 states recorded a drop in traffic accident fatalities, and the highest decreases were reported by Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Arkansas.

There was also a drop of 2.5% in the number of people killed in alcohol-related car accidents in 2013. However, in 2013, drunk driving accidents were still responsible for more than 10,000 fatalities.

Sadly however, California did not mirror that nationwide trend. In this state, there was actually an increase in traffic accident fatalities in 2013, compared to the previous year. Last year, California reported 3,000 traffic accident fatalities, compared to 2,966 the previous year. That is an increase of 34 fatalities.

Out of those 3,000 fatalities, 857 involved drunk driving accidents. That was an increase from the number of drunk driving accident fatalities recorded in 2012. In California, drunk driving accident fatalities accounted for approximately 29% of the total number of accident fatalities.

The upward trend in drunk driving accident fatalities in California is of great concern to any San Jose car accident lawyer. California transportation authorities need to increase implementation of sobriety checkpoints, and focus on stringent anti-drunk driving measures to help prevent these fatalities.

More Automakers Expand Takata Airbag Recall

Monday, December 15, 2014

BMW recently announced that it would expand its national recall of vehicles due to defective airbags. Another 140,000 vehicles will be added to the earlier recall.

The recall involves the 2004-2006 3-series Vehicles. Those cars were manufactured between January 2004 and august 2006. According to BMW, this is a precautionary measure, and none of the defective airbags by the Japanese auto parts supplier have yet involved any BMW vehicle.

Airbags manufactured by the Japanese auto parts supplier are at the center of a national recall by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In the United States alone, more than 17 million vehicles linked to the defective airbags have already been recalled. Globally, more than 24 million cars are included in the recall.

The friction between Takata and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration meanwhile continues with the Japanese company rejecting a demand by federal authorities to expand its recall to cover the entire United States. Over the past six years, Takata has been issuing recalls of its airbags in collaboration with at least 10 automakers. Many of the recalls have covered the Gulf Coast states, Hawaii, and the Virgin Islands. Takata has claimed that the problem, which causes a number of airbag-related problems is only limited to those areas that suffer from high humidity in the United States. However, the agency believes the problem is much more severe.

Problems with airbags have included small shards of metal, exploding into the face of the occupants when the airbag deploys. There is a serious potential for eye injuries, puncture wounds, facial injuries, severe blunt force trauma, and head injury associated with these defective airbags. At least five fatalities are linked to the defective airbags. Burbank personal injury lawyers are also aware of dozens of injuries linked to these airbags.

Lane Splitting Is Safe Unless It Involves High Speed

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The practice of motorcyclists sharing lanes, or riding between lanes to pass slower traffic, has been controversial for years now. Recently, a team of researchers at the University Of California Berkeley released a study that provides some answers to the safety of these practices.

In California, motorcyclists are legally allowed to split lanes. This is the practice in which motorcyclists ride between marked lanes in an effort to pass stalled vehicles. California is currently the only state that allows such practices by motorcyclists. The practice is not without its critics who complain that it is difficult to spot such motorcyclists, especially when they ride at high speeds between cars that are stopped for traffic or are moving slowly.

The University Of California Berkeley team reviewed thousands of accidents involving motorcyclists around the state, and found that lane splitting is not necessarily more dangerous than riding a marked lane. However, the danger did seem to increase when lane splitters rode streets at a speed that was 10 mph fast higher than the cars that they were passing. In such cases, the researchers found that the motorcyclists did have a higher risk of being involved in an accident.

Additionally, lane splitters also seem to be at a higher risk of certain types of accidents. For instance, they are much more likely to be in a rear ender accident in which they hit another vehicle, compared to accidents in which another vehicle hits them. The early morning and late afternoon rush hours are the deadliest times for lane splitters, with most accidents involving reported during these times.

The bottom line is that motorcycle lane splitting can be safe provided you are riding at a safe speed.

If you have suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, you can recover compensation for your losses. Speak to a Burbank motorcycle accident lawyer about filing a claim for compensation.

Parents Fail to Strap Newborn Babies into Car Seats Correctly

Saturday, October 04, 2014

For many newborn babies, injury risks begin right from the very first car trip from the hospital to the home. According to a new study, newborns are at risk because their parents fail to install the car seat correctly while taking the baby home from the hospital. Children who are not appropriately restrained in a car are at a much higher risk of being killed or suffering injuries in an accident.

The researchers analyzed 167 families with newborn children, and monitored their trip home from the hospital. They found that 93% of the parents actually made at least one mistake, while placing their infant in the car seat. Those mistakes were also made during installation of the car seat.

Some of the more common mistakes while placing the baby car seat, were leaving the safety seat harness too loose with 69% of the parents making these mistakes. Approximately 20% used an after-market product, that was not approved with the car seat and 15% did not know how to adjust the harness.

There were also serious mistakes made in installing the car seat. At least 43% of the parents installed the car seat too loosely, or installed at an incorrect angle. In 23% of the cases, the parents used the safety belt, but did not lock it, and in 17% of the cases, the parents left incorrect spacing between the seat and the front seat.

Not surprisingly, most of these mistakes were made by families who did not speak English or were from a lower economic background. Non-white families or parents who were not married or single women without a partner were more likely to make these mistakes. The study also found that families that had worked together with a certified car safety seat technician were much more likely to install the seat correctly, and position the baby correctly. The correct installation rates were as much as 30% higher in the case of these families.

Exercise Equals Safer Senior Drivers

Monday, September 22, 2014

As seniors age, there are delays in responses, slower reflexes, and other issues that affect their ability to drive safely and responsibly. However, Thousand Oaks car accident lawyers believe that exercise programs that focus heavily on strength building and flexibility can help reduce age-related impairments, helping seniors drive safely, even as they get older.

There are specific age-related problems that affect senior motorists and their ability to drive safely. For instance, back pain, stiffness, and other problems can reduce a senior’s ability to turn around, and look for vehicles in his blind spot. That means the senior is at a higher risk of being involved in an accident with a motorist that he has not even seen.

Scientists at the MIT Lab worked together with the Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence to look at how exercise programs that specifically focus on flexibility, range of motion, coordination and strength building helped senior drivers drive better. They found that when seniors participated in a program like this, it actually helped them turn around much more quickly. The seniors also reported that they found it much easier to back up their cars, compared to drivers who did not participate in the exercise program.

Apart from regular exercise program, senior motorists can also take other steps to keep reduce the risk of accidents by avoiding very busy times of the day for driving, and avoiding unknown routes. Cut down driving at night as much as possible, and get your vision tested every year.

Seniors need to drive in order to remain mobile and active, and stay healthy. Statistics find that when senior motorists lose their ability to drive, there is a negative impact on their health. Family members have a major role to play in helping keep senior motorists safe. Monitor the senior in your home, and look for signs that his driving ability may be impaired.


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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.