Austin Texas Motor Vehicle Accidents Blog

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AAA warns against drowsy driving after daylight saving time

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is cautioning drivers about the effects of losing one hour of sleep in the wake of daylight saving time. In Texas, as elsewhere, many accidents arise because drivers do not get the recommended seven hours of sleep each night. AAA states that missing one or two hours in a 24-hour period can actually double a driver's risk for getting into an accident.

Moreover, AAA says that people who sleep for only five hours in the previous 24 hours will drive like they're intoxicated by alcohol. In a AAA survey, 3 in 10 respondents admitted to driving at least once during the previous month in a condition where they had trouble keeping their eyes open despite the fact that 95 percent of respondents recognized how unsafe and unacceptable it is to drive while drowsy.

Can you prevent a drunk driving accident?

You know how dangerous drunk driving is and you constantly warn your children about the consequences. You and your kids know to never get behind the wheel while intoxicated, but other people are not as smart. While you may take every precaution to prevent drunk driving from your end, you cannot control what other people do. You and your kids could still be at risk of getting into an accident caused by a drunk driver.

However, there are extra safety steps you can take to keep you and your kids safe from drunk drivers on the road. You cannot control everything, but you can make sure you are as safe as possible.

Help your teen driver avoid drinking and driving

When your teen is just starting to drive, it’s important to go over the essentials with them. Proper driving habits and defensive driving strategies are important aspects to cover with a new driver.

However, it’s also important to have a plan for your teen in case they are ever in a situation they need to leave without driving. For instance, if he or she has been drinking. Here’s how to help your teen make positive choices around driving:

Opioid abuse and fatal car crashes

A recent U.S. study illuminated some noteworthy facts about two-car car crashes that lead to fatalities. The study showed how this nation's opioid epidemic is having far-reaching consequences. According to the study, at-fault drivers were twice as likely to test positive for opioids than their victims. Failure to stay in the proper lane was the most common deadly error committed by drugged drivers. Because each avoidable fatal crash creates enormous expense for society, public officials have little choice but to vigorously address the ongoing epidemic of drugged driving.

Driver negligence is a huge factor contributing to and causing fatal road accidents in modern life. When negligence is combined with substance use, the resultant automotive accidents can be particularly gruesome. Whether a person uses legal or illicit drugs before hitting the road, driver impairment can turn any highway into a veritable death trap for unsuspecting victims.

The most common causes of car accidents

A wide range of factors can cause car accidents in Texas. Both human error and conditions out of the control of drivers contribute to the problem. There are, however, a few causes of accidents that account for most incidents. The reason why it's important to find out the cause of accidents is to determine who is at fault. A person, or company, at fault could be held liable for the damages incurred by victims. They may also be held criminally responsible in certain cases.

The primary cause of automobile accidents is human error. This cause is divided into several subcategories, including distracted driving, drunk driving, reckless driving, and others. Distracted and drunk driving typically get the most attention because of how common they are. Drunk drivers can receive very serious criminal penalties if they are caught by police, and distracted drivers get more and more legal attention every year.

How phone usage among drivers is becoming more dangerous

More and more drivers in Texas may be using their cellphones in unsafe ways. According to observational surveys by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted in 2014 and 2018, drivers were 57 percent more likely to be spotted in 2018 using phones to text or in other ways that did not involve talking to someone. However, drivers in 2014 were more likely to make calls while behind the wheel.

While there is general agreement that drivers are safer when they are not on their phones, it is not certain what role distracted driving and the use of cellphones play in fatal accidents. One problem is that attributing an accident to distracted driving usually requires either permission to examine a person's cellphone or having a driver self-report being distracted. The IIHS estimates that around 800 fatalities in 2017 might have been caused by drivers texting or using their phones in other ways besides talking.

How to help your teen avoid drunk drivers on the road

Earning a driver’s license is a big step toward freedom for many teenagers, and it is only natural that as a parent you might worry about your teen driver. After all, your teenager will always be your child, even as he or she grows up and becomes more independent. While this is a time in your teenager’s life when he or she may want to revel in newfound independence, teens may not yet be experienced enough to understand how to avoid some of the risks associated with driving a vehicle.

In 2017, over 1,000 people died and even more were injured in Texas crashes that involved drunk drivers, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Because of the prevalence of drunk drivers, it is important to talk to your teen to help him or her avoid being in a car crash with one.

Drowsiness a safety risk among ridesharing drivers

Compelled by low fare and salary incentives, many ridesharing drivers in Texas choose to overwork themselves, becoming sleep-deprived in the process. This can especially make them dangerous behind the wheel in the early morning and late at night. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued a position statement back in April 2018 regarding this widespread problem.

Quite a few ridesharing drivers, unfortunately, underrate the importance of sleep. With their drivers generally being classified as independent contractors, the ridesharing industry has no way of screening them for medical conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea, that can diminish alertness even more.

Your teen shouldn’t post about their car accident on social media

Many drivers experience a collision at some point after getting their license. But as a parent of a teen driver, did you know that your kid’s social media accounts might be part of an investigation after a car accident? Insurers or investigators could use social media posts to establish your teen driver’s liability.

It is common knowledge that the use of electronic communications devices behind the wheel is unsafe. That said, even if your teen wasn’t updating a social media account at the time of the accident, they might not be off the hook for damages caused.

Seat belts lower risk of severe liver trauma in crashes

Texas readers know that seat belts save lives, but they might not be aware that they can also save livers. According to a recent study, seat belts can lessen the severity of liver injuries in car crashes, which helps lower medical expenses and reduce the chances of complications.

Blunt trauma injuries to the liver commonly occur during car accidents. In order to see how effective seat belts are at preventing such injuries, researchers from NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn in New York City analyzed 51,202 liver injury cases from the National Trauma Data Bank from 2010 until 2015. All the cases involved adult patients who were either admitted to a hospital or died at or on the way to a hospital. They found that 15 percent of the patients suffered severe liver injuries. Of those, 15 percent died. The other 85 percent of patients suffered mild or moderate liver injuries. Of those, only 8 percent died. In addition, patients with severe liver injuries were almost three times more likely to require surgery and significantly more likely to suffer medical complications than those with mild or moderate liver injuries.

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