Articles Tagged with distracted driving

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Distracted Driving Harms LivesDistracted Driving. Why do I write about this topic so frequently? It’s because I talk to people injured in Alabama car accidents on a daily basis. Far too many of them were hurt in crashes caused by a distracted driver.

I’ve reviewed crashes involving lots of different distractions. Drivers distracted by other passengers. Drivers distracted by searching for something in the car. Drivers distracted by social media while driving. I have even worked cases with drivers distracted by watching videos while driving. Many distractions are possible. But, the biggest factor for distracted driving is the cell phone. By far!

I’ve written several past articles about efforts in Alabama to pass a true hands-free law. You can read a couple of them here:

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Alabama Distracted Driving LawyersOver the years, I’ve seen numerous studies showing specific states had higher or lower rates of distracted drivers. The results among different studies are often inconsistent. Different studies lead to different findings. In one, Alabama may be listed as a state with a higher rate of distracted driving. In another study, Alabama may be lower.

These different studies often have a common problem. What is it? It’s the sample. These different studies often sample only a small percentage of drivers in a specific area. A sample of driver activities within the city limits of Huntsville is likely to be very different than a sample from nearby rural Jackson County. It’s not the drivers who make the results different. It’s the driving conditions. The differences are due to traffic volumes and road conditions. How can you take one of these studies and say it reflects driver behavior across an entire state? You cannot.

If you want to understand driver behavior, you really should look at the actual roadway conditions drivers face. Look at specific highway or traffic situations. How do drivers facing specific situations behave?

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On April 26, I wrote a distracted driving post discussing changes due to the coronavirus pandemic. In my post, I asked if drivers were really zooming and driving at the same time. It’s hard to believe somebody would attend a zoom meeting while also driving!

Less than two weeks after my post, a real incident made the news. It’s even worse than imagined. The distracted driver was actually a state legislator. And, he was attending a legislative meeting by zoom while driving. You can read my prior post at:

Zooming And Driving? Did The Pandemic Make Distracted Driving Worse?

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Alabama Personal Injury AttorneysThe Claims Journal recently published an article titled Traffic Returning to Roadways, But Claims Patterns May Shift Permanently. I frequently read the articles on their website — You can learn some fascinating traffic and claim research straight from insurance sources.

The article raises some interesting issues. Will post-pandemic traffic return to pre-pandemic levels? Will the shutdowns from the coronavirus cause lasting changes in our driving habits? Will our roads be safer or more dangerous after the pandemic? We may not fully learn the answers to these questions for months or years.

Some insurance companies are already predicting Americans will drive less on a permanent basis. Other researchers are predicting rush-hour driving will permanently decrease with telework and drivers staggering their trips to different times.

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Untitled-design-2-300x300During the month of April, safety groups focus on the issue of Distracted Driving. Nationwide, April is commonly referred to as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. At our office, distracted driving is a year-round focus. Many of our accident and injury cases involve distracted driving. While most involve a cell phone, not all do.

Has the coronavirus pandemic impacted distracted driving?

During the COVID-19 shutdowns, our roads saw far fewer cars. With school closures and remote workers, morning traffic in Huntsville looked very different. Pre-COVID, traffic coming into Huntsville over Monte Sano was bumper-to-bumper during rush hour. Not so during the shutdowns!

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Add-a-little-bit-of-body-text-200x300 Earlier this week, I was reading an article about a horrible Interstate crash involving a distracted trucker. The article packs several issues — Distracted driving. Bad driving record. Commercial truck crash. Potential punitive damages.

What happened? A car became disabled on the Interstate. Its driver put on her hazard lights, called authorities and waited patiently for help. While waiting, many other vehicles saw the disabled car, slowed and safely passed. The disabled car was clearly visible. Several minutes later, our trucker came down the Interstate. The trucker hit the disabled car without slowing at all. The trucker never even saw the car with its flashers right in plain view. He was not paying attention.

The crash caused terrible injuries. You can only imagine the impact of a full speed eighteen wheeler on a small, stationary car. At our office, we see many distracted driving crashes here in northern Alabama as well. Yet, there’s more to this truck crash. The truck driver in the article had a bad driving record. Why was he allowed to continue driving? The trucker had several prior accidents, including one where he even hit an overpass. And, he had also been cited multiple times for exceeding allowed driving hours. He had a history of being a careless and reckless driver. The trucking company clearly should NOT have allowed him to continue driving its trucks. But, it did. That company knew his record. Because the company knowingly allowed a dangerous driver to continue operating its trucks, it faces potential punitive damages.

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Alabama Accident & Injury LawyersCommercial Truck Crash Death Rates Continue To Climb!

Commercial truck crash death rates continue to grow in the United States. According to recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, deaths are at their highest level in more than 30 years. In 2019, large truck crash deaths increased for the fourth consecutive year. These are very alarming highway statistics.

The trend is deeply troubling. Consider this — Overall highway safety has improved in recent years. Yet, we are seeing more deadly commercial truck accidents. In other words, big truck crash death rates are increasing while most other accident and injury rates are decreasing. This raises the question of why. Why are commercial truck death rates increasing? Why are commercial truck death rates moving in the opposite direction of overall highway safety?

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Huntsville Car Accident Lawyers (Blackwell Law Firm)It’s Christmas season! This weekend, my teenage daughter and I went Christmas shopping. That’s an experience on so many levels. For one, she wanted to drive. She has a Learners’ Permit and is eager to use it. But, the weekend before Christmas is not the best time for a new driver in Huntsville. So, I drove. To curb her disappointment, I promised to take her driving after Christmas when traffic returns to normal.

I’ve written previously about holiday traffic. In a prior post, I asked and answered the question:  Do Car Accidents Increase During The Holiday Season?   A study by the University of Alabama reveals they do. Why? Christmas season brings a special mix of several traffic dangers all at the same time:

  1. Increased Traffic.
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Alabama Car Accident LawyersThe Alabama Legislature has been debating bills that would prohibit the use of handheld devices like cellphones while driving. Last year, Georgia passed a similar hands-free law. Is hands-free safer? Will a hands-free law reduce needless car accidents and injuries in Alabama?

A National Safety Council public opinion poll indicates 80% of drivers believe hands-free devices are safer. Yet, safety experts remain doubtful. The Senior Director of the Transportation Initiative at the National Safety Council had this to say on the topic:

While many drivers honestly believe they are making the safe choice by using a hands-free device, it’s just not true.

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Cellphone DistractionDistracted driving is a frequent topic on my blog. This month is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. So, it’s a perfect time to discuss proposals currently pending in the Alabama Legislature to prevent drivers from holding their cellphone while driving.

Last year, Georgia enacted a hands-free law for drivers. Will Alabama pass similar legislation? As I write this post, I checked the Alabama Legislature information website concerning pending bills. The website lists two hands-free bills currently making their way through the legislative process. I read both bills and they are almost identical. These two pending bills are: HB6 and HB404. You can access the legislative information website HERE.

I’ll focus here on HB6 which was introduced by Representative Allen Farley. If passed, it will be known as Cici’s Law. Local channel WHNT posted an article telling Cici’s story. Cici was 17 and just months shy of graduating from high school. On February 28, 2018, she was driving home from work down Interstate 65. She had a bright future and a loving family. While driving home, she was recording a message on her phone — a Happy Birthday message to a friend. She briefly looked down. When she looked back up, it was too late. She was not speeding. Still, she had no time to stop and went underneath an 18 wheeler stopped in front of her.

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