Articles Posted in Subway and Bus Accidents

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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The US Department of Transportation and the National Safety Council have created FocusDriven. This is the first national advocacy group focused on supporting distracted driving victims and raising awareness about the dangers this very bad driving habit presents to motorists and pedestrians. The group was developed as a result last year’s Distracted Driving Summit in Washington DC. On its Web site, FocusDriven states that its vision is to save lives and prevent injuries by eliminating the use of cell phones while driving.

For awhile, motorists and lawmakers thought that using a cell phone wasn’t too dangerous as long a driver kept both hands on the wheel and used an earpiece or Bluetooth device. While there are accident statistics that indicate a higher crash risk when a driver uses a handheld cellular phone, rather than a hands-free device, the mounting data which proves that talking on any type of cellular device while operating a motor vehicle is just plain dangerous can no longer be ignored. Like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), FocusDriven wants everyone to fully comprehend that there is no doubt whatsoever that talking on a phone while driving can injure and kill people.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and the NSC chose to announce creation of the advocacy group on Tuesday, exactly one year after the NSC called for a nationwide ban on the use of cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. The US government also recently launched a federal Web site called, which focuses on raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. LaHood says the Obama Administration is committed to “putting an end” to distracted driving.

Washington DC Car Accidents

In a busy city like Washington DC, it is not uncommon for motorists and pedestrians to multi-task while trying to manage busy careers, social calendars, and personal lives. Many people are wedded to their cell phones and PDAs, so it is not uncommon to make calls and send messages while commuting to and from work. Unfortunately, multi-tasking while operating a motor vehicle is a bad idea and can be considered negligent driving if someone is killed or hurt in a Washington DC motor vehicle collision as a result.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and the National Safety Council Announce FocusDriven, January 12, 2010, (PDF)

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National Safety Council

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Amanda Mahnke, Representative Rick Larsen’s communications director who was seriously injured when an empty bus struck her on September 3, is suing Metro for Washington DC personal injury. She is seeking $30 million in damages.

According to Mahnke’s DC bus accident lawsuit, she sustained permanent injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, a broken clavicle, a fractured skull, fractured ribs, a collapsed long, an epidural hematoma, a pelvis fracture, and other personal injuries when she was struck by the Metro bus while she crossing an intersection on Florida Avenue, NW. She is accusing Metro of negligence for allowing bus driver Carla A. Proctor to keep driving its buses even though she had been sued in the past for causing other collisions.

Proctor was involved in a multi-vehicle crash involving another bus and seven autos in March 2003 when she got out of the bus to examine a faulty door. According to lawsuits against Metro and Proctor, because she allegedly failed to set the brake the bus rolled down a hill. After Proctor struck a parked vehicle in December 2004, an elderly bus passenger filed a Washington DC bus crash lawsuit against Metro.

According to AAA, about 87.7 million people in the US are expected to travel at least 50 miles away from home this holiday season—77.7 million travelers by motor vehicle. In Washington DC, approximately 2.5 million people are expected to leave town and most of them plan on doing so by car. That’s 4 out of 10 Washingtonians, says AAA.

With many roads and freeways undoubtedly more crowded than usual, our Washington DC car crash lawyers would like to remind motorists to drive safely so that you aren’t involved in an auto collision. Common bad driving behaviors that cause Washington DC motor vehicle accidents and can be cause for personal injury claims or wrongful death lawsuits include:

• Drunk driving

According to the 2009 Sleep in America poll by the National Sleep Foundation, about 1.9 Million Drivers are involved in drowsy driving car crashes or near miss accidents each year. Unfortunately, many people underestimate the power sleepiness can have in causing Washington DC car accidents.

Per the poll, 105 million US drivers have driven while sleepy in the last year. 54 million drivers drive while drowsy at least once a month.

National Sleep Foundation chairman Thomas Balkin says that while motorists are good at recognizing when they are tired, this doesn’t stop them from getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and driving. Balkin says that people mistakenly think that they can will themselves to stay awake but they often don’t even realize that they are falling asleep. Balkin notes that just one moment of “reduced awareness” can cause a motor vehicle crash.

Drowsy driving slows reflexes, reduces alertness, and impairs one’s ability to think clearly and rapidly respond to an emergency situation. A person who is sleepy or very tired while driving might inadvertently lane change, let go of the steering wheel, fail to notice traffic signs, not see other vehicles or pedestrians, drive off the road, or drive into oncoming traffic.

Drowsy driving can be grounds for a Washington DC injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit if another person is injured as a result.

In an attempt to decrease the number of drowsy driving accidents, the National Sleep Foundation has declared November 2 – 8 Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.

Ways to Avoid Drowsy Driving:

• Get a good night’s driving.
• Take periodic brakes (every 2 hours or every 100 miles).
• Don’t drink alcohol or take medications that cause drowsiness before driving.
• If necessary, stop and take a nap.

• Take caffeine if necessary.

.9 Million Drivers Have Fatigue-Related Car Crashes or Near Misses Each Year, Reuters, October 29, 2009
Drowsy Driving: Reduce Your Risk of Falling Asleep Behind the Wheel, Associated Content, June 27, 2006
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National Sleep Foundation


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Shortly after 1am on Saturday, a pedestrian was fatally struck on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Police say that the victim, a man in his 30’s who appears to be Hispanic, was hit by at least two motor vehicles. His death is the fourth pedestrian fatality in the Washington portion of the parkway in the last 14 months and the third one close to the exit ramp going into the District.

According to the D.C. Department of Transportation, The Washington DC pedestrian death rate is even higher than the pedestrian fatality counts of Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. About 600 Washington DC pedestrian accidents occur each year. Another study reports stated that over 80 pedestrian deaths take place in the Washington region every year.

On Tuesday, a woman died in a DC pedestrian accident when a Metrobus struck her. 47-year-old Stephanie Richardson got off a bus and was hit by another bus traveling in the same direction. She was transported to Washington Hospital Center where she was pronounced dead.

Some 14 people have died this year in Metro-related accidents. Just last month, a 30-year-old jogger sustained critical injuries when a Metro bus struck her. There are reports that the bus driver ran a red light and the pedestrian victim, Amanda Mahnke, was crossing the street because she had the walk signal.

Washington DC Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrians injured in DC truck accidents, bus crashes, motorcycle collisions, and other traffic accidents may be entitled to Washington DC personal injury recovery. Serious pedestrian injuries can include traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and internal injuries.

Pedestrian Fatally Struck on Baltimore-Washington Parkway, Washington Post, October 11, 2009
D.C. woman, 47, dies after being hit by Metrobus, Washington Examiner, October 7, 2009
Sources: Bus Ran Light, Hit Jogger, My Fox, September 25, 2009
Related Web Resources:

D.C. Department of Transportation

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

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President Barack Obama has signed an executive order banning federal employees from texting while driving a vehicle when on official business even if the vehicle being driven is not owned by the government. The order, issued last week, is an attempt to lead the charge encouraging people to stop texting while driving.

Lawmakers, ordinary citizens, safety advocates, and police attended a two-day Distracted Driving Summit in Washington DC that the US Department of Transportation organized. Already, the District of Columbia has a ban on texting or talking on a hand-held device while driving. Unfortunately, there are District of Columbia motorists who still engage in this dangerous habit that can lead to catastrophic Washington DC car accidents. Not only is texting while driving against the law but, like drunk driving, this popular form of distracted driving can kill people and lead to DC injury claims and wrongful death lawsuits.

The Obama administration has given each of the federal agencies 90 days to figure out how to enforce his order. He also wants the agencies to ban subcontractors and contractors from texting while driving. Federal employees working in national security or law enforcement are exempt from the ban.

For purposes of his order, President Obama defines “driving” as operating a motor vehicle. Drivers that are stopped at a traffic stop or traffic light or for any other reason that requires them to engage with the flow of traffic even if they are in “pause” mode with the engine running are still “driving.” However, Mr. Obama says it is acceptable for a federal worker to text message if he or she has pulled over to the side of the road.

Distracted Driving Facts from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:

• Driver distraction is the cause of 1 million North American traffic accidents each year.
• Although, per the 2009 Index, 95% of drivers think that texting while driving is unacceptable behavior, 18% of them still do it.
• More than 50% of the time a motorist is driving, he or she is engaged in at least one other task.
Obama enacts texting ban on federal employees, The Washington Times, October 2, 2009
The Facts about Distracted Driving – Know the Dangers/Avoid the Risks, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

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The White House

US Department of Transportation

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At the opening of the Distracted Driving Summit, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that texting while driving has become an “an endemic” and a “menace to society.” Over 300 people are taking part in the conference, including law enforcement officials, lawmakers, and safety experts.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 5,780 people died (16% of all deadly traffic collisions) and 515,000 people sustained injuries in distracted driving accidents last year. Many of these auto crashes are a result of people using cell phones and PDAs.

Distracted driving is reportedly a big problem among young drivers, especially those under age 21. Distracted driving was a factor in 16% of deadly crashes involving drivers in this age group.

Metro says that it fired the bus driver who struck a female jogger during a Washington DC pedestrian accident on September 3. Carla A. Proctor hit Amanda Mahnke while operating an empty bus on Florida Avenue NW. The 30-year-old jogger is Representative Rick Larsen’s communications director. She fractured her skull and sustained several other fractures during the DC Metro bus accident.

Metro cited “failing to follow standard operating procedures” as the reason for Proctor’s dismissal. The September 3 accident, which occurred close to Dupont Circle, is not the first time that the bus driver was involved in a bus crash.

In March 2003, seven motor vehicles and another bus were damaged after Proctor exited the bus to check on a faulty door. The bus accident lawsuits that were filed against Proctor and Metro accused her of neglecting to set the brake properly. This allegedly caused the empty bus to roll down a hill and into an auto, triggering a chain reaction with the other motor vehicles. A Prince George’s County jury awarded three plaintiffs $27,713 in damages. A settlement was reached in another DC bus accident claim over the multi-vehicle crash.

In December 2004, Proctor drove her Metro bus into a parked auto while turning onto Wisconsin Avenue from O Street. A 72-year-old bus passenger sued Metro for Washington DC personal injury. The case was settled in mediation under confidential terms.

In July 2003, Proctor, who was not working at the time, was involved in a motor vehicle crash that resulted in her vehicle driving through the front window of a Wendy’s in Oxon Hill. Two of the restaurant patrons sued her for Maryland personal injury. The case was settled out of court.

Proctor received five traffic tickets in January for operating an uninsured vehicle, not maintaining insurance, not having current tags, and not displaying a registration card upon demand. Charges are also pending against her for a traffic stop in Prince George’s County in 2008.

Metro fires bus driver for hitting jogger, Washington Examiner, September 25, 2009
Metrobus Crash Not The First For Driver, The Washington Post, September 16, 2009
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Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

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The family of Cameron Williams, one of the nine people killed in the June 22 Red Line train accident that is being called the worst wreck in the Metro’s history, has filed a Washington DC wrongful death lawsuit for $25 million. Their DC train crash complaint is accusing Metro of negligence and of failing to take the reasonable precautions to prevent the crash from happening.

Williams’s family is also suing Alstom Signaling Company, which is responsible for the circuit that failed to slow or stop the train so that the deadly collision wouldn’t happen. Depending on the National Transportation Safety Board’s findings once it concludes its crash probe, other defendants may be added to the DC train accident lawsuit.

The deadly collision occurred during rush hour close to the Fort Totten stop when one train crashed on top of another train. At least seventy people were transported to local hospitals.

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