San Antonio Personal Injury Blog

Texas leads the country in truck crashes

A motor vehicle crash is a scary experience for anyone and even more so if a truck is involved. Because of the disparity in size and weight, cars don’t stand a chance when up against a truck in an accident. Truck accidents kill approximately 4,000 people each year, many of them occupants in passenger vehicles.

In the United States, even though motor vehicle crash numbers are down, truck crashes are up 20 percent in the last decade and truck fatalities are at their highest level in 29 years. Even worse for us, Texas leads the country in trucking accidents and fatalities, with more than 550 people killed in 2016 alone.

AAA study reveals dangers of car infotainment systems

Distracted driving is just as much a problem in Texas as it is in other states. Unfortunately, some new technologies are only making matters worse. A recent AAA study shows that infotainment systems are especially problematic. Researchers at the University of Utah analyzed 30 such systems for AAA, all of them on new 2017 vehicles from makers like Toyota, Honda, Ford, Dodge and Tesla. Seven of the systems required a moderate level of attention, 11 a high level and 12 a very high level.

Participants in the study were drivers aged 21 to 36; they were asked to use the various infotainment features, such as calling, texting and programming navigation, while on the road. Researchers noted that the participants would often swerve out of their lanes, ignore stop signs, drive far below the speed limit and engage in other unsafe behavior.

How drivers in Texas can avoid road rage

While some drivers already have their own strategy for defusing road rage, others do not. Below are just a few tips for defusing angry and aggressive feelings, both in one's self and in others. Following these tips could help drivers avoid accidents and a lot of unnecessary tension.

The first step is for drivers to remain calm when someone else, for example, cuts them off or takes a parking space they were aiming for. One could listen to classical music to relieve stress or think reasonable thoughts. One should also not grip the steering wheel as this will constrict blood flow and cause headaches. Above all, one should refrain from honking the horn, flashing the high beams or making inflammatory hand gestures.

ZF's new airbags could lessen severity of side collisions

Among the various car safety features that are emerging, external airbags have some of the greatest potential. According to car parts manufacturer ZF, they can reduce the severity of side collision injuries by as much as 40 percent. ZF has even developed its own airbags although there is still much work to be done before they can be perfected. Texas drivers should know that other manufacturers are working on the technology behind these airbags.

ZF's external airbags are designed to provide an additional crumple zone to the sides of a vehicle so that it absorbs some of the shock of a T-bone or other side collision. The challenge is to make the airbags deploy as intended and to ensure that the sensors recognize the vital details of an impending crash. Another concern is that the airbags might deploy at inappropriate times.

Study shows automatic emergency braking prevents crashes

Rear-end collisions are a common type of accident among motorists in Texas. Nationwide, they represent roughly one-third of all motor vehicle crashes. Automakers have addressed this problem in recent years with the development of automatic emergency braking systems. A new study completed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety confirmed how effective these emergency systems are at preventing rear-end accidents.

IIHS researchers compared 10 models of General Motors vehicles released in 2013 through 2015. Automatic emergency braking systems were optional during those years, which gave researchers the opportunity to examine any crash differences between vehicles with or without automatic emergency brakes. Models without automatic systems only sound a warning when drivers approach an object from behind so that they can take action. Models with the emergency technology automatically apply the brakes if drivers fail to do so.

New statistics out on crash risk among sleep-deprived drivers

A SLEEP journal study has revealed some new statistics on the risk that drivers run when traveling drowsy. A U.S. Department of Transportation survey found that one in three adult drivers in Texas and across the nation sleep less than seven hours, though the usual recommendation is that everyone get between seven and nine hours. Drowsy driving is behind an estimated 7 percent of all motor vehicle crashes, including 16 percent of all fatal crashes.

The study shows that with every lost hour of sleep, the chances of an accident increase. Six hours of sleep makes drivers 1.6 times more likely to crash, while five and four hours raise that risk 1.9 and 2.9 times, respectively. Drivers who sleep fewer than four hours are 15.1 times more likely to crash and are the most liable to get in single-vehicle crashes.

Defensive driving: What is it and how can it keep you safe

Many people do not know what defensive driving is or how it can help you stay safe on the road and avoid an accident. This post aims to educate drivers about defensive driving and how to use the technique to help them stay safe when driving.

Driver error causes over 90 percent of crashes in the United States and defensive driving could save you from a bad accident.

Many Texans in favor of lowering the legal limit

Drunk driving laws can have major ramifications when it comes to traffic safety. This is because such laws can have big impacts on driver behavior and law enforcement practices when it comes to alcohol and driving. One significant part of drunk driving laws is the legal limit. This limit sets what blood alcohol level in a driver automatically constitutes a drunk driving offense.

As is typical in the U.S. these days, the legal limit here in Texas is 0.08. However, a recent Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute survey indicates that many people in the state are in favor of lowering the limit.

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