Friday, June 25, 2010

24 People Injured in Bus Accident Crash

In Atlantic City, a bus with 50 passengers from New York’s Chinatown crashed en route to Tropicana Casino and Resort when the driver allegedly lost control of the vehicle.

The crash happened at 11:30 a.m. on Route 40, less than two miles away from seaside casino resort. According to the police, the driver apparently was unable to stop the bus as it approached traffic stopped at a traffic light at the Great Thorofare.

The bus struck two other vehicles, swerved to avoid hitting others before it plowed straight into a retaining wall. The bus was badly damaged, its windshield was shattered and its front grill and bumper were gone. The passenger door was smashed and mangled.

Prior to hitting the wall, the driver was ejected from the bus and was run over by the runaway vehicle. 24 of the 50 passengers were injured and 1 was listed in critical condition. Passengers who were unhurt were taken to the resort.

Police and investigators are now examining the bus to see what may have caused the crash. Inspectors are also looking into the possibility that a mechanical defect may have contributed to the accident.

Sun Lee Bus Co. of New York City is the operator of the bus.

Buses are one of the most popular modes of public transportation in the United States. Some of the most frequent causes of bus accidents are the following:

• Fault or negligence of the bus driver
• Excessive speeding
• Negligence of other motorists
• Mechanical failure or defect
• Fall accidents while boarding or getting off a bus

As buses are considered “common carriers”, they are obliged under the law to be "fit, willing, and able" to provide safe public transportation services. Thus generally, a common carrier is often presumed negligent and deemed liable if an accident does happen.

So if you’re hurt in a bus accident, don’t hesitate to file a claim for damages because buses owe their passengers as well as the public extraordinary diligence in the operation of their vehicles.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

California Passes Law for DUI Ignition Locks for First Offenders

Recently, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger officially signed a bill into a new law which now requires first time DUI offenders to install dashboard Breathalyzer devices into their vehicles.

This pilot program, which will take effect in four California counties: Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare is set to take effect on July, 1, 2010. If the evaluation of the program yields a successful result in 2015, the Congress will expand the requirement statewide.

The law will require first time offenders who have been convicted of driving under the influence to have to test their breath for alcohol with the dashboard Breathalyzer devices before they can start their vehicles.

If alcohol is detected by the device, the car engine cannot be started. Although this law was vehemently opposed by criminal defense lawyers and restaurant lobbyists as they felt this should be reserved for repeat DUI offenders, the bill was signed into law last fall and is set to begin next month.

DUI-related accidents is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle fatalities. In fact, 1 person is killed by a drunk driver every 45 minutes. Statistics further show that in 2008, 11,773 people died in alcohol related crashes.

Some drunk drivers however, manage to get arrested before they cause bodily injury or death to others. Often, they get fined, jailed, or have their licenses suspended or get put under probation, depending on the circumstances of the arrest or even if they plead guilty to a lesser offense.

This however, fails to adequately deter drunk drivers, most of whom are repeat offenders. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), 50-75 percent of DUI offenders whose licenses are suspended continue to drive thus increasing the risk of alcohol-related crashes that could serious injure or kill other people on the road.

To avoid or prevent repeat DUI offenders who still continue to drive even without a license from circumventing the law, it was proposed that an ignition interlock device be installed in vehicles to test drivers for alcohol before they can operate the vehicle. This would make it harder for drunk drivers to get behind the wheel and cause a crash.

Almost all US states have passed laws that allow the imposition of ignition-interlock devices as sentencing alternatives, while 14 states, including California, have similar laws for first-time offenders.

Majority of Americans favor installment of devices like IIDs to curb drunk driving accidents but a lot are also cautious that this still could get circumvented by the driver. If people still continue to drive drunk and cause accidents because they’re impaired drivers, they would have to face criminal and civil liability.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Los Angeles Mayor and Officials Rally Against Texting While Driving

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has added his voice to a growing number of groups and organizations that warn against the evils of texting while driving during the launching of the "No Texting While Driving" public safety campaign which is being led by AT&T.

Although the mayor admitted that he had a driver and that he never drives around anymore, it is a pet peeve of his when he sees people on the road who are texting while driving. Mayor Villaraigosa claimed that it is unacceptable and that children should be aware that nothing, not even a text message, can be more important than their safety.

In his message, the mayor stated facts which include:

• National Safety Council estimates that 28 percent of annual traffic accidents were caused by motorists talking or texting while driving.
• A Virginia Tech study reveals that drivers are 23 times more likely to have an accident while sending a text message.
• Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project reports that 26 percent of American teens of driving age say they text while driving while 48 percent of children ages 12-17 have been a passenger in a vehicle where the driver was texting while driving.

Further according to Fire Chief Millage Peaks, his paramedics respond to 36,000 traffic accidents annually; nearly 28 percent of which are probably related to either cellphone use or texting. In short, that amounts to 9,000 preventable Los Angeles accidents had people followed the law and not texted while driving.

Police Chief Charlie Beck, who also delivered a message, said that texting while driving is against the law and a fine will be imposed ranging from $40 to about $100.

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents and as seen from above, texting while driving is clearly a huge traffic safety problem.

All drivers are bound under the law to observe due care and diligence when operating a motor vehicle. Sending or reading messages while driving may seem like a harmless activity but this is a breach of the driver’s duty of due care and diligence. This would result to fault or negligence, which, in the case of a car accident, can hold the texting driver liable for any loss, injury or death.

During the campaign, teens were asked to read the last text message they sent or read and AT&T asked them, "Is that worth dying over? Is it worth hurting yourself, your passengers? Is it worth hurting or killing another person?"
So the next time you hear a familiar tone for an incoming message, before you reach for your cell phone while driving, ask yourself the same questions. Because otherwise, if you can’t wait to text while driving, you better be prepared to face the consequences of your actions.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Six Injured in School Bus Accident near Disneyland

Six persons, all probably children, were transported to a nearby hospital after a school bus accident near Disneyland.

The accident occurred in the intersection of Fall Road and Disneyland Drive right before 1:00pm.

The school bus was transporting 4th and 5th Grade students to a play in a nearby performing arts center when the accident happened.

Fortunately, none of the injuries were major or life threatening.

There are no clear reports yet on the cause of the school bus accident, but at the very least, the parents of the injured children can file a personal injury claim against the bus operator, which is probably the school itself.

The parents do not even have to prove negligence on the part of the school bus driver.

That is because a school bus is considered a common carrier and they are required to exercise a higher level of care in ensuring the safety of their passengers.

Instead of proving negligence, the parents have to prove that the driver of the bus was not able to meet the level of care required from a common carrier.

This is to hold people and companies who are in the business of transporting people more accountable for their actions.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Woman Killed in Rollover and Multi-Vehicle Crash

On state Route 125 in San Diego, a 25-year-old woman was killed and two other motorists were injured in a multi-vehicle crash.

The accident happened at about 8:40 AM. It occurred when the deceased female driver suddenly lost control of her Ford Explorer causing her to cross the center divide and meet the oncoming freeway traffic head-on.

According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the woman’s SUV flipped and landed right on top of silver Chrysler PT Cruiser, rolled over and collided with a Border Patrol Jeep Wrangler.

The driver of the PT Cruiser, a 48-year old woman had to be airlifted from the scene due to her injuries. An on-duty agent was driving the marked jeep and was taken to Mercy Hospital for further treatment.

The driver of the Ford Explorer SUV however, died at the scene. According to the CHP, preliminary investigation shows that there was no evidence that drugs or alcohol were a factor in the fatal crash.

Driver Error or behavior is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents. While generally, people often pin the blame on the road conditions, a car defect or even on the other driver for having caused the crash, the truth is, most car accidents are caused by the driver’s own negligence.

Even if the driver is driving sober and free from the influence of either drugs or alcohol, if he is distracted (texting while driving, putting on make-up, etc.) or drowsy or even just because he is speeding, he may be considered negligent.

When the driver also fails to follow traffic rules and signals, fails to yield, and operates his vehicle recklessly or aggressively, he would likely be held responsible for having caused an accident or collision.

Accidents don’t just happen as an “act of God” – most are often caused by the fault or negligence of people.

If you were injured in a car accident or if you lost someone to a crash, you have the right to recover damages for any expenses or loss you suffered because of it. But don’t expect to get compensation so easily, a lot of defendants (even if they are negligent) would refuse to acknowledge their fault so it would be advisable for you to hire a car accident attorney if you wish to pursue your claim.