Archive for June, 2013

Jun 2013

Misjudging Visibility Increases Irvine Bicycle Accident Risks

Bicycle accidents occur for a lot of reasons, but one of the top causes of cycling crashes is that drivers do not always see riders. This is especially a problem at night, and bike riders need to be sure that they wear reflective clothing and that they catch the eye of drivers who may not see them on dark roadways. Unfortunately, a recent study from the Queensland University of Technology shows that bicycle riders may be significantly over-estimating how visible they are to drivers on the roads. 

Our Irvine bike accident lawyers know that night riding is much more dangerous than bicycling during the daytime. Bike riders need to do their part to reduce the risks of accidents, which starts with understanding that they may not be as visible as they would like to believe. Drivers of passenger cars also need to remember that bike riders may be out there and may be harder to see at night. These motorists should exercise caution to avoid causing a potentially deadly accident.

Bicycle Riders Overestimating Visibility to Drivers

The Queensland study involved interviewing 25 regular bicycle riders, including 13 riders who are on their bikes at least one each week. These bicyclists were put on a closed circuit road and were asked to indicate when they thought they would become visible to drivers. The bicycle riders were asked to do this under different conditions, including while wearing black clothing and while wearing various types of reflective or florescent clothing. The bicyclists were also asked to indicate when they became visible to drivers under different light settings.

The bicycle riders, unfortunately, significantly overestimated how soon they became visible to motorists. In fact, the riders who were wearing black guessed that they became visible at twice the distance where drivers actually saw them. Bicycle riders who indicated that they rode infrequently were also more likely to be much too optimistic in guessing how soon they could be seen by other drivers. For example, infrequent riders guessed that they could be seen at a distance of 85.19 meters. Riders who rode more regularly, on the other hand, were closer to accurate with their average guesses of 58.89 meters.

If a bicycle rider believes that a driver can see him, he may be more inclined to make decisions such as crossing a road in front of an oncoming car. Even if the bicycle rider would technically have the right-of-way, that fact doesn’t do the bicycle rider a lot of good if the car doesn’t seem him and a crash occurs.  Bike riders, therefore, need to ensure that they are wearing reflective clothing so that they can be seen sooner and need to ensure that drivers actually do see them before they put themselves in the situation where a car could potentially strike them.

The study also found that reflective clothing tended to be better at night time for improving visibility of bicycle riders than florescent clothing. Florescent clothes need UV-light to become visible and street lights and headlights don’t shine off of florescent clothing this way. Reflectors, on the other hand, could significantly increase the visibility of a bicycle rider and could thus reduce the chances of an accident occurring.

If you’ve been injured and need an accident attorney in Irvine, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707 today for your free case evaluation.

Jun 2013

Irvine Traffic Safety – Seat Belt Still Summer’s First Line of Defense

Seat belts can significantly reduce the chances of serious Orange County car accident injuries  and can reduce the chances of dying in a car wreck. Despite the fact that seat belts make driving safer, however, not every driver wears a seat belt on every trip. Law enforcement is working to change this and encourage seat belt use, and from May 20 through June 2nd, police nationwide increased enforcement efforts as part of the National Seat Belt Enforcement Mobilization Campaign. 

According to Time Business, the National Seat Belt Enforcement Mobilization Campaign is part of an annual “Click it or Ticket” event promoted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The event kicks off on Memorial Day each year and focuses on forcing drivers to adopt the habit of wearing seat belts. The hope is that once drivers start to buckle up, they are more likely to continue to do so even after the aggressive period of enforcement is over.

Seat Belt Laws Come into Focus During Click it or Ticket Events

The laws in California mandate that all drivers buckle up, and the National Seat Belt Enforcement Mobilization Campaign involves a push to give tickets to those who do not have their belts on. During the Campaign, law enforcement officers are encouraged to cite violators of seat belt laws, as well as violators of child restraint laws.

While these increased enforcement efforts go on 24 hours a day, seven days a week, certain age groups tend to be more heavily targeted than others and police also tend to focus on citing drivers at certain times of the day. For example, drivers ages 18 to 34 tend to be less likely than other drivers to buckle up every time they are in the car as either a passenger or a driver. Drivers who are on the road at night are also less likely to be buckled than daytime drivers.

By focusing on younger drivers and night drivers, police may thus be more likely to catch drivers who have failed to obey seat belt rules. With young people at greater risk of dying in an accident than older adults — and with night drivers more likely to be killed in a crash than drivers on the road during the day — targeting these groups may have a positive impact on reducing the number of car accident fatalities.

While some argue that this focus is a cash grab and that the increased enforcement efforts create a de facto police state, the underlying goal is to get drivers in the habit of wearing seat belts. Drivers who start to buckle up during the period of enforcement or because they receive a citation are going to be more likely to continue wearing their belts on an ongoing basis and will thus be less likely to die in car accidents or to suffer serious injuries.

It is important to remember, though, that while wearing a seat belt is the safe choice, a driver won’t be off-the-hook for causing a crash and hurting you just because you don’t have a seat belt on. If you or a loved one is involved in an auto accident, the driver who is to blame for the crash is responsible for compensating you for all injuries or for wrongful death regardless of whether you were bucked up at the time of the collision.

If you’ve been injured and need an accident attorney in Orange County, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707 today for your free case evaluation.

Jun 2013

New Mothers at Risk of Drowsy Driving Crashes

It comes as no surprise that a mother with a newborn infant in the house is probably not getting a lot of sleep. Unfortunately, a recent study shows that new mothers are at serious risk of injury as a result of insufficient sleep and postpartum drowsiness. The study conducted by QUT’s Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety showed that many mothers were making simple driving mistakes as a result of their sleepiness. Unfortunately, this puts mom and baby at risk as well as endangers every other driver who is on the road at the time.  

Our Irvine car accident lawyers know that a car wreck could be especially devastating to a young infant in the vehicle with his or her mother. Unfortunately, mom’s sleep deprivation– which could go on for many months after the child is born– makes the chances of a wreck a real possibility. Parents need to be aware that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving and need to ensure that mothers get plenty of sleep and aren’t fatigued if they are going to be responsible for driving.

New Mothers and Drowsy Driving are a Dangerous Mix

The QUT Study assessed new mothers at six weeks, twelve weeks, eighteen weeks and 24 weeks after the birth of a child. The study indicated that new mothers experienced fatigue and sleep interruptions at all stages of the study. These results show that sleep deprivation is a long-term problem that continues beyond the newborn stage.

Unfortunately, the longer sleep deprivation goes on, the more impaired a mother is likely to become and the greater the risk of becoming involved in a drowsy driving accident.  Mothers with older babies may also not be as aware of the fact that they are sleep deprived or may not get as much support since people tend to assume that coping with newborns is the hardest to handle and that things get easier as kids age.  Mothers with older kids may also be more likely to be driving than those who are focused on staying at home and caring for a newborn.

The fact that mothers reported sleep deprivation over the long-term after birth, therefore, suggests that the risk of drowsy driving is a long-term and serious problem that needs to be addressed. According to the study results, mothers in all different age groups reported that their fatigue caused them to experience problems with daily tasks several days per week. Not only that, but many admitted to the fact that their sleep deprivation caused them to make simple mistakes behind the wheel that raised safety concerns.

Based on these study results, researchers intend to conduct a larger-scale study to get a better idea of why some mothers experience ongoing issues with sleep deprivation as their kids get older. While further research will follow, the problems raised by this study should cause immediate concern. New mothers and their families need to ensure that moms are not putting their own lives or the lives of their kids at risk by driving when they have not gotten enough sleep to do so safely.

If you’ve been injured and need an accident attorney in Irvine, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707 today for your free case evaluation.