Distracted Driving

Prepare Your Teen Driver with Safety Tips from NHTSA

1 Comment
Cobb Personal Injury Attorney - The Cooper Firm

School’s Out! Prepare Your Teen Driver with safety tips from NHTSA

Prepare your child for a safe driving experience with these safety tips from the NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration).

Summer has arrived! This means endless trips to the pool, to the lake, to friend’s houses, to lunch, to the beach…you get the idea. If you have a teen driver, summer means they have all day to spend in the car with their friends. It’s a big shift from just commuting to school in the morning and afternoon.  According to an NHTSA study, ‘teens were two-and-a-half times more likely to engage in potentially risky behavior when driving with a teenage peer versus driving alone. The likelihood increased to three times when traveling with multiple passengers‘. This is the scenario you’re facing every day during the summer. So prepare yourself with these tips:

5toDrive

  • Practice the ‘5 to Drive’:
  1. No Cell Phone – not just no texting!
  2. No Extra Passengers – check your state rules on passenger limitations for teen drivers
  3. No Speeding
  4. No Alcohol
  5. Always buckle-up – drivers and passengers!
  • Set your own ground rules and consequences should they be broken.
  • Be a good example – 41% of teens say their parents continue unsafe driving behaviors even after their teens ask them to stop. If you do it, your kids will do it too.

For more information on how to educate your teen about safe driving, visit http://www.safercar.gov/parents/TeenDriving/teendriving.htm

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, please contact The Cooper Firm for a complimentary case consultation.

Your Next Car Could Tell You When You’re Not Paying Attention

0 Comments
Vehicle Safety Technology Attorney - The Cooper Firm

Your Next Car Could Tell You When You’re Not Paying Attention

Since fully autonomous vehicles are still many years away from infiltrating the auto market, automakers are developing technology that will allow vehicles to determine if its human driver is paying attention to the road.

Distracted driving is a growing and deadly problem. According to Distraction.gov, 3,197 people were killed and 431,000 were injured in 2014 due to distracted driving. Thousands of people are dying every year due to drivers not paying attention behind the wheel. This technology could help save lives. Toyota, General Motors and Volkswagen have already started testing some of these systems, and it’s rumored that the technology will be available in two models next year.

Delphi Automotive has created the technology which will use cameras and software to track driver’s eyes and head movements. Since one of the most common distractions is cell phones, tracking a driver’s eye movement will help identify when a driver has become too distracted to drive. The systems will then alert the driver through vibrations or sound to let them know they need to re-focus their attention on the road. The system will work the same for drivers who may get drowsy behind the wheel as it will track their level of alertness. The radar will be able to recognize sagging eyelids, wrinkling of the temples, and squinting.

For drivers who are worried about their privacy or their distracted driving habits being shared, automakers have said that the information will not be released without their consent or a court request. More than likely, it will still be a long battle between automakers, technologist, consumers and industry government officials.

If these technologies are developed correctly, they have the potential to save thousands of lives.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident due to distracted driving, contact our law offices today for a free consultation.

Consumer Reports Suggest Buying Cars with Advanced Safety Systems

0 Comments
Vehicle Safety Technology Attorney - The Cooper Firm

Consumer Reports Suggest Buying Cars with Advanced Safety Systems

Consumer Reports is urging consumers to consider vehicles with active safety systems whenever purchasing a new vehicle.

Automakers have recently developed several advanced technology systems to help drivers avoid accidents. Initially, these systems were only offered by a few select automakers and usually on vehicles with a hefty price tag. Now, they are more readily available on vehicles and are not as expensive as they once were. There is hope that they will one day become standard like seat belts and airbags.

The new active safety systems include:

Forward-collision warning, with or without auto brakes. Consumer Reports states this system, “should be at the top of your list.” This system notifies driver of a potential for the most common type of car collision, a forward collision through radar, lasers and cameras.

Backup cameras and sensors. Consumer Reports shared that by 2018, this system will be standard on all vehicles.

Blind-spot warning and rear-cross traffic warnings. These systems alert drivers of possible collisions due to blind-spots through vibration of driver’s seat or alarm.

Lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist. These systems help keep the vehicles in its proper lane when the driver may be drifting.

Although none of these systems are perfected, the extra layer of protection they add far outweighs the kinks. Many of these systems have variety of names due to the fact they were developed by different automakers with different branding.

If you are currently in the market to buy a new vehicle, Consumer Reports has pulled together all feature names and options on each vehicle model which you can view here – http://www.consumerreports.org/car-safety/cars-with-advanced-safety-systems/

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a car accident, contact our law offices today.

Share the Road: Don’t get distracted

0 Comments
Cobb Personal Injury Attorney - The Cooper Firm

Share the Road: Don’t get distracted

Both drivers and cyclists need to practice good safety habits in order to save lives. Bicyclist fatalities have increased 19 percent from 2010 to 2013. In fact, in 2013 there were 743 bicyclist killed and additional 48,000 injured in car crashes.

Due to the fact drivers are more distracted than ever with new technology in vehicles and their cell phones, bicyclists are in more danger than ever. Sharing the road is ultimately part of defensive driving, but many do not know good safety practices. Here are a few ways that drivers and cyclist can help keep the road safe.

Drivers

  • Respect bicycle lanes and always maintain your lane. Never use bicycle lanes for parking, passing or turning.
  • If you must pass a bicyclist, always leave at least three feet clearance.
  • Pay extra attention when making turns for bicyclist not just vehicles.
  • Yield to bicyclist at intersections the same way you would a vehicle.
  • Never drive distracted.
  • Never drive impaired or distracted.

Bicyclist

  • Always wear a helmet that meets Consumer Product Safety Commission standards.
  • Make a habit of checking your bike equipment before riding. Always test brakes before getting on the road.
  • Ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • Obey traffic signs and traffic laws as you would in a vehicle.
  • Ride in a straight line and use signals when turning.
  • Do not get distracted and pay attention to potential obstacles in your path.
  • Wear bright clothing or reflective material. If riding at night, make sure you have lights on your bicycle and are wearing reflectors.
  • Do not use electronic devices or headphones while riding.
  • Do not drink and ride.

For more information on bicycle safety, you can visit our blog here.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a bicycle crash or car crash, contact our law offices today for a free consultation.

Source: NHTSA

How automakers plan to eliminate rear-end collisions

0 Comments
Auto Recall Attorney - The Cooper Firm

How automakers plan to eliminate rear-end collisions

Rear-end collisions account for a third of all car crashes. After years of trying to figure out how to prevent these accidents, automakers have started implementing technology to help reduce the amount of rear-end collisions.

Accidents cost Americans billions of dollars every year and lead to injuries and in some cases deaths. Safety technology could change that dramatically, and automakers and regulators feel strongly that it will. Ten automakers, federal safety regulators and an insurance industry trade group announced that automatic emergency braking will become a standard feature on all new car models sold in the United States. Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo were all automakers who agreed to work with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on developing a timeline to install the feature in all upcoming and future models.

Automatic emergency braking uses a combination of sensors and cameras or lasers to detect a potential crash and then warns the driver. In some cases, the vehicle will even brake for the driver if the driver does not take action. There are several newer vehicles that already offer this feature and those similar such as automated cruise control, lane departure warnings and high beams that will automatically adjust if an oncoming vehicle is coming. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety feels that automated braking systems can potentially reduce insurance injury claims by as much as 35%.

Having technologies that react quickly will help eliminate driver error and assist with drivers that may respond slower than normal. NHTSA found that many drivers in rear-end collisions didn’t apply the brakes at all or did not apply the brakes fully, both of which can be corrected by this new technology. Details regarding the roll-out have not been decided yet, and since it is not a federal mandate, companies are taking time to establish the performance criteria. Most of the technologies that are already on these newer models come with a price tag, so hopefully with the new roll-out, automakers will not add a price to safety. It has also not been decided if insurance premiums will be lower for vehicles that have these technologies or not.

While these products are going to help decrease the amount in injuries and deaths on the road, there is a potential that they could come with glitches and defects just as safety technologies before it such as airbags and seat belts. It is our hope that manufacturers and automakers alike will take the time to really ensure that these products are safe and that drivers understand them before they hit the market.

Protect Your Teen Drivers with the “5 to Drive” Campaign

0 Comments
Safety First - The Cooper Firm

Protect Your Teen Drivers with the “5 to Drive” Campaign

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is launching its “5 to Drive” campaign again this year for National Teen Driver Safety Week.

The campaign works to encourage parents to talk to their teen drivers about rules for the road in hopes that teens will drive safe. Car crashes are the leading cause of fatalities in teens 15 to 19 years old. In 2013, 2,614 teen drivers ages 15-19 were involved in fatal crashes. By having open conversations with your teenager, you can potentially save their life.

The campaign, which runs from October 18-24, 2015, addresses five of the most dangerous and deadly behaviors for teen drivers. The campaign aims to help parents as they talk to teens about these five issues. Here are the “5 to Drive” rules for parents to discuss with their teens:

  1. No drinking and driving. Nearly one out of five young drivers’ ages 15 to 19 that are involved in fatal crashes had been drinking, even though they were too young to legally possess or buy alcohol.
  2. Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back Seat. Of all young passengers and teen drivers who died in car crashes, 64% were not restrained.
  3. Put it down. One text or call could wreck it all. The age group of 15 to 19 year olds has the highest percentage of drivers who were distracted by cell phones use and died in a car crash.
  4. Stop speeding before it stops you. In 2013, almost one-third or 29 percent of teen drivers who were involved in fatal car crashes were speeding.
  5. No more than one passenger at a time. The risk of a fatal crash goes up for teens with each additional passenger.

NHTSA hopes with the launch of the campaign that parents will be encouraged to talk to their teens about these rules and the consequences of not following them. Parents can do little when their teen is on the road alone, but they can equip them to make wise decisions. Be sure to share the word about the “5 to drive” campaign and the facts behind it. NHTSA’s website has even more detailed information and statistics about the five rules which you can read here www.safercar.gov/parents.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, contact our law offices today for a free consultation.

Traffic deaths rise making 2015 possibly the deadliest year since 2007

0 Comments
Air Bag Defect Attorney - The Cooper Firm

Traffic deaths rise making 2015 possibly the deadliest year since 2007

Traffic deaths have increased by 14 percent this year along with injuries which have increased by a third according to the National Safety Council.

Recalls are not the only thing that have increased in the past two years. According to new data compiled by the National Safety Council, there could be more than 40,000 traffic fatalities this year. This will be the first time since 2007 that traffic deaths have been that high. Since the beginning of this year, there have been 19,000 deaths due to traffic accidents. That number only accounts through JuneStatistics have yet to be published for July and August, and they are historically two of the highest months for traffic fatalities according to the council. Fatalities are not the only big red flag waving. There have been 2.3 million “serious injuries” since the beginning of 2015, which is 30 percent higher than numbers from last year. Recalls for safety defects are also continuing to rise, with recalls for billions of vehicles and  products. Some recalls have even been coined as the largest in U.S. history. The president of the council, Deborah A.P. Hersman, said that the increase could be due to an improved economy and the record number of miles on the road this year, but that doesn’t account for everything.

Although traffic fatalities could be due to more cars and miles logged on the roads, vehicles are equipped with more safety features than ever before. Seat belt use is up. Vehicles have airbags in the front, rear and sides of the vehicle and some vehicles even offer additional airbags in other places. Safety technology has continued to advance with lane departure warnings, backup cameras and auto-braking systems. And these products are not just offered on luxury models. In addition, according to the council, deaths due to drunk drivers have decreased by 2o percent, and teen driving deaths have gone down as well.

Distracted driving has risen significantly though. The council released a study earlier this year that showed that a quarter of all crashes had a cell phone involved. There are a significant amount of older vehicles on the road, with the average age of vehicles on the road being 11 years old. There are also many smaller vehicles instead of large SUVs due to the economy dropping a few years back. Smaller and older cars are not going to hold up in crashes as well as the newer or larger models.

The increase in deaths and the increase in defective vehicles should be troubling to government safety agencies. We urge safety regulators not ignore these numbers, but to continue to advocate for consumers and make changes that will save lives.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a car accident, contact our law offices today for a free consultation.

Dashboards like Smartphones Raise Safety Concerns

1 Comment
Vehicle Safety Technology Attorney - The Cooper Firm

Dashboards like Smartphones Raise Safety Concerns

Dashboards are becoming increasingly popular on new vehicles, but safety advocates worry that they could increase risk of a car accident.

Automakers don’t seem to be too worried, and are only answering the overwhelming demand from consumers to make dashboards more like smartphones. Most automakers say that the dashboards will actually improve driving safety. Due to the voice controls and large touch screens, automakers think drivers will be less distracted and less tempted to play with their phone while driving.

Unfortunately, dashboards are more complex than they use to be, making them more difficult to work with. Just as you would look at your phone to complete a task, you are instead looking at the dash on your vehicle. In some cases, safety advocates and distracted driving studies think you could actually look at the dashboard longer than you typically would at your cell phone. David Strayer, a professor of cognition and neural science at the University of Utah who has also written several studies on distracted driving, showed in his research that reading a text message takes at least four seconds. And even four seconds is far longer that what Strayer considers safe.  Playing on your dashboard can take much longer than four seconds.

The newer the vehicle, the more features the dashboard will hold. Some dashboards will even show you your mentions on Twitter, although not allowing you to see your full Twitter stream. Text messages will appear across the dashboard and can be read aloud while you are driving. These are all things drivers shouldn’t be doing or looking at while driving, regardless of whether it’s a cell phone or dashboard.

There are currently no standards for dashboards in vehicles. Some safety agencies, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, have issued driver-distraction guidelines for dashboard displays, but they are only voluntary. Due to the lack of standards, there is a possibility that the more complex dashboards get, the more accidents there will be as a result. Insurers have not taken a stand on dashboards yet, and have not changed policy rates if a vehicle has an interactive dashboard or not.

It would be wise for NHTSA to educate itself on the new technologies and go ahead and create actual regulations for automakers instead of filling in later when these technologies could cause serious harm to consumers.


Contact Us

Contact Us