Man Wrecks Lamborghini Hours After He Wins It

A truck driver in Salt Lake City won a Lamborghini worth about $300,000 in a convenience store contest.  However, he did not enjoy the prize long, because six hours later he crashed the sports car.  He says he now plans to sell the 640-horsepower convertible because he can’t afford the insurance or taxes.

“I already had offers on it. I’m going to sell it,” David Dopp said in an interview Wednesday. “I have bills more important than a Lamborghini. I’ve got a family to support.”

Dopp is a 34-year-old truck driver for Frito-Lay spun out of control just a few hours after winning the contest in a “Joe Schmo to Lambo” contest sponsored by Maverik convenience stores.

The lime green convertible was being at a Utah towing yard held by his insurance company.  The insurance company said the lambo will be sent to an authorized Las Vegas dealer for repairs next week.

Dopp told the Associated Press the damage “isn’t super bad” — a punctured oil pan and tire, and a few dents and scratches on the front and rear ends.  The father of six said he couldn’t afford the $7,000 a year insurance payment or to pay taxes on the car.

“That’s why rich people own them,” he said. “The poor people like me don’t.”

Dopp was taking family members and friends on joy rides the first night he had the car. He said he took a curve at about 45 mph and “hit some black ice and spun out.”  The lime green sports car jumped a curb and went through a fence before coming to a rest about 75 feet off the road. Thankfully, neither Dopp nor his passenger was injured.

Authorities said the Lamborghini’s high-performance summer tires weren’t suited for icy conditions and the car is simply too powerful — and exceptionally light with carbon fiber body parts. Police did not issue Dopp a ticket.

Dopp said Maverik listed the Lamborghini’s value at $358,000, but because it’s a 2008 model that had 1,500 miles on the odometer, he believes the value is closer to $300,000.  If you are interested, he said he is willing to sell it for less after the body shop fixes it.

By: Pete Strom, South Carolina Accident Lawyer

Are Drivers Too Hooked on Cell Phones for a Driving Ban?

South Carolina Distracted Driving Attorneys

The National Transportation Safety Board recommends that all states ban drivers’ cell phone use, including hands-free devices, and is working to establish a gold standard for highway safety in the digital age.

However, it’s a move that no state wants to be the first to make, believing it is a slightly unrealistic regulation of the technology we rely on daily.

Are we too hooked on our smart phones to care about our safety on the road?

For many drivers, a cell phone is a vital car necessity that is used as a GPS, radio, or map. Spend a few seconds sitting at a red light and you will see many fellow drivers talking, texting, tweeting or catching up with friends on Facebook, all before the light turns green again.

The NTSB is saying “Enough!” to technology-based culture on the road. In the most sweeping proposal yet, they have put forth a plan that would ban all non-emergency cell phone use, including hands-free devices, to prevent texting and driving accidents.

Admittedly, there are safety concerns about people using their hands to text, or scroll through news updates on their phone while driving instead of watching the road. But after a ban on texting, the proposal gets more complicated. What about other activities that require attention, like choosing a song on an iPod or eating fast food?

Some critics say that laws targeting cell phone use in cars are a few years too late. Virtually everyone who is old enough to drive a car owns a cell phone and uses it for all of their communication needs. Many argue that no law will be able to stop people from communicating while behind the wheel.

At any given daylight moment, some 13.5 million U.S. drivers are on handheld phones, according to a study released last week by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Some 3,092 roadway fatalities last year involved distracted drivers, although the actual number may be far higher, the NHTSA said. Federal officials have taken to calling phone use behind the wheel “the new DUI.”

What do you think?



By:  Pete Strom, South Carolina Accident Attorney

Road Crash Deaths Decline Despite Increase In Distracted Driving

South Carolina Accident Lawyers

For the first time since 1949, accident related deaths in the U.S have hit an all time low of 32,855 highway deaths that occurred in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The 2010 numbers reflect a 2.9 percent drop from 2009, even though the number of miles being driven each year has increased to three trillion miles.

Although accident related fatalities have declined, distracted driving, namely texting while driving, has increased by 50 percent over the last year.  To combat the increase in distracted driving, many states have enacted laws restricting the use of cell phones.

Even considering the increase in texting while driving,  Department of Transportation (“DOT”) secretary Ray LaHood considers the decrease in road crash deaths a great start for safer roads.

“While we have more work to do to continue to protect American motorists, these numbers show we’re making historic progress when it comes to improving safety on our nation’s roadways,” said LaHood.

The decrease comes after implementing graduated license programs for new and young drivers, hands-free cell phone laws and harsher penalties for drinking and driving violations, among other contributing factors.

“Safer vehicles, safer roads and safer drivers as a result of traffic-safety policies that have been implemented over the last few years are certainly contributors,” said Jake Nelson, director of traffic safety advocacy and research at AAA. Nelson added that a combination of all efforts toward road safety has been the greatest factor to the decrease in road crash deaths.

Though Nelson agrees that distracted driving has now become one of the bigger issues over the past few years and that from now on “the measure they’ll now report will be a better indicator of the true impact distractions have on traffic crashes.” Under Secretary LaHood, the NHTS is currently working to revise the way the department collects data for distracted driving to capture a better picture of the problem at hand.

Drunk driving related accidents dropped 4.9 percent in 2010 with 10,228 deaths that occurred compared to the 10,759 deaths in 2009. Over the last five years there has been almost a 40 percent decrease in young drivers aged 16 to 20 and accidents, compared to the 23 percent drop that occurred among the general population.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administrator David Strickland acknowledged the progress in reducing traffic accidents but also recognized the “responsibility to improve our understanding of the dangers that continue to threaten drivers and passengers.”



Commercial Drivers Banned from Using Cell Phones, All Drivers Might Be Next

The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced a final rule that will prohibit truck and bus drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving in Missouri. The new federal rules, which will go into effect Jan.3, 2012,  include a ban on hand-held mobile phones as well as push-to-talk cell phones while driving.

The ban is being implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration after research revealed drivers distracted by hand-held phones pose a safety risk to themselves and other drivers.

Specifically, the rule forbids drivers from reaching for, holding, or dialing a cell phone while driving, and applies to commercial motor vehicle truck and bus drivers who operate in Missouri as well as interstate drivers.

The ban on cell phone use applies when the vehicle is on the highway, temporarily stopped on the highway for traffic, or when waiting at a stoplight, stop sign, or other traffic device.

The new rule affects all commercial drivers involved in interstate commerce with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more, or a vehicle transporting any amount of hazardous materials.

Now, the National Transportation Safety Board has called a nationwide ban on the use of cell phones and text messaging devices for all drivers.

The recommendation is the most far-reaching yet and if adopted by states, would outlaw non-emergency phone calls and texting by operators of every vehicle on the road.

NTSB members say the action is necessary to combat a growing threat posed by distracted drivers.

Regulations like these follow a fatal 2010 crash on Interstate 44 in Gray Summit, Mo. last year involving a tractor trailer, two school buses and a pickup driven by a texting 19-year-old.

Distracted driving has resulted in many crashes including a semi/train collision, collision with highway workers, multi-car pile-ups, and bus drivers who read while driving passengers.

Distracted driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.

The likelihood of crashing a vehicle increases by 4 times when driving under the influence, while texting and driving increases that same risk by 8 times.

Texting drivers need 6 times as much stopping distance – a drunk driver travels 4 additional feet before stopping while a distracted driver travels 25 more feet before stopping.

Distracted drivers gaze at their phones for 5 seconds while texting, which allows for enough time to travel 29 car lengths at highway speeds.

By:  South Carolina Distracted Driving Attorney Pete Strom


Distracted Drivers Increase Despite Cell Phone Use Bans

South Carolina Accident Attorneys

Although many states have instituted texting while driving bans to reduce distracted driving related accidents, there was a 50 percent increase last year among drivers who admitted to sending a text message or e-mail while driving, according to the National Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”).

In 2010, the NHTSA conducted a study and observed drivers at stoplights and intersections to evaluate the pervasiveness of texting and driving. The study indicated that slightly less than one percent of drivers were recorded texting or using their devices for other smart phone capabilities whether  sending e-mails, checking directions, surfing the web, making phone calls, and checking calendars.

Every instance recorded occurred while the phone was held up to the driver’s face when operating the vehicle. More specifically, this form of distracted driving increased from .6 percent to .9 percent over 2010.

A year ago the NHTSA conducted a phone survey of 6,000 drivers aged 18 or older.  18 percent of those participating indicated that they have sent text messages and emails while driving. Among drivers aged 21-24-years-old, fifty percent admitted to texting and driving.

The study further indicated that drivers have a tendency to answer calls while driving and continue on with the conversation.

“It is clear that education messages alone aren’t going to change their behavior,” said Governors Highway Safety spokesman Jonathan Adkins. “Rather, good laws with strong enforcement are what is needed. Many drivers won’t stop texting until they fear getting a ticket.”

In fact, that fear may be exactly what is needed to decrease distracted driving.  According to the NHTSA, in Syracuse, N.Y., cell phone use while driving decreased by 33% following increased enforcement and better public education programs.

Distracted driving is dangerous and can result in distracted driving accidents.  Nothing is more important than making sure that you arrive at your destination safely.