Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

Earlier this week in Prince George’s County, a teen was killed when he crashed his dirt bike into a tree after running from police. The family of the teen has recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Prince George’s County, seeking $20 million in damages.

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According to a report by the Washington Post, two teens were riding on a Kawasaki dirt bike in an apartment complex when an officer began to tail them. The officer claims that he suspected the pair were involved in a recent armed robbery. As the officer initiated a traffic stop, the teens fled. The officer pursued the teens across county lines and into Washington DC. Once in DC, the teens crashed the motorcycle into a tree. The driver of the motorcycle died as a result.

The deceased teen’s family is claiming that the officer did not have the authority to pursue the teen, citing to recent changes in Prince George’s County police protocol. Pursuant to police protocol, an officer can only chase a fleeing suspect when he or she suspects the suspect of certain enumerated crimes. While riding a dirt bike on public roads is illegal, it is not one of the crimes listed. Moreover, the officer did not have police authority in the District of Columbia, once the teens entered that jurisdiction.

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A recently filed class action lawsuit accuses District of Columbia police officers of intentionally running their squad cars into black motorcyclists, in order to then confiscate the bikes and sell them.

The main plaintiff in the case claims that the Metropolitan Police Department officers intentionally target mostly young, male, African American motorcyclists in poorer areas of the city, without regard for their lives, safety, or constitutional rights.police%20hat.jpg

The suit further claims that the District of Columbia and MPD supervisors not only condone but also tacitly encourage this practice, in order to make money off of the bikes.

The class seeks to represent all young black motorcyclists riding small motorbikes or all terrain vehicles of 250 cubic centimeters or less. They estimate the class size to be in the hundreds, based upon the declarations submitted by victims.

The complaint alleges that riders abandon their bikes after being hit by MPD cruisers, in an attempt to flee. The bikes are then confiscated, and allegedly sold to create a revenue stream. The class claims the officers have caused bodily injuries, pain and suffering, disability, emotional distress and damage to their bikes, among other things. They seek class certification and $100 million in compensatory and punitive damages for alleged constitutional violations, negligence, assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, up to 25% of motor vehicle accidents in this country occur because motorists were distracted driving and more often than not using cell phones and other handheld devices. The GHSA’s report, which was released last week, is called “Distracted Driving: What Research Shows and What States Can Do.”

As our Washington DC personal injury law firm has reported in past blogs, distracted driving is very dangerous and can dramatically increase the chances of injuries or deaths. It also can be grounds for a DC car crash lawsuit against the driver. Other findings from the study:

• Some drivers are distracted as much as 50% of the time they are on the road.
• Texting while driving, which is both a manual and visual distraction, is even more dangerous than talking on a phone.

• Examples of other common types of distracted driving behavior include talking to other passengers, looking for tapes or CD’s, switching radio stations, drinking, eating, reading directions or a map, reading books or newspapers, dealing with kids or pets, shaving, putting on makeup, shuffling through an iPod, and reading your GPS.

Many people don’t realize that distracted driving impairs their ability to drive safely. This does not change the fact that this behavior can result in very deadly consequences.

Should other parties aside from a distracted driver be held liable for DC personal injury or wrongful death? A couple of years ago, one woman sued Nextel, Samsung, and Sprint for her mother’s distracted driving death. The plaintiff claimed products liability because the three companies allegedly failed to warn the driver that using a cell phone wile driving is a safety hazard. Samsung countered that it did include safety warnings on its websites and packaging and in its user manuals and advertising.

Report: Gadgets Linked To 25 Percent Of Car Accidents, AutoGuide, July 13, 2011

Read the GHSA’s Distracted Driving Report

Related Web Resources:
Distracted Driving, US Department of Motor Vehicles
Cell Phone and Texting Laws, Governors Highway Safety Association
More Blog Posts:
US DOT Holds Second Annual Distracted Driving Summit in Washington DC, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, September 22, 2010
Preventing Maryland Car Crashes: State Senate Approves Ban on Reading Text Messages While Driving, Maryland Accident Law Blog, March 9, 2011
Maryland Lawmakers Want Texting While Driving Ban to Block Drivers From Reading Messages, Maryland Accident Law Blog, February 20, 2010

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According to the Washington Post, one of the reasons that more red-light cameras are being installed in the Washington region is that per a new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study, between 2004 and 2008 they helped the number of DC traffic deaths at intersections go down by 26%.

Red-light cameras catch drivers crossing intersections when the light is red by taking a picture of them committing the act. Although some people have complained that the cameras are a tool for raising revenue—these cameras generated $7.2 million in revenue in 2000, under $5 million in 2005, and $7.2 million in D.C. in 2009— stopping people from driving across the street when the light is red can save lives. D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier told the Washington Post changing driver behavior is the goal. She says that traffic deaths in the District went down 50% in four years.

DC Car Crashes

According to a survey conducted last year by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, although 93% of drivers reported that they believe that if a motorist can stop safely to obey a red light then it isn’t acceptable to run one, 1/3rd of them admitted that they had done just that in the past 30 days. Regardless of whether or not you approve of red-light cameras, it is important to point out that running a red light at an intersection can prove catastrophic should a Washington DC auto accident occur.

Some reasons why people run red lights:
• Speeding
• Distracted driving
• Drunk driving
• Drugged driving

None of these reasons are good enough reasons to get involved in a DC car crash. Not only can injuries or deaths result but the negligent driver could end up in jail.

Use of red-light cameras in Washington area increases, Washington Post, February 23, 2011
Q&As: Red light cameras, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Related Web Resources:

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

District Department of Transportation

More Blog Posts:
Baltimore Automobile Accident News: Kent Island Father and Young Son Die in Rte 50 Car Crash, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, February 22, 2011
Baltimore Car Injury News: Reckless Driving Suspected Injury Accident in Anne Arundel County, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, February 20, 2011
Baltimore Car Accident News: Maryland Woman Dies; Other Injured in Charles County Traffic Collision, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, February 18, 2011

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The District intends to install more traffic cameras at street intersections. The main purpose of these new portable cameras is to catch motorists committing traffic offenses, such as failing to come to a full stop and not yielding to pedestrians. The cameras will be placed in areas where there is proven need for greater enforcement and control. D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier says the cameras will be put in place “within the next year.”

Intersections are a common site for traffic crashes. With vehicles approaching from opposite directions, pedestrians crossing the street, and people attempting to make left and right turns, the fact that the risk of collision goes up is no surprise.

Our DC personal injury law firm hopes that with additional cameras set up, more people will be discouraged from committing traffic violations that can lead to Washington DC car accidents. The knowledge that one can get caught on camera running a red light or not coming to a full halt at a stop sign, or turning left even when the left turn arrow is red will hopefully prevent such “minor” offenses, which are, in fact, among the most common causes of serious injuries and deaths at intersections.

How to Avoid Becoming Involved in an Intersection Accident:
• Pay Attention
• Don’t drive while distracted
• Be ready to stop or slow down even if there is no “Stop” sign or traffic light
• Yield to the pedestrian that is already crossing the street or the vehicle that is already moving through the intersection even if you technically have the right of way
• Always look in all directions before driving across the street or turning
• Obey traffic rules
D.C. to Add More Traffic Cameras, Government Video, February 7, 2011
Red-light cameras save lives, study says, Washington Post, February 1, 2011
Related Web Resources:

DC Department of Transportation

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

More Auto Accident Posts:
Washington DC Car Accident Involving Metro Bus Causes Injuries, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, July 6, 2010
Baltimore Injury Accident News: Alcohol Blamed in Fatal I-70 Car Crash that Killed Montgomery County Woman, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, February 6, 2011
Maryland Bicycle Injury News: Family Settles Wrongful Death Suit following Fatal Baltimore Cycling Accident, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, December 24, 2010

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While New Year’s Eve and Day are definitely occasions to mark with celebration, it is unfortunate that there are people who may end up dying or getting seriously hurt in a Washington DC car accident because another person was driving while drunk. Hopefully, the more aggressive push by lawmakers and law enforcement officials through their “Drunk Driving. Over The Limit. Under Arrest” campaign will help keep more people safe this year. That said, it is still up to motorists to refrain from driving drunk.

According to new analysis from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, at about 80 drunk driver-related deaths on New Year’s Day, the average number of traffic fatalities where alcohol is a factor goes up by almost 150% more than if it were the same day of another week during the holidays. For example, in 2005 when New Year’s fell on a Saturday, there were more alcohol-related deaths at 98 fatalities than if the holiday fell on the season’s other Saturday. Last year, there were 73 drunk driving fatalities on New Year’s Day. New Year’s Eve fell on a Thursday night. Unfortunately, although many Americans don’t approve of drunk driving, AAA says that many of them do it anyway.

These fatality figures don’t take into account the number of injuries that can occur on New Year’s Day as a result of alcohol. Per the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, among underage drinkers alone, 1,980 of them went to the hospital on January 1. That’s a lot more than the approximately 546 who end up in the hospital on a typical day. Drunk driving, other alcohol-related accidents, and acute intoxication were among the causes. There are, of course, also adults and children who may have sustained injuries in a New Year traffic crash involving alcohol.

Steps motorists can take to drive safely into 2011:
• Appoint a designated driver.
• Don’t let your friends drive while drunk even if they think they can.
• Don’t get in the car with a drunk driver.
• Pack an overnight bag just in case you end up drinking more than you intended.
• Bring cab money just in case.

• Be careful if you choose to walk to or from your destination. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says New Year is the deadliest day of the year for pedestrians.

Beware of heightened drunk driving dangers this New Year’s Eve, Consumer Reports, December 30, 2010
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces Holiday Drunk Driving Crackdown, NHTSA, December 13, 2010
Underage drinkers a New Year’s hazard, Washington Examiner, December 30, 2010
Related Web Resources:
What to do after a car accident, MSN
Metropolitan Police Department, DC.gov

Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog

Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced this week that thousands of law enforcement agencies across the US will be combating drunk driving crashes during the holiday season through the annual “Drunk Driving. Over The Limit. Under Arrest” campaign. Some $7 million in advertising will run between December 15, 2010 and January 3, 2011 to promote the campaign.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 753 US drunk driver-related deaths in December 2009. In total for that year, there were 10,839 alcohol-related traffic fatalities with one of these deaths occurring every 48 minutes. 7,281 of the those who died were drivers with a BAC of .08 or greater. 2,891 of those who were killed were motor vehicle occupants. 667 were nonoccupants. Our Washington DC car crash lawyers have reported on these developments in the past.

In addition to the national holiday crackdown campaign, a number of states have adopted the “No Refusal” strategy, which lets law enforcement officers quickly get warrants for blood samples from suspected drunk drivers who exercise their right to not take a breathalyzer test. Secretary LaHood is encouraging other states to adopt this approach.

Beginning Friday in Washington DC, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program will offer free taxi rides (a $30 limit) to people who call 1-800-200-TAXI. Participants have to be age 21 or older and the free service is available between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. weekly.

With the holiday season underway, people are likely to find themselves attending social and celebratory gatherings were alcohol is being served. During this time of the year, the last thing that anyone wants to have happen is to suffer serious injuries or lose a loved one in a Washington DC car accident because someone was driving while drunk.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces Holiday Drunk Driving Crackdown, NHTSA, December 13, 2010
Holiday crackdown on drunk driving, The Washington Post, December 13, 2010
Related Web Resources:

Alcohol-Impaired Driving, NHTSA (PDF)

40 Million in U.S. Driving Drunk or Drugged, US News, December 9, 2010

Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog

Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, post-mortem test results from between 2005 and 2009 reveal an increase in the level of drug involvement among drivers killed in US traffic crashes. This, however, the NHTSA is quick to qualify that this does not mean that the motorists tested were impaired at the time of death or that use of a drug caused the fatal collision.

Per NHTSA Data:
• 63% of the 21,798 drivers killed in 2009 were tested for drugs.
• 3,952 of these drivers tested positive for drugs.

• Over the last five years, US states have reported an increase in drug use among fatally injured drivers.

According to NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, this report is a warning that too many motorists in the US are driving with drugs in their system and not realizing that this is causing them to become a danger to themselves and others. The data is part of the traffic safety agency’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Our Washington DC injury lawyers want to remind you that if you or someone you love was injured in a car crash by a motorist who was under the influence of drugs or driving while drunk, you may have grounds for a civil case.

Drugged driving is dangerous driving. It doesn’t matter whether the driver is on medication prescribed by a doctor or taking an illegal drug. Depending on the type of drug used and the corresponding side effects, drugged driving can modify a motorist’s perception, attention, cognition, coordination, balance, and reaction time, which are all faculties that affect a driver’s ability to drive safely.

Unlike with alcohol, there is inadequate current technology for determining drug levels and the impairment that can result. There is also no legal limit to serve as a marker for when someone is considered legally impaired and under the influence of drugs. Different US states, however, have passed their own laws and programs for trying to determine whether someone is engaged in drugged driving.

Report is First Ever Analysis of Drug Involvement Among Deceased Drivers in Fatal Crashes, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, November 30, 2010

Read the Report (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
What is Drugged Driving?, National Institute on Drugged Driving

Stop Drugged Driving

Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog

Maryland Motorcycle Accident Attorney Blog

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According to Allstate Insurance, Baltimore and Washington DC rank second to last respectively among the country’s 200 largest cities when it comes to having the best drivers. While drivers in Fort Collins, Colorado, the city that ranked number one, on average get into car accidents just once every 14.5 years, District drivers get into Washington DC car accidents approximately once every 5.1 years—a 96% higher rate than that of the average US motorist. Meantime, Baltimore motorists are 79% more likely to get into a Maryland car accident than the average US driver. The two cities’ rankings were the same as from the year before.

Our Maryland and Washington DC car accident law firm wants to remind you that we offer free case evaluations to traffic accident victims and their families in both states. It is important that you have an injury team advocating on your behalf to ensure that you receive all the personal injury and wrongful death recovery owed yo you.

Steps that you can take to avoid causing a Washington DC motor vehicle crash:
• Don’t drive drunk
• Make sure that your vehicle is up to date on all maintenance checks
• Don’t text message while driving
• Avoid speeding
• Avoid following too closely behind the car in front of you
• Don’t let your anger get the better of you and turn into an aggressive driver
• Adjust your driving according to the weather, road, and traffic conditions
• Keep both eyes on the road
• Avoid distracted driving
Sixth Annual “Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report™” Reveals New Safest Driving City, Allstate, September 22, 2010

Download the Report (PDF)

Related Web Resources:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

70 Rules of Defensive Driving, Roadtrip America

Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog

Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog

Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog

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According to a new report, the local governments in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia are doing a good job in their efforts to crack down on distracted driving. The report from the Governors Highway Safety Association is called “Curbing Distracted Driving: 2010 Survey of State Safety Programs.”

The report notes that combating distracted driving has become a priority for many states, with many of them enacting tougher laws and coming up with more education programs and media campaigns to educate people about the dangers of driving while distracted. The District (along with Maryland and 42 other state) also now make it a point to collect distracted driving data when Washington DC motor vehicle crashes occur. Also, Washington DC now includes the issue of distracted driving in its driver education classes and driver’s license test, while using social networking sites to make known the dangers of cell phone talking and texting while driving.

The GHSA’s report, however, does note that more effort across the board needs to be made to get teenagers to become more aware that distracted driving is dangerous. Seeing as multi-tasking while driving is dangerous for even the most experienced drivers, it is important that teens, who have the least amount of experience when it comes to operating a motor vehicle, have their full attention on the task at hand so that they don’t increase their chance of injury or death.

Distracted driving has fast become a leading cause of US car crashes—especially with the so many people using cell phones to talk and text while driving. According to AAA, distracted driving is a cause of about 3 million auto accidents each years.

Our Washington DC car accident lawyers know how devastating it is to lose someone you love in a motor vehicle crash that could have been prevented were it not for other parties’ negligence.

Region’s Distracted Driving Crackdown Gets High Marks, WJLA, June 16, 2010
Curbing Distracted Driving: 2010 Survey of State Safety Programs, GHSA
Related Web Resources:

District Department of Transportation

AAA Exchange

Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog

Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog

Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog

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