4 Passengers File Personal Injury Lawsuits Against Megabus

Megabus

After Megabus Accident, 4 Passengers File Personal Injury Lawsuits

MegabusOn Tuesday morning, October 14th, a Megabus bound for Chicago suffered a severe crash that left at least 26 of the 56 passengers injured, with 6 of those injuries considered serious. A total of 18 people had to be taken to area hospitals after the crash.

Investigators blamed the Megabus accident on driver inattention, and more recently have pinpointed the cause of distraction to be malfunctioning windshield wipers.

On Wednesday, October 15th, four of the passengers on the Chicago-bound Megabus filed a personal injury lawsuit against the company. The passengers filing against Megabus suffered numerous different injuries, including a separated shoulder, lost teeth, and facial cuts requiring stitches.

“The passengers reported hearing the bus driver complain that the windshield wipers were not working, and it was difficult to see the road in the rain,” a prosecutor said in the statement on behalf of the personal injury plaintiffs. “We suspect a malfunction in the windshield wipers prevented the bus driver from adequately seeing the road and contributed to the crash.”

“It’s a very traumatic event for them to wake up from a sleep having the bus turn over, you’re face-down in broken glass and you have bodies flying down on top of you, causing physical injury.”

The plaintiffs claim in their personal injury lawsuit that the driver announced to passengers on the Megabus that the windshield wipers were not working. That distraction, along with driving too fast, and improper driver training, led the passengers to file their personal injury lawsuit against the company.

Investigators with Indiana State Police, who were at the scene of the Megabus accident, said that there did not appear to be any mechanical problems with the bus itself that would have caused the accident.

This is not the first bus accident issue that Megabus has faced. The service has quickly spread across the US and remains popular because of its low cost. However, the company has had several high-profile accidents in the past few years.

In August 2012, for example, a Megabus on route to Chicago blew out a tire which led to dozens of injuries and one death. Although the driver was credited for not reacting in a way that would have caused further severe injuries, the bus itself suffered from lack of maintenance. One week later, however, another Megabus in downtown Chicago struck and killed an elderly woman. The day after that, a Megabus headed to Charlotte, NC caught fire.

“All Megabus.com companies have had a DOT audit within the past 6 months and all have been given the highest rating achievable by the DOT, which is satisfactory,” spokesman Sean Hughes said in a statement. “The trip had two drivers, which is a normal Megabus safety procedure and above the federal requirement for overnight trips. The drivers signed on at 10 pm the night before, and were on duty for a total of 6 and a half hours when the incident occurred.”

Although the company has not suffered an accident this serious in at least two years, Megabus drivers have been cited for 7 traffic violations, and 6 violations of hours of service on the road – meaning the drivers could be tired or poorly trained, which would lead to terrible accidents, personal injury, and death for passengers and drivers alike.

The Strom Law Firm Represents Those Suffering Personal Injury from Road Accidents

If you have suffered a serious personal injury or the wrongful death of a loved one due to another person’s negligence, including in a car accident or DUI case, contact our South Carolina Accident Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss the facts. 803.252.4800

Trucking Companies Must Help Stop Distracted Driving

distracted driving

Distracted Driving is a Huge Safety Problem for Trucking Companies

distracted drivingDistracted driving is becoming one of the biggest road safety hazards in the United States. Numerous studies have shown that modern technology poses a huge temptation to drivers – hands-free phones, smart watches or other wearable tech, Bluetooth headsets, and even simple texting and driving. One study, conducted by AT&T, showed that three-quarters of drivers chose to text and drive, regardless of the dangers. Another recent study showed that distracted driving, especially texting and driving, is just as deadly as driving under the influence (DUI).

But too many drivers succumb to the temptation, including truck drivers – and that becomes a liability for trucking companies.

“What we don’t want is that truck driver holding that phone up to his ear,” said Michael J. Riley, president of the Motor Transport Association of CT. “That’s distracted driving. That’s dangerous.”

Trucking companies are some of the most vocal advocates for tougher distracted driving laws. Currently, each state varies in its laws and penalties, although most states now have laws against texting and driving.

“We have a lot of stake here,” said Riley. “There’s a moral commitment to doing things safely, there’s an economic component to it all, and we’re proud of what we do and we don’t want to do it in a way that jeopardizes anybody’s safety.”

Enforcement of distracted driving laws can be difficult, due to the prevalence of the harmful practice. One way that states combat the problem is to set up checkpoints, cameras, and police cruisers to catch those breaking the law, especially truck drivers.

“There are studies that say the more proactive we are about enforcing it, the greater it does reduce it,” said Lt. Donald Bridge, a Connecticut DMV Inspector. “The trucks provide a higher platform for the driver so it’s harder to see in there, so we have to take vantage points where we’re up above that and looking down into the cabs.”

“As traffic approaches, we’re looking at everything,” Sgt. Aaron Reimer of the Ohio State Patrol said.

However, Sgt. Reimer says there’s a larger problem with issuing tickets: “The drivers aren’t taking it seriously enough.”

Federal law says that talking on a cell phone is illegal for truck drivers, because it not only causes distracted driving, but the driver takes one hand off the wheel, which means he or she could lose control of the truck. However, because federal law is so strict against truck drivers, thousands of distracted driving accidents involving commercial trucks are actually caused by the other driver.

“Two-thirds of accidents involving commercial vehicles are actually caused by a vehicle other than the commercial vehicle,” Bill Graves with the American Trucking Association said. In Ohio in 2013, there were 10,000 commercial trucks on the roads, and 2,000 distracted driving accidents involving the trucks.

Still, distracted driving catches up to truck drivers too often. “We found that truck drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in one of these safety critical events compared to when they weren’t texting,” said Jeff Hickman, a researcher with Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

Trucking Accidents Can Cause Serious Injury and Wrongful Death

If you or a loved one has been such a victim, contact the Strom Law Firm, LLC South Carolina trucking accident lawyers. Whether you were injured in a bus accident, tractor trailer accident, or any other commercial vehicle accident, we can help. Contact us today at 803.252.4800.

Tech Company Offers Anti-Distracted Driving Program

anti-distracted driving

Tech Company and Sprint Partner for Anti-Distracted Driving Program

anti-distracted driving Although many activities can distract a driver – talking to a passenger, messing with the radio, eating or putting on makeup – the current number one cause of distracted driving is mobile phone use.

Mobile phones, especially smartphones, come with numerous apps and programs that can cause distracted driving. Not only can drivers text, they can use GPS, search for music, use social media, or even simply talk on the phone. However, all of these activities can take the driver’s focus away from the road, and can lead to deadly accidents. In fact, a recent study showed that texting and driving was as deadly in the US as drunk driving.

Drivers know they should not use their mobile phones while driving, but almost everyone is susceptible to the temptation. Now, however, a tech company in partnership with Sprint has created a program for phones that will prevent texts and phone calls from coming through while the user is driving.

Katasi, founded by former NASA engineer Scott Tibbitts, received funding from American Family Insurance to develop the anti-distracted driving program, and Sprint agreed to let the company use their service to implement the design.

The program is not a traditional mobile phone app – instead, the program uses a telematics device to inform the phone that the phone’s user is driving. Telematics is a combination of technology and mobility which is becoming massively popular for multiple applications, from vehicle-to-vehicle communication to prevent accidents, to in-car phone and GPS services. With the help of increasing vehicle-internet connectivity, Tibbitts’s device sends a wireless message to Katasi’s servers that the vehicle is in motion, and the driver’s phone sends GPS information about its location. When both coordinates align, Katasi’s program shuts blocks text messages. It can also block phone calls, emails, and other data, but the tech company has focused on texting as the main culprit of distracted driving accidents.

There are apps in existence to stop texting and driving or other forms of distracted driving. AT&T offers a free app called DriveMode, which has reportedly been activated 1.5 million times since it premiered in 2012. Spring also offers an anti-distracted driving app called Drive First, and a service offered by CellControl uses Bluetooth technology to pair phone and car to prevent distracted driving.

However, there have been legal issues surrounding Katasi’s technology, including the easily permeability and potential hack-ability of the technology. Katasi and Sprint would both need to accept responsibility for car accidents that occurred due to distracted driving if the program failed or was hacked. The program has stalled temporarily while the companies work out the finer legal points.

The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured by Distracted Drivers

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, the South Carolina distracted driving accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. will fight for fair compensation for your injuries. Our South Carolina car accident lawyers are prepared to fight for compensation in the courtroom and will defend your right to compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost wages and future earnings, your pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal car accident, even wrongful death. Our attorneys offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your personal injury case for distracted driving, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.

Updates to Distracted Driving Laws Could Lead to Cell Phone Ban

distracted driving law

San Antonio Lawmaker Seeks to Ban Cell Phones in Distracted Driving Law

distracted driving lawA lawmaker in San Antonio has proposed updates to local distracted driving laws that would mean drivers cannot not use cell phones at all while in their vehicles.

Mike Gallagher, from District 10, proposed a revision to San Antonio’s local distracted driving law, which was passed in 2010. The ban currently prohibits use of any handheld mobile devices while driving, except for dialing phone numbers and talking on the phone. Gallagher’s latest proposal would ban even talking on a cell phone, because it can cause distractions while on the road.

“The main thing has to do with hand-held devices. In other words, if you’re driving down the road, if you can talk to somebody without using hand-held devices you’re fine, but it’s those people that are holding something in their hands,” said Gallagher.

“While the city took a step in the right direction with the distracted driving ordinance, I believe there is more we can do to improve public safety and reduce the distracted driving hazard,” Gallagher said.  “That is why I have requested that city staff examine the current ordinance related to the ban on the use of hand held mobile communication devices and add a provision stating that they may only be used in a ‘hands free capacity, unless in an emergency situation.”

“Remember, driving is not a right, it is a privilege,” Gallagher said.  “We owe it to other drivers on the road and ourselves to operate a vehicle in the safest manner.”

Texting and driving, if not other forms of distracted driving, has surfaced as one of the leading causes of death among teenagers and young adults, higher even than drunk driving. The distracted driving practice also has as high a mortality rate for the general population as drunk driving, according to studies. South Carolina recently passed texting and driving legislation, making it the last Southern state to do so. However, the state allows drivers to talk on their cell phones, use GPS, and change radio stations, which are all activities that can cause distracted driving accidents.

Distracted Driving in South Carolina

Distracted driving includes:

  • texting and driving
  • talking on or playing with a cell phone
  • eating or drinking
  • talking to passengers
  • grooming or putting on makeup
  • reading books, newspapers, or even a map
  • using a PDA or navigation system
  • watching a video or playing on a computer or tablet
  • playing with the radio, a CD or an iPod

It’s a common occurrence to see distracted drivers cruising down South Carolina roads and interstates.  Whether the distraction is eating, putting on makeup, talking on a cellphone, or even just daydreaming, the effects of a South Carolina distracted driving accident can result in life altering and even deadly consequences.

The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured by Distracted Drivers

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, the South Carolina distracted driving accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. will fight for fair compensation for your injuries. Our South Carolina car accident lawyers are prepared to fight for compensation in the courtroom and will defend your right to compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost wages and future earnings, your pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal car accident, even wrongful death. Our attorneys offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your personal injury case for distracted driving, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.

SC May See State-Wide Texting and Driving Ban

texting and driving ban

Senate Subcommittee Approves Texting and Driving Ban

texting and driving banOn Thursday, February 20th, a subcommittee in the South Carolina Senate passed an agreement that stated South Carolina drivers should be subject to a statewide ban on texting and driving.

Bans on texting and driving have passed local governments across the state. Now, state legislators are looking to enforce a ban on texting and driving across the South Carolina.

The bill, S. 416A, created multiple levels of offenses. First offense texting and driving would be a fine of $100, up to 30 days in jail and two points on an offender’s driver’s license; a second texting and driving offense would mean a fine of $500, possible jail time and four points on a driver’s license – meaning the driver’s vehicle insurance rate would shoot up.

Another bill, S. 459, would prohibit drivers with beginner’s permits or restricted licenses from talking on the phone, as well as texting and driving.

Many details of the bill still need to be hashed out, including how police will enforce the ban.

However, this is the first time a texting and driving ban has passed any level of the state Senate or House. “There’s more focus to get it done,” said Sen. Shane Massey, R-Edgefield, in an interview. “A lot of municipalities have started to implement their own bans and prohibitions … Those bans are different, so depending on where you’re driving, you can have different laws on the same trip. That’s not good for anybody. So I think there is more momentum now.”

Both bills will now go before the full Senate Judiciary Committee.

Distracted Driving, Including Texting and Driving, in South Carolina

Distracted driving includes:

  • talking on a cell phone
  • eating and drinking
  • talking to passengers
  • grooming or putting on makeup
  • reading books, newspapers, or even a map
  • using a PDA or navigation system
  • watching a video or playing on a computer or tablet
  • playing with the radio, a CD or an iPod
  • texting or writing emails
  • checking social media

It’s a common occurrence to see distracted drivers cruising down South Carolina roads and interstates.  Whether the distraction is eating, putting on makeup, talking on a cellphone, or even just daydreaming, the effects of distracted driving can lead to an accident, resulting in life altering and even deadly consequences.

The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured by Distracted Drivers, Including Texting and Driving

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, the South Carolina accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. will fight for fair compensation for your injuries. Our South Carolina car accident lawyers are prepared to fight for compensation in the courtroom and will defend your right to compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost wages and future earnings, your pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal car accident, even wrongful death. Our attorneys offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your personal injury case for distracted driving, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.