Articles Posted in Multi-vehicle Accidents

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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The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has a new rule that will hopefully help decrease the number of occupant ejections that occur in passenger vehicle crashes. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the final rule today. He said that the “new standard will help save lives and reduce injuries.”

Per the new rule, automakers must create a countermeasure for light passenger autos weighing less than 10,000 pounds that will keep the equivalent of an adult without a seat belt from moving over 4 inches past the side window opening during a traffic crash—especially during a rollover accident. The new standard applies to the side windows next to the first three rows of seats and to part of the cargo area behind rows one and two will start phasing in during 2013. All new vehicles will have to offer this ejection protection by 2018. NHTSA administrator David Strickland has said that once this standard is fully implemented, about 476 serious injuries and 374 fatalities will be prevented each year.

A person ejected from a vehicle during a Washington DC auto accident has a three times greater chance of dying than the person who was able to remain inside the vehicle. Partial ejections can also result in catastrophic injuries or wrongful death.

In some DC car accidents, a passenger is ejected from the vehicle because he/she was not using a seat belt. Still, other ejections happen because the seat belt malfunctioned, the vehicle’s roof was not well-structured, or the impact of the crash was so forceful that the person was inevitably thrown from the vehicle. There may be a negligent driver, car manufacturer, auto part manufacturer, or another liable party who can be held liable for Washington DC auto products liability.

Final rule aimed at reducing partial and complete vehicle ejections, NHTSA, January 13, 2011
Automakers face tough new rollover-crash rule, CNN, January 13, 2011
Related Web Resource:
Read More About the New Ejection Standard, NHTSA (PDF)

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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,

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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In an effort to ensure that automakers are manufacturing safer cars and preventing auto defects, the NHTSA now has an improved 5-Star Safety Ratings System for new motor vehicles. The more stars a vehicle receives, the safer the vehicle. Hopefully, this will decrease the number of Washington DC car accidents.

Under the 5-Star Safety Ratings System:
• Side pole crash testing will be assessed.
• Crash prevention-technologies will be evaluated.
• Female crash test dummies will be used when simulating crash scenes involving women.

• There will be improved crash data.

The new safety rating system assesses the safety of passenger vehicles, such as vans, cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs, in the areas of side crash, frontal crash, and rollover resistance. An Overall Vehicle Score for each auto tested combines test results for all three areas and compares the results with other autos’ average injury risk and rollover potential.

NHTSA is suggesting that buyers look at motor vehicles that come with crash avoidance technologies, such as Lane departure warning (LDW), Electronic stability control, and Forward collision warning (FCW), that satisfy the 5-Star Safety Ratings minimum performance tests.

Under the new rating system, only the Hyundai Sonata and BMW 5 Series have earned 5-star ratings for 2011 models. More vehicles received 5 stars under the old rating system. NHTSA still has to test 22 more 2011 models.

Auto Products Liability

Our Washington DC products liability law firm wants to remind you that you can pursue financial recovery from an auto manufacturer if an auto defect or malfunction causes a DC car crash that results in injury or death.

Examples of auto defects:
• Seat belt defects
• Air bag defects
• Structural defects
• Weak roofs
• Seatback collapse
• Tire defects
• Window defects
• Sudden unintended acceleration

Hopefully this enhanced rating system will compel auto manufacturers to make safer cars.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Rolls Out Upgraded 5-Star Vehicle Safety Ratings System, NHTSA, October 5, 2010
New U.S. crash tests: Only Hyundai Sonata, BMW 5 get 5 stars, USA Today, October 5, 2010
Related Web Resources:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Maryland Accident Law Blog

Maryland Car Accident Attorney

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At this year’s Distracted Driving Summit in Washington DC, US Department of Transportation officials, legislators, automakers, researchers, law enforcement workers, and traffic crash victims are once again getting together to figure out how to combat distracted driving and decrease the number of motor vehicle crashes that happen each year. US Transportation RayLaHood has called the problem of distracted driving an “epidemic” and he wants a federal law that will crack down on multitasking motorists.

Distracted driving can consist of a number of different activities that a motorist might engage in that takes his/her attention from driving. Text messaging, talking on a cell phone, dealing with the family dog, reading, surfing the Internet, watching movies on a laptop, scrolling through an iPod, fiddling with the radio dial, shaving, eating, and getting into an argument with someone else in the car are all examples of distracted driving acts that can cause the motorist to lose focus and become involved in a car crash, truck accident, bus collision, or pedestrian accident.

At the summit, Secretary LaHood announced new rules that would restrict hazmat truckers from texting and cell phone use for hazmat truckers. He also said that a final rule barring commercial truckers and bus drivers from texting will soon be published.

2009 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Distracted Driving Data:

• 5,474 deaths
• 448,000 injuries
• Teen drivers make up the largest portion of distracted drivers
• 16% of deadly crashes and 20% of injury accidents involved distracted drivers

It is not uncommon for The District’s busy residents to multitask. Politicians, business persons, students, government officials, and others have too much to do and often in too little time. However, distracted driving can cause Washington DC traffic crashes that can result in serious injuries and deaths for those involved.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces 2009 Distracted Driving Fatality and Injury Numbers Prior to National Distracted Driving Summit, NHTSA, September 20, 2010
Texting rules to toughen for hazmat truckers, Land Line, September 21, 2010
LaHood Pushes Federal Law to Quell ‘Epidemic’ of Distracted Driving, PBS, September 21, 2010
Related Web Resources:

Distracted Driving 2009, Traffic Safety Facts, NHTSA (PDF)

Maryland Accident Law Blog

Trucking Accident Lawyer 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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