Atlanta Car Accident Attorneys Discuss Nighttime Driving Dangers
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the fatality rate for passenger motor vehicle occupants is three times higher at nighttime than in the daytime. Nationwide, about half of all car accident fatalities occur during nighttime hours, but nighttime travel accounts for only 25 percent of the overall miles traveled by vehicles. In an effort to uncover the cause for the higher nighttime accident and fatality rates, researchers have analyzed data to uncover the following relevant facts:
- Safety belt usage: The NHTSA study found that of the over 15,000 people killed at night, almost two thirds were not wearing their safety belts. In contrast, just half of all daytime fatalities involved unrestrained motor vehicle occupants. This leads to the broader conclusion that nighttime driving is linked to lower rates of seatbelt usage, which in turn raises fatality rates.
- Alcohol use: An alarming 60 percent of all fatal nighttime accidents involve the use of alcohol, with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over .01 g/dL. An additional 54 percent of nighttime crashes involved BAC of over .08. These figures are far higher than those associated with fatal daytime accidents.
- Speeding: Over thirty percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents that occur after dark involve excessive speed. This can be contrasted to the about 20 percent of daytime accidents that are caused by speed.
- Crash Type: Six out of ten fatal crashes at night are single vehicle accidents, which often involve head-on accidents into objects such as guard rails or telephone polls. In the daytime, six out of ten fatal accidents are multiple vehicle crashes.
Staying Safe While Driving at Night
Drivers who get behind the wheel during the nighttime hours should exercise extreme caution and awareness as to the common causes of nighttime accidents. Drivers should always ensure their headlights are on and in good working order. They should also refrain from the use of alcohol and keep their speed to the posted speed limit, or below in the event of poor road conditions. Drivers must be on the look-out for others that appear to be intoxicated, tired, or otherwise not driving in a safe manner. Swerving, erratic speed or turns and poor lane control all indicate that the vehicle may pose a threat to your safety.
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http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/810637.pdf (link downloads report)