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Londonderry Law Blog

Two years of improvement in traffic fatality figures

Drivers in New Hampshire may be pleased to learn that 2018 marks the second year where traffic fatalities have dropped. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that the 2.4% drop in fatalities is due in part to advancements in modern automobile safety features.

The behavior of drivers may also play a role. Alcohol impaired fatalities dropped by 3.6% in 2018. Additionally, there was a 5.7% drop in fatalities connected to speeding. Motorcycle fatalities fell by 4.7%.

Distracted driving is tough to stop

Distracted driving is common in New Hampshire and across the nation. One report showed that almost 8 in 10 consumers talk on the phone while behind the wheel. Around 30% have almost been in serious accidents because they were driving while distracted.

These figures come from a survey that included more than 2,000 consumers and executives. The survey's purpose was to gather information about distracted driving and the reasons why people get distracted. The most common distractions included emailing or texting. Social media, taking pictures, recording videos and shopping online were also common distractions.

Cancer misdiagnosis: A difficult problem for patients

When it comes to a cancer misdiagnosis, it can happen in one of two ways. The first type of misdiagnosis falsely identifies cancer in a patient who does not have it. The second occurs when cancer is not identified in a patient who does have it.

Both cases can be devastating. In the first, a patient who does not need medications, radiation or chemotherapy may go through it, leaving them weakened, tired and immunocompromised. The side effects of these treatments are significant, though they outweigh the negatives of cancer in patients who do have it.

Road rage accidents on the rise

Many people in New Hampshire are concerned about the dangerous effects of road rage. Aggressive, angry drivers can pose a serious threat to others on the road, even if another person's careless or reckless behavior originally provoked their outrage. Some cases have drawn attention to road rage, including a woman who accidentally shot her husband when attempting to shoot another vehicle and a family that suffered injuries after a driver shot their van, igniting fireworks inside. There has been a consistent increase in road rage incidents over the years.

In the last decade, deadly motor vehicle accidents linked to road rage or other deliberate acts of aggression rose by 500% according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There were 80 such crashes in 2006 and 467 in 2015. Incidents of drivers brandishing guns also rose. There were 247 incidents of drivers firing a gun or pointing it at another driver in 2014 and 620 such incidents in 2016. In the first half of 2017, there were 325 gun violence incidents, pointing toward an even higher rate.

GM study analyzes real-world effectiveness of ADAS

General Motors has released the results of a study that it conducted with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute on the effectiveness of ADAS: advanced driver assistance systems. After looking at the crash data for 3.8 million GM vehicles, analysts found just how well ADAS can prevent crashes. Drivers in New Hampshire will want to know more.

It turns out that the more automated a vehicle is, the safer it is. So, for example, rear-view cameras by themselves can reduce backing-out crashes by 21%, but combine this with rear park assist, rear cross-traffic alert and reverse automatic braking, and such crashes become 81% less likely.

Distracted driving continues to pose a danger

Most New Hampshire drivers know that using the phone or texting while behind the wheel is dangerous. Many severe car accidents and even fatalities have been linked to distracted driving, and widespread public awareness campaigns have drawn attention to the issue. In many states and municipalities, law enforcement agencies have stepped up ticketing and penalties for drivers found texting. However, large numbers of Americans continue to use their smartphones while driving, even when they know it is dangerous behavior. According to Liberty Mutual Insurance's Multi-National Distracted Driving Study, people across all age groups commonly use their smartphones behind the wheel even while regarding themselves as safe drivers.

Almost all respondents, 98%, said that they considered themselves to be safe drivers. At the same time, 67% of American drivers said that they had used their smartphones to text, check email, surf the internet or use apps while driving. A full 47% said that they regularly engaged in these types of distracted driving behaviors, and 38% said that they regularly engaged in speeding. Researchers said that drivers in a hurry or running late were some of the biggest concerns they found in the results. These drivers were more likely to speed and engage in distracted behaviors, both posing a risk.

Subaru Crosstrek tops Insurify list of most crash-prone cars

Of all the newer vehicles driving around New Hampshire and across the U.S., the Subaru Crosstrek is the most accident-prone. Insurify, the auto insurance comparison site, has come out with a list of 10 vehicles that are involved in the most accidents, and a report states that accidents have affected 25.81% of all Crosstrek models on the road. At 25.7%, the Honda HR-V was a close second.

Interestingly, the 2019 Crosstrek achieved the highest safety rating from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. This is reflected in the fact that the majority of accidents end in minor injuries for drivers and passengers of the Crosstrek. The vehicle's affordable price and great fuel economy are other positives.

Knowing what distractions to avoid on the road

Drivers, especially teen drivers, in New Hampshire may benefit from the following tips on avoiding distractions behind the wheel. Taking one's eyes from the road for even two seconds can double the risk of a car crash. To know how to prevent distractions, it's important to understand the common causes.

These include phone use, including hands-free devices; eating and drinking; and even holding conversations with multiple people in the car. Drivers should not hesitate to pull over if they absolutely must make a call or send a text. Otherwise, the phone should be on "do not disturb."

Teens: A danger on the roads

Car crashes are common at any time of the year, but with kids out of school for the summer, their inexperience can lead to a greater number of collisions on the roads.

Teens simply do not have the same experience as older drivers. They have less experience behind the wheel and may have fewer opportunities to witness dangerous or hazardous situations. That means that they won't always recognize when they need to slow down or pay close attention to the roads.

Women more likely to suffer serious injuries in car crashes

Drivers in New Hampshire may be surprised to hear that women are more likely than men are to incur serious injuries in an auto accident: 73% more likely, in fact, according to a report from City Lab. The trend was detected as far back as 2011 and continues unabated.

At first, experts claimed that seat belt designs were to blame, saying women's short statures, their seating postures and other factors have kept the standard restraining device from providing full protection to women. But this is not the only factor. A more recent study, conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia, has found that crash tests are coming up with incomplete data. Female crash dummies, if used at all, do not accurately reflect differences in women's physiology and anatomy.

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