Archive for February, 2014

Deadly Motorcycle Accident in Riverside Illustrates Winter Riding Risks

A 30-year-old motorcyclist was killed in Riverside recently when a driver allegedly pulled out of an elementary school into the biker’s path. Investigators are reportedly still attempting to determine who was to blame.  While the accident remains under investigation, it serves as an important reminder of the serious risks that bikers face. 

Victims of motorcycle accidents should consult with experienced personal injury lawyers in Riverside for help understanding their legal rights. The Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton represents motorcyclists harmed by driver negligence. Call today to speak with an attorney about your legal rights.

Motorcycle Accident Dangers in Riverside

The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) reports that 46 motorcyclists were killed or injured in auto accidents in Riverside County in 2011.  When involved in a motor vehicle collision, motorcyclists are at significantly greater risk than those in passenger vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that 4,612 motorcyclists died in 2011 in America, which was two percent more than the number who died in the prior year. Motorcyclists are 30 times as likely to die in a collision than occupants of passenger cars and are five times as likely to suffer a serious injury in a motor vehicle collision.

The majority of motorcyclists die from head injuries, and alcohol plays a predominant role in serious and fatal injuries. In 2011, 42 percent of motorcycle riders involved in single-vehicle accidents had blood-alcohol contents exceeding the legal blood-alcohol concentration limit of .08. This is a higher percentage of intoxicated drivers than any other type of driver.

Still, not every accident is caused by intoxication and not every death or injury could be prevented with helmet use. To avoid being involved in collisions like the recent fatal Riverside crash, motorcyclists should follows some basic safety tips including:

  • Never driving when distracted or impaired.
  • Obeying all traffic laws.
  • Wearing protective gear, including a helmet that is DOT-complaint.
  • Wearing brightly colored or reflective clothing and accessories to be more visible, especially after dark.
  • Avoiding bad weather rides.
  • Always use turn signals any time you change lanes or make a turn, even if you don’t believe others will see.
  • Combine turn signals on your motorcycle and hand signals to ensure you are getting sufficient attention.
  • Carefully choose your lane, and ensure that you select the lane where your motorcycle is the most visible.

Drivers are also given advice by the NHTSA, some of which (like not driving distracted) is the same as the biker’s list. However, drivers were advised specifically to:

  • Leave a full lane width for motorcyclists, even if it seems you have enough space.
  • Check blind spots carefully before pulling into or out of traffic because motorcyclists can be missed more easily in a blind spot.
  • Understand  the unique features of motorcycles. For example, turn signals don’t turn off automatically on most bikes, so you cannot assume a turn signal always means that the motorcycle will turn. Furthermore, even a tiny bump or pothole on the road can be a big deal to a motorcyclist and could cause a loss of control.

Personal injury lawyers in Riverside can help after a collision. Contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton today at (949) 757-0707 or visit www.dancarlton.com to schedule a free consultation. 

21
Feb 2014
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Irvine Traffic Accident Risks – New Test for Fatigue

Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving, but is harder to prevent because there is no test to prove a driver is fatigued.  Although there is no law in California to prevent motorists from driving while drowsy, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has engaged in numerous public-education campaigns, including a Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, to try to prevent motorists from endangering their own lives or the lives of others. 

Unfortunately, drowsy driving education has only limited effectiveness at stopping accidents.  Drivers need to be more aware of just how dangerous it can be to drive while fatigued, and law enforcement and legislatures need an effective way to prevent motorists from operating vehicles when they are too tired.  Research out of Australia could make a difference, by making it possible to develop an accurate real-time test for poor alertness.

A test of driver fatigue could not only make it possible for laws to be passed to prevent drowsy driving, but it could also make it easier for victims to pursue a drowsy driving claim. Victims today must prove a driver is negligent or careless to be compensated. A car accident lawyer in Irvine can help. Victims of collisions with fatigued drivers can contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton for help.

Test Could Check Driver’s Alertness 

As Phys.org reports, Monash University in Australia has launched the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Alertness, Safety and Productivity. The research center is an alliance of technology companies, employers, regulators and academics that have come together to develop new devices, technologies and systems to reduce the risks of driving while fatigued.  The centre has been funded with more than $14.48 million and is the first research institution in the world that is focused on tackling problems of sleep disruption.

Among the projects the Centre plans is to work on research related to new biomarkers of alertness. Using these biomarkers, it may be possible to develop tools that accurately measure a person’s alertness in real-time.  The benefits to employers are touted, since the test would make it possible to assess a worker’s alertness level before he operates machinery or before he gets behind the wheel. However, if effective, its use could go far beyond the employment context. A driver involved in a crash where drowsy driving is suspected could, perhaps, be administered the saliva or sweat test and the results could provide conclusive evidence that the motorist was too fatigued and should not have been driving.

Because motor vehicle accident victims must prove the other driver was unreasonably careless or violated safety rules, a test showing drowsiness or critical lapses in alertness could make it easier for individuals hurt in a collision to take action.

A car accident lawyer in Irvine can help after a collision. Contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton today at (949) 757-0707 or visit www.dancarlton.com to schedule a free consultation.