Articles Posted in Car Accidents

The National Safety Council (NCS) released a report on motor vehicle fatality estimates for the first six months of 2016 that found traffic deaths on the rise across America, as well as in Washington State.  From January to June of 2016 there were 19,100 total motor-vehicle deaths, a 9% increase from the same period in 2015 and an 18% increase from 2014.  Washington had 253 motor-vehicle deaths in the first half of 2016, an 8% increase from the same period in 2015 and a 12% increase from 2014.  One possible explanation for the increase in motor-vehicle deaths is the decrease in gas prices nationwide and the subsequent increase in cumulative miles driven; gas prices have averaged over 16% below 2015 levels through the first six months of the year.   Another possible explanation for the increase in fatalities is the rise in distracted driving across America.  While many laws have been implemented across the United States to combat distracted driving, many motorists are still texting and calling while driving.  As a driver we highly recommend not using your cell phone while driving.

At Kraft Davies Olsson we represent those who have been involved in motor-vehicle accidents.  In the event that you have suffered an injury in a motor-vehicle accident our lawyers are available to consult with you regarding your injuries.  Please call us at (206) 624-8844, or contact us through this website.

Please find below more statistics from the NCS report:

Pike Place Market Pedestrians
In the United States every year thousands of pedestrians are injured or killed.  In 2013, 4,735 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes across America.  In addition, in 2013, there were more than 150,000 non-fatal crash-related injuries of pedestrians that were treated in emergency rooms.  Those whom are most at risk as pedestrians are older adults (ages 65 and older), children, and those impaired by alcohol.  In 2013, 19% of all pedestrian deaths were those 65 and older.  In addition, in traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian deaths, 49% involved either an intoxicated pedestrian or driver (or both).

Pedestrian safety is a serious issue nationwide.  In the fall of 2014 Liberty Mutual Insurance released a “Pedestrian Safety Index,” ranking America’s 15 safest cities for pedestrians based on published government data and resident’s perceptions of safety for pedestrians.  The number 1 ranked safest city in the United States for pedestrians is Seattle, Washington, followed by Boston, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. at number 2 and 3.

In Seattle, we are fortunate to have a relatively safe environment for pedestrians, due in large part to safety measures that have been implemented in recent years.  Among those Seattle residents surveyed, 96 percent felt the city is safe for pedestrians and 97 percent found the city proactive when it comes to pedestrian safety.  These sentiments are likely the result of such measures as “Safest Route to School,” which created 501 new cross walks in Seattle to ensure children traveled to school safely, as well as the city of Seattle’s new master plan to make Seattle the most walkable city in the nation.  The city of Seattle hopes to achieve improved pedestrian safety and walkability through taking the following measures: 1) Install sidewalks, curb ramps, and marked crosswalks; 2) Install and maintain pedestrian and school crossing signs; and 3) Construct curb bulbs and crossing islands at pedestrian crossing locations.  Other safety measures that could be taken to increase safety include adequate traffic signs, adequate signal time to cross streets, and ample street lighting.

Google’s self-driving cars have traveled more than 1.4 million test miles, and none of them were at fault in accidents until Feb. 14, when a city bus scraped one of the company’s Lexus SUVs. Google said that no one was injured but that its autonomous vehicle was partially responsible. This might make some Washington drivers wonder whether or not driverless-vehicle projects should continue if they are responsible for traffic fatalities.

Artificial intelligence researchers, computer scientists and engineers have questioned what would happen if a driverless car was to blame for a fatal crash. The goal for Google and many other companies is to create self-driving cars that are reliable and safe, but like the fender bender on Feb. 14, the fault of an autonomous vehicle in a fatal collision is practically inevitable. Such a case may mean that the many self-driving projects around the world are halted if the public responds poorly.

The automobile was in this position in 1899, when the first recorded traffic death occurred in the United States. A New York City taxi ran into a man as he stepped off of a trolley. Over the next 30 years, justices and scholars debated if the automobile was naturally evil. Vehicle-related deaths were happening so much in the 1920s that the public started having parades in Detroit and New York to highlight the need for improved safety.

While a reckless driver on a Washington highway might be able to wreak havoc by causing a deadly crash in even the safest of vehicles, Volvo is hoping to increase safety features to the point at which concerned drivers will be well-protected from deadly incidents. Some of the company’s current safety technologies would continue to be used, being expanded to address even more areas of vulnerability on the roads. Additional technologies could complement those that now exist to minimize driving risks.

Autonomous technologies are being used by various manufacturers. These include Volvo options such as adaptive cruise control. This feature makes it possible to set a maximum speed that the vehicle can reduce as needed to ensure that a safe following distance is maintained. Collision avoidance could be incorporated into this technology to implement braking when a driver does not respond to a warning of impending impact. Volvo also expects to use camera features to facilitate lane alerts and corrections when drivers drift or doze. Cameras might also be used to identify road features such as speed limit signs.

Volvo has stated that its death-proof vehicles will be in place by 2020. Like some other companies, it is also working on the development of automobiles that will be completely autonomous. The public may be skeptical about the claims of a death-proof vehicle, especially in light of computer issues that have affected some manufacturers in recent years. However, improved safety standards could prove advantageous as lives and money are saved over time.

People in Washington may be interested to learn about a new study that exposes a serious flaw in driverless cars. According to the study, the cars, touted as providing safety from accidents, have twice the accident rate as do other vehicles on the road.

According to researchers, the problem appears to lie in the fact that driverless cars are programmed to never violate the traffic laws. While this may seem desirable, other drivers on the road around the cars do not obey traffic laws. Issues have arisen when the driverless cars stop suddenly due to sensing such things as pedestrians on sidewalks nearby. When they do so in situations a human driver would normally not, many vehicles behind the cars tend to run into the back of the driverless cars.

Another issue causing accidents is the fact that driverless cars always follow the speed limits. When heavy traffic is moving at a faster rate, the driverless car will not. Similarly, problems occur when a driverless car attempts to merge onto a highway, especially if the car must cross several lanes in order to get into the needed one. The cars around the driverless one may not allow them into traffic, and the driverless cars do not have the human reactions necessary to avoid accidents.

Previous campaigns that warned of the hazards of buzzed driving or reminded us that friends do not allow their friends to drive drunk were highly successful at drawing attention to the problem of drunk driving in Washington and around the country. Buoyed by these successes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has joined forces with the Ad Council for another road safety campaign, and this time the goal is to reduce the number of teens killed or injured each year in drunk driving accidents.

Traffic accidents are the leading killer of American teens, and NHTSA data reveals that nearly a quarter of the teenage drivers involved in fatal crashes each year have alcohol in their bloodstreams. The new campaign was launched as part of the National Teen Driver Safety Week in October 2015, and it features public service announcements backed up by website banner advertising and roadside billboards.

Television spots will compare the kind of mishaps that occur at parties, such as tripping over or spilling food and drink, with the far more serious consequences of drinking and driving. The campaign will also warn teens about the serious impact that a drunk driving conviction could have on their college and employment prospects. NHTSA and the Ad Council hope that using popular social media platforms and setting up a website on Tumblr will allow them to reach even more young people.

Based on estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2014 had the lowest rate of highway fatalities on record. This is in line with a continuous decline in traffic fatalities going back to 1985, and the rate of decline seems to be accelerating. Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that traffic deaths have declined by about a third in the last three years.

The reduction in automotive fatalities has generally been attributed to improvements in safety features in cars. Seat belts, air bags and collision avoidance systems have all worked to lower the chances an accident will occur and lessen the severity if one does.

However, in spite of all the progress that has been made, death as a result of a car crash is still one of the most common causes of death as tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Based on data from 2013, people have a one in 77 chance of dying due to a car crash. Individuals are equally as likely to die due to firearms, but they are more likely to die of poisoning, with odds of one in 53.

Some Washington motorists may have been affected by the massive recall of GM vehicles that began in February 2014. Last year, the manufacturer was forced to recall 2.6 million cars because of a faulty ignition switch that the company had known about for 10 years. The defective vehicle part can cause cars to suddenly shut down or speed up, leaving drivers unable to control their speed, steering or brakes.

Following the auto recall, drivers who had been involved in car accidents over which they believed they had no part in suddenly had an explanation for what had happened. However, many of the drivers had already been falsely convicted for causing fatal crashes in their defective GM cars. With information about the faulty ignition switch now well known, many people who were previously convicted or had pleaded guilty to charges such as involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide and reckless driving are having those convictions and pleas overturned.

Though GM does not comment on specific car accident cases, a spokesman for the company said that the it routinely provides information to investigators working on car accident cases. The company said that the criminal justice system is responsible for determining whether an individual should be criminally charged for an accident. GM has reportedly set aside a fund of $625 million to compensate car accident victims.

A Ride the Ducks amphibious vehicle carrying 36 passengers slammed into a charter bus full of North Seattle College students and staff on Thursday, September 24, 2005, around 11:15 a.m., leaving four exchange students dead on the Aurora Bridge. The students and staff were on their way to Safeco Field for a new-student orientation.

Of the people involved in the crash, fifteen are listed in critical condition and are being treated in local hospitals, with a total of 51 passengers injured in the collision.

Among those killed was Claudia Derschmidt, a 49-year-old mother from Austria whose 15-year-old son was also on the bus. The other fatalities were 18-year-old Privaudo Putradauto from Indonesia, 37-year-old Mami Sato from Japan, and a 17-year-old female student from China whose name has not been released because she is a minor.

When Washington residents are in a car accident, they may not immediately realize that they have been injured. There are a number of different types of symptoms that may not show up for hours or days after a motor vehicle accident has occurred. As some of them can indicate serious medical problems, it is important for people to see their doctors as soon as possible after such an incident.

Most people are aware that the symptoms associated with whiplash, including stiff and painful necks and shoulders, as well as tingling or numbness in the hands, may not show up for several days afterwards. Some cases of whiplash are very serious. A doctor can determine whether a person has this injury type by doing an MRI.

Back pain may not show up for several days. When it does, it can indicate that a person’s vertebrae, nerves or muscles were injured in the accident. Headaches that later appear may indicate that the person suffered a head or neck injury. It can also indicate the formation of a blood clot in the brain. If a person’s abdomen swells or is painful, it is important to seek medical attention. This can indicate the person is bleeding internally. Finally, if a person’s personality or ability to function changes, they may have suffered a traumatic brain injury and should seek medical attention.

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