Articles Posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents

The annual study for the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) provided by state highway safety offices revealed that 2015 U.S. motorcycle deaths increased 10 percent compared with 2014; the total number of deaths exceeded 5,000 for only the third time in U.S. history, and first time since 2008.  Statistics nationwide show that motorcyclists are far more likely to be injured or killed while driving than motor vehicle occupants. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), per mile driven, motorcycles have a fatality rate that is 26 times higher than passenger vehicles.  A large contributing factor to a higher fatality rate for motorcyclists is the absence of helmet laws across America. Currently, only 19 states and the District of Columbia require all motorcycle riders to wear helmets. According to the NHTSA’s 2014 study, 89 percent of riders wore helmets in states that required by law that riders do so, while only 48 percent in all other states; wearing a helmet decreases motorcyclist’s chance of dying in a crash by 37 percent.  According to the 2015 GHSA study, the number of motorcycle deaths in several states was as follows: Alaska, 11; California, 489; Idaho, 27; Oregon, 57; and Washington, 76. In Washington, motorcycle fatalities were 15 percent of total traffic deaths.

The GHSA study suggests several measures that can be taken by motorcyclists to reduce the risk of being involved in a fatal crash, which include the following: 1) Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet; 2) Wear bright-colored clothing to make it easier to be seen by other drivers; 3) Never ride impaired by alcohol or drugs; 4) Obey posted speed limits; and 5) When purchasing a new motorcycle, opt for a model with antilock brakes.

Washington state is taking several measures to increase motorcycle safety, which includes expanding its “A Fine Line” motorcycle safety program and conducting a High Visibility Enforcement motorcycle safety project.  At Kraft Davies Olsson we support all safety measures taken by motorcyclists and the state of Washington to increase rider safety and decrease fatalities.  Here are several safety tips for motorcycle riders that we suggest: 1) Attend a Motorcycle Safety Foundation riding course in your area; 2) Avoid riding in bad weather; 3) Be alert for road hazards (sand, debris, pot holes); 4) Wear proper attire (gloves, boots, leather clothing); 5) Drive with the awareness as if no other commuter has mirrors.

Last week, we posted about a tragic tour bus crash in Oregon on December 30 that killed nine and injured 39. After investigating, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) concluded that the driver of the bus was driving too fast for the icy conditions at the time of the crash.

Yesterday, the DOT issued an order banning the man from driving commercial vehicles in the United States.

Several people who survived when the Canadian Mi Joo Tour & Travel bus skidded off an icy Interstate 84 and down a 200-foot embankment said driver had been asked several times to slow down.

The driver of a bus that crashed in Oregon last week, killing nine and injuring 39, had been on the road too long without rest, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). On Tuesday, calling it “an imminent hazard to the public,” the department ordered the Canadian company running the bus to cease operations in the United States.

Driver Haeng Kyu Hwang had worked 92 hours in the seven days preceding the Dec. 30 crash for Coquitlam, B.C.-based Mi Joo Tour & Travel – well beyond the 70-hour maximum hours of service per week permitted under federal regulations.

His bus and a second Mi Joo tour bus were traveling from Las Vegas to Vancouver, B.C., the tail end of a West Coast tour. The driver of the second bus had also been on duty too long, according to investigators for USDOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

A 32-year-old man who managed to get up and walk to a nearby Starbucks for a cup of coffee after being struck by a bus on Tuesday morning is recovering from his injuries at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center.

The victim was attempting to cross Third Avenue around 7:15 a.m. when he was struck by King County Metro’s Route 358 bus, shattering the bus windshield. The victim then managed to get up and walk with a bloodied head to the nearby Starbucks store at Westlake Center to order a cup of drip coffee. But he didn’t get to enjoy the brew, and instead was taken by paramedics to Harborview Medical Center, where he is recovering from his injuries.

A police officer trained to evaluate whether drivers are impaired checked the bus driver at the scene and determined he was showing signs of impairment, police said. The bus driver was taken into custody by police and also taken to Harborview, where his blood was drawn to determine whether he was impaired, police said. He was later released.

Teen drivers are at higher risk of being involved in a crash during their novice years than at any other point in their driving careers. In addition to teaching teens about safe driving techniques and forbidding hazards such as drunk, distracted and drowsy driving, parents can help to reduce the likelihood of their teens being involved in car accidents by ensuring that the vehicles they drive are safe.

A good rule of thumb is that when you are deciding between two vehicle models, always opt for the one boasting the most effective and advanced safety features. Preventing car accidents is not always possible. However, reducing the risk that your teen will become injured or perish in a crash can be prevented in many cases if the vehicle he or she is driving is as safe as possible.

If you are purchasing a used vehicle, make sure that the air bags in the car have not been replaced with models recently recalled as defective. Auto sellers were not obligated to replace many of these defective air bag models, so it is imperative that you do your research with regards to this critical safety feature.

Many motorists don’t know it, but it’s likely that every time they get behind the wheel, there’s a snitch along for the ride.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Friday proposed long-delayed regulations requiring auto manufacturers to include event data recorders – better known as “black boxes” – in all new cars and light trucks beginning Sept. 1, 2014. But the agency is behind the curve. Automakers have been quietly tucking the devices, which automatically record the actions of drivers and the responses of their vehicles in a continuous information loop, into most new cars for years.

When a car is involved in a crash or when its airbags deploy, inputs from the vehicle’s sensors during the 5 to 10 seconds before impact are automatically preserved. That’s usually enough to record things like how fast the car was traveling and whether the driver applied the brake, was steering erratically or had a seat belt on.

Commercial trucking is a vital part of this nation’s industry and a critical element of its functioning economy. Unfortunately, commercial trucking is also uniquely dangerous. Because any truck malfunction or human error can cause injury and death to innocent motorists and passengers who just happen to be near a truck when it becomes unsafe, the safety issues affecting this particular industry uniquely concern the public at large.

Though it is ordinarily no one else’s business whether a worker is obese or not, a new study suggests that the public interest may be affected when truckers are obese. Due to consequences of obesity, like truck driver fatigue resulting from severe weight-related sleep apnea, the results of the study which links trucker obesity with an increased crash risk make the healthy weight of commercial truckers very much the public’s business.

The study, which was recently published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, was led by an expert from the University of Minnesota at Morris. Researchers followed nearly 750 drivers for two years before analyzing their crash risk as compared to their normal or obese body composition.

Becoming a licensed driver is a rite of passage in the lives of American youth. Some parents take an active role in their children’s initial driving years, while others adopt more of a “sink or swim” approach. Regardless of their methods, most parents care deeply about their children’s safety behind the wheel. However, evidence strongly suggests that teens whose parents actively teach, monitor and enforce restrictions related to their driving habits are less likely to be involved in devastating car accidents.

As a result, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently urged parents to create and enforce driving safety limits and general rules for teens who are old enough to be behind the wheel. While it may often seem as if teens do not care how their parents act or what they say, evidence supports the premise that parental modeling and rule enforcement have a significant impact in the driving habits that teens develop.

This message is critical, given that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among older American teenagers. So what can parents do specifically to keep their teens safer? The NHTSA suggests the following:

According to reports from the Washington State Patrol, there were fewer accidents statewide in 2011 than at anytime in the past 11 years.  In 2011, the WSP reported about 99,000 collisions, which continued a downward trend from a recent peak in 2005 of 123,000 traffic collisions.

The WSP credited drivers’ use of seat belts and air bags in the reduction in fatalities, but the reduction in collisions also meant that improved driver behavior had lead to less crashes.  Injuries were down about 20 percent from the peak year in 2005.  DUI-related collisions were also down about 21 percent.  Fatality collisions were down about 30 percent from 2005.

In a statement, WSP Chief John R. Batiste said the three most important factors are slowing down, paying attention to the road and driving sober. “We don’t have to accept collisions as an inevitable fact of life,” he said.

Seattle drivers are far from the nation’s safest behind the wheel, according to an annual report from Allstate Insurance Company. And they’re getting worse. Among the nation’s 200 largest cities, Seattle drivers ranked 154th in terms of their risk for a collision. Seattle drivers average one crash every 7.9 years, which is 27 percent more likely than the national average.

Seattle also slid seven spots from its 147th-safest driving city rank in the 2011 report, when Emerald City drivers had one crash every eight years. In 2009, they had one crash every 8.3 years.

The report is based on two years of Allstate claims data and ranks cities in terms of the frequency of crashes.

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