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Are some self-driving cars safer than others?

While self-driving cars are taking slow, steady steps toward prominence on California roadways, not everyone believes that widespread adoption of the technology is in the public's best interest. According to Forbes, drivers in San Francisco have sometimes reacted violently to the presence of autonomous cars on their city streets, and even those who are able to curb their road rage still express some hesitation. A nationwide study indicates that a slim majority of Americans, only 52 percent, feel confident that safety advances in self-driving technology may one day lead them to consider an autonomous vehicle as a replacement for a conventional one. 

As of right now, self-driving vehicles are still in the testing stages, and California law requires companies currently testing driverless cars to file a report with the proper authorities whenever a test vehicle becomes involved in an accident, meaning any contact with people or property. A tech website has compiled and analyzed data from the state's Department of Motor Vehicles and determined which models of autonomous cars have had the most accidents.

Technology can help us best avoid auto accidents

While automobile safety features of today seem old-hat (seat belts, air bags) and the safety features of tomorrow seem far-off (self-driving cars, GPS-assisted speed monitoring), the safety features being readied for the next iteration of vehicles are ready to be deployed.

According to Consumer Reports, some new safety features include:

How should I drive in winter conditions?

If you live in Southern California, many of your friends and relatives in other parts of the country may assume you never drive in weather that is anything but warm and sunny. That is not necessarily the truth, however. California is home to many mountains and you might want to go for a morning bike ride along the coast and then head up to the mountain for an afternoon of skiing, for example.

Because most days in the region do offer pleasant weather, it is important to get a refresher on safe practices when driving in snowy or icy conditions. As explained by AAA Exchange, one of the most important things you should do is allow a greater amount of distance between you and any vehicle in front of you than you would in normal condition. This gives you more space to stop safely. You should also reduce your speed as the posted speed limits are based on good road conditions.

New driving laws in California for 2019

As residents in California prepare to ring in another new calendar year, many new laws are set to go into effect after the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve. Several of the state's new laws will impact drivers, passengers, motorcyclists and pedestrians throughout the state.

Many of the laws are designed to help keep innocent people safe from unnecessary harm caused by negligent drivers. One of these laws is State Bill 1046 which mandates the installation and use of an ignition interlock device for at least one full year for any person convicted of a second or subsequent drunk driving offense.

Drunk driving limit lowered in Utah

Residents in California have for a long time known that driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or greater is against the law. This is the threshold that has been recognized by all 50 states for many years now. The purpose of identifying a legal limit for drunk driving is ideally to prevent accidents, reduce injuries and save lives.

As reported by Quartz, Utah was actually the first state in the nation to establish the current BAC legal limit of 0.08 percent. This was done by Utah in 1983, three years after the founding of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The previous legal limit in that state and in many states at the time was 0.10 percent. Over time, the entire nation adopted 0.08 as a standard for determining intoxication in drivers.

Safe driving tips during the holidays

The last couple of weeks of the calendar year and the start of a new year are common times for California residents to hit the road to visit family or friends for holiday gatherings or adventurous outings. Whether driving in the heart of a busy Southern California freeway, on a snowy mountain road or along a rural highway, it is important to take steps to stay safe while behind the wheel.

Auto insurer Nationwide reminds drivers to put away their phones when driving - even if hands-free. When trying to meet an appointment time, people should leave with enough time to accommodate delays on the road or needed breaks so as to reduce the urge to speed. Maintaining reasonable driving speeds should be considered an essential element of safe driving. 

How should you drive in a traffic jam?

While driving in traffic can be frustrating and time-consuming, it is an inherent part of your commute each day in California. Your efforts to plan and be prepared for periods of waiting in bumper-to-bumper traffic can help you to be more patient and stay safer. 

Perhaps the best thing you can do is to give yourself plenty of time to travel from one location to another. The more stressed you are about arriving somewhere on time when you are already behind, the more impatient you may be when you run into a snarl in traffic. State Farm suggests that you keep a constant eye on the road ahead. Be aware of when the car in front of you begins to brake so you can immediately follow suit. Slamming on your brakes can create frustration for you and can also cause an accident if you do not have enough time to stop or the car behind you does not have enough time to stop either. 

Pedestrian Safety in Los Angeles

If you regularly enjoy a walk in Los Angeles, you know that crossing the street as a pedestrian can be a dangerous prospect. In 2017, Los Angeles saw 134 pedestrian fatalities, an increase of 80% since 2015, during which 74 pedestrians were killed.

Nationally, almost 6,000 pedestrians are killed each year as a result of motor vehicle accidents

Risks of drunk drivers over holidays

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, most residents in California find themselves fully immersed in the holiday season. From putting up decorations to buying and wrapping gifts to attending holiday functions, there is no shortage of special activities that happen at this time of year. Unfortunately, the increase in special events may put Californians at a greater risk of being involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver.

According to KVTU.com, the 2016 Christmas holiday saw 621 people arrested for and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. Over the 2017 Christmas holiday period, more than 900 people were charged with drunk driving throughout the state. These arrests took place over the course of only three days and six hours and do not reflect the arrests or accidents that may have occurred throughout the month of December. 

Negligent enstrustment explained

When one is involved in an accident caused by a teenage driver in Los Angeles, the resulting expenses due to the medical and repair costs may make it necessary for them to seek compensation. Yet how much can one reasonable expect a teen to be able to offer. The legal principle of negligent entrustment allows accident victims to hold vehicle owners responsible for accidents caused by others that they have loaned their vehicles to. In the case of a teenage driver, that will often be their parents. 

One might argue that parents of teenage drivers should understand the risks that their teens pose to others on the road. Statistics certainly seem to indicate that teen drivers are among those most demographic groups most likely to be involved in car accidents. Information compiled by the insurance provider GEICO shows that one in every five 16-year-old drivers has an accident in their first year of driving. The same source cites local sources that show that California teens of the same age are 20 times more likely to die in a car crash than an adult. 

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