Posted on May 26th, 2023 by Zane Cagle
Beginning of Increased Road Travel
Memorial Day was established to honor those who have died in US military service. It is also the unofficial beginning of summer and a long weekend of gatherings with friends and family. Due to the longer weekend, many will travel by car. AAA predicts about 40 million people will travel. Memorial Day Weekend has one of the highest fatality rates for motorized transportation. Because there is usually alcohol consumption, driving under the influence contributes to many unnecessarily and tragic motor vehicle crashes.
The National Safety Counsel estimates that about 470 people may die on the US roads. Unfortunately, the National Safety Counsel has long history of accurate predictions.
As motor vehicle crash fatalities and serious injuries have reached a record high in the last two years, we all would welcome a drastic improvement
Steps We Can Take to Protect Yourself on the Roadway
SEAT BELTS SAVE LIVES
Your odds of surviving a motor vehicle crash increase by almost 50 percent when you wear a seat belt. The effectiveness of seat belts in not debatable or theoretical. The seat belt does not guarantee lack of injury or death, but the seat belt does keeps you in the vehicle. Once an occupant is ejected from the vehicle, the odds of survival drop. Over 77.3% of those ejected do not survive. In 2022, the national seat belt usage rate was 91.6 percent. Fifty percent of the occupants killed in 2022 were unrestrained.
Modeling seat belt usage.
As parents, we love to parent by saying, “do what I say, not as I do”. We all know that is not successful. If you want your kids, including teens to wear their seat belts, you have to model it as a HABIT. After wearing a seat belt for decades, it doesn’t cross your mind to question it nor have to remind yourself. Clicking it is simply a habit. As soon as I get into a vehicle, I reach up and back for the belt. I’m pretty sure my kids do that because of course, I watch out the window when they are getting into friends or parents cars!! Can I guarantee they will always wear the seat belt when they are not in my view? No, as a parent, I can only hope that the years of modeling and insistence will result in their participation.
Seat Belt Usage is Non-Negotiable
As a parent, you may feel you are dealing with professional negotiators. As a parent , getting your kids to do something can turn into a battle of wills. For as many reasons as your kid can protest against a seat belt, it has to be an issue in which there is no negotiation. Yes, kids go through developmental stages and some stages include protest to seemingly every rule. Yes, as parents, we negotiate social outings, bed time and screen time. We do not ever negotiate wearing a seat belt.
Teen Seat Belt Usage Rate
Unfortunately, the majority of teens involved in fatal crashes are not wearing seat belts. If you don’t believe the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration, CDC and premier child medical professionals, look up some of the tragic results in your local news or state patrol reports. More than several times this year, there have been catastrophic and deadly crashes involving cars full of teens where none were wearing seat belts. Every family member of those teens are forever changed and so are their communities. Reminding is a part of parenting. Buckling up is never a one-time conversation. Remind, remind and reinforce.
Have a Plan- Avoid Impaired Driving
It is a holiday weekend and we will all celebrate in a way that best fits our family and friends. It is guaranteed that at my house, we will grill, eat until we are sick, and have a few cold drinks. The steaks and burgers will be tasty, the weather warm and the fizzy drinks nice and chilly. Those celebratory feelings and good times combine a lot of pleasant things including eating and good times with friends. The one thing that does not combine well is driving during after consuming alcohol. It is so important if you are planning on being on the roadway that you have a plan that does not include a driver who has been consuming alcohol.
Designated Driver. The designated driver should be the one person who does not consume alcohol, not the “least drunk” in the group.
Avoid Driving Impaired
It is hard to believe that in 2023, we are still having to actively remind people to not drive impaired. Every day, we lose one person every 40 minutes to drunk driving. In 2021, 13, 384 people died in alcohol related crashes which was an increase from 2020 by 14 percent.
If you are a person that really does not care about road safety, the sheer nightmare that is created when you get a DUI is really dramatic. While some say, “I will just get a good attorney”. DUI offenders soon discover that a good or bad attorney gets costly and there are no guarantees.. Of course, there are other pleasant side effects such as your auto insurance rates sky rocketing and high fines and legal fees. There are so many downsides to driving under the influence, I cannot even begin to list them all.
We see the harsh consequences of impaired driving daily in catastrophic . We represent those seriously injured in motor vehicle crashes and the mistakes that sober drivers make can be daunting, let alone the impaired. When another person causes injury because they made a bad driving decision while under the influence, it is tragic and everyone loses.
Consequences–More than Just Inconvenient
Driving while under the influence of alcohol is not just ill advised, it is a dangerous crime. The law enforcement of drunk driving laws has been a factor in reducing drunk-driving deaths since the 1980’s. Charges an range from misdemeanors to felony offenses. Consequences can mean criminal prosecution, manslaughter charges, fines, revocation of license and cancellation of insurance. First time offenders can discover costs exceeding $10,000 for fines and legal fees. Even great DUI attorneys often cannot really help repeat offenders. As well, the general public is far less tolerant of drunk drivers. We have been educated for the last half century about how dangerous drunk driving is. The fact is, most of us have been directly impacted by a drunk driver. Thee vast majority of the population has lost a family member or a friend due to a drunk driver. We know deaths due to drunk driving are a tragic, waste of life.
Questions After a Motor Vehicle Collision (there are many)
Crashes happen daily. No, we do not call them “accidents” because the word “accident” implies there is no cause, just sheer consequence. We know that 99 percent of vehicle crashes area caused by driver error. While crashes are common, many people have no idea or plan if they are in a crash. Maybe some think if they have a plan, then they are jinxed. We handle motor vehicle collisions. You should not wait days or weeks to ask questions.
What is the first thing I should do after a crash? Call 911. Don’t delay notifying authorities. You or another may need emergency help and law enforcement helps secure the scene to avoid further collisions
Should I use an ambulance? If you are hurt, take the ambulance. Rarely do I meet a person who regrets it. On the other hand, I meet a lot of people who regret refusing the ambulance.
Do I need to involve the police? Yes. Even if the other driver protests, call authorities. Those drivers who do not want you to call law enforcement usually take that stand because they are at fault, have warrants or no insurance. Do not let failure to call the police become your problem.
When do I talk to the insurance company? You have an obligation to notify your insurance carrier that you were in a crash. However, you absolutely DO NOT need to make a statement if you are hurt or you are taking medication that may impair your ability to recall. Don’t kid yourself, the insurance company is not going to take heroic measures to swiftly take care of anything so do not talk to them if you are hurt–call an attorney
How do I know who will pay my car damage and medical bills? It really depends on coverage. Make sure you have full coverage auto insurance and health insurance, so that you do not have to faith in other people to be properly insured. Also, you cannot fully trust that the insurance carrier will do the right thing. Again, contact an attorney.
As stated above, there is a lot of information in the first 24 hours after a crash that you simply do not know. Most people have no idea of the extent of their injuries, let alone how they will heal. If you are hurt, then the process is going to take awhile.
We would love to tell you that you can trust auto insurance carriers to pay fair amounts. However, if insurance companies looked out for the injured competently, we would practice some other law than personal injury. It has NOT been my experience in 20 plus year that auto insurance carriers step up and take care of the injured. They only do so when the injured have legal representation.