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Although the distracted driving problem appears to have remained steady from 2014 to 2015, researchers with the NHTSA say there is one area of concern: Young drivers who visibly manipulate their electronic devices.phone1

That’s according to the latest research by federal analysts with the traffic safety administration, which reaches conclusions based on researcher traffic counts, as well as anonymous driver surveys. Analysts physically sat at intersections across the country and observed and recorded driver behavior for 11 hours at a time. Researchers looked to see whether there were visibly manipulating their phones, talking on visible headsets or holding phones to their ears. They also cross-compared this data with the surveys and scaled the data to a national level.

What they discovered is that while overall, the texting-and-driving/ visible manipulation of electronic devices fell slightly (2.2 percent, a statistically insignificant amount), there was an increase of .5 percent total. In fact, 5 percent of those 16 to 24 were seen doing this, as were 2.1 percent of those 25 to 69. This might not seem like a lot but consider another figure: The rate of drivers holding phones to their ears. That fell from 4.3 percent in 2014 to 3.8 percent in 2015. That sounds like good news, until you consider that this still means 542,000 passenger vehicles were being driven by someone using a handheld cell phone at any given moment of a typical day in 2015. That’s alarming.  Continue reading →

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The voice on the line was that of a retired police officer who had come across many accident scenes in his career. But in that 911 call to dispatch at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, that voice, although clearly and succinctly describing the situation, revealed the sheer awfulness of it.teens

“We have people trapped in the car unconscious. We’re trying to get the door open. I have one, two people in the back seat unconscious. It’s pretty bad.”

By the time active duty emergency crews arrived, they would find one of four teens inside that vehicle, an 18-year-old recent Nease High School graduate, was dead. Five others – including two 18-year-old sisters (two in a set of identical triplets) – were seriously injured. Additionally, two others in another vehicle – a 20-year-old driver and his 19-year-old passenger – were seriously injured as well. Three of the teens injured are high school students, including the two sisters. According to a GoFundMe page for the sisters, they face “a long recovery.” The decedent, according to his obituary, had been studying computer engineering at the University of Central Florida. Continue reading →

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The term “non-traffic motor vehicle crashes” is one of those clunky ones mostly used by regulators and policy wonks, but it’s one that should capture everyone’s attention because it’s a serious and ongoing, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). caringarage

If you’ve never heard the term, you’re not alone, though you’ve likely heard of the incidents to which it refers. Non-traffic motor vehicle crashes are a type of crash that occurs off a public traffic way. Those may include:

  • Single vehicle crashes on private roads
  • Two-vehicle crashes in parking lots or parking garages
  • Collisions with pedestrians or bicyclists in driveways

In addition to these, there are also “non-traffic incidents,” which might include things like a person falling underneath a vehicle or someone falling victim to unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning.  Continue reading →

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Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, 89, has been accused of colliding with a bicyclist deliveryman on the Upper East Side recently, causing the cyclist to suffer a broken ankle.bicycleincity

Dinkins was not arrested for hit-and-run, but the 31-year-old cyclist, who says he’s been unable to return to his restaurant job since the accident, is suing Dinkins for personal injury. According to The New York Daily News, the cyclist had just finished making a delivery and was returning to his employer when he stopped at an intersection to make a left turn. Dinkins was reportedly traveling in the opposite direction and clipped the cyclist’s bike, according to reports.

An eyewitness to the incident saw the bike spin 180 degrees and was alert enough to take note of the license plate of the car. This was around noon on June 30th. They tracked the vehicle to the former mayor, who lives nearby. Continue reading →

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The mother of a child left paralyzed, brain damaged and forever scarred has filed a lawsuit against not just the man who was driving drunk that night, but also against the two bars that served him that night. beerhand

This lawsuit, filed separately from the three others brought by the estates of three persons killed in the drunk driving crash that night, alleges the driver downed 13 beers – plus a free shot of liquor – at two bars in the hours before the crash. At just 26, he worked as an assistant baseball coach at Anderson University in South Carolina. But that night, instead of guiding youths to greatness, his actions ended the lives of three young people, a 17-year-old girl, a 20-year-old woman and a 22-year-old man. That same recklessness nearly claimed the life of an 11-year-old girl, and probably would have had it not been for the quick and brave actions of a sheriff’s deputy with paramedic training who was first on scene. He found a faint trace of life, and gave her an emergency tracheotomy, right there on the scene.

Now, according to The State newspaper, that defendant has been convicted of numerous felonies relating to his actions that night. The young girl whose life was saved? She is now 13 and requires around-the-clock medical care. Her mother is now seeking justice from the business establishments she say should have known better than to continue serving the defendant driver alcohol, knowing he was clearly already drunk.  Continue reading →

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In many Orlando car accidents, the amount of insurance money available is contingent upon the language of the policy. The language must always be clear, as any ambiguity will be interpreted in favor of the insured.

Closeup of yellow line on cracked asphalt.

That said, insurers do have the right to limit their payouts in the event of a crash, so long as they do so clearly and upfront.

In the recent case of ACE Fire Underwriters v. Romero, a dispute over the language of the policy would mean the difference between a $1 million wrongful death payout and one that could be as much as $2 million (or at least $1.55 million under the terms of a partial pre-trial settlement).  Continue reading →

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It seems almost everyone has a story about that one time they were involved in a crash or encountered a serious hazard due to an unsecured load or debris cluttering the roadway. Florida Rep. Jamie Grant (R-Tampa) recalled his best friend’s mother was killed when an engine fell off the back of a trailer and flew through her windshield. Others have talked about encountering construction tools flying off the back of trucks, swerving to miss a mattress lying in the highway, losing control due to ripped tires on the roadside or a huge tree branch that was causing an obstruction. truck5

While these incidents can result in thousands of dollars in property damage, serious injury or even death for those who encounter these dangers, the person who was responsible, if they are caught, might expect a ticket with a few hundred dollars fine or, if someone dies, up to 120 hours of community service.

Many argue that’s simply not enough, particularly in light of a new report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which reports this is a much bigger problem than we may have previously understood. According to the latest news, there are approximately 50,000 accidents reported every year that are caused in some way by road debris. That’s nearly double the number noted in a previous report from 2000 indicating there were 25,000 of these incidents every year.  Continue reading →

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Jurors may be asked about – and dismissed for prejudices regarding – specific large damage awards in a car accident lawsuit, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled. jury1

In Khoury v. Seastrand, the court weighed an appeal by a defendant in a car accident lawsuit who alleged various errors by the trial court, including “indoctrination of the jurors” during the voir dire portion of the trial.

Voir dire is the preliminary, pre-trial examination of a juror by the judge or an attorney. Lawyers may request dismissal of certain jurors for biases – real or perceived – that could affect those persons’ ability to render a fair verdict.  Continue reading →

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The Ohio Supreme Court in a split decision has ruled that a utility company will not be liable for injuries stemming from a motorcycle accident in which the rider was struck by a deer before being tossed into a utility pole close to the road.utilitypoles

The issue was not so much the presence of the utility pole a where it was located.

In the case of Link v. FirstEnergy Corp., plaintiffs alleged the utility company and its parent corporation should be liable for the motorcyclist’s injuries because the poles were not moved back to a position farther from the road during a previous road-widening project. This failure to move the poles – even at the request of the township that contracted the work – amounted to negligence because the “Clear Zone” roadway design standards set by the Federal Highway Administration weren’t followed, plaintiff alleged. Continue reading →

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When you buy auto insurance and keep up with your monthly premium, it’s supposed to offer peace of mind. You trust that when you get into an accident, your damages will be covered. cars2

However, it happens fairly often that the cost of this “protection” is constantly on the incline and far too many claims are wrongfully denied, delayed or low-balled.

If your insurance company doesn’t treat you fairly, you have a few legal options. Bear in mind, though, you really cannot pursue them without the help of an experienced injury lawyer. Most of these claims will assert either bad faith or breach of contract. Although the ultimate award may be triple the original damages, these are complex cases that require a legal team with extensive experience.  Continue reading →

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