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Anaheim Personal Injury Law Blog

New GHSA study on drugs and fatal car crashes

The Governors Highway Safety Association has conducted a study on drug use and its connection to fatal car crashes in 2016. Drivers in California may not be surprised to hear that the percentage of fatally injured drivers with drugs in their system has increased from 28 percent in 2006 to 44 percent in 2016. The drug most frequently found was marijuana at 38 percent, followed by opioids at 16 percent and a combination of the two at 4 percent.

According to the study, 51 percent of impaired drivers tested positive for two or more drugs. Moreover, 49 percent had both drugs and alcohol in their system. The GHSA stresses that the two should not be considered separately. At the same time, the organization acknowledges that not every driver who tests positive for drugs can be considered impaired. The study does not state that these drivers were impaired but simply that drugs were found in their system.

A car accident can result in injuries of varying severity

There is no way of knowing what will happen if you are involved in a car accident, which is why you should do whatever you can to remain safe every time you get behind the wheel.

Any type of injury, even one that appears minor on the surface, calls for evaluation by a medical professional.

Large truck accident figures released

California drivers might be interested in the findings of a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration report about truck accidents. The number of trucks that were involved in fatal accidents increased 3 percent from 2015 to 2016; a critical event in 73 percent of these crashes was an animal, object, person or another vehicle crowding into the truck's traffic lane.

The large truck involvement rate, which reflects the number of fatal large truck crashes per 100 million miles of large truck travel, stayed constant at 1.46 between 2015 and 2016. The FMCSA defines large trucks to include trucks with gross weight ratings greater than 10,000 pounds. There were more registered large trucks in 2016 at 11.5 million compared to 2015's 11.2 million.

Learning how to drive safely on California highways

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's Operation Safe Driver Week will take place from July 15 through July 21, 2018. During the week, law enforcement officers from different states will join California's officials in an attempt to identify unsafe driving habits. The alliance will study the habitual practices of truck drivers and drivers of passenger vehicles.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truck drivers displaying unsafe driving habits cause approximately 90 percent of crashes occurring with passenger vehicles. Officials plan to look for drivers who are breaking the speed limit, driving without seat belts, texting while driving and disobeying common traffic regulations. The purpose is to prevent a future truck accident from taking place on any highway.

Pedestrian deaths linked to distraction, marijuana use

The recent alarming rise in pedestrian deaths in California and around the country has been attributed to distraction and cell phone use by many road safety experts. However, a report released on Feb. 28 by the Governors Highway Safety Association suggests that marijuana use may also be contributing to the problem. According to the GHSA, pedestrian fatalities during the first six months of 2017 rose by an average of 16.4 percent in the District of Columbia and the seven states where the recreational use of marijuana is permitted. The road safety group's figures reveal that pedestrian deaths during the same period fell by 5.8 percent on average in the rest of the country.

However, distraction is seen by most road safety experts as the bigger threat, and studies have found that pedestrians staring at their phones are just as much of an issue as drivers using mobile devices behind the wheel. Pedestrians in Montclair can be ticketed for using their cell phones while they cross the street, and lawmakers in several other parts of the country are considering similar measures. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrian deaths rose by 9.5 percent in 2015 and 9 percent in 2016, and the figures for 2017 are expected to be just as sobering. The GHSA report puts the 2017 pedestrian death toll at 5,984.

Settling truck accident lawsuits in California

California residents may pursue civil remedies when they are harmed in accidents caused by reckless tractor-trailer drivers or poorly maintained commercial vehicles, but protracted court battles are expensive and a successful outcome cannot be assured. The costs involved in pursuing litigation are often the reason truck accident victims choose to resolve their civil claims at the negotiating table, but settlement offers are generally far lower than the amounts awarded by juries.

Plaintiffs may decline settlement offers they consider inadequate and choose to take their chances with a jury, but judges could order further negotiations to prevent additional burdens being placed on already busy courts. Judges may be especially firm about parties seeking a negotiated settlement when the facts in the case seem clear and few thorny legal issues are involved. When settlement discussions are at an impasse or negotiations become hostile, alternative approaches may be suggested to break the deadlock.

Avoid these insurance mistakes after a car accident

Even though you do whatever you can to prevent trouble on the road, you must come to grips with the fact that you have no control over other drivers.

So, while you're paying attention to the road and following all applicable traffic laws, there could be someone else who is texting or driving under the influence of alcohol.

Teaching your teen to drive distraction-free

You teach your children to be a safe on the road. When they first learned to ride a bike, you showed them proper hand signals, insisted they wear a helmet and taught them how to watch for cars. Now that your child has grown into a teenager, they are ready to get behind the wheel of a car. Just as you did when teaching them bicycle safety, you’ve gone over the rules of the road and cautioned them against bad weather and negligent drivers. They know to watch for motorcycles and pedestrians while driving.

Despite all of this, you are still nervous about your child driving off on their own. You know that accidents can happen, but this right of passage is going to happen whether you are ready for it or not. April has been dubbed Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which gives you another perfect excuse to set rules and talk safe driving habits with your teen.

Distracted driving leads to large number of injuries

People taking the wheel in California may be concerned about the danger to roadway safety posed by distracted driving. While the ubiquity of the smartphone is often associated with the increase in car accidents and dangerous behavior associated with driving while distracted, it is not the only form of diversion drivers face that keep their eyes and mind away from the road. From putting on makeup to eating to fiddling with a touchscreen entertainment system, distracted driving is easy to fall into, and the consequences can be devastating. In 2015 alone, 3,477 people lost their lives due to distracted driving.

Texting while driving may be the form of driving distraction best known for its potential for causing car accidents. Texting is of particular concern because writing out a message can take up to 5 seconds of a driver's time. At 55 miles per hour, the driver could have gone the length of a football field with their eyes off the road, making it all too easy to cause a devastating car crash.

International Roadcheck now scheduled for June

The International Roadcheck is an annual inspection spree that the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducts across North America, and its purpose is to ensure that commercial truck drivers and bus drivers comply with safety regulations. Truckers in California should know that this year's roadcheck will take place during the 72-hour period from June 5 to June 7.

In last year's event, an average of 15 trucks and buses were stopped and inspected every minute across the continent. Inspectors conducted over 63,000 inspections in 2017 and issued 15,000 out-of-service orders for both vehicle-related violations (12,000 orders) and driver negligence (3,000 orders). Among the top issues then were brake compliance issues and hours-of-service violations.

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