Each year in the United States there are approximately 5 million police-reported motor vehicle accidents. At this high rate, odds are good you will personally be involved in a car accident at some point in your lifetime. Many of us, thankfully, never experience more than mild fender benders or parking lot scrapes. However, around half of these reported accidents involve some sort of injury. In other words, over two million people a year are injured in the U.S. as a result of a motor vehicle crash. If you are a driver, you likely understand your rights regarding insurance and coverage. But what about passengers? A passenger rarely has any culpability when a crash occurs, putting them in the unique position of being a victim regardless of whether the car they were in or another’s caused the accident. If you are injured in a crash, therefore, it’s helpful to know what compensation you may be eligible to pursue for your injury and damages.
If there is one thing as common as the use of cell phones, it’s concerns about the safety of cell phones. We worry about the safety of our information on cell phones -- as they may get “smarter”, so do their hackers. Scientists even disagree about their effect on our health – maybe they cause cancer, maybe they don’t. But one thing we know for sure: cell phone use does and has led to an increase in traffic accidents and fatalities. This is why more and more states have enacted laws regarding cell use while operating a vehicle. Today, most are aware not only of the physical risks, but that we risk tickets, fines, and even jail time. There is little doubt that such a driver can also be held liable for any damages and injuries they cause. But in a recent surprising lawsuit, the question was raised, “Can the person on the other end of the line be held equally liable?”
In one second, eleven lives were lost. That’s how long records show a call made by driver Kenneth Laymon lasted before he crashed his semi-truck into a van carrying a group of twelve Mennonite family and friends to a wedding in Iowa. The accident, which occurred on March 26, 2010 in Munfordville, KY, killed the driver of the truck. Of the van’s occupants, ten were killed, with two small children the only survivors. The tragedy resulted in an extensive investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and inspired the strictest recommendation on trucking and cell phone use that the agency has made to date.
Despite a steady increase in population and roadway traffic, the 2011 report by the Census Bureau’s Statistical Abstract had some good news for drivers and passengers. Traffic accidents and fatalities have been consistently declining. The latest report, which combines a variety of analysis from federal, state and private organizations, includes information on traffic accidents from the years 1980-2008. Happily, the latest report shows not only an improvement in traffic safety nationally, but nearly across the board for every individual state.
Imagine you’re driving down the road when you see a blur of motion out of the corner of your eye. Before you can even turn your head to look, you feel a shuddering impact and hear the sickening sound of screeching tires and rending metal. You’ve just been in a car accident. Though it was the last thing you expected to happen when you left the house that day, you’re one of a large statistic. On average, approximately 6.5 million car crashes occur in the United States a year – that’s over 17,000 a day. Unfortunately, the odds are high that at some point in your life you will be involved in a vehicular collision. It is therefore important to know what to do when a crash occurs.
In an attempt to put a human face on the growing problem of distracted driving, the United States Department of Transportation recently introduced a safety campaign titled “Faces of Distracted Driving”. The campaign features the stories of distracted driving victims in a series of web-based, video-taped family interviews. By showcasing these stories, the DOT hopes to educate drivers on the real-life impact of distracted driving on everyday people who, like most of us, never thought it would happen to them.