Deaths From Injuries, Including Car Crashes, Rising Among Youth

CNN published an article earlier this month about the fact that after years of decline, the injury death rate among people in the United States ages 10 to 19 is rising. The CNN article was based a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report found auto injuries to be one of the leading causes of death.

Below are some highlights from the article:

  • The rise in deaths is attributable to injury-related deaths, such as traffic accident fatalities, drug overdoses, homicides and suicides, as opposed to illness.
     
  • Among 10- to 19-year-olds around the world, road traffic injuries were the leading cause of death in 2015.
     
  • Motor vehicle traffic fatalities accounted for 62% of these unintentional injury deaths.
     
  • The new report was based on data from death certificates filed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia between 1999 and 2016.

Check out the full article for more information on the study: https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/01/health/youth-injury-death-rate-cdc-study/index.html

We feel this study highlights the importance of practicing safe driving, as well as the need for our lawmakers to dedicate time and money to creating and enforcing legislation that will support safety on the road. Things like driver-training courses, putting down our phones while we drive, and new laws that address road safety are critical.

Lane-Departure And Blind-Spot Technology In Cars Are Reducing Accidents Says IIHS

By: Nicole Vattimo

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) recently published findings that indicate lane-departure and blind-spot warnings in cars are effectively reducing accidents. Here are some highlights from the report:

  • Lane-departure warnings lower rates of single-vehicle, sideswipe and head-on crashes of all severity by 11 percent.
     
  • Lane-departure warnings lower the rates of injury in these types of crashes by 21 percent.
     
  • The IIHS feels the above results are modest; perhaps because many drivers turn off lane-departure functionality in their vehicles.
     
  • If all passenger vehicles had been equipped with lane-departure warning, nearly 85,000 police-reported crashes and more than 55,000 injuries would have been prevented in 2015.
     
  • Blind-spot detection lowers the rate of all lane-change crashes by 14 percent and the rate of lane-change crashes with injuries by 23 percent.
     
  • Police reports include information on the circumstances of a crash, making it possible to look specifically at the types of crashes that particular technologies are designed to address.

Take a read of the full report for more information about these findings and how the studies were conducted: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/stay-within-the-lines-lane-departure-warning-blind-spot-detection-help-drivers-avoid-trouble

PA Employers May See Workers' Compensation Rate Increases

By: William Forbes

Pennsylvania employers could be facing an increase in workers' compensation rates starting in November, due to a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision. 

According to this recent article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "The court struck down a key part of the workers’ compensation law passed in 1996 to limit benefits for the most severe workplace injuries. Under that provision, an employer’s insurance provider could request that injured workers undergo a medical assessment after two years out of the workplace."

If the medical assessment found that the employee was less than 50% injured at that time, then the insurer was able to cap partial benefits at 10 years. However, if the employee was found to be more than 50% injured, he/she was able to receive full benefits for life.

The new ruling dictates that these medical assessments will not happen, which means more workers could end up receiving lifetime benefits. As a result of these and other changes made by the court, the Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau proposed a cost hike that, if approved, will take effect after November 1.

For more information on the rate hike, and the court's ruling, see the full article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/career-workplace/2017/08/24/Workers-compensation-insurance-court-ruling-premiums/stories/201708230302

For questions about your workers' compensation policy, contact your agent. 

Could Oversharing On Social Media Cost You Your Insurance In The Future?

By: William Forbes

This article from Consumer Reports interviews representatives from the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the Insurance Information Institute on this subject and uncovers some interesting info.

The idea here is that by sharing photos of your family away from home on vacation, or posting about new and expensive purchases, you could be opening yourself up to theft. So, by sharing these types of posts, you could be violating your insurance policy's "reasonable care" clause, "which stipulates that policyholders do everything they can to make their home burglar-resistant and secure from risk," says the article.

Please don't be alarmed. We've never heard of an insurance company denying a home claim because of social media; and the experts in the article don't say that they know of a claim being denied either. But, they do posit, in the future, insurers may review people's social media activity in certain instances.

Beyond the issue of insurance claims, however, I think this article makes a good point about not oversharing on social media in order to protect your safety, home, and belongings. It's smart, especially in today's internet-connected society, to protect yourself by not letting the world know where you are and what you are doing at any given moment.

The article suggests waiting until you return home to post vacation photos, and to be careful of how much personal information you are giving away in comments. For example, try not to disclose where you are vacationing, how long you're there, your hotel details, etc.

check out the full article for more information: https://www.consumerreports.org/social-media/is-social-media-putting-your-home-at-risk/

Volvo Plans To Phase Out Gasoline Engines

By: William Forbes

Bloomberg just reported that Volvo is planning to phase out the sale of gasoline engines. The auto maker says starting in 2019 all new models will run on hybrid or fully-electric motors. "That means that by about 2025 Volvo will make its last full-gasoline or diesel car -- the first major manufacturer to make such a pledge," said the article.

For more, check out the full article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-05/volvo-cars-joins-electric-race-with-plan-for-five-battery-models.

Erie Insurance Conducts a Poll on the Topic of Self-Driving Cars

By: William Forbes

Here at the Forbes Insurance blog, we've been paying attention to the trend of self-driving cars and the industry conversations happening around that topic.

Recently, Erie Insurance commissioned a national survey that asked nearly 3,000 licensed, U.S. drivers what they thought of self-driving cars and how their behavior behind the wheel might change if they owned one. In a blog post on Erie Sense (link here), the company reported on the results.

Not surprisingly, sleeping was a popular answer for what drivers would do with their downtime behind the wheel of a self-driving car. The blog says, "Roughly half of licensed drivers (51 percent) say one of the biggest advantages of self-driving cars would be the ability to go longer distances without worrying about being drowsy while driving."

The next most popular responses were texting, sending emails, and reading. These are also not too surprising. However, the survey did have some humorous responses; including a small percentage of drivers who would, reportedly, use the time for "romantic activities." The survey also asked respondents to come up with a new name for: self-driving car. Among the responses were: "Bad Science car" and "Take your chances car."

Back to more serious subject matter, Erie's blog highlighted an important point with regard to self-driving cars. The article discussed the fact that, at least in early models, self-driving cars still require a human operator to be alert and ready to take over control of the vehicle. Because of this, it will be very interesting to see how the insurance industry handles fault when it comes to accidents in autonomous vehicles.

The blog also touched on a scary topic: drinking and driving. Thirteen percent of respondents to Erie's survey said they believe "you wouldn’t get cited for DUI/DWI if you have a few drinks and then operate a self-driving car." Even though 13 percent may seem small, this stat is surprising and frightening.

For more survey results and information on the poll, check out Erie's full blog post: https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/distracted-driving-survey.