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Missouri lane departure accidents often lead to rollovers, head-on collisions

file0001079795546.jpgAs Joplin personal injury lawyers, we know that lane departure accidents - which are most often caused by driver error - can have catastrophic consequences. Sometimes these accidents happen when drivers (for whatever the reason) enter divided highways while traveling the wrong way. Sometimes a driver swerves out of his or her lane to avoid a roadway obstacle, only to cause a crash. Sometimes a driver falls asleep at the wheel, or chooses to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. And sometimes the lane departure is just a momentary lapse - a short loss of focus (perhaps caused by a glance down at a cell phone) that causes a driver to veer into oncoming traffic. Whatever the cause, lane departure accidents can lead to extremely dangerous accidents, like head-on collisions and rollovers - which commonly result in serious injuries and fatalities.

What can drivers do?

Again, lane departure accidents usually happen because of driver error, meaning they are 100% preventable. Sadly, the innocent victims of these crashes are rendered powerless: often, there's nothing you can do when an oncoming vehicle is bearing down on you, except brace for impact.

For this reason, several automakers are developing lane departure warning systems, which are designed to alert drivers when they veer in and out of their lanes. In fact, according to U.S. News and World Report, vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology (V2V) - which allows vehicles to "[predict] imminent danger and [warn] you before a crash" - could be available within the next few years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that V2V has the potential to prevent up to 80 percent of collisions. Automakers have been working to perfect V2V technology for more than a decade, but thanks to a recent pilot program, the technology could be available to drivers in the near future.

"Conducted jointly by the University of Michigan and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the pilot put nearly 3,000 V2V-equipped cars on the roads of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The technology allowed the cars to broadcast their GPS position, speed and other data to nearby vehicles. Cars then used the information to communicate with one another and avoid crashes and accidents. 'It provides consumers with what I like to call 360-degree coverage,'" said Debra Bezzina, senior project manager for the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

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Avoiding Joplin car accidents: Watch out for these careless and negligent driving behaviors

February 23, 2015

on-the-move-824405-m.jpgUnder Missouri law, all motorists are required to drive "in a careful and prudent manner and at a rate of speed so as not to endanger the property of another or the life and limb of any person and [to] exercise the highest degree of care." Unfortunately, many drivers fail to exercise this level of caution when they're on the road. In fact, careless and negligent drivers often cause car accidents that result in injury to innocent Joplin motorists - folks who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In this post, our Missouri personal injury lawyers discuss a few common reckless driving behaviors and recommend a few safety tips to help protect everyone on the road.

• Excessive speed. Authorities say excessive speed is a factor in nearly a third of all auto accident deaths each year. Traveling too fast for conditions reduces the amount of time that a driver has to recognize and react to a roadway emergency. Speed also has a direct impact on the severity of a crash and resulting injuries: as the impact speed increases, so does the crash energy that needs to be managed - and a vehicle can only manage a limited amount of crash energy before occupant safety is threatened. Be sure to obey the speed limit and adjust your speed as needed for roadway, traffic and weather conditions.

• Fleeing from police. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 360 people die in high speed police pursuits each year. Innocent bystanders account for a third of those deaths. If you see a vehicle being pursued, take immediate steps to get out of that vehicle's path.

• Passing emergency vehicles or school buses when their lights are flashing. When an emergency vehicle is displaying flashing lights or sounding its siren, Missouri state law requires that you yield the right of way to that vehicle and pull as far to the right as possible. If the vehicle is non-moving (for example, during a traffic stop or construction project), you must "move over" into an adjacent lane when possible. State law also requires that you stop for school buses when their stop sign is displayed, and when they stop at railroad crossings.

• Failing to obey traffic signals. It's just common sense: when drivers run stop signs or ignore traffic lights, the chances of a collision are greatly increased. All drivers should use extra caution when proceeding through intersections.

• Following too closely ("tailgaiting"). Use the three-second rule to ensure you have allowed enough distance between your vehicle and the one traveling in front of you. Tailgaiting is an extremely common cause of rear-end collisions, which commonly result in serious neck, shoulder and back injuries.

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Joplin, Missouri "Dram Shop" Laws Give Additional Recourse To Victims Of Car Accidents And Wrongful Deaths Caused By Drunk Drivers

January 22, 2012

In 2010, more than 200 people were killed and nearly 1,000 more sustained serious injuries in car crashes involving a drunk driver in Joplin, Wheaton, and across Missouri, according to the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety.
Auto accidents involving drunk drivers differ from other car accidents because drunk driving is against the law, and causes accidents that would have been otherwise preventable. Also, accidents caused by drunk drivers often result in catastrophic injury or wrongful death.

Victims or family members of people injured or killed in Joplin, Missouri car accidents caused by drunk drivers may be able to seek compensation for their damages. In some cases, injured parties may even have a cause of action against the bar or restaurant that served the drunk driver before he got behind the wheel. Under Missouri statutes traditionally known as dram shop laws, these establishments can be held liable for over-serving already intoxicated customers, underage drinkers, and other patrons.

In short, Missouri Statute 537.053 states that a claim may be brought by or on behalf of any person who has suffered personal injury or death, against any person licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises--if it can be shown that the seller knew (or should have known) that alcohol was served to a person under the age of twenty-one or to a visibly intoxicated person.

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Motorists Urged to Check Tires to Avoid Car Accident in Joplin Missouri

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently released a new consumer advisory urging all motorists to check their vehicle's tires to make sure that they're properly inflated and that the thread is not worn or damaged. The condition of your tires can drastically affect your chances of being involved in a car accident in Joplin, Carthage, Noel, Anderson or any of the surrounding areas.
It is important to check the condition of your tires during these hot summer months as the mixture of poorly kept tires and the scorching pavement can result in serious accidents. This consumer advisory is released just in time for National Tire Safety Week. It is during these upcoming months driving increases with the kick-off of the summer travel season.

Our Camdenton car accident attorneys urge motorists to perform routine checkups on their vehicles throughout the entire year. The condition on your car can greatly affect your safety on our roadways.

"As the weather warms up, it's especially important for drivers to ensure their tires are properly inflated," Secretary Ray LaHood said. "For your safety and the safety of others on the road, inspect your tires regularly and maintain the proper inflation."

The most recent data released by the Department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that from 2005 to 2009, approximately 3,400 people died in tire-related accidents on U.S. roadways. It is also estimated that another 116,000 were injured in these incidents.

"While it's true improperly maintained tires can contribute to a crash at any time of year, it is particularly critical for motorists to check tires during hot weather, when families and luggage often overload vehicles for long vacation trips," NHTSA Administrator David Strickland warned. "Underinflated tires spinning on hot asphalt for extended periods of time can be a recipe for disaster."

The DOT strongly suggests that motorists keep an eye on their tire pressure. It's not only important to check this regularly, but especially before venturing out on long trips.
Motorists are also urged to keep an eye on the wear and tear of their tires. Aging tires and the summer heat can turn out to be a deadly combination. Older tires are oftentimes more susceptible to heat stress. This condition only increases when they're not properly inflated. A good way to check the aging of your tires is to take a look at the sidewall. You can also check the vehicle owner's manual or check with the tire manufacturer to see how often your tires need to be replaced.

Keeping your tires properly inflated not only helps to keep you safe on our roadways, it also helps to keep more cash in your pocket. Properly inflated tired helps you save on gas mileage. Properly inflated tires can save you nearly 3 miles per gallon. It adds up to big savings!

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Transportation For America Releases Report Illustrating Pedestrian Accidents in Southeast Missouri and Elsewhere

A new pedestrian safety report released by Transportation For America illustrates the risk of pedestrian accidents in Joplin, Webb City and Nevada.

The report looks at the 47,000 pedestrians killed while walking our country's streets from 2000 to 2009. It also examines the 688,000 injuries from these accidents.

Dangerous by Design 2011 is researching how to prevent these accidents.

Our Joplin car accident lawyers recognize the severity of this epidemic. We also understand that the risks for a serious or fatal pedestrian accident have only increased with the latest weather conditions. As communities continue to repair the damage from the recent tornadoes, pedestrians find themselves at a greater risk. With debris, downed power lines and flooded streets, motorists are likely to be less aware of pedestrians as they focus on rough driving conditions.

The release comes equipped with state specific factsheets for all 50 states. Through this visual, you are able to look at your community to see just how common these serious pedestrian accidents are.

During the examined years, 2000 through 2009, more than 800 pedestrians were killed while walking in Missouri. These accidents cost the state nearly $3.50 billion. Our state ranks 17th on the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) out of all 50 states.

The most dangerous areas in Missouri, between 2000 and 2009, for pedestrians are as follows:

-Kansas City, 234 pedestrian deaths.

-Springfield, 49 pedestrian deaths.

-Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, 46 pedestrian deaths.

-Columbia, 19 pedestrian deaths.

-Joplin, 19 pedestrian deaths.

-St. Joseph, 16 pedestrian deaths.

-Jefferson City, 10 pedestrian deaths.

When looking at a map that illustrates this data, it is obvious that a majority of these accidents occur along "arterial" roads. These are roads that have been engineered for speedy traffic and take very little precautions for pedestrians.

It is our federal tax dollars that fund these "arterial" roads. Even with little safety precaution for on-foot travelers, Congress is looking to eliminate what funding is left for projects to make these areas safer.

Highways-only lobbyists continue to insist that pedestrian safety is a feature that is a local responsibility. Ironically, nearly 70 percent of the pedestrian deaths that have occurred over the last 10 years have happened on these federal-air roadways. These types of roads are the ones that are eligible to receive federal funding.

This makes it clear that federal programs have made speedy traffic as a priority over pedestrian safety. Shouldn't our tax dollars be used to build streets that are safe for all users and not to only accommodate speedy vehicles?

Fixing up a street to make it safe for pedestrians is pretty cheap. These funds account for less than 1.5 percent of the current federal transportation outlay. This is a fund that is now targeted, by Congress, for elimination.

If you think the government needs to hang on to the fund to keep our streets safe for pedestrians, you are urged to contact Congress and voice your opinion.

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Joplin Missouri Catastrophic Injuries Require Help From Many Quarters--Legal, Financial, and Emotional

Joplin Missouri Personal Injury Attorneys know that catastrophic injuries happen suddenly, without warning, and may cause permanent damage and disruption to the victim's life. These are the kinds of injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Amputation injury
  • 3rd degree burn injuries
  • Neurological disorders such as paralysis and quadriplegia

1118206_lightning.jpgVictims frequently experience trauma to the central nervous system which manifests in loss of movement, loss of sensation, loss of cognitive or vocal abilities, and many more symptoms which can devastate the life of not just the injured party but their family as well.

Long term management of these injuries is not only complex, but shockingly expensive. Joplin Catastrophic Injury attorneys know that frequently a legal claim or social security disability claim is required as the only way to find enough funding for the victim and their family to survive.

If a Neosho catastrophic injury was caused by someone's negligence, a defective product, or a surgical error, there is someone to sue for damages, but in many cases the accident causing the injury could be a fall, or an act of nature such as being struck by lightning or the tragic and shocking tornado that just killed and injured so many of our Joplin citizens.

In this case, an experienced Joplin Personal Injury law firm can still be of immense help to the injured party, helping them to get government assistance via the Social Security Disability system and any other available government programs.

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Missouri to Join Fight Against Fatal Car Accidents in Joplin and Elsewhere

While many continue to debate the role of government in the lives of U.S. citizens, most can agree on one thing -- more laws and action to improve roadway safety. A recent survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety releases this data just in time to join the efforts of the United Nations 'Decade of Action on Road Safety' campaign in an effort to reduce the number of fatal car accidents in Joplin and throughout the world.
"Despite shrinking federal and state transportation budgets and a public debate over the most appropriate role of government, it's clear that a majority of Americans want government officials to do more - not less - about highway safety," said AAA President and CEO Bob Darbelnet. "From passing and enforcing laws about teen drivers and distracted driving to programs that improve the safety of our roadways and add safety equipment to vehicles, there are many steps government can take reduce crashes, injuries, and deaths in the U.S."

Our Joplin car accident attorneys would like our local residents to join this global campaign, which aims to reduce and stabilize the number of fatalities from car accidents worldwide by 2020. We can join the rest of the United States, major economies of the G20, the World Bank and the World Health Organization to help contribute to the cause be practicing safe and alert driving practices to decrease the risks of an accident.

"At a time when more and more U.S. highway safety agencies are adopting "Toward Zero Death" goals, it is very heartening to see motorist support for more, not less action by government to make our roads safer," added J. Peter Kissinger, President of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, that commissioned this survey.

Survey results from AAA revealed that:

-More than 60 percent of Americans agree that the United States needs to enact more laws to help curb dangerous and distracted driving habits.

-Roughly 57 percent of Americans agree that their local government needs to step up and do more to make their own roads safer.

-Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed believe that all new drivers should have to complete a driver's education course before getting their license.

-Most Americans think that automakers and government officials need to do more to make cars safer.

-Nearly 75 percent of Americans think that safe driving laws should be enforced more strictly.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 1,000 vehicles were involved in fatal car accidents in Missouri in 2008.

"As the global community has initiated action to combat the public health crisis associated with motor vehicle crashes, the U.S. should lead by example and invest even greater resources in laws, education, technology and road design to reduce the daily highway carnage," said Kissinger.

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