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Kansas City, Missouri Motor Vehicle Accidents Blog

Stability Control Prevents High Percentage of Motor Vehicle Accidents

  • 01
  • September

Auto accidents are all too common on the highways and streets, but thankfully, they have been on a steady decline for decades. This is partly thanks to new technology. More precisely, this is thanks to safety technology in vehicles becoming more widely available over time.

First utilized in high priced luxury cars in the late eighties, stability control is one of the greatest technological developments dealing with vehicle safety of the last few decades. In a recent report the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) said the technology, also known as anti-rollover, can reduce the risk of fatal motor vehicle accidents by a good eighteen percent.

As of 2009, the technology was installed in some fifty or so percent of trucks and about eighty percent of passenger cars. And soon, both those numbers should rise to one hundred, as anti-rollover will be mandatory in all new cars by 2012.

Missouri Student Finds: No Matter How Well You Text, Texting While Driving Still Dangerous

  • 05
  • August

Regardless of how quickly, accurately, or seemingly effortlessly you can text, texting while driving is still dangerous. Just how dangerous it can be was explored by a Missouri college student who tested distracted driving using the Columbia Police Department's driving stimulator.

Student Chip Lange, a senior at Westminster College, had the department's permission to use its training facility as well as 33 participants willing to test how well they could drive while texting. Not well at all, according to the results, which showed drivers' physiological responses were drastically reduced by distraction.

Summer HEAT Campaign to Decrease Missouri Auto Accidents

  • 25
  • July

There are a lot of factors that contribute to summer car accidents, including increased road construction, more young and inexperienced drivers on the road due to school being out of session, as well as more families on the roads for summer trips, especially over the 4th of July.

Statistics confirm there are more Missouri motor vehicle accidents over the summer months. MoDOT reports that for the last five years, a majority of Missouri's serious and deadly traffic accidents occurred between July and September. During the summer of 2010, there were 258 fatalities on Missouri roads, while over 1,700 people were seriously injured.

In an effort to combat summer car accidents, Missouri law enforcement has launched the HEAT (Highway Enforcement Action Teams) campaign increasing police enforcement on the roads throughout the summer driving season. This year the HEAT campaign runs from June 21 through September 22, and while for the past three years it has been primarily a Missouri campaign, this year the Kansas police are joining the road safety enforcement effort as well.

On the Road, Off the Phone Campaign Seeks to Curb Distracted Driving

  • 30
  • June

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 5,400 people died in the United States in 2009 as a result of distracted driving...and an additional 448,000 people were injured. Distractions are many. People eat in the car, put on make-up, discipline their kids...and talk on their cell phones.

Virtually everyone in the United States has a cell phone today. According to the Wireless Association, only 11 percent of the American population had a cell phone in 1995. Today, more than 93 percent does. And, a lot of these cell phone users are talking and texting while driving. It's a recipe for disaster.

String of Bus Accidents Spurs Lawmakers to Consider New Safety Measures

  • 17
  • June

A few weeks ago, a bus from the Sky Express bus service company was involved in a tragic accident resulting in four fatalities and several injuries. The bus struck an embankment and flipped over as it was traveling northbound on I-95 in Virginia. Police suspect driver fatigue may have played a role in the crash.

That crash was only one of the most recent in a string of bus accidents over the past few months. One of the most horrific was that of a bus, operated by World Wide Tours, on its way to New York's Chinatown. The bus crashed into a utility pole resulting in the roof being sheared off. Fifteen passengers lost their lives. A subsequent lawsuit filed by a bus passenger claims the driver fell asleep.

Sky Express had previously been cited over 45 times for driver fatigue in a two year period. Continued violations and other shortcomings discovered during a compliance review caused federal officials to begin the process of halting the carrier's operations, but the company was granted a 10 day extension during which time the bus accident occurred.

Safety Guidelines for Motorcycle Passengers

  • 23
  • May

When it comes to motorcycle riding, it may seem as if the bulk of the responsibility-as well as the glory-goes to the driver. The reality is that motorcycle passengers have many safety concerns of which they should be aware. According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, there are several guidelines that motorcycle riders and passengers should follow to ensure a safe ride.

First, each state has legal requirements for motorcycle passengers, these may include equipment requirements-such as seating or footrests-as well as certain physical requirements. Some states have minimum age limits for motorcycle riders as well. Regardless of requirements, children should be mature enough to handle riding responsibilities and tall enough to reach the footrests.

Second, passengers should prepare themselves for the ride. Proper clothing must be worn, such as protective gear. While some people may love the feel of the wind or sun on their skin, long pants-such as jeans-can help riders avoid injury from debris hitting them at high speeds. State laws vary regarding whether helmets are mandated, but wearing a helmet is always recommended because of the important protection it provides in the event of a motorcycle accident.

Increased Moped Regulation on the Horizon

  • 09
  • May

Until recently, legislation regarding mopeds was scant, an area of law mostly ignored by lawmakers. An increase in fatal accidents involving mopeds, however, is currently sparking increased efforts to pass legislation.

While the definition of a moped varies from state to state, one thing is consistent: Motor vehicle accidents involving mopeds have increased across the nation. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of fatalities from moped accidents in the U.S. doubled from 48 in 2005 to 96 in 2009. This number has lawmakers concerned.

The problem seen with mopeds on the highway is that they drive too fast to be passed easily, but too slow to keep up with highway traffic. Additionally, there seems to be an almost complete lack of regulation of moped drivers. Unlike cars or motorcycles, only 17 states require a driver's license to operate a moped, and some states also do not require moped riders to wear a helmet

According to Anne Tiegen of the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least a dozen states have proposed legislation or passed laws regarding mopeds in response to the increase in accidents and fatalities. North Carolina has a bill pending that would require driver's licenses for mopeds, and bills to require helmets are being considered in Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland and Washington.

FMCSA Proposes Cell Phone Ban for Truckers

  • 04
  • May

Whether or not motorists should be allowed to use cell phones while driving is a subject open for debate. The American Trucking Association (ATA) recently weighed in with its opinion and joined in support of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) proposed ban on hand-held mobile devices.

The ATA previously supported a ban on texting for commercial truck drivers while a truck is in motion-a law which now prohibits approximately four million drivers from texting while driving. The ATA has also supported state and federal laws that ban mobile phone use for all motorists, not just commercial truck drivers. Citing its progressive safety agenda for the safe use of technology, the president and CEO of the ATA stated that the association seeks laws that ban all drivers from using hand-held mobile devices in order to make highways safer.

The FMCSA's proposal would ban the use of all hand-held mobile devices by commercial truck drivers. This ban would prohibit even the hands-free use of the devices, and not even allow truck drivers to reach for mobile phones in their trucks while in motion. These are two areas in which the ATA deviates from the proposal of the FMCSA.

Is Your Car Defective?

  • 31
  • March

The recent rash of automobile recalls has likely caused more drivers to think about the workings and safety of their own vehicles. Motorists who have experienced motor vehicle accidents or problems with their cars and think a defect may be to blame should be aware of some important steps they can take.

1) Check for current recalls: Consumers can review recalls underway at safecar.gov

2) Contact your vehicle's manufacturer: Notify them of the suspected problem.

3) Contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): Make a report to the agency about the problem. They can be reached online or by the auto safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236. Technical experts at the NHTSA review every report and the agency uses these reports to identify trends in defects.

The NHTSA has the power to set auto safety standards and force the recall of vehicles that don't meet those standards or have defects related to safety. Since 1966 when the agency was formed, over 390 million motorized vehicles have been recalled. Manufacturers often voluntarily initiate a recall, but the NHTSA also has the authority to order investigations and recalls.

Concern About Rising Pedestrian Fatalities

  • 25
  • March

Although overall traffic fatalities are declining, recently pedestrian deaths have slightly increased. When comparing the first six months of last year to the same period in 2009, pedestrian deaths increased .4 percent while traffic fatalities overall declined roughly 8 percent.

This increase is somewhat surprising because the previous four years have shown steady decreases in pedestrian fatalities. Going even further back, pedestrian deaths fell substantially between 1999 and 2009 for most age groups. Most significantly, for those under 20, pedestrian deaths were down 42 percent during the 10 year period.

A former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration associate administrator explained the significance of the recent increase. "It may be the canary in the mine. It may be an indication that the drops we've been seeing (in fatalities) overall may have stopped".

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