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New study shows latest bike helmets reduce injury

Researchers from Virginia Tech and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have conducted what has been called a first-of-its-kind study, and it should be of interest to bicyclists in New York. According to this study, bicyclists who wear urban-style helmets, with their solid design and lack of ventilation, are more than twice as likely to suffer injury in an accident.

To achieve their results; researchers used some of the latest techniques for simulating head injuries and tested various helmets. They developed twelve scenarios to test each helmet's effectiveness from every angle, simulating everything from glancing blows to direct hits.

Fourth of July weekend: the safety risks

New York residents who plan to live it up on the Fourth of July should keep that many accidents take place on during the holiday. The greatest risk is on the roads; both Esurance and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety state that 40 percent of all highway deaths between 2007 and 2011 occurred because of drunk drivers over the extended July Fourth weekend. During this several-day period, there are approximately 200 highway deaths every year.

Indeed, of all the days of the year, Independence Day is the worst for fatal crashes. Besides alcohol, another factor is that there are more drivers traveling during the holiday weekend. AAA estimates that this year, 37.5 million Americans will be traveling 50 miles or more from their homes to partake in festivities.

New tech may help prevent distracted driving

Many drivers in New York and throughout the U.S. may be open to devices that could help them break away from their smartphones when behind the wheel. It may seem ironic that technology would solve a problem that it initiated, but there are several new devices that could help reduce the number of car accidents attributed to distracted driving.

For example, a Colorado-based company has developed a device called Groove that plugs into a vehicle, links the driver's phone to a cloud and allows the phone provider to block all incoming and outgoing communications. The product is currently undergoing a pilot program in the U.S. and in Australia. Incoming messages will appear after the car is turned off. Though it does not automatically turn off navigation and music streaming, this can be customized.

Comparing drowsy and drunk driving

New York motorists who drive drowsy could have a similar experience to those who drive drunk. Driving after staying awake for 24 consecutive hours is similar to driving with a blood alcohol content of .10 percent. That is above the .08 percent threshold states use to determine if a driver is legally drunk. One difference between tired and drunk drivers is that a drunk driver may try to drive slowly and avoid obstacles.

Drowsy drivers may simply go to sleep while driving at a high rate of speed. Those who are in a vehicle with a drowsy driver should learn the signs that someone is too tired to operate it. Those signs include heavy eyelids, drifting out of the proper lane and constant yawning. If those signs are apparent, the driver should be asked to pull over.

Increase in SUVs may be a factor in rise of pedestrian deaths

Although there has been a concerted effort in New York City and numerous other cities and towns across the U.S., the number of fatal pedestrian accidents has remained high. While many factors have been blamed for the increase, including smartphone use and marijuana legalization, a study showed that SUVs might be a major part of the problem.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there was an 81 percent increase in fatal pedestrian accidents that involved SUVs from 2009 to 2016. Further, SUVs reportedly became the number one cause of death for pedestrians in 2014. This makes sense as the number of SUVs on the road have increased over the years. Because these vehicles are heavier and bigger, they can be more dangerous than sedans if they strike a pedestrian.

New York's hands-free law may not make the roads any safer

Using a hand-held mobile phone or other electronic device while behind the wheel is prohibited in New York, and those who violate this law can be fined as much as $450. Drivers in the Empire State who wish to make phone calls or send text messages are permitted to do so providing that they use a device that allows them to keep their hands on the wheel, but a study from The University of Texas suggests that hands-free features may not actually make cellphones any safer for motorists to use.

To find out whether or not hands-free devices are safer to use behind the wheel, the researchers gave 20 campus volunteers a standard cellphone and a Google Glass device. Google's wearable device was chosen because it projects text messages onto what looks like a pair of eyeglasses. This means that motorists can read text messages while keeping their eyes on the road and their hands on the steering wheel. The volunteers were then placed in an advanced driving simulator to see how using the two devices affected their driving.

Why pedestrian deaths are increasing

In 2016, there were 5,987 pedestrian deaths in the United States. That was a 27 percent increase since 2007, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). During this same time period, all other types of traffic fatalities dropped by 14 percent. It is believed that cell phones and marijuana are among the main culprits for the rise in pedestrian deaths.

In states where recreational marijuana use was legalized between 2012 and 2016, there has been an increase in pedestrian deaths. Specifically, there was a 16.4 percent increase between the first half of 2016 compared to the same time in 2017. During that same time period, there was a 5.8 decrease in pedestrian fatalities in all other states. However, there have been some question as to whether marijuana use on the part of drivers or pedestrians is responsible for those numbers.

AAA survey shows an increase in distracted driving

A March 2018 survey of traffic behavior and attitudes in the United States has claimed that self-reported phone use while driving has skyrocketed since 2013. Ironically, the research also reveals that the vast majority of the people who were surveyed consider distracted driving to be a major danger for everyone on the road. Drivers across New York are at greater risk of a collision if they are distracted by their mobile devices while driving.

The study, which was authored by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, was created to highlight attitudes and behaviors regarding traffic safety. The survey data comes from information provided by over 2,600 drivers across the United States that have reported to have driven in the past 30 days.

Causes of death in drunk driving accidents

Even New York residents who don't drive should be wary of drunk motorists. These reckless drivers present a danger to pedestrians, city buses and everyone on the streets. In fact, drunk driving is involved in one-third of all traffic accident fatalities. Fatal car accident injuries can occur due to a number of factors, including the severity of the injury and the time it takes for emergency responders to arrive.

It's important to note that even a small amount of alcohol can impair a driver's reaction time. That's why all states have set the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers at .08 percent. For younger people, the risk of getting in a drunk driving crash is higher. In addition to having less driving experience, young people are more likely to travel in groups and have more distractions while driving.

Car accidents and the injuries they cause

Different types of injuries will arise from a car accident, with the severity depending on factors like speed, impact location, and the presence of safety features. New York drivers will want to know, or relearn, the types of injuries that occur and how.

The most common injuries (and those of least concern, relatively speaking) are scratches, bruises, and fractures. They can arise from car accidents where one car is stationary and the other is traveling at a low speed. Normally, the impact location is in the rear or the side opposite the victim. Back and neck injuries may arise from rear-end collisions at higher speeds. Whiplash, a condition where the muscles and other soft tissues in the neck are sprained or strained, is a frequent outcome of rear-end collisions.

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For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer at The Law Offices of Eric H. Green and Associates, call 212-532-2450 or send us an email. We serve the New York areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

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