Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Education for Self Driving CarsWaymo, the self-driving car unit of Google’s Alphabet Inc. recently launched an educational campaign to convince skeptics on the safety and value of driverless vehicles. The “Let’s Talk Self-Driving” campaign involves other groups including the National Safety Council, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and the Federation for Blind Children. The group hopes to show how self-driving cars, trucks, and vans could eradicate most vehicle deaths caused by drunk drivers and would provide wide-ranging transportation options for the blind.

The company began promoting self-driving pilot cars in Arizona to prove the safety of driverless vehicles in the hope of raising awareness on how advancements and technology can save lives. For months, the Company has operated autonomous minivans throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area, focusing their attention on the city of Chandler. Recently, Waymo removed the human from behind the steering wheel. In the months ahead, passengers will be invited into the vehicles to travel about the town in a ride-hailing service without a driver.

The campaign hopes to respond to a lot of unanswered questions concerning the practicality of a driverless “Uber” type service. The company CEO John Krafcik stated that “full self-driving cars are here” now that Waymo is to the point where they can finally produce profits generated by robot chauffeurs. Krafcik says the company accomplished the feat of offering driverless vehicles because “we’ve built some unique safety features into this minivan. Our system runs thousands of checks on itself every second. With these checks, our systems can instantly diagnose any problems and pull over or come to a safe stop if needed.”

Road Memorials on Illinois Road WaysSpecial signs are available to increase the public’s awareness of driving while impaired or to honor those who lost their lives in the service of others including fallen veterans, police officers, public servants and individuals killed in action. Numerous programs by the Illinois Department of Transportation also administers fatal accident memorials signs for fatalities occurring on Illinois highways after December 31, 1989.

Makeshift Roadside Memorials

There is a story of heart break behind every handmade roadside shrine or cross that appears along major roads and freeways by surviving families remembering a loved one who died in a fatal accident. Every year, more of these sacred shrines with messages, trinkets, flowers, and mementos appear along the road at the spot where the accident occurred. Some of these public markers are simple in design while others ornate and permanent with each one displaying the private grief and emotional suffering of those left behind.

Laws-in-California-for-Hand-Free-DrivingCalifornia is trying a bold new approach to the subject of distracted driving with the implementation of its newest law— if you are holding anything but the wheel, you will receive a ticket. Drivers no longer need to be caught in the actual act of making a call or texting and police officers can ticket them simply for having a mobile device such as a phone or tablet where it can be accessed behind the wheel. The law doesn’t just seek to reduce the number of drivers using their smartphones, but to eliminate their very presence from view.

Texting While Driving is the Single Largest Threat to Drivers in Recent History

Over the last fifty years, increased population and access to mobile technology have combined to give us the sharpest increases in traffic fatalities we have ever seen. 46 states have now outlawed texting and driving, but it can be extremely difficult for police officers to catch culprits red-handed. Previous incarnations of California’s law have not been deemed strict enough to help reverse this trend.

Child Seat Safety in IllinoisAutomobile accidents remain the leading cause of severe injury and death for children. The potential risk of a child dying in a motor vehicle crash is substantially higher if they are not secured in a child restraint seat that is securely fastened in place. In fact, child safety seats can reduce the potential risk of suffering injuries by 82 percent and the decrease the risk of dying by 28 percent compared to just being strapped into the vehicle seatbelt.

According to statistics from CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), 653 children younger than 13 years of age died in motor vehicle accidents in 2015. Of these children, 35 percent were not restrained in a car seat or vehicle seat belt that might have saved their lives.

According to statistics by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), more than 121,000 children in the U.S. suffered injuries in vehicle crashes in 2014. The CDC study also reported that approximately 618,000 children under the age of 13 ride in vehicles without using a child car safety seat, booster seat, or the vehicle seat belt.

Click Your SeatBelt for SafetyBuckling up your safety belt is the law in Illinois that can result in substantial fines if you do not. A seatbelt provides you the best opportunity to avoid a severe injury or death in an automobile accident. Whether you drive a family sedan, sports car, or an 18-wheeler truck, local law enforcement officers will pull you over and ticket you if you are not wearing a seatbelt. This is because of the high success rate of saving thousands of American lives who followed the guidance to “Buckle Up America” and “Click it or Ticket” safety campaigns.

The nationwide “Click It or Ticket” Safety Campaign was launched back in 2003 by the U.S. Department of Transportation under its National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA). While the campaign was originally targeted on all motorists across America, it especially focused on younger male drivers between 18 and 34 years of age because research revealed this demographic group rarely wears their seatbelt.

Through a massive effort, the state of Illinois in conjunction with the US Department of Transportation increased public awareness on how law enforcement officers will cite traffic law violators including those who do not wear a seatbelt. This educational campaign provides public information to inform drivers of the benefits of always wearing a seatbelt. This campaign lasts up to six weeks and focuses on reducing injuries and saving lives by promoting the importance of buckling up. The annual event starts near the end of April and lasts until the end of June.

Roadways Improve for Traffic SafetyTraffic safety is a crucial component of transportation planning objectives when roadway developers are looking for ways to improve the driving experience to ensure everyone reaches their destination without harm. In the U.S., traffic accidents claim the lives of more than 32,000 drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians every year and leave hundreds of thousands of others injured and disabled. Because of that, safety is a major concern in roadway design, maintenance, and operation.

Roadway engineers understand that there are numerous factors that affect the risk of traveling on highways, expressways, freeways, roads, and streets. This includes the type of travel, the amount of traffic, the types of vehicles, the condition of the street surface and the behavior of every driver sharing the road. Road construction developers have long used effective traffic planning strategies that focus on every risk the motorist faces. This includes distracted driving, drunk driving, poorly designed roads, unsafe vehicles, adverse weather conditions and the changing conditions of traffic during rush-hour.

Road engineers described normal traffic as motor vehicles operated by a sober, responsible drivers traveling in relatively new cars or trucks while wearing a seatbelt and traveling on an efficiently designed road. However, designing and constructing roads that accommodate “normal travel” motorists are not always the best ways to ensure safety when traveling. Instead, statisticians measure safe driving activity and/or behaviors by the numbers of fatalities, injuries or accidents per 100,000 vehicle miles, where the statistics present a much clearer image of how safe roads really are for drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Safety-Campaign-on-Reducing-Drunk-DrivingFor decades, state agencies and local communities have initiated mass media campaigns to promote public health and reduce drunk driving and alcohol-related accidents. Keeping the public aware is essential because according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), on average, 28 individuals in America lose their lives each day to alcohol-related crashes at the rate of one every 51 minutes. With more than 13,000 lives lost every year in the U.S., eliminating dangerous behavior behind the wheel can make traveling safer for everyone sharing the road.

In 1983, the NHTSA launched its “Friends Don’t Lead Friends Drive Drunk” campaign in an effort to prevent alcohol-impaired friends and family members from driving after drinking. Fifteen years later in 1998, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that the nation had its lowest number of roadway accident fatalities involving alcohol since the government agency gathering statistics. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has continually sponsored this highly successful campaign along with others including their “Drinking and Driving Can Kill a Friendship” public safety announcement.

Surveys show that seven out of every ten Americans at some point since the campaign was initially launched have attempted to stop another person from driving after drinking. The agency’s newest campaign “Probably Okay Isn’t Okay” asks the viewer to assess how they look for obvious and not so obvious indicators of impairment on themselves and others when deciding to get behind the wheel.

Reasons for AccidentsSome of the most catastrophic accidents occur when a driver headed down the highway suddenly spots a truck or car traveling directly toward them in the wrong direction that that could cause a horrific head-on collision. Usually, these accidents are avoided because of median barriers that stop errant driving and roadway signage that clearly identifies the direction of traffic to prevent drivers from entering the road the wrong way.

However, according to statistics released by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, more than 350 individuals lose their lives every year in wrong way driving crashes even on roads where the direction of the traffic is clearly marked. Even though wrong way crashes are an uncommon occurrence, affecting just a small percentage of all accidents involving motor vehicles, these types of collisions lead the pack again all motor vehicle crashes resulting in fatalities. These types of pressures have a high fatality rate range between 12% and 27%, which is disproportionately higher than other types of vehicle-related crashes and collision.

Wrong way collisions typically involve a head-on impact at a high rate of speed that often results in a horrific injury or fatality involving both drivers and passengers. Any vehicle occupant who survives the accident usually sustains an extremely severe injury that causes long-term residual problems in the future. Most survivors require constant rehabilitation and ongoing surgeries to restore basic functions or repair broken or crossbones bones and other severe injuries to other extremities. This includes head trauma, brain injuries, whiplash, or injury to the chest, spinal cord, ribs, and/or abdomen. Paralysis is also a common result of wrong way driving crashes.

Electronic-devices-and road-safetyIllinois motorists receive constant reminders through public service announcements and safety campaigns that educate them about avoiding the use of cell phones and other electronic devices while operating their vehicle. This is because distracted driving continues to be a leading cause of fatal car accidents statewide involving writing, sending, and reading messages using an electronic device or speaking on a smartphone. The devices known to put drivers and passengers at great risk when causing a distraction include:

  • Smartphones
  • Cell phones

Traffic Safety Program in IllinoisThe Illinois State Police increased enforcement efforts to maximize the safety of the traveling public over busy holidays throughout the year by participating in traffic safety programs. The holiday safety campaigns managed by the Illinois Department of Transportation through its Bureau Safety Programs and Engineering help to reduce the number of accidents involving injuries and fatalities. Through grant funding, these campaigns allow state and local law enforcement agencies that work in conjunction to identify traffic related violations including impaired driving.

Safety Programs Catch Violators

Throughout the year, nearly 150 local and state police agencies in Illinois participate in enforcement activities during the state’s major holidays. This includes increasing patrol hours during the day and night and focusing their “concentration on impaired driving violations.” During this timeframe, citations for traffic violations rise significantly. Been stopped by the police is known to increase public awareness of the seriousness of breaking the law by driving recklessly, carelessly, distracted or drunk. Citations involving occupant restraint violations also increase during daylight hours, when observing the driver can be conducted.

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