Articles Posted in Subway and Bus Accidents

Earlier this month in Seattle, a collision between an amphibious tour vehicle and a charter bus resulted in four fatalities and several injuries. According to one local news source, the Fire Chief reported that in addition to the four who were killed, 12 people were in area hospitals in critical condition as a result of the accident.

vintage-bus-01-1459344Evidently, the accident took place on the Aurora Avenue Bridge, which is a main north-south artery through Seattle. The bridge has three lanes in each direction, with no median separating the directions of travel. While investigators are conducting an investigation into the accident, it is not clear at this time how the accident was caused, or which of the drivers may be at fault. However, there has been some concern expressed over the safety of the military-style amphibious tour vehicle that was in the accident.

To increase the danger and potential for harm, the amphibious vehicle was being operated by a tour company known for excited and flamboyant drivers who would speak to their passengers over megaphones as they toured the city. This concept, some argue, invites distracted driving and other dangerous driving behaviors.

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With the tragic Philadelphia train accident still dominating the news, it may have been easy to overlook another train accident that occurred closer to home, here in Washington, DC. Earlier this week, a MARC train struck and seriously injured one person, according to an article by the International Business Times.

train-1442313-1-mEvidently, the accident took place at around 9:50 in the morning, near Ninth Street and New York Avenue Northeast. MARC service was shut down for the day, as investigators surveyed the scene and maintenance workers attempted to ensure that the tracks and trains were all safe for the afternoon commute. In the meantime, the DC Metro subway system honored MARC tickets.

The person who was struck by the train remains in serious condition but is expected to recover from the injuries sustained in the accident. The exact cause of the accident is still under investigation.

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The National Transportation Safety Board is trying to determine what caused a bus and tractor-trailer to collide on Saturday, killing 15 people in New York. The 56-seat bus then drove through a guardrail, skidded some 480 feet, before turning on its side. A highway sign cut off most of the bus’s roof. Our Washington DC bus accident law firm is continuing to monitor this story and its latest developments.

According to the medical examiner’s office, the victims died from blunt-force trauma as the impact of the crash left passengers bloodied and jumbled over debris, each other, and shattered glass. Most of those who died were of Chinese descent. The latest victim to die is a man in his 70’s. Several others are still in the hospital—six of them in critical condition.

The bus, driving back from the Mohegan Sun casino, is one of a number of buses that travel back and forth between the casinos in Connecticut and New York’s Chinatown. While bus driver Ophadell Williams has said that the tractor-trailer struck the bus, witnesses and survivors says that even prior to the deadly crash, the bus was swerving to the right. Some have speculated that Williams, who has a history of vehicular offenses and served time behind bars for grand larceny and manslaughter, was tired. Meantime, officials are saying that he may have been speeding.

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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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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Four people were transported to the hospital on Saturday following a Washington DC escalator accident at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station stop. Officials are trying to determine what happened.

The escalator injuries sustained by the victims are reportedly non-life threatening. However, according to MyFox.com, one person who was hurt says that 19 people reportedly ended up in a pile after they were thrown off the moving staircase when it suddenly accelerated out-of-control. Wtop.com quotes one witness as describing the incident as a “frightening carnival ride.” Another witness to the Washington DC injury accident noted the smell of “burning brakes.”
Escalator Accidents

Every day, hundreds of millions of people in this country ride escalators. In a 2005 CBS.com article, the news outlet reported that approximately 10,000 people a year end up in hospital emergency rooms because of escalator accidents. Some of these incidents have proven fatal.

Common causes of escalator accidents:
• Design flaws
• Escalator malfunction
• Manufacturing defect
• Missing escalator parts
• Step collapse
• Inadequate maintenance
• Installation errors
• Missing escalator teeth
• Worn escalator belt

Elderly seniors and young children are at higher risk of injury than teens and adults of becoming involved in and getting hurt during an escalator accident. Fall accidents, trip and fall accidents, and hand and foot entrapment accidents are some examples of accidents that can occur on an escalator. Broken bones, head injuries, asphyxiation injuries (from the victim’s clothing getting stuck in the escalator), head injuries, serious hand and foot injuries, and wrongful death can occur.

Questions remain after Metro escalator accident, wtop, November 1, 2010
4 Hurt in Metro Escalator Accident, MyFoxDC, November 1, 2010
Related Web Resources:
Deaths and Injuries Involving Elevators and Escalators, ELCOSH.org
Escalator Injury Articles, Science Daily
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

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Five people were taken to the hospital early Monday after a Metro Bus and two other vehicles were involved in a Washington DC car accident. According to police, the traffic crash happened when one of the cars, a Camaro, ran a red light and struck the bus, which caused the commercial vehicle to hit a tree and a parked auto. The Washington DC injury accident occurred at 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

Intersections are one of the most common places where a car accident is likely to occur. Drivers who run a red light, fail to stop at a stop sign, fail to yield the right of way, neglect to wait for a pedestrian to finish crossing the street, speed, text or talk on the cell phone are at risk of causing serious injuries to themselves or others. Poor road design and traffic sign defects are another common cause of traffic crashes at intersections.

Our Washington DC car accident lawyers are familiar with the high emotional, physical, and financial toll that becoming a victim of a traffic crash can cost the injured party and his/her family. Recovering from a catastrophic injury can take months or even years. Often, one’s own car insurance policy is not enough to cover the costs of medical bills, recovery expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, and other damages.

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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The U.S. Department of Transportation is proposing a federal rule that would ban commercial truck drivers and bus drivers from texting. The proposal comes after an interim ban that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced in January. The ban would apply to commercial drivers of vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds and will hopefully decrease the number of truck accidents and bus crashes that happen.

According to research by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, drivers who text have their eyes off the road for 4.5 seconds out of every 6 seconds. During that time, a vehicle moving at a speed of 55 mph while have traveled the length of a football field. Texting motorists also have a 20 times greater chance than drivers that aren’t distracted of getting involved in a traffic crash. The FMCSA says that it is working on other regulations related to electronic devices.

It is now no longer mere speculation that while texting while driving is dangerous for all motorists, it is especially so for truck drivers—who, as last year’s Virginia Tech Transportation Institute reports, are 23 time more likely to become involved in a near-accident or an actual truck crash when they text and drive at the same time. When this occurs, it is usually the occupants of the other vehicles, pedestrians, motorcyclists, or bicyclists involved in the truck collision that suffer.

According to the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of US traffic fatalities dropped to 33,963 in 2009. That’s an 8.9% decrease from 2008 when there were 37,261 highway deaths. This is also the lowest that the US traffic fatality figure has dropped down to since 1994, and the 15th quarter in a row that there has been a decrease.

While National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland called the continued decrease in traffic deaths encouraging, he says that the government will keep working hard to keep bringing the death toll down. The NHTSA took aggressive action last year to stop motorists from drinking with its Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest campaign. It’s Click It or Ticket campaign cited people for not putting on their seat belt. The federal government also made great strides toward discouraging distracted driving—especially cell phone use and text messaging while operating a motor vehicle.

Our Washington DC personal injury lawyers applaud the government’s effort to lower the number of traffic deaths. We also are in agreement that there is more than can be done to encourage drivers to operate their cars responsibly so that more vehicle occupants and pedestrians don’t get hurt or die unnecessarily.

Just last week, US Senate majority Leader Harry Reid’s wife and daughter were injured in a semi-truck crash near Washington DC. Landra Reid, 69, and Lara Barringer, 49, received medical attention after they were struck by a tractor-trailer.

Landra suffered a broken back, nose, and neck, while Lana, who sustained cuts, was examined by a neurologist because she has been experiencing dizziness. Trucker Alan W. Snader was charged with reckless driving for his role in the tractor-trailer crash.

Traffic Fatalities for 2009 Reach Record Low, NHTSA, March 11, 2010
Reid’s wife, daughter recovering from truck crash, Associated Press, March 16, 2010
Related Web Resources:

Early estimate of motor vehicle traffic fatalities in 2009, NHTSA (PDF)

District Department of Transportation

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