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Albuquerque New Mexico Personal Injury Law Blog

Study identifies people most likely to be distracted drivers

According to a new study, certain types of New Mexico motorists are more likely to engage in distracted driving behaviors than others. These types of drivers include women, people who are very attached to their phones, reckless individuals and those who are very disinhibited. The results were published recently by the Society for Risk Analysis.

For the study, researchers in South East Queensland, Australia, surveyed 447 drivers about several driving factors, including perceived crash risk, driving abilities, likelihood of making a call while driving and odds of texting while driving. They found that 68 percent of the study's participants had a hard time accepting that texting and driving is always dangerous. Of those participants, many believed that texting had a limited impact on a driver's ability to operate a vehicle.

Why it’s important to be involved in your parents nursing home

There are many horrific stories of loved ones suffering abuse at the hands of their caretakers. It pains many adult children to discover the mistreatment of their mothers, fathers and grandparents. The slightest hint of something not feeling right, can be the beginning of uncovering nursing home abuse or patterns of unlawful practices.

Injustice is intolerable at any level of vulnerability and the elderly are often among the most disregarded population groups. Therefore, one of the best ways of preventing mistreatment is showing active involvement.

Lane departure and blind spot warning systems reduce crashes

Owners of newer vehicles in New Mexico that include safety technology that warns drivers of lane departures and objects in blind spots appear to be benefiting from the automatic systems. Research conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety detected an 18 percent reduction in sideswipe and head-on collisions in vehicles equipped with these alarms. Injuries fell by 24 percent as well, and deadly accidents dropped by 86 percent.

Commercial trucking operators using lane departure warning systems slashed wrecks associated with lane drifting by almost half according to a 2015 study. A study involving Volvo cars in Sweden with similar technology also produced a significant 53 percent reduction in accidents.

2017 car crash data shows fatalities exceed 40,000

With new technology providing both pros and cons to drivers, New Mexico residents may be wondering what the car crash rates are currently like. The National Safety Council issued a preliminary 2017 estimate back in February that may be of interest because it states that for the second year in a row, the number of car crash fatalities has exceeded 40,000.

While the number was 40,327 in 2016, overall traffic fatalities dropped to an estimated 40,100 last year. The death rate per population and per miles traveled both decreased by 2 percent from 2016; the first came to 12.28 deaths per 100,000 people while the second came to 1.25 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles driven. All the same, the last time that the fatality rate was this high, states the NSC, was in 2007. It also represents a 6 percent jump from 2015.

Distracted driving goes up during the summer

On June 15, the Travelers Institute hosted its Every Second Matters symposium at Capitol Hill as a way to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. As the public policy division of a leading provider of property casualty insurance, the institute is especially concerned with how distractions raise the risk for accidents, especially fatal ones. New Mexico residents should know about the data the Travelers Institute brought up to support its claims.

In particular, the organization wanted to stress the fact that the number of distracted drivers goes up in the summer. This is partly because more people are on the roads taking trips. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that people drive an average of 20 percent more miles in the summer than in the winter; June, July and August also see 29 percent more road deaths than December, January and February.

Studies continue to link new tech to driver distraction

New mobile technology and automated features provide drivers with more and more distractions. New Mexico residents who are worried about the increasing number of distracted drivers on the road may be interested in some of the most recent studies about the trend.

The U.S. Department of Transportation states that 37,150 people died on America's roads in 2017. This was a 10 percent increase from the year-end count in 2014. While there is no definitive link between this and advances in technology, experts strongly suspect a connection. Nauto, a company specializing in smart cameras for fleet vehicles, reviewed the severe collisions that occurred over a four-month period and found that two-thirds were caused by distracted driving.

Independence Day and its many safety risks

While it may not be pleasant to think about, the Fourth of July is filled with all kinds of safety hazards. Drivers in New Mexico should especially be careful. Esurance and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety both claim that the number of fatal car crashes reaches its peak on Independence Day. From 2007 to 2011, roughly 40 percent of all highway deaths in America were caused by drunk drivers during the Fourth of July holiday period.

According to AAA's estimates, this same five-day period will see about 37.5 million Americans traveling 50 miles or more from their homes. Such an increase in traffic this year will mean an increase in crashes as many will possibly be distracted and traveling routes that are not as familiar as their usual commutes.

Drug use becoming more prevalent in fatal crashes

New Mexico drivers might be interested in the findings of a Governors Highway Safety Association report about fatal car accidents and drugs. The impact of marijuana and opioids on traffic fatalities has increased in recent years. According to the report, 44 percent of drivers who died in traffic accidents tested positive for the presence of drugs in their systems in 2016. In 2006, only 28 percent of fatally injured drivers tested positive for drugs.

Among those drivers who were killed in car accidents and tested positive for drugs during 2016, 16 percent had positive tests for opioids, 38 percent had positive tests for marijuana and 4 percent tested positive for both opioids and marijuana. By comparison, alcohol was found in the systems of 38 percent of drivers who died in car accidents in 2016, down from 41 percent in 2006.

Why you should call the police after a car accident

When a car accident hits, it can be hard to know what to do. You'll probably have a lot of questions and little time to figure them out -- especially if you are injured or disoriented.

No matter the degree of the accident, calling an officer to come and assess the scene of the accident is essential. A police report will be filed, which is an important step in determining the cause of the accident and eventually filing an accident claim, if applicable.

New tech may be the answer to distractions on the road

As too many drivers in New Mexico know through personal experience, smartphones provide a variety of distractions. To stop this, several phone providers have made free apps available that silence all incoming communications, send autoreplies and prevent drivers from engaging in certain functions like texting. However, these do not block all communications.

This is where two new devices come in. The first is called Groove and is currently undergoing pilot programs in the U.S. and Australia. Groove can be plugged into any car, just beneath the steering wheel, and link the driver's phone to its service provider. Once the provider knows that the vehicle is in motion, it blocks all communications and leaves only basic functions like music streaming and navigation intact. Even these can be blocked if drivers or administrators wish it. All messages appear after the car is shut off.

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