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Buying Safe Used Cars for Teen Drivers

Monday, July 21, 2014

Parents, who are looking for used cars to buy for their teenage driver, have a number of criteria that they need to keep in mind. Teenage drivers have some of the heaviest accident risks, and in fact, for drivers between the ages 15 and 19, accidents are the leading cause of fatalities.

Many Burbank parents prefer to buy used cars because they want their teen to have a chance to learn driving skills, and practice on a used car, before he buys a new car. However, many older cars, which are the kind of cars that are found on most used car lots, do not come with highly sophisticated safety features. With all the focus on forward collision warning systems and adaptive headlights, parents are very often concerned that a used car may not keep their child safe. Their budget doesn't allow them to buy a new car, either.

What should parents do? There are a number of criteria that you can keep in mind while buying a used car to keep your child safe, while staying within your budget. It is not necessary that a safe car should come with a high price tag. There are several vehicles available on the used car market for under $20,000, with excellent ratings for head restraints, side crash protection, as well as head protection to protect from injuries in rollover crashes.

If you can't find a car in your budget that includes these safety features, Burbank car accident lawyers recommend buying a midsize or larger car like a minivan or SUV. Look for the maximum number of safety features that you can include on your budget. If you are buying an SUV however, shell out extra money for an electronic stability control system because these cars are most prone to rollovers. Look for cars that have lower horsepower to discourage speeding, and cars with the highest ratings in your budget.

Quarter of Recalled American Cars Are Not Fixed

Sunday, July 13, 2014

As many as 25% of all recalled automobiles in the United States are not fixed, which means that millions of cars continue to be operated even though they contain potentially dangerous defects.

In many cases, people are not even aware of recalls. Manufacturers make it a point to contact car owners, and mail them recall notices. However, many consumers in Thousand Oaks dispose of this mail, believing it to be junk mail. That means a motorist may not even be aware of any recall involving his vehicle and could be at risk of an accident.

Even when a motorist is aware of a recall, he may not necessarily believe it involves a serious problem. The growing number of recalls in the auto industry is one of the reasons for this. When people are exposed to a seemingly large volume of recall alerts, they are less likely to believe that the recall affecting their vehicle is a serious problem. They, therefore, choose to simply ignore the recall, with possibly dangerous consequences.

According to Carfax, the numbers are really serious. There are as many as 36 million cars currently traveling on American roads that have been recalled, but not yet fixed. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the average completion rate for recalls in the United States is approximately 75%. But in the case of older cars, the numbers are much lower. Owners of older automobiles may be much less likely to become aware of a recall, or to take the car in when there has been a recall.

Automobile manufacturers have begun to understand the scope of the problem here. They are working on their own to boost recall response. For instance, Chrysler Group recently began using a system that involves e-mail and phone calls to remind customers to increase recall response rates. As a result of those strategies, the company’s recall response rates shot up to 80%. Other automakers are also experimenting with similar strategies.

Drowsy Driving Linked to Failure to Buckle up, Binge Drinking

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Binge drinkers and persons who fail to buckle up while driving are much more likely to be involved in drowsy driving accidents.

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines a number of risk factors for drowsy driving accidents. One of those factors is binge drinking. Drowsy driving is likely to be much more common among binge drinkers than those who drink moderately, or those who abstain from alcohol.

Additionally, persons who drive while drowsy are much less likely to wear their seatbelts. In fact, these people are likely to report only sometimes wearing their seatbelts, or never bothering to buckle up while driving or riding in a car. Persons with a lower risk of drowsy driving seem to be much more likely to buckle up while driving.

According to the CDC report, as many as 7,500 fatal accidents every year are likely linked to drowsy driving. Between 2009 and 2010, 4.2% of adult respondents in a study reported that they had driven while drowsy on at least one occasion during the previous month. If you have less than six hours of sleep a day, snore in your sleep or fall asleep during the daytime, you have a much higher risk of reporting drowsy driving.

Apart from the obvious lack of sleep deprivation that leads to such driving, prescription drug use is another much neglected factor in drowsy driving. If you are on medications like antihypertensives, antidepressants, cough and cold medications, antihistamines, or a number of other medications including over-the-counter drugs that induce drowsiness, you are at a much higher risk of driving while sleepy or fatigued. That increases your risk of being involved in a potentially serious accident.

Tougher Penalties Could Help Prevent Distracted Driving Accidents

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Texting while driving is an epidemic in the United States, but Americans also admitted in a recent study that they want to see tougher penalties for motorists using texting devices while driving.

According to the poll conducted by the National Safety Council, approximately 70% of Americans wanted stricter enforcement of laws that ban texting while driving. They also wanted to see tougher penalties for violators of these laws. Compared to this, the percentage of persons who found the current laws and enforcement satisfactory was just 22%.

Many Americans also wanted to see penalties that included a point system, leading to driver’s license revocation, or higher car insurance premiums. Approximately 52% of the respondents wanted to see penalties like these. Approximately 50% of the respondents said that they wanted heftier fines for cell phone law violators, and 50% believed in the need for more stringent penalties for repeat offenders.

Approximately 21% of all car accidents are directly linked to the use of a cell phone while driving. This includes the use of handheld cell phones and hands-free sets. A California law bans the use of cell phones while for texting while driving and the use of handheld cell phones for having conversations while driving.

Other research also supports more stringent penalties for texting while driving offenses. One study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that the risk of being involved in an accident increases by 23 times when a motorist is engaged in texting while driving, compared to when he's performing other activities at the wheel. Previous studies also suggest that although Americans are very aware of the risks of texting while driving and the increased chances of being involved in a distracted driving accident, many of them continue to use cell phones at the wheel.

Studies Find Side Curtain Airbags Can Prevent Injuries in Rollover Accidents

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Side curtain airbag systems are very beneficial in helping reduce the risk of injuries to passengers in side-impact accidents. New studies, however, find that these systems also do a very good job of protecting occupants from injuries in the most devastating types of accidents – vehicle rollovers.

According to studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, side airbags can reduce the risk of front seat fatalities in rollover accidents by as much as 41%. According to estimates by the federal agency, as many as 30% of all 2014 model year automobiles now come with side curtain airbag systems. These systems are expected to become standard features on more automobiles very soon. There are different types of side airbags available. However, approximately 83% of 2014 model automobiles come with curtain plus torso airbags.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, curtain plus torso airbag systems reduce the risk of front seat occupant death by as much as 31%, while combination head/torso airbags reduce the risk of fatality by as much as 25%. Curtain airbags on their own reduce risks by 16%, while torso airbags reduce the risk by 8%.

Side impact accidents, like broadsiding accidents, have a very high risk of injury because occupants sitting at the sides typically have very little protection from serious injuries. In a frontal impact or head-on accident, a combination of airbags and seatbelts can help reduce injury risks. However, an occupant may be at a high risk of serious injuries or fatalities in side impact accidents even when he's wearing a seatbelt.

Auto technologies like side airbag systems have played a major role in helping reduce the number of people killed in accidents in recent years.



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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.