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Why Street Racing Is So Dangerous

Car in Motion at Night, moving at fast speedsIllegal street racing in the Los Angeles area is highly dangerous. Unfortunately, southern California has seen what law enforcement describes as “epidemic” levels of illegal street racing in recent years.

Why is it so dangerous? Many reasons.

5 Dangers of Street Racing

There are multiple reasons that street racing poses risks that are not worth taking.

1. Vehicles engaged in street racing are driving at exceptionally fast speeds.

Street racing vehicles often exceed 100 miles per hour, and reach speeds of perhaps as much as 200 mph. The faster a car is driving, the more damage it does if it hits another vehicle, person, or object. Speeding cars are more prone to accidents because they are harder for drivers to control.

Many street racing accidents where a car has crashed into another car are fatal to everyone concerned, both drivers and passengers.

Bystanders, drivers and passengers of vehicles not in the race, but in proximity to the racing cars, have all been killed by debris from a high-speed crash.

And it’s not just during a race that fast-driving vehicles are dangerous. Many participants in street racing hear about race locations on social media channels. They aren’t made public, to evade stepped-up law enforcement focusing on street racing. Once racers hear, they often race to the locations, at speeds in triple digits.

They often drive this fast on freeways, where the number of cars increases exponentially.

2. Street racing is often fueled with alcohol and other substances that can impair the ability of drivers.

News accounts often refer to the high amount of intoxicating substances consumed by street racing participants and onlookers alike. Alcohol, marijuana, and other substances can impair one’s ability to drive.

3. Collateral damage.

When race cars driving at very fast speeds hit objects and other vehicles, these objects and other vehicles become agents of destruction themselves. A car or truck hit by a racing car can careen across lanes, causing multiple injuries and deaths. In several street racing accidents, trucks have overturned.

4. Onlookers can be harmed.

Large groups of people have been known to gather to watch street races. If a spin-out or crash happens, flying debris and associated mayhem, like fire from burning gasoline, may injure large numbers of people.

5. Participants may underestimate the danger.

Law enforcement believes that street racing is powered by movies like The Fast and the Furious or video games. In popular culture depictions of street racing, no one is hurt, maimed, or killed.

Participants in illegal street racing in Los Angeles may believe there are as safe as video game heroes, who always live to race another day.

If You Need an Auto Accident Attorney in Los Angeles

Unfortunately, all too many people have been injured and killed in illegal street racing in Southern California. If you or a loved one is among them, award-winning Los Angeles car accident lawyer Andrew Ellis can assist you in finding justice.

Ellis Injury Law has been successfully investigating and litigating auto accidents in Los Angeles for more than 20 years. Contact us today at 1-800-INJURED for a complimentary consultation. Put our track record to work for you: Our firm has won over $100 million in compensation for our clients over the last 5 years. We charge no fees unless you get paid from a settlement or verdict!

Additional “L.A. Street Racing Dangers” Resources:

  1. Meija, Brittny and Hailey Branson-Potts. “LAPD Trying to Put Brakes on Illegal Street Racing.” Los Angeles Times. May 10, 2015. http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-racing-20150511-story.html
  2. Stevens, Matt, Frank Shyong, and Brittny Meija. “Deadly Street Racing Fueled by Social Media, Popular Culture, Police Say.” Los Angeles Times. February 29, 2016.  http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-street-racing-popularity-20160229-story.html

5 Out-of-the-Box Ways to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in LA

Cheerful young people blowing confetti and smiling while enjoying party togetherReady to ring in 2018 with friends, family and loved ones? If you’re feeling pressure to have the best New Year’s Eve ever, but aren’t much of a party lover, there are plenty of creative ways to celebrate in style this January 31st. These outside-the-box ideas are an inexpensive way to have fun, be social and get silly with your closest pals.

Host a Game Night

Are your clubbing days over? Not interested in a dance-til-you-drop marathon? You’re not alone. Instead, why not invite your favorite friends over for an evening of friendly yet spirited competition. Nothing like a rousing game of Pictionary, Cranium, Trivial Pursuit or Cards Against Humanity to get people laughing and keeping your get-together lively.

Throw a Karaoke Party

These days you don’t need to rent pricey equipment to enjoy a night of karaoke madness. All you need is a microphone, decent speakers and the Internet. Some sites boast more than 120,000 songs, let you record your favorite renditions and earn a fan base. Sing your heart out to the latest chart toppers or holiday classics all in the comfort of your own home.

Host a Fancy Dinner Party

Unleash your inner Julia Childs by throwing a no-holds-barred dinner party on New Year’s Eve. Get creative with new recipes, dazzle your guests with delicious appetizers as you put on your chef’s hat and make a feast that will be remembered.

Enjoy a Movie Marathon

Make a giant bowl of popcorn, serve up your best cinema treats and get cozy with your favorite line up of movies. This is a great opportunity to re-watch popular flicks like the Matrix series, Lord of the Rings trilogy or older classics.

Reconnect with Loved Ones Online

This is the perfect chance to reconnect with an old pal or family member that is all alone on New Year’s Eve. Catch up using FaceTime or Skype, and enjoy a holiday champagne cheers from your living room.

Celebrate NYE safely in California

If you absolutely have to get behind the wheel, keep in mind that New Year’s Eve is one of the most dangerous nights for being on Los Angeles roads (or anywhere in the country). If you plan on enjoying a cocktail or glass of champagne, please use a designated driver, car-sharing service or taxi, and if you’re the chosen chauffer, we encourage you to be extra alert for drunk drivers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that New Year’s Eve and January 1 has the highest rate of vehicle crashes in the calendar year.

If you are injured or lose a loved one in a DUI crash, Ellis Injury Law offers aggressive legal assistance in California. Helping drunk driving victims and their families for more than 25 years, our attorneys have the experience to win the most challenging personal injury and wrongful death cases.

Schedule a free case evaluation with a Los Angeles car accident attorney who gets results by dialing 1-800-INJURED.

More ideas for a safe and fun New Year’s Eve:

  1. SafeAutoBlog, New Year’s Drunk Driving Statistics http://blog.safeauto.com/new-years-drunk-driving-statistics/
  2. BuzzFeed, 18 Alternative Ways To Spend New Year’s Eve https://www.buzzfeed.com/emmacooke24/alternative-ways-to-spend-new-years-eve?utm_term=.ckZV6nEDN2#.mmp907e6AP
  3. Society19, 15 Creative Ideas For Celebrating New Year’s Eve At Home https://www.society19.com/creative-ideas-for-celebrating-new-years-eve-at-home/

What To Do If You Lose Control of Your Car

Slippery road sign The number one cause of drivers losing control of their vehicles is poor weather conditions. Rain, especially after a long dry spell, can make roads dangerous. But weather isn’t the only reason drivers lose control of their cars. Brake failure, faulty steering rods and other mechanical problems can also cause loss of control.

It’s frightening and dangerous to lose control of your car. What should you do? Here’s some tips for the road.

Tips for Regaining Control of the Car

Tip Number 1: Don’t Panic

It’s easier said than done, but if you lose control of your car for any reason, don’t panic. You have options to regain control. Think about those options, not about your fear.

Tip Number 2: Don’t Brake Hard to Regain Control

Roads can be dangerous in rain, especially if it’s just started to rain or is raining heavily. Hydroplaning refers to a car’s tires losing traction due to wetness on the road. Cars can also skid or become out of control even if they’re not hydroplaning. The natural human reaction if your car is skidding or hydroplaning is to slam on the brakes to slow down or stop the car. Don’t do this! It can cause your car to skid even more dangerously or hydroplane more.

Instead, apply gentle brake pressure for just a second or two, then take your foot off the brake. Then do it again. You want to stop very slowly, and you don’t want steady pressure on the brake.

Tip Number 3: Don’t Accelerate

Strange as it may so

und, some drivers panic and hit the gas pedal when they skid or hydroplane. It’s accidental, but some part of their brain is aiming for the same area as the brake. Don’t accelerate an already out-of-control car, ever.

Tip Number 4: Steer in the Opposite Direction Slowly

If you’re skidding, you want to steer out of it slowly. Move the steering wheel in the direction you need to go, but don’t do it hard. Turning your wheel hard intensifies the correction and can cause you to skid in the opposite direction.

Tip No. 5: Use the Emergency Brake

The other reason a car might be out of control is brake failure. You tape the brakes and there’s no response. Generally, this will only happen if the car has run out of brake fluid or the brake pads are worn.

The answer is to use the emergency brake. This is clearly not ideal, but it’s better than running into another car, a person, or running through an intersection.

Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney in Los Angeles?

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car crash in southern California, we can help. Ellis Injury Law has more than two decades of experience in car accident law. Contact an experienced Los Angeles auto accident attorney today at 1-800-INJURED for a consultation at no cost to you.

More information on what to do if you lose control of your car:

  1. Allstate Insurance. You Lost Control of Your Car in Bad Weather. Now What? March 15, 2012. https://blog.allstate.com/you-lost-control-of-your-car-in-bad-weather-now-what/
  2. Lampton, Christopher. How Do You Stop an Out-of-Control Car? How Stuff Works. https://auto.howstuffworks.com/car-driving-safety/accidents-hazardous-conditions/stop-out-of-control-car.htm

Common Delayed Car Accident Injury Symptoms and How They Can Affect You

injured woman after car crash, concussionIf you have been in a car accident in southern California, you may not have felt any symptoms of an injury at the time of a crash or shortly after it. Adrenaline and other stress responses can kick in to mask symptoms.

In addition, a number of injuries, including those to soft tissue, may not manifest for several days or even weeks after an accident. They can affect your functioning and quality of life. Some can even be life-threatening.

As a result, it’s good to know what the most common delayed car accident injury symptoms are and how they can affect you.

Headaches

It’s a good idea to see a doctor after a car crash. Why? Because they can check for signs of a concussion and other potential head injuries. Concussions can occur by the head being jostled, or your upper body and head being moved sharply back and forth.

If you begin having headaches several days after the accident, it may be a sign of several common post-accident injuries, including injury to the neck, the head, a concussion, or a blood clot or bleeding in the brain.

Pain or Stiffness in the Neck or Shoulder

Experiencing pain or stiffness in the neck or shoulder after an accident is one of the most common delayed symptoms after a car accident.

Many cases are associated with whiplash, which acquired its name from the movement of a body back and forth if a car is hit from the rear. The movement can cause soft tissue damage, which will not show up on an x-ray, but may result in pain and stiffness that can be long-lasting.

Pain in the Back

Back pain can stem from injured muscles, nerves, vertebrae, or ligaments. It is especially common in rear-end crashes and crashes in which people were hit from the side.

Pain or Swelling in the Stomach

If you have pain or swelling in the stomach after an accident, see a physician immediately. Pain and swelling could mean you have internal bleeding. Other potential symptoms of internal bleeding include bruising, especially dark bruises, faintness, and dizziness.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) manifests through nightmares and flashbacks of traumatic events. PTSD is a common psychological symptom after a crash.

Experienced Car Accident Lawyers

If you or a loved one has been in a car crash causing injury or psychological stress in southern California, we can help. We have been litigating and investigating accidents in the Los Angeles area for more than 20 years. We fight aggressively for your rights.

Please call today at 1-800-INJURED for a free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles car crash lawyer.

More information on common delayed injury symptoms after a car crash:

  1. Konet, Kyle. Arrowhead Clinic. “Delayed Car Accident Injury Symptoms To Pay Attention To.” https://www.arrowheadclinic.com/category/blog/delayed-car-accident-injury-symptoms
  2. Bigham, Alex. “7 Delayed Injury Symptoms After a Car Crash.” KTAR News, August 31, 2015. http://ktar.com/story/605000/7-delayed-injury-symptoms-after-a-car-crash/

How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident?

Two Drivers Arguing After Traffic Accident If you’ve been in a car accident, the determination of who or what caused the accident can have a major bearing on your future. If a person other than yourself caused it, whether through direct action or through failure to obey proper driving procedures, they can be determined to be at fault, or negligent, in a court of law. If you caused it, you may be determined to be at fault, or negligent.

Why Fault Matters in a Car Accident

A negligent driver can be sued under California law by an injured party. While some states are “no fault,” in which car repairs and medical treatment are always handled by individual insurance companies, California is not one of them.

Being at fault can also affect your insurance rates and points on your driver’s license in California.

Accidents can be caused by a direct action, such as failure to stop at a stop sign. This is always against the law.

Failure to obey proper driving procedures means that an accident could have been avoided had proper procedures been followed. Suppose a driver behind you, for example, is traveling too fast to stop if you make a sudden stop. The driver may try to argue that you stopped too suddenly, but in fact all drivers are expected to leave appropriate space between them and the car in front of them. Defensive driving practices could potentially have prevented such an accident.

How Is Auto Accident Fault Determined?

Many factors have to be considered to determine fault in a car crash. Laws, speed, condition of the car and driver, and weather are just some common factors in accidents.

If a police officer comes to the scene after an accident in the Los Angeles area, they will file a police report. This will have a detailed description of the accident scene from the drivers involved, the physical evidence, and the officer’s observations. It may have a sketch.

This can help to determine fault. If a driver turned left at an intersection without signaling, for example, it will be that driver’s fault if you hit him going straight.

Statements of witnesses can also be used to determine fault. If there are witnesses that saw the failure to deploy a turn signal, for example, such as the driver behind that car, their testimony can be used.

If the police do not take witness statements, you may ask the witnesses if they are willing to make statements, and take notes.

Forensic evidence is also used to assess degree of fault. The degree of a car’s trajectory may indicate excessive speed or another issue in the driving.

Images such as pictures and videos are also used. Skid marks, for example, may indicate that a driver was going too fast or stopped very quickly – perhaps not in time. It is always a good idea to take multiple pictures after the scene of an accident, from various perspectives and from nearby and far away.

It is also possible to call investigators to the scene to carefully review evidence.

Involved in a car crash? Learn your legal rights

Ellis Injury Law Firm attorneys have 20 years of experience litigating and investigating car accidents in the Los Angeles area. Accidents can be complex, and determining fault and degree of fault requires experience and knowhow.

We fight for your rights. Please call today for a complimentary appointment to receive advice about car accidents, negligence, and California law. An experienced Los Angeles car crash lawyer at our award-winning firm can be reached at 1-800-INJURED.

Further reading on how liability in car crashes is determined in California:

  1. Esurance. The Blame Game: How Fault Is Determined After a Car Accident. https://www.esurance.com/info/car/how-fault-is-determined-after-a-car-accident
  2. Department of Motor Vehicles. State of California. Traffic Accident Report SR 1. https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/forms/sr/sr1

California Child Car Seat Safety Law Updates 2017

Infant fastened with seat belt for safety purpose in car seatMotor vehicle accident injuries are among the top five causes of hospitalization and death for children aged 16 and younger, reports the California Department of Public Health. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that proper car seat use can reduce the chance of serious injury or death in children by up to 71 percent. Recent studies have also demonstrated that rear-facing car seats are five times safer than forward-facing seats.

California car seat laws are designed to protect infants and toddlers from devastating injury in the event of an accident. In an effort to enhance child passenger safety (CPS) on California’s roads and highways, the state’s car seat laws were amended with an important change.

The law was modified on January 1, 2017. Under the amended legislation, California now mandates that children younger than two years old ride in rear-facing car seats, unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds or is taller than 40 inches. Previously, the law required that rear-facing car seats were mandatory for toddlers up to one-year old or those who weighed 20 pounds or less.

Rear-facing car seats safer, research shows

The car seat law update was based on crash test research, which highlighted the safety benefits of rear-facing car seats. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and Consumer Reports, rear-facing car seats limit the concussive motion of the head during an impact, thereby reducing the likelihood of neck and head injury. Rear-facing seats also spread the crash impact more evenly across the toddler’s body, helping to keep the child better constrained.

California imposes penalties for violating car seat and passenger restraint laws. Parents or drivers can be fined over $500 and get a point on their driving record for each child under the age of 16 who is not properly restrained.

California car seat and passenger restraint laws for children

Here are some of the key highlights of the current California laws on child car seat use and passenger restraint for older children:

  • Until the age of two, children must be properly buckled up and riding in a rear-facing car seat
  • Children under the age of 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster in the back seat.
  • Children who are 8 or older OR at least 4’9″ in height may use a regular car seat belt if the lap belt sits low on the hips, touches the upper thighs, and the shoulder belt rests on the collarbone while the child’s back is firmly touching the the seat. If the seat belt will not fit properly due to a child’s size, they must ride in a car seat or booster seat.
  • All vehicle passengers 16 and older must abide by California’s seat belt law.

Unfortunately, many parents are unaware of – or simply ignore — safety guidelines regarding seat belts and car seats. Research from the CDC found that over the course of one year, some 618,000 children under the age of 1 rode in passenger vehicles without the use of a child car seat, booster seat or seat belt at least some of the time.

Committed to protecting the injured

Here at Ellis Law, we provide effective representation to victims of car accidents throughout California. In the wake of a serious collision, our legal team will work diligently to help you secure fair compensation for your injuries, medical bills and other damages. Schedule a free case review with a Los Angeles car accident lawyer at our firm by calling 1-800-INJURED. 

Additional Resources on California Child Car Seat Safety Laws:

  1. California Highway Patrol, Child Safety Seats https://www.chp.ca.gov/programs-services/programs/child-safety-seats
  2. CA Department of Public Health, California Car Seat Law Changes https://archive.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/injviosaf/Documents/Carseat%20Awareness%20Poster_English%20for%20web%20and%20email%20FINAL.pdf
  3. CA Department of Public Health, Child Passenger Safety (CPS) In California https://archive.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Pages/CPSinCalifornia-VOSP.aspx

7 New High-Tech Features that Enhance Car Safety

Remember when anti-lock brakes, dual airbags and automated seat belts were considered cutting-edge safety features? Vehicle safety technology has come a long way over the years, and increasing numbers of auto makers – from Toyota and Volvo to Ford — are offering advanced features as “standard” equipment on high-volume passenger vehicle lines.

In the past, groundbreaking technological advancements were confined to mostly high-end luxury cars. These days, you can shop around for vehicle safety features that fit your lifestyle and budget, whether you’re looking for better traction control, need help monitoring blind spots or want an alarm that automatically sounds if you nod off at the wheel.

Here’s a round-up of some of the most exciting high-tech features that can help improve safety and reduce your chances of being involved in a traffic accident.

7 car safety features that can save lives 

  1. Stability Control sensors – Automatic sensors will slow down individual tires when turning to help the vehicle stay on course and avoid losing traction
  2. Blind spot monitor – Blind spot detectors alert drivers with a blinking light or audible alarm if a vehicle, pedestrian or bicyclist is in their blind spot
  3. Driver Assist/Collision Warning System– Internal vehicle cameras monitor the surroundings during travels, providing visual or audible warnings if a potentially hazardous situation is detected. The system can even initiate automatic brakes when necessary.
  4. Rear-view back up camera – Shows live footage of the area directly behind your vehicle, allowing you to back up without risk of hitting a person or object
  5. Adaptive headlights – Automatically adjusts and enhances illumination depending on road conditions, helping you see better and drive more safely at night
  6. Driver Alert Control –  Detects erratic driving behaviors such as lane drifting or abrupt deceleration, making an audible sound. By monitoring driver alertness, this safety feature can help prevent accidents caused by drowsiness or other impairment.
  7. Lane-Keep Assist –  This camera-based feature is designed to keep you in the center of the lane. If the system detects that you’re drifting off course or into a lane without a turn signal, it will alert you with a flashing light, vibration or alarm. Some systems will also automatically steer you back in the proper lane, or apply brakes if needed. 

Many of these new auto safety features are ideal for less experienced motorists and those who drive frequently at night, in addition to senior drivers whose reflexes and reaction times are notably slower.

Besides crash avoidance and mitigation, another bonus of these safety systems are lower car insurance rates.

Los Angeles car accident attorneys

Technological advancements have the potential to reduce collisions and save lives. When accidents do happen and serious harm results, it’s crucial to work with a personal injury lawyer who gets results.  Ellis Injury Law specializes in car accident and personal injury litigation throughout California, and leverages the experience, resources and skill to win fair compensation for victims.

Call 1-800-INJURED to arrange a free case review with a Los Angeles car crash attorney today!

Additional Resources on New Car Safety Features:

  1. Business Insider, Don’t buy a new car unless it has these 4 safety features http://www.businessinsider.com/best-new-safety-features-in-cars-2016-8/#blind-spot-detection-1
  2. Consumer Reports, Cars With Advanced Safety Systems https://www.consumerreports.org/car-safety/cars-with-advanced-safety-systems/
  3. USAA, Tech Features That Improve Car Safety https://www.usaa.com/inet/wc/advice-auto-safetyfeatures?akredirect=true
  4. Bank Rate, Car safety technology of the future http://www.bankrate.com/auto/car-safety-technology-of-the-future/

Top Three Reasons You Need an Attorney After a Car Accident

driver calling attorney after car accidentPeople involved in a car accident may be injured, shaken, or unsure of their rights. Car accidents can be complicated, in terms of knowing what happened initially, establishing fault for the accident, and even knowing when to file a claim.

For all these reasons, it’s often a good idea to talk to an attorney after a car accident. Here are the top 3 reasons it’s a good idea to consult a car accident attorney in southern California for a free case review.

1. Expertise and Advice

Attorneys have knowledge of the law in California. Many of your questions after an accident center around the law. Different states have different laws regarding liability and payment issues after an accident. Who pays for your medical bills, for example? Many states are “no-fault,” which means the insurance company will reimburse for an accident regardless of who is at fault. But California is not a no-fault state, so consulting an experienced auto accident attorney is especially crucial for determining who is liable for your monetary damages.

Questions can be abundant after an accident. If a driver sideswiped you and sent you into the oncoming lane, but you were going over the speed limit at the time, who is at fault? Your attorney has seen it all before and will be able to tell you if you have a strong case. How long do you have to file a claim? Your attorney will explain how the statute of limitations — which concerns the time after which a court will not hear your claim — in California affects your case.

2. Investigate the Crash

The “cause and effect” story of many car accidents is not straightforward. Was the accident caused by driver fault, the weather, the condition of the roads, or even malfunctions in a car’s computer systems? The causes could be different than those that are initially assumed, or there could be multiple causes. Various witnesses could have seen different things. An investigation can turn up causes that were not apparent to either driver or to passengers.

Because of this, it’s often necessary to thoroughly investigate a car accident. Attorneys work with long-established investigative teams experienced in forensics and in interviewing police, witnesses, and passers-by.

3. Make Sure You Get the Settlement You Deserve

The majority of car accident claims are resolved with an out of court settlement. A seasoned attorney knows what to expect from the settlement negotiation process, and can ensure that you get the money you deserve. The defendant’s attorneys or lawyers representing the insurance company will likely start off by making you a low-ball offer. You need an experienced attorney on your side who knows when to play hard ball in the back-and-forth settlement negotiation process and who believes in your case to the point that he or she is willing to go to trial if need be. Remember that once you accept a settlement offer, you forego all rights to suing at a later date. An attorney who is well-versed in insurance company negotiation tactics can tell you when an offer is fair and when it isn’t.

When You Need a Car Accident Attorney in Los Angeles

If you or someone close to you has been in a car accident, attorneys at The Ellis Law Firm can assist you. Ellis Injury Law has decades of experience successfully representing clients in motor vehicle accident cases.

Contact us today for a free case review with a seasoned Southern California attorney at 1-800-INJURED.

More Resources on Hiring a Car Accident Attorney:

  1. Hurst, Jane. “10 Reasons to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney.” Lifehack. http://www.lifehack.org/528768/10-reasons-hire-personal-injury-attorney
  2. “When to Hire a Personal Attorney.” DMV.org. http://www.dmv.org/insurance/when-to-hire-a-personal-injury-attorney.php

10 Scary Texting and Driving Statistics

The widespread use of cell phones while driving is an increasing threat to the safety of motorists and their passengers in Los Angeles and throughout the country. Sending or receiving a message may only take a few seconds, but drivers are distracted manually, visually, and cognitively during that time, which increases the risk of an accident significantly. Even hands-free systems or having the phone buzzing on the passenger seat next to you is enough to cause “inattention blindness,” where the brain fails to see what’s directly in front of you and does not realize the impairment – until it’s too late.

10 scary statistics about texting while driving

The following super scary statistics collected by the Ellis Personal Injury Law Firm show what a menace texting while driving in America really is:

1. FIVE seconds is the average amount of time it takes for a driver to text.

If a person is traveling at 55 mph, texting-while-driving is akin to driving the length of a football field without looking at the road. A study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health in May 2014 found that 2 seconds is the maximum amount of time a driver can safely glance away from the road while operating a motor vehicle.

2. In 2013, there were 341,000 motor vehicle crashes that involved texting.

Even though 46 states and the District of Columbia have banned texting while driving, these crashes cause nearly 330,000 injuries and 3,400 deaths per year.

3. Cell phones are a factor for 1 in 4 motor vehicle crashes.

Texting-related crashes rose from 5% in 2012 to 6% in 2013. Crashes involving talking on cell phones remained steady at 21%. The National Safety Council says the percentage of car crashes involving phone use has increased year after year.

4. Every day, 11 teenagers die because they were texting while driving.

Texting while driving is now the leading cause of death among teen drivers. AT&T’s Teen Driver Survey found 97% of teens believe texting while driving is dangerous, yet 43% do it anyway. Of course, teenagers aren’t the only ones who can’t keep their paws off mobile devices on the road. A California analysis found that two-thirds of drivers ages 30-64 texted while driving — with children in the car. Even though teen drivers have a 400% higher chance of being in a car crash when texting while driving than adults, adults must act as role models to demonstrate how important it is for their children to turn their phones off when they are behind the wheel.

5. Texting increases the overall risk of a car accident by 23%.

Even if the other driver is at fault in a crash, experts say victims who are texting could have likely avoided the crash had they been paying attention to the road at the time.

6. Distracted drivers killed 520 pedestrians during 2014.

Motorists and vehicle occupants aren’t the only ones at risk for injuries or deaths related to texting and driving.

7. One in 10 California drivers had their attention diverted by texting, calling or fumbling phones.

The Office of Traffic Safety’s observational study found that 40% more drivers were distracted while driving from 2014 to 2015. The California Department of Motor Vehicles reported over 426,000 cellphone and texting convictions in 2013. Officers write more than 57,000 tickets for distracted driving in California each month!

8. In 2015, 59.6% of Californians said they’ve been hit, or nearly hit, by a cell-using driver.

Talking and texting while driving continues to be the #1 safety hazard cited by California motorists.

9. At any given moment across America, 660,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving.

This number has held steady since 2010. “There’s a certain amount of tech addiction,” explained Chris Cochran from the Office of Traffic Safety, adding: “People are addicted to the ping of a text coming in.”

10. So far, dozens of lawsuits have been won against company employees texting and driving.

Here are some of the huge settlements and verdicts in these high-profile cases of talking or texting and driving:

  • $21 million verdict against Coca-Cola
  • $21 million verdict against Dyke Industries, which later settled for $16.1 million
  • $18 million, $6 million, and $700,000 verdicts against Holmes Transport for three plaintiffs
  • $5.2 million settlement offered by International Paper
  • $500,000 settlement offered by Salomon Smith Barney
  • $7.5 million verdict against the State of Hawaii, later reduced to $1.5 million upon appeal
  • $1.5 million settlement offered by the City of Palo Alto, CA
  • $4 million verdict against Prince George’s County, Maryland
  • $4.75 million settlement offered by Beers Skanska four days into trial
  • $2.5 million and $4.9 million settlements offered by the employer of Sharon King for two plaintiffs

Contact a Los Angeles car accident lawyer to investigate all options

If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious car accident, where you believe texting played a part, do not hesitate to contact a California car accident attorney from the Ellis Personal Injury Firm to investigate your case. We have a team of expert accident reconstructionists, medical professionals, insurance analysts, police department contacts, telecommunications specialists, and others who can testify on your behalf. We’ll track down records, reports, and eyewitnesses who can help us substantiate your claims. Lawyer fees come out of settlements or verdict wins, with no upfront fees required, so you have nothing to lose by calling 1-800-INJURED. Keep in mind the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in the State of California is 2 years or less for most circumstances, so do not delay.

Additional Texting and Driving Statistics:

  1. Association for Safe International Road Travel – Road Crash Statistics, http://asirt.org/initiatives/informing-road-users/road-safety-facts/road-crash-statistics
  2. DO Something – 11 Facts About Texting & Driving, https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-fact-about-texting-and-driving
  3. Huffington Post – 10 Statistics That Capture The Dangers of Texting and Driving, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/08/dangers-of-texting-and-driving-statistics_n_7537710.html
  4. California Office of Transportation Safety – Distracted Driving, http://test-www.ots.ca.gov/Media_and_Research/Campaigns/Distracted_Driving.asp
  5. Journal of Adolescent Health – Keep Your Eyes on the Road: Young Driver Crash Risk Increases According to Duration of Distraction, http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(13)00779-9/fulltext
  6. National Safety Council – Annual Estimate of Cell Phone Crashes 2013, http://www.nsc.org/DistractedDrivingDocuments/Attributable-Risk-Estimate.pdf
  7. Newsday – Texting While Driving Now The Leading Cause of Death for Teen Drivers, http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/study-texting-while-driving-now-leading-cause-of-death-for-teen-drivers-1.5226036
  8. NHTSA – Distracted Driving, https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving
  9. ICEBIKE – The 25 Scariest Texting and Driving Accident Statistics, http://www.icebike.org/texting-and-driving/
  10. Safety News Alert – More than 1 in 4 car crashes due to cell phone use, http://www.safetynewsalert.com/more-than-1-in-4-car-crashes-due-to-cell-phone-use/
  11. NY Times – Can a Law Stop Distracted Driving? California Hopes to Find Out, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/05/us/cell-phone-while-driving-laws.html?_r=0 
  12. LA Times – More California motorists using phones while driving, study finds, http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-0716-texting-driving-20150716-story.html
  13. SlideShare – 11 Major Lawsuits Involving Employee Distracted Driving, https://www.slideshare.net/ZoomSafer/11-major-lawsuits-involving-employee-distracted-driving-13196338
  14. 50 Dangerous Texting and Driving Accident Statistics, https://mightygoods.com/texting-driving-accident-statistics/

A Checklist: What to Do If You Have A Car Accident

accidentAfter any type of auto accident – with another vehicle, a pedestrian or a stationary object — California law mandates that you must stop and exchange information with the involved parties. Never leave the accident scene until after authorities have been alerted and the injured attended to. If you drive away, you may face criminal hit and run penalties, which include monetary fines and jail time.

Given the amount of bodily harm and property damage that can arise from fender benders, it’s no surprise that car crashes are the number one cause of personal injury claims. If you or someone you love is involved in a vehicle accident, it’s important to protect your legal rights by taking appropriate steps at the accident scene and communicating with your insurance carrier.

Auto accident checklist

Ellis Law car accident lawyers have years of experience assisting victims throughout Southern California, and offer the following checklist of what to do (and avoid doing) after a crash. As difficult as it may be, it’s vital to stay calm and composed and prepare yourself for the possibility of filing a claim.

At the accident scene

  1. Call 911 immediately. Describe your location and if ambulance assistance is required.
  2. Contact the police and report the accident.
  3. If you are able to, move your vehicle out of oncoming traffic but stay at the scene.
  4. Get the name and badge number of the police officer or California Highway Patrol who attends the accident scene. Ask when you are able to get a copy of the accident report.
  5. Exchange information with all parties involved – this includes all drivers and passengers. Be sure to get: names, addresses, dates of birth, driver’s license numbers and telephone numbers as well as insurance company and policy information of the other vehicle’s registered owners.
  6. Be cooperative and cordial to other drivers but never apologize or admit fault, even if you believe you are partly to blame for the accident.
  7. Speak to any witnesses on the scene. Get their contact information.
  8. Take pictures and/or video of your vehicle, the accident scene and any damage done.
  9. Report the accident to your insurance provider, giving an honest detailed description of what transpired.
  10. Make detailed notes about the accident while it is still fresh in your mind. This includes: location, weather and road conditions, direction of travel, injuries to yourself or any passengers. Also include a list of property damage to your vehicle.

After the car accident

  1. Always seek medical attention and follow doctor’s orders and treatment protocols.
  2. Keep a record of all medical exams and treatments, hospital costs and out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of your car accident.
  3. In California, you must report the accident to the DMV within 10 days if any injuries or deaths occurred or property damage totals more than $750 in either vehicle.
  4. Get a property damage valuation from your insurance company. You do not have to accept their first offer. Compare and contrast repair estimates/quotes from several body shops.
  5. Review your insurance policy coverage thoroughly. Do not provide a written statement to your insurer without understanding policy limits and clauses.
  6. Be careful discussing the car accident or your injuries in person or on social media until the claim is resolved.
  7. Never sign any waivers or releases provided by your insurer without the benefit of a legal evaluation. By doing so, you may inadvertently harm your chances of a recovering a fair settlement.
  8. Be cautious of low-ball settlement offers. Insurance companies are always looking to improve their bottom line, and may attempt to settle your claim quickly, before your injuries have been properly assessed and treated. Don’t settle a claim without first talking with a qualified car accident attorney, who can ensure the settlement is a true reflection of all financial losses and medical expenses.

Contact a car accident attorney in Los Angeles

For more than two decades, Ellis Law Corporation has devoted their practice to helping injury victims get the settlement they deserve. Our team of talented, hard-working attorneys has the resources and skill to protect your rights and maximize the value of your claim. For a free, no-obligation case review with car accident lawyers Los Angeles has come to trust and rely on, please call our offices toll-free at 1-800-INJURED.

Additional Auto Accident Checklist Resources:

  1. State Bar of California, What Should I do if I have an Auto Accident? http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Public/Pamphlets/AutoAccident.aspx
  2. Insureuonline,org, Auto Accident Checklist http://www.insureuonline.org/auto_accident_checklist.pdf
  3. Geico, Learn What To Do If You Get Into A Car Accident https://www.geico.com/claims/after-an-accident/
  4. Insure.com, What to Do After a Car Accident that’s Not Your Fault http://www.insure.com/car-insurance/third-party-accident.html