Articles Posted in Auto Accident

It’s been nearly 10 years since every state in the U.S. agreed to alter the legal definition of drunk from 0.15 percent blood-alcohol content to 0.08 percent blood-alcohol content.

Now, federal officials are urging another reduction, this time down to 0.05 percent BAC.Our Gary DUI injury lawyers are in full support of this proposal, which was made recently by the National Transportation Safety Board as one of 20 recommendations to reduce the death toll on U.S. highways.

Every year, some 10,000 people are killed in drunk driving crashes. That’s about one-third of the total number of people who die on our nation’s roads.

The board indicated that it has tried other measures in recent years to drive down those rates, but with little success. Other efforts have included bolstering law enforcement initiatives and funneling money into public advocacy and awareness campaigns. And yet, the number of DUI deaths has hovered around 10,000 since 1995. In the last 30 years, we’re talking some 440,000 lives lost.

The board predicts that lowering the legal alcohol limit will save somewhere between 500 and 800 lives each year. The reason it isn’t higher is that the majority of drunk driving deaths are caused by individuals who have BACs that are well above 0.08 percent. This has been a point of contention for opponents of the measure. However, what the opposition is failing to consider is that in addition to the number of lives saved – each of which is precious – we will be also significantly reducing the number of injuries. Not everyone involved in a DUI crash dies. Many survive, but they may suffer lifelong, debilitating injuries that require surgeries, intensive treatments, rehabilitation and medication for chronic pain and other disabilities.

Lowering the threshold is also not an obscene intrusion. First of all, 100 other countries in the world have already adopted the 0.05 percent rate, including most of Europe. Secondly, consider that the average, 180-pound male will usually not hit the 0.08 percent limit until he’s had about four drinks in a little over an hour. By contrast, under the new limit, he would only be able to indulge in two or three. So this argument that someone couldn’t have a glass of wine with dinner simply doesn’t hold water.

Research has shown that the majority of drivers are going to experience a decline in both visual and cognitive functions once their BAC tops 0.05 percent.

It’s also an important measure in light of the recent ruling handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled against police with regard to warrantless blood draws in DUI cases. In that case, Missouri v. McNeely, the court found that in order to take a blood sample from a suspected drunk driver, an officer would first have to obtain a warrant from a judge. Because alcohol dissipates quickly from a person’s system, every minute may be valuable to the case. If we are going to bolster the protections for drunk drivers, we should also do the same for their victims.

The NTSB’s recommendations, however, won’t automatically become law. It’s an independent agency that is influential on matters of public safety, but it will require the support of Congress and state legislators to actually implement such a measure.
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With the spring season, we can expect motorcyclists to hit the roads of Northern Indiana. We’re already seeing temps in the high 70s, which serves up some fine motorcycle weather. Unfortunately, the increase in this kind of traffic comes with some serious risks for accidents.Our Highland motorcycle accident attorneys understand that there were close to 3,500 motorcyclists involved in traffic accidents in the state in 2009. More than 110 of those motorcyclists were killed in those accidents. We’re turning to passenger car drivers to help with the safety of these vulnerable travelers.

With help from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, we’re dropping a little knowledge on drivers to help to raise awareness about motorcyclists out there. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation urges drivers of all kinds to give these two-wheeled travelers their space. You don’t want to cause an accident. Injuring or killing a motorcyclist rider is something you would have to live with for the rest of your life — and nobody wants that guilt.

Here are some things you should know about motorcycle riders:

-There are a lot more passenger vehicles, cars and trucks out there. Because of that, some drivers don’t even recognize motorcyclists. It’s important that we don’t ignore these drivers. They might actually need more attention than any other vehicle out there.

-They can easily get lost in your blind spots. This is why you want to make sure that these spots are clear before making a maneuver in traffic. Physically turn and check your blind spots before turning or changing lanes.

-They can look farther away than they actually are. Because they’re so small, it may be tough to judge their distance as well as their speed. If you see a motorcycle at an intersection or anywhere near you, make sure you always predict that it’s closer than it appears to be.

-The brake lights on motorcycles don’t always activate when a motorcycle is slowing down. Many riders slow down by simply downshifting, which doesn’t turn on the brake light. This is why it’s important not to tailgate these drivers.

-Turn signals on motorcycles aren’t always self-canceling. Don’t ignore the turn signal, but you should know that it may not be on and flashing to indicate an immediately turn.

-Motorcycles can’t maneuver out of everything — although maneuverability is one of their best characteristics. Don’t put them in a squeeze.

-Motorcycles can’t stop easily on wet surface. On dry, normal pavement, motorcycles can stop in about the same distance as our passenger cars.

-When a motorcycle is on the move, treat it as any other vehicle. They follow the same road laws — and you should treat them the same. Don’t share lanes with them.

With participation from drivers across the board, we can help to make our roadways a safer place for everyone — and especially for our motorcyclists. With the springtime weather rolling in, check in with your driving habits and toss out those irresponsible ones. It’s like spring cleaning for safety.
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Three people were killed in an early morning crash in Lake County, and rescuers reportedly found the vehicle submerged in a creek off Belshaw Road.Our Lowell car accident lawyers understand that the deceased were identified as a 21-year-old male driver, a 20-year-old female passenger and a 40-year-old male passenger.

While investigators are still looking into how events unfolded, we recognize that Indiana’s numerous bodies of water (18 rivers and four lakes – not including Lake Michigan) create ample opportunity for tragic scenarios such as this to occur. It’s important for drivers and passengers to know what to do in the event of vehicle submersion. Fast, decisive action can often mean the difference between life and death.

In this case, authorities believe the vehicle was moving east on Belshaw when for some reason it left the road as it was rounding a curve. After digging into the grass, the car flew into the air and hit a tree before plunging into the creek and coming to a rest on its roof.

What we don’t know at this point is whether the individuals inside were killed upon impact or whether they drowned. In many submerged vehicle situations, surviving the initial impact is the biggest challenge. That is why is is so important to always, always, always wear your seat belt. There is the mistaken belief that somehow wearing your seat belt is going to mean you’ll be stuck in a vehicle if you land in the water. This is false. What’s more, your ability to be alert and conscious upon impact is going to make all the difference in whether you’ll be able to survive the vehicle’s entry into the water.

If this is a situation in which you ever find yourself, the National Safety Council suggests the following:

  • Brace yourself for the impact. As soon as you realize you are going to go off the road and into the water, put your hands on the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 position. This reduces your risk of injury or unconsciousness from the airbag’s deployment.
  • Do your best to stay calm. Panic consumes energy and air – neither of which you can afford to lose right now.
  • Unbuckle your seat belt. People often forget to do this, but it’s the very first thing you need to take care of.
  • Unbuckle the children, starting with the oldest, who may be able to help with the others.
  • Forget your cell phone. People have lost their lives trying to dial 911 in a sinking car.
  • Open the window. Forget the door. An electric window should still work for up to three minutes in the water.
  • If you can’t get the window open manually, your focus needs to be on breaking it, either with an object or your foot.
  • Once the window is open, grab the children, take a deep breath and swim out and up.

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Even though it’s been about a year since teens in our state were banned from texting behind the wheel, about half of all teenage Hoosiers admit to still doing it. With these young drivers out of school, they’ll be hitting the road for what’s become known as the 100 Deadliest Days for car accidents in Highland and elsewhere.

The time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the deadliest of the year for young drivers, according to INC NOW.For this reason, AT&T members are hitting the road and reaching out to teens across the country through the “It Can Wait” campaign. This is a campaign to get teens to stop texting behind the wheel. Statistics prove that teens between the ages of 13- and 18-years-old send about 60 text messages a day. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller joined other leaders around the state, AT&T representatives and students at New Tech Academy recently to raise awareness about the importance of keeping their eyes and their mind on the road while keeping electronic devices out of the driver’s seat.

Highland car accident lawyers understand that it’s not only about the safety of these young drivers, it’s also about the responsible motorists that share the road with them. When a driver is distracted, everyone is at risk. To help to educate our state’s teens about these dangers, students were offered a try in a new simulator to see just how good their skills were behind the wheel when engaging in distractions. The simulator showed all of the teens that they were at some serious risks for an accident when they were texting behind the wheel.

“It was hard to see what else was going on. People would just walk out and there were deer and dogs and kids,” said Haleigh Hunly, a student at New Tech Academy.

When it all boils down, a driver who is texting behind the wheel is close to 25 times more likely to get into an accident. There’s no getting around it, texting while driving requires your eyes to come off of the roadway. For text messages, drivers take their eyes of the road for about 4.5 seconds. If you’re driving at 55 miles per hour and text message, then you could drive the length of a football field during that time and never see what’s going on around you.

In the state, drivers who are busted text messaging while driving face a fine of $25. For the second offense and so on and so forth, drivers face a $50 fine. Drivers who are 18-years-old and younger are not only prohibited from talking on a cell phone behind the wheel, but they’re also prohibited from texting, too.

Parents are asked to reinforce our state’s laws and ask their teens to be responsible behind the wheel and to keep the distractions out of the driver’s seat. Working to raise awareness about the risks and consequences of distracted driving can help to improve roadway safety for everyone.
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Indiana drivers are still coping with the dangers of winter weather conditions on our roadways. To help to reduce the risks of a weather-related car accident in Indianapolis or elsewhere throughout the state, there are a few safe driving tips you should keep in mind on every car ride.Our Indiana car accident attorneys and the Indiana State Police are offering Hoosiers and visitors a few winter driving safety tips to help to keep drivers safe. First, we ask all motorists to prepare themselves for the dangerous conditions. Before you head out, check the weather and traffic conditions. If you have a passenger riding along with you, make sure they know where you’re headed so they can help you with driving directions. This way you can keep all of your attention on the roadways and avoid the distractions of a map or a GPS.

Before you head out, also make sure your gas tank is full. You don’t want to get stranded in the biting cold because you failed to put gas in your car. You’re also urged to keep a winter driving kit with you at all times. This kit should include a flashlight, some extra batteries, blankets to keep you warm in case you break down, a brightly colored cloth to tie to your antenna to signal help, sand (or cat litter), a candle, some matches, a shovel, non-perishable foods that have a high calorie count, a cell phone, jumper cables and a first-aid kit.

Adjust your driving to the current road conditions:

-When there are poor weather conditions, give yourself extra time to get there by leaving earlier.

-Be sure to clear all your vehicle’s windows of ice and snow. Remove snow and ice from the hood, the headlights, the roof and the taillights as well.

-Be cautious when traveling near bridges, shaded areas, underpasses and intersections. In these areas ice forms more quickly and takes more time to melt.

-Slow it down. Traveling at a slower speed will help you to increase traction between your tires and the roadways.

-Avoid using your cruise control on slick or icy roadways.

-Try not to start or stop abruptly. Slow down and accelerate at a slow speed. Keep your wheels turning to stop you from losing traction.

-To reduce the glare of your headlights on the ice, use your low-beam headlights.

If you get stranded, there is a whole new list of things you should do. Listen up! If you’re car breaks down in the middle of winter conditions, your best bet is to stay with your car. It is the best protection you have after all. This is where that brightly-colored cloth comes in. Tie it to the antenna of your vehicle to signal to passing motorists that you need help. It may be cold outside, but you want to keep your window cracked to get some fresh air. Keep an eye on your exhaust pipe. If you allow it to get blocked, you run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep your exhaust pipe clear of snow and ice. Avoid panicking. Remember that an idling car uses about a gallon of gas every hour. If you kept your gas tank filled, you should have no problem.
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In the state of Indiana, all drivers who are over the age of 18 are allowed to use hand-held cell phones behind the wheel. According to the Governors Highway Safety Administration, every single driver is prohibited from texting behind the wheel. With such relaxed cell phone laws for drivers, distraction-related car accidents in Indianapolis continue to take the lives of far too many innocent people.How do law enforcement officers know what a driver is doing on their phone? Are they dialing a phone number? Replying to an email? Typing a text message? According to Indiana police officers, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference and for this reason, tickets are difficult to write.

Our Indiana car accident attorneys understand that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is working to get lawmakers to embrace a nationwide ban against the use of any portable electronic device by all drivers. This type of ban would help eliminate the confusion for officers in areas like Indiana that have varying text and cell phone laws for drivers.

Since Indiana officers decided to tighten their distracted driving-related laws and make it illegal for any driver to type at the wheel there’s hasn’t been a lot of drivers busted for texting, according to the Lafayette Journal & Courier. In the six months following the enactment of the law, the Purdue University Police Department hasn’t issued a single ticket, says Capt. Eric Chin.

The same results have been reported by the West Lafayette Police Department.

“Quite frankly, the same movements required to do other things — calling someone, checking a map — are similar to texting,” Lt. Gary Sparger told the newspaper. “Basically we have to see into the vehicle.”

The law was passed as a part of HB 1129 and took effect last July. If busted, drivers can face fines up to $500. But officers are having a tough time pushing this law because law enforcement isn’t allowed to take a driver’s cell phone to determine is the driver was dialing a phone number of sending a message.

Only one ticket has been written since July in Tippecanoe County.

Sparger says that if officers are going to enforce a text message ban, then the laws need to prohibit drivers from using any type of cell phone or electronic device. Officials need to repeal the current law or rewrite it completely to make all of these activities illegal.

According to CNN, the nationwide ban on portable electronic devices for drivers is a long way from reality. Experts believe elected legislators will be hesitant about upsetting constituents.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 3,000 people were killed in distraction-related car accidents in the U.S. in 2010. While most people recognize that distractions are dangerous for drivers and cause thousands of fatal accidents every year, drivers just aren’t ready to hang up the phone.
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The end of the year beings increased risks for serious car accidents in Highland. Thanksgiving is typically Indiana’s second deadliest holiday season. Officers responded to more than 40 rural-area accidents, 20 of them involving deer.Our Indiana car accident attorneys understand that we’ll be soon experiencing another wave of increased risks for serious accidents as the end of the year draws near. With Christmas and New Year’s upon us, residents across the country will be hitting our roadways in route to their holiday gatherings with friends and family. The increase in traffic leads to an increase in traffic accidents and ultimately an increase in the number of traffic-related injuries and fatalities. Motorists are asked to drive carefully, cautiously and alertly to avoid an accident this holiday season.

Drivers are urged to check out Indiana road traffic on WTHR 13’s website before heading out on our roadways. It’s wise for drivers to avoid congested roadways and to avoid driving during rush hour, nighttime and weekends. During these times on our roadways, accident risks are increased significantly.

To help ensure a safe arrival to your holiday destination, consider the following safe driving tips:

-Get Your Car Ready: Make sure that your car is serviced and that you’re prepared for an unexpected emergency. Always carry a first-aid kit, a torch and a blanket.

-Get Yourself Ready: Make sure you’re well rested. Plan out the trip before heading out and share the driving responsibilities. Take regular breaks to avoid driver fatigue.

-If You’ll Be Drinking: Never drive after drinking. Plan a safe way to get way home. Have a designated driver or call a cab. If you can’t find a driver, find a place to stay. Stay at a friend’s house or get a hotel room for the night.

-Buckle In Children: Make sure that all children are placed in the proper child restrain during every car ride.

-Safety For Pets: Make sure your pets are properly restrained as well, for the safety of everyone.

-Towing: Always tow check when you’re towing a trailer or a caravan.

-Brush Up: Revamp your driving techniques to avoid an accident through the holidays.

As our roadways get more and more crowded and as we head towards Christmas and New Year’s, drivers are urged to be courteous and cautious on our roadways. Spread some holiday cheer and be polite on our roadways. Let’s all have a safe and Happy Holiday Season.
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Indiana State Police have seen it more than they want to remember– drivers asleep at the wheel and the resulting tragic consequences. That’s one of the reasons local officials have joined the efforts of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the National Sleep Foundation to support Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. This campaign has been ongoing all this week, and is being used to raise awareness among drivers about the dangers of drowsy driving.

Drowsy driving-related car accidents in Highland and elsewhere nationwide kill more than 1,500 people and injure another 71,000 every year. Drowsy drivers cause more than 100,000 accidents each year. These sleepy traffic accidents cost nearly $13 billion a year.”People should use common sense if they’re feeling tired,” said Sgt. Bill Redman, St. Joseph County police spokesman. “You’re putting you and others at risk.”

Our Indiana car accident attorneys understand how dangerous drowsy driving can be. Many drivers underestimate the dangers of this behavior. According to a recent study from AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, about a third of drivers admitted to engaging in drowsy driving at least once in the last month. This number is alarming because more that 95 percent of those surveyed said that this driving behavior was completely unacceptable. Too many drivers believe that they can just push through the sleepiness behind the wheel and they couldn’t be more wrong.

A person who has been awake for 20 hours straight has the same reaction abilities as someone who is legally drunk, with a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.08, according to WSBT.

“That driving behavior mimics someone drinking and driving,” said Indiana State Police spokesman Sgt. Trent Smith.

Indiana has experienced more than 4,600 drowsy driving-related accidents in the last year. These accidents have resulted in nearly 1,500 injuries and nearly 30 deaths.

According to Smith, these accidents most commonly happen when drivers travel too many miles without getting enough sleep. He says the accidents are oftentimes seen on highways, like the Indiana Toll Road.

Symptoms of drowsiness at the wheel:

-Feeling irritable.

-Trouble keeping your eyes open.

-Feeling restless.

-Yawning excessively.

-Daydreaming.

-Swerving your vehicle in and out of your lane.

-Trouble keeping your head up.

-Feeling aggressive.

-Missing road signs and street lights.

-Having difficult remembering the last couple of miles you drove.

If you notice any of these symptoms while driving, you’re urged to pull over and take a break. One of the biggest mistakes that a driver can make is trying to power through the sleepiness. When you do this, you’re setting yourself up for microsleep, which is 3 to 4 second time periods when you actually fall asleep behind the wheel.

Remember to get plenty of rest before heading out on a long road trip, to stop and rest every 2 hours or every 100 miles, drive with a passenger when feasible, and know when to pull over and take a break.

“Drowsy driving is a major traffic safety problem that, unfortunately, is largely unrecognized,” said AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger.
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Halloween is right around the corner and kids across the state are gearing up for some serious trick-or-treating. Haunted houses are spooking neighborhoods, witches are flying though treetops and jack-o-lanterns are lighting up the late-night sky. During this time of year, your child faces some of the most haunting risks for child injury in Highland and elsewhere throughout the state.Our Indiana personal injury attorneys ask that all ghosts and goblins be extra careful on the 31st, whether trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, attending a Halloween party or venturing through a haunted house. Dangers lurk around everyone corner and serious injury could result if we’re not careful. To help keep little monsters and rock stars safe this Halloween, we’d like to share a few simple safety tips that can help to keep everyone safe.

Southern Indiana Pediatrics offers these safety tips for safe Halloween fun:

Costumes

-Consider face paint instead of a mask for your child’s costume. Masks can obstruct your child’s vision and can present serious danger when trick-or-treating.

-Make sure your child’s costume is flame-resistant and the face makeup is non-toxic and hypoallergenic.

-Suit your little goblins up in comfortable shoes. Also make sure that their costumes fit appropriately so they’re not prone to trip and fall.

-Be sure that all children who trick-or-treat after the sun sets have reflective tape on their costumes or are carrying a flashlight.

Pumpkin Carving

-Never let a small child carve a pumpkin. Let your child draw on a customized pumpkin-face design with a permanent marker. Children ages 5 to 10 should be allowed to carve pumpkins only if they have special pumpkin cutters that come equipped with safety bars.

-When you can’t use artificial light, it’s best to use a votive candle in a pumpkin.

-Make sure that all lighted pumpkins are placed on a sturdy surface. They shouldn’t be set near curtains or other flammable objects.

-Never leave a candle-lit pumpkin unattended.

Sweet Treats

-Consider handing out healthy treats or other non-food items like spider rings, pencils, stickers or bubbles.

-Never allow your child to snack on candy while trick-or-treating. Make sure they’re fed before they head out hunting for treats.

-Parents should examine all candy before handing any over to children. Remove any items that have been opened or tampered with.

-Remove all choking hazards from your child’s treat bag. This includes peanuts, gum, small toys and hard candies.

Halloween at Home

-Make sure that your house is kid-proof for trick-or-treaters. Remove all trip hazards from your driveway, sidewalk and front door.

-Make sure that all exterior lights are working.

-Make sure that walking surfaces are dry and are clear of leaves and other yard debris.

For information on Halloween events in Indiana, visit the Muncie Free Press website.

Halloween is for every one of all ages. Remember to keep these safety tips in mind to help prevent injuries. Maybe it you’re nice to your little trick-or-treater, he or she will share some of the sweets with you. Happy Halloween!
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The topic of distracted driving-related car accidents in Indiana has been a common topic of discussion in recent years. Both the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the Ball State Office of Health Education has been working diligently to spread the word about the dangers and the consequences of driver distractions, according to BSU Daily News.Both organizations have been asking residents to sign a pledge to get drivers to curb distractions while driving. AAA and the Ball State groups push the “Heads-Up Driving Week,” which takes place from October 2nd through the 8th. Recently the Ball State Office of Health Education set up a location in the Atrium for students to sign the “distracted driving pledge” as a part of the “Plz Dnt Txt N Drive” campaign. AAA is asking drivers across the state to do the same. The “Heads-Up Driving Week” asks that motorists across the nation sign a pledge to put away all driver distractions for the entire week.

Our Highland car accident attorneys understand how many innocent motorists’ lives are taken because of distracted driving-related traffic accidents. In 2009, there were approximately 5,500 lives lost on our roadways because of these accidents. The good news is that these accidents are completely preventable. All we need is participation from drivers of all ages in the state.

“We are trying to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and the Indiana state law that went into effect in July,” said Julie Sturek, from Ball State Office of Health Education.

The Indiana law Sturek refers to bans all drivers from using a cell phone while driving. Unfortunately, the distractions don’t stop with cell phone use. Distractions can include smoking, eating, pressing the buttons on the radio, other passengers and “rubbernecking,” whereby drivers slow down to look at vehicle accidents.

Distracted driving facts, according to Ball State Office of Health Education:

-Approximately 20 percent of traffic accidents that resulted in injury in 2009 reported the involvement of a distracted driver.

-Cell phone-using drivers are roughly four times more likely to be involved in a serious car accident.

-The use of a cell phone by a driver gives him or her the same slow reaction time as a driver who is legally drunk (with a blood alcohol concentration of .08).

-Drivers who text at the wheel are six times more likely to be involved in a traffic accident than a driver who is driving while impaired by alcohol.

-Cell phone-related distractions reduce brain activity by nearly 40 percent.

We’re asking all drivers to take the “Heads-Up Driving Week” pledge and agree to curb all distractions for just a week. Distraction-related accidents are completely preventable. The first step in making our roadways safer is making a change within us. Take the pledge and urge your friends and family members to participate.
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