Indian Head Highway Continues to Be a Problem

As many Marylanders know, Indian Head Highway/Route 210 is notorious as one of the state’s most dangerous roadways.  Over the past 11 years, 65 people have lost their lives in horrific crashes there. An illegal drag race that took advantage of the straight highway ended in horror in 2008 when eight people died. Last year, in 2018, five people were killed on the highway, according to figures from the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration. Among the tragic fatalities were three young children from the same family who died just weeks ago on December 30 when the car they were riding in was rear-ended. The investigation into that accident is ongoing. Increased Law Enforcement There has been a larger police presence on the highway, handing out tickets for speeding and other dangerous driving violations in recent years. But in spite of increased law enforcement, the number of accidents has not changed significantly, the data shows.  In 2016, there were 336 crashes; in 2017 there were 329; and last year there were 354. Nevertheless, local police and lawmakers are vowing to add even more police to the route this year. A speed camera was put in place on the highway[…..]

Could Better Laws Save Teen Drivers’ Lives?

Teen Drivers

The positive news is that the number of teenagers killed in car crashes has dropped by nearly half in the past decade. However, too many kids are still dying. The statistics show that motor vehicle accidents continue to be the leading cause of death and serious injury among teenagers.  The sad fact is that nationwide thousands of young people die in car crashes each year. In 2016, 2,433 teenagers ages 16–19 were killed and 292,742 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries suffered in vehicle crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Maryland, an average of 87 people lose their lives annually in accidents involving teen drivers, data from the Maryland State Highway Administration shows. Inexperience behind the wheel is a leading cause of crashes. But the dilemma is, in order to gain experience, teenagers must drive. Not surprisingly, distracted driving is another major reason for teen crashes. A study by the Teen Safe Driver Program showed that distracted driving among teens, usually involving cell phones, accounted for three-quarters of moderate to severe rear-end accidents.  Alcohol use as a contributor to fatality accidents involving teenagers has dropped over the years, but is still a big[…..]

Maryland Drivers Are Ignoring School Bus Safety

Maryland Drivers Are Ignoring School Bus Safety

A 2018 survey in Maryland shows that the state has a serious problem when it comes to drivers’ ignoring school bus safety rules. A significant number of drivers disregard the law that requires them to stop when a school bus has its red lights flashing and stop-arms out to indicate children are getting on or off. The survey was conducted this past spring with participation from over 80 percent of the state’s bus drivers from 24 school systems. In total, the drivers counted 3,812 violations of red flashing light and stop-arm rules in a single day. Baltimore City had 64 violations, which is down from last year when there were 152. Among counties, the violation leader was Montgomery, with 1,038 recorded. Baltimore County was second. Bus drivers in the county recorded 688 violations. Violations for other nearby counties included 385 in Anne Arundel and 97 for Carroll, which were both lower than last year’s numbers. However, in both Harford and Howard counties violations were higher than last year—they counted 196 and 290 respectively. While the number of violations rose in some areas in 2018, statewide school bus violations were much lower than in 2011, the year the survey was first[…..]

Too Many Parents Are Using Cell Phones While Driving Children

Too Many Parents Are Using Cell Phones While Driving Children

A recent survey shows that 50 percent of parents and caregivers use cell phones while driving kids. Survey researchers asked 760 parents and regular caregivers of children ages 4-10 from 47 states about their cell phone behaviors with kids in the car during the three months prior to the study, which took place earlier this year. The survey was conducted by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Approximately 52 percent of people surveyed said they talked on hands-free phones while behind the wheel, and 47 percent used handheld phones. Nearly 34 percent of parents and caregivers said they read texts while driving; almost 27 percent admitted to sending texts, and approximately 14 percent used social media while driving their most precious cargo! Another interesting and rather disturbing thing the survey found was that 14.5 percent of people surveyed didn’t use car seats or other child restraints with their young children. These respondents, as well as people who had a history of driving under the influence, were more likely to use cell phones while driving. Distracted Driving Crash Numbers People who use cell phones while driving children must wise-up and stop placing their children—and[…..]

Is Your Vehicle Ready for Winter? Here’s a Checklist.

Is Your Vehicle Ready for Winter? Here’s a Checklist.

With winter come rain, sleet, ice, snow, slush, and just plain old cold and dangerous driving weather. Seventeen percent of crashes nationwide occur in winter weather conditions, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. While you probably won’t step outside when temperatures begin to drop without first donning appropriate cold-weather clothing, is your car, truck or other vehicle also safely prepared for the upcoming chill? If it isn’t, you still have time to get it done. Winterizing your vehicle will help keep it operating safely throughout the season and keep you from possibly being stranded in plummeting temperatures or, even worse, injured in an accident. In addition to avoiding potential mechanical problems by staying on top of tune-ups and maintenance all year long, here are steps to take to get your vehicle ready for winter: Ensure that tires are inflated to correct psi levels for your vehicle. Your owner’s manual can advise you as to the correct level. As temperatures get colder, tires lose air, and tires that are not adequately inflated can affect maneuverability. Check tire tread for wear. Balding tires lose traction and are dangerous on icy and snow-covered streets. Do the penny test—with Lincoln’s head pointing[…..]

Baltimore Drivers Rank Dead Last in National Survey

Baltimore Drivers Rank Dead Last in National Survey

Everyone, it seems, has an opinion about why Baltimore’s drivers are terrible: people cut each other off, people don’t stop for red lights or stop signs, and, of course, there are the ever-present potholes we hit. All of these reasons may be true a lot of the time. It’s quite likely they’re true at least part of the time. But insurance companies rely on numbers, not opinions, and the numbers rank Baltimore drivers emphatically last. Allstate’s Rankings of Best and Worst Drivers Allstate Insurance recently examined how many years drivers generally average between insurance claims. Across the United States for 2017, the average number of years between the filing of automotive crash claims is 10 years. Baltimore’s average is fewer than four years—3.8, to be exact. Allstate Insurance also looked at how often drivers brake hard, which you might need to do to avoid rear-ending someone. The national average is about 19 incidents of hard braking for every 1,000 miles. For Baltimore drivers, the average is 29.3 incidents of hard braking per 1,000 miles. After crunching all of the numbers, Allstate compiled a list of 200 cities, from best drivers to worst. Baltimore’s rank was 200 out of 200. The[…..]

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week Is Nov. 4-11, 2018

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week Is Nov. 4-11, 2018

Responsible people don’t get behind the wheel when they have had too much to drink, yet they may not think twice about driving when they have had too little sleep. Unfortunately, these drowsy drivers put themselves and others at risk when they take to our streets and highways. Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, which takes place November 4-11,  was started to call attention to this dangerous driving habit. According to the National Sleep Foundation, which sponsors this annual public awareness campaign, 70 million people in the United States are sleep deprived or have sleep disorders and 50 percent of people admit to regularly getting behind the wheel when they are sleepy. Even more frightening for all of us on the nation’s roads, 40 percent of those who say they drive while drowsy have actually fallen asleep behind the wheel at least once in their lives. Crashes Involving Drowsy Driving Every year 100,000 vehicle crashes that are reported to police involve drowsy driving, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).  The actual number of accidents that involve sleep-deprived drivers may be much higher than this number, however, because accidents are not always reported to police; even when they are, it[…..]

“Feel Different, Drive Different?”

“Feel Different, Drive Different?”

From August 15, 2018, through Labor Day Weekend, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ran the publicity campaign, “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different—Drive High, Get a DUI.” The campaign recognized that vacation and holiday periods are the times that traffic deaths caused by alcohol and drugs are likely to spike higher. August through Labor Day is one of the deadliest periods to travel on our roads. The National Safety Council (NSC), a nonprofit organization chartered by Congress in 1913, applauded the NHTSA’s efforts to curtail impaired driving in our nation. Pointing out that almost 10,000 people lose their lives on our roads each year due to alcohol alone, the NSC has expressed concerns that the number of fatalities will rise because of the increasing incidence of drugged driving. Driving under the influence of anything is a disturbing and growing problem. Unpacking the Phrase What does it mean to say “feel different, drive different”? While grammar hawks may wince at the usage in the phrase, it doesn’t negate the message. Think about how your mood affects your driving. When you are tense about work responsibilities, upset because you had words with someone, or elated by a personal victory,[…..]

Keeping Our Children Safe: Teen Driver Safety Week

Keeping Our Children Safe: Teen Driver Safety Week

When it comes to teenaged drivers, we often pay a great deal of attention to the “100 Deadliest Days,” which run from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and forget about the rest of the calendar year. While it’s true that teen motor vehicle deaths spike during the summer by an average of 16 percent, danger exists the rest of the year as well. National Teen Driver Safety Week provides the perfect opportunity for parents to sit down with their children and discuss information that might otherwise be shunted aside during the heady days of summer, beach, and fun. In 2018, National Teen Driver Safety Week runs from October 21 through 27, providing you with a valuable opportunity to give your teen important safety tips. Although talking with your children about safer driving can and should occur any day of the year, sometimes having a springboard topic such as a safety week can lead to a more natural discussion with your teenaged driver. Too Many Children Are Dying Too many of our teens are being killed in car wrecks. Motor vehicle crashes rank a dubious first among the causes of teenaged deaths, ahead of all other injuries, disease, or violence for[…..]

Scarring and Disfigurement Caused by Automotive Defects

Scarring and Disfigurement Caused by Automotive Defects

Some of the most common injuries in a motor vehicle crash are disfiguring facial injuries, often resulting from burns and flying projectiles. We all know that car fires can cause burns, but did you know that airbags can also be responsible for facial injuries from the chemicals and shrapnel inside the bag? Our faces are our identity. If we look in the mirror and do not see the person we recognize as ourselves, the emotional and psychological pain can be staggering. Steven H. Heisler has a proven track record of providing successful legal representation and guidance for injured clients and their family members. If you or a loved one has suffered a burn injury or facial scarring in a motor vehicle accident due to product defects or another person’s negligence, please give Steve a call. Facial Injuries Explained Burns sustained in a car accident can be caused by a fire or by the chemicals that activate inside an airbag. Briefly, burns are classified by degrees: A first-degree burn is superficial and contained within the top layer of skin. The skin is red, with no blisters. Scarring is not likely unless complications such as an infection arise. A second-degree burn is[…..]