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Wyoming travel: Are you sharing the road with distracted drivers?

During the course of a typical day, you might have reason to get behind the wheel of a car to drive, numerous times. Perhaps you're one of many daily commuters who navigate Wyoming traffic to get to and home from work. Maybe you are part of the unspoken busy-parents club who often feel like they spend more time in their cars than at home.

No matter what particular circumstances prompt a need for traveling by motor vehicle, you'd be a lot safer while doing so if there weren't so many distracted drivers on the road. Distracted driving is a causal factor in many roadway fatalities. If you're involved in a collision that someone caused because he or she was negligent, you shouldn't have to bear the full financial burden associated with the incident.

Brake Safety Week for 2019 to focus on brake hoses and tubing

Commercial truckers in Wyoming and the rest of the U.S. are required to keep well-maintained vehicles. Federal regulations exist to ensure that truck components do not malfunction and become the indirect cause of an accident. As part of Operation Airbrake Program, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance holds a brake inspection spree every year called Brake Safety Week. The goal is to enforce regulations and reduce accident numbers.

During Brake Safety Week, inspectors in both the U.S. and Canada stop commercial trucks at random to check for any brake-related violations. Truckers who are guilty of such violations may be placed out of service. The rest receive a CVSA decal on their vehicle to show that they passed.

Women more likely than men to be injured in car crashes

Wyoming readers may be surprised to learn that women are much more likely to be injured in car accidents than men are. Research has shown the phenomenon is related to the fact that auto manufacturers design their safety technologies to protect male bodies while largely ignoring their performance on female bodies.

A study by City Lab found that women are 73% more likely to be injured or killed in a car wreck than men are. A little over 10 years ago, media outlets began investigating the causes of the problem and found that women who are "relatively short" and sat in particular ways inside a vehicle received less protection from standard seat belts in the event of a crash. This is because seat belts were created to fit the male form.

Human error the most common reason for crashes

Many Wyoming residents have been involved in car accidents. While most crashes can be considered minor with little damage and few injuries, some major accidents can even be fatal. With car crashes, human error is the most common cause, which means that many of these incidents are also preventable if drivers are vigilant and follow traffic rules.

Human error as a cause in a car accident can be divided into a variety of subcategories. However, all can result in crashes and injuries. Of these, distracted driving is by far the most common type of error. When drivers look away for even a few seconds, the possibility of an accident greatly increases. Distracted driving is seen often on the road as people do other things such as using smartphones, applying makeup, eating or drinking as they drive.

DUI fatalities peak on the Fourth of July

All too often on the roads of Wyoming, drunk drivers are causing crashes and sometimes killing themselves or others. The average summer day sees an average of 26 people die in DUI crashes across the U.S. However, that risk for a fatal DUI crash goes up nearly 60% on the Fourth of July. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Independence Day is the deadliest of the major U.S. holidays.

From 2010 to 2017, for example, there were 1,192 DUI fatalities on the Fourth of July. The fatality rate was calculated as 42.4 per day. Memorial Day came in second with 1,105 deaths in those eight years and a fatality rate of 39.5. Then came Labor Day (38.1), New Year's (31.7), Thanksgiving (27.9) and Christmas (27.7).

What will you be able to get through your personal injury claim?

An accident cannot only leave you with serious and painful injuries. You could find yourself with medical bills and other types of financial losses that can quickly overwhelm you. The aftermath of your accident can be overwhelming, and you may not be sure how you can move forward from this point. If your accident was the result of another Wyoming driver, you could have grounds to pursue compensation through a civil claim.

Car accident victims have the right to pursue damages that will cover their expenses and help them adjust to new financial circumstances. Every car accident case is different, which means that the specific types of damages available to you depend on the details of your individual case. You will find it beneficial to find out how much your case could be worth before you move forward with a settlement agreement or civil claim. 

Drivers laud the safety benefits of crash prevention features

Vehicles featuring advanced safety systems are becoming increasingly popular in Wyoming and around the country, and a survey conducted in 2018 by the marketing research firm J.D. Power suggests that most vehicle owners are convinced that features like automatic braking systems, backup cameras and blind spot monitors help to prevent accidents. More than half of the drivers polled who purchased cars equipped with these systems told researchers that they had helped them to avoid a crash during their first three months of ownership.

Compiling accurate statistics about the effectiveness of accident avoidance systems is difficult because data is not gathered when crashes do not happen. While auto manufacturers report that orders for replacement parts are lower when vehicles are equipped with autonomous and semi-autonomous safety features, some studies suggest the technology actually causes accidents because drivers believe it is more capable than it actually is.

Summer months deadly for teen drivers

Now that Memorial Day has come and gone, summer has unofficially begun for many Wyoming residents. That means that more people will be hitting the road to go to graduations, family barbeques and beach parties. Unfortunately, increased road traffic also means an increased risk of car accidents. This is especially true for young drivers.

In fact, the Ford Motor Co. says that the 100-day period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is one of the deadliest periods of the year for teen drivers. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety corroborates this, reporting that fatal crashes involving members of that age group spike around 15% during the summer months. According to the organization's researchers, two of the main reasons for this are that teen drivers are inexperienced and they have more opportunity to take to the road when school is out for the summer.

Some cars are more deadly than others

While many Wyoming residents rely on personal vehicles to get from one place to another, many are aware that cars are inherently dangerous. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that in 2017 alone, there were 34,247 fatal accidents. These accidents claimed a reported 37,133 lives.

Although many safety features have been and are still being released to make cars safer, there are still some vehicles that are safer than others. For those who are looking to buy a used vehicle for new or younger drivers, keeping safety in mind is important. Not surprisingly, cars that are smaller in size or are sport coupes tend to be more deadly. This is simply due to the laws of physics; heavier cars are inherently better at being able to protect the occupants than smaller, lighter cars. Additionally, drivers tend to operate these vehicles at faster speeds due to their agility.

Truck crashes rise, mostly putting other drivers at risk

There were 34,439 deadly car crashes in Wyoming and the rest of the U.S. in 2017, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Of those, 4,079 involved at least one large truck or bus. Truck crashes have been on the rise with Florida seeing a jump from 23,515 crashes in 2014 to 32,513 in 2018, and the number one driver-related factor in these crashes, according to the Florida DoT, is speeding.

As a result, many trucking companies are turning to vehicle safety tech to keep truckers and other drivers safe. Maverick Transportation, a mid-sized company in the Midwest, has been installing everything from collision warning systems and lane departure warning to roll stability control and in-cab cameras on its fleet of 1,800 trucks. In 2018, Maverick only saw one reportable accident among its fleet.

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