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San Jose personal injury attorneyGetting into a car accident can be terrifying. In the moments after an accident, most people are not considering the financial cost the accident will bring. However, after the accident is over and their injuries have been treated, the question of expense arises. If you have been hit by a distracted driver, you may wonder whether or not you have a valid personal injury claim. There are many factors which can contribute to the success or failure of accident injury claims. If you have been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, read on to learn more.

Drivers Texting and Driving Are Usually Considered Negligent

Texting and driving has become a serious danger in the United States. A shocking number of car accidents are directly linked to distracted, including texting or otherwise using a cell phone while driving. The statistics involving the dangers of distracted driving are sobering. Over 1000 people are injured every day in traffic accidents involving a distracted driver and approximately nine individuals die from these accidents each day.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving at any one point in the day. Texting and driving is expressly illegal in California. The Wireless Communications Device Law states that drivers must not write, send, or read text messages while driving. Bluetooth technology or other hands-free devices may be used by drivers 18 years old and older, but certain restrictions still apply. If you can prove that the diver who hit you was illegally using his or her phone or other electronic device when the accident occurred, you will likely have a successful personal injury suit. 

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San Jose personal injury attorneysFor years now, public awareness campaigns have been reinforcing the inherent danger of cell phone use while driving. In fact, one could argue that the war against texting and driving is nearly equivalent to the anti-drunk driving efforts of the 1980’s. Today, 47 states and the District of Columbia have instituted complete bans on texting while driving, while Texas and Missouri maintain bans for younger drivers. Only Montana and Arizona have no laws prohibiting such mobile device use. However, a new study suggests that simply hearing a cell phone notification may be just as distracting as actually using the device.

Interesting Research

Conducted by researchers at Florida State University, the study was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. Lead author Cary Stothart and his team examined the impact to an individual’s attention caused by a cell phone notification—either an audible tone or vibration—while performing a task that demanded concentration. Using a non-driving computer project, test subjects were asked to perform an attention-intensive task twice. During the second round, participants received either a call, a text, or no notification, but were not permitted answer the call or read the message. The subjects were not aware that the texts and calls were part of the study.

According to the team’s results, participants who received notifications were three times more likely to make mistakes on the task that those that did not receive a call or text. Those who received calls were the most distracted of any group. When compared with similar studies related to actual cell phone use, the effect of the simple notification was found to very comparable to the distraction created by talking on the phone or texting.

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Posted on in Car Accidents

Santa Clara County personal injury attorneyGetting into a car accident can have devastating consequences for those in the vehicles affected. Astoundingly, almost 1.3 million people die each year in car accidents and an additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled. Whenever a person gets into a vehicle, they are taking a risk. Drivers can lessen the risk that they will get into an accident by never driving after consuming drugs or alcohol, avoiding distractions like cell phones, and keeping a lookout for careless drivers. There are many things that can trigger a car accident, but you may be surprised as to the main causes of such accidents.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has become a more serious problem every year. Having the world at our fingertips on a cell phone has made it more tempting than ever to take your eyes off of the road. The National Safety Council reports that 1.6 million crashes each year are caused by distracted drivers. In fact, distracted driving is so dangerous that 1 out of 4 of all car accidents are caused by it.

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San JOse distracted driving accident lawyerAccording to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, distracted driving behaviors such as reading a text, making a call, or simply changing the radio station while driving causes at least 12 percent of car accidents worldwide and 14 percent of U.S accidents. A recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology has shed even more light on the subject. Ole Johansson, a researcher at Norway's Institute of Transport Economics, led the study that sought to identify which demographic of people was most likely to engage in dangerous distracted driving.

A Revealing Survey

Young men, frequent drivers, and those with neurotic and extroverted personalities were found to be the most likely to be dangerously distracted while driving. Older women were the least likely group of people to be distracted. The researchers acknowledged that their findings might be slightly skewed, however, because their method relied on self-reporting.

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San Jose personal injury attorneyOver the last week, national headlines have been abuzz with the story of an 18-year-old California woman who was broadcasting a video live to social media while behind the wheel. During the course of filming the video, she lost control of her car, resulting in an accident that killed the woman’s sister—and the whole thing was immediately posted to Instagram.

Despite warning after warning and countless advertisements and public safety messages, some drivers cannot seem to resist the temptation to use their cell phones while driving. Many convince themselves that it is fine to send a quick text message or read an email. In reality, however, using a hand-held cell phone while driving is simply unsafe.

Fatal Accident in Los Banos

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San Jose personal injury attorney, holiday travel, distracted drivingWhen traveling from one destination to another, it is not uncommon to witness a driver talking or texting on his or her smartphone, applying makeup, or reaching into the backseat to assist a child. All of these distractions take a driver's concentration off of the road. However, the addition of the holidays can bring about an increase in distractions, drunk driving, and vehicle accidents

Plan for Other Distracted Drivers

During the holiday travel season you may encounter drivers who are distracted by more than a smartphone or child. Distractions may include the following:

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San Jose car accident attorneysYou read that correctly; certain driving behaviors can actually increase your chances of being in a collision by four hundred percent. According to the California Highway Patrol, distracted driving behaviors--particularly the use of a cell phone--increases your chance of being in a car accident by 400 percent, and makes it 23 times more likely for you to be at risk for collision. Those are pretty astonishing statistics, but the fact that so many drivers continue to text and talk on their phones while driving sadly implies such driving behaviors are not taken very seriously.

Dangerous Driving Behaviors that Put You and Others in Harm’s Way

Sending one single text requires the average person 4.6 seconds of their time, and driving at 65 miles per hour and texting for a mere three seconds is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field completely blindfolded. Although using your cell phone in any way, shape, or form while behind the wheel is the most dangerous and the most commonly talked about distracted driving habit, other behaviors such as eating, interacting with other passengers, and fidgeting with the radio put you at serious risk for accident and injury as well.

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hands free devices, California personal injury lawyerDistracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in California. The state prohibits drivers from using handheld cellphones while driving. It has had the cellphone ban on the books since 2008. But a recent study shows that using a hands-free device like a Bluetooth headset may not make driving any safer.

Distracted Driving Studies

Researchers at the University of Colorado examined data from California before and after the ban on handheld cell phone use. It discovered that the ban had no significant impact on the number of traffic accidents. Other studies have repeatedly shown that drivers using hands free devices are just as distracted when driving as drivers holding cell phones in their hands while driving.

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Distracted driving is a plague in California and throughout the country. And it isn't just teens who engage in the reckless driving behavior of, for example, sending text messages behind the wheel. Even experienced, supposedly responsible drivers are often guilty of driving while distracted.

Now that we are about a week into April, it's time to alert drivers to the fact that this month is Nation Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The California Highway Patrol is participating in the nationwide safety effort by providing warnings and education to the driving public.

It all began with a focus on California teen drivers this week. Young drivers are not only inexperienced but generally more attached to the conveniences of their cellphones. Therefore, starting by alerting them to the proven dangers of distracted driving is a strategic plan. Traffic accidents are a primary cause of teen deaths in California and the U.S. and cellphones contribute to the danger all too often.

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Our last few posts have really focused on the issue of teen drivers and distracted driving, but for good reason. Teen drivers, as a group, are at the highest risk of car accident because of their lack of driving experience, and distracted driving is becoming as much of a road safety menace as drunk driving. When the two are combined the risk of getting into a crash dramatically increases and so does the danger for other drivers.

Recently, a Massachusetts teenager was found guilty for his role in a deadly car accident caused by texting and driving. While the case is outside of California, it demonstrates how quickly distracted driving can turn deadly and how cellphone records can be used against a driver suspected of fault.

In February 2011, the teen driver, who was 17 years old at the time, was texting when his car cross the center line and hit another car head-on. The 55-year-old father driving the other vehicle was killed during the accident and two of his passengers suffered serious injury.

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A couple posts ago we wrote about the frequency with which teen drivers use their cellphones while behind the wheel. Although more than half admitted to texting while driving, the majority also recognized distracted driving as a danger while driving. According to a different survey, peer pressure may, in part, be responsible for the growing recognition of car accident risk.

A new survey conducted by Consumer Reports may demonstrate that the presence of teen passengers may discourage teen drivers from picking up their cellphones while driving. Parents are already well in tune with the dangers of peer pressure for a teen driver, but that same peer pressure may reduce one form of teen driving safety risk.

According to the survey, about half of teen drivers say when there are friends in the car that they are less likely to text or talk on a cellphone, and almost half of the surveyed teens said they had asked a friend to put down his or her cellphone while driving for safety reasons. Therefore it seems that using a cellphone while driving is holding less and less appeal among teenagers.

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An auto accident can be a truly devastating experience. While minor fender benders might be little more than a small inconvenience, a severe crash can be life changing, and even deadly. Victims often lose weeks or months from their lives, and the consequences of an accident can affect the quality of their life circumstances for years to come.

Car accidents tend to occur most often at intersections, i.e. spots where two or more roads going in different directions cross one another. This is because intersections are places where cars can be heading directly toward one another, and the potential for conflict during activities such as turning left or right, or crossing lanes is high.

Efforts are now being made to study intersections, especially in areas that seem to be accident-prone. The National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey collects data, information and statistics related to accidents and crash scenes. As time goes by, patterns and tendencies related to accidents are gradually being identified. The goal of data collection is to be able to determine the factors that tend to contribute most to the occurrence of auto accidents so that more accidents can be avoided and the number of serious injuries and fatal intersection accidents lessened.

The accident data collected tends to focus on these main factors

  • Gender and age of driver
  • Traffic control device at the intersection
  • Driver distractions
  • Traffic violations by drivers

If you have been injured in an intersection-related car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Speak to a San Jose personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal options.

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Being injured in a traffic accident is undoubtedly a traumatic event. Even if you aren't seriously hurt, you're likely to experience some degree of shock in the aftermath. You may also feel angry at the person who caused the accident if you're not at fault. But no matter how upset you are, you should resist the urge to take revenge immediately after the crash.

That's precisely what happened after a motorcycle accident last month in Belmont, California. A San Jose man driving a Toyota Prius was traveling north on Highway 101 when he came upon a group of more than 20 motorcycles in the fast lane. He decided to use his cellphone to record video of the group, but he failed to notice when traffic slowed down. As he swerved suddenly to avoid the vehicles in front of him, he struck one of the motorcycles, bounced off the center divider and hit another motorcycle. Another two motorcyclists lost control of their bikes as they tried to avoid the crash.

The Prius driver got out of his car, which was stopped in a center lane of the highway. According to witnesses, that's when some of the uninjured motorcyclists approached and began punching him in the head. At one point the driver was also threatened with a knife, California Highway Patrol officers said.

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In its role as a top wireless phone provider in the country, AT&T has started a campaign to end texting while driving by all drivers with an emphasis on teen drivers. The program has been christened "Texting & Driving . . . It Can Wait."

"Many people don't realize how big a risk they are taking every time they take their eyes off the road," said Ken McNeely, President of AT&T California. "But the reality is, they are risking not only their own lives, but the lives of others, every time they send or read a text while driving. It is a serious issue that has a simple solution: just don't do it."

May 14, 2012 AT&T released results of a poll that they conducted among teen drivers in the United States. The results are of great concern.

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An estimated 2 million car accidents each year have an avoidable cause: proper use of turn signals. Although using a turn signal to make a turn or change lanes may seem like a simple procedure, a study from the Society of Automotive Engineers shows that the procedure is often neglected.

Drivers are especially prone to neglecting their turn signals during lane changes. Statistic reveal drivers neglect their signals 48 percent of the time, either by not turning them on prior to a change or not turning them off when a change has been completed.

Signal neglect while making a turn is lower than during a lane change, but no less hazardous. Statistics show drivers fail to use their turn signals while making a turn about 25 percent of the time. That means one out of every four turns carries an increased risk of a car accident due to simple neglect on the part of the driver, an increased risk that could cause injury to others on the roadways.

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For the past few years, much has been made regarding the dangers of using cellphones while driving in California. However, not all of the news surrounding this subject is bad. In fact, a new study has given people in San Jose and elsewhere in California a cause for celebration. California's ban on using cellphones while driving is preventing car accidents-less people are getting injured, and the law is saving lives.

During the four years since the law was first passed, traffic fatalities have decreased by 22 percent according to the study, with a stunning decrease of 47 percent in deaths where the responsible driver was using a hand-held cellphone. Other studies about the California law confirm the downward trend between the ban and car crash-related deaths.

One study in particular analyzed deaths both two years before and two years after the ban, showing that overall a significant drop occurred in motor vehicle-related deaths and injuries, as a result of the ban. A survey conducted by the state in 2011 noted that of those responding, 40 percent admitted that since the ban went into effect, they talk less on their phones when behind the wheel.

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Because of the high number of car accidents caused by distracted driving, April is observed as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month to focus attention on the problem. Statistics show that in California, as well as nationwide, motorists who have their attention diverted from the road by such things as receiving and sending texts or making cell phone calls often end up in serious accidents.

California has adopted laws outlawing talking on handheld cell phones or texting while behind the wheel. The California Highway Patrol has announced that it will observe the month by enforcing a renewed crackdown on these practices by motorists, along with the cooperation of approximately 200 local law enforcement departments.

They believe that the legal ban on driving while texting or calling has been a factor in the 22 percent decline in traffic fatalities in the two years since its enactment. Distractions, a spokesman for the CHP asserts, turn a normally good driver into the equivalent of a "zombie" behind the wheel, unable to react in time to highway dangers and changing traffic conditions.

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One of the main criticisms of the texting and driving laws being passed nationwide is that they can be hard to enforce. Not only is it difficult for law enforcement officers to detect and prove a driver's texting, but GPS methods of tracking cellphone use can't discern whether the phone user is a driver or passenger.

But a West Coast physicist may have found a solution. If proven effective, it could allow police and prosecutors to enforce texting bans and prove a driver was distracted in the event of a car accident caused by texting.

While thinking about ways to address the risk of his own daughters texting behind the wheel, the physicist wondered if the pattern of the texting would appear distracted if done by a driver. Tests showed he was right: The pattern of pushing buttons on a phone by someone who's driving is distinctly more chaotic than someone who's not distracted.

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When California passed its law forbidding drivers from using handheld cellphones in 2008, there was plenty of uproar. Opponents called the law unfair, saying there were many more distractions causing car accidents than cellphones alone. This is undoubtedly true: Eating, makeup application and passengers did then and still do present a hazard for drivers in California. But the elimination of one of these distractions has led to a significant decline in fatal crashes.

According to a study by the state Office of Traffic Safety, the total number of traffic fatalities in the state declined by 22 percent since the law went into effect. And the number of deaths attributed to cellphone use by drivers decreased by a whopping 47 percent. The figures are remarkable considering the number of times the hands-free cellphone bill failed to pass. State Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, submitted a version of the bill for five consecutive years and was shot down every time before the Legislature finally passed the bill in 2006.

Many naysayers of the bill claimed it would be impossible to enforce, and it's true that some drivers still manage to get away with holding a phone to their ear. But in the first year the law was in place, the California Highway Patrol reported 700 fewer fatal accidents and 75,000 to 100,000 fewer collisions. The numbers surprised even those who supported the bill.

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In our last post we touched on the dangers that can arise from being distracted by a cellphone or other electronic device. But that hasn't stopped automakers from coming up with new reasons to take our eyes off the road.

Safety experts warn that "next-generation vehicles" allowing drivers to multitask could lead to even more car accidents. Features that were once only available in luxury models are now becoming standard features in lower-end cars. German manufacturer Daimer AG is working on technology that will allow drivers to read information on the windshield by waving a hand. Want to update your Facebook status? There's a steering wheel button for that. It's estimated that within five years, 90 percent of new cars will come equipped with Internet-connected features.

These advancements aren't thrilling officials at The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which recently proposed new dashboard technology guidelines asking automakers to ensure that the new systems are disabled once a vehicle is moving. But it would be surprising if they listened, given the race among car manufacturers to come up with technology to attract the "millennial generation" -- drivers ages 19 to 31, numbering almost 80 million. A recent survey found that 75 percent of these consumers want touch-screen technology in their cars and almost as many want apps in their dashboard.

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