Rockville Maryland Motor Vehicle Accident Law Blog

SUVs a major factor in rising number of pedestrian deaths

Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are commonplace here in Maryland and the Washington, DC metro area. They are popular for transporting groups, people like the roomier interior, people feel safer in the bigger vehicle, and some just like to sit up higher. With as bad as the roads are around here, the SUV also provides a smoother ride and more resilience to the potholes, cracks and other hazards.

These assets make certain drivers feel more comfortable and safer, but they are also the reason the vehicles are more dangerous. According to a new study by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), SUVs are a major contributing factor for the increase in pedestrian deaths in this country, which jumped to nearly 6,000 fatalities in 2016.

Older drivers involved in increasing number of accidents

The U.S. population continues to trend older as people live longer. Moreover, older people are remaining active and mobile later in life. However, the transportation research group TRIP has tracked higher rate of injuries and fatalities among older drivers. With 46 million people 65 or older making up 15 percent of the population, other drivers as well as friends and family need to be ware that older drivers can be a hazard to themselves and others on the road.

Older drivers dying at twice the rate of all drivers

Car seats and the safety of children

Ensuring that children are kept safe while in a moving vehicle is right up there with necessities like providing them with food and shelter. Unfortunately, thousands of children are injured in motor vehicle crashes each year, making it the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13 years old.

Different ages mean different safety rules

NTSB calls for new pedestrian safety measures

The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a series of recommendations to improve pedestrian safety here in the U.S. The board is alarmed by the fact that there is a 46 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities between 2009 and 2016. A total is 16 deaths per day added up to 5,987 in 2016. Moreover, pedestrian deaths make up approximately 21 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities.

Here in Maryland, there were 104 pedestrian deaths involving motor vehicles in 2016, which is 1.73 pedestrian deaths per 100,000. This is 29 percent higher than the national average.

DC and Baltimore top dangerous to driving list

The Allstate Insurance Company annually compiles claims and ranks 200 metro areas across the country. With number 1 being the safest, the Washington, DC ranked 198 and Baltimore ranked 200, which is to say that we live in the most dangerous areas in the country to drive. These numbers should actually be no surprise to anyone who drives here on a regular basis, nor were they a surprise to Allstate, which ranked Washington, DC was 197 and Baltimore was 199 in 2017. The statistics are based on the number of collisions that involve property damage claims of any kind.

Inside these dubious numbers

Time saved by speeding not worth the risk

It is human nature to step on the gas pedal when you are running behind. The thinking goes: I need to go faster, which gets me to my destination sooner. Now research says otherwise, particularly in urban environments.

According to a study that examines time saved from driving faster versus risk involved, there is little empirical evidence of saving time in day-to-day urban driving, and a much higher risk of speed-related crashes that lead to injuries and death. The researcher examined naturalistic driving data collected from 106 drivers over a period of five weeks.

Maryland gains reputation as speed trap

Most Maryland drivers are aware of the fact that they no longer need to be pulled over to get a speeding ticket. According to a recent Washington Post article, the state issued 1.5 million tickets for speed camera violations for a total $62.2 million in fines. These cameras issue tickets between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily and are often set up near schools. The threshold for issuing a ticket is typically 12 miles over the speed limit.

Speed cameras a huge moneymaker for local jurisdictions

August 2 is the most dangerous day for car wrecks

It is not New Years Eve or July 4th. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the most dangerous day of the year to drive is August 2. This calculation is based on the fact that the highest number of motor vehicle related deaths (505) on one specific day occurred on August 2 from 2012 to 2016. Similarly, August is also the most dangerous month of the year to drive with 15,914 fatalities during that same period of years. This will be a revelation for nearly everyone.

Drivers simply let down their guard

Hit and run accidents on the rise

The AAA has announced that fatalities from hit-and-runs in the U.S. are at record highs. This is based on a recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. It announced that there were 2019 people killed in hit-and-run crashes in 2016, which is up 62 percent from 2009 (the last year that had a downward trend in deaths recorded). That number also makes 2016 the deadliest year since AAA started keeping track of the number of fatalities in 1975.

Many victims are pedestrians or cyclistsThe study also found that 65 percent of fatalities were pedestrians or cyclists. It also added that 20 percent of all pedestrian fatalities involved hit-and-run. This is compared to 1 percent of driver fatalities.

Shortage of truck drivers could lead to more crashes

Unemployment levels are at historic lows, but that is not necessarily always a good thing. The trucking industry is currently facing a crisis where there are conservatively estimated to be 63,000 open positions. This number is expected to double in the coming years.

This will impact the economy because nearly every product manufactured and consumed will be freight in a truck at some point. But the other part of this equation is the fact that trucking companies are struggling to meet demands, which can mean overworked drivers getting pushed past legal limits for safety.

Steven H. Dorne

Attorney Steven H. Dorne

Attorney Steven H. Dorne is an accomplished lawyer who practices in state and federal courts in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. He brings more than 30 years of experience and a long record of success to each case. His law practice is distinguished by careful preparation and thorough analysis of each case...

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