Every year on Memorial Day, we take time to honor the brave men and women who lost their lives in the service of our country. Unfortunately, while many holiday weekends carry increased risks for car accidents, this one in particular is considered to be one of the most dangerous for drivers and their passengers on the road. It also marks the start of what Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) calls the start of the 100 Deadliest Days on the road.
Tragic news this past weekend shattered the hearts of two South Carolina parents when they received the news that all parents fear — their daughter has been found dead.
University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson, 21, was leaving the bars Friday night in what she thought was her safe Uber ride home. About 14 hours later, her body was found more than 65 miles away in the woods of South Carolina. Surveillance cameras captured footage of Josephson getting into a black Chevy Impala. That was the last time she was seen alive. The owner of the vehicle, Nathaniel David Rowland, has been arrested and will be charged with kidnapping and murder.
Although texting while driving is already banned in many states, one state is considering taking this safety measure to the next level. Nevada could potentially pass a legislation which would grant law enforcement officers the ability to search through drivers’ cell phone usage history after a car crash.
While drunk driving accidents have been on the decline over the past three decades, many states across the country are starting to strengthening their regulations in the hopes of preventing the reported 11,000 people killed in such accidents nationwide.
Last December, Utah lowered their legal driving blood alcohol content limit to 0.05% in hopes of decreasing the amount of D.U.I arrests. At an average of 30 D.U.I arrests/day, Utah already holds the record for the lowest number of daily D.U.I. arrests across the country. Already recognized as the most heavily restricted state for alcohol distribution/consumption, this new legislation has angered many, including those from the American Beverage Institute, a trade group that is working with bars and restaurants against the new law. “Someone with a 0.05% blood alcohol level is not meaningfully impaired,” says the managing director, Sarah Longwall.
For the third year in a row, there have been more than 40,000 traffic deaths throughout the United States. Although this number is startlingly high, there has been a slight downward trend over the past two years.
In 2017, the traffic death toll of 40,231 decreased by slightly less than 1% compared to 2016’s count of 40,327. The National Safety Council reports that 2018 is down another 1% with an estimated 40,000 traffic fatalities.
Everyone is talking about the latest Netflix original movie, Bird Box. (For those who have not seen it yet, don’t worry, we won’t release any spoilers.) In the film, the characters must navigate through the world while remaining blindfolded. The internet took this idea and ran with it, thus giving birth to “The Bird Box Challenge.” This meme is centered around performing everyday tasks all the while, you guessed it, remaining blindfolded. Unfortunately, one risky individual took this challenge to the streets.
Adolescents are known to take chances, succumb to peer pressure, overestimate their abilities, and have emotional mood swings. Each of these behaviors can increase the likelihood for the teenage driver to be involved in an automobile crash. Investigations have shown that “the cause of teenage crashes is not the skill with which they can drive, but the judgment they exercise while driving,” according to an editorial in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
For most counties in Texas, students went back to school in August. Teachers, parents, and kids of all ages likely geared up for the summer to fall transition for weeks.
Returning to school not only means getting back in the classroom, but also the return to playgrounds, gymnasiums, forms of travel, and sports. While recess and extracurricular activities are often referred to as the “fun” part of school for many, they are also the setting for the potential of numerous accidents and injuries.
According to research conducted by the National SAFE KIDS Campaign (NSKC), an estimated 2.2 million children ages 14 and younger sustain school related injuries each year.
Many of these unintentional injuries are often caused by negligence, such as lack of adequate teacher supervision or poorly maintained facilities. In fact, lack of supervision is associated with 40 percent of playground injuries.
Among elementary school students, playgrounds are associated with the majority of injuries, and for secondary school students, athletics — including both physical education classes and organized sports — account for most injuries.
School bus-related accidents, often involving child pedestrians, also account for many injuries.
Common causes of these accidents and injuries include:
- Failure to regularly maintain school equipment and facilities
- Failure to properly train school staff to supervise children and administer emergency first aid and CPR when necessary
- Asphalt, concrete, grass, and soil surfaces under playground equipment, as opposed to loose-fill materials such as shredded rubber, mulch, and fine sand
- Failure to ensure children play on age-appropriate playground equipment
- Failure to use appropriate safety equipment for sports activities
- Failure to group children according to skill level, size, and physical maturity, especially for contact sports
- A school bus driver’s failure to see children attempting to enter or exit the bus
- Other drivers’ failure to obey school bus stop signs
Too often, parents and teachers blame children’s injuries on children’s behavior rather than their surroundings; however, budget cuts and overcrowding in Texas schools may not only diminish the quality of education received by students, but also may affect the safety and integrity of the environment in which they learn and interact.
By holding schools accountable for student accidents, concerned parents can help ensure schools take proper measures to protect children from injuries in the future.
Statistics show that teens are among the most dangerous drivers. This is not news to any of us. Many teens are just irresponsible, while others simply don’t have the experience necessary to be good drivers. The fact is that drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are the most dangerous drivers. According to the National Traffic Safety Administration, for each mile driven, teen drivers are approximately four times fore likely to be involved in an accident with another driver. They’re also involved in four times more fatal accidents than drivers between the ages of 25 and 69. Teens account for about ten percent of the population, and twelve percent of all fatal car wrecks.
So given these statistics, the question becomes, “Who is liable for these driving mistakes – the teen, the owner of the vehicle or the teen’s parents?” The following are some situations to consider when answering that question.
A Teen Crashes a Family Vehicle
Chances are, a teen is driving a vehicle that’s owned by the parents or guardian, who can be held liable for “negligent entrustment.” Further, most states will hold parents liable for damages while driving a family car under what is known as the “family car doctrine.” But even if states don’t have this doctrine, parents may be found negligent and responsible for the damages.
A Teen Crashes a Friend’s Car
If a friend owns a car and allows a teen to drive it, that person may be held liable for damages if the teen is involved in an accident. This is called “owner’s liability” in some states. A driver injured by the teen may sue both the teen and the vehicle owner. However, chances are the owner or his insurance company may end up paying for damages.
An Uninsured Teen Is in a Crash
Often insurance plans have a separate policy for uninsured motorists. This is beneficial for victims, and also means that insurance companies may make the teen pay for damages. If the teen driver is on the vehicle owner’s insurance policy, both parties’ insurance companies would work out the claims based on the owner’s policy limits and coverage of damages.
But with this scenario, injured parties and their insurance companies can sue any of the parties involved – owners, teen drivers, parents – to collect damages to themselves, their vehicle or their property.
If you live in the Dallas area and have had an accident involving an uninsured teen, your next step should be to contact a Dallas car accident attorney.