In the U.S., the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents has been trending downward since the 1970s. Much of that reduction has traditionally been attributed to a combination of multiple factors. The government and insurance companies began running safety tests on cars and reporting the results to both the manufacturers and the public. Roadway design has become safer. Highway and interstate speed limits were implemented across the nation. Seatbelts were made standard.
It's likely that the 85-year-old man never saw the motorcycle before hitting it, but the 27-year-old motorcyclist was killed. That driver has now been charged with vehicular homicide, involuntary manslaughter and other offenses in regards to that October motorcycle accident, which took place near Philadelphia. Luckily for him, all of the charges are misdemeanors, according to reports.
Last year, approximately 4,500 people were killed in motorcycle accidents in California and across the country. This means that about one out of every seven people who died on U.S. roads did so in motorcycle-related crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are about 30 times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident than drivers and passengers are to die in car crashes.
Recently, university researchers conducted a study on pedestrian accidents and fatalities in U.S. cities. For residents of Los Angeles and other large California cities, the results of the study probably did not come as a surprise.
According to preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of people killed in motor vehicle accidents increased significantly in the first six months of 2012. Officials are not yet sure of the reason for the jump, but they reportedly believe that the economy and the job market may be partially to blame for both the historic declines in traffic fatalities in previous years and this year's large increase.
Earlier this week, the California assembly passed the so-called '3 Feet' bicycle safety bill, which requires drivers to give bicyclists at least three feet of space when passing on California roads. The bill now goes to the state Senate for a concurrence vote. The Senate previously passed a similar bill, so this version will likely make it to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk in the relatively near future.
When two cars collide, especially if they are traveling at high speeds, just about everything in the vehicles becomes airborne. Unfortunately, that includes people, and it means that passengers who are not wearing seat belts then become a danger not only to themselves but to the other people in the car.
According to recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the first quarter of 2012 saw a significant increase in car accident deaths in comparison to the same time period in 2011. The NHTSA is not yet sure of the reason for the unprecedented jump, but it points toward additional data indicating a coordinating increase in the number of miles driven during the time period in question.
If you have read our San Diego personal injury blog for any period of time, you are probably aware that distracted driving awareness and prevention is a major focus of traffic safety agencies both in California and at the federal level. Now, with the release of a new survey on texting and driving in teenagers, this focus will likely become even more intense as government officials work to prevent distracted driving-related car accidents, injuries and fatalities.
In 2000, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) began rating the states in terms of their graduated driver's license laws and other legislation specifically applicable to teenage drivers. During the first ranking, six states and the District of Columbia earned a rating of 'good,' while six were ranked 'poor.' In the most recent assessment, 36 states and D.C. were rated 'good' and no states were rated 'poor.'