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Pottsville PA Personal Injury Law Blog

Pennsylvania 31st in nation when it comes to 'road safety'

Pennsylvania has one the largest populations in the United States, which translates to a lot of motorists on the roads, streets and highways of the Keystone State. According to a survey conducted by the website WalletHub, Pennsylvania also happens to have a less than stellar score when it comes to road safety. The state ranked 31st among all states (Minnesota scored highest, Arizona scored lowest).

Among the data examined in compiling the road safety score was primarily related to car accidents. The factors that weighed heaviest in the scoring were fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel and the fatality rates of pedestrians and non-motorized cyclists per capita. Pennsylvania averaged 1.16 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2016. By contrast Minnesota averaged 0.66 deaths per 100 million miles traveled, and South Carolina, with the nation's highest rate, averaged 1.88 deaths per 100 million miles traveled.

What damages may you pursue if you are injured in car accident?

Getting into a car accident caused by a negligent driver is one of the most frightening, disheartening experiences you can have. After all, a motor vehicle crash can leave you with more than just physical scars -- it can also leave you with emotional and financial ones.

Unfortunately, sometimes car accidents are inevitable due to other motorists' decisions to behave carelessly behind the wheel. Fortunately, you have the right to pursue the following types of damages after these types of accidents.

Self-driving cars cause for concern in Pennsylvania

In less than 12 months, a string of accidents, including at least one in Pennsylvania, has placed self-driving vehicle technology under considerable scrutiny. This comes at the same time as the Keystone State has opened its roads to testing of such technology (although it was halted after a fatal Arizona crash involving a semi-autonomous Uber vehicle in March). Although the technology may yet be a positive for motorists, passengers and the transportation industry, the recent spate of car accidents have shaken public confidence.

Part of the challenge faced by proponents of self-driving and semi-autonomous vehicle technology is that car companies have been reticent in communicating with consumers and members of the public. The only news many people hear about self-driving technology is the reports that are released after an accident. While this may seem to put the technology and the companies that are developing it into an unfairly negative light, the recent accidents and fatalities tend to speak for themselves.

Motorcycle fatalities down slightly in Pennsylvania

Usually warmer weather means that there will be more motorcyclists on the roads, highways and turnpikes in Pennsylvania. Although motorcyclists often ride more frequently during non-winter months, traffic fatalities involving motorcycles still account for a significant percentage of all motor vehicle deaths in the Keystone State. This is because riders are far more vulnerable than their counterparts in other types of vehicles, so motorcycles involved in a car crash tend to have deadlier consequences.

In a report issued last month, the Governors Highway Safety Association noted that nationally, 5,286 motorcyclists were killed in 2016. This is the second highest number of motorcycle fatalities in more than 20 years. Only 2008 saw more motorcyclist deaths (5,312) in the same period. In 1994, motorcycle fatalities comprised 8.4 percent of all motor vehicle deaths in the United States. However, by 2016, motorcycle accidents accounted for 14.1 percent of all traffic fatalities nationwide.

We assist Pennsylvania victims of distracted drivers

Distracted driving has been on the rise in Pennsylvania and across the United States. Traffic safety experts report that distracted driving is a factor in more than eight out of every 10 car accidents in the nation. Inattentive driving is responsible for more than 3,000 traffic deaths each year across the country.

While mobile electronic devices are often the focus of laws passed to curb distracted driving and are certainly a factor in increased incidence of the behavior, they are not the sole distractions faced by drivers. Distracted driving is caused by anything that may cause you to divert your attention away from the task of driving. You may be distracted by anything from eating or drinking in the car to putting on makeup or checking on children in the back seat.

Pennsylvania motorists among nation's least safe drivers

EverQuote - an online aggregator of insurance quotes - utilizing over 781 million miles of 2017 driving data that was compiled with its EverDrive app, has concluded that that Pennsylvania motorists are the third worst drivers in the United States. In order to reach this conclusion, the firm examined a handful of unsafe driving behaviors that could lead to dangerous on-the-road circumstances or even car accidents. The behaviors that EverDrive measured were aggressive acceleration, hard turning, hard braking, using a phone/handheld device while driving and speeding.

The EverDrive Safe Driving Report 2018 analyzed the data by looking at the percentage of driving tips that involved these unsafe driving behaviors. The report concluded that the overall worst drivers - and by far heaviest of foot - resided in the Northeast region. Rounding out the five states whose drivers had the most unsafe habits were Connecticut, which was deemed least safe, and Rhode Island, which were below Pennsylvania in the report, as well as Delaware and Maryland, coming in just ahead of the Keystone State.

In Pennsylvania, keyless ignitions may be stealthy killers

When one thinks of a wrongful death caused by a car, it would not be unusually to picture a tragic crash. But, not all car accidents that cause death even damage the vehicle. In fact, some accidental deaths due to cars have more to do with just how well they function, and a particular convenience feature that is now standard on more than half of all new vehicles sold: keyless ignitions.

A recent New York Times report surveyed cases in which car owners had inadvertently left their keyless vehicles running in attached garages and as a consequence, suffered carbon monoxide poisoning. Since the risk was first identified in 2006, more than two dozen people have died and many more have become seriously ill -- some suffering brain injury due to oxygen deprivation -- from inhaling the deadly gas. The victims largely believed that the car's engine had been turned off either because modern motors are so quiet or because they had removed the fob from inside the vehicle.

Mistaken identity can lead to medical malpractice in Pennsylvania

Horror stories about the wrong patient being anesthetized and wheeled into surgery, only to be operated on before the mistake has been realized, abound in pop culture. With the precautions that hospitals, physicians and other healthcare facilities take these days to confirm identities, mistaken identity is far less common than it once was. But, it does still occur. And, when it does, healthcare professionals could find themselves on the wrong end of a medical malpractice or negligence claim.

A rather extreme example of mistaken identity occurred recently in Western Pennsylvania. Police were called when a man at the office of an orthopedic physician made threats about hurting himself and others. Police went to the home of the plaintiff in the malpractice case -- who shares the same first and last name as the orthopedic patient -- handcuffed him and took the plaintiff to the hospital over his protests that they had the wrong person.

Reckless truck drivers wreak havoc on Pennsylvania roads

A motorist on the roads, streets and highways of Pennsylvania must contend with many potential hazards, ranging from pot holes and road construction to drunk and distracted drivers. The latter are of particular concern when they are behind the wheel of large vehicle, like a delivery truck or a tractor trailer. When a motorist and/or a smaller vehicle is involved in a truck accident, the damage caused by the larger vehicle can be absolutely devastating.

The extent of damage that a truck can cause was illustrated recently in Orwigsburg. During the wee morning hours, just before dawn, a man from Harrisburg was driving a box truck through the town. When he allegedly swerved to compensate for a semi truck that was passing in the opposite direction, the box truck driver struck a car that was legally parked on the street. But the truck did not come to a stop at this time.

Drunk drivers scourge of Pennsylvania roads

When a drunk driver gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, the driver is putting the lives of other Pennsylvania motorists in jeopardy. Drunk and impaired driving continues to be one of the leading causes of fatal traffic accidents - just after speeding - in the Keystone State. When a drunk driver causes an accident, there is nothing that can undo what has been done. But accident victims have rights that they can exercise to seek monetary compensation and a modicum of closure.

Every year, more than 10,000 accidents on the state's streets, roads and highways are caused by alcohol use. Nearly 300 people die in alcohol-related crashes on an annual basis. Even though alcohol-related traffic accidents account for fewer than 10 percent of all the crashes in a year, they result in a quarter of all the fatal injuries.

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Pottsville, PA 17901

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