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San Jose personal injury attorneyMany people consider Memorial Day to be the unofficial start of summer fun. You may have plans to take a boating trip, enjoy a backyard barbeque, or visit family this Memorial Day. Whatever your plans may be, make sure you are always taking steps to keep yourself and your family safe. Memorial Day is considered one of the riskiest days on which to operate a motor vehicle in the United States. The increase in the number of vehicles on the roads plus the common presence of alcohol at Memorial Day celebrations can be a deadly combination. Boating accidents are also common on Memorial Day for similar reasons.

Drunk Driving on Memorial Day

According to The National Safety Council, approximately 400 people may lose their lives in traffic accidents this Memorial Day weekend across the country. This estimate is based on the number of fatal accidents from previous Memorial Day weekends plus other data. Drunk driving is an especially concerning risk factor during this time because many people attend gatherings in which alcohol is served.

If you are planning on driving during the holiday period, make sure to take extra precautions to keep yourself and other motorists safe. Avoid drinking and driving, and always wear a seatbelt. Additionally, keep your eyes open for motorists who are making erratic lane changes, speeding, drifting between lanes, or otherwise driving dangerously as these motorists may be intoxicated.

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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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Every driving decision that someone makes can have an impact on more than just his life. The decision to speed, make an illegal turn or drive drunk puts numerous others at risk of getting hurt or killed in a traffic accident. California law enforcement is trying to prevent irresponsible St. Patrick's partiers from injuring unsuspecting motorists.

There is nothing wrong with finding a reason to celebrate. St. Patrick's Day can be fun, the drinks included. Still, the price of fun must stop being the well-being of others. Police are supposed to be on California roads in full force this weekend in order to try to identify drunk drivers and stop them from causing drunk driving accidents.

Checkpoints will be utilized, as well as saturation patrols and more. One LAPD officer says, "We want everyone to be happy and celebrate, but we're also being realistic, because we know that some people will not be responsible." Irresponsibility regarding drinking and driving often leads to accidents and the related, preventable injuries of innocent people. Last year, reportedly three people died because of DUI crashes around this holiday.

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A man who hit and killed a pedestrian in South Lake Tahoe, California, may have been driving while intoxicated, according to police who are investigating the crash. Accidents like these are especially difficult for a victim's loved ones, who must go on with life knowing that such a devastating loss could have easily been prevented.

The fatal accident occurred Friday evening in front of a fast-food restaurant as a 51-year-old man attempted to cross the street. After he was found lying in the road emergency responders tried to resuscitate him as he was rushed to a hospital, but he was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. Police, meanwhile, questioned the driver, a 49-year-old South Lake Tahoe man, and ultimately arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence.

This wasn't the first time the man had driven drunk, according to police. The man had been previously convicted of DUI and in fact was not supposed to be driving at the time of Friday night's accident because his license had been suspended for the previous offense.

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The state of California has rules that all motorcycle riders must follow. They're required to wear helmets, pass rigorous proficiency tests and even have limits on how high their handlebars can be. Most motorcyclists in the state adhere to the rules, which make for a safer riding experience. Unfortunately, these requirements don't always protect them from reckless drivers.

A 22-year-old Southern California man who loved riding and working on motorcycles was killed earlier this month when another man lost control of his vehicle and ran into him. Police believe the other driver was intoxicated at the time, and that it wasn't his first drunk-driving incident. In addition to felony charges of murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident, he's facing a misdemeanor for driving while his license was suspended for a previous drunk-driving conviction.

The accident happened while the young motorcyclist was heading home from work, riding in the carpool lane on the 105 Freeway. As usual, he was riding legally and complying with all the rules of the road. But a van traveling nearby suddenly went out of control and ran into the motorcycle, pinning the young man against the median. Making matters worse, the van didn't stop after forcing the motorcyclist off his bike, according to the California Highway Patrol. When an officer who witnessed the crash finally pulled over the van, the driver passed out behind the wheel -- clearly intoxicated, the officer said.

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Police officers may be paid to protect and serve the public by enforcing the law, but that doesn't mean that they're immune to it. Law enforcement officers are just as capable of making the same mistakes that civilians do, especially when they're not in uniform. A former officer with the police department in Newport Beach, California, knows this all too well, having been sentenced in court last week.

The 51-year-old Winchester woman, who no longer works in law enforcement but has been working as a private investigator, was convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter in connection with a fatal car accident that happened in November 2011. She was sentenced to nine years in state prison.

According to California Highway Patrol officers who investigated the crash, the woman was driving fast behind another car on Interstate 15 just before 2 a.m. one night when she rear-ended it. The impact forced both cars off the road, through a guardrail and hundreds of feet down a steep hill. The other driver, a 20-year-old man, was killed in the accident and his two passengers were seriously injured. The woman who caused the crash also suffered injuries.

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A young Milpitas, California, man accused of taking the life of another motorist pleaded no contest to gross vehicular manslaughter last week, essentially accepting responsibility for his role in the accident. Although he didn't express remorse or go into the details of the accident, he did admit to inflicting fatal injuries on the victim. This admission could affect the outcome of any civil court proceedings brought by the victim's family.

The accident happened the morning of Aug. 3 on a road with a speed limit of 35 mph. Milpitas police reported that the 24-year-old man who caused the crash was traveling at least 49 mph in his Volvo SUV. He was apparently on his way home from San Jose after a night of drinking and partying. But according to authorities, he hadn't sobered up by the time he collided head-on with another vehicle.

The crash sent both vehicles off the road and into an adjacent park. The car struck a tree after colliding with the SUV, causing massive injuries to the 65-year-old driver. He was rushed to a San Jose hospital where he was pronounced dead. The driver of the SUV, who didn't suffer any serious injuries, took a blood alcohol test that registered at .233 percent, nearly three times over the legal driving limit. Another breath test later that day registered at .229.

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As 2012 comes to an end, you may already have made your resolutions for 2013. Such promises are notoriously difficult to keep, but there's one resolution you can make right now that only has to carry through for the next day or so to be successful. If you're preparing for a night out on the town, resolve to keep yourself and your friends safe by making smart, responsible choices while celebrating.

The California Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies will be keeping a close eye on motorists tonight and are ready to arrest anyone suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In Santa Cruz, highway patrol officers report that they've already made more arrests this year than last -- in part because more officers have been trained to detect the influence of illegal and prescription drugs. Police officials are encouraging New Year's Eve revelers to designate a sober driver long before the partying begins.

But because no amount of extra police officers can eliminate the risk of an accident caused by careless driving, it's important to take extra precautions. Always wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of serious injury or death in the event you're hit by another driver, for example. It's also a good idea to watch your speed. In a collision, the faster two cars are going, the higher the risk of injury.

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A 51-year-old female motorist is accused of having been intoxicated when she hit and killed a male pedestrian. Police said that she was working as a manager at a facility that promotes sober living for its residents, many of whom have struggled with alcohol addiction.

The accident occurred in Southern California at approximately 11:25 p.m. one night last month as the pedestrian was crossing the street while on his way home from a social evening with friends. He was still alive and lying on top of her car when it eventually stopped. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, but soon died.

Law enforcement officers who placed the driver under arrest stated in their official report that her blood-alcohol level had reached twice the allowable legal limit before the accident.

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The state of California boasts some of the best vineyards in the country and even the world. California is home to 44 percent of the nation's bonded wineries, many of which can be found in the famed wine country areas of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties. But with this claim to fame comes a less positive statistic: a high rate of fatal drunk-driving accidents.

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, there is a direct correlation between the state's wine regions and the number of people killed in accidents caused by people driving under the influence. Napa County, for instance, ranks ninth out of California's 58 counties when it comes to fatalities resulting from accidents involving drinking and driving.

If you've ever visited a wine tasting room, you might wonder how drinking even a few miniscule 1-ounce samples of wine can possibly lead to the level of intoxication that typically results in a deadly accident. Of course, if you've ever taken an entire tour of wine tasting rooms, the picture gets clearer. Although wine tasting rooms have dump buckets for samplers to dispose of the extra wine they aren't consuming, they're mostly used by aficionados and tasting judges, and almost never by the average visitor. If that visitor goes to a number of wineries, those samples can quickly add up to the equivalent of multiple full glasses. Once a group of wine tasters ventures out on the open road, they put other drivers and passengers at risk.

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Traffic accidents caused by drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol are some of the most difficult for victims and their families to handle, particularly because they are so preventable. Some might say that they're not accidents at all, considering that the at-fault driver made a choice to drive intoxicated.

Drunk driving is the suspected cause of a fatal car accident on central California's Route 152 this week. According to the California Highway Patrol, a San Jose man was traveling the wrong way on 152 in his SUV when it collided head-on with a pickup truck in the eastbound fast lane of the highway. The crash was severe enough to kill two people. One of those was the passenger in the front seat of the pickup truck, a 30-year-old woman. She was pronounced dead at the scene, but another passenger in the back seat of the truck, also female, was flown to a Modesto hospital before succumbing to her injuries.

Yet another passenger in the pickup truck, a 23-year-old woman, suffered serious injuries and was also flown to a hospital. Both the truck and SUV drivers were hurt less severely.

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When we read or hear about fatal traffic accidents, it's not uncommon or surprising to learn that alcohol or drugs were involved. A new study on alcohol and drug use among drivers killed in crashes offers some startling statistics that remind us of the very real danger of driving while intoxicated. But it also indicates that we have much more to learn about the effects of combining some of those intoxicants, even in small amounts.

The study's central finding was that among U.S. drivers who were killed in car accidents, more than half had drugs or alcohol in their system at the time of the crash. It also determined that male and nighttime drivers killed in crashes were most likely to have drugs or alcohol appear on a toxicology screen.

The study used National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data on fatal accidents in 14 states from the years 2005 to 2009. Of the more than 20,000 drivers who died, 57 percent tested for at least one drug, including alcohol. About one out of every five drivers had multiple drugs appear on their toxicology screens, with alcohol being the most common. Less than 50 percent of women killed in crashes had alcohol or drugs in their system, while 60 percent of men tested positive for these substances. When it came to race, blacks and whites had the same likelihood of testing positive, while Asians were significantly less likely and Native Americans much more likely.

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California may have its share of public transportation options, but the vast majority of the state's residents still rely on automobiles to get them where they need to be. We're such a car-dependent state that we rarely stop to consider the risks we face as both drivers and passengers. But the reality is that an accident can happen at any time through no fault of our own.

A car accident that killed a woman who was riding in the front seat of a sedan may have been caused by a drunk driver, according to the California Highway Patrol. It was almost 11 p.m. last Friday when the accident happened in Concord, California, on state Highway 4. A 23-year-old Napa woman was riding with a friend in a Mazda sedan when a Honda accord made an unsafe lane change and collided with their car.

The impact caused the Mazda driver to lose control and go off the road, eventually crashing into a light post, the CHP said. From there it went down an embankment and into a dirt field. The driver, a 29-year-old Napa resident, suffered serious injuries, including broken ribs and vertebrae, and was rushed to a hospital. The passenger suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

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A driver involved in a fatal accident last week stands accused of driving drunk and could face significant jail time, not to mention a civil lawsuit. The 37-year-old man from Arcadia, California, struck a road construction worker late last Wednesday night on the westbound 10 Freeway in Baldwin Park.

California State Police said the man drove his SUV into an area that was closed off to traffic with orange cones. After driving through the barricade, he struck a 21-year-old man who was operating a concrete saw as part of a contract crew working for Caltrans, the CHP said. The young worker died at the scene.

The driver was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, felony drunken driving and driving without a license. He was scheduled to be arraigned this week, but his hearing has been pushed back until the end of this month. If he's convicted, he could be sentenced to 10 years in state prison, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

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A single-car crash in Dana Point, California, has killed three U.S. Marines and critically injured the driver, who is also a Marine. The car apparently crashed into a tree. Two of the Marines died at the scene and a third died later at a hospital.

Speed was a factor in the early-morning Tuesday car accident, according to officials from the Orange County Sheriff's Department. The car was traveling on a wet road where the posted speed limit was 40 mph when the driver lost control and ran into a tree, causing the car to wrap around it. "We don't have an exact speed yet," said a spokesman for the Sheriff's Department. "We do know it was over the speed limit and certainly unsafe for the conditions."

The Marines were likely on their way back to Camp Pendleton, where they were stationed, when the crash occurred.

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A young man accused of causing a fatal car accident while drinking and driving has been sentenced for the crime, nearly a year ago to the day of the crash.

The 19-year-old South San Francisco, California, man was driving himself and three others home from a night of drinking in Daly City and San Francisco last year when the crash happened. It was around 3:30 a.m. when the driver became distracted by a conversation about which radio station to play as traffic ahead of the car slowed for an unrelated accident. The driver tried to stop and veered two lanes to the right, rear-ending an SUV, which lurched forward and hit another car.

No one in those cars was injured, but a 17-year-old girl sitting in the middle of the back seat of the teen driver's car was thrown forward and knocked unconscious. She died a short time later at the hospital. The other two passengers suffered minor injuries.

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When you send your child off for some fun away from home, whom do you hold responsible if something goes wrong? That was the central issue in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of a San Jose, California, boy who died during a trip to Alaska.

The parents of the 12-year-old were at first concerned about the trip two summers ago, but decided to allow him to go with a trusted family friend. Unfortunately, the boy died in an SUV operated by a drunk driver who made a wrong turn and drove straight into a river. The driver, who escaped the vehicle unharmed along with two other passengers, pleaded guilty to negligent homicide, DUI and failure to insure his vehicle, and was sentenced to prison.

But the parents didn't place all the blame on the driver. They held their friend responsible for their son's death, which happened after a bonfire party where all of the adults drank, smoked marijuana and fired guns, according to police and court documents. Sometime after midnight the group split up into two vehicles. The family friend said he put the boy in the SUV with another driver because with intermittent rain, he thought the boy would be more comfortable than in the friend's pickup truck. Hours after the fatal crash into the river, the driver of the SUV registered a blood alcohol level of .083, just over the legal driving limit.

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Riding a bicycle can be so liberating, especially in metro areas where traffic seems perpetually gridlocked. You can zip past cars, feel the breeze on your skin and revel in the fact that you're exercising and getting somewhere at the same time. But biking can be dangerous, too. Cars may not see you, especially in the dark. A group of late-night cycling enthusiasts who regularly ride together may have assumed there's safety in numbers. But that wasn't the case last June.

A California woman is accused of plowing into the group of cyclists in her car, injuring 13 of them. Authorities said the car accident happened because the woman was both driving drunk and using her cellphone, which is against state law without a hands-free device. She was charged with two drunk-driving-related felonies and will be arraigned later this month.

Initially police said the riders were partially responsible because authorities allegedly found alcohol, condoms and marijuana at the site where the bikers had been hanging out. But after the police report was submitted to the district attorney, it was the driver who was found to be at fault and charged.

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