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Southeast Oklahoma Personal Injury Law Blog

ZF presents strategy for development of external airbags

The ZF Group has found that external airbags can reduce the severity of occupants' injuries in a side collision by up to 40 percent. The car parts manufacturer has also developed a strategy for the development of this new safety technology. Residents of Oklahoma should know that external airbags are far from being perfected, much less implemented. ZF's data could, however, prompt other manufacturers to look into the safety tech.

External airbags are meant to inflate a split second before a side impact crash. Acting as an additional crumple zone, they can absorb some of the shock the way a pillow might.

Rear collision avoidance systems are proving effective.

Enhanced safety systems are becoming more popular on vehicles traveling Oklahoma roads. As technology evolves, these features will become more commonplace. In the near future, items such as lane departure warning, blind spot signals and rear camera vision may become standard equipment. Most systems have proven to reduce accidents.

One safety feature that is proving especially effective is the rear collision warning and prevention technology. One major car and truck manufacturer has recently produced statistics showing the difference the new collision avoidance system makes. It compared similar models for the years 2013 through 2015 and compared the vehicles with the rear collision prevention system with those that did not have it. There were 43 percent fewer accidents for those equipped with the safety system. In addition, there were 64 percent fewer injury accidents and more than a two-thirds drop in injuries to third parties.

Fighting truck driver fatigue with technology

Truck driver fatigue can pose a serious threat to roadway safety in Oklahoma. Because commercial trucks are so massive, a truck crash can be particularly devastating to the lives and well-being of passengers and drivers in other vehicles. Truck drivers are at risk of fatigue for many reasons; they often drive along monotonous highways for many hours at a time, often at night. Drivers who switch their shifts may be particularly vulnerable to fatigue, and when a truck driver dozes off behind the wheel, the result can be a catastrophic truck accident.

Various companies are working to reduce the risk of trucking accidents by developing technologies that can pinpoint risks of trucker fatigue before a crash. One project, initiated by Trimble Transportation and Pulsar Informatics, combines different types of data analysis to produce a red, yellow or green signal that indicates a particular driver's likelihood of fatigue. Pulsar's experience is in studying sleep patterns and fatigue for people in other professions for whom avoiding exhaustion is critical for safety, like airline pilots and astronauts. Using that information, Pulsar developed an algorithm that takes truck drivers' hours of service into account along with their shifts and other factors.

Do these things to safely handle a tire blowout

When you think about it, your tires are the only thing between the body of your vehicle and the road. This is why it's so important to keep a close eye on the condition of your tires.

A tire blowout, even at a slow rate of speed, is a scary situation. This can cause you to lose control of your vehicle, thus increasing the risk of an accident.

How distracted driving is affecting the trucking industry

Truck drivers spend a significant amount of time on Oklahoma's highways. That's why safety advocates say the companies that employ them must take the lead in promoting protocols to reduce the number of deadly crashes. Truckers are especially singled out because deadlines are always an issue with deliveries. Furthermore, the sheer size of a large semi can result in severe injury or death.

Maintaining focus on the task of driving has become even more important now that modern technology is literally at one's fingertips. A recent AAA report indicated distracted driving has become the No. 1 safety concern for drivers ahead of drunk driving, drugged driving and aggressive driving. Fatigue is a common culprit when distracted driving is raised as an issue. Difficulty concentrating or even nodding off can be symptoms, but when distracted driving is more rigorously analyzed, it can be broken down to three different components -- visual, manual or cognitive.

Groups push for crash avoidance tech requirement on large trucks

Federal data shows a 28 percent increase in the number of large truck crash fatalities between 2009 and 2016. Using this data as a starting point, The Kansas City Star has published an article advocating mandatory crash avoidance technology on commercial trucks. Truckers in Oklahoma will want to know what supporters, opponents and those in between are saying at the moment.

The Star focused its criticism on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for not proposing any regulations that would mandate forward crash avoidance and mitigation systems on all heavy trucks. This is despite the fact that the National Transportation Safety Board has been urging such an action since the late 1990s. The NTSB, for its part, does not have the authority to act on such a recommendation itself.

AAA study finds people misunderstand vehicle safety systems

Some Oklahoma motorists who purchase vehicles with advanced safety features might overestimate the capabilities of those systems. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a study that found issues with driver understanding of features like adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, forward-collision warning and blind spot monitoring.

Adaptive cruise control adjusts speed automatically. According to the study, over one-fourth of drivers who have it are sometimes comfortable engaging in other activities while the cruise control is activated. This is widely considered unsafe.

Reality-based driving programs may reduce risky driving behavior

Oklahoma parents may not be aware that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents are the leading cause of accidental deaths for teens in the United States. A study that was published in the journal Transportation Research, however, found that supplemental risk reduction programs could increase young and new motorists' awareness regarding the dangers of risky driving.

The study focused on the Texas Reality Education for Drivers program. The participants included 21 teen drivers who were referred to the program by a parent, community groups, a court or a school administrator. At the beginning of the RED program, the participants filled out a questionnaire that reported the most risky behaviors that were exhibited while driving. They then completed the six-hour program, which involved talks with nurses and other health care staff, videos and activities involving coming up with a safe driving plan.

The dangers of distracted driving are real: How to help

As a driver, you should never take for granted your safety behind the wheel. Mindful driving at all times needs to be the rule, with zero exceptions.

The dangers of distracted driving are very serious, so you should never do anything to put your health and well-being at risk, which likewise imperils others on the road.

How car safety tech can minimize backup crashes

Oklahoma motorists may be interested to know that some modern safety add-ons for vehicles have been shown to help reduce crashes, especially backup accidents. A report states that rear automatic brakes can lower the chance for backup crashes by 62 percent. That number becomes 78 percent if the brakes are combined with rearview cameras and backup warning sensors.

In a study that tested the effectiveness of these three safety features, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave superior ratings to two automobile models -- the 2017 Subaru Outback and Cadillac XT5 SUV. Four vehicles with the combined safety tech garnered advanced ratings for their ability to avoid collisions and significantly reduce vehicle speeds. However, one vehicle failed to brake automatically and collided with a dummy automobile parked at an angle.

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