Articles Posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents

A recent study by the virtual insurance agent Insurify identified the ten car models associated with the most motor vehicle accidents. To arrive at its findings, Insurify looked at its database of “over 2.5 million car insurance applications.” When drivers apply for quotes via the website, according to its description, they enter information including their car’s model and whether they have been responsible for any motor vehicle accidents. Insurify’s researchers then compared “the number of car owners with a prior at-fault accident against the total number of drivers for each model to determine the proportion of drivers with an accident on record.”

Included in their data is each car’s safety ranking, as evaluated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, another insurance industry group. The IIHS Specifically evaluates safety by examining a car’s crashworthiness, or “how well a vehicle protects its occupants in a crash,” and its crash avoidance and mitigation technology, which “can prevent a crash or lessen its severity.”

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A new study published in the scientific journal Current Biology finds that the spring transition to Daylight Savings Time may result in an increase in fatal car accidents in the US. The study’s authors include Josef Fritz, Kenneth P. Wright Jr., and Céline Vetter of the University of Colorado, and Trang VoPham of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

The study, published in January 2020, found evidence that the springtime Daylight Savings Time shift “acutely increases motor vehicle accident (MVA) risk,” a phenomenon that “has been partly attributed to sleep deprivation and circadian misalignment.” Its summary, available via Current Biology, states that the shift one-hour forward results in darker mornings and brighter evenings, which change “illumination conditions for peak traffic density,” which may reduce MVA risk in accidents and evenings.

Another factor identified in the study is the changing sunrise and sunset depending on where you are geographically in your time zone. “The sun rises at an earlier clock time in the eastern regions of a given time zone than in the western regions, which is thought to induce higher levels of circadian misalignment in the west than in the east,” the study says. This phenomenon is known as “time zone effect.”

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A new car insurance industry analysis by virtual insurance agent Insurify reveals the industry’s systemic racism, according to an analysis by StreetsBlog. A close examination of pricing trends revealed that Black drivers with clean driving records receive higher prices than white drivers with spotty records, in addition to “other racist practices.”

The report states that “Cities and towns with majority Black residents experience among the  highest quote prices compared to cities of any other racial makeup, regardless of how clean their driving record is.” It describes “redlining,” a practice in which drivers in “majority-Black neighborhoods” pay nearly “20 percent more for car insurance on average than a driver living in a majority-White neighborhood” with violations on their record. Continue reading

A new analysis in TheCityFix looks at what cities in the United States can learn from Oslo, Norway’s effort to completely eliminate injuries and fatalities on its roads. According to that report, there were an average of 5-7 annual traffic fatalities in Oslo between 2010 and 2019, and  in 2015, the city embarked on an effort to reduce traffic and make the city safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

Since the city began keeping digital records two decades ago, no children between 6 and 15 were included in traffic fatality records, and the risk of “fatal or serious road traffic injuries, on a trip-by-trip basis, has fallen 47% for cyclists, 41% for pedestrians and 32% for drivers between 2014 and 2018.” The analysis notes further that the number of fatal or serious traffic injuries per one million trips fell from 3.2 to 1.7 for cyclists, 0.7 to 0.4 per pedestrians, and 1.7 to 1.1 for car drivers or passengers. Last year, “no vulnerable road users died all year” in Oslo. One car driver suffered a fatality.

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A new study of the car insurance industry, by virtual insurance agent Insurify, found that car insurance companies “subsidize car carnage,” according to an analysis by StreetsBlog. According to Insurify’s data, insurance companies charge lower rates for deadlier cars—like SUVS, minivans, and pickup trucks—than for smaller cars that aren’t responsible for as many deaths. Furthermore, people charged with aggressive driving violations “pay only 20 percent more on average than their safe counterparts,” StreetsBlog notes.

According to Insurify’s study, 87% of the more than 227 million licensed drivers in the United States are insured, and drivers pay a average of $1,463 on car insurance annually. Policy prices “can be greatly influenced” by the driver’s record, according to Insurify: drivers with clean records pay much less than those with moving violations. Minor violations on average result in a 24% increase in policy prices; intermediate violations result in 31% higher rates; and severe violations result in 49% higher rates. Insurify gathered its data by examining more than “over 25 million rates from the car insurance applications” over the last year, from all fifty states and Washington, DC. Continue reading

The overwhelming inaccessibility of traffic signals in New York City violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a new ruling by the Southern District of New York. Federal judge Paul A. Engelmayer wrote in his decision that “the near-total absence at the City’s signalized intersections of crossing information accessible to blind and low vision pedestrians denies such persons meaningful access to these intersections.” This poses a significant safety concern to blind persons, the court found.

An ABC News report on the ruling noted that 96.6% of New York City’s pedestrian control signals “communicate crossing information exclusively in a visual format.” Specifically, that’s all but 443 of the city’s 120,000 signals “at about 13,200 of [it’s] 45,000 intersections,” ABC reported. The court found that visual-exclusive signals, which use a white stick figure for a “walk” signal and an orange hand figure for “don’t walk,” are not accessible to blind pedestrians. Continue reading

A new release by the nonprofit transit advocacy group Transportation Alternatives reveals that New York City has experienced “the deadliest year for traffic violence” since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office in 2014. According to Transportation Alternatives, at least 200 people have died in traffic incidents in the city this year, with a projected total of 243 deaths by the end of 2020.

The report, released on October 22nd, notes that by that date in 2019, 188 people had been killed in traffic crashes in the city. In 2018, that number was 175; in 2017, 183; in 2016, 185; in 2015, 193; and in 2014, 212. Transportation Alternatives notes that historically, New York City’s traffic fatality rate “tends to spike between Halloween and the end of Daylight Saving Time in early November.”

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New York City needs dedicated lanes for bicyclists and e-scooter riders, argues a new column in City Limits. According to the author, transportation researcher and advocate Rachel Weinberger, the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the urgent need for a renewed investment in protected infrastructure.

The city’s empty streets in the early days of the pandemic led to reckless driving and traffic deaths, the column notes, but the return to pre-pandemic traffic levels have seen gridlock, injuries, pedestrian deaths, and cyclist fatalities. “Instead of returning to what we had, we have a chance to do better,” Weinberger writes. “We can use this moment to position ourselves in ways that best serve New Yorkers—those who have stayed, those who will return, and the newcomers who will power New York’s next cycle of growth.”

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A recent study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute found that as roads across the country cleared during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, they did not get any safer. According to a report by Traffic Technology Today, the likelihood of fatal crashes actually increased.

Examining traffic in urban and rural parts of Texas, researchers found that “while there was a drop in the number of crashes in Texas of almost 50% during April, compared to previous years, the proportion of those crashes that were fatal rose by 50%.” What this means is that any single accident was “more likely to be fatal than it would have been” were traffic levels not interrupted by lockdowns. Researchers looked at single-vehicle and multiple-vehicle crashes in different areas of the state, grouping them into the following categories: “all single-vehicle, all multi-vehicle and urban multi-vehicle, urban single-vehicle, and rural single-vehicle and rural multi-vehicle.”

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A recent New York Times article described many of the safety features in modern cars which drivers may not be aware of. Noting that pedestrian deaths from automobiles rose from 4,109 in 2009 to 6,283 in 2018, the report cautioned that this rise was due in part to the popularity of SUVS and pickup trucks, whose higher hoods and bumpers pose an increased risk to pedestrians. Still, the same period has seen an increased usage by automakers in an array of safety technology. A few listed by the Times include:

-Automatic emergency braking that detects pedestrians and cyclists;

-Automatic high-beams, which increase pedestrian detection;

-A warning system that signals the driver when they are drifting into a new lane;

-Lane keeping assistance, which helps drivers center their vehicles in the lane;

-Blind spot warning systems;

-Rear cross-path detection systems, which detects traffic and pedestrians behind the vehicle.

The report also discusses technology that’s not available in the US, such as “adaptive headlights” used by vehicles in the EU. These are headlights with sensors that “detect oncoming traffic and shade those vehicles from the incredibly bright LED units while illuminating the road ahead at full power.” There’s also a class element to who gets to enjoy safety features first. As the Times observes, many safety features drivers enjoy today “trickle[d] down from luxury cars,” such as technology for avoiding T-bone collisions and sensors that allow for automatic braking to avoid collisions.

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