Have you ever wondered which seats in your car are the safest in the event of an accident? A recent report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety examined this question and found some interesting results. According to their research, passengers in the back seat may be at heightened risk for serious injury or death in a head-on collision as opposed to travelers in the front seat. Although these results may seem like the opposite of what you might expect, researchers are attributing the risk to back seat passengers based on several factors. Many seatbelts in the back seat are not designed well for passengers, which may increase their risk for injury. Most research and crash tests tend to focus on the safety of front seat passengers as opposed to back seat passengers. Seatbelt safety technology has improved greatly over the years for those in the front seat, but these same technological advances are not always used in the back seat, too. Additionally, seatbelt tensions do not always react the same way in the back seat, which sometimes makes restraints too loose or too tight in the event of a collision. Additionally, there are no front airbags in the back seat.
- Always, always, ALWAYS wear a helmet.
- Make sure your bicycle is in good working order, including the tire pressure, brakes, and reflectors.
- Wear reflective and bright clothing any time you're riding.
- Respect cars on the road and leave room! Be aware of their blind spots, including car doors potentially opening towards you.
If you are a family with young children, you may have heard about the recent controversy over a certain type of jogging stroller. This stroller has been reported to have caused hundreds of accidents due to a quick-release front wheel that may come off unexpectedly. This can cause the strollers to flip, seriously injuring the person pushing the stroller and the baby inside. This is obviously a scary, harmful, and potentially deadly situation.
An incident of texting while driving recently took the life of a pedestrian in PA. According to news sources, a college student was texting while driving her car in Allentown. She ran a red light and hit a minivan, which caused her car to spin into a nearby pedestrian. That pedestrian was thrown over 20 feet in the air and died soon after. The driver's cell phone data reflected that she was arguing with someone else over text at the time of the accident. Additionally, videos from the crash scene show that the driver's car did not slow down as it approached the red light at the intersection, although other cars responded appropriately according to the traffic lights.
Pedestrian deaths are on the rise across the country, and PA is no exception. According to nationally compiled data via the Governors Highway Safety Commission, Pennsylvania saw over a 40% increase in pedestrian fatalities in the first half of 2018 as compared to the first half of 2017. If this trend continues, 2019 will prove to be a deadly year for pedestrians, too. According to the data, almost 100 pedestrians were killed by drivers in Pennsylvania during the first half of 2018 as compared to 64 during that same stretch of time in 2017.Nationally, these numbers reflect the highest number of pedestrian deaths in 30 years. Many people believe that this increase is due to heightened instances of distracted driving, more SUVs on the road (which data suggests is correlated with an increase in pedestrian accidents), and an increased number of walkers in areas where most people used to drive. By the numbers, most accidents involving pedestrians overwhelmingly occur at night (about 90%) and over half of these accidents occur on local streets and neighboring highways. In PA, pedestrian fatalities account for roughly 10% of all traffic-related deaths.
Pennsylvania is in the midst of an unsettling trend in recent years. PennDOT reports that about 4,000 people are hit by cars each year in our state. These pedestrian/car encounters seem to increase during the winter months, where drivers appear to be more aggressive, especially in the afternoon. Many of these accidents also appear to involve distraction, either on the part of the driver or the pedestrian. To increase visibility, it is recommended that pedestrians stay off of their phones, wear reflective clothing, walk against the flow of traffic, and cross only at designated areas. Drivers need to be alert, not distracted by mobile devices, and anticipate pedestrians on the road with them.
When your child faces an unforeseen injury, it can be a parent's worst nightmare. Recently, a child suffered an injury while in gym class in a PA school. According to reports, the 9-year-old student was running in gym class, could not stop, tripped, and fell into an unpadded concrete wall. He hit the wall so hard that he lost consciousness. He missed a great deal of school and began to develop memory problems and chronic headaches, even several years after the accident occurred. The student's family sued the school for negligence by failure to properly pad the walls in the gym. The PA Supreme Court reviewed the case recently and found that a school can be held liable for the injuries that the child sustained.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can result from many things, including car accidents, sports injuries, and some types of repeated trauma. TBIs have been making the news recently due to many student athletes suing the NCAA and their respective colleges/universities. According to news sources, the NCAA has received over 300 legal claims from former college athletes, mostly football players. These athletes state that concussions they received while playing sports were not always handled correctly in college. As a result, they now have lasting effects including mental health issues, early onset Parkinsons, Alzheimer's Disease, and chronic headaches. This is not the first time that the NCAA has been sued to head injury concerns. One former class action lawsuit against the NCAA led to $75M for students who claimed they had injuries. Another stipulation within that lawsuit was an agreement that any potential class-action personal injury lawsuits couldn't be held against the NCAA, but students could pursue their own lawsuits at their individual schools.