Archive for the ‘Auto Accidents’ Category

CDC’s New Car Accidents Report Includes Suggestions for New State Laws

October 23rd, 2014 by admin


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have just released a new report as part of the CDC’s Vital Signs monthly series regarding motor vehicle accidents in the United States, and the report may be shocking to lots of people. Not only are there a lot of car crashes (along with SUV accidents, and wrecks involving trucks, vans, etc.) in our country, but they cost Americans a tremendous amount in both time and money (not to mention heartache, frustration, pain, and other emotions that were not included in this report).

The numbers are big.

However, also included within this report are some suggestions for new laws to be passed that the CDC suggests will bring these numbers down and decrease the number of traffic accidents in this country: thing is, some of their suggestions may be shocking to some folk. For instance, the CDC would like laws to be passed in every state that requires anyone convicted of any driving under the influence charge (even a first offense) to be required to have ignition interlocks on their vehicles.

What will be the result of the CDC’s suggestions in Indiana, Illinois, or the rest of the country? Time will tell.

However, the real question: if these changes were made, then how much would these accident figures go down?

CDC Report: Costly But Preventable

Read the report, “Motor Vehicle Crash Injuries – Costly but Preventable/October 2014” here.

Among its findings:

  • In the United States, people who are injured in a motor vehicle accident spend a total of ONE MILLION DAYS in a hospital for needed treatment.
  • Over 2,500,000 accident victims had to seek help in an emergency room after being in a crash in 2012.
  • Over their lifetimes, the total financial expense for treating and helping accident victims recover from their injuries totals $18 Billion.
  • In 2012 alone, lost wages and lost earnings for these accident victims totalled around $33 Billion.
  • Those Americans between 15 and 29 years old are at the high risk of being in a car crash where they will need hospital care.
  • Americans over 80 years of age are at the highest risk of needing hospitalization after a traffic accident: 30% of these folk need to go to the hospital after an accident.

From the CDC:

“In 2012, nearly 7,000 people went to the emergency department every day due to car crash injuries,” said CDC Principal Deputy Director Ileana Arias, Ph.D. “Motor vehicle crash injuries occur all too frequently and have health and economic costs for individuals, the health care system, and society. We need to do more to keep people safe and reduce crash injuries and medical costs.”

Fighting To Stop People Being Hurt in Traffic Accidents

There are all sorts of ways to fight against people being hurt in motor vehicle accidents. Things like seat belts and air bags are just two examples of things that have proven successful in keeping people from being seriously injured or killed in a car crash.

CDC Suggestions for New State Laws

However, much more can be done. No state has the exact same laws in effect regarding traffic safety, for one thing. Easy example: compare the motorcycle helmet laws of Indiana and Illinois with states like California, where safety laws are much more strict.

“Motor vehicle crashes and related injuries are preventable,” said Gwen Bergen, PhD, MPH, MS, behavioral scientist in the Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Although much has been done to help keep people safe on the road, no state has fully implemented all the interventions proven to increase the use of car seats, booster seats, and seat belts; reduce drinking and driving; and improve teen driver safety.”

In the aftermath of its latest research findings, the CDC is encouraging all states to regulate citizens in the following ways:

  1. Increasing seat belt use through primary enforcement seat belt laws that cover everyone in the car.
  2. Improving child passenger safety with restraint laws that require car seat or booster seat use for children age 8 and under or until 57 inches tall, the recommended height for proper seat belt fit.
  3. Reducing drinking and driving by using sobriety checkpoints and requiring ignition interlock use for people convicted of drinking and driving, starting with their first conviction.
  4. Improving teen driver safety through the use of comprehensive graduated driver licensing systems.
  5. Supporting traffic safety laws with media campaigns and visible police presence, such as sobriety checkpoints.
  6. Linking medical and crash data to better understand why crashes happen, the economic cost of those crashes, and how to prevent future crashes.

To help state legislatures make these decisions, the CDC has published its online Motor Vehicle PICCS (Prioritizing Interventions and Cost Calculator for States).

According to the CDC, this online app should help the states tally an estimate for the costs of each suggested implementation and compare that cost against an estimate of lives saved as well as a estimate of the number of injuries that would be prevented with the implementation in that state.


Old Tires Can Cause Serious Accidents and Even Death

October 14th, 2014 by admin

Most people know to check their tires for tread wear and cracks or slow leaks. It’s risky to drive on bald tires, you can blow out while driving at high speeds and crash. However, many people are not aware that tires age, and even if you don’t drive your car that often and the tires look great tread-wise, they still may be dangerous to have on your vehicle.

In fact, news reports are that the one-car crash that killed actor Paul Walker of “Fast and Furious” fame was caused, at least in part, by the aging tires on the Porsche Carrera that crashed.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the California Highway Patrol found that the fact that the Porsche’s aging tires may have contributed to the crash by lessening the drivability of the car, especially at high speeds, as well as the ability of the driver to handle the sports car on the road.


Tires Age Over Time

The truth about tires is that they are made of rubber, and just like rubber bands, the rubber will age and deteriorate. Even if the tires set in a warehouse and never get put on a vehicle, after so many years they will be useless.

If your car has old tires, then you may be driving with a dangerous condition. The same is true for other vehicles on the road: that big rig or semi truck driving on the Interstate next to you may be a moving safety hazard if those tires are old on that huge truck.

Tires that are sold with higher mileage ratings may age slower than tires with lower mileage because the more expensive tires will have chemicals added to them that slows the rubber’s deterioration and gives the higher mileage tires more time on the road before they age out.

However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there is no set standard for when tires need to be retired from use for being too old. You cannot find a table on the internet, for instance, that will list when specific makes and models of tires are too old to have on your car.

Weather Conditions and Aging of Tires

It is known that tires exposed to hotter climates will age faster. For those who drive vehicles in the southern United States, their tires will age faster than those driven in our part of the country, for instance.

Why? The heat will accelerate the deterioration of the tire. This is true even if the tire is your spare, setting unused in the trunk of your car or hoisted onto the back of your SUV.

Car Manufacturer Recommendations

Car makers include recommendations for the time to replace tires in their owner manuals. For example, Ford Motor Company has a 6-year tire replacement recommendation, regardless of tread wear, for its cars. From the Ford website:


If a tire is more than 6 years old, it is generally in need of replacement. Tires degrade over time, even when they are not being used. Heat caused by hot climates or frequent high loading conditions can accelerate the aging process. You should replace the spare tire when you replace the other road tires due to the aging of the spare tire.

Replacing Your Tires

Only use replacement tires and wheels that are the same size and type (such as P-metric versus LT-metric or all-season versus all-terrain) as those originally provided. Use of any tire or wheel not recommended by Ford can affect the safety and performance of your vehicle, which could result in an increased risk of loss of vehicle control, vehicle rollover, personal injury and death. Additionally, the use of non-recommended tires and wheels could cause steering, suspension, axle or transfer case/power transfer unit failure.

It is recommended that the two front tires or two rear tires generally be replaced as a pair.



Tracy Morgan v Walmart: Lesson in How Injury Victims get Victimized in Lawsuits

October 7th, 2014 by admin

This past week, a great example of how personal injury lawsuits progress was provided by beloved American comedian Tracy Morgan, as his accident case against Wal-Mart moves forward.   The case is far from trial and no jury has been picked, but already the defendant is attempting to limit its liability by pursuing defenses against the victim.

Comedian Tracy Morgan (2008)

Image: Alex Erde, Wikimedia Commons

This happens all the time.

The defendant and his insurance carrier have the goal of avoiding any liability for the accident, or finding arguments that their legal responsibility should be far less than 100% liable for the damages that the victim has sustained.

Defendants will urge all sorts of things in the injury lawsuit fight.

There are defenses like the plaintiff filed his claim too late (i.e., failed to meet the deadline set by law in the statute of limitations), or that the plaintiff wasn’t as hurt as he claims to be (e.g., conflicting medical expert testimony).

However, particularly shocking is when the defendant offers a defense that seems so uncaring and callous as an argument that the injury victim is responsible for what has happened to him.

Sadly, this kind of argument happens a lot: slip and fall victims, for instance, will often hear defendants argue that just because they fell, they’ve got to be partially at fault (regardless of how blatant the slippery surface negligence may be).

It’s done for a reason. If the percentage of fault can move from 100% toward the defendant, to even 80% fault on the part of the defendant, then the defendant is looking to find a way to pay less in damages, if any at all. (This will depend upon how “comparative fault” is handled under the law of the state where the accident happened.)

In Tracy Morgan’s situation, reports are that he may never be able to take on a TV role, do a film, or entertain on a stand-up comic stage because of the traumatic brain injuries he suffered in the crash between the Wal-Mart truck and Mr. Morgan’s limo van.

Flying in the face of this news is the defense argument being advanced by Wal-Mart that Mr. Morgan is at fault in the accident because he was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

Wal-Mart may be posturing for a comparative fault type of defense that is perfectly legal. However, it’s a great lesson to all plaintiffs in accident cases: expect to defend your actions, and in cases where there is media coverage, consider that potential jurors are reading all this and taking note, too.

Technology To Fight Against Distracted Driving Traffic Accidents

October 2nd, 2014 by admin

There seems to be a growing industry dedicated to finding ways to use technology to combat serious injuries and deaths from traffic accidents, and we’ve already seen how gadgets and gizmos are being placed in trucks to monitor the behavior of truck drivers, and into cars to prevent drunk drivers from operating their vehicles.

However, due on our roads in the near future are even more advanced forms of technology. These are focused upon stopping distracted driving on our roads, a serious and growing problem these days with all the popularity of smartphones, on-board mapping devices, etc.


1. General Motors Building Cars That Can Monitor Driver Distractions

First, the largest car maker in the United States has announced its newest campaign: GM is about to start selling cars that have internal devices to check the driver’s eyes and the driver’s head movements. From monitoring where the driver is looking and how the driver’s head is positioned, the new GM cars reportedly be able to determine if the driver is distracted and warn him or her of the danger.

GM isn’t making this gizmo. General Motors is buying around 500,000 of the distracted driving tracking devices from Takata, the tracking device manufacturer.


2. Police Gun Will Be Able to Zap Cars, Locate Distracted Drivers

A Virginia gizmo maker has announced a new device that it will be selling to law enforcement around the country: the “Sniffer Sleuth” which is a “texting gun.” This gizmo allows a police officer to point it at a car driving down the road, and tell if the driver is using a phone to make a call, or to text, or to transfer data (say get directions from a map).

For states like Indiana and Illinois, where there are different laws for texting versus talking on the phone, this gizmo will be very helpful for local police to determine if someone is violating traffic laws or not, since the Sniffer Sleuth can report who is texting vs who is talking on their smartphone.

Don’t expect the country’s men (and women) in blue to be using these routinely any time soon, however: there are still privacy hurdles for the gizmo to jump before the Sniffer Sleuth becomes part of the US police officer’s tools of the trade.  They are for sale, online, however – you can purchase one for around $1500.00.

Current Indiana and Illinois Laws on Distracted Driving: Dangerous But Not Against the Law (yet)

September 11th, 2014 by admin

Distracting Driving Laws in Indiana and Illinois


  1. All drivers are banned from using their cell phones as hand-held. Hands free is still allowed except for novice drivers.
  2. Learner’s permit holders and drivers under the age of 19 years (novice drivers) are not allowed to use their phones at all (hands held or hands free).
  3. School bus drivers are not allowed to use their cell phones at all.
  4. All drivers are not to text while driving.
  5. No use of cellphones by any driver in a school zone or a construction zone.
  6. Primary enforcement for all offenses.


  1. There is no ban for hand-held cell phones or hands free phones for drivers unless they are new to driving.
  2. Drivers under the age of 18 years (novice drivers) are not to use phones at all (hand-held or hands free).
  3. No drivers are to text while driving.
  4. Primary enforcement for all offenses.

Police in Indiana Aren’t Ticketing for Distracted Driving?

This summer the Indiana State Police released data from 2013 and the news wasn’t good: it appears that law enforcement is not ticketing many with violations of the Indiana distracted driving laws. Reports are that police find the laws difficult to enforce as written.

Meanwhile, in Illinois, many more tickets have been issued for using phones while driving (over 6700 in Illinois compared to 186 tickets issued by Indiana during the same time period).

What’s going on? In Indiana, it’s illegal to TEXT while driving but it’s okay to use other kinds of apps — like Facebook or Google Maps — even though that is distracting to the driver as well.


Dangers of Distracted Driving


  • Drivers in their 20s make up 27 percent of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes. (NHTSA)
  • At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010. (NOPUS)
  • Engaging in visual-manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times. (VTTI)
  • Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. (2009, VTTI)
  • Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use. (VTTI)
  • A quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive. 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of parents admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving. (UMTRI)

Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving Are a Real Danger Here

The Facebook-related distracting driving case out of North Dakota (see our previous post) has resulted in a 20-year-old facing murder charges as a result of a fatal traffic accident where she was checking Facebook photos on her phone while driving at a high speed (85 mph).

In Indiana, it would not be illegal for a 20 year old to be driving along and checking Facebook photos on her phone.  (It is against the law in Illinois.)

This doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous and that distracted driving may well be the cause of serious accidents and traffic fatalities in our part of the country.

Please consider NOT using your phone while driving regardless of the legalities: it’s just too dangerous.

National Attention On Facebook Distracted Driving Homicide Case

September 9th, 2014 by admin


Perhaps you or your kids heard about the horrific crash in North Dakota where two lives were destroyed.  The case is making the national news now, because the driver is facing murder charges.

It all happened when a pretty 20-year-old woman was busy checking her Facebook page on her phone while she was driving. Maybe she didn’t notice she was speeding along at 85 mph while she was checking out her phone screen for Facebook photos.

Obviously, she didn’t see the car she rear-ended at high speed, where the 89-year-old woman who was innocently driving along was killed, having died at the scene.

Imagine the horror here. The young woman is now facing criminal homicide charges and will likely see jail time. She’s probably going to face civil claims too based upon wrongful death law. Her family is forever harmed.

And the accident victim’s family must deal with the loss of their loved one, family that includes 8 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. They must hope that their beloved relative didn’t suffer in the crash, they must deal with the sudden shocking pain of loss that these crashes bring.

This accident didn’t happen in Indiana, but it could have. Far too many people here and in Illinois are on their smartphones while they’re driving, thinking that it’s not that dangerous and they’re good drivers, things will be okay. It’s a dangerous mistake and anyone doing this is risking a major crash — where they may survive with minor injuries while others perish, like today’s example.

Homicide Charges for Using Phone While Driving

In the above case, the state prosecutors have decided to pursue homicide charges against the 20 year old driver, after they got a warrant to review her phone records and learned she was surfing Facebook at the time of the crash. That, coupled with evidence of no skid marks at the scene of the accident, which means she didn’t brake before the crash because she didn’t see the grandmother’s car before she hit it.

All across the nation, the seriousness of using your phone while you are driving is becoming more obvious and authorities are becoming less tolerant. We can expect more prosecutors to file criminal charges in crashes involving distracting driving.

Criminal charges, however, will not provide financial help for those innocent victims of a distracted driving crash. Civil cases must be pursued for these victims under wrongful death and personal injury laws, and if necessary, lawsuits must be filed and aggressively fought for justice in these situations.

Back to School Safety: Keeping Kids Safe

September 2nd, 2014 by admin

It’s time for the kids to go back to school and part of each new school year is getting settled into new routines for getting there and back.

Some parents may drive their kids to school. Other moms and dads will put their children on the school bus. Students may be going back to school by walking there, or riding their bicycles.

While Student Safety in getting to and from school is always important, it’s imperative that at the start of the new School Year, that kids and their parents make sure that everyone knows how important school transportation safety is for everyone.

School Transportation Safety Tips

Here are some School Transportation Safety Tips for children of all ages:

1. Kids should walk on the sidewalk, and if there’s no sidewalk then they need to know to walk on the side of the road where they are facing traffic.

2. Kids need to know to always look twice — left and right — before crossing the street.

3. Parents should do a practice walk with their younger children if they are going to be walking to the local elementary this year.

4. Children that ride their bicycle to school should wear a helmet.

5. If children are riding bikes to school, then they need to know the rules for riding on city streets.

6. When on a bicycle, each child should ride single file on the right side of the road, traveling the same way as the traffic is moving.

7. Parents who are entrusting their kids to the school bus driver should walk their kids to the bus stop their first few days, so they get adept at waiting for and getting on the school bus.

8. Kids need to know that school buses are to be respected; they should never cross right in front of a school bus and they need to make sure that the bus driver is able to see them from his driver’s seat.

9. Backpacks should be worn with both straps being used, so their weight is evenly distributed.

10. Backpacks should not weigh over 20% of your child’s body weight, or the child may be hampered in movement from the excessive weight.

Why is this important? Because school-aged children are vulnerable to accidents that cause serious injury or even death as they are on their way to school or return home after a day of classes.

From the Centers for Disease Control:

2014 Record Car Recalls: Here’s Why You Need to Check Your Car (and Any Crashes)

August 28th, 2014 by admin

In April, experts were already calling 2014 a record-breaking year in the number of car recalls that were being issued by car manufacturers.  Things have continued to escalate since this Spring.

Millions of Cars Recalled in 2014

Consider the following list of recalls covering a 30 day period, ending this Tuesday, as compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

* August 26: 120,426 GM vehicles from 2011-2013, including Buick Regal and Chevrolet Malibu models, Recalled for turn signal bulbs that may burn out.
* August 26: 106 GM vehicles from 2014, including Chevrolet Camaro and Buick Regal models, Recalled for potential loss of steering due to improperly torqued fasteners.
* August 26: Sutphen Minitower fire truck from 2013, Recalled for seat belts latches that may become partially engaged with the buckle, making the seat belt difficult to unlatch.
* August 21: 15,956 Chrysler vehicles from 2014-2015, including Jeep Cherokee and Chrysler 200 models, Recalled for insufficient welding that may cause the rear shocks to detach from the vehicle.
* August 21: 81 Jaguar XF vehicles from 2013-2014, Recalled for potential reduction of power steering assist.
* August 20: 144 Jaguar XK vehicles from 2013-2015, Recalled for incorrect information about proper inflation on the spare tire, which could lead to tire failure.
* August 19: 39,181 Recaro ProSport model 385 car seats, Recalled for failing to conform to Federal Safety Standard requirements, increasing the risk of injury.
* August 19: 2,990 GM vehicles from 2013-2014, including Buick Encore and Chevrolet Cruze models, Recalled for engine block heater cord wires that may become exposed.
* August 18: 9,371 GM vehicles from 2007-2011, including Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD models, Recalled for a potential risk of fire.
* August 15: 124,007 GM vehicles from 2013-2015, including Chevrolet Silverado and Cadillac CTS models, Recalled for an incomplete weld that may not keep the front seats secured in the event of a crash.
* August 15: 16,249 Toyota Tundra vehicles from 2013-2014 modified by Gulf Stream Toyota, Recalled for chrome-plated lug nuts which may fracture or give, causing the wheels to separate from the vehicle.
* August 14: 83,250 Ford vehicles from 2013-2014, including Ford Flex and Lincoln MKX models, Recalled for the halfshaft and the linkshaft which may become disengaged while driving.
* August 14: 57,242 Chevrolet Impala vehicles from 2014, Recalled for a potential loss of power steering assist during start up or while driving.
* August 13: 40,551 Land Rover vehicles from 2010-2015, including LR2 and Evoque models, Recalled for the air bags which may be disabled in the event of a crash.
* August 12: 455 Thor motorhomes from 2014-2015, including Axis and Vegas models, Recalled for the use of incorrect adhesive that may cause the treads on the entry stairs to come loose.
* August 11: 151,389 Volkswagen Tiguan vehicles from 2009-2014, Recalled for a potential vehicle stall due to bubbles that may form in the fuel system.
* August 11: 235 Morgan 3 Wheeler Limited 3W motorcycles from 2012-2014, Recalled for missing a warning lamp to inform the rider about low brake fluid levels.
* August 8: 18,526 Volkswagen Routan vehicles from 2009, Recalled for the ignition switch which may move out of the run position, turning off the engine or causing the air bags to not deploy in the event of a crash.
* August 6: 184,611 GM vehicles from 2005-2007, including GMC Envoy and Chevrolet Trailblazer models, Recalled for a potential short in the circuit board which may cause a fire.
* August 6: 263 Toyota Sienna vehicles from 2014, Recalled for the transmission shift control cable which may separate while the vehicle is being driven.
* August 5: Subaru vehicles from 2003-2005, In a limited regional recall for air bag inflators that may rupture upon deployment of the air bag.
* August 5: Mitsubishi Outlander vehicles from 2007-2013 with 6-speed automatic transmissions, Recalled for the power steering pressure tube that may leak.
* August 1: 225,000 Hyundai Santa Fe vehicles from 2001-2006, Recalled for the front coil spring which may fracture and potentially puncture a tire.
* August 1: 133,075 Hyundai Sonata vehicles from 2011, Recalled for a potential brake fluid line leak.
* August 1: 61,122 Hyundai Veracruz vehicles from 2007-2012, Recalled for a potential oil leak that may damage the alternator.
* August 1: 3,361 Harley-Davidson FXDL Dyna Low Rider motorcycles from 2014, Recalled for possible engine vibrations that may cause the ignition switch to move to accessory mode, causing the motorcycle to stall.
* August 1: 1,939 Chevrolet Corvette vehicles from 2014, Recalled for an improper welding that may cause the shock absorber tubes to separate, resulting in a sudden change in vehicle handling.
* August 1: 1,919 Chevrolet Spark vehicles from 2014, Recalled for lower control arm bolts that may not be tightened properly.
* July 31: 131,568 Brake Parts rear wheel brake shoes, Recalled for possible detachment from the brake lining.
* July 31: Certain Mitsubishi Outlander vehicles from 2007 and 2009, Recalled for replacement transfer case assemblies whose oil seal may come out of position.
* July 30: 883,000 Hyundai Sonata vehicles from 2011-2014, Recalled for the transmission shift cable which may detach.
* July 30: 4,794 GM vehicles from 2013-2014, including Chevrolet Caprice and SS models, Recalled for the windshield wipers which may become inoperative.
* July 29: 414,333 GM vehicles from 2010-2012, including Cadillac SRX and Buick LaCrosse models, Recalled for a seat bolt that may fall out, which could cause the seat to suddenly drop to the lowest vertical position.
* July 29: 25,899 Suzuki Verona vehicles from 2004-2006, Recalled for potential heat generation that could melt the DRL module, causing a vehicle fire.
* July 29: 2,473 Sunright Rodia RDH 500 motorcycle helmets, Recalled for potentially not protecting the user’s head adequately in the case of a crash.
* July 29: 305 Piaggio Vespa 946 Vespa scooters from 2013, Recalled for a fuel line that may leak.
* July 29: 9 Spartan Motor Gladiator emergency vehicles from 2013-2014, Recalled for a potential fuel leak, which could cause a vehicle fire.
* July 28: 643,618 Chrysler vehicles from 2005-2007, Recalled for the ignition switches that may be knocked out of the run position, turning off the engine or causing the air bags to not deploy in the event of a crash.
* July 28: 226,326 Nissan vehicles from 2002-2004, including Pathfinder and Maxima models, Recalled for air bag inflators that may rupture upon deployment of the air bag.
* July 28: 5,650 Hyundai Sonata vehicles from 2015, Recalled for a manufacturing error of the front brake calipers, which could reduce braking effectiveness.
* July 28: Mitsubishi Lancer vehicles from 2004-2005, In a limited regional recall for air bag inflators that may rupture upon deployment of the air bag.


Why Do You Need to Know About Car Recalls?

You need to know about car recalls because:

1.  your car may need to visit the dealer and get fixed before it causes a crash

2.  a friend or family member may be driving an unsafe vehicle

3.  you may have been in an accident or crash where blame or fault was assessed against you — but now, it may be that the car maker is responsible for what happened.

4.  you may have been hurt in an accident or crash where you received damages from the other driver – -but now, it may be that the car maker is responsible to you financially.

How Long Should You Look Back?

These dangers (e.g., the General Motors revelations) go back years and years.  If you were involved in an accident 10 years ago, you may still need to investigate the car maker’s responsibility for what happened in that wreck.

Go here to investigate past recalls.

What About Future Recalls?

NHTSA has made this easier for everyone.  Go here to access a database where you register your vehicles with NHTSA and if a future recall impacts your car, van, or truck, then NHTSA will let you know.



Road Debris: Driving Hazards That Cause Serious Accidents

August 26th, 2014 by admin

There are many kinds of road hazards that can contribute to a car crash or traffic accident here in Indiana or Illinois.   Weather conditions like snow, rain, or fog can form a hazard for us during the winter months, for example.

However, another kind of road hazard that is often underestimated as a cause of accidents here is road debris.


What is Road Debris?

In an accident case, “road debris” is a contributing factor in an accident or wreck. It can be many different things. It can be on the road itself, or off the road.

Technically, “road debris” in an injury case is any object or material that shouldn’t be on the roadway at the time of the accident.

Examples of road debris include:

  • Trash (fast food bags, food items, furniture, etc.)
  • Pebbles or rocks
  • Ice patches
  • Grease or oil patches leaked from car / truck traffic
  • Road salt from de-icers
  • Snow
  • Flooding waters
  • Tree branches
  • Tires or parts of a blown tire (especially dangerous, blown big rig tires)
  • Construction materials (bits of dirt from a dump truck, lumber that has fallen off a supply truck, etc.)
  • Dead Animals

Why is Road Debris Dangerous?

Road debris may not be big and may not seem that dangerous. A part of a tire on the roadway or an old grocery bag laying there in your path may not seem worthy of much concern. After all, you can just drive around it — or over it, as the case may be.

However, that is a dangerous assumption.

At certain speeds, road debris can cause you to lose control of your vehicle if you hit it or if you swerve to avoid hitting it. Some road debris can cause you to slam into other cars or into barricades, trees, etc., include patches of oil, grease, snow, or rain on the roadway.

Flooding can be considered a form of road debris. Too often, drivers underestimate the power of even slow moving water, or the depth of a road puddle, and end up in a serious accident.

Moreover, the type of vehicle you are driving may make you at a higher risk for injury than others.

Road debris is more risky for motorcyclists than someone driving a pickup truck, for example. The road debris can easily deflect the motorcycle’s wheel when struck, causing the motorcycle driver to lose control of his bike and crash.

According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, over 25,000 accidents each year are caused by road debris.

Claims Based Upon Road Debris

Who or what parties may be liable for these injuries depends upon the situation.  For instance, if a work crew left road debris in the form of overturned traffic cones and caused an accident, then that contractor (and others) might be legally responsible for the injuries sustained in a crash resulting from that cone (road debris).

If a major trucking company fails to monitor its trucks and the roadways outside its area are filled with grease and oil spots from the semi trucks, then an accident resulting from that road debris might be the legal responsibility of that trucking company.

If you or a loved one has been in an accident involving road debris, then you need to investigate your legal avenues under state and federal law for accident damages.

Labor Day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Campaign Began Last Week (8/15)

August 21st, 2014 by admin

You may still be making plans for your Labor Day holiday this year, but it’s already started for law enforcement here in our part of the country.

Working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), local and state law enforcement are already on our roads and highways, on the lookout for drivers under the influence.

The “Labor Day Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign begin last Friday, in fact, in both Indiana and Illinois. It continues through midnight on the Labor Day Holiday weekend.

“Drunk driving is a deadly and preventable crime that destroys lives and costs the nation billions of dollars every year,” said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “With the help of law enforcement around the country, we are going to continue doing all that we can to stop drunk driving and the needless tragedies that result from this reckless behavior.”

According to NHTSA, over 10,000 people die each year in drunk driving accidents. Over a third of these deaths (35%) involve passengers, occupants of other vehicles, or non-occupants.

“The costs of drunk driving — in lives and economic harm — are far too high for anyone to ever get behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking,” said NHTSA’s Administrator David Friedman. “Do not make one of the last wonderful days of summer the final tragic day of your life – or someone else’s – by driving after drinking. Remember to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”

Safety Tips from Indiana’s Criminal Justice Institute for Labor Day 2014

Here are some things to consider as you plan your holiday fun, tips compiled by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute for all of us:

  • Plan a safe way home before you start the Labor Day festivities;
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver.
  • If you’re drunk, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
  • Use your community’s sober ride program.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact your local law enforcement immediately.
  • If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while drunk, be a friend and take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
  • Remember, driving drunk is simply not worth the risk. So don’t take the chance. Law enforcement will be out in force and will be watching, so Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.