Category: Auto Accident

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Teens Have Unrealistic Views About Distracted Driving, Study Finds

Distracted driving is a problem that affects even the most experienced drivers, so it’s not surprising that newly-minted teenage drivers – who often have trouble controlling their impulses – are susceptible to driving while distracted.

According to AAA, the most common distractions among teenage drivers are using electronic devices (for both talking and texting), adjusting controls in the car, and eating or drinking.

Teens Don’t Believe Distracted Driving Is a Problem

Despite the research that shows that teenage drivers engage in distracted driving, they believe they are immune to getting into accidents related to their distractions.

“People often believe they drive safely and responsibly, especially our newest drivers,” said Angela Patterson of Bridgestone Americas in a statement. “However, we need to reinforce that it only takes one time – one sip of coffee, one change of the radio station, one glimpse at the cell phone – to cause or be involved in a crash that could have dire consequences.”

In order to collect teenage drivers’ views about distracted driving, Bridgestone surveyed over 2,000 drivers aged 15 to 21. The study, which was recently released in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Transportation, found that:

  • Although 83 percent of respondents agree that texting while driving is “very dangerous,” 27 percent of females and 11 percent of males admit to sending texts while driving. In addition, 38 percent of the female drivers and 17 percent of the male drivers read texts while driving.
  • 18 percent of the teens surveyed say that they engage in distracted driving because everyone else does it.
  • One-quarter of the teens do not think talking on the phone while driving is dangerous.
  • Many teenagers don’t think that taking one hand off the steering wheel to eat, drink or change the radio station counts as a distraction.

In addition, researchers found that many teens believe they are good drivers because they haven’t been pulled over and haven’t gotten into accidents yet. Also, two-thirds of the young drivers say that they believe they are “very safe” drivers.

But statistics don’t support this assertion. Although teens tend to believe that they’re invincible, research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS, shows that motor-vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens aged 13 to 19. In 2009 alone, almost 3,500 teens were killed in car accidents.

Evidence Plays an Important Role in Wisconsin Car-Accident Cases

Car accidents can be devastating. Gathering the evidence needed to make sure the responsible party covers all of the injuries is crucial, and a step that unrepresented victims often underestimate.

Unfortunately, even when it appears obvious who was at fault for an automobile accident, receiving compensation can be difficult. The other driver may change his or her story or the insurance company may refuse to pay. When this happens, lawsuits for negligence or wrongful death may be required in cases, large and small, to collect appropriate compensation.
Proving Negligence in Wisconsin Auto-Accident Cases

When preparing for a negligence case, the injured party generally needs to prove:

The other driver owed a duty of care to the injured party
That duty was not met
The failure to meet that duty resulted in the accident
The accident caused the injury

The first element can be easy to establish since every driver owes all other drivers a duty to drive with reasonable caution. The next element can be more difficult, since the person attempting to win the suit will need to prove that the other driver either violated a Wisconsin traffic law or otherwise failed to operate his or her vehicle safely. Proving this step often goes hand in hand with the third element. For this portion, the victim must prove that the other driver’s failure to operate the vehicle cautiously led to the car accident.

If, for example, the other driver was speeding at the time of the accident, the victim could argue that the other driver’s violation of the Wisconsin speed-limit law was a failure to operate the vehicle with care and led to the accident in question.

Finally, the victim will need to prove that the injury and vehicle damage were the direct result of the accident. Various types of evidence can be used to make this connection, including police reports, medical records and reports from medical experts.
Types of Evidence

A successful lawsuit often hinges on certain crucial evidence. Success requires a combination of gathering the right evidence in the first place and then using it properly in the suit to prove liability for the medical, wage loss, rehabilitative and other expenses of the victim.

A police report provides a fairly trustworthy source of information. It generally includes the police officer’s observations and opinions regarding who was at fault. It is a first step toward developing evidence to prove negligence on the part of the other driver.

The report may also contain physical facts collected during a post-accident investigation. This can include information about skid marks; gouges in the pavement or dirt; damage to guardrails, curbs and other structures; and impact points between the vehicles involved.

Wisconsin state traffic laws give additional weight to an argument that the other driver was responsible for the accident. If, for example, the crash occurred when merging into traffic and the other driver did not obey a yield sign, that driver is likely in violation of Wisconsin’s rules of the road. As a result, the other driver is more likely to be held liable for resulting injuries.

Another valuable piece of evidence relates to the type of accident. If it was a rear-end collision, the driver who strikes the rear of the other vehicle is almost always at fault. This type of crash is fairly easy to prove simply by examining the damage to the vehicles. Left-turn collisions also often result in fault for the driver making the turn since vehicles making these turns are normally required to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic.

Unfortunately, police officers and first responders may not gather enough evidence to build a strong case. Victims can be proactive to help make certain the at-fault drivers are held liable for their actions. Take pictures of the vehicles involved, roadway markings or other relevant things like branches blocking visibility, missing road signs and serious injuries.

When documenting the accident by taking photographs, include some close-range photos to help document specific vehicle damage and injuries.

If injuries were sustained, medical records may prove that the injuries were received from the accident and not pre-existing. It is also a good idea to begin keeping journal entries for any pain and other symptoms experienced after the crash. This may eventually help to prove a long-term injury that will require additional therapy.

The amount of evidence needed to build a strong auto-accident case can seem overwhelming. Contacting an experienced car accident attorney can help not only to ease your mind, but also to better protect your legal rights and remedies because you likely need professional assistance to investigate and gather evidence about the crash, and to build a strong and winnable injury case.

Male motorists ignore the dangers of texting while driving

In recent years, safety and transportation agencies have uncovered a lot of information regarding texting and driving. It is now accepted knowledge that the habit is dangerous, causes car accidents and is common among teen motorists.

What you may not have known is that texting and driving is more accepted among male drivers. Specifically, a recent study that is detailed in the International Journal of Sustainable Strategic Management has confirmed that 80 percent of surveyed college students texted while driving, and of those studied, males were more likely to downplay the known dangers of this practice. The study investigated 120 male and female students on their texting habits and personal views of the practice. Many male motorists believed that they were skilled, experienced drivers and capable of doing both at the same time.

Of course, the male respondents agreed that the practice is dangerous; however, unlike the females surveyed, they also thought they were better at engaging in texting and driving than others.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the study was conducted for the purpose of determining whether there was a documented link between an individual’s impulsiveness and one’s propensity to text and drive.

The results of the study

The study found that on average, students sent 82 texts each day. Female students often sent more messages than males; however, despite females’ impulsiveness with texting, this did not carry over to the road.

Males, conversely, did not text as often. They were not as impulsive with the act of texting, but they did demonstrate less awareness of the dangers associated with texting and driving.

The dangers of texting and driving

Many studies have shown that texting and driving slows reaction times. Also, Americans are simply not good at multitasking (despite beliefs). Several states, including Wisconsin, do not allow texting while driving and other forms of distracted driving. Nevertheless, many people ignore the laws.

Unfortunately, researchers linked with this study are aware of the fact that making laws that prohibit the practice is just not good enough. Too many people – especially young drivers – ignore the warnings. Moreover, as technology continues to grow, it is becoming harder to detach individuals from their phones.

If you have been injured in an accident as a result of another persons negligence or carelessness, take the time to speak to a seasoned personal injury law attorney in the area. A legal professional with experience and knowledge can help you uncover various avenues of recovery.