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Saint Louis Missouri Personal Injury Blog

Traffic deaths fell 1% in 2018 according to NHTSA

Missouri readers might be relieved to learn that U.S. traffic fatalities decreased by 1% in 2018, according to preliminary numbers released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While the drop is small, it marks the second year in a row that roadway deaths have gone down following significant increases in 2015 and 2016.

The NHTSA reports that an estimated 36,750 Americans were killed in traffic accidents last year. In comparison, there were 37,133 fatalities in 2017. While overall deaths declined, the agency says that there were some troubling trends in 2018. For example, crashes involving large trucks increased by 3%, pedestrian deaths jumped by 4% and bicyclist deaths spiked by an alarming 10%.

New car features are saving lives according to J.D. Power study

New car features, known under the collective term Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, are preventing accidents and saving the lives of drivers and pedestrians. This is the conclusion of a study from J.D. Power. More than half of new car owners who were part of the study said that their ADAS helped prevent an accident in the first 90 days of ownership. Missouri residents will find the most prominent ADAS mentioned below.

First, 49% of the study participants credited the blind spot alert with preventing a crash, and 42% said the same for backup cameras and parking sensors. It should be remembered that backup cameras are actually mandated now on all new vehicles. Lastly, 35% of participants claimed that they avoided a crash thanks to the forward collision alert or automatic emergency braking.

Improved safety urged for rear-seat passengers

As the summer season approaches, more Missouri drivers will start taking to the road. With the growing traffic, these motorists will also face a higher risk of getting in a car crash. The Governors Highway Safety Association is focusing particularly on the dangers faced by rear-seat passengers. Many backseat riders who use ride-hailing services like Uber or Lyft are less likely to wear seat belts.

Some of the most effective vehicle safety devices, like automatically restricting seat belts or airbags, are primarily found in the front seats. There are a number of design reasons for this, but it means that wearing a seat belt is especially important to protect rear-seat passengers in case of a collision. Safety advocates are trying to encourage ride-share users to remember to buckle up.

What do self-driving cars mean for Missouri’s drivers?

Every day, we take one more step into the future. Some days, those steps look bigger than others, especially when you look at the future of America’s roadways.

The technology for self-driving cars is advancing rapidly, and the days of driverless taxis are coming soon. At least, that’s what Uber hopes. The company recently unveiled the self-driving XC90 it developed in collaboration with Volvo. At the unveiling, Uber said it was moving quickly to deploy fleets of self-driving vehicles without safety drivers.

Tornado season can cause panic on the roads

While the Midwestern states have been fortunate enough not to deal with hurricanes as often as the South, we still have our own windy problems between May and July. Dangerous tornadoes have recently been surfacing in different parts of Missouri, and even popular parts of the state like St. Louis aren’t immune from these catastrophic events.

No matter how far away you are from the twister, chaos is bound to occur on the streets. There might be heavy rain, large hail, thunderstorms and drivers rushing to get back home. Even during these disasters, it is crucial to keep a level head to prevent less people from suffering in these stressful scenarios by performing the following:

Teen drivers face "100 deadliest days" during the summer

Teen drivers in Missouri are more likely to crash, due to their inexperience on the road. Their crash risk goes up during the summer because that's the season when teens spend the most time behind the wheel. With the Fourth of July and other celebrations, summer means more parties and get-togethers, which, in turn, also means an increase in drunk and drugged driving.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers are in the summer: that is, between Memorial Day (the unofficial start of summer) and Labor Day. During this time, the risk for a fatal car crash with a teen driver increases an average of 15%. AAA encourages parents to educate their teens on driving safely.

Auto Accident Negligence

Personal injury law sets certain standards that must be met before a car accident victim can claim that damages arose from another party's negligence. In legal cases, a Missouri resident is expected to exercise the highest degree of care when drving a car.  A crash victim must then collect evidence that some form of negligence occurred and that it directly caused the injuries.

Multiple issues might represent negligence on behalf of a driver. Speeding above the posted limit or driving too fast for conditions, such as in a heavy rainstorm, usually supports a charge of negligence. Following other vehicles too closely also reduces safety and makes accidents more likely. Drivers should aim to have at least one car length for every 10 mph of speed between them and the vehicles ahead of them. Violations of various traffic laws could serve as negligence as well. This includes failing to stop completely for a stop sign or not signaling a lane change.

Without proof of negligence, there is no personal injury case.  Calling an experienced St. Louis personal injury attorney is the first step in determining whether you may assert a claim for your bodily injuries.  William Holland has personally handled 5,000 motor vehicle accident cases and is happy to discuss yours. Contact

Autonomous technology could lead to new safety issues

Car buyers in Missouri may be aware of the new autonomous features that are becoming more readily available in many different makes and models. While this self-driving technology may help eliminate roadway risks, it can also cause confusion. New dangers arise when people do not understand or know how to use the technology.

One major example of the pitfalls of autonomous technology can be found in the airline industry. The recent crashes that occurred with the Boeing 737 Max airliners involved an anti-stalling mechanism designed to make the planes safer. However, the system failed and the pilots were not properly trained to be able to take control when this occurred. Some suspect that they did not know they could take control over the computers.

NIH: teen drivers less safe with a license than with a permit

Virginia Tech University and the National Institutes for Health have conducted a study where they monitored the driving behaviors of 90 teens from the time when they obtained their learner's permit to the time when they had been driving for a year with a license. The purpose was to see how teens' risk for a crash or near-miss would change during the transition from a permit to a license. Missouri residents can read the results below.

Compared to the last three months with a permit, the first three months with a license were eight times more risky for teens. After looking at dash cam footage of both drivers and the road and consulting the speed and braking data captured by special software, researchers noted that newly licensed teens would brake harshly, accelerate quickly and make their turns too severe.

Drivers average 13 minutes of phone use behind the wheel daily

Nearly 2,000 drivers across Missouri and the rest of the U.S. responded to an online market research study that was focused on distracted driving. The results were recently shared by Root Insurance, a company that gives insurance discounts to policyholders who avoid phone use behind the wheel. Not surprisingly, the data supports Root's belief that fear tactics alone cannot stop the trend of distracted driving.

It was clear that most respondents knew distracted driving is wrong. Almost half admitted that it was a top road safety concern, and 99% recognized that phone use was among the top three driver distractions. Most were quick to criticize others for distracted behavior, with 89% saying they would give a bad rating to any Uber or Lyft driver who texted behind the wheel.

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