Some people can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, but Honolulu thinks too many people are bad at walking and texting. The city has now passed legislation which outlaws pedestrians crossing the street while texting or otherwise using their smartphones. As you might expect, the law is receiving mixed reviews. Some safety experts believe the laws will make pedestrians think twice about using their phone while crossing the street. Others believe the law is just another form of government overreach. Finally, some critics believe the law will allow distracted drivers to blame pedestrians. But one thing is for sure. . . Continue reading
Today is the first day of school for Williamson County. Our daughter Kate is entering 5th grade this year at Scales Elementary. Although she was embarrassed, she did relent and allow this picture upon arrival at school. And while it seems like just yesterday that we were going to the Boo Hoo breakfast for kindergarten parents not that much has changed. She still worries about liking her teachers, the dynamics of friendships and how much homework will be assigned. And, of course, as her parents, we still worry about everything, which brings me to some very important safety reminders for us all. Continue reading
Sit at an intersection and watch the cars go by and notice how many drivers have a phone in their hand. Or, if you are a passenger in a car, watch the drivers of oncoming cars to see how many drivers are using their phones. Perhaps most frightening is to be a pedestrian and see just how many cars that are passing you are being operated by drivers using their phones. If you do any of these, the numbers below probably will not surprise you.
Roughly 3500 people are killed and nearly 400,000 are injured in car accidents involving distracted driving. 11 teens die every day because of distracted driving. A driver distracted by their cellphone is more dangerous than a driver with a BAC of .08. An accident is 23 times more likely to occur when the driver is distracted. From 2014 to 2015, there was a 32 percent increase in deaths attributed to distracted driving. And despite these statistics, drivers continue to text, take photos, surf social media and the internet and more while driving. Now, one State has decided to do something about it. Continue reading
Here is a statistic that will make you uneasy: more fatal accidents are now being caused by drugged driving than drunk driving. Here are 15 facts you may not know about drugged driving:
Last year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 5,376 pedestrians were killed in our country. That total is up from 2014 when 4,884 pedestrians lost their lives. Throughout the United States, a pedestrian is killed roughly every two hours. While that is a startling statistic, in Nashville it may very well be even more dangerous to be a pedestrian. According to a recent report, Nashville is the 37th most dangerous city out of 104 metro areas according to a study released by Smart Growth America. The good news is that Nashville has improved from 15th but there is still more room for improvement. In a ten-year period, 209 pedestrians were struck and killed in Nashville. And, of course, many more have been injured. Continue reading
Government regulations get a bad rap. To be sure, if you look long enough, you can find some that will make you shake your head and wonder, but for the most part regulations do a good job of providing protection to the public. And, they can also be a big boost in accident claims and injury lawsuits.
As proof that regulations are needed to protect the public, one need only look at the tragic hot air balloon crash in Texas that killed the pilot and 15 passengers earlier this year. Many believe this accident occurred because the Federal Aviation Administration does very little to exercise oversight of hot air balloon operators. In fact, regulations on hot air balloon operators are almost non-existent despite the fact that they often carry more passengers than small commuter planes and helicopters. Unlike conventional pilots, hot air balloon operators do not have to get regular medical exams and, while the form operators must complete asks about narcotic drug charges, it specifically excludes alcohol- related driving offenses. In the deadly Texas crash, the operator was taking at least 10 different drugs for various medical problems. Some of the drugs including oxycodone would have disqualified him from flying conventional aircraft because of their effect on decision-making and reaction times. Moreover, the operator had been convicted of drunk-driving on at least four occasions. Of course, regulations do not prevent every accident, but it is probably safe to say that if the Federal Aviation Administration had implemented tighter regulations over hot air balloon pilots that this particular pilot would not have been in the sky with passengers on that fateful day.
Regulations not only provide protection to the public but they also can help your accident claim or injury lawsuit. If you are injured in an accident and you want to recover money for your injuries, you must prove that someone else was negligent, that negligence caused your injuries and the extent of your injuries and damages. Let’s focus on negligence. In simplest terms, you should think of negligence as either doing something you should not have done or not doing something you should have done. Lawyers will often refer to it as a violation of the standard of care. Part of proving the other party was negligent involves proving the standard of care, but when there is a safety regulation the standard of care has already been established by the regulation itself. So then, all you must do is prove the defendant violated the regulation. In other words, the regulation can eliminate one step of what is normally a two-step process. So regulations can play a critical role in injury litigation.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has introduced new guidelines to combat driver distraction and hopefully reduce car accidents. The guidelines seek to prompt manufacturers to develop products that will reduce the risk of car crashes caused by distracted driving by either using a simplified driver interface which limits the time a driver’s eyes are averted from the road or by pairing a mobile device to the vehicle’s infotainment system. Currently, the NHTSA’s proposals are voluntary but they are a step in the right direction especially since we continue to see car crashes like the ones below that show just how out of control distracted driving is becoming. Continue reading
Recently the investigation into the Chattanooga bus accident that claimed the lives of six children and injured dozens more has revealed parents, faculty and students had all complained about the driving of bus driver, Johnthony Walker. Ask any defense lawyer and they will tell you that prior complaints can present a huge problem for the defendant if certain requirements are met. Continue reading
A new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards is expected to save 2,400 pedestrian injuries per year. Under the new standard, motor vehicle manufacturers have until September 1, 2019 to equip their hybrid and electric vehicles with a system that emits an audible noise under certain conditions to help alert pedestrians to the vehicle’s presence. Specifically, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 141 will require both electric and hybrid vehicles with four wheels and a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 lbs or less to make an audible noise when traveling in either forward or reverse at speeds up to 19 mph or 30 kilometers. Continue reading
We wrote just a few days ago about the bus crash in Nashville involving a school bus in Chester County. That school bus wreck was bad enough, but today’s school bus accident in Chattanooga is even more tragic.
Apparently, a school bus filled with 35 children crashed into a tree. It has been reported that six children have died in the crash off Talley Road in Hamilton County and many others have been injured, some in critical condition. The students attended Woodmore Elementary School.
No information about the cause of the crash is currently publicly available, although speed is being investigated as a factor. Reportedly the school bus driver is cooperating with authorities. UPDATE: CNN reports that the bus driver, Johnthony Walker, 24, has been charged with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving and that the National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating on Tuesday November 22. Continue reading