Posts tagged distracted driving

Teenage Driver Safety: What To Tell Your Kids Before They Get Behind the Wheel

September 12, 2018 Auto Accidents

Children in southern California are heading back to school for the start of a new school year. If you have

Student driver passes exam and instructor hands her car keysChildren in southern California are heading back to school for the start of a new school year. If you have teens who are just starting to drive, there’s no time like the present to give them valuable lessons on teenage driver safety.

In the last year for which statistics are available, 2,333 teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 were killed in vehicle crashes across the country — in other words, six every day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Another 235,845 teens in this age group went to emergency departments with injuries sustained in vehicle accidents during the year. That’s an astonishing 646 teens per day.

Safe Driving Rules

Make sure your children know how to drive safely. Don’t assume that passing their driver’s test is enough. Either teach them, have an experienced adult teach them, or enroll them in safe driving courses. Focus on obeying the rules of the road, including the speed limit.

Emphasize the importance of seat belts. Forty-eight percent of teenagers who die in vehicle accidents are not wearing seat belts. If they will be driving other students to school, stress that younger children should be both in the back seat and bucked in, and everyone, of any age, needs to wear a seat belt.

If they are driving with other teenagers, be especially careful. The risk of accidents rises when teens drive with other teens in the car. In fact, the CDC recommends keeping the number of teen passengers to 0 or 1 for the first six months your child has a license.

Caution Teens About Distracted, Drowsy, and Impaired Driving

Distracted driving, or driving while texting, talking on the phone, playing a video game, or just gazing around instead of looking is a growing threat to vehicle safety across the country. In the last year for which statistics are available, almost 3,500 people (of all ages) were killed in distracted driving-related accidents, and 391,000 were injured. Teenagers are believed to be the largest group of distracted drivers.

Drowsy driving is nearly as dangerous. Make sure your teenager gets enough sleep. If they are unable to get enough sleep, consider making them take another form of transportation. Being drowsy slows reaction time and leads to a greater risk of collisions.

Fortunately, many schools have programs concerning the risk of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol in high school. Reinforce the message. Don’t drink and drive. Even a single drink can raise the risk of a motor vehicle accident.

If your school doesn’t have such a program, discuss how to avoid drinking and driving with your teenager. If they are going to a party, they should either not drink or choose a designated driver.

When You Need a Car Accident Lawyer in the Los Angeles Area

It’s imperative to stress the importance of safe driving to your teenager. But the sad fact is, hundreds of car accidents happen in southern California every day.

If you or a loved one is hurt or killed in a car accident, call the Salamati Law Firm today. We are experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyers. Your case will be reviewed by seasoned professionals and there is no charge to you for an initial consultation.

Additional Resources:

  1. National Safety Council. Back to School Safety Checklist. https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/seasonal-safety/back-to-school.
  2. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Teen Drivers: Get the Facts. https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/teen_drivers/teendrivers_factsheet.html
  3. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Parents Are the Key to Safe Teen Drivers. Eight Danger Zones. https://www.cdc.gov/parentsarethekey/danger/index.html
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Disturbing Statistics on Distracted Driving in California

November 21, 2017 Auto Accidents

Driverless cars will be a boon to commuters who text and update social media during their daily drives. Until driving

Using a phone in a car texting while driving concept for danger of text message and being distractedDriverless cars will be a boon to commuters who text and update social media during their daily drives. Until driving becomes wholly automated, however, drivers need to put their phones down and devote their full attention to piloting their vehicles through crowded Los Angeles streets and highways.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has estimated that distracted driving accounts for 80% of all vehicle accidents. In 2014, approximately 3,000 people died in car crashes caused by driver distraction, and more than 400,000 drivers and automobile passengers suffered injuries in distracted driving accidents. In the same year, more than 60% of California drivers remarked that they had either been in collisions or barely avoided crashes with drivers who were using their smartphones at the time of the event.

Correlation Between Smartphones and Distracted Driving

Data and statistics collected by the NHTSA show a clear connection between smartphone usage and accidents caused by distracted driving:

  • A driver whose focus shifts from controlling a car to reaching for a smartphone is three times more likely to have an accident.
  • Texting while driving creates an accident risk that is 23 times greater than non-distracted driving.
  • On average, a regular text message takes a driver’s eyes off of the road for five seconds, which, at highway speeds, is long enough for a car to travel more than 100 yards.

Distracted Driving and Liability for Injuries

Recovering damages for property loss and injuries that you have suffered in an accident will depend, among other matters, upon your and your attorney’s ability to prove that another party’s negligence was the “proximate cause” of your loss and injuries. If the other party failed to pay attention to road conditions and traffic, for example, because he or she was texting or using a cell phone, then your attorney can use that as solid evidence to prove proximate cause and negligence.

Every cell phone creates its own time stamp on texts and social media postings, and your car accident lawyer will connect that time stamp to the exact time of the accident to establish the other party’s liability.

Every year, California collects fines from several hundred thousand drivers who are convicted of using handheld smartphone or texting while they are driving. Using a smartphone is rapidly being treated as per se proof of negligence in an auto accident.

What to Do if You Are in an Accident Caused by a Distracted Driver

Drivers in Los Angeles are obligated to refrain from using their smartphones in ways that create distractions. If a distracted driver does collide with you, call the Los Angeles car accident lawyers at The Salamati Law Firm at your earliest opportunity. Our car accident attorneys will gather and preserve all proof of the distractions that caused the accident, including smartphone records, and will interview witnesses and analyze police reports before memories fade and the cause of the accident is thrown into question.

In theory, driverless cars will lead to substantial reductions and improved safety on roads and highways by reducing the level of human error that goes hand-in-hand with distracted driving. Until that happens, the auto accident attorneys at The Salamati Law Firm will help drivers and pedestrians who have been injured in distracted driving accidents to recover the compensation that is justly due to them.

Additional “California Distracted Driving” Resources:

  1. CA.gov, Cell Phones, Texting. It’s Not Worth it. It’s Just That Simple. http://test-www.ots.ca.gov/Media_and_Research/Campaigns/Distracted_Driving.asp
  2. Mercury News, California’s Distracted Drivers More Common This Year, State Says. http://www.mercurynews.com/2015/07/14/californias-distracted-drivers-more-common-this-year-state-says/
  3. Distracted Driving Awareness Month – Take the Pledge to Drive Safely
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What Is The Seat Belt Defense?

July 26, 2017 Auto Accidents

Car accidents where one driver hits another can seem like open-and-shut cases. Clearly the insurer of the vehicle that plowed

Hand fastening seat belt in the carCar accidents where one driver hits another can seem like open-and-shut cases. Clearly the insurer of the vehicle that plowed into you should pay for the full extent of your damages, right? Many times, that is exactly what happens. There is, however, one caveat allowed in California – if you were not wearing your seat belt.

Is it illegal to ride in a moving vehicle without wearing a seat belt in California?

The Motor Vehicle Safety Act makes it pretty clear that everyone is expected to buckle up in California. Technically, a California police officer may issue a ticket for “failure to wear a seat belt” except for cases where:

  • You are a passenger in the backseat of a limousine or taxicab.
  • You are a minor under 16 years of age, where the responsibility of your buckling falls to an adult present.

Fines range from $20 to $100 for a first offense. Drivers may be expected to attend driver safety courses. Regardless of the legality of riding in a vehicle without a safety belt on, plaintiffs may find that the amount of compensation they are entitled to is substantially reduced because they were not belted at the time of the collision.

What is the seat belt defense?

Defense counsels may argue that the amount of damages could have been substantially reduced had the victims been wearing their seat belts. State courts may choose to reduce damage awards when the injured party fails to “take reasonable actions to limit the extent of injury” – which means wearing a seat belt while riding in a motor vehicle.

The State of California allows for Comparative Negligence, which means the liability of the defendant can be reduced if the plaintiff was at least partially liable for what happened. California allows for “pure” rules of recovery, which means plaintiffs whose decisions and actions contributed to their own injuries can still collect reduced compensation, even if they were deemed 99% at fault. States with “modified” comparative negligence do not allow the awarding of compensation to plaintiffs determined to be more than 50% at fault.

Which states do not permit the seat belt defense?

While California plaintiffs are subject to reduced damages based on the seat belt defense, plaintiffs in the following states and districts are not beholden to this law:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Washington D.C.
  • Wyoming

Some states allow for the seat belt defense, but limit the reduction in damages. For instance, Missouri only allows for a 1% reduction in damages if the plaintiff was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Similarly, Iowa, Michigan, and Oregon reduce damages by a mere 5%, and Wisconsin allows for reductions of 15%.

Arguments against the seat belt defense

Skilled Los Angeles car accident attorneys at the Salamati Firm are prepared to fight for maximum compensation for your injuries, whether you were wearing a belt at the time or not. Depending on your situation, arguments that may counter the Seat Belt Defense include:

  • Failure to wear a seat belt did not cause the accident itself in any way, so the “comparative negligence” rule does not apply.
  • Traditional mitigation of damages applies to what a plaintiff does after the accident occurs. Since fastening a seat belt after the fact would do nothing to mitigate damages, the plaintiff cannot logically be held liable for failure to mitigate damages in the traditional sense.
  • Plaintiffs should not have to anticipate the negligence of others.
  • The amount of damages a plaintiff may have sustained had he or she been wearing a belt cannot be precisely assessed. The calculation is just a guess at best, even with the help of experts.
  • Numerous other legislatures have deemed the seat belt defense an intrusion into individual freedom.
  • The seat belt was worn, but broke or failed to protect the plaintiff because it was defective or malfunctioning.
  • Seat belt tests using test dummies cannot accurately be compared to the plaintiff’s size, weight, and stature.
  • The other side has no proof that a seat belt was not worn by the plaintiff.

If you or a loved one were involved in a car accident where seat belts were not worn, contact The Salamati Firm. Since 2005, our experienced team of personal injury lawyers have taken on some of the most complex court cases – and won! Contact us for a free consultation and pay no legal fees unless we take on your case and secure just compensation on your behalf.

Additional “Seat Belt Defense” Resources:

  1. California Driving University, CA Seat Belt Laws, http://california.drivinguniversity.com/driving-safety/california-seat-belt-law
  2. Tulsa Law Review, The Seatbelt Defense: A Doctrine Based in Common Sense, http://digitalcommons.law.utulsa.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2407&context=tlr
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Texting and Driving: The Shocking True Statistics

May 25, 2017 Auto Accidents

Back in 2007, Washington was our nation’s first state to ban texting while driving. A decade later and 46 more

Using a phone while driving a carBack in 2007, Washington was our nation’s first state to ban texting while driving. A decade later and 46 more states plus the District of Columbia have passed similar legislation. Despite anti-texting laws in California and elsewhere, texting while driving continues to be a nationwide epidemic, claiming thousands of innocent lives each year. With the widespread popularity of smart phones, texting has become an integral part of daily life. Using apps like Viber and Whatsapp to send and receive written messages, voice communications, photos and video is commonplace among Americans of all ages – especially when behind the wheel.

Texting and driving is exceedingly dangerous for numerous reasons. The very act of texting takes your eyes off the road and detracts your attention away from driving and surrounding hazards. While most Americans support a ban on texting while driving and understand the inherent risks involved, a staggering number of people continue this perilous activity. Whether ignorant or simply fueled by the justification that they can text and steer without crashing, national statistics show the harsh reality about the dangers.

Here are 10 shocking statistics about this growing problem.

10 shocking texting & driving statistics

  1. 25 percent of all motor vehicle accidents in the United States involve texting and driving.
  2. 25 percent of teenagers respond to a text at least once every time they drive.
  3. Each year, an estimated 330,000 serious car accidents are caused by people who text while driving.
  4. Every day, some 11 teens die in texting and driving crashes.
  5. Motorists who text while driving are 6 times more likely to get into an accident compared to those who drive drunk.
  6. According to AAA, two-thirds of Americans between the ages of 19 and 24 have admitted to reading a text message while driving in the last month.
  7. Reading a text while driving takes your eyes and concentration off the road for a minimum of 5 seconds.
  8. If traveling at 55 mph, this is equivalent to driving the length of a football field while blindfolded.
  9. You are 23 times more likely to be in an accident if you are texting and driving.
  10. According to the FCC, 11 percent of drivers ages 18-20 who were involved in non-fatal car accidents admitted they were texting at the time of their accidents.

The California Office of Traffic Safety reports that a whopping 80 percent of all vehicle accidents in the state involve some sort of driver inattention, be it texting, talking on a cell phone or other distracting activities. Under a new law that went into effect January 1, 2017, California drivers are banned from operating or even holding their cell phones for any purpose, unless it is mounted to the windshield or dashboard. Only time will tell if this legislation will help reduce the number of traffic injuries and deaths.

Injured by a texting driver in Los Angeles?

The law affords remedies to victims of distracted drivers. If you or someone you love was hurt because of a texting driver, The Salamati Law Firm is here to help. Sean Salamati offers free consultations to prospective clients and is a talented car accident lawyer with decades of experience handling injury claims throughout L.A. and Southern California. Call us today at 888-259-4060.

Additional Texting and Driving Statistics Resources:

  1. Wired, Texting and Driving Isn’t a Millennial Problem. It’s an Engineering Problem https://www.wired.com/2017/02/texting-driving-isnt-millennial-problem-engineering-problem/
  2. Icebike.org, the 25 Scariest Texting and Driving Accident Statistics http://www.icebike.org/texting-and-driving/
  3. Council of State Governments, Texting While Driving in 2016 http://knowledgecenter.csg.org/kc/content/texting-while-driving-2016-0
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7 Apps That Prevent Distracted Driving and Texting

March 30, 2017 Auto Accidents

Distracted driving is a serious problem in the United States. The National Safety Council estimates that cell phone use while

texting and drivingDistracted driving is a serious problem in the United States. The National Safety Council estimates that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes and nearly 330,000 injuries each year. In fact, 1 in 4 car accidents are caused by texting and driving! The worst part about these devastating accidents is that they are wholly preventable. The Los Angeles car accident attorneys at The Salamati Firm are encouraged about the following apps that prevent texting while driving.

AT&T DriveMode

DriveMode for Android and iOs silences incoming text alerts and sends auto-responses to let people know the recipient is driving. The app automatically turns on when the vehicle starts moving faster than 15 mph. Games, calls, and social media are also locked out, but drivers can still access music and navigation while the car is in motion. Parents can set up the app to notify them when a teen driver disables it. (Free)

Live2Txt

Live2Txt is an Android app that silences incoming calls and texts while driving. The app auto-sends a customized message that the driver is unable to respond at the moment. (Cost: $1.99)

Cellcontrol

This subscription-based app Cellcontrol for Android and iOS is geared toward concerned parents. It comes with a device inserted under the dashboard that blocks incoming and outgoing texts, email, and camera functionality while the car is in motion. (Cost: $39.95 one-time hardware fee + $7.95/month)

On My Way

The On My Way app for Android and iOS lets drivers share time and location with friends to let them know their estimated arrival time. Drivers simply set up the trip and let the app invite selected friends to follow the trip. Location tracking ends when the destination is reached. (Free)

LifeSaver App

LifeSaver for Android and iOS auto-detects driving and blocks cell phone while the car is in motion. Once the vehicle stops, the phone will unlock. Parents receive a text message if their child disables the app. (Free)

tXt Blocker

Another Android and iOS app geared toward parents is tXtBlocker, which goes one step further by not only preventing texting while driving, but also allowing parents to set up “No-Cell Zones” (like school or work) that kids can’t hack. Parents can also locate their teens using the app and obtain driving reports. (Cost: $7/month)

Focus — Screen Free Driving

The Focus app for iPhones is a funny way of being shamed into submission. When the driver touches his or her phone, a voice sternly says, “Hang up and drive.” Those who fail to comply are yelled at with phrases like “Eyes on the road, Chief!” and “Lock your phone NOW!” The reminders may be all some people need to realize how much they touch their phones while driving. A road report includes how many distracted driving minutes were logged. (Free or $4.99 for premium version, with speeding reports)

Need a Los Angeles car accident attorney?

If you or a loved one have been injured in a distracted driving accident in California, contact the Salamati Law Firm for legal representation. Police officers are not legally allowed to check an accident victim’s cell phone records without a warrant, so it can be difficult to gather the evidence needed to prove negligence without a knowledgeable expert on your side. The Salamati Law Firm has the grit and determination to see that justice is served. Contact us for a free, no-obligation quote.

To learn more about Distracted Driving click below:

  1. Distracted Driving Awareness Month – Take the Pledge to Drive SafelyDistracted driving in California
  2. Disturbing Statistics on Distracted Driving in California

Additional “apps to prevent distracted driving” resources:

  1. Verizon – Best apps to block texting while driving, https://www.verizonwireless.com/archive/mobile-living/home-and-family/apps-to-block-texting-while-driving/
  2. Honk For Help – 5 Free Apps To Prevent Texting While Driving http://www.honkforhelp.com/explore/2016/5-free-apps-to-prevent-texting-while-driving/
  3. USA Today – Best Tech To Prevent Distracted Driving http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2016/05/29/best-tech-prevent-distracted-driving/85121278/
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Traffic Deaths on Rise in 2016, New Report Finds

November 8, 2016 News

Traffic deaths saw a sharp uptick during the first half of 2016, according to data collected by federal traffic authorities.

overturned car

Traffic deaths saw a sharp uptick during the first half of 2016, according to data collected by federal traffic authorities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has discovered a 10-percent increase in traffic deaths between 2015 and 2016, marking the largest jump in traffic fatalities in the past 50 years. The increase in fatalities has been seen among pedestrians and bicyclists as well as motorists, according to the latest numbers.

The new data, which was released in the October issue of Traffic Safety Facts, estimated that nearly 18,000 people, or 1.12 for every million people in the U.S., died in motor vehicle accidents from January to June this year. That compares to the same time frame in 2015, when almost 16,000 people, or 1.05 for every million people, lost their lives. The years both show increases in deaths over previous years, including the first six months of 2011 when an estimated 15,000 people died.

The researchers noted that the last seven calendar quarters have seen increases in traffic fatalities when compared with the corresponding quarter for the previous year. There appears to be a number of factors that might be contributing to this alarming trend, although researchers warn that those factors may become more apparent when final numbers are available in late fall of 2017. In the meantime, highway officials are examining some early clues into what might be driving this unfortunate trend.

Factors at play

The National Safety Commission has noted that the improving economy, which has led to higher employment rates and cheaper gasoline, may be one of the factors contributing to the higher mortality rates on the nation’s roadways. When the economy is slow, fewer people tend to be out and about going to work and other obligations. When the economy picks up, so do the miles logged on the nation’s highways.

The Federal Highway Administration has linked the increase in fatalities to an increase in miles traveled. During the first six months of 2016, the number of vehicles traveling on U.S. roadways increased by 50.5 billion miles, which is a 3.3 percent increase in miles traveled since the previous year.

Other factors that routinely contribute to increases in traffic fatalities include driving under the influence, distracted driving and speeding. At this time, it is too early to know exactly how much of a role these common factors may have played in the latest numbers.  However, that information should be available later next year, which will help officials determine whether further steps might need to be taken to reduce these risks.

Bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities

Researchers also noted that a rise in fatalities among pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists could have contributed to the increase in traffic-related fatalities – at least during 2015. During this year alone, there was a 12.2 percent increase in bicycle accident fatalities and a 9.5 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities. Walking and biking to work have become increasingly popular modes of transportation as one million more people have been walking to work since 2005.

While people may opt to walk or bike to work for health reasons, the danger of such activity also needs to be noted. Many cities do not have designated lanes for walkers or bikers, which can bring them much closer to the street action than what is considered safe. These additional lanes can be expensive for cities, which is why many do not offer them. However, studies have shown that designated lanes can lower the incidence of pedestrian death and serious injury.

If you have been injured in an motor vehicle accident in Los Angeles, The Salamati Law Firm is here to help. Our car accident lawyers help navigate the complex legal system to ensure your rights are protected and just compensation is obtained. Schedule a free case evaluation by calling 888-259-4060.

Resources:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First Half (Jan-June) of 2016, https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812332

KQED, With Rising Number of Highway Deaths, California Bucks National Trend, https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2015/11/24/with-rising-number-of-highway-deaths-california-bucks-national-trend/

 

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Los Angeles Reports Spate of Motorcycle Accident Fatalities

October 27, 2016 Motorcycle Accidents

  Recent headlines in the Los Angeles area underscore the dangers facing motorcyclists today. Motorcycle crashes and fatalities continue to

 

Recent headlines in the Los Angeles area underscore the dangers facing motorcyclists today. Motorcycle crashes and fatalities continue to be an epidemic of tragic proportions in the LA metro area, with at least four deaths reported in the last few weeks. Police investigations commonly find reckless driving, road hazards and excess speed to be contributing factors in motorcycle-vehicle crashes, though distracted driving and alcohol impairment are often cited as well.

When careless motorists cause serious injury or death on California’s roads, victims have the law on their side. Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney Sean F. Salamati discusses liability issues and some of the more recent fatal crashes that made the news.

Recent motorcycle crashes claim lives

In late September, a left turn accident claimed the life of two people in Riverside.  Police say that a 61-year-old woman was waiting to make a turn onto Kearney Street, and as she turned her SUV left from Columbia Avenue, a motorcyclist and his passenger crashed into the vehicle. The impact of the collision ejected the biker and his passenger from the motorcycle, killing both.

Just two days later, downtown Los Angeles was the scene of a separate fatal motorcycle crash. According to the LA County Sheriff’s Department, a motorcyclist was struck by the Metro Expo Line train around 1:30 a.m. on Washington Boulevard and Flower Street. Investigators claim the motorcyclist was traveling at a high rate of speed at the time of the fatal collision, which marks the first traffic fatality on the light-rail line.

Just two weeks ago, another motorcyclist died in a North Hills van accident, which happened in the  5100 block of Nordhoff Street. Officials say that the 28-year old victim, David Villatoro, smashed into the side of a passenger van that was carrying three people. Investigations are still pending, but police say that the biker’s speed was a definite factor in the accident.

Determining fault in accidents

Driver error is one of the most common causes of motorcycle and vehicle accidents. Motorists who fail to obey traffic laws, blow through a stop light, fail to yield the right of way, or make lane changes without checking their blind spot are at high risk of being involved in serious accidents.

More often than not, personal injury actions arising from motorcycle crashes are based on theories of negligence. When the driver of a passenger vehicle operates their car in a negligent manner and their actions or omissions cause injury to another, the motorcyclist has a valid claim for compensation.

Liability may also be assigned to defective or malfunctioning vehicle parts that caused the motorcycle rider to lose control and crash. Poorly designed or defective brakes and tires contribute to dozens of motorcycle accidents every year. In cases like these, victims may sue for damages in a product liability claim.

To discuss your options for legal recourse in the wake of a motorcycle accident, call Salamati Law at 888-259-4060. You may be entitled to seek damages for medical expenses, lost income, permanent disability, emotional hardships and other losses. All consultations are free and without obligation — call today!

Resources:

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Study Finds Pokemon Go a Dangerous Distraction

October 4, 2016 News

Pokemon Go, the popular augmented reality game, has proven itself to be one of the most played apps of all

Using a phone while driving a car

Pokemon Go, the popular augmented reality game, has proven itself to be one of the most played apps of all time since its introduction this past summer. Unfortunately, not all the news regarding the app has been positive, however. The game has recently been linked to a slew of car and pedestrian accidents, indicating the distraction of the game might be too much for some players trying to “catch ‘em all.”

Researchers have actually taken a closer look at the potential danger surrounding Pokemon Go. Scientists from San Diego State University studied the effects of the app on car crashes around the country. They specifically looked at the association between July 10 and July 19, when the game was first introduced to the general public.

Study uses news, social media reports

The study, which was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine in September, used social media and news reports to collect data involving both motorists and pedestrians that were distracted by the game. Researchers found a total of 350,000 tweets that referred to both “Pokemon Go” and “driving a car.” A random sample of 4,000 of those tweets indicated the person playing the game was driving a vehicle, a passenger in a vehicle or a pedestrian interacting with traffic at the time of play.

Approximately one-third of those tweets suggested the player was distracted by the game. Although some of the tweets were perceived as jokes, researchers determined that around 114,000 traffic incidents were reported on Twitter within that 10-day time frame. Researchers also scanned Google News reports during that same time and found 321 stories referring to car crashes involving Pokemon Go.

“Pokemon Go is a new distraction for drivers and pedestrians, and safety messages are scarce,” researchers concluded. They are hoping their findings will motivate policy makers and game developers to take steps to make this game, and others like it, safer for play. For example, game manufacturers could make the game inaccessible once a certain driving speed is reached. Currently, Pokemon Go asks players if they are a driver or passenger when the vehicle moves faster than 10 miles per hour. The game also displays numerous warnings when the app is first launched.

Distracted driving a major concern

At a time when concerns have been on the rise over the potential risk of distracted driving, games like Pokemon Go are just one more factor to consider. Victims of distracted driving accidents may see their lives change in a matter of seconds, as they are sometimes left to deal with debilitating injuries or even the loss of a loved one as a result of these crashes.

When a driver is found to be at fault in an accident due to distracted driving, whether from texting, talking on a phone or playing a game, they can be held liable for the victim’s injuries and other losses. However, it takes experienced legal guidance to prove the driver was distracted and pursue maximum monetary damages.

If you or someone you love was injured in a traffic accident due to Pokemon Go or another distraction, help is available. Contact Los Angeles car accident attorneys at The Salamati Law Firm for a free case review and answers to all of your legal questions. Contact us 24/7 at at 888-259-4060.

Resources:

JAMA Internal Medicine, Pokemon Go: A New Distraction for Drivers and Pedestrians, http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2553331

FOX News, Death by Pokemon? Public Safety Fears Mount as Pokemon Go Craze Continues, http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2016/07/14/death-by-pokemon-public-safety-fears-mount-as-pokemon-go-craze-continues.html

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Disturbing Increase in Traffic Deaths Reported

September 27, 2016 News

According to preliminary studies conducted by the National Safety Council, deaths in traffic accidents were up nine percent during the

Traffic fatality

According to preliminary studies conducted by the National Safety Council, deaths in traffic accidents were up nine percent during the first half of 2016 compared to the same six month period in 2015. Unfortunately, this is consistent with a surge in auto accident fatalities which began two years ago.

According to the research, between January and June this year, somewhere in the vicinity of 19,000 people died in the U.S. in auto accidents. This is a noticeable 18 percent more than two years earlier during the same time period. During the recorded 2016 six month period, almost 2.2 million people suffered serious injury.

The Salamati Law Firm finds these numbers unsettling. If this continues, there could be over 40,000 fatalities by the end of September. There were over 35,000 deaths as a result of auto accidents in all of 2015 and it is considered the most dangerous year for driving since 2008, when over 37,000 died on the road. Sadly, this year is well on its way to “besting” those numbers.

More drivers on the road in 2016

It is believed the more stable the economy and the more affordable gas is, the more people will drive and travel, increasing the possibility of accidents. The Federal Highway Administration says there was a 3.3 percent increase in driving in the first half of 2016 compared to 2015. In fact, drivers set a record 1.58 trillion miles on the road. Average gas prices between January and June were 16 percent lower than the same period in 2015. Historically, fatality numbers tend to dip during economic strife like recessions, oil embargoes and, most recently, during the subprime mortgage crisis in 2007.

Of course, we can attach all the data and trends we want. It does not change the fact that somewhere and someplace in Los Angeles, another family will lose a loved one in an auto accident due to another driver’s mistake. Running a red light, getting behind the wheel under the influence, speeding, texting or falling asleep at the wheel, are all hazards and have left families with immeasurable grief.

Speak with a traffic death attorney Los Angeles trusts

The Salamati Law Firm has met far too many families that regretted not getting in touch with a lawyer sooner rather than later. Insurance companies and lawyers for the other side will play sympathetic and understanding, but their job is to protect their interests. Only your lawyer will ensure that the responsible parties will face the music to the full extent of the law and that all damages will be taken into account and factored into the compensation your family deserves.

If you have lost a loved one in auto accident as the result of someone’s negligence, give the Salamati Law Firm a call and find out what can be done to hold the responsible accountable. All case reviews are confidential and free of charge.

Resources:

  1. PBS, Traffic deaths up nearly 20 percent since 2014, government says, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/traffic-deaths-injuries-cost-205-billion-far-2016/
  2. NPR, Traffic Deaths In 2015 Climb By Largest Increase In Decades, http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/08/29/491854557/traffic-deaths-climb-by-largest-increase-in-decades
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Night Restrictions Aim to Lower Crash Rates Among Teen Drivers

August 11, 2016 News

A growing body of evidence suggests that young, inexperienced drivers have a much greater risk of being involved in fatal

A growing body of evidence suggests that young, inexperienced drivers have a much greater risk of being involved in fatal accidents at night. Though crash risk is higher at night for all motorists, newly licensed teens make up a disproportionate percentage of nighttime accident fatalities. According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31 percent of motorists aged 16 or 17 involved in deadly traffic accidents during 2009–2014 crashed between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 5:59 a.m.

Young beautiful black teenage driver holding car keys driving her new carIn an effort to curb crash risks for recently-licensed teenage drivers, states have imposed night driving restrictions (NDR), which go into effect once teens receive their provisional license. These restrictions stipulate the nighttime hours that a teen cannot drive without an adult supervisor, allowing them to gain driving experience in lower risk conditions. Two separate national evaluations demonstrated that NDRs helped to reduce accidents among newly licensed adolescents, with higher success rates associated with restrictions starting at 10:00 p.m. or earlier.

The Salamati Law Firm supports any program or legislation that reduces driver fatalities and injuries. In California and across the nation, teenage drivers are involved in a significant number of distracted driving accidents, many of which occur during nighttime hours when visibility is already compromised. If you or a loved one has had the unfortunate experience of being seriously injured in a crash, we encourage you to reach out for a free legal evaluation. Our attorneys work hard to ensure victims of negligence and reckless behavior are compensated justly for medical expenses, lost income, property damage, emotional suffering and other losses.

Teens more likely to engage in high risk behaviors

State and national data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) points to a number of high risk behaviors common among newly-licensed teens that contribute to heightened crash rates. Drunk driving, speeding, texting while driving, and carrying other teen passengers are a recipe for disaster when driving at night.

Data also shows that states which impose night driving restrictions at 10 p.m. or earlier have lower fatal crash rates compared to those that start at 12:00 am or later. At present, 23 states and the District of Columbia have NDRs that begin at 12:00 a.m. or later. “Because approximately one third of fatal crash involvements by drivers aged 16 or 17 years occur at night, broader implementation of targeted strategies to reduce the risk for these night crashes seems warranted… States could consider updating their NDR coverage to include earlier nighttime hours,” states the CDC report.

According to the national Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, car accidents are the leading cause of death among American teenagers, accounting for almost a third of all deaths of 16-19 year-olds.

Some of the characteristics common to fatal car accidents in this age group include:

  • Speeding
  • Driver error
  • Low rate of seat belt use
  • Alcohol use
  • Night driving
  • Carrying other teen passengers

Effective legal representation in Los Angeles

Graduating licensing provisions and nighttime driving restrictions have proven effective in curbing accident risks among teenage drivers, but their share of overall crash fatalities remains extremely high. Under California law, teens under the age of 18 are subject to provisional restrictions that limit driving hours for their first 12 months. In addition, teen drivers younger than 18 are not permitted to use electronic devices while driving — including “hands-free” mode. If a provisionally licensed teenager causes a car accident in California, the parents may held legally liable for the resulting injuries and losses.

Protect your rights after an accident — contact Salamati Law to discuss your legal options with a skilled car accident lawyer today. Dial 888-259-4060 to set up a complimentary consultation in our Los Angeles office.

Resources:

  1. CDC, Graduated Driver Licensing Night Driving Restrictions and Drivers Aged 16 or 17 Years Involved in Fatal Night Crashes — United States, 2009–2014 http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6529a1.htm
  2. SCPR.org, Teen drivers FAQ: What are the rules in California? http://www.scpr.org/news/2014/10/06/47202/teen-driver-faq-what-are-the-rules-for-provisional/
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