Posted on May 27th, 2022 by Zane Cagle
Memorial Day Weekend is the official beginning of summer and the launch of summer road trips. The number of miles traveled greatly increases at the end of May and continues throughout the summer. More people on the roadway can increase the likelihood of a car crash.
In addition to road trips to attend celebrations, alcoholic beverages are common supplements to many get-togethers. When traveling and celebrating this weekend, do a bit of planning to reduce your chances of being involved in a tragic motor vehicle collision.
The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 450 may be killed in the upcoming holiday weekend road travel. You may like the “odds” of that number, but in reality, the estimate of 41,000 to 61,000 actual crashes across the US is a bit more daunting as far as odds. The tragedy of these numbers is that many, many of these fatalities and serious injured can simply be prevented. Road fatalities are always tragic but even more so when the death was preventable. These estimated numbers are based on prior Memorial Day holiday travel periods. Furthermore, estimates of crashes range from 41,900 to 61,500 across the U.S. While 450 estimated fatalities seems staggering, the number of people potentially permanently injured in those 40,000 plus crashes is really daunting.
We CAN Reduce the Number of Serious Injuries and Death
AVOID DRINKING AND DRIVING
Whatever your celebration plans, plan ahead for safe transportation after the celebration. Most often, this requires merely a few minutes of forethought. Whether you plan on ride-share ride or a designated driver, please make a plan. Maybe you make a contingency plan for accommodations at a nearby hotel or friend’s house. Really, this step is critical so that you and friends will be around for the next celebration. Driving impaired is simply not okay. We all know better. Yet, approximately 41 percent of the traffic fatalities this weekend will more than likely involve impaired drivers. The criminal charges involved in a DUI or worse, a drunk driving crash are enormous. Of course, being involved in a motor vehicle crash that causes injury can be life-ending and life-changing for many.
I have represented so many people whose lives are in tatters due to the negligence of a drunk driver. It never gets easier. If you are impaired, simply do not drive. Do not wait and make a “game time decision” and try to evaluate your sobriety after you begin drinking. We make horrible decisions under the influence.
WEAR A SEAT BELT
Numbers do not lie. Seat belts save lives. An individual’s chance of survival in a car collision is greatly diminished if they are ejected from the vehicle. In the two decades I have represented those injured in motor vehicle crashes, I have NEVER spoken with an injured client who regretted wearing their seatbelt. Seat belts are 45% effective in preventing front-seat passenger deaths. If everyone wears their seatbelts, we may be able to save over 100 lives this weekend. If given a 50 percent chance of preventing you and your family member’s death this weekend, wouldn’t you take it?
The national rate of seat belt usage is about 90%. However, Missouri does not enjoy that high of a seatbelt usage rate. . According to data from 2019, Missouri has a safety belt usage rate of 88%. As someone who studies the crash statistics from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, we have seen a decline in the use of seatbelts in 2020 and 2021. Data regarding seat belts and fatalities from 2019 was grim. Missouri had 580 total fatalities in 2019 and 343 of those involved unrestrained occupants. That is 59 percent of the fatally injured that were not restrained. Of course, not every motor vehicle crash is survivable. But, amazingly, our car manufacturers have done remarkable things in product safety design in the last three decades. .
DO NOT ENGAGE IN DISTRACTED DRVING
Yes, we all have a smart phone. We take for granted that we can be in constant communication 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is kind of dumbfounding. We are a civilization that has put human beings in space and we’ve created the incredible technology where you can speak to just about anyone in the world while checking the news, weather and a hundred other things. Yet, for all of this intelligence, we have not figured how to safely do this while driving a motor vehicle. Distracted driving or to be more specific, distraction due to being on one’s phone, is a huge cause of crashes. We all know this. We all know that the seconds you look at your phone to look at a text can take 2-3 seconds and that you can travel a football field in those seconds. We have known distracting driving is dangerous and just about everyone I know has a distracted driving story. Those stories usually involve another vehicle drifting across lanes as the other driver watches in horror wondering how to avoid this distracted driver. Please stop. If you must be on your phone, please use the hand’s free option.
If the phone call or text is really a call or text that simply cannot be missed, maybe it is important enough that you need to pull over and concentrate. We certainly know that failing to concentrate on the road can often have disastrous results.
Steps After a Crash
Many people have similar questions following a car crash.
- Call the police. This is a critical step. If there is an injury-call 911, make it clear there is an injury and an ambulance is needed.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver. If you are in a situation where the police will not respond, then do the following:
- take photos of the other driver’s license, insurance card
- take photos of all of the vehicles involved in the collision
- Seek Medical Treatment. No, it is not convenient. If you are having pain, go to the ER
- Call an attorney. The only silly questions are the questions not asked. Call us seven days a week 314.276.1681 or toll free 1.800.685.332 or contact us here.
ENJOY THE LONG WEEKEND
Please enjoy the long weekend. We all hope for sunshine and great weather. While there are many memorials over the Memorial Day Weekend, there will be a lot of travelers on the road way. Please plan ahead, buckle up, and be safe. Should you be injured in a motor vehicle incident