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Highway Defects – Another Common Cause of Serious Car Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has never ceased in creating and implementing programs and designing educational campaigns that will continuously remind drivers of the necessity of observing road safety rules to keep accidents minor and at a minimum. This is because about three-fourths of the more than five million motor vehicle accidents in the US (every year) are due to driver’s faults, like speeding, reckless driving, drunk driving, which is the number one cause of car accidents, and distracted driving, which greatly involves teenage and young adult drivers. This, somehow, points to the alarming odds that, no matter how careful one may drive, if another driver acts negligently or carelessly, then an accident may just occur.

Drivers, however, are not the only ones guilty of acts of negligence, for there are also factors or other causes of accidents that are outside of drivers’ control. These include cars with manufacturing defects or low-quality car parts and defective roads and highways. Often, these other factors present greater dangers for these may not be immediately obvious, being discovered only after having caused tragic road mishaps.

Dangerous Road Conditions

The dangerous effects of a defectively-designed highway or a poorly-maintained street is definitely more extensive than car manufacturing defects as the former directly affects more (if not all) motorists. Highway defects include not enough or weakly constructed guardrails, traffic signs blocked by trees or other fixtures, poorly lighted streets, lack of railroad crossing lights and traffic lights, wrong road signs, uneven pavement, roadway debris, potholes, and so forth.

States, municipalities and cities are the ones responsible in the construction and maintenance of roads. States, however, has immunity from any form of liability (despite injuries during an accident), which is based on the rule that, so long as they follow approved construction plans, then they are exempt from paying any claims by an accident victim.

According to the website of Abel Law, the chance of a victim in winning the court’s approval to claim for damages, therefore, depends on the ability and competence of the personal injury lawyer, on whom rests the burden to prove that the risk of accident should have been foreseen or discovered by the state.

Teaching Teens not to Speed

Car accidents are a huge cause of many personal injury lawsuits. Severity of these accidents can lead to expensive settlements, which is why it is important to know and avoid dangerous driving habits that can cause such devastating accidents. Speeding is the third leading contributor to fatal car crashes, and it is the least tackled problem today.

Although most motorists feel endangered when driving next to a speeding vehicle, survey says majority of these motorists still tend to over-speed while driving. Many reasons are given as to why this behavior exists, and even though these reasons are not always true or valid, speeding almost always ends up being overlooked. Accidents due to speeding is not only isolated to highways and freeways; there are a significant number of accidents occurring in local streets, in roads with speed limits 50 mph or less.

Teens and young males are often the most likely victims of these speeding accidents. Based on the NHTSA report, 39 percent of male drivers involved in speed-related car crashes are aged 15-20 years old. This is an alarming report – teens believe that having a driver’s license proves they are ready for the responsibility of driving. However, their driver’s license also exposes them to inevitable risks and dangers. To help prevent the risks of having your child get into a speed-related accident, here are some things that you can do:

  1. Emphasize the importance of being in control of the car.
  2. Stay involved. Talk to your children about the risks and dangers of speeding.
  3. Make sure that you teach them the proper speed management regarding several driving conditions.
  4. Provide a list of driving rules, ensuring that “following the speed limit” is included and followed otherwise driving privileges are taken.
  5. Be a good leader and show your children that you follow the laws on speed limits.

Constant communication and being a good role model to your children is the best way to implant proper safe-driving behaviors. Preventing an accident is the only way to avoid any injuries that can occur. If you have instilled safe driving to your children and they have been injured due to another person’s negligence or recklessness, then it would be easier for personal injury attorneys to fight for your right for compensation since you are not the one at fault.

Wisconsin Holds Party Hosts Liable for DUI

If you hold a party in Wisconsin and let a guest under the legal drinking age drive after consuming alcohol, you could be held liable for a drinking under the influence (DUI) accident. This is an unusual qualification for social host liability, which is absent in most states that do penalize social hosts for DUI.

The legal drinking age in Wisconsin is 21, but it is lawful for someone under 21 to drink if a parent or guardian is present. So let us say you host the annual family reunion, and you run out of ice. You send out your 18 year old to the nearest 7-11, and he gets into an accident. Because he is not of legal drinking age, that one beer he had could lead to a DUI charge. Wisconsin has an “absolute sobriety” law which means any amount of alcohol found in the system of a minor will lead to a DUI. If that wasn’t bad enough, if the accident that got your son arrested in the first place resulted in injuries to another person you may be liable for exemplary and actual damages just because you let your son drive a few blocks after he drank a beer.

But those in Wisconsin are still lucky. The qualification limits the liability of those who hosts drinking parties or who provided liquor such as a bar or restaurant (this is dram shop liability) to underage drinkers. You won’t have to worry about it every time you hold a drinking party. Those over the age of 21 who get sloppy drunk still should not be allowed to drive, but the liability for injuries sustained in a DUI is theirs and theirs alone. Just don’t let any underage drinkers near the car keys.

So if you are ever injured in a DUI accident and the driver is under the age of 21, you will need a social host liability lawyer to straighten out who is liable for your injuries.

Why Do People Speed?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding is a great factor in 31 percent of motor accidents in the United States. Speeding fatalities average 1, 000 Americans every month, and cost $40 billion each year in damages. In spite of statistics proving that overspeeding is a factor in one-third of all fatal crashes, motorists still continues to endanger their lives and the lives of others through overspeeding or driving too fast under bad road conditions.

Among the three most dangerous driving behaviors – drunk driving, speeding, and not wearing seatbelts – speeding is the one that gets least attention and is not advocated well. Speeding is one of the negative driving behaviors that is not taken seriously, either by the driver, police officers, or the law. Everyone drives over the limit, and judges report that those ticketed for speeding believe their reason for speeding is justified.

So, is this the reason why people drive dangerously fast speeds? Psychologists believe that speeding is an acceptable habit in society that rewards people for people doing things in a fast pace. For some, speeding is one way of taking control of what they think is an acceptable level of risk. A lot of people also tend to overestimate their skills in driving and underestimate the risks that speeding presents.

Speeding is a habitual behavior – although everyone believe that speeding a dangerous behavior, most still overspeed. Because of the dangers of overspeeding, there are many effective strategies that help reduce crashes caused by overspeeding. Such preventive measures are automated speed enforcement, highly-visible enforcement blitzes, road engineering, and many others.

Speeding is not only a problem in freeways, but also in local streets, thus resulting in many accidents and injuries. Injuries due to speeding can lead to expensive lawsuits, and personal injury attorneys know how to fight for their client’s rights. If you want to avoid lengthy and expensive lawsuits, there are ways that can make your driving safer: give yourself lots of time to get to your destination, make sure to drive based on the weather conditions, and use your common sense when driving.