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How pedestrians and motorists can prevent accidents

New York residents who walk everywhere may be dismayed to learn that there has been an increase in the number of fatal pedestrian accidents over the last few years. In fact, it was estimated that there were 6,000 pedestrian fatalities across the country in 2016 alone, a 22 percent increase over 2014. Because pedestrians are more vulnerable if they are struck by motor vehicles, it is important that they take steps to reduce the risks of becoming involved in a pedestrian accident.

Pedestrians can help prevent accidents by identifying and minimizing the risks they may face. For example, they should avoid jaywalking and only cross when they are at crosswalks or intersections. This also includes avoiding stepping into the street between two parked cars. Pedestrians can also increase visibility to drivers by wearing bright clothing, even during the day. At night, using reflector strips can help motorists see them in the dark.

Study shows that crash avoidance systems are working

A new report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that collision avoidance systems are making the roadways safer throughout New York and the rest of the U.S. However, the technology is still not standard in the vast majority of new vehicles.

The goal of the IIHS is to reduce injuries and deaths that result from motor vehicle crashes. Many auto insurance carriers and auto insurance organizations support the IIHS, and that's one reason why the recent findings could get the attention of car manufacturers.

New tech promises: car accidents thing of the past

Auto manufacturers seek to improve safety with design every year. New York drivers will have noticed that wider social trends undercut the ability of a design change to prevent car accidents. Texting and driving is just the latest example of the negligent driver responsible for a growing number of fatal car accidents.

Many large companies are betting that driverless cars are the next big thing. Safety is a powerful sales point. The Department of Transportation reports that about 94 percent of fatal car accidents are the result of human error. It is conceivable that computers following rules and algorithms could immediately nearly eliminate the risk of a car collision. Some auto manufacturers have signaled the ability to begin rolling out autonomous vehicles as soon as 2021.

New device uses shocks to keep drivers awake

New York motorists may not be aware that drowsy driving can be just as deadly as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that drowsy driving may be responsible for up to 6,000 fatal motor vehicle accidents on U.S. roads every year.

Many drivers depend on things like caffeine and blaring music to help them keep awake while behind the wheel. However, a company called Creative Mode has developed a product that it believes will work better. The device, known as Steer, is designed to be worn around a driver's wrist, where it monitors sweat levels and heart rate for signs of drowsiness. If Steer believes a driver is sleepy, it will deliver vibrations and shocks. The shocks are harmless, but they are supposed to help raise serotonin and cortisol levels in the driver's body, which could help people stay awake. The founder of the company came up with the idea after a friend fell asleep while driving and crashed into a tree, breaking his collarbone. Steer currently has almost 100 supporters on Kickstarter, and it will retail for approximately $230.

Rise in road fatalities related to speed limit increase

New York drivers who are concerned about traffic safety might try not to go above the speed limit. Even though many drivers take this precaution, a research study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that the increase in state speed limits over the past two decades correlates with an increase in traffic fatalities.

According to researchers, an approximate 33,000 people died between 1993 and 2013 as a direct result of the relaxation and then ultimate repeal of the national 55 mph speed limit. Cars have become safer since 1993, and traffic death rates have for the most part declined. Nonetheless, according to the study, traffic fatalities could have been even lower if states were still obligated to keep their maximum speed limits at 55 mph.

Accident deaths are increasing despite advances in auto safety

Increased traffic congestion in New York and around the country has made the nation's roads more dangerous in recent years despite significant advances in automobile safety systems and equipment, and most experts believe that fatalities will fall only slightly in the years ahead. Traffic levels are higher because fuel costs are low and the economy is thriving, and these conditions are expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave automotive technology and design improvements much of the credit when a study conducted several years ago revealed that driver death rates had fallen by more than a third in just three years, but fatalities are now climbing again. The number of Americans killed in car accidents surged by 7 percent in 2015 after falling steadily since the 1970s, and government crash data suggests that 2016 was even more deadly on the nation's roads.

Actions to take following a car accident

Drivers who are in car accidents in New York may want to take certain specific steps to protect themselves if they are not at fault. A person who is not badly injured should check on others who may be. Vehicles should be moved off the roadway if possible to prevent another accident although injured people should not be moved unless it is necessary.

Even though the driver who is at fault is supposed to contact his or her insurance company, this may not happen. Therefore, a person should collect as much information as possible from the driver including the name, contact information and insurance policy information. If there were witnesses to the accident, statements should be taken. It is also a good idea to take photographs. Depending on the seriousness of the accident, the police may be called.

New York couple killed in crash

A two-vehicle collision resulted in the death of a New York couple on June 4. The couple, who were reportedly on their way home from brunch, died after their vehicle was hit by another man, reportedly driving under the influence of drugs.

According to authorities, a 23-year-old Nanuet man was driving a Lincoln MKV in New City when he ran through a red light and crashed into a Toyota Corolla at Route 304 and Goebel Road. The collision resulted in both cars being destroyed, but the Nanuet man survived the crash, suffering only a laceration to the head. Firemen had to use the Jaws of Life to get to the couple in the Toyota, a 69-year-old male driver and his 68-year-old wife, where they found the driver dead. The woman was freed from the vehicle and moved to an ambulance but she succumbed to her injuries soon after this.

Differences in child fatality rates in different regions

In New York, children are seriously hurt or killed in auto accidents every year. A recent study demonstrated that the Northeast has much lower child fatality rates in auto accidents than the South does, however.

Researchers from Harvard and the UT Southwestern Medical Center reviewed crash data from accidents in which children were killed across the country from 2010 to 2014. During that four-year period, a total of 2,885 children were killed in car accidents. Most who died were involved in crashes in which they were improperly restrained or not restrained, and a majority of the accidents happened while the vehicles in which they were riding were traveling on rural roads.

Communities struggle to prevent dooring accidents

New York residents who enjoy riding their bikes may know what dooring is. This refers to bikes colliding with open car doors, and those who study the issue say that neither laws nor bike lanes seem to address the issue. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were 302 such incidents in Chicago in 2015, which was a 50 percent increase from the year before.

Although there is a lack of data, it is believed that these incidents occur most often in cities. In many cases, bicyclists can't predict if a driver is going to open a car door even if they check in windows or look at taillights for signs that a door may open. In 2016, the state of Virginia passed a dooring law, and violators could be fined $50.

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