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Riverside County Personal Injury Law Blog

How new car features are saving lives

A 2018 study from J.D. Power has shown that new vehicle safety features are saving lives. Whether automotive fatalities will ever be reduced to zero is another matter, but more than half of surveyed new car owners have said that safety features like blind spot alert, backup cameras and automatic emergency braking helped prevent a crash in the first 90 days of ownership. California drivers may be interested to hear more.

These features, which go under the collective term Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, have been found to save the lives of other drivers and pedestrians, too. This is according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

Roundabouts can reduce serious accidents by up to 75%

The vast majority of intersections in California are controlled by traffic lights or stop signs, but studies suggest that building roundabouts instead could prevent thousands of deaths and injuries each year. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Federal Highway Administration, reconfiguring traditional intersections with roundabouts reduces collisions resulting in injury by as much as 75% and fatalities by as much as 90%.

Roundabouts are so effective at preventing serious car accidents because they force drivers to slow down and eliminate T-bone crashes. Cars in roundabouts generally travel at between 10 mph and 20 mph, but drivers who run through red lights or stop signs often move at highway speeds. This is why T-bone accidents that take place in intersections are so deadly. Roundabouts also allow traffic to move continuously so drivers do not have any incentive to act recklessly in order to beat a red light.

Summer means higher accident risk for teen drivers

Emergency personnel in California and nationwide know that the Memorial Day holiday launches a period of heightened risk for drivers. Teen drivers have an especially bad record during the summer months. A lack of driving experience coupled with more time driving raises the chances of teens getting into crashes.

Research from the Ford Motor Co. has consistently identified the 100 days that take place between Memorial Day and Labor Day as a deadly time for teen drivers. Data collected by the American Automobile Association confirms the threat. The association refers to summer as the 100 deadliest days for teenage drivers. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that fatal wrecks involving teens rise by 15% during the summer.

How property owners can maintain a safe parking lot

All business owners in California and across the U.S. have a duty to maintain a reasonably safe environment for entrants. What's important to remember is that this environment extends to the parking lot. If owners neglect this duty, they may be held liable for any injuries that a customer or employee incurs in this area.

For this reason, property owners may want to consider the following four parking lot safety tips. The first tip is to keep traffic moving in consistent directions with the help of high-visibility striping, signage and arrows. Parking spaces, handicap signs and emergency vehicle lanes should be clearly marked as well.

Tesla's newest autopilot feature poses yet more risks

Since 2018, Tesla has added several functions to its Navigate on Autopilot feature. One feature flashes a warning to drivers who try to change lanes without putting their hands on the wheel while another innovation steers the vehicle back into its lane if it senses a potential collision. Despite these new functions, some say that Tesla's Autopilot is not completely safe on California roads.

Consumer Reports recently looked at the Navigate on Autopilot feature for its ability to make a car change lanes without a driver's input. This optional feature was found to make poor decisions, sometimes cutting off cars that are speeding up and even making maneuvers that violated traffic laws. The feature was found to be especially problematic during merges. It would automatically brake to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles.

5 dangerous situations for pedestrians

The average weight of motor vehicles on U.S. roadways is roughly 4,000 pounds. You are considerably smaller. As such, a collision with a motor vehicle may leave you with serious injuries. While you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries, you probably want to avoid an injury altogether. 

Most of the year, Palm Springs is a walker’s paradise. Still, California has more pedestrian injuries and deaths than most other states. Whether taking a morning jog or enjoying an evening stroll, you want to arrive at your destination safely. Here are five of the most dangerous situations for pedestrians: 

Small cars, sport coupes among deadliest cars on the road

More than 37,000 lives were claimed as a result of fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2017, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It's because of stats like this that new car buyers in California often give preference to vehicles with accident avoidance systems and other safety features. However, there are certain vehicles naturally more likely to be involved in life-claiming accidents than others.

Researchers recently compiled data from the Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System on fatal collisions to determine which vehicles are the deadliest on the road. Not surprisingly, the list consists entirely of either small cars or sport coupes. This is likely because smaller vehicles provide less protection during impacts than their heavier and larger counterparts. Sports cars, which have the highest fatal accident rate, are built for speed, which tends to encourage more aggressive driving.

The perils of driving while fatigued

The majority of motorists in California are aware that driving while fatigued can be extremely dangerous. Nevertheless, the results of several studies suggest that a worryingly large number of Americans are frequently guilty of getting behind the wheel despite being drowsy or under the influence of medications like Ambien or Restoril. According to the National Sleep Foundation, drivers who have not slept for 24 hours pose as much of a threat to other road users as motorists with blood alcohol concentrations higher than the .08 percent legal limit.

Another problem with drowsy driving is that most of the things fatigued drivers do to remain alert either do not work for very long or make matters worse. Drinking a cup of coffee only provides short-term stimulation, and turning up the stereo or opening a window have virtually no effect at all. However, taking actions such as these may lead drowsy drivers to believe that they have tackled the problem.

July 14 kicks off CVSA's Operation Safe Driver Week

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has an upcoming event that all drivers in California, including truck and bus drivers, should know about. July 14 to 20 has been designated this year as the CVSA's Operation Safe Driver Week, a period of intense nationwide enforcement of traffic laws.

Police will be stopping any unsafe drivers, including distracted, aggressive or impaired drivers, and issuing either warnings or citations. They will be looking for any violations of traffic law like failure to wear a seatbelt, improper lane changes and failure to obey traffic signals. Most importantly, they will be monitoring the roads for speeding. The CVSA's message is to be, "Late won't kill you, speeding will."

More fractures reported at jump parks than with home trampolines

In California and across the U.S., trampoline parks are becoming more popular, but there is still question as to how safe they really are. The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has published the results of a study comparing the rate of severe injuries at trampoline parks to trampolines at home. It turns out that while home trampolines see more injuries in general, 66% as opposed to 34%, the parks experience more dislocations and fractures.

Specifically, 55% of the patients involved in the study had a fracture from a jump park compared to 44% from a home trampoline. Under severe injuries are categorized all open fractures and fractures requiring surgery. Adults double their risk for a fracture requiring surgery when at a jump park: 23% versus 10%.