Risky Driver Behaviors that Lead to Accidents

March 30, 2016 Auto Accidents

In 2014, more than 3,000 Americans were killed in distracted driving accidents. Federal estimates have put the death toll closer

Woman sending text messages while driving.

In 2014, more than 3,000 Americans were killed in distracted driving accidents. Federal estimates have put the death toll closer to 5,000 last year. The wide scale ramifications of this dangerous epidemic have prompted numerous studies on the types of behaviors that put motorists at greatest risk, from using cell phones to grooming or simply reaching for an object.

The findings from a recent report put out by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute researchers shows that some types of activities are more dangerous than others. The research is noteworthy as it’s the first driving study using large-scale, crash-only naturalistic data from 3,500 participants across the United States.

Study looks at 1,600 verified crash events

Their report – the first ever of its kind in the States – was based on results from the Second Strategic Highway Research Program Naturalistic Driving Study, which gave a first-hand glimpse at real world driving behavior. All of the voluntary participants agreed to have their vehicles armed with sensors, cameras and radar equipment that collected hard data on driver behavior and performance.

The data showed that certain types of distractions, such as following a vehicle too closely, interacting with a child in the car, or applying makeup were not as risky as previously thought, since none of the activities featured prominently in the moments before accidents. 

Not surprisingly, the researchers found that 90 percent of the 1,600 crashes involved driver-related factors including drowsiness, impairment and errors. Another distraction that the study noted was the influence of driving while sad, angry or in another type of emotionally agitated state. The data indicated that driving while emotionally charged increased the risk of crashing nearly 10-fold.

Other factors that affect accident risk include slamming on the brakes too quickly, or traveling in an unknown vehicle or roadway. Lastly, excessive speeding poses a 13-fold risk of getting into an accident.

“All of these findings are especially important as we work with policymakers, educators, drivers themselves, law enforcement officials, and vehicle designers to define and help mitigate driver risks,” said Virginia Tech Transportation Institute director Tom Dingus, who led the study.

Victims of distracted drivers have legal rights

Motorists who talk on the phone, use a touchscreen, eat or text while driving put others on the road at great risk for serious personal injury, or even death. California, like other states across the country, affords legal remedies to those who have been injured or suffered property damage caused by a distracted or otherwise negligent driver. Many of these preventable accidents resolve through the court system, allowing victims to pursue fair compensation for all related medical costs, lost income, emotional pain and suffering, and other damages. However, distracted driving victims must pursue a personal injury lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitation, which places a time limit on filing claims.

If you have been involved in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to see if litigation is the right course of action. The Salamati Law firm extends free consultations to anyone who wishes to explore their legal options with a skilled Los Angeles car accident lawyer.

Call us anytime, 24 hours a day at 888-259-4060 to discuss your rights to compensation.

Read More

Can New Road Safety Measures Stop Rising Crash Death Toll?

March 15, 2016 Auto Accidents

Statistics indicate that fatalities resulting from motor vehicle accidents are rising across the nation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Statistics indicate that fatalities resulting from motor vehicle accidents are rising across the nation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is constantly exploring methods of reducing crash rates and improving transportation safety. The NHTSA recently concluded a series of regional workshops designed to promote “evidence-based” behavioral changes in traffic safety settings.

The summits included a diverse set of participants including advocacy groups, public health and safety experts, academic leaders, traffic safety personnel from state government, and other federal organizations.

The primary workshop goals included:

  • Discussing untested strategies and identifying long-term solutions to eliminate traffic fatalities
  • Exploring how evidence-based behavior change approaches can be implemented in broader policy discussions
  • Analyzing different approaches to changing driving behaviors

U.S. traffic deaths increasing

NHTSA officials see a number of red flags across the country and say now is the time to push “behavioral changes in traffic safety.” In addition to launching new initiatives, NHTSA administrators want to deal with persistent problems that claim thousands of lives every year. On their list of topics were fatigued and distracted driving, drunk driving and a failure to wear seat belts or use child safety seats, as well as pedestrian and cyclist safety.

The agency reports that traffic deaths in the United States are up almost 10 percent after years of steady decline. Between January and September of 2015, an estimated 26,000 individuals died in vehicle accidents. While each state had varying rates of traffic accident deaths, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Washington and Montana saw the biggest jump in fatalities at 20 percent.

The 2016 summits featured five separate workshops, and concluded at the U.S. DOT headquarters in Washington D.C. last March. Transportation officials remain hopeful that the collaborative efforts will lead to productive changes and improvements in transportation safety.

Negligent driving and legal recourse

Nearly 95 percent of all traffic accidents are caused by human errors, according to government data. When driving behavior is deemed negligent or reckless, victims may have the right to sue for monetary compensation. A car accident lawyer in Los Angeles can help you recover damages for:

  • Lost income
  • All related medical expenses
  • Reduced capacity to earn
  • Loss of consortium
  • Emotional distress
  • Plus other losses

California has strict laws that ban texting and all cell phone use while driving; drivers who ignore these rules and cause injury or death can be held accountable in court. If a car or truck accident is caused by a driver who is impaired by lack of sleep or drug/alcohol abuse, the victim may also be eligible for legal relief that can help offset the financial burdens of serious personal injury and extended time off of work. More catastrophic accidents that claim lives may warrant a wrongful death claim, which can be brought by surviving family members.

Car accident claims are not always cut and dry when it comes to liability issues, and insurance companies are only looking out for their own bottom line. The smartest way to ensure your rights are protected is allying with an experienced law firm with a proven track record of success.

The Salamati Law Firm offers effective personal injury legal representation in Los Angeles and throughout southern California. For a free, no-obligation case review, please call 888-259-4060.


  1. NHTSA, Driving Behavioral Change in Traffic Safety http://www.nhtsa.gov/nhtsa/symposiums/march2016/index.html
  2. The Sacramento Bee, Traffic deaths climbing in California – Is there a fix? http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/transportation/article36766929.html
Read More

NHTSA Reports Increased Roadway Deaths in 2015

March 1, 2016 News

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic fatalities on American roadways have been slowly dropping

Policeman at road accident scene

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic fatalities on American roadways have been slowly dropping over the past several years. However, last year was something of an anomaly: during the first nine months of 2015, the agency logged more than 26,000 traffic deaths – marking a 9.3 spike over the previous year.

NHTSA administrators say the roadway fatality figures are red flags that need to be taken seriously before more preventable crashes occur. “It’s time to drive behavioral changes in traffic safety and that means taking on new initiatives and addressing persistent issues like drunk driving and failure to wear seat belts,” said agency official Dr. Mark Rosekind in a recent press release.

The numbers were released just as the NHTSA launched a series of regional conferences across the country to evaluate and discuss traffic safety initiatives, programs and solutions. Their most recent summit was held in Atlanta, Georgia on February 23.

Research shows human factors cause most car accidents

Not surprisingly, decades of NHTSA data suggests that human factors are the reason behind the majority of motor vehicle and truck accidents in the States, accounting for more than 94 percent of all crashes.

The NHTSA summits are designed to stimulate dialogue regarding new strategies on driving behavioral changes in traffic safety. Some of the issues being addressed include continuing problems with

  • Distracted driving and cell phone use behind the wheel
  • Drowsy driving
  • Drugged and drunk driving

Highway safety professionals will also discuss better initiatives to protect those who are most vulnerable to car accident injuries, including pedestrians and cyclists, in addition to ways to promote the use of child seats and seat belts.

Furthermore, the NHTSA regional conferences will be examining innovations and methods to discourage unsafe driving behaviors, while looking at other proven behavior change tactics (from other non-traffic disciplines) that can be applied to national programs and countermeasures.

Traffic fatalities in California up 3 percent

The 2015 statistics were collected from all states and reflect regional differences for traffic-related deaths. California and Arizona had a modest 3 percent uptick in roadway fatalities compared to 2014, whereas states like Washington, Oregon and Montana reported a whopping 20 percent increase in deaths.

Though California had only a slight increase in traffic deaths compared to other regions, Los Angeles continues to make headlines as one of the most dangerous cities for motorists and pedestrians. Crosswalk accidents, pedestrian-knock downs and drunk driving accidents claim the lives of hundreds each year in the greater LA metropolitan area.

In circumstances where poor judgement, alcohol consumption, excessive fatigue or blatant negligence causes serious personal injury or death, victims and their loved ones may be entitled to compensation through the courts.

To discuss your case with a practiced Los Angeles personal injury attorney free of charge or obligation, contact The Salamati Law Firm at 888-259-4060. We work hard to maximize the value of your claim and obtain damages for medical bills, lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and emotional suffering and other losses.


  1. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. DOT announces steep increase in roadway deaths based on 2015 early estimates and convenes first regional summit to drive traffic safety behavior changes http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/nhtsa-sees-roadway-deaths-increasing-02052016
  2. NHTSA, Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First Nine Months (Jan–Sep) of 2015 http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812240.pdf
Read More