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  • Can Machine Learning Predict Car Accident Risks?

    Car Accident

    According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 38,680 fatal motor vehicle accidents across the United States in 2020. While that number was down from the previous year, it is an undeniably tragic statistic. Automakers, government agencies, and traffic safety experts are always looking for new strategies to reduce car accidents. Machine learning is one innovative approach that may help predict car accident risks.

    Machine learning is a form of computer science and artificial intelligence (AI), which uses data and algorithms to recreate the way humans learn. It is essentially getting computers to imitate human behaviors. These computers continually receive data and information and use these algorithms to turn around and make determinations and predictions.

    In the case of driving, the hope is that machine learning will be able to predict accident risks, allowing drivers to take steps to avoid them. Motorists should learn more about machine learning and how safety advocates are using scientific models to predict and avoid crashes in real time.

    Deep Accident Prediction in U.S. Cities

    With Deep Accident Prediction (DAP), scientists in the United States focused on time, weather, points-of-interest, and traffic events to create a model that predicts risks in real time. To ensure diversity of climate and traffic patterns, researchers tried various models in six U.S. cities. One particular model, called a deep neural network (DNN), was especially effective at predicting accidents.

    What are the Leading Causes of Serious Traffic Accidents?

    Before drivers and safety advocates can begin to avoid accidents, it is important to understand why they happen. Here is a breakdown of the factors contributing to fatal wrecks in the United States in 2020, taken from NHTSA statistics:

    • Alcohol was involved in more than 7,324 fatal accidents.
    • Nearly 5,000 fatal accidents involved large trucks.
    • Pedestrians were involved in more than 6,000 fatal wrecks.
    • Speeding-related crashes were up 11 percent from the previous year.
    • Fatalities among unrestrained passengers increased by 15 percent in a single year.
    • Fatal accidents were most common among individuals between the ages of 25 and 34 years old.
    • Fatal accidents at night, on the weekend, on rural roads, and on urban interstates all rose in 2020.

    The data shows drivers overall were more likely to engage in reckless driving behaviors, like not wearing a seat belt, driving too fast, and drinking and driving, than they were the year before. In these cases, drivers have a choice to operate their motor vehicle safely, responsibly, and according to local traffic laws.

    However, what about the factors that are out of their control, like the weather, road conditions, and traffic patterns? These are the areas where machine learning may make a real difference.

    What Steps Should I Take After a Car Accident?

    Although machine learning is certainly promising for the future of accident reduction, this type of advanced technology will never be able to prevent 100 percent of crashes. Every driver should know the steps to take after any type of car accident to protect everyone involved, prevent a secondary collision, and preserve evidence in case they decide to file a personal injury claim. Listed below are important steps to take after a collision happens.

    Stay at the Accident Scene

    Even if the accident seems minor, it is never a good idea to leave the scene without checking for injuries and property damage. Wait for the law enforcement officer at the scene to say it is okay to go. Leaving the scene prematurely can bring a hit-and-run charge.

    Check for Injuries at the Accident Scene

    Anyone involved in a car accident should first check themselves for injuries. Next, assess other occupants in the vehicle before checking others at the accident scene. Call 911 if someone appears to be seriously hurt.

    Besides moving individuals away from urgent danger, like a fire or oncoming traffic, try not to move injured victims. Instead, wait for emergency responders to arrive. Moving an injured victim can worsen their injuries.

    Immediately Call the Police

    If someone has already called 911, it is likely that police are on their way. If not, contact the police to report the accident and have an officer dispatched to the scene. They will assess the damage and determine if everyone has a valid license, registration, and insurance.

    The police officer can also conduct roadside sobriety tests if someone appears to be under the influence. Regardless of how severe a wreck is, it is always helpful to file a police report. Remember to state only the facts and nothing more.

    Move Vehicles Safely Out of Traffic

    If the accident seems minor and no one has serious injuries, move drivable vehicles out of traffic. This will prevent traffic jams and secondary crashes. Put on hazard lights, or set up reflective traffic cones around the area to alert other drivers.

    Exchange Information

    Collect information for any other drivers involved in the accident, including their:

    • Name
    • Phone number
    • Driver’s license number
    • Insurance information
    • Vehicle description
    • License plate number 

    If any pedestrians or other drivers witnessed the accident, it is a good idea to get their contact information as well. The insurance company and a car accident lawyer on the case may need their testimonies to confirm how and why the accident occurred.

    Gather Evidence

    Additionally, document the scene and gather evidence. Take photographs of damage to vehicles and structures, as well as the actual location where the car accident took place. Skid marks, for example, may suggest a driver was speeding.

    Look for nearby security and traffic cameras that may contain footage of the crash as well. These details all help police, insurance companies, and lawyers better understand the factors that contributed to the accident.

    Call a Car Accident Lawyer

    Before contacting the insurance company, the first call should be to a trusted car accident lawyer. After reviewing the evidence, the police report, and speaking with the client, a lawyer will explain the client’s rights and obligations under the law and recommend the next steps to take. Always consult with a lawyer before accepting a quick-off settlement from the insurance company. The offer may not cover all of the losses related to the accident.

    While the field of machine learning is still relatively new, early models show exciting promise for the potential to reduce crashes and save lives. Even with this impressive technology, accidents are not likely to ever be entirely preventable. When a motor vehicle crash happens, contact a skilled lawyer for assistance.

    Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC Represent Clients Injured by Reckless Drivers

    The idea of accident prediction is promising, but until it is widely available, drivers must remain prepared for unexpected collisions. The dedicated Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC will listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and recommend the ideal legal course of action. We are committed to achieving justice. To learn more about our services or to schedule a consultation, call us at 757-LAW-0000 or contact us online. Based in Virginia Beach, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, and Eastern Shore, Virginia. We also serve our clients throughout the United States through our network of associated attorneys.