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Study: Modern SUVs still more likely than cars to kill pedestrians

Even as advances in safety features have brought the overall rate of traffic fatalities down, the number of pedestrians being killed on U.S. roads has risen over the last decade. Part of that could be the fact that SUVs have grown in popularity.

This is because, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, pedestrians are at greater risk from SUVs than from passenger cars.

Could your small car be putting you in danger?

Recently, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) calculated driver death rates in 2017 model vehicles. The independent, nonprofit safety group found substantial evidence that smaller cars fare worse in crashes.

According to the IIHS, it appears that the lighter mass of the vehicles puts them at a disadvantage over larger vehicles in a collision. In fact, vehicles defined as “very large SUVs” were the best in any vehicle category for preventing deaths, with only 15 fatalities per million registered vehicles. On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, minicars had the highest rate at 82 fatalities per million registered vehicles.

Has marijuana legalization meant more impaired driving?

If you have been hit by a marijuana-impaired driver, you have been personally affected by a powerful trend. Now that the majority of states have legalized marijuana for some purposes, you might expect that the rate of impaired driving would be higher. You would be right to be concerned.

Marijuana does impair the ability to drive

Surprisingly, some people don't realize that it is illegal to drive while high, but it is. This is true even in California and other states where marijuana is legal for recreational purposes.

Safety groups urge improved safety standards for autonomous cars

Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requested public comments on proposed regulatory changes to the occupant protection rules for self-driving vehicles. Anyone can comment on the rule, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute recently submitted theirs based on years of research.

How should the occupants of autonomous vehicles be protected in the future? Currently, there are different crash survivability rules for the driver's seat, the front passenger seat and the rear seat.

Would automated vehicles automatically drive better than humans?

Not necessarily, according to a recent study. Their ability to out-perform humans in terms of safety will depend not only on the accuracy and reliability of their sensors but also on how they weigh the importance of safety.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) studied a set of nationally representative auto crashes and examined their causes. Then, the group tried to predict whether an automated vehicle might have been able to avoid the crashes.

Distracted driving affects other drivers and your bank account

Distracted driving behaviors can be either visual, auditory, manual (movement), cognitive (thinking), or a mixture of any four combined. Most drivers know that texting or talking on the phone while behind the wheel is considered distracted driving, but eating, applying makeup and other minor activities can cause distractions too. All these actions divert our attention, but how can they affect your insurance rates?

While distracted driving still accounts for 1,000 traffic-related injuries and nine deaths per day in the United States - or 8.5% of all fatal traffic accidents - data from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides a silver lining. Traffic fatalities decreased 1-3% in the following categories in 2019:

How prevalent is drowsy driving?

It can be hard to tell how prevalent fatigued or drowsy driving actually is. After all, a car crash tends to wake you up. Many people who have fallen asleep behind the wheel will be wide awake when it comes time to explain. That can cause law enforcement to underestimate the effect fatigue may have had on the accident.

Just how common is drowsy driving? Likely, very common, according to estimates.

Which car safety devices are the most effective?

These days, many new vehicles are equipped with advanced safety features -- at least at the high end of the market. For many people, having a car or truck with all the latest safety features may be out of reach. Luckily, the ones that are saving the most lives are probably already installed on your vehicle.

What are the safety features that do save lives? Here's a rundown, courtesy of the Insurance Information Institute (III):

How does age affect your driving skills?

We've all heard the jokes. It has been a long time since their first driving test. They can't see over the steering wheel.

But is it true that older drivers are worse than their younger peers? Does age take away your ability to drive safely?

Spring is the season for motorcycle accidents

Did you know that motorcyclists are much more vulnerable in accidents than occupants of passenger vehicles? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are approximately 28 times as likely to be killed in a motor vehicle crash than are passenger car occupants.

This may not be surprising to motorists. Motorcycles aren’t enclosed, so even a minor wreck exposes you directly to the road and to other vehicles. You have no chance to remain inside the vehicle and away from the pavement.

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