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Anaheim Personal Injury Law Blog

Prepare for driving on Anaheim's slick roads

While California is known for its sunny and warm weather, there are rainy days that Anaheim residents have to contend with. On these days, anyone who is driving should ensure they are prepared to deal with the slick road conditions.

Before you head out on the wet roads, you must ensure that your vehicle's tires are in good shape. Tires without enough tread can't grip the road and could lead to your vehicle skidding or hydroplaning. Ideally, you will check this on a day when the roads aren't wet so that you can have them changed before you encounter slick roads.

Federal lawmakers explore automotive tech to stop drunk drivers

Intoxicated drivers cause serious and sometimes deadly car accidents in California every year. A new bipartisan bill circulating the U.S. Congress seeks to develop and require technology within vehicles that would prevent ignition by drivers who have consumed alcohol. The Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019 calls on automakers to install alcohol detection systems in all new vehicles by 2024. Lawmakers believe that the law would prevent approximately 7,000 deaths every year.

The successful record of ignition interlock devices, or IIDs, which courts sometimes use to prevent convicted drunk drivers from driving under the influence again, has inspired the legislative effort. An IID measures the alcohol content in a driver's breath and stops the vehicle from starting if it detects alcohol. According to statistics provided by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, IIDs have halted over 3 million ignitions by drunk drivers since 2006.

Study associates opioid use with some fatal car crashes

Opioids cause psychomotor and cognitive impairment, so those who take opioids and drive raise their risk for a car crash. In California and across the U.S., the opioid crisis is contributing to car crash rates, but there is debate as to whether rates are rising. One study shows that while 2% of crash initiators had opioids in their system in 1993, that percentage was 7.1% in 2016. On the other hand, fewer opioid prescriptions are being written.

A study in JAMA Network Open has touched upon this controversy but has not cleared it up. Instead, researchers looked at the possible role that opioid use has in fatal two-car crashes. Using NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, they looked at 1,467 opioid-using drivers who were involved in such crashes and discovered that 918 of them were the crash initiators.

Reducing distracted driving through AI

Drivers in California may be aware of the dangers of distracted driving and yet do nothing about it. It can become second nature to call, text and use in-vehicle technology behind the wheel. On the other hand, many drivers don't even realize that eating, drinking, talking with passengers and changing radio stations can constitute distractions. Distracted driving crashes lead to an average of nine deaths and 100 injuries every day in this country.

This is where artificial intelligence may play an important role. Using the mechanics of deep learning and advances in computer visual technology, automakers can create cameras and sensors that monitor vehicle interiors and then issue navigational commands to the vehicle based on driver behavior. Engineers may make software algorithms that are sophisticated enough to predict all kinds of human behavior.

Watch out for car crashes as daylight saving time ends

Drowsy driving is a major hazard on roads in California and across the country. Unfortunately, the problem becomes worse when daylight saving time ends each year, according to traffic safety advocates.

The National Sleep Foundation reports that over 6,400 Americans are killed and 50,000 are injured in drowsy driving car accidents each year. This occurs even though a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey found that 96% of U.S. drivers identify drowsy driving as a top roadway safety hazard. Studies show that setting clocks back an hour can increase fatigue-related crashes by interrupting the sleep patterns of drivers, making it harder to concentrate and stay alert behind the wheel.

How to take smart action after a car accident

Being involved in a car accident is invariably a stressful experience. There are many things that the affected person has to worry about. While financial and legal issues are significant, the health and safety of yourself and all others involved should always be the most important priority.

In the immediate aftermath of an accident, the actions that you take could have a huge impact on your ability to gain back financial damages in the long term. The following are the things that you should do after a car accident to maximize your chances of success in this endeavor.

Operation Safe Driver Week focuses on reducing crashes

Each year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance sponsors Operation Safe Driver Week to promote awareness among commercial and passenger car drivers regarding negative driver behavior. Although the CVSA is an organization that focuses on commercial vehicle safety, it recognizes that safety on California roadways and throughout the nation depends on all drivers, in all types of vehicles, adhering to the rules of the road.

According to the CVSA, 94% of all vehicle crashes involve some contribution of driver behavior. If, through the issuance of the 46,752 citations and 87,624 warnings made during this year's Operation safe Driver Week, accidents involving semi-trucks and tractor-trailers can be reduced, everyone wins. Speeding, including violation of the basic speed law and driving too fast for the road conditions, was the number one violation for which commercial drivers were cited. Others high on the list included failure to wear a seat belt, failure to obey a traffic control device, use of a handheld phone and improper lane change.

Avoid accidents by staying focused on the road

Those who are driving on California roadways should make sure that they keep their focus on the road at all times. In 2018, there were an estimated 40,000 traffic fatalities in America caused by accidents involving distracted or drunk drivers. Mechanical problems with a vehicle and aggressive driving can also play a role in an accident. Therefore, it is important that drivers have their cars inspected on a regular basis either on their own or with the help of a professional.

It is also important that drivers refrain from using their cellphones when they are in the car. This will allow them to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the steering wheel. Taking a hand off the wheel may make it harder to make a sharp turn or avoid an object in a vehicle's path.

More Americans engaging in road rage incidents

California motorists may have noticed several high-profile road rage incidents in the news lately, including the story of a Wisconsin woman who was shot dead while trying to teach her teen son to drive. Unfortunately, these incidents are not isolated.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatal road rage accidents have spiked significantly. In 2006, there were only 80 deadly road rage incidents, but that number skyrocketed to 467 in 2015. Meanwhile, a nonprofit news agency reported that incidents involving drivers who threaten other drivers with a gun or fire a gun at other motorists jumped from 247 in 2014 to 620 in 2016. In addition, a survey from the American Automobile Association's Foundation for Traffic Safety found that almost 80% of U.S. drivers admit to displaying anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel in the last 12 months. For instance, 51% admit they have tailgated on purpose, 47% admit to yelling at other motorists, 45% admit to honking their horn out of annoyance or anger, and 33% admit to making obscene gestures. Worse, 24% of those polled said they have tried to block another vehicle from making a lane change, 12% said they have purposely cut off other vehicles, 4% said they have left their vehicle to confront another motorist, and 3% have actually hit another driver on purpose.

Automakers seek ways to keep drivers engaged behind the wheel

Semi-autonomous vehicle technology meant to prevent accidents remains dependent on drivers paying attention. Technology, like Tesla's autopilot or automatic emergency brakes, relies on sensors, cameras and software to interpret traffic and take corrective actions. Although the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recognizes the potential of driver-assistive technology to reduce crash rates, the technology has not become completely dependable. To stop drivers in California from assuming a false sense of safety, automakers have built systems to monitor driver engagement.

General Motors Co. has installed in-cabin cameras in some vehicles. The cameras check to see if drivers are keeping their eyes on the road. Tesla has added steering wheel sensors to collect information about how drivers are holding the wheel. When drivers activate autopilot, a message on the dashboard of new Tesla vehicles reminds them that they are responsible for paying attention to traffic.

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