Articles Posted in Car Accidents

The number of drivers involved in fatal crashes in Colorado who tested positive for marijuana has more than doubled since 2013, federal and state data show. These trends coincide with the legalization of recreational marijuana in that state that began with adult use in late 2012, followed by sales in 2014. Coroners in the Denver area have been finding increasingly potent levels of marijuana in positive-testing drivers who die in crashes. Nearly a dozen in 2016 had levels five times the amount allowed by law and one that was at 22 times the limit. These levels were not as elevated in the years prior to Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana. In response, police, victims’ families, and safety advocates say the numbers of drivers testing positive for marijuana use are rising too quickly to ignore and highlight the potential dangers of mixing marijuana with driving. “We went from zero to 100, and we’ve been chasing it ever since,” Greenwood Village Police Chief John Jackson said of the state’s implementation of legalized marijuana. “Nobody understands it and people are dying. That’s a huge public safety problem.”

The 2013-2016 period saw a 40 percent increase in the number of all drivers involved in fatal crashes in Colorado, from 627 to 880, according to the NHTSA data. Those who tested positive for alcohol in fatal crashes from 2013 to 2015 – figures for 2016 were not available – grew 17 percent, from 129 to 151.The 2013-16 period saw a 40 percent increase in the number of all drivers involved in fatal crashes in Colorado, from 627 to 880, according to the NHTSA data. Those who tested positive for alcohol in fatal crashes from 2013 to 2015 – figures for 2016 were not available – grew 17 percent, from 129 to 151.

While recreational marijuana is not legal in Georgia, medical marijuana is, and there is evidence that the state is not immune from the negative effects of the drug that Colorado has faced. In fact, police estimate that the number of people being arrested for driving while high on drugs is up 20 percent in Georgia in the past five years. Despite this, Governor Nathan Deal signed a measure into law earlier this year that expands the list of conditions eligible for medical marijuana to include AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, epidermolysis bullosa, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette’s syndrome. Although marijuana provides numerous medical benefits to patients suffering from a variety of conditions, it is still a mind-altering substance, and eligible patients should not drive while using it. Driving while under the influence of marijuana is treated as a DUI, and anyone doing so will face the normal consequences that DUIs entail, including criminal prosecution and civil personal injury and wrongful death suits.

The latest automotive technology—driverless vehicles—promises a world where accidents caused by human error are a thing of the past. Several companies, most notably Tesla, have made great strides towards bringing this future into reality, but, as of 2017, we are not quite there yet. Most vehicles equipped with self-driving technology sold today are what are known as semi-autonomous vehicles, in which a human driver is still the primary operator of the vehicle, but the vehicle can assist the driver with a variety of tasks, including automatic braking, self-parking, and lane detection. While these technologies are a promising start toward completely autonomous vehicles, they still have their limitations, which were tragically illustrated last year when an inattentive driver’s over-reliance on his Tesla Model S sedan’s semi-autonomous driving system caused a deadly crash.

Joshua Brown, 40, was traveling on a divided highway near Gainesville, Florida using the Tesla’s automated driving system known as Autopilot when a truck driver made a left-hand turn in front of him. The vehicle did not recognize the oncoming truck, which resulted in a fatal collision. Tesla stated that it told drivers of the Model S vehicle that the automated systems should only be used on limited-access highways where there are no vehicles suddenly turning into the car’s path. Despite this warning, however, the company did not incorporate protections against using Autopilot on other types of roads.

The Model S is a level 2 on a self-driving scale of 0 to 5. Level 5 vehicles can operate autonomously in nearly all circumstances. Level 2 automation systems are generally limited to use on interstate highways, which don’t have intersections. Drivers are supposed to continuously monitor vehicle performance and be ready to take control if necessary. In its investigation of the Brown accident, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that the car’s cameras and radar weren’t capable of detecting a vehicle turning into its path. Rather, the systems are designed to detect vehicles they are following to prevent rear-end collisions.Investigators also found that Brown had his hands on the car’s steering wheel for only 25 seconds out of the 37.5 minutes the vehicle’s cruise control and lane-keeping systems were in use prior to the crash. As a result, Brown’s attention wandered and he did not see the truck turning into his path.

Last month, automakers Toyota, BMW, Subaru, and Mazda agreed to pay a total of $553 million to current and former owners and lessees of 15.8 million vehicles that were fitted with airbags manufactured by Takata, the Japanese automotive parts company. The plaintiffs’ class-action lawsuit alleged that Takata airbags are prone to rupture, and have been linked to at least 11 deaths and over 100 injuries in the United States.

The cause of the ruptured airbags is alleged to be their inflation mechanism, which uses a compound called ammonium nitrate that fills the bags in a powerful controlled explosion. When ammonium nitrate is exposed to air or moisture over long periods of time, however, it can become unstable and explode more violently than it is intended, making the airbags particularly dangerous to consumers living in the Southeastern United States and Hawaii.

The defect has prompted the United States’s largest automobile recall ever, affecting almost 70 million airbags in 42 million vehicles.

More than three years after General Motors (GM) recalled 2.5 million of its 2005-2010 Chevy Cobalts, Pontiacs, and Saturns, the company recently lost its bid to prevent an Arizona driver some seeking damages for ignition-switch liability. The plaintiff, Dennis Ward, alleges that he was driving a 2009 Chevy HHR on March 27, 2014, when he rear-ended another driver in Tucson. The reason why he rear-ended the driver, he alleges, is because his vehicle “suddenly and unexpectedly lost power,” thus disabling his brakes and steering.

Faulty Ignition Switches

Beginning in 2001, several models of GM brands were fitted with an ignition switch that was found to be defective, causing cars to suddenly shut off while still in gear. These faulty switches could cause a loss of power steering, disable brakes, and prevent airbags from inflating. In some models, the key could even be removed from the ignition switch when it was not in the “off” position, which could cause the vehicle to roll away. The switches have been linked to at least 124 deaths and nearly 300 injuries. Once GM became aware of the problems associated with these ignition switches, it initiated a recall of about 800,000 vehicles in 2014, which was eventually expanded to over 30 million vehicles once the scale of the problem became apparent.

If you are involved in a car accident, you expect that, after the accident, the other driver will stop, get out of his car, and the two of you will call the police and exchange contact information. This is the normal way that most accidents proceed. However, sometimes the at-fault driver in a car accident does not stop after the accident, but keeps on driving. This is what is known as a “hit and run” accident. In this article, we will go over what to do if this happens to you.

Hit and Run Accidents in Georgia

Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. In Georgia, this area of the law is codified at § 40-6-270 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) and reads, in pertinent part:

On December 1, 2016, a Ford F-150 truck driven by Dennis Mockenhaupt plowed through the entrance area of a Wal-Mart in Pella, Iowa at 48 miles per hour. The entrance to the store spanned about 25 feet and was surrounded by a set of five decorative bollards set eight to 10 feet in front of it. The bollards were made of an inner bollard about six inches in diameter, encased in a very thin steel wall, and filled with concrete covered with decorative cast iron. Mockenhaupt alleges that, at the time of the accident, he had lost consciousness because he was choking on coffee.

Although Mockenhaupt hit one of these bollards, it shattered instantly upon impact, allowing his truck to careen through the entrance of the store.

The accident claimed three lives–Lindsey Rietveld (whose family are the plaintiffs in the instant case), employee Carrie Zugg, and shopper Robert DeJong. When the truck crashed through the entrance, it hit Rietveld and Zugg first, then struck DeJong. Rietveld was thrown about 15 feet into the store when she was struck by the truck, where she became pinned between the truck and a large freezer. According to her family’s lawsuit, Rietveld’s official cause of death was “multiple blunt force injuries, that included multiple hemorrhages of the head and neck, fractured pelvis, ribs, T2 vertebrae, both legs, and lacerations to her liver, lungs, and aorta.”

Less than a decade ago, if you told someone to jump into a stranger’s car and let them drive you to their destination instead of hailing a taxi, they would have looked at you like you were crazy. Today, with the rise of ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, this idea is not so outlandish. App-based ride sharing programs have revolutionized the way we get around, making easy, affordable transportation a simple click away. However, one of the biggest challenges to the implementation of this new scheme is concerns about their safety. After all, it’s not always the best idea to trust just any driver with your life. To assuage fears that riders will be horribly injured in accidents and left to the mercy of their driver’s personal insurance policy (if they have one at all), ride sharing companies and the insurance companies who cover them have set up a new type of insurance program to handle these situations.

Ride Sharing Insurance Requirements

Uber splits all journeys into three phases, outlined below

If you are injured in an accident and prevail in a personal injury suit, you will be compensated in the form of monetary damages.The purpose of damages in a personal injury case is to compensate the victim so that they are in the same position they would be in had the accident never occurred. Thus, damage awards are compensatory—the plaintiff receives one the amount that will make him or her whole again.Because compensatory damages are awarded on a sliding scale relative to the plaintiff’s needs, damage awards can reach into the millions of dollars. In order to cut down on damage awards that many view as excessive, many state legislatures have enacted caps on the amount of damages that juries are able to award.

How Damages Caps Work

The main argument behind damage caps is that the United States is an excessively litigious society and that too many view personal injury lawsuits as a get-rich-quick scheme. Damage caps are thus designed to discourage lawsuit-happy litigants from filing frivolous lawsuits and clogging up the court system. The main argument against damage caps is that they unfairly limit the recourse available to injured parties and that judges already have the power to either decrease or increase unreasonable damages awards. The way damages caps work is fairly simple—they are a creature of state statute, wherein the state legislature places what they consider to be a reasonable limit on the amount of money a jury can award. Some states limit damages based on the type of action that is brought in the court—for example, the damages cap may only apply to medical malpractice or wrongful death. Other times they apply to certain categories of damages, most commonly to noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, and punitive damages.

Any type of car accident can be potentially deadly, but vehicle rollovers are among the most dangerous. While they are relatively rare, accounting for only about three percent of all crashes, they account for about 30% of people who are killed while riding a vehicle. Many people believe that rollovers only affect SUVs and large vans, but a rollover can happen in any vehicle under the right circumstances.

How it Happens

As we said above, any vehicle can roll over but these types of crashes are much more common to tall, narrow vehicles like SUVs, vans, and trucks because these vehicles have higher centers of gravity than sedans and coupes. Rollovers are most common in turns because what happens when a car rolls over is essentially a pendulum effect. When a car makes a turn, sideways forces shift the center of gravity to one side. The faster you’re driving, the stronger these forces are. If these forces become too strong, they can cause a vehicle to roll over.

If you’ve ever applied for a new auto insurance policy, you’ve probably been given the option to install a device in your car that tracks your driving habits. These devices are known as “telematics” and almost all major insurance companies now offer them to their customers in exchange for potentially reduced premium rates. The devices attach to the vehicle’s OBD-II port and collect data from your car’s computer. Insurance companies can program them to monitor different metrics, but some of the most common are:

  • Time the car was used
  • Distance driven

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