Archive for the ‘Auto Accidents’ Category

Now, The Car Recall Fixes Don’t Work – Feds Recall the Recalls

February 17th, 2015 by admin

There have been more recalls of cars being driven by trusting souls on American roads in the past year than ever before, and that’s shocking. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over TWICE as many vehicles were recalled last year than in the previous record-breaking year of 2004, when 30,800,000 vehicles were recalled for product problems.

Fortune Magazine calls 2014 “the year of the recall.”

This is bad for all of us. Recalls in 2014 did not involve new cars fresh off the assembly line that needed a fix, for the most part. The great majority of recalls last year involved cars, trucks, SUVs, and minivans that had been on the road for awhile. Some, as long as 10 years.

These vehicles may well have been involved in car crashes and traffic accidents where the recall problem was the real reason that the accident occurred, but fault was found to lie with one of the drivers. These drivers may need to revisit those assessments of liability and determine if they now have a claim against the car maker for what has happened to them.

See for example, the driver now seeking damages after being falsely accused of felony criminal liability in an accident where someone died as a result of the recall defect.

Additionally, in accidents happening now and in the future, the possibility that the fault for the crash lies with an inherent product defect involved in one of these recalls also has to be considered.  

It Gets Worse: Now, Recalls Aren’t Enough

This week, things got even more serious. The federal government announced that some recalls — impacting over 2,000,000 vehicles on U.S. roads — did not work. Now, they are RECALLING THE RECALLS.

That’s right. Scary, isn’t it?

Over two million Acura, Dodge, Jeep, Honda, Pontiac, and Toyota vehicles are being recalled because their airbags may suddenly deploy. This is dangerous! It’s also something that was supposed to be fixed in the car manufacturers’ original recalls.

From NHTSA:

“This is unfortunately a complicated issue for consumers, who may have to return to their dealer more than once,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “But this is an urgent safety issue, and all consumers with vehicles covered by the previous recalls should have that remedy installed. Even though it’s a temporary solution until the new remedy is available, they and their families will be safer if they take the time to learn if their vehicle is covered and follow their manufacturers’ instructions. A hassle is much better than a family tragedy.”

To check to see if your vehicle is involved here, call NHTSA’s Safety Hotline ((888) 327-4236).

 

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For more information, visit the Kenneth J. Allen Law Group web site resource pages for Car Accident Injuries.

Is Your Teenager Wearing a Seat Belt While in the Car? Are You? New 2015 CDC Warnings Released

February 12th, 2015 by admin

Statistics show that traffic accidents and motor vehicle crashes kill more Americans than any other cause of death from the time that the person is born through the first 30 years of their life.

Car crashes are the main reason people between the ages of 1 and 54 die in this country.

It’s shocking to think that auto accidents are the main reason for infants, children, and particularly young adults to lose their lives in this country — and for many, these deaths could have been prevented in thy had been protected in the crash with car seats, booster seats, and seat belts.

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2015 CDC Seat Belt Facts

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new “fact sheets” and other research summaries regarding motor vehicle accident fatalities and how to fight against deaths in car accidents.

From the CDC we know:

  • 94% of the people riding in vehicles today, in both Indiana and Illinois, are wearing safety belts — and a significant number, 6%, are NOT. (This is a lot better than Ohio, for example, where only 82% are wearing seat belts.)
  • Over 2,200,000 people had to get treatment in an emergency room after being injured in an auto accident during the year 2012 alone.
  • Motor vehicle crashes are considered a major public health problem in this country.
  • Teenagers die from bodily injuries sustained in traffic accidents than from anything else.
  • Over half (55%) of those who were age 13 – 20 years of age who died in a traffic accident were NOT wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
  • Teenagers are less likely to wear seat belts than older adults and men are less likely to wear safety belts than women.
  • Wearing a safety belt cuts the chance of death in an auto accident by 50%.
  • Air bags are not an alternative to wearing a seat belt; they provide additional protection to the person wearing a safety belt.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed in a traffic accident, then it’s important to learn the reasons for this tragic life event — and if someone failed to insure that your child or teenager was buckled up before hitting the road, then you need to know about it as well as your legal avenues for justice when negligence has caused such severe harm.

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For more information, visit the Kenneth J. Allen Law Group web site resource pages for Car Accident Injuries.

Drug Use Behind the Wheel: 25% Driving Under Influence of Pot or Other Drugs

February 10th, 2015 by admin

The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released a new study regarding how many drivers are driving on our roadways while under the influence of drugs (as opposed to those driving drunk or under the influence of alcohol).

In a survey done across the country, where volunteers agree to be tested by researchers by a number of roadside “voluntary for research study up ahead” signs, anonymous drivers were tested by agency researchers.  This was done as part of the National Roadside Survey, something that has been done by the federal government 5 times in the past half-century.

The NHTSA has discovered that more and more drivers are getting behind the wheel after taking prescription drugs or smoking pot. The NHTSA Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers reports that in 2014, almost 1 in 4 drivers tested POSITIVE for at least one drug that could impact the ability of the driver to safely operate a motor vehicle.

In data gathered during their study done during 2013–2014, 20% of the weekend nighttime drivers turned up positive for drugs. Of the drugs found, the most common was THC, the intoxicant found in marijuana. As for drivers under the influence of marijuana, the number rose 50%.

From NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind, “…the latest Roadside Survey raises significant questions about drug use and highway safety. The rising prevalence of marijuana and other drugs is a challenge to everyone who is dedicated to saving lives and reducing crashes.”

How dangerous is the marijuana-influenced driver? Very.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse:

“Accident-involved drivers with THC in their blood, particularly higher levels, are three to seven times more likely to be responsible for the accident than drivers who had not used drugs or alcohol. The risk associated with marijuana in combination with alcohol appears to be greater than that for either drug by itself.”

What does this mean for drivers in Indiana and Illinois?

For those involved in car accidents or crashes involving big rigs, semis, minivans, or other motor vehicles, it’s important to know if the driver responsible for your accident and your injuries was under the influence of drugs, particularly marijuana, at the time of the crash. This may be more difficult to prove with admissible evidence than someone driving while drunk on alcohol because it is not as easy to test drivers at the scene of the accident for marijuana as it is for BAC (blood alcohol content).

While technologies are being advanced for use by local law enforcement, things like Breathalizers are not available for police to test drivers for pot after an accident has occurred.

Knowing that there is a 20% chance that the driver in your accident may have been under the influence of marijuana means that there is much higher likelihood that marijuana or other drugs may have been a factor in causing the crash. It’s a factor to be investigated in your accident, something that may not have been the case just a few years ago.

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For more information, visit the Kenneth J. Allen Law Group web site resource pages for  Motor Vehicle Accidents and Crash Injuries.

 

New Study: Almost 50% Drop in Car Accident Deaths

February 5th, 2015 by admin

According to a new study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there has been a significant decrease in deaths caused by car accidents in the United States in the past 3 years. The IIHS tested around 3 dozen different types of cars on the American road today.

Their research shows a 41% drop in the number of traffic accident fatalities in this country.

That’s a huge percentage change — the number of traffic accident deaths cut almost in half. Which is great news, right?

More good news. The IIHS study revealed that several car models were so safe that not one death could be attributed to an accident involving one of these cars. NINE different models of automobile were found to be free of any recorded fatality:

Read the IIHS Status Report with all their research details.

Of course, the report also includes car models with the highest recorded number of fatalities.

The number one car on that list? A Kia Rio.

 

The Kia Rio was number one in Highest Rate of Driver Deaths in the IIHS Study.

Bicycle Accidents in Indiana Target of New Proposed Laws

January 27th, 2015 by admin

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 726 cyclists died and another 49,000 were seriously injured in accidents where the cyclist was hit in a motor vehicle traffic accident in 2012.   While not a huge number statistically, the fact that most bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles cause serious injury to those riding the cycle mean that these accidents are serious dangers and of particular concern, given that children and young adults (like college students) are often those who are sharing roads with cars and trucks while riding their bikes.

It’s a situation worthy of legislative concern.  In fact, there are two new laws being proposed by Indiana lawmakers this year that are targeting the dangers to people riding bicycles of serious injury and death in bicycle traffic accidents. Both would work to increase criminal laws for drivers who share the roads with bicyclists.

 

 

New Indiana Laws to Fight Against Serious Traffic – Bicycle Accidents

Each proposal would make it a Class C misdemeanor for a driver of a car, truck, SUV, minivan, or other motor vehicle to overtake a bicycle rider or bicyclist without keeping a minimum of THREE FEET between their vehicle and the bicycle when overtaking the bike and not waiting to return to their original lane until they were a safe distance from the bicycle.

What does this mean? If someone is convicted of a Class C misdemeanor in Indiana, they can be jailed for two months and fined $500.00. This is not law, yet — but it’s a good step toward helping keep people riding bikes safe on Indiana roads.

To track these new proposed bike safety laws:

Senate Bill 36

Citations Affected: IC 9-13-2-14; IC 9-21-8-5.

Synopsis:

Vehicle clearance when overtaking a bicycle. Provides that it is a Class C infraction for a person driving a vehicle overtaking a bicycle to not allow at least three feet of clearance between the vehicle and the bicycle and not return to the original lane until the vehicle is safely clear of the bicycle.

Effective: July 1, 2015.

House Bill 1233

Citations Affected: IC 9-13-2-14; IC 9-21-8-5.

Synopsis:

Vehicle clearance when overtaking bicycle. Provides that it is a Class C infraction for the operator of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle to not: (1) allow at least three feet of clearance between the vehicle and the bicycle; and (2) return to the original lane until the vehicle is safely clear of the bicycle. Revises the definition of “bicycle” for purposes of the motor vehicle code.

Effective: July 1, 2015

NTSB Most Wanted List for 2015: Fed’s Top 10 Biggest Dangers in Transportation Today

January 15th, 2015 by admin

The National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) has released its 2015 Most Wanted List, where the federal agency targets those issues it considers the biggest dangers facing America on the roads in transportation safety.

The NTSB has compiled its Most Wanted List for over ten years now, to bring public awareness and to drive change in areas where there are unacceptable risks being faced by Americans on U.S. roads.

From the Most Wanted List are these accident dangers which we see causing serious injury and wrongful death all too often in Indiana and Illinois:

1.  Commercial Trucking Safety

Commercial trucking is integral to our economy, but crashes, injuries and deaths involving commercial trucks have been increasing over the past several years. The NTSB has a long history of calling on the regulators to improve their oversight of operators, drivers, and vehicles. To manage their safety risks, trucking companies must go beyond securing regulatory compliance from all their employees, and proactively identify operational hazards and potential solutions.

 

 

 2.  Distracted Driving

Since 2003, the NTSB has found distraction from portable electronic devices (PEDs) as a cause or contributing factor in 11 accident investigations. Those crashes resulted in 259 people injured and 50 people killed. The first step toward removing deadly distractions will be to disconnect from non-mission-critical information. All modes of transportation need to rise to today’s distraction challenges.

3.  Safety of  Mass Transit (Buses, Subways, Etc.)

Every day, millions of people take some form of mass transit to or from shopping, work, classes, or other destinations. Mass transit comprises light rail, commuter rail, subways, ferries, streetcars, buses and trolley buses. Although each system has unique equipment, operating environments, and challenges, all can benefit from strengthening their organizational safety cultures. Deploying advanced technologies will also make mass transit safer.

 

From the president of the National Safety Council:

“The NTSB’s Most Wanted List appropriately highlights two critical safety issues: distracted driving and prescription painkiller use,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of NSC. “Our desire to be constantly connected, even while behind the wheel, results in far too many deadly crashes, while the proliferation and misuse of prescription painkillers results in 46 overdose deaths per day. The Council thanks NTSB for keeping these important issues on its Most Wanted List, because continued attention and education are key ingredients of culture change.”

Were Your Car Crash Injuries (1990 – 2015) Caused By Defective Takata Air Bag?

January 13th, 2015 by admin

The Japanese company Takata Corporation has been providing air bags to car manufacturers all around the world for many, many years now. It’s only within the past year or two that it’s been revealed that these Takata air bags are defective products that can cause serious injury or even death.

People have been hurt in accidents all over the world from these air bags.  Apparently, it’s been happening for over 20 years.

Image: airbag that has properly inflated without incident.

Meanwhile, for literally DECADES, these air bags have been hurting and killing people. It’s not known right now how many people suffered over the years from these exploding air bags. Injuries caused by the exploding air bags have been attributed to all sorts of things — even criminal assaults in some cases, since the slashing injuries suffered by the victims can look similar to knife wounds.

How Takata Air Bags Hurt People

The Takata air bags are known – now – to cut drivers and passengers with sharp metal and plastic pieces that hit like battlefield shrapnel within the car’s interior as the air bag’s metal holder breaks apart when the air bag explodes. How?

It’s believed that the air bags are defective because too much air is pushed into the air bag when it is signaled to inflate. The enormous volume of air being forced into the air bag result not only in the air bag blowing apart, but also destroying its metal and plastic case. The metal and plastic component breaks into bits, which are carried in the explosion’s force into surrounding objects: seats, dashboard, interiors, and the bodies of any passenger as well as the driver.

Takata has not confirmed this. Takata claims that it’s still investigating what is happening in these air bag explosions. It has pointed a finger at weather factors, like humidity and moisture, contributing to the problem. Takata has not agreed to a national recall of its product.

Honda Hit With Historic $70 Million Fine

Meanwhile, the federal government has been pushing the manufacturer for that national recall. And the federal government is demanding millions in fines from car makers, too.

Honda was recently fined $70,000,000 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for failing to promptly act regarding the Takata air bags endangering its buyers.

This $70 Million Fine was the largest fine that the NHTSA ever imposed on a car maker by the agency.

Were You Hurt or in a Crash Caused by a Takata Air Bag?

From NHTSA, there is an online list of the BMWs, Chryslers, Dodges, Fords, Pontiacs, Hondas, Acuras, Mazdas, Mitsubishis, Nissans, Saabs, Infiniti, Subaru, and Toyotas, that are at risk of accident and injury because of a Takata air bag and anyone driving one of these vehicles is urged to take immediate action. Go to SaferCar.gov to find out if your car, or the car in which you were hurt, has a Takata airbag problem.

And if you were involved in an auto accident where you or a loved one suffered knife-like cut injuries and they were explained away as being caused by something else, then you may need to investigate whether or not the Takata air bag was the real cause of the accident and if there are legal claims to advance based upon the product defect.

 

Red-Light Cameras and Rear-End Crashes: Chicago Debate

December 23rd, 2014 by admin

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), more than 40% percent of all crashes in this country are intersection accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data from 2004 found that 9,100 people died and 1,500,000 people were injured in intersection-related crashes.

RLRs Cause Accidents

What’s happening here? It seems that most of these accidents happen because one of the drivers is running a red light and crashes into the car who is moving through the intersection with right of way.

This is called an “RLR” and the traditional response to RLRs has been to have police monitor dangerous intersections to try and prevent drivers from running the light. However, having police officers sitting there either as a deterrent (where traffic can easily see the patrol car parked there) or having police officers actually ticketing drivers who speed through red lights, isn’t enough. There are too many intersections, for one thing. For another, it’s not cost effective for many communities to have their police officers sitting on traffic detail.

Solution? The Red Light Camera.

 

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According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), red light cameras supplement police efforts in preventing crashes caused by red light running.

Which meant that lots of communities — like Chicago — installed these traffic cameras at intersections in an effort to combat RLR accidents. Go here to see the online map of locations where red light cameras have been installed in the Chicago area.

Chicago Controversy Over Effectiveness of Red Light Cameras

Now, there is a question of how effective this new technology really is in preventing wrecks and stopping RLRs. In an editorial, the Chicago Tribune argues that the red light program isn’t working.

Worse, a new research study suggests that not only do the red light cameras fail to stop people from running red lights, they are contributing to more CHICAGO REAR-END COLLISIONS. Read more about that study here.

Candidates running against the current Chicago Mayor are calling for the red light cameras to be suspended.

So, what happens with the red light camera strategy in Chicago and other parts of Illinois and Indiana? Well, for one thing — if that study is true, then rear end crashes at red light camera locations may have an argument that the rear-end accident was NOT caused by the rear driver but instead had the driver in front contributing to the crash because of the RLR technology.

December Holiday Drunk Driving Campaign in Indiana and Illinois

December 18th, 2014 by admin

This week, the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign began and it will run through New Year’s Day 2015. The federal effort will be coordinated with state and local law enforcement efforts to keep car accidents involving drunk driving from happening during this festive holiday season.

 

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Drunk Driving Kills People: Drive Sober Campaigns

These campaigns are working, hopefully: according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of drunk driving deaths fell 2.5% last year (in 2013). Still, deaths caused by people driving under the influence is still a very serious problem in this country: in 2013, a person died every 52 minutes from a drunk driving crash.

“We will continue to be relentless in our effort to curb drunk driving because each life is precious,” said Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Too many lives are still being cut far too short because of drunk driving. We can stop these tragedies by making the decision not to allow ourselves or our loved ones to get behind the wheel after drinking.”

 

Illinois

According to the Illinois statistics, approximately 47% of Illinois motor vehicle fatalities involve alcohol. This year, the State of Illinois is participating in the Drive Sober campaign during the last two weeks of December 2014.

Indiana

Indiana reports 5,152 alcohol-related traffic crashes in 2012, which resulted in 158 fatalities, 246 serious bodily injuries, and 1,866 other injuries (a total of 2,112 non-fatal injuries). This means that just about every other day in Indiana, someone dies in a drunk driving crash – or around 3 people a week. That’s a sad statistic for our state. The Drive Sober campaign is also in effect for the remainder of this month in Indiana.

Drunk Driving Safety Tips

  • Plan a safe way home before you start partying.
  • Choose a designated driver, who agrees to stay sober during the evening.
  • If you may be drunk or buzzed, then use the SaferRide app, or otherwise get a ride home (call a taxi, call your mom).
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, call the police. You may save a life.
  • If someone is about to drive away drunk, then stop them. Take their keys. Get them a ride home.
  • Don’t get in a car with someone who may be intoxicated.

2014: SaferRide App

The NHTSA has a free app, SaferRide, that is available online (including Android / Google Play) which allows you to call for a cab or a pal for a ride home that gives them your location automatically. You can get the app here.

 

Wrongful Death and Serious Injuries in Car Crashes From Drunk Driving

Each year, victims die in car crashes that are the result of things like road hazards, driver errors, or product failure (like those ignition failures made the subject of the current GM car recalls). However, the most tragic traffic fatalities are those that could have been easily prevented – like those where drunk driving caused the crash.

Personal injury law does provide ways for those who are victims of drunk driving to seek justice after these tragedies. However, the best justice is to keep these tragedies from happening in the first place. Let’s all do our part to stop drunk driving in our communities.

Phones in The Car: Drivers Distracted Even If Not Using The Phone, Just Able to See It

December 16th, 2014 by admin

In 2012, drivers being distracted by cell phones in their vehicles caused 12% of the deaths in traffic accidents that year. That’s on record. However, it is believed that the reality is much more significant, since many drivers fail to admit they were on the phone at the time of the crash — or they perished in the wreck and are not able to explain what happened.

 

More and more research is being done on the impact of using a phone in the car by drivers.  There are laws being passed regarding talking on the phone while the phone is being held. There are laws being passed in some states regarding hands-free (speaker) phone communications by drivers.  Texting while driving is considered even more dangerous than talking while driving and many laws are in effect to ban this practice.

However, a new study from the University of Southern Maine takes things one step further and makes the dangers of accidents caused by phones even more scary. According to the research, many drivers are distracted and more likely to cause an accident if they have their phone with them in the car, even if they are not texting or talking on it.

According to the researchers, cell phones nearby, where you can see it, is enough to distract you from driving as well as all other sorts of tasks — like doing work or studying. The result? Apparently, people are so connected to their phones that part of their brains are continually aware of the gizmo even they are not actively using it at the time.

Bottom line: Drivers in Indiana and Illinois who are using their cell phones are more likely to be in a crash not just when they are talking or texting, but apparently they are also a bigger danger for all of us on the roads with them if they toss their phone on the seat next to them, or on the dashboard, and can simply SEE the phone there in the car with them.

It becomes even more important for police reports and accident scene investigations to notice and note where the location of cell phones are in accidents now. Distracted driving may or may not involve a crime, but it is an element of proving fault in a car accident where injury damages are being claimed.