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Hernando Legal Blog

Risk Institute studies ways to address distracted driving

Ohio State University's The Risk Institute has presented some research that may interest Mississippi residents who want to address distracted driving. The Risk Institute is coordinating a nationwide effort with government entities, companies and researchers in areas like engineering and behavioral science to reduce the number of distracted driving crashes.

One of the studies analyzed driver behavior and how it might be improved through incentives like insurance discounts. Researchers discovered that the more confident people are in their driving skills, the likelier it is that they will engage in distracting activities like calling, texting and using in-vehicle tech.

2019 Travelers Risk Index reveals trends in distracted driving

In Mississippi and across the U.S., distracted driving is a dangerous trend. The Travelers Companies surveyed more than 2,000 consumers and executives about this subject and found certain trends that shed light on it. Among these trends is the pressure that drivers feel to use their phones for work purposes.

Eighty-seven percent of executives said that they expect their workers to be reachable even outside the office. This may be why 20 percent of respondents said they feel pressured into responding to work-related messages: They do not want to upset their boss. In fact, 17 percent say that driving is the time when they get a lot of work done.

Is lane splitting actually safer?

Lane-splitting is a practice used by motorcyclists that is currently only legal in the state of California. Previously thought to be dangerous, recent studies are now suggesting that lane-splitting could be a good thing when used responsibly.

Could this change make its way into motorcycle/motorized vehicle driving manuals across the country one day?

Proper motorcycle braking can avoid crashes

People who ride motorcycles in Mississippi know that motorcycle safety requires significant awareness and skill. Among the most important skill to know on a bike is how to bring it to a stop quickly regardless of how fast it was moving. Excessive speed and cornering improperly are the most common causes of motorcycle wrecks, but braking improperly also leads to a number of serious accidents.

Proper braking technique begins with good posture on the bike. This means sitting with the upper body relaxed and the legs held tightly against the tank. Sitting like this connects the rider to the motorcycle and keeps the arms and hands relaxed, allowing for easy, steady control. Throughout the stop, the rider should keep his or her head and eyes locked on the horizon ahead. The bike will lurch when the brakes are applied, but the rider should keep his or her eyes up for stability and balance.

Fatal large truck crashes surge

Mississippi residents know how dangerous it can be to drive around large trucks. From 2009 to 2017, there was a 28 percent increase in the number of large truck crash fatalities. Of the 4,102 victims in 2017, 68 percent were occupants of cars, and 14 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists. Rear-end accidents are especially common; incidentally, they are the most devastating but also the most easily avoided with the right technology.

Many truck safety groups are pushing for the mandating of forward crash warning systems on all heavy trucks as a way to reduce rear-end collisions. This is what the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on at least 10 occasions since the 1990s, but NHTSA has not acted on the recommendation or even proposed a regulation of its own.

Study claims opioids are causing more car crashes

Most Mississippi residents are aware of the opioid epidemic in the U.S. According to a recent study, the increased use may have an effect on traffic accidents.

The study utilized a national database compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For many years, the administration has kept statistics regarding accidents involving fatalities. The data includes information about whether drivers or victims had alcohol or drugs in their systems. Over 18,000 fatal accidents were analyzed.

Self-driving technology that's improving our roads

As the automobile market continues to move toward the self-driving car, new vehicles are offering automatic safety features. This technology has become so sophisticated that these cars are now equipped to protect their driver, rather than the other way around.

Here are a few of the most notable self-automated driving features today.

Traffic deaths remain high in 2018

Drivers in Mississippi and around the country might be somewhat safer on the road than they were a year ago, but overall, deaths from traffic-related accidents continue to be high. According to the National Safety Council, in 2018, there were still more than 40,000 people killed in motor vehicle accidents although the number was down 1 percent from 2017. However, the number of people seriously injured in crashes went up to 4.5 million, a 1 percent increase from the previous year.

In each of the past three years, the number of traffic-related deaths has topped 40,000. One possible reason for the increase compared to 10 years ago is more distractions. This includes smartphones and dashboard infotainment systems.

The top causes of car wrecks

While a Mississippi car wreck can have a variety of causes, simple human error is the most common reason. Distracted driving is one danger that has become more and more widespread due to advances in phones and other technology. Even more basic activities like eating, drinking and conversing with passengers can constitute a distraction.

Impaired driving is another common factor. This includes driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, prescription drugs and even some over-the-counter medicines. Drivers might also have medical episodes like stroke or heart attack that lead them to crash. If drivers do not think of the risk factors, they may not be entirely freed from blame for such episodes.

Law Office of George B. Ready
175 East Commerce Street
Hernando, MS 38632

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