Liability and Ridesharing Collisions: When Are Uber and Lyft Responsible?

Liability and Ridesharing Collisions: When Are Uber and Lyft Responsible?

These days, most of us know what “ridesharing” is: taking an Uber or Lyft car. Some of us even have Uber or Lyft accounts and use them regularly. These services can be a boon when it’s difficult to locate a traditional taxi, or when we want to save a little money. But what happens when there’s an accident, and the ridesharing driver appears to be guilty of negligent behavior? We hope that the following information, presented in a concise Q & A format, will help guide you should you suffer injuries in a ridesharing  collision that’s not your fault. Why Do Ridesharing Accidents Occur? Crashes involving ridesharing drivers are the same as any other accident, with similar causes: speeding, driving under the influence, failing to yield the right of way, distraction, and fatigue. But the last two reasons deserve special focus. Fatigue among ridesharing drivers has been spotlighted in a number of articles, because sometimes drivers drive long hours—sometimes as many as 19 hours in a row—to make money. Bonus structures, especially with Uber, are often responsible for pushing drivers to keep going. Distraction is a special problem for ridesharing drivers, because both Uber and Lyft require drivers to pay[…..]

Why Do Motor Vehicle Accidents Happen?

Why Do Motor Vehicle Accidents Happen?

We may think we know the reasons that crashes occur: speeding, drunk driving, and cell phone distraction would probably top many of our lists. But these reasons may not be the real reasons, and not knowing exactly what is causing crashes is hindering our efforts to prevent further deaths and injuries. With 40,000 persons dying in motor vehicle collisions every year across the U.S., and with serious injuries numbering into the millions—4.6 million, to be exact—we have a lot of lives we need to keep safe from harm. So what is the true problem? The National Safety Council (NSC) calls the problem incomplete crash data. Why is Crash Data Incomplete? Did you know that accident report forms are different in all 50 states, and that some states ask more questions or provide more fields than others? It is the lack of questions and fields that leads to incomplete data. A police officer might list running a stop sign as the reason for a crash, but the real reason could be distraction due to the driver’s reaching for a buzzing cell phone on the passenger seat. Or, the real reason could have been fatigue, because the driver fell asleep and never[…..]

If You Own a Kia or Hyundai, Read This

If You Own a Kia or Hyundai, Read This

Certain Kias and Hyundais from model years 2011 through 2014 are vulnerable to spontaneous fires. Vehicles affected include the Kia Sorento SUV and Kia Optima sedan, as well as the Hyundai Santa Fe SUV and Hyundai Sonata sedan. While the fires have not been associated with any crashes, it’s estimated that six persons have suffered injuries from the fires. Petition Submitted to NHTSA The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) has petitioned Deputy Administrator Heidi King of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) because of the fires. The petition, submitted June 11, 2018, noted that the NHTSA has on file 120 complaints of fires where no crash occurred, as well as 229 filed complaints that mention melted wires, smoke, and odors indicating something was burning. When the number of Hyundai and Kia reports was compared with other competing makes and models, the CAS discovered only 22 reports on file that mentioned fires without collisions for all other competing vehicles. The Hyundai Sonata had the most complaints at 47, with 10 for the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. Sixty-three fires were reported to the NHTSA for the two Kia models. Dangerous Fires The CAS petition mentioned several fires, including the following ones:[…..]

Summer Travel and Safety Tips

Summer Travel and Safety Tips

The majority of people who take vacations do so during the summer—that’s about 59 percent of us. Regardless of how you plan to vacation this summer or where you’re going, avoiding injury and staying safe should be one of your biggest concerns. We have some ideas that can help you do so. Safety While on the Road Do you plan to travel by car? Keep in mind that drivers tend to do 10 percent more distracted driving during the summer and spend 15 minutes of every hour in a distracted state. Here’s how to limit distraction: Know where you’re going, so you don’t have to consult maps. Keep in mind that GPS and paper maps may not be accurate. Especially don’t follow GPS blindly. Leave your phone alone, or give it to a passenger to monitor if you must have it on. Don’t multitask. Driving is Job One. Secure children and pets so they don’t distract you, and bring along items to keep the kids entertained. Carry an emergency kit and supplies should you become stranded, including water, protein bars, and other snacks. Use the “teddy bear system” to prevent leaving kids in hot cars because you were distracted. Keep[…..]

Fatal Pedestrian Crashes and SUVs

SUV Accidents

Increasingly, pedestrians are being killed by SUVs instead of by passenger cars such as sedans and hatchbacks. In the last decade, the rate of pedestrian deaths in SUV collisions has shot up 81 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS also noted in their 2018 study that high-horsepower vehicles, like SUVs and light trucks, are more likely to be involved in fatal pedestrian collisions. In the decade previous to 2009, pedestrian deaths had been dropping. What could be causing such a steep rise in the pedestrian death rate, and why are SUVs implicated? Contributing Factors Pedestrian fatalities have climbed to nearly 6,000 a year, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly a 50 percent increase since 2009. Pedestrian deaths for 2016 reached heights they had not seen since 1990. Some of the factors contributing to the higher rate of pedestrian deaths and SUVs include: Automotive design. SUVs are designed differently than passenger cars. They have a blunter front end, and their increased height means pedestrians are struck higher on their body, not on their legs. This fact reduces the possibility that a pedestrian can roll off a vehicle and reduce their[…..]

Still Hurting After the Accident? It Could Be a Herniated Disc

Herniated Disc Crash

After a car crash, are you still suffering from back pain that is not getting better? You’ve received medical attention and do not have any fractures, but the doctor did say you might have a herniated disc. Further testing was recommended to determine the cause of your pain. All types of back and neck injuries are common after motor vehicle collisions. While an injury might appear to be minor at first, as the hurt grows and other symptoms set in, you realize you need help to stop the numbness, the muscle weakness, and, of course, the pain. A study done by the University of North Carolina School of Medicine indicates that, after a car crash, more than 70 percent of those who sought emergency treatment were still suffering from pain. Not all of the pain reported was from a back injury, but a review of the hospital records for 948 patients determined that, six weeks following a motor vehicle accident, the most common injury for those admitted to the hospital was neck and back pain. What is a Herniated Disc? The sudden, strong forces exerted on your spine during a crash can injure the cushions between the bony vertebrae; these[…..]

Do You Know Maryland’s Right-Of-Way Rules?

Maryland Road Way Rules

Right-of-way laws bring order to traffic situations where it might be difficult to determine who should yield to whom. Failure-to-yield is the second-most common driving mistake, and it is the leading cause of fatal crashes in seven states. In Maryland, failure-to-yield will cost you one point on your driving record and a significant fine, even if no accident occurs. With that in mind, we are providing the right-of-way rules for Maryland; more information can be found in the Maryland Driver’s Manual. Intersections and Left Turns Intersections, especially if one or more drivers are turning left, can be dangerous places. Over 53 percent of intersection collisions are caused by drivers making left turns; for comparison, only 5.7 percent of intersection crashes are caused by right turns. In fact, left turns are so risky that UPS prohibits its drivers from making left turns unless no alternative exists. The right-of-way rules for four-way Maryland intersections are: You must yield the right-of-way to all opposing traffic (vehicles that are facing you) if you are trying to turn left at an intersection. Right-of-way belongs to anyone already in the intersection. This includes bicycles, motorcycles, and pedestrians. Right-of-way belongs to all other vehicles and to pedestrians[…..]

Look Out for Unsafe Lane Changers

Truck Accident Lawyer

Reckless lane changes cause a lot of crashes on our roads. While the danger is usually greater when a heavier commercial vehicle is part of the mix, the reality is that abrupt lane changes by any vehicle can be responsible for injuries and fatalities. Changing lanes unsafely, whether due to weaving and other aggressive acts or drifting caused by distraction, involves vehicles of all types and sizes. Two recent local examples in the Baltimore-Washington area were: According to Maryland State Police, on March 24, 2018, an Inner Beltway crash killed a man. Improper lane changing and failing to yield the right of way were the charges. Also in March, 2018, an unsafe lane change by a tractor-trailer caused an 18-vehicle collision that resulted in injuries to four people, two with life-threatening injuries. All four southbound lanes were shut down during rush hour for more than two hours. The large white semi that caused the crash sped away unharmed. The Numbers Unsafe lane changes cause a lot of crashes on our roads. Not staying in the proper lane causes about 11 percent of all passenger motor vehicle crashes. But when a tractor-trailer is packing more than 80,000 pounds, the chances of[…..]

Should We Lower the BAC to 0.05?

Drunk Driving Accident

We’ve taken great strides to reduce drunk driving in the U.S. From the early 1980s to the early 2000s, we increased the drinking age to 21 and lowered the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit to 0.08 percent across all states. These changes worked; alcohol-related traffic fatalities were cut in half, with the greatest decline in deaths seen among teenagers. Changes in drinking and driving laws saved at least 150,000 lives from 1982 to 2001—more than the total number of lives saved by airbags, increased usage of seat belts, and bicycle and motorcycle helmet usage. However, after the early 2000s, the achievement of further reductions in drunk driving slowed dramatically. Eventually, DUI figures began to rise again; currently, one-third of all traffic fatalities are the result of at least one person in a crash driving under the influence. Two out of every five persons who died in alcohol-related crashes are not even drunk drivers, but are victims. The most recent fatality figures for deaths caused by drunk driving are stubbornly stuck at slightly more than 10,000 each year. Because of the lack of continued progress, safety officials went back to the drawing board in an effort to find ways to[…..]

Should We Slow the Development of Autonomous Cars?

Driveless Car Accidents

Are autonomous vehicles safe for our public roads? The March 2018, death of a pedestrian near Phoenix, Arizona, would seem to indicate they may not be. The victim was walking her bicycle across the road when she was struck by an Uber SUV. Autonomous vehicle data, which the public interest group Consumer Watchdog says was ignored by the NHTSA, show that self-driving cars truly cannot drive themselves for any length of time. Consumer Watchdog’s late March report, which used data released by the California DMV, states that autonomous vehicles can travel a maximum of 5,596 miles, at best, before needing human intervention. Human Intervention Once Every Mile Almost six thousand miles between interventions might not sound bad. But many other documented situations show that a number of autonomous vehicles need intervention at many fewer miles. According to one analysis firm, of the six companies testing autonomous vehicles in Arizona, Uber was by far the worst. Their vehicles experienced what’s known as a “disengagement”—meaning a human being is forced to take control of the vehicle—once for every mile driven, on average. At the top of the research listing was Waymo (a Google company), which experienced one disengagement every 5,128 miles driven.[…..]