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Stockton Personal Injury Law Blog

Keyless cars silent killers in California

Keyless cars use a technology that has created many layers of convenience for motorists across the United States and the world. In the United States alone, more than eight and a half million - over 50 percent - of new vehicles sold come standard with keyless ignitions each year. However, the convenience of keyless ignitions has also proved to be deadly for many motorists, especially those who had become accustomed over the years to switching off and removing keys from the vehicles.

According to a recent report and product liability lawsuits that have been filed against several automakers, more than two dozen people have died and many more have become ill or suffered brain damage from carbon monoxide poisoning that occurred when car owners left their keyless vehicles running in garages. Victims believed that they had turned off their engines or that the engine would turn off once the fob was removed from the vehicle. As it turns out, in many models, the engine will run indefinitely - until it is turned off or runs out of gas.

Multi-car accidents can be deadly on California roads

Traffic accidents are an unfortunate reality for motorists in the Bay Area and throughout California. When accidents involve multiple vehicles, they can become increasingly more dangerous, as more people, cars and trucks are at risk. Chain reaction crashes, especially at highway speeds, can be particularly perilous for drivers. The fault in such car accidents can sometimes be difficult to ascertain.

The dangers of multi-car accidents were recently illustrated in a crash just south of the Bay Area. A big rig and another vehicle had come to a stop due to a lane closure. A third car began to slow, anticipating the need to stop due to the traffic backup. A fourth car smashed into the back of the third car and caused a chain-reaction collision involving multiple vehicles. One motorist died in the Highway 101 crash.

Fighting for car accident victims in California

Every year in California, thousands of people are injured or killed in traffic accidents. In many cases, these crashes were preventable. Others, unfortunately, simply could not be avoided. But, when you or a loved one are a victim in a car accident, you may not immediately be thinking about how it happened or who was responsible. Instead, you are likely focusing on how to recover from the damage and move forward.

Fortunately, experienced attorneys, such as those at Drivon, Turner and Waters, can help relieve you from the burden of figuring out the "what" and the "why" in a car accident. If the crash was a rear-end accident or involved a drunk or otherwise impaired driver, liability is usually not too difficult to establish.

Are autonomous cars and human drivers a deadly combination?

Technology often leads to improvement in the way people work and live, but the experimental and developmental phases can sometimes be shaky. Usually, the testing of new technologies occurs behind closed doors. But sometimes it doesn't, and, as two high-profile car accidents have demonstrated in recent weeks, the consequences can be deadly.

In March, in two separate incidents, the testing of semi-autonomous cars resulted in human fatalities. On March 18, a self-driving car owned by Uber Technologies Inc. struck a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. The victim died. At the time of the accident, there was a safety driver in the car, behind the wheel.

Drunk drivers scourge of California roads

Every time there is a holiday, like St. Patrick's Day, that people celebrate by overindulging in alcohol or other substances which impair the ability to drive, San Joaquin County and the Bay Area see a spike in drugged and/or drunk driving crashes. Often, these car accidents are more catastrophic than your typical fender bender because the impairment reduces reaction times and leads to extremely poor decision making on the road.

A tragic example of the toll drunk drivers take on the state's roads, streets and highways has resulted in murder charges against a man. The suspected drunk driver killed a woman and a five-year-old boy when his car slammed into their vehicle, which was stopped in the center median, with the hazard likes blinking, due to a flat tire. A three-year-old in the stopped car was injured. The 25-year-old man whose vehicle struck the stopped car was unhurt.

Know what signs point to a driver being too impaired to drive

The horrors that drunk drivers cause for some families is appalling and heartbreaking. Impaired drivers can cause accidents that kill innocent people or injure them to the point where their life won't ever be the same again. This is difficult for people to think about, but it is reality.

When you are on the roadways in California and beyond, you can look out for signs of impaired driving. This is no guarantee that you will remain safe, but it does increase the likelihood that you will get home safely.

Big rig accidents can be bad news for California motorists

"Big rig" trucks are on the highways of Northern California and San Joaquin County around the clock. They haul the products that California is known world-wide for producing, whether they be bottles from wine country or produce from the Central Valley, as well as products from other states and around the globe. As much good as the trucking industry does for the economy, these gargantuan vehicles also pose a risk to other motorists on the state's roads.

A tractor trailer taken alone is not necessarily dangerous, but when a hazard - such as poor weather, bad traffic conditions, driver fatigue or faulty vehicle maintenance - is present, a big truck can become a lethal instrumentality. The very size and weight of the vehicles and the trailers they pull amplify their potential for destruction, especially in collisions with smaller vehicles. In such instances, truck accidents can be catastrophic.

California could see tougher penalties for texting and driving

Data from the California Office of Traffic Safety implicates distracted drivers in four out every five traffic accidents. On a national basis, over 2,000 people are killed annually in car accidents involving distracted driving. Driver inattention can be anything from eating or fumbling with the radio to trying to attend to children while driving. However, most attention and legislation is focused on the use of electronic devices while driving.

California lawmakers have tried to prevent car accidents caused by distracted drivers by enacting laws designed to curtail the handheld use of devices, limit the use of hands-free phones and completely ban messaging while driving. Current California law also prohibits drivers under 18-years-old from using any electronic device at any time, unless there is an emergency.

Assistance after being injured by a distracted driver

Distracted driving is a scourge on the roads and highways of Northern California, and across the state, in general. The California Office of Traffic Safety reports that some form of distracted driving - whether texting, talking, putting on makeup, or anything else that takes a driver's eyes off the road - is a factor in four out of every five accidents in the state. Across the United States, distracted drivers kill thousands of motorists every year.

In spite of the state's attempts to crack down on the use of mobile devices while driving, with laws that ban handheld phones and the use of electronic devices by younger drivers, the problem continues to plague the state's streets and highways. The problem is that there are simply more distracted drivers at any given time than there are California Highway Patrol (CHP) and other law enforcement officers to stop them. And, unfortunately, accidents happen.

What are the consequences for texting and driving in California?

People's burgeoning attachment to mobile devices continues to fuel an epidemic of accidents caused by distracted drivers. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, distracted drivers are implicated in more than 80 percent of all car accidents. Nationally, more than 2,000 people are killed every year in accidents involving inattentive drivers.

The state of California has attempted to crack down on the use of mobile devices while driving by enacting a series of laws that curtails the use of handheld phones, limits hands-free phones, and bans texting or messaging while behind the wheel of a car. Non-emergency use of handheld cell phones and all forms of texting or messaging are prohibited. Hands-free devices can be used by drivers aged 18 or over, as long as both ears are not covered. Drivers under 18 are prohibited from using any electronic device at any time other than in an emergency situation.

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