Should require school bus seat belts?

In our last post we discussed a pedestrian accident which left a 29-year-old  woman dead. Although the  woman was hit by a police car responding to a crime, pedestrian accidents are also common in a variety of other situations such as school bus loading zones.

Safety advocates say that a seat belt requirement for school buses may prevent such loading zone accidents and save several lives every year by cutting down the distractions that school bus drivers face.

“There is accident after accident where we can document that the cause has been school bus driver distraction,” said Arthur Yeager of the school bus coalition. “More kids are killed when their own school bus drives over them than by other drivers. Some of those kids are killed because the driver is distracted by kids jumping up and down on the bus.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration disagrees with Yeager’s assessment and views seat belts as an unnecessary expense. It notes that retrofitting school buses with seat belts would be so costly that it would amount to between $23 million and $36 million per life saved.

Yeager notes that the NHTSA requires seat belts in most other vehicles despite its longstanding opposition to school bus restraints.

“There is a certain hypocrisy in their supporting seat belts in virtually every other type of vehicle under their control except for school buses,” Yeager said. He went on to state that students are used to wearing seat belts in cars and that many children’s first experience riding without a seat belt is on a school bus.

GPS tracking devices encourage drivers to slow down

What will it take to get drivers to stop speeding? Transportation officials have been asking themselves this question for years. As it turns out, it takes a little money.

In a study funded partially by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers were given a GPS device that was placed in their car. It would track how fast they were going compared to the speed limit, and would offer a $25 cash prize at the end of each week for driving safely. Researchers hoped the incentive would slow the drivers down and reduce the number of car accidents in Portland, Oregon and need for portland, or personal injury attorneys.

The incentive appears to have paid off. Researchers found that speeding violations were reduced all around, including egregious violations, or when motorists drive more than 9 mph above the speed limit.

Money is clearly a motivation, but so is penalty. Tests subjects lost 3 cents from their prize every time they went 5 to 8 mph above the speed limit. That penalty doubled every time they drove over 9 mph over the limit.

The researchers think making a game out of it motivated some drivers to limit their speeding. There have also been numerous studies over the last several decades that suggest people tend to monitor losses that are slow and accumulating — known to some as the “ticking meter” phenomenon.
Whatever the reason, the study shows that such devices indeed work to limit speeding. And while it may not be practical or realistic to have them in every vehicle, some insurance companies may in the future offer them to drivers who may want to lower their premiums.

Increased traffic volume over July 4 could mean more crashes

It’s always important to drive especially carefully over holiday weekends to avoid car accidents. Memorial Day and Labor Day are notorious for the number of deadly crashes that occur, and it should be noted that this July 4 is going to be a busy one on the roads as well.

For the first time in several years, more Americans will be traveling for the holiday, which falls on a Wednesday this year. Over 42 million Americans are expected to travel to enjoy Independence Day festivities at least 50 miles away. About 35.5 million of them will travel by car.

That’s apparently a 42 percent increase over the number of motorists traveling that far in 2009, when the recession was probably at its peak. Now, falling gas prices may be encouraging people to travel and take a five-day weekend away from home. The average price for gas sits at about 15 cents lower than it did at this time last year.

The risk for car accidents, of course, increases as well. Over the July 4 weekend last year, there were 146 alcohol-related crashes in Pennsylvania that took the lives of six people. Authorities will be out in earnest over the holiday week to go after drunk drivers. Members of DUI task forces are already ramping up patrols and running checkpoints.

The holiday travel period is defined as July 3 through July 8. Please drive safely and look out for drivers who are not doing so.

New Jersey Woman Killed In Truck Accident

More often than not, truck accidents result in serious injuries or even death for the driver and passengers of the smaller vehicle. Because 18-wheelers are such monstrous vehicles, the impact of a crash can be severe. In a recent incident, a New Jersey woman was killed when her car collided with an oncoming truck.

The fatal truck accident occurred early this morning. A 20-year-old driver and a passenger were traveling south before 5:00 a.m. when she attempted to make a left turn onto another road. As she pulled across the westbound lane of the road, the oncoming truck crashed into her vehicle.

Following the collision, the woman was trapped in her vehicle, and it took emergency responders 20 minutes to free her. She was pronounced dead this morning at a nearby hospital. According to investigators, the passenger in her vehicle suffered serious injuries. He was reportedly transported to a local medical center for treatment. The 30-year-old truck driver was not harmed in the crash.

Parts of the road were closed for close to four hours following the crash. Authorities reopened the road shortly after 8:30 a.m. It seems that no charges will be filed against the truck driver.

This tragic accident illustrates the serious consequences of a truck accident. This woman was killed just weeks after celebrating her 20th birthday. Accidents like this one often affect more than just the victims, however. This woman’s family and friends may feel devastated by her death. To prevent similar accidents, it is important that all drivers keep their eyes on the road and avoid distractions inside their vehicles.