The NSC's Guide to a Safer Driving

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This June, the National Safety Council (NSC)  is celebrating National Safety Month. Each week has a different area of focus, and this week’s goal is to raise awareness on the dangers of driving and to advise on the most effective ways to drive safely. According to the NSC, over 40,000 people were killed in fatal car accidents in 2017 alone! This number is nearly 6% higher than in 2015. It is key that drivers begin to take measures to ensure they are able to come home to their family safely each night.

The first step to becoming a safer driver is eliminating any dangerous driving habits that one might have. According to the Governor's Highway Safety Association (GHSA), in 38% of fatal car accidents, the driver was drunk. While the number of drunk drivers has been slowly but steadily decreasing, the number of drugged driving is on the rise. Of 44% of fatal car crashes, drivers were under the influence of non-alcoholic drugs, the most common drug used being marijuana. 

These drunk driving deaths and drugged driving fatalities are a shame since all of these car crash fatalities are avoidable! With technology constantly evolving, there are a few simple ways to get back home safely while under the influence. If someone anticipates a night of drinking, they should try to arrange a designated driver. Public transportation is also always available in metropolitan areas; in Detroit, the Q-line is a safe transportation option for drunk people. If drinking in an area without public transportation or finding a sober friend is difficult, the easiest way to avoid drunk driving is to hail a ride with a rideshare app  like Uber or Lyft. A safe and quick ride home is just a push of a button away. Much like driving under the influence, driving while sleepy is another form of impaired driving and can be just as dangerous.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 25 people reported having fallen asleep behind the wheel in the past 30 days! The American Academy of Sleep Medicine discusses a study which shows that about 21% or car accidents from 2009-2103 were caused by drowsy drivers. Drowsy driving accidents can be prevented by getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep regularly, and avoiding drugs or medications that can cause drowsiness prior to driving. As road trip season comes around, it is important to remember to take breaks every 2 hours, or every 100 miles of driving, and if possible, switch drivers. Preventing drowsy driving car crashes is an important way to create a safe driving environment for everyone on the road.

Another common factor in dangerous driving is distracted driving. In today’s fast paced society, it can be tempting to glance down at a  phone notification on the drive to work, or send a Snapchat of a funny bumper sticker on a pickup truck, but it only takes a few seconds of distraction to cause a distracted driving car accident. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Association (NHTSA), in the 4 to 5 seconds it takes to read a text message while driving at 55 miles per hour,  the car will have traveled the length of a football field. In today’s busy world, people want to consolidate their time as best as possible, and try to be multitasking experts by eating or doing makeup while driving. However, by pulling over to send a text, eating a Big Mac inside the McDonald’s, or waking up a few minutes early to put on lipstick can create a safer commute for all drivers on the road. Distracted and impaired driving is irresponsible, and preventable. It is each driver’s responsibility to create as safe of a commute as possible.

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The NSC lists some simple safety tips to follow when deciding to get behind the wheel. The NSC encourages drivers to be aware of how a vehicle’s safety features work, as they can vary from vehicle to vehicle. However, the NSC also states that, “you are your best safety feature” as a reminder not to rely wholly on features such as blind spot alerts, as they can miss things and malfunction. Because of car malfunctions, it is important to take all car system alerts and warnings seriously. Ignoring safety alerts can be dangerous, as it can be difficult for people who are not auto experts to identify car malfunctions. While most warnings are for a loose gas cap or a faulty sensor, a check engine light could mean that the vehicle is in danger of catching fire or has low oil. It’s best to allow a professional to inspect the vehicle as soon as possible after the car displays an alert.

Another safety measure the NSC suggests to keep drivers aware of their surroundings is to clean all snow, ice, and mud off of the car prior to driving it. Cleaning the windshields is not always enough. In winter, driving a car with snow piled on top of it can impair the view of other drivers, when the snow flies off the top of a moving vehicle and onto other vehicles behind it. In addition, braking suddenly can cause snow to slide down from the roof of the car and to the hood, obstructing the driver’s view. Ice across windshields and windows can also severely impact the view of the road around the driver. No matter how short the drive, or how how much of a hurry the driver is in, it is not worth the risk of a car accident to drive in a car with obstructed views.

Since so many car accidents are preventable, the NSC has taken the fourth week of June to teach drivers which habits to avoid and which practices to follow. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving while sleepy, or driving with obstructed views are all unsafe decisions that drivers are choosing to make. The NSC reminds us that each decision a driver makes can affect the lives of everyone on the road around them, making it each individual driver’s responsibility to make the right decision each time they hit the road.


Car accidents may be common, but many of them are preventable. If you or a loved one have been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to a negligent driver, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM. Our attorneys fight for Michigan’s injured drivers. 
 

Driving Safety Tips

The National Safety Council's (NSC) National Safety Month is coming to an end, but the safety topic for Week 4, is still important. In fact, driving may be the danger that should be most discussed, since there were 40,100 motor vehicle deaths in America, in 2017 alone! The NSC warns, "We all believe ourselves to be safe drivers, yet up to 94 percent of motor vehicle crashes involve human error. Follow these tips to help stay safe on the roads."

Driving Safety Tips


Avoid Dangerous Driving Behaviors
Prevent injuries on the road by keeping your focus on the driving task:

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• Avoid impaired driving, whether by alcohol, lack of sleep or drugs, including over the counter and prescription medication
• Avoid cell phone distracted driving, including hands-free
• Practice with your teen drivers and teach them to avoid distraction
• Make sure all occupants are properly secured in age-appropriate restraints
• Never leave a child alone in a car and always keep your car locked when not in use
• If you drive for work, talk with your employer about safe habits – do not take calls while behind the wheel
• Regularly check your vehicle for recalls at CheckToProtect.org and stay up to date on the safety features in your car by visiting MyCarDoesWhat.org

Use Safety Features Correctly
Modern cars are filled with safety features that can help protect the driver, passengers and even pedestrians, but they must be used correctly. Look through your vehicle manual to learn which features are available and make use of them to stay safe while behind the wheel.

• Do not rely on safety features to replace you as the driver – you are still your car’s best safety feature
• Make sure you understand your vehicle safety features before using them – not all vehicle safety features operate the same way
• Maintain your vehicle to keep safety features working correctly, including clearing the vehicle of mud, ice and snow
• Pay attention to vehicle alerts and warnings
• Educate teens and all inexperienced drivers about the safety features present in the vehicle and how they work

1 step for safety:

Always wear a seat belt. In 2016, 48 percent of vehicle occupants killed on the road were unbelted, according to injuryfacts.nsc.org.

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While these tips can't guarantee that car accidents won't happen, they may help prevent some accidents. Many causes of car accidents are due to human error. Actions such as texting while driving, eating while driving, and other forms of distracted driving, cause dangerous car accidents that can lead to serious injury and even death. However, by just not engaging in distracted driving, several motor vehicle accidents may be prevented. Similarly, reading up on car safety features and alerts and warnings helps drivers avoid car accidents, since their car can tell them when something is wrong. Car accidents can happen at any time and for several reasons, but if people take as many safety precautions as possible, car accidents due to human error can be eliminated.


Many car accidents are avoidable, especially if they are distracted driving car crashes.  If you've been injured in an auto accident caused by a distracted driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PCThe Michigan Law Firm, PC helps victims of motor vehicle accidents identify and recover any benefits they may be entitled to under Michigan law. Our team of accident attorneys understands how traumatic being hit by a negligent lawyer can be. We help people injured in car accidents deal with the legal complexities so that they can focus on their recovery. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation, today.

National Safety Month 2018

The start of June marks the beginning of National Safety Month. Each year, the National Safety Council (NSC) takes a month to emphasize the importance of safe practices in the home, on the roads, in the workplace, and within the community as a whole. Many people don't realize how dangerous some very commonplace practices can be. Simple things like looking at who liked your latest Instagram post when you are driving, not wearing a helmet while riding a bike around the neighborhood, or skipping out on safety glasses when working with heavy machinery, can lead to serious accidents and injuries. It just takes one poor safety decision to dramatically change, or even end a life.

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Since, National Safety Month is a month long, each week concentrates on a different safety topic. The first week of National Safety Month focuses on emergency preparedness, to remind people that emergencies can happen anywhere and at anytime. It is important to be prepared for any emergency situation, from an active shooter to a tornado to a heart attack. For example, according to the NSC, approximately 10,000 cardiac arrests occur each year, but only 45% of United States employees are trained in first aid. According to EMS Safety Services, a, “corporation that provides instructor training and support internationally,” 70% of heart attack deaths occur before the victim reaches hospital. Learning first aid can help keep the victim alive until medical professionals are able to treat the patient.

Week 2 of National Safety Month focuses on wellness. Many of our day to day practices, such as lack of physical activity or not getting enough sleep, can put strain on our bodies. Therefore, the NSC reminds people to take a step back from their busy lives and care for their bodies by making healthy choices. For example, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, eating an apple instead of potato chips, taking time throughout the workday to stand up and stretch, and getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night are all healthy choices that lead people to being more alert and help avoid accidents.

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The third week of National Safety Month alerts people to the dangers of slips and fall accidents, and how to prevent them. The NSC states that over 9 million preventable slip and fall injuries occurred in 2016. That is more slip and fall accidents than the entire population of New Jersey! In the workplace, approximately 800 slip and fall deaths occur, many of which can be prevented by following the correct safety procedures at all times, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly 700 of these workplace accident fatalities occurred when someone fell from a higher level to a lower level. Patrick Kapust, the director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Directorate of Enforcement Program, revealed at a presentation of the Top 10 OSHA violations, that improper fall protection is the most commonly cited safety violation, with 6,887 violations in 2017 alone! This is a shocking statistic considering that slip and fall injuries are the easiest to prevent, by doing simple things such as cleaning up spills and taking precautions when climbing ladders.

Finally, Week 4 of National Safety Month focuses on safe driving practices. Out of the 4,000 workplace fatalities each year, 2,000 are caused by car accidents. Distracted driving is a leading cause of these car accidents. As a result, some companies, such as Cargill and Union Pacific, have created policies banning people from talking on the phone while driving to prevent distracted driving car accidents. However, it is the driver’s responsibility to follow these safety rules and precautions. That’s why National Safety Month takes a week to remind everyone why they should put their phones and other distractions away and focus on the road, and practice safe diving each and every day.

The NSC created National Safety Month in order to decrease the number of preventable deaths that occur each year. Ignoring simple safety precautions may seem like no big deal but it can create an unsafe environment for not only the rule breakers themselves, but for everyone around them. In order to reduce and prevent workplace injuries and deaths, people should take heed of the NSC’s safety instructions. After all, the best way to save lives is to prevent them from being in danger in the first place.


Workplace accidents and injuries are much more common than people realize. It is easy to brush off seemingly inconsequential safety practices, when we are not aware of the dangers of poor safety. To combat workplace injuries, distracted driving car accident fatalities, and other accidents due to unsafe practices, the NSC spends the month of June reminding everyone of the importance of safety at work, at home, and everywhere in between. If you or a loved one have experienced a workplace injury due to unsafe working conditions, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM. Our attorneys fight for the rights of Michigan’s injured workers.

A Healthy Economy Can Cause Traffic Accident Deaths

The Detroit Free Press reported that traffic accident deaths have decreased last year after a 2-year spike in deaths. They do caution however, that it's not time for celebration just yet. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimated that 40,100 people were killed in traffic crashes in 2017, which is down just under 1% from the 2016 total of 40,327. The NSC also said that it’s too early to tell if the decline in traffic deaths will continue to decrease, because the previous two years saw spikes in traffic accident deaths. Between 2014 and 2015, traffic accidents increased by 7%, making it the steepest increase in fatalities in the last 50 years. Before 2016, yearly traffic deaths had not yet reached 40,000. So, why the sudden increase in traffic deaths?

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Forbes.com reported that 2009-2012 were the worst 5 years of the US economy since the Great Depression. In December of 2012, the number of people employed declined by 3 million people. That means that between those 5 years, 3 million fewer people were working and fewer people were driving on the roads to and from work. Having fewer people driving on the road caused the number of traffic deaths to decrease to the lowest deaths per year. Supporting this is NSC data which shows that the lowest traffic accident deaths per year occurred in 2011 with 32,000 deaths. 

Following 2012, the economy started to get better and more people were employed. While a rise in employment is great news for the economy and the employed individuals, more people began driving more miles, which caused the spike in traffic accident deaths. As the economy recovered people began driving more often by going out on weekends, driving down unfamiliar roads, and driving longer distances, and while driving engaged in distracted driving behaviors.

The recovering economy explains why there are more people on the roads, which also explains the increase in traffic deaths. The more people driving the more risk of car accidents. So what is the explanation for distracted driving being a factor in traffic deaths? Fortune.com called distracted driving a new “epidemic.” One cause for the distracted driving epidemic is cell phones. Fortune mentions that in a survey of 2,300 people about their driving habits, 56% of people admitted to using their cell phones while driving. They also reported that for every 11 miles driven, the average person is on their phone for 0.4 miles of the drive. It doesn’t seem like a lot of distance or that it could be very dangerous, but using a cell phone while driving is dangerous. Looking away from the road for any amount of time may lead to a distracted driving car accident. 

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Touch screens inside car interiors are also a new driving distraction. A majority of new cars come with a touch screens instead of button and knobs. While the touch screen is a technological upgrade, it also requires users to look at the screen to select options, which makes it a big distraction. Although volume knobs and scanner buttons are also encourage distracted driving among other driving problems, they are a lesser evil because many people can reach out for these button without looking away from the road. In cases of a touch screen though, it's always safer to have passengers change settings in the car or to use voice activated commands, if a newer car has them. And if a vehicle has voice commands, it likely has Bluetooth, which helps avoid having to use cell phones to text or make calls, while driving. So, there are some new car technologies can prevent drivers from getting into distracted driving car crashes. Hopefully, these advancements along with a hopefully healthy economy will allow 2018 to continue the decline in traffic deaths!


As much as everyone loves staying home and ordering everything they need on Amazon with 2 day shipping, we can't avoid driving because of the risk of getting in a car accident. Instead, we should do our best to minimize the risk of car accidents by not engaging in distracted driving behaviors like using cell phones while driving. If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC to speak to an experienced car accident attorney. For a free legal consulataion, dial 844.4MI.FIRM. 

Help! We Can't Stop Texting And Driving

Distracted driving has become a major issue in our world today, especially since more people have smartphones than ever before. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that each day in the United States, 660,000 drivers use an electronic device while driving. Also, each day, approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in automobile crashes reported to have involved a distracted driver, based on statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It should be mentioned that these are just the reported distracted driving car accident cases, and there many be thousands of other cell phone car accidents that occurred without official documentation, because of how difficult it is for authorities to pinpoint a distracted driver. It therefore goes without saying that distracted driving is very dangerous, and with the technological era upon us, it is also on the rise.

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Distracted Driving Statistics

The following statistics, provided by Click On Detroit, help put the dangers of distracted driving into context:

  1. Taking your eyes off the road for more than two seconds doubles your risk of a crash.
  2. When driving 55 miles per hour, five seconds with eyes off the road is equivalent to driving the length of a football field blindfolded.
  3. Distraction is a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes

The texting and driving problem has gotten so big that highways across the country now regularly warn drivers "Don't text and drive," and 46 states and the District of Columbia have laws banning texting and driving. If these laws don't deter people from engaging in distracted driving, we hope that drivers will keep these shocking statistics in mind, to help prevent a distracted driving car accident and to minimize the risk of experiencing a life-changing car crash injury on the road.

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However, although we know that talking or texting while driving is an issue, the problem isn't just calling or sending a text message to catch up with your best friend. Drivers with smart phones are now even using Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google Maps, Spotify, and YouTube, all while operating a vehicle on busy roads. In a survey sponsored by the National Safety Council that focused on 2,400 drivers of all ages, 74% said they would use Facebook while driving, and 37% said they would use Twitter while behind the wheel, with YouTube (35%) and Instagram (33%) close behind. 

 CNN talked to Jennifer Smith, a mother of two and founder of the advocacy group StopDistractions.org. She lost her own mother in a crash nearly 8 years ago when a 20-year-old who was talking on the phone drove through a stoplight. Since then, Smith has devoted her life to helping other families who have become victims of distracted driving crashes by providing support, lobbying for legislation, and planning public awareness events.  Smith believes that people need to really focus on what's important. "As I'm talking to new families, more and more of them are telling me, 'It's Snapchat,'" said Smith, whose daughters were 1 and 13 when their grandmother was killed in Oklahoma City. "It's Snapchat today, but then what is it tomorrow?...Social networking while driving is not necessary and should not be done by anyone, in any way, who's driving. Period. And somehow we've got to make the whole country understand that."

Also acknowledging the widespread problem of using social media while driving, Deborah Hersman, President and CEO of the National Safety Council commented, "We know that it's an under-reported issue and it's a lot like impaired driving in that way where people know it's not acceptable to do it, and yet a lot of people still do it anyway." 

The Science Behind Distracted Driving

David Greenfield, founder of the Center for Internet and Technology, told CNN that the constant need to check our phones, even when operating a vehicle, is caused by the “addictive nature of smartphones and how our brain instinctively responds to those pings, which signal an incoming text or social media update.” 

Smartphones are taking over the world. They are affecting our brains and behavior on a daily basis. When we hear the alert of a new message, social media notification, or new email, our brains get a dose of dopamine, which is a chemical that leads to an increase in arousal. “The dopamine reward centers are the same centers that have to do with pleasure from eating, pleasure from sex and procreation, pleasure from drugs and alcohol,” Greenfield said. “This reward circuitry is as old as time and if we didn’t have it, we probably wouldn’t exist as a species.”

Where the trouble arises however, is not the higher level of dopamine, but the shutdown of access to the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for most of our judgement and reasoning. “The parts of the brain that say, ‘OK, how important is this text? Is this text worth dying for? Is this text worth killing somebody else for?’” Greenfield said. “The answer, of course, logically, would be ‘no,’ but if you have less access to that part of your brain when you’re in this state, which seems to be the case, then you’re not really using your judgement.” 

Distracted Driving Prevention Apps

Scott Tibbitts, founder of a technology called Groove, believes he can help bring an end to distracted driving. His distracted driving prevention app sends a signal to the driver’s phone service provider, altering it to hold off on all texts and social media notifications while they are driving, and also prevents the driver from posting anything while the car is moving. Tibbitts compares the addiction to texting while driving to having an open bag of potato chips in the car. “I know I shouldn’t be eating potato chips, but just take a deep breath of that barbecue sauce. Well that’s what the ‘bing’ is. The ‘bing’ is “Oh, my gosh this might be the text message from my daughter that says, 'Dad, I need help,'” Tibbitts explained.

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Groove is only one of many distracted driving prevention apps and phone features being developed to minimize distracted driving, like Apple's Do Not Disturb While Driving feature and At&T's DriveMode app. It may seem ironic to use technology to stop the usage of electronics while driving, but it actually might make more sense. If people are relying so much on their mobile devices, what better way to spread the word about the risks of distracted driving and to help break bad habits than with the cell phones themselves? 

Every time we look at social media while behind the wheel or text while driving, we get a false sense of security and believe that we will be safe in future attempts. Despina Stavrinos, director of the University of Alabama’s distracted driving research lab, says it’s similar to the reinforcement theory. “So you’re driving every day, sending text messages, and nothing happens. So it’s reinforcing to you, ‘Hey, I can do this. I am a pretty good multitasker,’” said Stavrinos. In reality, distracted driving is doing nothing more than putting drivers and passengers at risk for severe injury or death. People are smart enough to develop addictive apps and modern cell phone technology, so they should be more than capable of making the right decision to forget the distractions and focus on the road while driving. 


In many ways, distracted driving can be just as dangerous (if not more so) to drivers and others on the road, than drunk driving. If you truly believe that text messages, Facebook alerts or emails are that important, pull over to the side of the road and complete your business before getting back on the road. If you or someone you know has been involved in a distracted driving car crash, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC today. Our firm are highly experienced in dealing with all types of motor vehicle accidents and can help you. Call us at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.