Friday, September 22, 2006

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Car accident
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The result of excessive speed, this cement truck rolls over into the front garden of a house. There were no injuries, but significant damage was caused.A car accident is a incident whereas an automobile either departs from regular pathway into a ditch, or collides with anything that causes damage to the automobile, including other automobiles, telephone poles, buildings, and trees. Sometimes a car accident may also refer to an automobile striking a human or animal. Car accidents — also called traffic collisions, auto accidents, road accidents, personal injury collisions, motor vehicle accidents, and (particularly by American radio traffic reporters) crashes — kill an estimated 1.2 million people worldwide each year, and injure about forty times this number (WHO, 2004). The term "accident" is considered an inappropriate word by some, as reliable sources estimate that upwards of 90% are the result of driver negligence. In the UK the Department of Transport publish road deaths in each type of car. These statistics are available as "Risk of injury measured by percentage of drivers injured in a two car injury accident."

These statistics show a ten to one ratio of in-vehicle accident deaths between the least safe and most safe models of car.

A vehicular collision in Yate, near Bristol, England, in July 2004. The car failed to stop when the truck stopped at a roundabout. The car's bonnet can be seen deep under the rear of the truck. There were no injuries.The statistics show that for popular, lightly built cars, occupants have a 6%-8% chance of death in a two car accident. (e.g. BMW 3 series 6%, Subaru Impreza 8%, Honda Accord 6%). Traditional "safety cars" such as the Volvos halve that chance (Volvo 700 4% incidence of death, Volvo 900 3%).

SUVs are better for their occupants in two-vehicle crashes than 'safety cars', with the Jeep Cherokee and Toyota Land Cruiser giving 2% incidence of occupant death in actual crashes. However, in multiple-vehicle crashes SUVs are probably between three (Bicycle Safety Almanac) and six (International Injury & Fatality Statistics) times more likely to kill the occupant of the other vehicle (car, cyclist, or pedestrian) than cars.

Overall the four best vehicles to be in are the Jaguar XJ series 1%, Mercedes-Benz S-Class / SEC 1%, Land Rover Defender 1% and Land Rover Discovery 1%.

Motorcyclist deaths within England and Wales stand at 53% of the annual road death statistics. Scooters/mopeds up to 50cc only account for 3% of those deaths. 2% of the scooter deaths were 16-19 year olds who had not taken CBT (Compulsory Basic Training). Studies show that the #1 cause of car accidents in North America is automobiles.

(Statistics taken from 2004/2005 DSA annual road deaths percentages)

Contents [hide]
1 First fatality
2 Responsibility of car manufacturers
3 Trends in collision statistics
4 Types of collisions
5 Legal consequences
6 Rubbernecking
7 Backup accidents
8 Collision prevention
9 See also
10 External links

First fatality
The first fatality in a steam-driven vehicle may have been Mary Ward who on 31 August 1869 fell under a steam car in Ireland.

In the UK, the first person to die in a petrol-driven car collision was a pedestrian, Bridget Driscoll, in 1896. The first driver/passenger deaths occurred on 25 February 1899. A 6 HP Daimler, driven by 31-year-old engineer Edwin Sewell, crashed on Grove Hill, a steeply graded road on the northern slope of Harrow on the Hill, Middlesex, now in north-west London. A rear wheel collapsed after breaking its rim and the car hit a sturdy brick wall. Sewell was killed immediately when he and his passenger, a Major Richer, were thrown from the vehicle. Richer died 3 days later in hospital. The spot is now marked with a commemorative plaque.

Responsibility of car manufacturers
Car makers have been both accused of making cars that go too fast, and praised for the safety measures (such as ABS) found in new models.

A number of books have critically analysed the responsibility of car makers for safety. The most famous is probably Ralph Nader's Unsafe At Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile, and more recently Keith Bradsher's High and Mighty: the dangerous rise of SUVs (in Europe subtitled the world's most dangerous vehicles and how they got that way) has discussed popular concerns with the rise in popularity of the SUV.

Trends in collision statistics
Road toll figures show that car collision fatalities have declined since 1980, with most countries showing a reduction of roughly 50%. This drop appears to confirm the efficacy of safety measures introduced thereafter, assuming that driver behaviour has not changed significantly.

In the United States, fatalities have increased slightly from 40,716 in 1994 to 42,643 in 2003. However, in terms of fatalities per 100 million miles driven, the fatality rate has dropped 16% between 1995 and 2005. Injuries dropped 37% over the same period. (National Traffic Safety Administration, 2006)

It has been noted that road fatality trends closely follow the so-called "Smeed's law" (after RJ Smeed, its author), an empirical rule relating injury rates to the two-thirds power of car ownership levels. Others claim that road safety improvements, not Smeed's law, are the dominant cause of lives saved. An analysis by John Adams can be found here.

Types of collisions
A rollover in Sydney, Australia on Christmas day, 2001.Car accidents fall into several major categories (whose names are self-explanatory):

Head-on collisions
Rear-end collisions
Side collisions
Single-vehicle collisions
Multi-vehicle collisions
Backup accidents
Level crossing accidents
Collisions can occur with other automobiles, other vehicles such as bicycles or trucks, with pedestrians or large animals (such as moose), and with stationary structures or objects, such as trees or road signs.

The result of a side collision; most cars are not as structurally sound side-to-side as they are front-to-back and damage can be more severe to the vehicle and the occupant than at the same speed in a rear-end collision.In a collision between two cars, the occupants of a car with the lower mass will likely suffer the greater consequences. See: crash incompatibility.

Legal consequences

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