October 2011 Archives

October 31, 2011

NHTSA Rates New Model Cars to Determine Effectiveness of Safety Features in a Car Accident in Alabama and Elsewhere

All vehicles go through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) 5-star safety rating program.

The NHTSA recently reported that it will be rating all new model 2012 vehicles. Some vehicles that have carry-over designs from previous models may have already been rated. This program is used to help consumers to determine which vehicles are most likely to keep them safe in the event of a car accident in Montgomery or elsewhere. More than 80 percent of the new model vehicles are going through the test. More than 90 percent of the new model vehicles will have rollover tests conducted as well. Manufacturers get very competitive when it comes to these tests. Poor rating can severely damage the sales for a specific vehicle.
Our Montgomery car accident attorneys understand that more than 70 new models will go through the NHTSA's rigorous testing. Consumers who check such ratings when making a new-vehicle purchase can reduce their risks of serious or fatal injuries in the event of an accident. It's just one more way to be a smart consumer while keeping your family as safe as possible.

This year's tested vehicles include more than 40 passenger cars, more than 20 SUVs, eight pickups and two vans. The new rating system has been upgraded from last years. With each and every upgrade, vehicle manufacturers continue to advance their products to meet stricter rating systems. You're urged to check out www.safecar.gov to check out your vehicle's car rating. This is also a great website to use to learn about any vehicle recalls.

"By revamping the tests and creating a more rigorous program last year, we raised the bar on safety for all vehicle manufacturers. People should remember: More stars, safer cars," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.

Safety ratings aren't the only thing that new NHTSA testing provides for consumers. The new program also offers drivers with information regarding a vehicle's "crash avoidance" technology.

In 2010, there were less than 40 vehicles that came equipped with this technology. Since the NHTSA started testing the technology in its new program, nearly 70 vehicles have installed safety features. These features include forward collision warning (FCW) and lane departure warning (LDW). Of the new vehicles, more than 10 have LDW, nearly 20 have FCW and nearly 40 come equipped with both. As tests get harder and more thorough, car manufacturers are forced to create better cars to keep up and to make their products appealing to consumers.

Safety ratings are one of the most important factors to consumers when purchasing a vehicle.

The 5-star rating system has been combing the design of vehicles for about 30 years now. This rating has become the gold standard for those who are looking into purchasing a new vehicle. These ratings let drivers know about their chances of not only surviving an accident, but avoiding one in the first place.

As soon as the new ratings are released, you're urged to scan through them before purchasing a new car. You can still visit the website to learn about the dangers, safety features or any recalls of the car you're currently driving.

Continue reading "NHTSA Rates New Model Cars to Determine Effectiveness of Safety Features in a Car Accident in Alabama and Elsewhere" »

October 24, 2011

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween! -- From Our Montgomery Injury Lawyers

The Montgomery Police Department will be combing the streets alongside our little ghosts and goblins to help ensure that everyone has a safe Halloween. Statistics show that your child is four times more likely to be the victim of a pedestrian accident in Montgomery on Halloween than during any other night of the year.
Our Montgomery pedestrian accident attorneys understand that this year the holiday is celebrated on a Monday. Even though it's a school night, nothing's going to stop our wizards and witches from suiting up and gathering candy from neighbors. Neither the City nor the Mayor can dictate when a holiday is celebrated, so Monday it is!

There are a few safety tips that we would like to share with you to help keep your family safe on the 31st. Costumes should be some of your top concerns. It's important to make sure that everyone's in comfortable shoes and that costumes aren't too long. No one needs to trip over Dracula's cape. It's also important that the costumes are made of flame-resistant material and that all props, including sword and knives, are made of soft materials that won't injure anyone.

"One of the biggest mistakes parents make is ... they don't think through the safety of the costumes their children wear," said Julie Farmer, a child safety expert with Children's of Alabama in Birmingham.

It's also important for everyone to discuss the dangers of passing traffic. Children are extremely vulnerable when it comes to car-pedestrian accidents on Halloween night. Talk with them about the risks and the dangers of vehicles.

Pedestrian safety tips to share with your little mummy before trick-or-treating:

-Wear light-colored clothing so that you're more visible to cars. It's also wise to attach reflective tape to your costume or to carry a flashlight.

-Plan a route. It's important to go door-to-door with a plan. Plan a route that's away from heavy traffic and that has sidewalks.

-Make sure everyone walks. Running increases your risks of falling and seriously hurting yourself.

-Always cross the street at a crosswalk or at a street corner.

-Young children should always be accompanied by a supervising adult.

-Children should never dart out from behind a parked car.

-Only trick-or-treat in neighborhoods that are well-lit.

-Wear face makeup instead of a mask. Masks can obstruct vision.

-Be sure to look left and right before crossing the street. Continue doing so as you cross.

By following these safety tips, we can help to prevent a real scare this Halloween -- or a tragedy. Parents are urged to talk with children before heading out to trick-or-treat to help ensure that everyone makes it home safely.

As we ask pedestrians to be safe on our roadways, we also ask that motorists be extra cautious when driving on Halloween night. Drive slowly through residential areas and keep a close eye out for the little gremlins that will be haunting our streets.

Lastly, remember to inspect your child's candy before allowing them to eat any. Throw out any pieces that have been opened or look like they've been tampered with.

Our Montgomery personal injury attorneys and the staff at our law offices wish you a safe and Happy Halloween!

Continue reading "Have a Safe and Happy Halloween! -- From Our Montgomery Injury Lawyers" »

October 21, 2011

Novice Drivers Most at Risk of Teen Car Accident in Montgomery Within Days After Obtaining a License

The pulse behind teen car accidents in Alabama and nationwide has recently been examined closely by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in two studies involving young drivers. driver_behind_steeringwheel.jpg
Video clips from cameras installed inside the vehicle have determined that teens practice much safer driving behaviors when supervised by an adult than when driving alone the first 30 days after obtaining a license. Findings also suggest that teen drivers are 50 percent more apt to be involved in a crash during the first month of obtaining their unrestricted driver's license.

We bring this up as Teen Safe Driver Week comes to an end Saturday. Montgomery car accident lawyers know that in 2009, there were nearly three-quarters of a million police-reported crashes involving drivers ages 15-18 nationwide. These crashes killed more than 2,800 people and injured another 280,000.

The Measuring Changes in Teenage Driver Crash Characteristics Study examined a group of North Carolina teens and their crash involvements during the first three years of driving with a license. Researchers found teens were less likely to be involved in the same types of crashes after gaining a year of experience. New drivers were twice as likely to crash in the first 30 days as they were after two years of experience. Almost 60 percent of crashes for new drivers in the first 30 days were caused by inattention, failure to reduce speed and failure to yield.

The Transition to Unsupervised Driving Study recorded almost 6,000 video clips of 38 families with a teen driver. Researchers examined the external and internal driving environments for the first six months of licensed driving. The video captured close calls and other incidents related to traffic, darkness, weather, loud music and other passengers to name a few.

Some teens displayed dangerous behaviors like texting or running red lights during the first few months of unsupervised driving, but the majority of teens maintained good driving habits during this time. Close-call incidents were often due to inexperience or an error in judgment. For example, teens were commonly observed stomping on the brake pedal because they didn't see that traffic was traveling slowly or stopped in front of them. Interestingly, once a novice driver obtained his or her license, it was observed that adults spent very little time (3 percent) riding with their teens. Peers rode with them 61 percent of the time and siblings accompanied them 36 percent of the time when they had an occupant in the vehicle with them.

It has become clearer recently that parental involvement, even after a teen starts driving independently, can play a vital role in keeping young drivers safe behind the wheel. By staying involved through open communication and actively practicing driving skills with teens, parents can continue to instill safe driving behaviors and give positive reinforcement for smart driving choices well beyond the newlywed phase of obtaining a license.

Continue reading "Novice Drivers Most at Risk of Teen Car Accident in Montgomery Within Days After Obtaining a License " »

October 5, 2011

Residents Discuss Pedestrian Accidents in Alabama for International Walk to School Day

Today, Oct. 5th, is International Walk to School Day and we're asking everyone to help spread the word about how we can all chip in to help reduce pedestrian accidents in Alabama.

Every year since its launch in 1997 in Chicago, cities in the U.S. have participated in this campaign that raises awareness about the dangers pedestrians face daily and helping to make our roads safer. Back then it was called National Walk Our Children to School Day and held exclusively in the U.S. It has since gone international. In 2005, the event helped to pass legislation that has authorized more than $600 million to states that needed funding to construct safe roadways. There have been nearly 12,000 schools in each of the 50 states that have received some of the funds to conduct their own Walk to School Day.
Our Montgomery pedestrian accident attorneys understand how beneficial an event like this can be for residents across the state. Not only does the campaign raise awareness about pedestrian safety, but it is also a good opportunity for parents and children to go out for a heart-healthy walk. Additionally, it helps to raise awareness about the need for safer roadways. For many cities, International Walk to School Day results in fewer vehicles on the road, which in turn helps to minimize pollution.

Schools that are participating in this year's campaign in Montgomery:

-Chisholm Elementary School

-Floyd Elementary School

-G. W. Carver Elementary School

-Highland Gardens Elementary School

-Seth Johnson Elementary School

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were approximately 1,300 pedestrians under the age of 15 who were killed in traffic-related accidents in the U.S. in 2009. Another 179,000 of these young pedestrians were injured. Child pedestrian accidents accounted for nearly 5 percent of all traffic-related fatalities that year.

The statistics mean that nearly 500 child pedestrians were injured and nearly 5 child pedestrians were killed every single day on U.S. roadways.

Parents are urged to talk to children about the benefits and about the dangers of walking in our community. Children should get out and walk for a number of reasons. Walking increases self-confidence, fitness and responsibility. Don't send your child outdoors without the proper safety tips though. Teaching children safe pedestrian habits early on will help to keep them safe and injury-free on our roadways.

Parents are urged to talk to children about the importance of looking both ways before crossing the street, wearing light-colored clothing during evening hours, and making eye contact with drivers before crossing.

Here are more child pedestrian safety tips that you are urged to discuss with your child. These habits can turn into lifelong skills and can even be used to save your child's life one day.

"Our school intends to use this event as a kick-off to establishing better walking and biking habits for our students," says Cheryl Coprich, the principal at Floyd Elementary School.

Continue reading "Residents Discuss Pedestrian Accidents in Alabama for International Walk to School Day" »

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