December 2011 Archives

2010 Statistics Released by NHTSA Totaling Car Accidents in Kennett, Nation

More than 800 people died in car accidents in Kennett and elsewhere in Missouri in 2010. While this is a 7 percent decrease from the previous year, the slight decrease illustrates that even more needs to be done to help to ensure the safety of motorists in our roadways.
mNQzNTA.jpg
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released statistics for the 2010 totals of traffic accidents throughout the U.S. Through the entire year, nearly 33,000 people died in car accidents around the nation. The NHTSA reports that in 2010, we saw the lowest number of traffic fatalities since 1949. While the Administration is patting everyone on the back for lower numbers than 2009, it's important to point out that there were increases in quite a few accident scenarios.

Our Kennett car accident attorneys understand the risks among motorcycle riders, bicyclists and pedestrians actually increased significantly. We also noticed that the number of fatal accidents grew through the last part of the year. This signifies the struggles we'll face on our roadways as the economy recovers. When there's a better economy, more people travel and more accidents are likely to happen. Motorists are urged to drive defensively to help to reduce these numbers. Driver awareness is one of the most important ways that motorists can be proactive, making accidents less likely.

"While we have more work to do to continue to protect American motorists, these numbers show we're making historic progress when it comes to improving safety on our nation's roadways," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The NHTSA is using new tools to help track even more types of car accidents. As technology continues to evolve, distracted driving-related car accidents occur more often on our roadways. In 2010, nearly 3,100 people lost their lives because of car accidents involving a distracted driver. Because of this increase, the NHTSA created "distraction-affected crashes," a new measure to keep track of these accidents. Of late, the most common distractions are cell phones and text messaging devices, but there are plenty of others: eating, drinking, interacting with passengers, reading road maps, playing with the radio, applying makeup, etc.

The Administration is also using the new "alcohol-impaired driving crashes" measure to track alcohol-related accidents. These types of accidents still account for roughly 30 percent of all fatal car crashes.

Continue reading "2010 Statistics Released by NHTSA Totaling Car Accidents in Kennett, Nation" »

Motorists Beware: Risks Increase for Car Accidents in Perryville Through Holidays

According to St. Joseph Hospital West, hundreds of people have been killed because of car accidents in Perryville, Kennett and elsewhere in Missouri this year. With the holidays upon us, we can expect not only an increase in the volume of traffic also but an increase in the number of accidents, including fatal accidents on our roadways. Of particular concern is traveling safely through construction zones in Missouri.
n5Pvi6O.jpg
If you or your family are planning a trip through the state over the holiday period, you're urged to check the road conditions in advance. This is a good strategy to help locate the areas that are likely to be congested due to construction projects so that you can plan and act accordingly. Make plans for detours and have other alternate routes available just in case your main plan doesn't work.Use a GPS when possible, but also have printed routes available. Pull off the road to a safe place when using printed maps, though.

Our Perryville car accident attorneys understand that about 75 percent of motorists in Missouri wear a seat belt regularly. This is one of the best precautions that a motorist can take to prevent injury in the event of an accident. Parents are urged to make sure that children are properly buckled in as well. Make sure they're fitted in a seat that's appropriate for their size and age.

Drivers are also asked to curb all potential distractions when behind the wheel during this time of year--meaning no phone calls and no texting. This is most important for teen drivers. These young drivers are most likely to be involved in a distraction-related car accident. It's no secret that they want to socialize with their friends during winter break, but make sure they do it when they're outside the car. Talk to your young driver about the dangers of using a cell phone behind the wheel, especially when driving in busy holiday traffic.

Cell phones and text messaging devices aren't the only distractions you should be concerned with, though. There's also no need for loud music, DVD players, laptops, etc., in the vehicle. There are far too many accidents every year that are blamed on these devices.

Continue reading "Motorists Beware: Risks Increase for Car Accidents in Perryville Through Holidays" »

Elderly Drivers Face Serious Risks for Car Accidents in Dexter, Missouri through Holiday Season

Over the last three years, there have been nearly 550 people killed and more than 3,000 seriously injured in car accidents in Dexter, Perryville and elsewhere in Missouri that involved an older driver. According to the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), drivers over the age of 64 accounted for about 15 percent of the total driving population. These elderly drivers were involved in nearly 20 percent of all fatal traffic accidents and about 12 percent of all accidents resulting in serious injury,
misaPGE.jpg
As our baby boomers age and increase the life expectancy average, the proportion of senior residents in the state is expected to rise from the current 10 percent to nearly 20 percent by 2020.

Our Dexter car accident attorneys understand that MoDOT has a few tricks up its sleeve to help address older driver safety through its older driver intervention program. This program will be promoted throughout Cape Girardeau, Columbia, Springfield, St. Louis and Kansas City. This program includes the following core programs; DriveWell, CarFit, NHTSA Law Enforcement Module, Roadwise Review, and Assessing & Counseling the Older Driver.

DriveWell:

This program is a toolkit that provides comprehensive information to plan, promote and present public information events on the safety of elderly drivers. The kit includes a 20-minute video and a guide to help family members to start the conversation about the safety of the elderly drivers in their lives. DriveWell trainings will be conducted throughout the state. The training is about five hours and each participant will receive a copy of the toolkit.

CarFit:

This is a program that is used to help make sure that elderly drivers fit in their vehicle properly. CarFit comes with a 12-point checklist that a trained professional can review with elderly drivers.

NHTSA Law Enforcement Module

The NHTSA Law Enforcement Module is a course that will be taught by enforcement officers. Videos, handouts, group exercises and simulated traffic stops educate elderly drivers about the importance of safe driving habits. This is a 3.5-hour course.

Roadwise Review

Roadwise Review is a CD program that elderly drivers can use to tune up their driving abilities in the comfort of home. The program will help to identify fitness and health issues that can potentially affect safety on our roadways. The program also points out steps to improve general health for better driving skills, and gives advice about how to discuss driving fitness with a doctor. This is a 45-minute program.

Continue reading "Elderly Drivers Face Serious Risks for Car Accidents in Dexter, Missouri through Holiday Season" »

Law Enforcement Beefs Up During Holidays to Combat Drunk Driving Accidents in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and Elsewhere

Roadway traffic through the holiday season is expected to increase significantly, and with the boost in traffic comes an increase in drunk driving car accidents in Cape Girardeau and elsewhere. To help make the roadways safer, Troop E of the Missouri Highway Patrol will be conducting a number of sobriety checkpoints in the area. According to Captain George E. Ridens, troopers will be administering a number of intoxicated-driving "saturations" in conjunction with sobriety checkpoints in Dunklin County, as well as the counties of Cape Girardeau and New Madrid.
dJBeMs.jpg
"The driving while intoxicated saturation is a mobile operation in which troopers saturate a specific area in an effort to arrest intoxicated drivers," Ridens explained in a statement.

Our Gape Girardeau drunk driving accident attorneys understand that these types of accidents are so prevalent during the holiday season that national organizations are joining the fight. During this time, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) will be celebrating the fifth anniversary of its Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. For this year's efforts, MADD released a new report that rates each state on its efforts to stop alcohol-related traffic crashes. The U.S. as a whole received a ranking of three out of five stars.

"While we've made substantial progress with the Campaign over the past five years, the ratings earned by each state show that there is still much work to be done," said MADD National President Jan Withers.

Missouri received a rating of three out of five stars for its efforts to combat drunk driving. The report said that the expansion of ignition interlock devices for repeat offenders paired with high-visibility law enforcement helped to decrease the number of drunk-driving fatalities in our state by more than 20 percent since the campaign started. Still, the report suggested that we use ignition interlock devices for first-time offenders to reduce the number of accidents even more. Lastly, it was suggested that our government beef up penalties for those who are busted driving drunk with a child in the vehicle.

Continue reading "Law Enforcement Beefs Up During Holidays to Combat Drunk Driving Accidents in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and Elsewhere" »

Texting Teens Focus of Nationwide Campaign to Reduce Risks of Car Accidents in Kennett, Nation

1131636_no_cells.jpg Back in 2009, a Missouri law was enacted to stop drivers who are 21-years-old and younger from texting behind the wheel to help prevent distraction-related car accidents in Kennett, Sikeston, Perryville and elsewhere. Still, there are too many young drivers texting behind the wheel, making the roadways dangerous for everyone. The U.S. Department of Transportation is now stepping in with its "OMG" public service announcement (PSA) campaign to stop the irresponsible and dangerous habit nationwide.

"Young people will be forced to at least keep their fingers off their keyboards while they drive," said Leanna Depue, director of Highway Safety for the Missouri Department of Transportation. "The law is a small step toward counteracting some of the distracted driving that causes crashes in Missouri."

Our Kennett car accident attorneys understand that teenage drivers face higher risks for accidents than any other age group of drivers. These risks are increased by nearly 25 percent when young drivers text at the wheel. To help raise awareness about the risks, dangers and consequences of texting while driving, the USDOT will be airing its "OMG" campaign PSAs at Regal Cinema theaters, gas station pump-top screens and on Distraction.gov through the entire month of December. Officials expect these mediums to reach a majority of young drivers on our roadways, helping to make our roadways safer through the busy holiday travel season.

"Today's teenagers make no secret about the fact that they want to stay connected to their social networks and enjoy text messaging. That's why it's so important that we educate young drivers of the dangers of distracted driving and help them make smart decisions that will keep them safe during the holiday season and beyond," said National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's David Strickland.

With the holidays approaching, teenagers will have winter break and time away from school. During this time, many will venture out on our roadways to visit with friends and family members. The increase in traffic during the holidays already puts them at a greater risk for an accident. Their risks increase even more when they're playing with cell phones and text messaging devices behind the wheel.

Continue reading "Texting Teens Focus of Nationwide Campaign to Reduce Risks of Car Accidents in Kennett, Nation" »

Risks of Parking Lot Accidents in New Madrid Increase with Holiday Traffic

Parking lots are considered to be a part of a business owner's property. These lots are connected to shopping malls, stores, gas stations and other retail facilities. Missouri law states that property owners have an obligation to keep parking lots, ramps, stairwells, sidewalks, etc., safe for public use. When these areas are not properly maintained and hazards are ignored, parking lot accidents in New Madrid, Kennett, Sikeston and elsewhere throughout Missouri are significantly more likely. Many parking lot accidents leave residents with serious injury and an abundance of bills.
mWymxii.jpg
For people who have been injured in a parking facility accident due to the negligence of a property owner or a motorist, it's critical to contact an experienced parking lot attorney in New Madrid. You may be entitled to compensation for damages, including pain, suffering, lost wages and medical bills.

Property owners are required to make parking lots and parking garages as safe as possible. There are a number of preventative measures that should be taken to make these areas safe for the public, especially during the busy shopping season.

Parking lot safety measures:

-Keeping the area free of debris.

-Keeping the surfaces of sidewalks smooth and well maintained.

-Providing pedestrians with crosswalks and sidewalks to keep them safe from vehicular traffic.

-Posting signs to help direct traffic and warn of known dangers.

-Removing snow and ice when present.

-Making sure that all areas are properly lit.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 20 percent of all traffic accidents happen in parking lots. Pedestrians are also warned to be on the lookout for vehicular traffic. Many of these accidents seriously injure pedestrians even though they happen at a low rate of speed. When walking with young children, always hold their hand and keep everyone buckled in the car, even through you're traveling slowly.

With the holiday season approaching, parking lots are expected to be jam packed. If possible, avoid shopping on a Saturday. This is typically when most shoppers head out and parking lots will not only be full, they'll be more dangerous. Try shopping during the weekdays and during the morning hours.

Continue reading "Risks of Parking Lot Accidents in New Madrid Increase with Holiday Traffic" »

Bizarre Greyhound Bus Trip through Southeast Missouri Shows that Regulations and Company Policies Aren't Fool-Proof

Ever wondered what recourse is 1363811_wheels_on_a_bus.jpgavailable when a bus trip turns into a nightmare? What happens to a commercial bus driver when they drive aggressively, or worse, cause a bus accident? A recent situation leaves many questions after a six hour Greyhound bus trip turned into a twelve hour ordeal, when a driver for a usually reputable and safe company violated policies and safety rules.

Federal regulations abound regarding the qualifications, licenses, and physical fitness of commercial vehicle drivers. And most passenger transit companies are reputable, providing safe transport and hiring safe drivers. But all of these rules only work to the point that a driver is willing to follow them.

What recourse is available when a driver fails to follow company policies and federal regulations?

A Bizarre Greyhound Bus Trip
The trip started in Memphis, Tennessee on Friday November 18, 2011. 45 passengers experienced a much longer than anticipated journey, which included unscheduled stops and unsafe behavior exhibited by the driver. The first indication of trouble came when the bus stopped along I-55 near Sikeston, MO. The bus driver, a Greyhound employee since 2004, pulled the bus over to let off a 65 year-old passenger she called unruly.

Continue reading "Bizarre Greyhound Bus Trip through Southeast Missouri Shows that Regulations and Company Policies Aren't Fool-Proof" »

Holiday Season Contributes to Record Numbers of Car Accidents in Kennett and Elsewhere

Data from car accidents in Kennett and elsewhere help researchers to determine which days you're most likely to be involved in a serious crash on our roadways. Unfortunately, the top two days are right around the corner.

During the holiday season, increased travel, weather conditions, and drunk driving-related accidents are common occurrences on our roadways, and contribute to a bulk of the accidents.
mlnq9Bo.jpg
New Year's Day and Christmas Day were the top two most dangerous days to be on our roadways. These times saw the most fatal car accidents on roadways across the U.S. Our Kennett car accident attorneys understand that millions of Americans use the holiday season to catch up with friends and family across the country.

As many residents head out on that holiday car ride, the roads become more congested and your risks for an accident drastically increase. Drivers are urged to be cautions and careful when hitting to road for the holidays.

Most dangerous holidays, from 2008 statistics:

-New Year's Day:
Fatalities: 423.
Average number each year since 1982: 401.
Average percentage of fatal alcohol-related accidents since 1982: 46 percent.

-Christmas Day:
Fatalities: 420.
Average number each year since 1982: 414.
Average percentage of fatal alcohol-related accidents since 1982: 42 percent.

A study conducted by the University of Alabama shows that it's not just the actual holiday days that you have to worry about: it's also the days preceding and following the holidays that often have the highest risk for serious accidents. This time period is when most travelers are heading to or heading from their holiday hot spots.

"There are definitely times to be avoided, especially if bad weather is a possibility," said Dr. Allen Parrish, professor and director of CAPS at The University of Alabama.

Parrish says that drivers should probably avoid driving on the two days after Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and the evening hours of New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. These are some of the most dangerous days on our roadways.

Typically, the days surrounding Christmas are more dangerous than Christmas Day itself. During this time, people are usually either scurrying about time trying to get those last minutes gifts or heading out for family vacations.

Continue reading "Holiday Season Contributes to Record Numbers of Car Accidents in Kennett and Elsewhere" »