Car insurers were surprised by the steep rise in crashes during the first half of 2015. According to a news report in The Wall Street Journal, industry executives say there has been a 14 percent leap in fatal accidents that are being tracked by the nonprofit, National Safety Council (NSC). The report also says that the economic recovery and lower gas prices have encouraged a greater number of people to drive more miles. Insurers Geico and Allstate are raising premiums to offset the expenses associated with the new accident claims. Geico, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has experienced a decline in second-quarter profits because of the jump in car accidents and the increased number of related payouts.
Over the last decade, fatal car accidents have been declining because of more consistent use of seatbelts, tougher enforcement of drunk driving laws and increase in the production of vehicles with better safety features such as electronic stability control and airbags. But, in 2015, road travel increased 3.5 percent which may be due to the fact the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.1 percent and gas prices have declined nationwide, based on the news article. Also, with the recent uptick in fatality statistics, for the first time since 2007, auto accident deaths in the United States are expected to exceed 40,000.
Texting and Driving
Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett links the 14 percent increase in fatal crashes in 2015 to a rise in motorists texting while driving. Distracted driving, especially the use of smartphones to talk, text, check emails, social media alerts and watch videos, on the road may be a major contributor that may have been overlooked, Buffett says. According to NSC estimates, one in four crashes involves cell phone use.
Safety advocates say driving distractions go well beyond the lure of the cell phone. There are a host of other devices we have now, from infotainment systems and small tablets to games and navigation. There is clearly a temptation to fiddle with these devices. Laws have yet to catch up. No state bans all cell phone use while driving.
The Dangers of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving comes in many forms. Some common examples of distracted driving include texting, using a cell phone, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading, looking at maps or a navigation system, watching a video and adjusting a radio or CD player. Texting is said to be the worst of all distractions because it requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver.
Imagine this scenario. Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph that is enough time to cover the entire length of a football field. In 2013 alone, 3,154 people were killed nationwide in car accidents involving distracted drivers. While the number represents a 6.7 percent decrease in the number of fatalities recorded in 2012, the number of injury accidents was greater. Unfortunately, 424,000 people were injured in 2013, which is an increase from the 421,000 people who were injured in 2012.
So, what can be done to curb these types of deadly accidents? The best way to prevent texting while driving is to put your phone away, keeping it out of sight and out of reach. Turn your cell phone off when you are driving. If you must keep your phone on, do not respond to phone calls, texts or emails until you have reached your destination. Map out your route before you start driving so you won’t have to constantly look at your navigation system when you are driving. Recent studies have shown that even hands-free cell phone use can be distracting while driving.
The element of negligence is crucial in an injury car accident case. In personal injury cases, plaintiffs have the burden of proof, which means they must establish that the other party was negligent in some way. This is why the services of a skilled attorney will prove invaluable. Victims who have been injured by distracted drivers have legal rights. Distracted driving amounts to negligence. Injured victims in such cases can seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options. For over 43 years, our skilled accident attorneys have a proven track record of helping injured victims get fair compensation for their losses. Our law firm recently recovered $5,600,000 for a man who was hit by a van, and $2,550,000 for another victim of a truck accident, and $3,000,000 for a pedestrian who was hit by a car.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury cases in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:
1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES
Please visit us at: www.WORK4YOULAW.com
Source: Wall Street Journal
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