Articles Posted in Auto accidents

The number of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents is expected to have risen by as much as 10 percent in 2015, reports The Insurance Journal, making it the biggest increase ever recorded.

The annual Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) Spotlight on Highway Safety Report offers the first look at 2015 pedestrian fatality trends, based on data from state highway agencies. “We are projecting the largest year-to-year increase in pedestrian fatalities since national records have been kept, and therefore we are quite alarmed,” said Richard Retting, one of the report’s authors from Sam Schwartz Consulting.

Since the Fatality Analysis Reporting System was established in 1975, the annual change pedestrian fatalities has varied from a 10.5 percent decrease to an 8.1 percent increase.

Traffic deaths are 14 percent higher in 2015 than they were during the same period in 2014, and serious injuries are 30 percent higher, according to the National Safety Council.

From January to June, almost 19,000 people died in traffic crashes in the U.S., and more than 2.2 million were seriously injured, putting the U.S. on pace for its deadliest driving year since 2007, the safety group’s latest report says.

Accident-related costs are also up. The six-month estimated bill for traffic deaths, injuries and property damage is $152 billion – 24 percent higher than 2014.

“Follow the numbers: the trend we are seeing on our roadways is like a flashing red light – danger lies ahead,” said Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Be a defensive driver and make safe decisions behind the wheel. Your life really depends on it.”

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An Arizona court ruled that an employee injured in a car accident is not entitled to workers’ compensation even though she was doing a business-related errand to finish her work day.

The employee, while driving home, deviated from her normal commute by stopping at another location of her employer to drop off a manual. She then got into an accident a few minutes later.

She applied for workers’ compensation coverage for her injuries, which she claimed were incurred on the job.

A man whose daughter was injured at the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival when a man fleeing police drove his car into a crowd claims the incident was preventable.

As reported in Courthouse News Service, the lawsuit filed in Travis County, TX Court comes after five previous lawsuits and one federal lawsuit stemming from the incident. It alleges gross negligence and premises liability.

Arthur Zamarripa sued SXSW Holdings and SXSW LLC, which operate the South by Southwest festival. Also sued were Transportation Design Consultants LLC and Rashad Owens, the alleged driver SXSW is a music and film and festival held in Austin every March. According to its statistics for 2014, SXSW had a total attendance of 376,600 people and generated $315.3 million for the Austin economy.

Earlier this week, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Walmart submitted its defense in New Jersey federal court to actor Tracy Morgan’s lawsuit arising from a six-car accident on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Among nine defenses, Walmart says that injuries “were caused, in whole or in part, by plaintiffs’ failure to properly wear an appropriate available seatbelt restraint device.” Morgan is one of several people injured who are suing Walmart for negligence.

Their lawsuit, filed in July 2014, questions whether Walmart driver Kevin Roper was fatigued at the time of the crash. According to the suit, Roper had driven 700 miles from his home in Georgia to a Walmart facility in Smyrna, Delaware, before starting his shift.

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle,the family of a 6-year-old girl killed by an Uber driver on December 31, 2013 in San Francisco has filed a lawsuit against the driver as well as the company, claiming that use of the fast-growing online app violates California’s distracted-driving laws. The wrongful-death suit could weigh heavily in the debate over how companies like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar in the growing ride-services industry should be regulated – and to what degree they should be held liable for their drivers’ actions.

The suit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, alleges that the driver of the vehicle – who was at that time an Uber contractor – was logged on to the company’s UberX app when he fatally struck Sofia Liu and was waiting to receive a ride request. The company, which takes a cut of every ride booked through its system, declined to comment. In the past, Uber officials have said the driver, 57-year-old Syed Muzzafar of Union City, was not providing services on the company’s basic UberX system because he did not have a passenger with him.

The suit calls this a narrow view of how companies like Uber do business. Christopher Dolan, the Liu family’s attorney, said the phone-based interface that drivers use to find fares contributed to the death of Sofia, along with injuries to her mother, Huan Kuang, and 5-year-old brother, Anthony Liu. Dolan said Uber had denied insurance protection that would have covered the family and the driver.

Later this month, thousands of police officers will spread out across California in a massive crackdown on drivers texting or talking on handheld phones. Authorities will be plenty busy, since so many drivers don’t seem to care that these activities have been illegal for nearly five years.

New data from police statewide, according to the San Jose Mercury News, show they issued 425,041 tickets last year for talking on handheld phones — down about 35,000 from the previous year but still a 41 percent increase from 2009, the first full year of the cell-phone ban. Numbers were much smaller for texting citations: 21,059 in 2012. But that’s still a 41.5 percent increase from the previous year and a whopping 640 percent surge since 2009. And it’s texting that concerns police the most — it’s more dangerous because it takes drivers’ eyes off the road, and harder to ticket because it’s easier to hide. “Surprised, no. Dismayed, yes,” said Chris Cochran, a spokesman for the California Office of Traffic Safety. “After the intense media, public awareness and enforcement campaigns that have been mounted the past four years, we would hope to see a turnaround.”

A study released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 69 percent of U.S. drivers admit to talking on their cell phones and about one in three texts while driving. Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called cell-phone use and texting “a national epidemic.” In 2011, 3,331 people were killed and 400,000 injured in crashes caused by distracted driving. The National Transportation Safety Board has called for a ban on cell-phone use by drivers, including the use of hands-free phones. Most studies show hands-free conversations are just as distracting to drivers as handheld phones.

Michael Eaton had 17 beers plus other drinks before leaving a Gaithersburg, MD tavern on August 21, 2008, according to court records. Forty-five minutes later, he slammed his Range Rover into the back of a Jeep Cherokee at almost 98 mph.

Ten-year-old Jazimen Warr, sleeping in the back of the Cherokee, was killed and the rest of her family sustained injuries in the crash. Now, that crash could change Maryland law and allow victims of drunk-drivers and their families to sue bars and restaurants if their inebriated patrons cause deaths and injuries.

As reported in The Baltimore Sun, Jazimen’s grandparents have asked Maryland’s highest court Tuesday to revive their $3.25 million lawsuit against the Dogfish Head Alehouse, where Eaton, of Fairfax, Va., ran up his tab, some of which may have included drinks for other patrons. “If you’re going to load up somebody with liquor, at least be responsible so they don’t get behind the wheel,” said Rev. William Warr, Jazimen’s grandfather who, with his wife, Angela, were raising Jazimen and her older sister Cortavia Harris. Cortavia suffered a broken hip in the wreck. Dogfish Head Alehouse is fighting back, urging the Court of Appeals to reject the Warrs’ claim. An attorney representing the corporation that owns the tavern declined to comment on the case.

A stop at local Wendy’s resulted in serious injury for a Williston Park, NY mother and daughter, who have filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit.

Theresa DiMilia and her 11-year-old daughter Samantha walked out of the Wendy’s restaurant on December 4, 2012, when a car being driven by an elderly woman jumped the curb and pinned them against the wall.

“The pain was so unbearable. I remember my daughter Samantha asking me if she was dead,” Theresa DiMilia told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.

With National Teen Driver Safety Week just behind us, the Department of Transportation has launched a new initiative to get parents and teens to talk about safe driving. Parents also should model safe-driving habits for their teens if they want to make a real impression, safety officials said.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (as cited in the Los Angeles Times article by Jerry Hirsch, October 15, 2012) 1,963 drivers age 15 to 20 died and an additional 187,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2010. One out of 10 drivers involved in a fatal crash were between the ages of 15 and 20. “Immaturity, inexperience, and a penchant for risk-taking are the major reasons for high crash and fatality rates among teen drivers,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “In addition to comprehensive state graduated driver licensing systems and strong bans on teen cellphone use and texting while driving, parents who are involved throughout the learning-to-drive process are vital in creating safe and prepared young drivers.”

As part of Safety Week, NHTSA gave these tips for parents of teen drivers.