Articles Posted in Traffic Accidents

Research conducted by State Farm Insurance indicates that the autumn months are when motorists are most at risk of crashes involving deer. Deer-vehicle accidents reach their peak in October, per a recent article by New York Upstate, though the risk persists until the end of January. As the article notes, the risk is so high in those months because they constitute both the mating season for deer, as well as a period of heightened activity as deer forage in advance of the winter months.

A 2018 analysis by State Farm estimates that the risk of hitting deer or other large mammals “doubles in the fall.” The risk of hitting deer is highest at the dawn and dusk hours, raising the need for drivers to be vigilant. State Farm advises drivers take a number of precautions, including: driving slowly, especially at dawn and dusk; wearing seatbelts; anticipating additional deer to follow any deer they see; using high beams, unless oncoming traffic are approaching; and avoiding distractions, such as phones or food. In the event that a driver encounters a deer, State Farm advises braking if possible, but not swerving, which “can result in a more severe crash.”

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A new law in the State of New York requires all car passengers, even those riding in the backseat, to wear a seatbelt. Before the law went into effect on November 1st, passengers over 16 years of age were not required to wear a seatbelt when they were sitting in the rear seat. With the new legislation, New York becomes the 31st state in the nation to require backseat passengers to buckle up. While the law exempts bus passengers as well as people riding in emergency vehicles like ambulances, it does not exempt passengers in taxis and other ride share vehicles.

New York’s Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee has estimated that 30% of highway fatalities in the state involve passengers who aren’t wearing seatbelts. When Governor Cuomo signed the new legislation in August, State Senator David Carlucci said: “The injuries you can sustain from not wearing a seat belt can be deadly, and that’s a fact whether you sit in the front or the back of a vehicle. With this bill signed into law, we will help prevent tragedies and save lives in New York. Thank you to the advocates, including AAA for their strong support of this legislation.” Continue reading

To keep children safe from vehicle accidents, cities need to develop more green space, build protected infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, keep speed limits low, close off some streets to cars entirely, and implement clean air initiatives. Thats the argument of a recent article in TheCityFix, a website covering urban issues in the US and around the world.

As many as 500 children die in car crashes each day, with magnitudes more suffering the long-term consequences of the trauma that results from nonfatal car accidents. TheCityFix argues that in order to become more “child-friendly, cities need to take bold, holistic public policy approaches that prioritize the needs of children. Continue reading

Scooters and other micromobility vehicles may be the future of urban transit, argues a new article in TheCityFix. The Covid-19 pandemic’s effects on mobility patterns are likely to increase the speed with which urban dwellers adopt new transportation modes, like scooters, e-bikes, mopeds, and traditional bicycles. Studies show that some cities have seen as much as 90% declines in public transit use, with people shifting to micromobility vehicles. This trend raises important questions, especially when it comes to safety issues.

Most cities do not have the necessary infrastructure to keep micromobility users safe, according to TheCityFix: due to the dominance of urban development that favors car riders, absent are structures like bicycle lanes separated from traffic, or “connected corridors where people can safely ride and scoot over long distances.” In the absence of such structures, the use of micromobility vehicles can put riders at risk of injury and death. Continue reading

Is it time to repeal jaywalking laws? A new column in Bloomberg CityLab argues it is, citing their alleged role in systemic racism. The column points out that in September, a Black man in San Clemente, California, was shot and killed during an altercation with police when he tried to cross a street. “Black and Brown people, especially men, are routinely targeted by police for jaywalking or simply existing in public space,” the authors write, noting that while some infractions result in fines, others result in violence or death.

The column’s authors, who are both “experts on pedestrian safety” in the US, go on to argue that the rise of pedestrian deaths over the last ten years demonstrates the ineffectiveness of jaywalking laws when it comes to public safety. Then they lay out nine reasons to get rid of them in the US. Continue reading

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 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

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