Driving At Night Is Dangerous

According to the National Safety Council, the risk of a fatal crash is three times greater at night than it is during the day. Factors contributing to this include night vision, rush hour traffic, impaired drivers from drugs and alcohol, shorter days and fatigue. It also doesn’t help that in dark things such as depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision all decrease. Bright headlights from oncoming traffic can also cause a driver to squint or be temporarily blinded from the road. And on dark roads with no street lights, visibility from headlights even on the highest setting is reduced up to 50%.

So what can you do to help prevent accidents at night? Make sure your headlights are aimed correctly and are thoroughly cleaned. Avoid speeding to make sure you can stop in time and clean your windshield to eliminate glare from oncoming headlights. If you wear glasses, making sure the lens are anti-reflective can also help at night.

If you suffer from bad night vision, the American Optometric Association recommends having annual vision exams, driving slowly, minimize the amount of distracted driving at night (such as listening to the radio or bringing passengers into the car). Elderly people might suffer from cataracts or degenerative eye disease so it recommended that they don’t drive at night.

A National Sleep Foundation poll says that 60% of adults have driven while they were tired and roughly 4 million of them have admitted that they have caused a crash by falling asleep while driving. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration said that 100,000 police reported crashes were a result of driver fatigue. To prevent drowsy driving, getting proper sleep at night and only driving during hours you are normally awake can help prevent accidents.

Driving at night is unavoidable but if there’s option to wait until morning, it might be the safest thing you can do.

Could A Hacker Cause Your Car Accident in 2019?

The world is growing increasingly complex. Our technology sometimes seems to get away from us, so the question of whether or not our safety standards are outpacing it is worth asking. Unfortunately, it seems like safety standards will never be enough. There are creative criminals out there working to hack into your vehicles–heck, even the government could become a capable car hacker in the years ahead. Yes, it is possible for a hacker to cause a car accident in 2019.

There are only about 330 million people living in the United States–including those who are too young or too old to drive–but somehow we manage to register about 250 million vehicles every year in our country alone. That’s a scary statistic, since many of those cars are new. These are the vehicles that are more likely to be connected to wi-fi, and that means that hackers can potentially do some damage.

But how do they do it?

They do it by hijacking the controller area network (or CAN) that cars use. Think of it as your car’s “brain” sending out signals to various parts, each performing a separate task. CAN’s creators didn’t really consider cybersecurity when they developed it in the 80s, so now we’re at risk.

All right, so hackers can take over your vehicle. What can they do?

Well, what they can do is determined by which parts of your vehicle are controlled by that computer automation. The list is getting more expansive year by year: stability control, anti-lock brakes, airbags, headlights, lane guidance, or even Tesla’s controversial autopilot system. This is all child’s play compared to the inevitable wave of automated vehicles on the horizon. When full automation is allowed on the roads, then hackers can do a lot more.

How do I know if my vehicle has been hacked?

When your car’s electronics stop working or start to behave erratically, you might blame hacking. If you suspect this to be the case, then it’s time to contact a lawyer. This is especially true if you were injured in a car accident because of the potential intrusion. Your lawyer will help you contact the authorities, perform an investigation, and seek compensation for any damage done.

The Most Common Types Of Motorcycle Accident Injuries

It’s probably not a surprise to anyone that there are a far greater number of motorcycle accident injuries than automobile accident injuries. Bikes aren’t nearly as safe as motor vehicles or trucks, and that can only be compounded by the thrill-seeking personality of most motorcyclists. Insurance premiums for these vehicles are often more expensive not only because of the number of accidents, but also because of how catastrophic they usually are.

Here are a few of the most common types of motorcycle accident injuries:

Road Rash. Have you ever had a really bad rug burn? A terrible noogie? Well, road rash is indescribably worse. When your bike tips and slides at high speeds, you’ll suffer from road rash. At that point you may have been flung away from the bike and started to rub against the pavement all by yourself. No protective gear or clothing is enough to prevent the skin loss that results.

The injury is often made worse by subsequent irritation, inflammation, and infection. Hopefully you won’t need skin grafts.

Muscle. Doctors and surgeons will often notice muscle damage after motorcycle accidents. If an accident leaves you paralyzed, your muscles will start to wither away. Any major injury will require physical therapy in order to build you back up to where you were before the accident.

Don’t forget about the loud sounds of the roadways–wear earplugs or buy a helmet that protects your ears in order to prevent bursting eardrums of an increased chance of deafness later in life.

Legs and Arms. When you fall–this is after the road rash but before the muscle damage becomes permanent–you’ll likely experience damage to the leg and arm on the side of the impact. Broken or shattered bones are commonplace, or perhaps you’ll be fortunate enough to experience only scrapes and lacerations.

Biker’s arm occurs because of the instinctual reaction to being flung from a high-speed vehicle. When you place your hands and arms in front of your face, you won’t just suffer from broken bones–you’ll suffer from nerve damage.

Other. You’re also prone to permanent disfigurement, amputation, paralysis, and traumatic brain injury (or TBI). About ten percent of individuals who experience TBI cannot live on their own after the accident because of permanent neurological damage. Be sure to wear a helmet when you’re on the road!

What Kind Of New Technology Can Help Prevent Car Accidents?

New technology is saving lives, but you might not have heard about it. Part of the reason is because a lot of the new technologies involved aren’t as flashy as Tesla’s autopilot or the full automation that Google and Uber are beginning to employ in new vehicles. A chief research officer at the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, David Zuby, thinks that these systems might do more to prevent injuries and deaths than seatbelts or airbags ever could. Here are a few of the newest systems.

  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC). This system is now mandatory in Canada because it helps stop out of control vehicles even in inclement weather. ESC slashes engine power and brakes individual wheels one at a time rather than all at once. The technology has resulted in a nearly 50 percent fatality rate reduction since it was implemented.
  • Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB). This system can prevent the common fender bender, which we’ve probably all experienced at least once by the time we’re a few decades old. They’re the most common type of car accident, but AEB prevents nearly half of them from occurring. When it fails, it still blunts the impact enough to slash injury rate by another half.
  • Blind Spot Warning. Most newer cars will alert you when another vehicle enters your blind spot. The warning light usually flashes red on your side mirrors. Other blind spot warning systems will send a vibration through your steering wheel when a car is detected–but only if you’re trying to make a lane change. The technology cuts accidents by about 14 percent.
  • Other Warnings. Some vehicles will let you know when your car is drifting out of its lane by vibrating the steering wheel or flashing a light. Some will automatically steer you back into the right lane. Other systems will alert the driver when another car is to the side or behind them when backing out of a parking space.

While these new systems certainly help reduce the number of dangers we face on the streets, they don’t eliminate them. In fact, there is some evidence that suggests some drivers will drive more recklessly because of these new safety systems. Be wary while on the road!

Who’s Liable If An Open Car Door Is Hit?

True story: I was driving to work this morning when the truck in front of me took off the door of a car parked next to the sideway. This made me curious. Who is at fault? I can’t believe the woman opened her car door when there was clearly a huge truck heading in her direction but I also can’t believe the truck hit the door – he didn’t even attempt to slow down. He then pulled over and got out of the truck while I continued forward and went to work. But now I’m wondering how does one even put in a claim for this type of accident.

The answer is a resounding “it depends.” Most of the time it is the person opening the car door who is the one who is at fault. The person driving was following all traffic laws (maybe he was speeding but so was everyone else on the road). He could not have been aware that the person would open the door, therefore, he cannot be responsible or any damage sustained to her car door or to his car. There a ton of traffic laws that state a variation of the following: no person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so.

However, that doesn’t fully get the truck driver off the hook. As I said, he might have been speeding which might be held against him. The woman could have thought she had the safety time to open her door but because he was driving so fast she didn’t have as much time as she thought. Also, I just saw the truck hit the door if the door was opened he should have seen it and had ample time to adjust his driving, therefore, making him at fault for the accident.

I will keep wondering what happens…

Product Liability: Takata Airbags

Sometimes, social media curate the news, and sometimes they make the news with various memes and #hashtags that go viral to create news items of general interest of their own.

Sometimes, the news will create its own hashtag, and not in a good way. Why? Because this hashtag actually doesn’t make it into social media; it’s just a PR nightmare.

#Takata is not a thing on social media, but it is a dangerous word in the automotive industry these days. So in its own way, Takata has become a “thing.”

Takata is a Japanese firm that has a contract with many U.S. and foreign automakers for manufacturing the airbag systems in hundreds of models of vehicles on the road. It has been a trusted partner, until about two years ago, when an initial recall was ordered from some defective airbags. Those few defective airbags eventually morphed into the largest auto recall of any kind in automotive history.

How large is it? Well consider that Takata has been manufacturing and installing airbags into model cars for as many as 19 different automakers over 14 model years (2002 to 2015). If you carry the one, that’s an awful lot of cars to be recalled. Over the last year, the recall has tripled in size and now apparently involves as many as 37 million U.S. vehicles.

The recall stemmed from an inflator inside the airbags, which on occasion would ignite and explode. Other airbags would deploy and send shards of metal from a ruptured inflator casing into the passenger cabin, putting all passengers in the car at risk of injury. The recalls have resulted in several class-action lawsuits over the last couple of years, with many of the automakers suing Takata for relief.

The most recent result came in July, when Ford Motor Company settled with Takata with a deal that would put some compensatory damages in the hands of those involved in the class action p plus other Ford car owners who wish to participate; and Ford will give loaner cars while vehicles are waiting for repairs to the airbags. The parts are backlogged by weeks or months, so the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is helping with the delivery of parts by prioritizing areas with high concentration of Takata airbags, as well as those vehicles which seem to have a higher risk of explosion to gain top priority for any new parts delivery.

In the meantime, the NHTSA is asking owners of model-year vehicles from 2002 to 2015 to refer to their vehicle identification number (VIN) and enter it into an online database that can give status updates on any recalls pending for those vehicles, stop ensure that all affected vehicles are found and repaired as quickly as possible, So far, none of the models are deemed undrivable, but extreme caution is urged until the repairs can be made.

What To Do About Motor Vehicle Theft

Motor vehicle theft occurs when one’s vehicle is taken by another without permission. Technically, such theft would be considered a larceny under the law. A larceny, in simplest terms, is any theft of personal property. However, due to the severity of motor vehicle theft, and the frequency that they occur, the government has designated this form of theft its own category. Thus, motor vehicle theft has its own punishments and laws that come with it.

Penalties For Motor Vehicle Theft

Typically, motor vehicle theft is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the state and severity of the crime. However, some states have additional nuanced penalties depending on the type of motor vehicle theft committed. For example, in the state of Alaska, operating the vehicle in “a dangerous way” during the theft increases the potential punishment. In California, if the vehicle stolen was a police car, the level of vehicle theft increases from a misdemeanor to a serious felony. Texas gets even more nuanced — if the vehicle theft was committed in county designated by the governor as disaster area, the penalties are increased. Furthermore, as is typically the case with most crime, repeat offenses increase the severity of the penalties associated with it.

What Do I Do?

Well, if you’re a driver, it is relatively simple to protect yourself from being a victim of motor vehicle theft. There are a few crucial steps to minimize your potential risks. First, always make sure to lock your car doors. Even if you are just going outside your vehicle for a brief moment, this step is imperative. Next, make sure that all of your windows are rolled up completely. Don’t forget the sun roof if your car has one! In addition to these steps, you want to place all valuables out of sight. This means they can go in the trunk, glove compartment, or stay with you. Lastly, you can always opt to put an alarm sticker on your car window, informing potential thieves that you are secure.

If you have been accused of motor vehicle theft, the following steps are not quite as simple. In some cases, this accusation may be truthful, in others, the situation may be far more complex. Regardless, there is one step ubiquitous to all cases: contacting a criminal defense attorney. They can help develop a legal defense to best represent you and your motor vehicle theft case.

Who Is Liable For An Accident Due To Brake Failure?

Being in a car accident is scary, especially when its due to brake failure. Losing control of the car and crashing into something can cause serious injury to you, passengers and other drivers. When this happens to you, it might seem like you are liable for any damages. However, that’s not the case.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) survey on motor vehicle accidents, around 2% of accidents are caused solely by issues with the vehicle itself, such as brake failure. This figure encompasses two primary categories: manufacturing defects and design defects. The former refers to an automotive defect resulting from a poor manufacturing job in the factory. Typically, this will be a more isolated incident than one stemming from a design defect. Contrarily, if there is an issue with the car’s design, all of the cars matching that model and year are likely affected.

In order for an attorney to demonstrate that the manufacturer is liable for the accident, the issue with the brakes must be proven unreasonably dangerous. Further, this defect must be shown to be a direct cause of the injury. Often, such defects result in rear-end collisions with another vehicle. One important factor in determining liability in such accidents is driver negligence. Were the brakes really defective, or was the driver distracted and not paying attention to the road? Was the driver aware of their vehicle’s poor condition, or was it a surprise failure?

If the brakes can be shown to be faulty by an impartial mechanic shortly after the accident, an attorney can likely help you sue the vehicle’s manufacturer. In some cases, the car dealership or a mechanic can be liable as well. However, if the driver is proven to have been distracted, these claims are no longer viable and they must assume liability. Similarly, if the driver was aware of the poor condition of their vehicle before taking it on the road, they will be liable a result of negligence.

Often, in collisions due to brake failure, the liability is split between both parties. It is common for both drivers to have been acting recklessly and even illegally before the accident occurred. For example, one driver may have been going over the speed limit when crossing an intersection, failing to hit the brakes in time and hitting another car who was running a red light. Both drivers were acting unsafely, and thus would both share the liability for this accident.

In any regard, accidents involving or claiming to involve vehicle defects are complex situations centered around product liability law. To best protect yourself, contact an experienced auto accidents attorney to assist with your case.

Will I be Held Liable if my Car was Stolen and in an Accident?

Unfortunately, car accidents happen every day. They can be a tragic event involving fatalities or as small as a tiny dent on a bumper. Regardless, all car accidents should be reported to the police and the respective drivers’ insurance companies.

The only thing worse than being in a car accident yourself, is if your car is stolen and involved in an accident. Not only do you have to deal with the stress that comes along with a stolen vehicle, but you have to deal with the stress of your car being in an accident.

What Are Your Responsible For?

Well, first off, when you discover that your car was stolen, you should:

Call the Police: Tell the police all about your car. Let them know that it has been stolen, the make, model, color, license plate, and any other important information.

Call your insurance company: After you call the police, the next step is to call your insurance company. In case anything happens with the vehicle, you should document that the vehicle was stolen.

Are You Liable?

If your car has been stolen and has been involved in an accident, you will not be held liable. The reasoning behind this ruling is that you did not willfully lend your car out to someone.

Tips to Prevent Vehicle Theft

The first step to avoiding a situation like this is to take steps to ensure the security of your vehicle. Some tips to prevent auto theft are:

  • Have a security system installed
  • Try not to park in high crime areas
  • Avoid dark, shady areas
  • Purchase auto theft insurance

Contact a Car Accident Attorney

If you, or your vehicle, has been in a car accident, the next best step after alerting the authorities is to contact an experienced car accident attorney. A car accident attorney will investigate your case and decide whether or not you will be held liable. In the case that you are injured in the said crash, a car accident attorney will file a lawsuit.

 

Steps You Should Follow After A Car Accident

Car accidents are a stressful experience and the collision can be terrifying. A car accident can leave you with injuries that range from mild, like a sprain or fracture, to severe, like a traumatic brain injury or paralysis, and in some cases death. Car accidents tend to have long lasting effects, whether it is an injury or emotional stress from being in the accident and possibly having to get a new car. If you are involved in a car accident and are injured you should contact an experienced car accident attorney.

Steps To Take After a Car Accident

After a car accident, there are some important steps you should follow; they are:

  1. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries: Check yourself and your passengers for any injuries. If you discover an injury, call 911 immediately.
  2. Stay at the scene: It is important that you remain at the scene of an accident until it is appropriate to leave. If you leave the scene early and the other driver suffered damages, injuries, or died in the accident, you may be brought up on criminal charges as a hit-and-run driver.
  3. Get to safety: If you are able to, pull over to the side of the road. Proceed by turning your engine off, turning on your hazard lights, and setting up road flares, if you have any. By turning on your hazards and putting out road flares, other drivers will be able to see you and avoid a collision with your car.
  4. Call the police: Whether you are in a fender bender or a major car accident, call the police. The police will come and file a report. You should ask if it is possible for you to obtain a copy of the accident report. The accident report outlines what happened, often proving fault and noting if any traffic laws were violated.
  5. Exchange Information: When things begin to settle, it is important that you exchange information with the other driver. It is recommended that you do not discuss fault of the accident or any other facts about the accident with the other driver involved in the collision. Some documents you will want to take note of are:
    1. Full name and contact information
    2. Insurance company and policy number
    3. Driver’s license and license plate number
    4. Type, color, and model of the vehicle
    5. Location of accident
  6. Document the accident: In an effort to protect yourself, you should document the accident. Take the following steps:
    1. Identify the officers: Get the name and badge number of all police officers who respond to the call.
    2. Get a copy of the police report: Ask a police officer if you can have a copy of the accident report.
    3. Take pictures: Take pictures of the accident from different angles; try to get the other driver’s license plate in one of the pictures.
    4. Take down a name: Write down names and addresses of every party involved. This includes passengers in the other vehicle.
    5. Talk to witnesses: If there were any witnesses to the accident, take note of their full name and contact information, as well.
  7. Inform your insurance company: Let your insurance company know you were involved in an accident. Be truthful, cooperate with them, and let them know of any injuries you have suffered. If you are not truthful with your insurance company, they withhold the right to deny you coverage of the incident and future insurance coverage. Obtain a copy of the police report for proof of fault.
  8. Keep track of medical visits: Note any doctors visits, physical therapy, or any other medical professional you receive treatment from. Keep a record of all treatments or medications you receive. Request copies of all medical reports and bills in order to help you prove your medical expenses later. 
    Tracking pain and suffering can be difficult. In order to do so, take note of how your injuries affect your day-to-day life. It is important to keep track of any missed work days, a list of any activities you cannot partake in, and describe how the injuries have affected your family life.
  9. Hire an attorney: If you have been in a car accident and you or a member of the crash was injured, you should contact a car accident attorney. A car accident attorney will help you either maximize your recovery for damages or defend you, if necessary.