Advocacy, car crashes, Collisions, Crashes and Collisions, Distracted Driving, driving behaviors, fatalities, Head-on Collisions, Hit and Run, Multi-Vehicle Crashes, NHTSA, Rear-End Crashes, Road Safety Research, Texting and Driving, traffic fatalities, Traffic Safety

Put Your Phone Away or Get Ready to Pay – U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

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Distracted driving has become a national epidemic—endangering passengers, adjacent vehicle occupants, motorcyclists and bicyclists, and nearby pedestrians. Distracted driving involves a range of activities, from texting or talking on the cell phone to adjusting the radio station, applying makeup, eating, chatting with other passengers, smoking or taking a sip of your drink…. anything that can distract a driver from the essential task of safe driving.

Texting has become one of the most common, pervasive forms of distracted driving, and too many drivers are succumbing to this deadly habit, illegal in all states and the District of Columbia except Arizona, Montana, and Missouri. April is DISTRACTED DRIVING AWARENESS MONTH and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is partnering with state and local officials to step up enforcement and catch distracted drivers.  From April 11 to April 15, the U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign will in full force as a national high-visibility effort to enforce distracted-driving laws. Consider the frightening statistics behind this dangerous trend:

• Between 2012-2017, nearly 20,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver.
• According to NHTSA, there were 3,166 people killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2017. While this reflects a 9 percent decrease from 2016 to 2017, there is still much work to be done. In the last six years, 9.5 percent of all fatal crashes involved a distracted driver.
• Texting while driving has become an especially problematic trend among younger drivers. In fact, in 2017, 8 percent of people killed in teen (15-19) driving crashes died when the teen drivers were distracted at the times of the crashes.
• According to NHTSA, young drivers 16- to 24-years-old have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers since 2007.
• Female drivers with a cell phone have been more likely to be involved in fatal distracted driving crashes as compared to male drivers every year since 2012.
Safety Tips for Driving
• If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location. Once you are safely off the road and parked, it is safe to text.
• Designate your passenger as your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
• Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving. Cell phone use can be habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Put the cell phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of the vehicle until you arrive at your destination.
Put Your Phone Away or Get Ready to Pay
• When you get behind the wheel, be an example to your family and friends by putting your phone away. Texting and driving isn’t trendy “normal” behavior—it’s a selfish, deadly and, oftentimes, illegal activity that could kill you, a loved one, a friend, or a stranger.
• In 47 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, texting while driving is an illegal, ticketable offense. You could end up paying a hefty fine, and could get points on your license.
• If you see something, say something. If your friends text while driving, tell them to stop. Listen to your passengers: If they catch you texting while driving and tell you to put your phone away, put it down.

Remember, when you get behind the wheel, put your phone away and don’t get caught in the U Drive. U Text. U Pay. dragnet focused on making our roads safer for all.
For more information, visit http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.

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Source:  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation

car crashes, Collisions, Crashes and Collisions, Distracted Driving, driving behaviors, Head-on Collisions, Hit and Run, NHTSA, Rear-End Crashes

No Fooling – April is Distracted Driving Month!

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving. Texting is the most alarming distraction.     NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMIN

Distracted Driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there were 37,133 people killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes on U.S. roadways during 2017.  Of these, 3,166 people were killed by distracted driving. Driving is the most complex activity the vast majority of Americans will engage in during any given day. A driver must know 1,500 separate skills to drive a car properly – you simply cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.

It has been estimated by some researchers that for every mile that a vehicle travels, a driver will on average make 20 separate control decisions related to arriving at their destination.  It makes sense that the faster you go, the quicker you have to make driving decisions or completely overlook a critical decision entirely. Impaired drivers tend to make poor or no decisions while their car is in motion. In 35% of all fatal crashes, the driver took no action at all to avoid the collision prior to impact. You really don’t want to answer a cell phone at the same time you are driving, let alone when you have been drinking, taking any type of drugs – illicit, prescription or over-the-counter – or smoking marijuana. A mild- to moderately-intoxicated driver can easily become overwhelmed just driving, without any other distractions. Now add a cell phone and the attention one must pay to the conversation going on, especially distracting when emotions are involved and you got trouble!

The NHTSA found texting to be the most dangerous and alarming distraction on the road. Their research found that reading a text while driving at 55 miles per hour takes one’s eyes off the road the equivalent amount of time as driving across a football field blindfolded. Texting and driving absorb a driver’s visual, manual, and cognitive attention – creating the deadliest type of distraction on the road. Consider these sobering statistics:

  • Around 660,000 drivers use their cell phones while driving during daylight hours.
  • Texting and driving are six times more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving. Between 2012-2017, nearly 20,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver.
  • Texting while driving has become an especially problematic trend among younger drivers. In fact, in 2017, 8% percent of people killed in teen (15-19) driving crashes died when the teen drivers were distracted at the times of the crashes. Young drivers 16- to 24-years-old have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers since 2007. Every day, 11 teenagers die from texting and driving accidents.
  • Female drivers with a cell phone have been more likely to be involved in fatal distracted driving crashes as compared to male drivers every year since 2012.
  • Texting and driving increase the risk of an accident by about 23 times.
  • Cell phone use is behind only drivers “being lost in thought” in causing the most distracted driving accidents.
  • About 25% of teenagers admit to answering texts once or more every time they drive.
  • Studies have proven that teens who text and drive veer out of their lanes around 10% of their total drive time.

On-the-job crashes cost employers more than $24,500 per crash, $150,000 per injury, and $3.6 million per fatality. And distracted driving caused by hand-held mobile device use is an emerging contributor to these accidents.  An AAA study found that using voice commands to send text messages and emails from behind the wheel, which is marketed as a safer alternative for drivers, actually more distracting and dangerous than simply talking on a cellphone.

Scientific studies have confirmed that even talking on a hands-free cell phone is just as distracting as holding one to your ear, suggesting it is the conversation that is distracting. Studies have also found that a conversation was more distracting to the driver if the passenger was under the age of 24.

Researchers found that individuals who listen to music over 95 decibels (very loud) causes the human brain’s reaction time to decrease by 25%.

Keep in mind that your response to a potential hazard on the road may just take you that much longer to react.

 

Bodily Injury, Car insurance, Crashes and Collisions, Head-on Collisions, Hit and Run, Lane Crossovers, Multi-Vehicle Crashes, Property Damage, Rear-End Crashes, Recalls, Road Hazards, Rollovers, Sideswipe Crashes, T-bone collisions, Tort, Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists

Get the details of a car crash

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Car crashes can be life changing, especially when you or your loved ones are the victims. Watch the various Victim Impact Panel stories on YouTube and you’ll hear the recurring theme – “it happened in a flash”, “we never saw it coming”, “we were driving one minute and the next minute we were hit”…..

Vehicle crashes are usually classified by attorneys as falling into distinct categories: Head-on Collisions, Hit-and-Run, Lane Crossover, Multi-Vehicle Crash, Rear-End Crashes, Rollovers,  Sideswipe or T-Bone Collisions, and Single-Vehicle Crashes. These are descriptive enough for an attorney to follow an established procedure for discovery. It’s a good idea to write down the basics –
          *  When – What was the date of your car accident?
          *  Where – Where did your accident occur?
          *  Who – Who were the other drivers involved?
Were you hurt in the collision? You are not alone. Over 37,000 people die in road crashes each year with an additional 2.35 million injured or disabled. Road crashes cost the U.S. $230.6 billion per year, or an average of $820 per person. Regardless the details, car crashes inflict pain and suffering from injuries, in addition to causing frustration, stress and confusion. Are you properly insured? All states require that automobile liability insurance policies carry minimum coverage, with the average minimum being:
$15,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in any one accident;
$30,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more persons in any one accident;
$10,000 for damage or destruction of other’s property in any one crash.

But are these amounts really enough? Insurance is meant to protect a driver’s current and future assets. If the policy does not provide enough car insurance to cover damages caused by a driver to people or property, there could be legal action to sue for the additional costs. If you think about it, $15,000 for bodily injury may not even cover the cost of an ambulance, emergency room, pharmacy, etc. for a person injured in a traffic crash. If the injured person has medical expenses that exceed $15,000, as is usually the case, it is entirely possible for that individual to bring a lawsuit against you to recover the additional medical expenses not covered by your automobile insurance.

Additionally, most states do not mandate medical insurance for the driver be covered by car insurance. Therefore, if you are injured in a motor vehicle crash and you have inadequate or no private medical insurance, you will be held responsible for all costs of medical care provided to you. Check with your insurance agent to determine whether you should consider adding Medical Payments (Medpay) for treating injuries to you and your passengers without regard to fault. It also pays for treating injuries resulting from being struck as a pedestrian by a motor vehicle.

Knowing the extent of the injuries resulting from the crash will be helpful for the attorney guiding you through the claims process. Any medical documentation is good to have. Consider the aftermath of a car crash – piles of medical bills, missed work, the insurance paperwork – all very time-consuming and costly. Auto insurance in itself is quite complicated. All states regulate the insurance industry, and many offer policyholders coverage options, for example, choosing full tort or limited tort. What is the difference? Full Tort allows a person to sue for pain and suffering. With Limited Tort, an insured forfeits the right to compensation for pain and suffering. Typically, Limited Tort offers you a small discount on your monthly premium. But buyer beware – when you are injured in a car crash, saving a few dollars a month on car insurance doesn’t come near to being sufficiently compensated for the emotional and physical suffering of a crash, which can be life-changing and stay with you for a long time after the incident.

Don’t forget the police report. Most states require a police report for traffic collisions, especially those involving injury or death. These types of police reports are public records, so request a copy. Were there any witnesses? If so, try to collect their contact information. What about auto defects? Every year, vehicle safety features get more advanced in their design to prevent injuries. But these products often fail — consider the recent recall of 85 million Takata air bags. The problem was centered on aluminum nitrate, the chemical compound used to inflate air bags. When exposed to moisture, drastic temperature changes, or age, aluminum nitrate can break down and become unstable, leading air bags to explode, sending pieces of metal into cars, injuring their drivers and passengers. Those explosions led to significant injuries including bone fractures, lacerations, traumatic brain injuries and blindness. Vehicles made by 19 different automakers have been recalled to replace frontal airbags on the driver’s side or passenger’s side, or both in what NHTSA has called “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.”

Other factors to consider when documenting a vehicle crash include road defects.  There are many road conditions that could cause you to lose control of your vehicle and crash, including objects on the road, ice/snow/black ice, confusing signs or lack thereof, potholes, steep shoulders (drop-offs), unsafe work zones, pooling water that can lead to hydroplaning, windy roads with no lines, and wheel ruts. Documenting these defects can be time-sensitive, as evidence might disappear with a change in the weather or repairs being completed.

Review Your Auto Insurance Coverageinsurancepolicy_edited-1

Buying a new policy? Updating an existing one? There are recommended minimum coverage for auto insurance that covers Tort (pain & suffering), Bodily Injury Liability, Property Damage Liability, Medical Expense Benefits, Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage (UM/UIM), Roadside Assistance, Missed Work and Funeral Benefits. Having the proper insurance coverage might result in a slightly higher premium, but it will save you thousands when you need it most. Speak with your insurance agent about adjusting your deductibles if you are worried that your monthly premium will be too high.

Of particular importance is the UM/UIM coverage that applies to the driver, as well as family members living in the same household, in the event of a car crash. UM/UIM coverage will help pay for the costs related to accidents with uninsured or underinsured drivers whether you are a driver, passenger, pedestrian, or the victim of a hit-and-run. According to a 2014 study by the Insurance Information Institute, 12.6% percent of American drivers had no insurance. The most recent data from the Insurance Research Council show higher estimates – a little over14% percent of the driving population is uninsured. Nationwide, there’s about a 1-in-8 chance a crash will involve an uninsured driver, with a 1 in 5 chance of finding an uninsured motorist on the road in six states. Recommended minimum coverage limits are $100,000 per person / $300,000 per occurrence. With these limits, UM/UIM can help pay for medical bills, pain and suffering and property damage.

Remember, you can change your car insurance policy at any time – just call your insurance agency or agent – before the unexpected happens.

Head-on Collisions, School Buses

School bus dashcam captures head-on collision

 

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Watch the head-on collision captured from the dashcam of a school bus

 

Nineteen students on their way to an after-school program had a front seat view of a head-on collision.  A black Ford SUV crossed the left of center yellow line and hit a Volkswagen sedan head-on. Three people were taken to the hospital, all expected to survive. Nobody on the school bus was hurt, as the overturned vehicle stopped just short of the bus.

Not so with a similar collision earlier this year. It involved a small passenger car in Missouri driving the wrong way on the freeway, hitting a school bus head-on and killing the driver. This bus was carrying 25 students to a basketball game.

In both videos, you can see people rushing to the scene of the crash, trying to help. This is the GOOD SAMARITAN law, generally providing basic legal protection for those who assist a person who is injured or in danger. In essence, these laws protect the Good Samaritan, i.e. individuals trying to help victims of crashes, from liability if unintended consequences result from their assistance.  All 50 states and the District of Columbia have some type of Good Samaritan law.

In the case of the first collision, these Good Samaritans set up a “GoFundMe” page to help cover medical expenses. This is an example of crowdsourcing, a popular practice of raising money for a project, task or service from a large number of people, typically via the Internet. In just 24 hours they raised almost $1,500 of the $50,000 goal to help pay the victims’ medical bills. “The driver of the car struck by the SUV is lucky to be alive and doing as well as she is, but the medical bills are piling up,” the fundraising page states. Adding insult to injury, the woman that hit them let her insurance lapse and at the time of the accident was uninsured.