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Unlicensed Driver Injures 8 at LA Auto Show

emergencyA man lost control of a vehicle he was test-driving, injuring eight people at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Monday. The accident took place around 1:15 PM just outside the Los Angeles Convention Center where visitors are invited to test drive Fiats and other new model vehicles.

Authorities say the man was driving an orange-red Fiat 500e with a Fiat representative, when he suddenly lost control and veered onto a sidewalk before hitting a pole. The crash sprayed fragments of concrete into the vicinity, injuring at least 8 pedestrians. None of the victims sustained life-threatening injuries, and all were adults.

“It seemed to me, I guess the guy wanted to show off a little bit, and instead of hitting the brake he hit the gas,” an eyewitness to the crash told NBC4. “It was really shocking.”

Driver was unlicensed

What truly shocked Los Angeles police was the fact that the man did not have a driver’s license – a requirement for any person who wishes to test drive autos at the convention. Apparently, the man showed representatives a state ID card, which was mistaken for a valid California license. At this time, officials do not suspect that the man was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash.

LA Sergeant Jack Richter told the Los Angeles Times that the injuries suffered by the victims ranged from minor to moderate. At least six of the pedestrians were taken to area hospitals for medical treatment, including the test-driver of the Fiat.

The LA Auto Show, which runs from November 18 through the 27th, was temporarily shut down following the accident. Investigations into the cause of the crash are still pending, but authorities believe pedal error and general inexperience may be to blame.

Pedal error blamed for preventable accidents

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedal error is to blame for a staggering 16,000 vehicle accidents each year. These crashes typically occur in parking lots, garages, exit ramps and intersections when vehicles are traveling at slow speeds. While hitting the gas pedal instead of the brake can happen to anyone, anecdotal evidence indicates that this type of error is more common in elderly drivers (over 65), and young drivers under the age of 20.

When you break down these numbers — 44 pedal error-related crashes happen every day. This recent Auto Show incident illustrates that even low-speed crashes can cause personal injury.

Those who have been harmed by another person’s pedal error or reckless behavior should seek prompt legal assistance to determine who may be held liable for injuries and property damage. With sound legal guidance from an experienced California car accident lawyer, victims may be able to recover monies for medical bills, lost wages, emotional pain and suffering.

To learn more about your rights following a car accident or personal injury in Los Angeles, contact The Ellis Law Firm for a free consultation.