Car accidents and traffic collisions result in the death of thousands of individuals each year in the United States. Additionally, millions of people are injured each year in car crashes throughout the country. Even though federal and state agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private foundations and companies continue to educate motorists about dangerous driving decisions that can lead to a catastrophic car accident, millions of motorists continue to ignore the danger.
The California car accident lawyers of The Thompson Law Office witness first-hand the devastation and destruction caused by dangerous driving behaviors. Our legal team fights for the legal rights of individuals who have been injured by a negligent or careless driver. If you have been injured in a traffic accident, contact our office for a free consultation by calling 1-650-513-6111.
Doing Our Part to Educate the Public About Dangerous Driving Decisions
We want to do our part to educate the public about dangerous driving behaviors that can lead to a traffic accident. With that purpose in mind, our lawyers discuss four of the most dangerous driving habits that can lead to traffic fatalities and catastrophic injuries on California roads.
In this article, our California personal injury attorney discusses:
- Drowsy Driving Accidents
- Speeding Accidents
- Alcohol-Impaired Accidents
- Distracted Driving Accidents
Drowsy Driving Accidents
Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. The impairment of a person’s driving abilities can be as severe when they are drowsy as it is when they are legally intoxicated. In 2017, 795 people died in drowsy driving accidents in the United States. Tens of thousands of people are injured in fatigue-related crashes each year.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to know if the estimates of injuries and deaths caused by drowsy drivers are grossly under-estimated because drivers do not admit when fatigue or sleepiness causes a traffic accident. Dr. David Yang of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety states that “Drowsy driving is a bigger traffic safety issue than federal estimates show.” According to one study, researchers estimated that almost ten percent of crashes involve a drowsy driver, while federal estimates place that figure at one to two percent.
Unfortunately, many Americans do not get the recommended number of hours of sleep each night, making drowsy driving a serious threat. Individuals who may be at a higher risk of a drowsy driving accident include:
- Night shift employees
- Truck drivers
- Swing shift employees
- Student and teen drivers
- Individuals with untreated sleep disorders, including sleep apnea
- Individuals taking certain types of medication, including OTC medications
- Drivers who have been consuming alcohol
The NHTSA provides resources and information about drowsy driving on its website. You can find information about the warning signs of drowsy driving, how to avoid drowsy driving, and links to additional resources regarding drowsy and fatigued driving.
Speeding is another serious driving problem in America. In 2017, speed-related crashes killed 9,717 individuals, which accounted for approximately 26% of the traffic deaths that year. Speeding is a deadly driving decision for several reasons. When a driver is speeding or driving too fast for conditions, there is a(an):
- Increased chance for life-threatening and severe injuries;
- Greater chance that the driver may lose control of the vehicle;
- Increase in the distance required to come to a complete stop; and,
- Decrease in the effectiveness of occupant protection systems.
Drivers may ignore safe speed limits for a variety of reasons. In a recent survey, almost one-half of the drivers admitted to exceeding the speed limit by 15 mph on the freeway and 10 mph on residential streets. Ninety-three percent of the respondents stated that they regularly see individuals speeding on the freeway, while 85 percent of the respondents stated they regularly see drivers speeding through residential areas.
Despite the high number of drivers who admit to speeding, very few drivers find speeding an acceptable driving behavior. Less than one-quarter of the people find speeding on the freeway acceptable, while only 14 percent of the respondents find speeding through residential areas acceptable. If the majority of drivers view speeding as unacceptable, why do so many drivers speed?
Running late and annoyance with traffic are two of the common reasons why drivers speed. However, many drivers ignore speed limits because they have a blatant disregard for traffic laws and the safety of others.
The NHTSA provides information about speeding and speed-related accidents on its website. You can find information about how to deal with speeding and aggressive drivers on the website.
Even though there was a slight decline (1.1%) in the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2017, drunk driving continues to be a problem. In 2017, 10,874 people lost their lives in drunk driving accidents, while thousands of people were severely injured in DUI accidents. Drunk driving crashes accounted for 29% of the traffic fatalities during 2017. Sadly, many people believe they can operate a motor vehicle safely while intoxicated. They are wrong!
A driver with a BAC of .02 experiences a decline in visual functions and the ability to perform two tasks simultaneously. When a person’s BAC reaches .05, there is a reduction in coordination and response time to driving situations. The person may also have difficulty steering and tracking moving objects. By the time the person reaches a BAC of .08 (the legal limit), the person’s has problems with concentration, short term memory loss, controlling the speed of the vehicle, processing information, and perception.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal. Drunk drivers who cause a DUI accident in California face severe criminal penalties. However, a drunk driver may also be held liable for civil damages if a DUI accident causes injuries and damages. You can recover compensation for a drunk driving accident by filing an insurance claim against the drunk driver’s insurance coverage. You may also seek relief by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. You may also have a claim under DRAM shop laws against the establishment that served the alcohol to the driver.
You can get more information about alcohol-impaired driving accidents and how to avoid drunk driving on the NHTSA website.
Distracted Driving Accidents
Distracted driving continues to be one of the most common and most dangerous driving behaviors that motorists engage in each day throughout the United States. In 2017, 3,166 people were killed in distracted driving accidents. Nine percent (9%) of the fatal crashes in 2017 were reported as distraction-related crashes. However, just like other dangerous driving behaviors, that figure could be grossly underestimated as a driver is unlikely to report that a distraction was the cause of the crash, especially if the distraction is against the law (i.e. texting while driving).
A distraction is anything that takes your focus off the task of operating the motor vehicle. Something as simple as talking to a passenger or daydreaming could be a deadly distraction. Common distractions that can cause traffic accidents include:
- Eating and drinking
- Talking on a cell phone
- Putting on makeup or grooming
- Changing clothes
- Emailing and texting
- Adjusting vehicle controls
- Programming a GPS
- Taking care of children
- Reaching for objects
- Watching or making videos
- Taking pictures and selfies
While any activity could be considered a deadly distraction, distractions involving all three elements of distracted driving are usually the deadliest driving behaviors.
It is estimated that 80 percent of the subscribers to wireless services use their cell phones while driving. Using a cell phone while driving requires you to take your hands off the steering wheel, look away from the road, and focus on another task. When you combine all three distractions, the risk of a distracted driving accident increases substantially. Even though California has banned texting while driving and hand-held cell phone use while driving, many drivers continue to use their cell phones while driving placing the drivers and all others on the road at risk for a distracted driving accident.
Individuals who choose to place others at risk of injury by choosing to engage in this dangerous driving behavior can be held liable for the damages arising from a distracted driving accident. Are you guilty of distracted driving? AAA Exchange has a great deal of information about distracted driving on its website, including ways you can avoid distracted driving, the risks of distracted driving, and research related to distracted driving.
Contact a California Car Accident Attorney for a Free Case Review
The attorneys of The Thompson Law Office offer free case reviews for accident victims and their families.
During your no-obligation, free consultation with a California personal injury lawyer, you learn more about the compensation available for accident victims who are injured because a driver engaged in dangerous driving behaviors. You may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries, damages, and losses including:
- Medical Expenses
- Loss of Income
- Pain and Suffering
- Future Damages
- Scarring and Disfigurement
- Physical, Occupational, and Vocational Therapy
- Personal Care
- Other Damages Related to the Accident, Your Injury, and Your Recovery
Contact our office to speak with one of our experienced injury lawyers in California. Call 1-650-513-6111 now to schedule a time to discuss your legal options with an experienced traffic accident attorney.