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Anaheim Personal Injury Law Blog

Winter Weather Tips for California Drivers

For many, winter brings to mind memories of the holidays or cozy evenings by a fire. Unfortunately, another big part of winter is inclement weather. Sleet, snow, and ice are a major cause for vehicle accidents during winter months. Thankfully, there are many ways that California drivers can keep themselves safe during rough weather.

First and foremost, the best way to avoid winter weather is by not traveling in it to begin with. This sounds simplistic, but simply leaving later or early in order to avoid the worst of a storm can have a big impact. What's more, some areas are more adversely affected by severe weather than others. Avoiding these areas and using alternate routes can make a difference.

Navigating liability in a complex, multi-car pileup

Imagine you're driving down the road and a driver decides to make a left turn right in front of your path. You crash into him. Another car crashes into the back of you. A third car crashes into the back of that car. As you can imagine, you're at the center of a very complicated crash.

When a multi-vehicle pileup happens, it's important to determine fault and liability so injured victims can pursue damages from the person responsible. However, the complexity of these crashes can make it difficult -- even impossible -- to sort out who's to blame.

Tips for pedestrian safety

Pedestrians in California might be in growing danger of being injured in a motor vehicle accident. In 2016, pedestrian deaths increased to more than 5,900 from 5,495 in the previous year. Both drivers and pedestrians can take steps to avoid these types of accidents.

Drivers should always be on the lookout for pedestrians, particularly when they are backing up, when the weather is bad or at night. They should give pedestrians the right of way in crosswalks. Stopping a distance back from the crosswalk allows other drivers to see that there is a pedestrian in the crosswalk as well. They should not pass vehicles at the crosswalk since someone may be crossing. Drivers should always follow the speed limit and avoid using alcohol or drugs.

How to avoid deadly roadway dangers

For people in California and across the country, fatal risks could come from unexpected places. The leading cause of death for Americans age 44 and under is accidental injury. In 2016 alone, 61,749 people were killed in unintentional incidents, a figure almost twice that of the combined death toll of heart disease and cancer. While there are a number of everyday dangers that can prove deadly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that motor vehicle accidents and unintentional poisoning were the most common causes of death.

People can take action to help improve their roadway safety and their chances of survival in case of a car crash. Every year, over 32,000 people lose their lives in collisions, and another 2 million people are injured, often seriously. Safety technologies like seat belts and proper child car seats can help save lives. In addition, avoiding negligent or dangerous driving behavior is critical to preventing accidents. Distracted driving is one major threat on American roadways today; texting while driving draws a driver's hands away from the wheel, eyes away from the road and mind away from the drive.

Technology companies take aim at fatigued truck drivers

Drowsiness plays a role in about 100,000 motor vehicle accidents throughout California and the rest of the country each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and fatigued tractor-trailer drivers are an especially serious road hazard. About 13 percent of all fatal truck accidents involve a drowsy driver, and strictly enforcing federal hours of service regulations have not been enough to stem the problem.

Driving hundreds of miles on repetitive roads can make remaining vigilant a challenge, but several technology companies have developed devices and systems designed to keep truck operators awake and alert. These systems use cameras and sensors to monitor drivers and watch out for unusual head or eye movements. Some systems are even able to identify a driver's posture and individual habits. In addition to monitoring driver behavior, this technology keeps track of hours logged behind the wheel and issues alerts when hours of service limits are reached.

A head injury can destroy many relationships

Suffering a blow to the head often leads to a mild traumatic brain injury, if not a severe traumatic brain injury. Severe injuries are typically simple to identify, because they cause visible symptoms in their victims that indicate an injury, such as loss of consciousness. Mild Traumatic brain Injuries, or TBIs, may go undiagnosed if the victim does not receive proper medical treatment soon after the injury. This means that a victim may not even realize they have a medical condition until it causes major complications in their personal and professional lives.

Mild TBIs can cause many symptoms, depending on the person. Some head injuries only amount to a big hangover, while others may produce symptoms that make it very difficult to communicate with others, perform simple tasks, or remain calm in the face of frustration.

Number of large truck crash deaths increase from 2016 to 2017

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released data comparing the number of traffic accident fatalities in 2016 and 2017. The number of overall fatalities dropped as well as the number of passenger car accident deaths. The number of traffic deaths in crashes involving large trucks, though, increased year over year. Large truck accidents on roadways in California and across the U.S. are likely to be more severe than other crashes because of the size of the trucks and their momentum at speed.

The total number of traffic accident deaths dropped from 37,806 in 2016 to 37,133 in 2017. There were 4,761 deaths in wrecks involving large trucks in 2017, which is 392 more deaths that occurred due to large truck crashes in 2016. That represents an increase of 9 percent. In reviewing the data, large trucks included all trucks with a gross weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds.

Car crashes in mobile workforce rise with smartphone ownership

California residents who use their own vehicles for work purposes may find themselves being distracted by texts and phone calls while behind the wheel. As the mobile workforce is increasingly becoming connected, this is not surprising. Nevertheless, it is still a dangerous trend. Motus, the vehicle management workforce company, has some interesting things to say about these hazards in its 2018 Distracted Driving Report.

Motus found that the percentage of mobile workers who own smartphones rose from 55 to 77 between 2013 and 2017. In that same period, the number of car accidents that mobile workers were in increased from 5.7 million to 6.4 million. The report also mentions a substantial spike in smartphone ownership and in accidents involving property damage, injuries or fatalities between 2014 and 2016.

Drivers and pedestrians should be aware of each other

Pedestrian fatalities in California have increased by almost 33 percent since 2012, and agencies and community partners are taking steps to keep pedestrians safer. September is Pedestrian Safety Month, and law enforcement is urging drivers and pedestrians to be aware of one another and learn to responsibly share the road.

During 2016, more than 14,000 pedestrians were injured and 867 were killed on California roads. The California Office of Traffic Safety has launched a campaign to raise awareness of pedestrians, featuring pedestrians wearing armor made of car parts to remind drivers that pedestrians do not, in fact, have armor. They don't have any protection if they're hit by a car, regardless of who is at fault.

Roundabouts reduce serious accidents at rural intersections

Traffic lights and stop signs depend on drivers in California obeying the signals or judging traffic correctly before entering an intersection. When drivers fail to do the right things, accidents causing serious injuries and fatalities sometimes result. Roundabouts, however, have emerged as an effective method for transportation officials to improve safety at the intersections of rural highways. Roundabouts slow traffic and only require people to check to the left as they navigate the intersection. The shape of the roundabouts physically forces vehicles to slow down and reduces the severity of wrecks when they do happen.

Although roundabouts do not lower the number of intersection accidents, people in roundabout crashes generally only have minor injuries instead of catastrophic ones. For example, one state transportation department spent $1.2 million to build a roundabout at a rural intersection known for disastrous accidents. Engineers predicted that the roundabout would prevent approximately $2.5 million in costs to injured people every year by limiting the force of crashes. Transportation officials expected the roundabout to lessen injuries by 89 percent compared to the previous history at that location.

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