Smart Phones Causing More Distracted Driving

smart phones

Distracted Driving Less from Talking, More from Smart Phones

smart phonesA new survey of distracted driving in the US shows that fewer people are talking on their phones, but more people are texting and driving, writing emails, or checking social media through their smart phones.

State Farm has conducted an annual survey every year since 2009 to measure drivers’ attitudes and behaviors toward various forms of distracted driving, from texting to talking to eating. The number of drivers who report having a conversation using a cell phone has decreased, but the number of drivers who admit to texting, writing emails, taking selfies, or composing social media messages has increased.

According to the survey, 26% of drivers admit to surfing the internet while behind the wheel; 25% admit to reading emails; and 20% admitted to reading messages on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.

“We’re not sure why (these behaviors) are increasing,” says Chris Mullen, State Farm’s director of technology research. “But they are just as dangerous. People have a perception of what they are able to do with the attention span they have (while driving). They believe they have available attention they can spend on something in addition to driving. They will spend that time with various behaviors.”

However, drivers seem to know that these behaviors are dangerous, and choose to engage in them anyway. The State Farm survey reported that 80% of drivers knew that sending a text was “very distracting,” while 68% responded that reading a text was “very distracting.”

Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows just how dangerous distracted driving can be. One-third of all crashes – 36% – occur at intersections, mainly because of driver recognition and decision errors, which includes failure to see potential dangers. Driver decision errors account for 84% of all crashes in the US.

The survey showed that, although most drivers choose to engage in these distracted driving behaviors anyway, some were beginning to self-regulate. State Farm reported that 63% of motorists said they were more likely to check their phone while stopped at a traffic light, then put it down to drive.

These numbers are especially disturbing this holiday season. AAA estimates how many travelers will be driving during the holiday season, and since gas prices are their lowest in years, the automotive agency believes more people will drive to their destinations. This means there will be more stressed out drivers on the roads, trying to coordinate with friends and family, which can lead to more distracted driving accidents.

At least 44 states have, so far, passed some form of distracted driving legislation. This year, South Carolina passed a statewide ban on texting and driving, although other forms of distracted driving are legal.

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 Auto Accident Victim: Now What?

SC Auto Accident Victim

South Carolina Car Accident Attorneys Fighting For Justice for Injured Victims

SC Auto Accident VictimWhether you are t-boned coming back from a USC basketball game, injured in a hit and run on I-26, or involved in a rush hour fender bender on your way into downtown, Columbia, SC, car accidents occur every day.  Knowing what to do immediately after a Columbia, SC car accident can ensure that your rights are protected.

As a SC auto accident victim, there’s a flurry of activity immediately following an accident.  Having a checklist in mind can help ensure that you do not overlook anything.  With this in mind, our SC Car accident attorneys offer you the following 5 tips to maximize the likelihood of recovery:

1.  Report the Accident:

If there are injuries, call 911 immediately.

2.  Seek Medical Attention Immediately:

If you or anyone else is injured and sustained accident related injuries, you should seek medical attention immediately. Do not move a victim if they have a spinal cord injury unless leaving them creates a danger. Make sure that when you meet with the doctor you report all of your symptoms and problems

3.  Document the Scene:

Take pictures of the damage at the scene: If you are safely able, make notes and take pictures of all of the important details of the scene. If anything is damaged in your car such as a computer, cell phone, etc, make sure you document the damage.

4. Get the Other Driver’s Information:

Secure contact information, including name, address, phone number and car insurance coverage for the other driver.  Identify and secure contact information for any witnesses; note the make, model, color of the other car or cars involved.

5.  Be Careful What you Say.

Do not volunteer any information regarding who is at fault.

Saying that you are sorry or admitting that you were distracted may be used against you later as an admission of fault.

6.  Don’t Talk to the Insurance Adjuster:

While you may be required to issue a statement at some point during the claims process, don’t talk to the adjuster until you have had the opportunity to speak with one of our Columbia, SC attorneys.

Our Columbia, South Carolina car accident attorneys are here to help navigate you through the claims process.

7. Follow Your Doctor’s Advice:

While the demands of every day life will continue after a car accident, make sure that you follow any medical restrictions and your doctor’s recommended course of treatment.

8. Call a Columbia, South Carolina car accident attorney.

Take advantage of a free consultation. Centrally located in Columbia, South Carolina, our car accident lawyers are here to help.  We fight for fair compensation for SC auto accident victims. Let us deal with the insurance company while you focus on getting better.

Increased July 4th Weekend Traffic May Lead to Increased SC Auto Accidents

SC auto accidents

July 4th Weekend Traffic Increase Expected, Increased SC Auto Accidents Likely

SC auto accidentsIn Columbia, South Carolina, during every holiday season, travelers crowd airports and roads to see family to take off on nice vacations. AAA has released a forecast for this year’s July 4th holiday, stating that the auto club believes weekend traffic will raise 1.9%. Increased traffic can lead to increased South Carolina car accidents.

That small percentage represents an increase from 40.3 million to 41 million people traveling during the July 4th weekend – and 8 in 10 of those travelers will be on the roads leading to increased SC auto accidents.

Because July 4th falls on a Friday this year, it will be very easy to take a long weekend;  consumers are more willing this year to take on credit card debt.

According to the forecast, rental car costs will stay about the same as last year, but hotel rates will be up 15%, and gas costs about 20 cents more than last year. However, airfare costs less, by about 5%.

Despite the lower airfares and higher gas prices, AAA still states that most people will travel by car, making traffic a serious problem, and increasing the risks of South Carolina car accidents and personal injuries. AAA says that most people will travel at least 50 miles away from home.

The National Safety Council said that, last year, there were 385 traffic accident deaths and 41,200 injures in the same July 4th weekend time period.

The NSC recommends that drivers during the July 4th weekend be very careful about how much they drink, avoid using their cell phones while driving, be careful of bad weather such as sudden summer thunderstorms, drive the speed limit, keep children in appropriate child safety seats, and avoid high traffic times.

AAA Offers the Following Defensive Driving Tips to Avoid a SC auto accident 

  • Manage your time, visibility and space on the road. Leave three to four seconds of following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Reduce blind spots:  adjust your side mirrors so you can no longer see the side of your car. Although it may seem awkward, it nearly eliminates blind spots in most vehicles.
  • Avoid internal and external distractions while operating your vehicle.  Pay attention to the road in front of you and vehicles around you as opposed to the radio, other passengers, mobile devices or activity on the side of the road. Avoid eating, grooming, or applying makeup while behind the wheel.
  • Do not drive drowsy. Get a full nights rest before any long trips and if you feel yourself nodding off, pull into a rest area or service station and move around to wake your body up before continuing down the road. Alcohol affects your judgment, reaction time and motor skills. It is never safe to drive after consuming alcohol.
  • Do not text and drive.
  • Don’t drink and drive. Alcohol affects everyone differently and its impact can change significantly when mixed with medications.  Consult your pharmacist for information on driving safely with all prescription and over-the-counter medications

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Personal Injury Cases from Distracted Driving Accidents

Whether the distraction is eating, putting on makeup, talking on a cellphone, or even just daydreaming, distracted driving can lead to an accident, causing serious personal injury or even death. If you have been injured by an accident caused by distracted driving, 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. Contact us today for a free consultation. 803.252.4800.

Los Angeles Road Slides into Ocean

Severe rain in the southern part of  California has caused a huge portion of a road to collapse into the ocean, leaving a huge hole in the side of a cliff.

 

Over the weekend, a 900ft section of highway south of Los Angeles eroded and slid  into the Pacific Ocean.

 

The section of Paseo Del Mar in the San Pedro area has been edging seawards for months but this is the first time a sizeable chunk has broken away completely.

Creases began to show in the road a few months ago and the scenic route was closed for safety.  The scenic area has seen years of home building and many blame the construction work for de-stabilizing the cliff face.

Engineer Gary Moore said in an interview with the LA Times: “This entire coast along here is a cliff, so nature has created a new cliff.”

The mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa described the once scenic route as a  “significant landslide” and urged people to stay away from the affected stretch of road.

“The landslide area remains unstable and presents a life-threatening hazard.”

Thankfully, there are no reports of injuries or property damage in the immediate area.

 

By: Pete Strom, South Carolina Accident Attorney

SC Traffic Fatalities Continue to Rise

South Carolina Accident Attorneys

After a 30-year decline, the number of traffic fatalities in South Carolina is back on the rise. The Department of Public Safety reports that 593 people passed away between January and September 2011 – twenty more people than this time last year.

For the most part, the accidents involved automobile drivers or passengers. However, nearly 28% of the accidents caused the deaths of pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists.

Greenville County leads South Carolina in traffic fatalities. Authorities said the good weather and high gas prices are to blame for SC residents choosing alternative transportation.

Tom Crosby, vice president for AAA for South Carolina, said he believes the state’s approach to traffic safety is at fault. Crosby claimed the state’s history of eased driving regulations. The state has not yet limited drivers’ cell phone use, for example.

“I’m not surprised when fatalities rise in South Carolina. The state has a certain appetite for traffic lawlessness under the false guise of personal liberty,” Cosby said in an interview with The State. He added, “That’s a big reason why South Carolina has some of the highest road deaths per mile in the country.”

By: South Carolina Accident Attorney Pete Strom

Automobile accidents can result in a variety of injuries, whether the accident was minor or traumatic. It’s difficult to find jurors who have not been involved, directly or indirectly, in some type of automobile accident. These experiences taint the jurors’ views of car accidents, and you can expect that the insurance company will try to persuade jurors against plaintiffs’ claims.

An insurance company’s job is to make money, in part by paying as little money as possible to an automobile accident victim.

The insurance adjuster assigned to your case will likely want to obtain a statement from you soon after the accident. While the adjuster may initially seem concerned about your welfare, you can expect that your statement will be used to minimize your claim.

Don’t let the insurance company try to settle your claim for less than it is worth. Insurance companies are focused on making money, not ensuring that you receive fair compensation for your injuries. Although the insurance adjuster may push you to settle your claim, you need to make sure that you finish treating, and understand the full extent of, your injuries prior to even discussing settlement. You also need to know whether you will need future treatment, or suffer from any future impairment before you even consider settlement.

Our 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.

Contact the South Carolina accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. today for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case and how we can help.

Victims of a DUI Accident

dui-victimSouth Carolina Accident Attorneys

Fighting for Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents

A drunk driving accident can change your life forever, and cause serious injury or even death.

In addition to the physical injuries, drunk driving injury victims often feel angry, frustrated and hopeless.

An accident caused by a drunk driver can leave you with:

  • mounting medical bills
  • injuries that prevent you from being able to work
  • medical treatment that you need, but cannot pay for
  • funeral expenses
  • an injured spouse, leaving you as the sole bread-winner.

Financial recovery after a crash with a drunk driver can be difficult – if not impossible – to handle on your own.  Founded in 1996 by Former US Attorney and Assistant Solicitor Pete Strom, The Strom Law Firm, LLC, has a team of experienced victim’s advocates who can provide aggressive representation to victims and families. The team pursues justice and fair compensation for injuries sustained through no fault of the victim and their family after an accident with a drunk driver. Continue reading “Victims of a DUI Accident”

YouTube Soccer Sensation Killed in Car Accident

The Lebanese Football Assoication reported that YouTube celebrity, Theyab Awana, was killed in a car accident on Sunday. Mr. Awana was a wide midfielder from the United Arab Emirates; he became a YouTube star after scoring a back-heel penalty in a match against Lebanon.

View the video here.

The 21-year-old passed away following an accident in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi.

The national team was preparing for a trip to Asia next month when news of Awana’s death broke.

According to reports, the UAE team administrator said the whole team went to the funeral today. Continue reading “YouTube Soccer Sensation Killed in Car Accident”

Accidents Caused by Faulty Tires

South Carolina  Defective Tire Attorneys

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), faulty tires cause approximately 8,000 accidents each year in the United States. After these accidents, drivers and passengers face medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Some accidents can even result in death. Victims and their families face physical and emotional pain. These accidents can give rise to a South Carolina wrongful death claim.

Who is at Fault

Determining who is to blame when a tire malfunctions can depend on whether the malfunction occurred as the result of a faulty design, a mistake during the manufacturing process, problems during mounting and installation of the tires, or the tires being improperly maintained.

Types of Tire Defects

Tread Separation

Tread separation occurs when the treads of the tire actually begin to separate from the rim. Although steel rims provide a strong base for the tire, they are problematic because the rubber treading will not adhere to the steel. If the tire is not designed and manufactured using technology that will overcome that problem, the treading can separate from the rim. This design or manufacturing defect can cause the tire to suddenly fail.

Installing Tires That are not Proper for the Vehicle

When tires are installed, it is important to make sure that the new tires are the proper size to fit the car’s rims. Failure to do so may cause the tires to malfunction. Also, tires are rated by the maximum speed at which they can safely operate. When installing tires, it is best to make sure that their speed rating is higher than the maximum speed of the car. Oversized tires have become popular on SUVs. This can be dangerous, as it raises the vehicle’s center of gravity and makes it more prone to rollover accidents.

Defects Arising During Mounting and Inflation

  • Debeading or Tire Bead Failure:  The beads of a tire are a bundle of wires that are key to maintaining inflation. If a tire is improperly designed or manufactured, or is installed on a mismatched rim, tire bead failure can occur. This leads to an immediate loss of pressure which can often cause a violent explosion that can result in serious bodily harm.
  • Multi-Piece Rims and Wheels:  Some configurations of wheels and rims are multi-piece and can explode, causing injury or death to tire mounters. The danger is so grave that OSHA requires repair shops that work on multi-piece rims and wheels to provide special safety cages for their employees.
  • Zipper Failures:  These failures occur when the sidewall of the tire bursts during inflation, which can injure a technician working on the tire.

Proper Tire Safety

By safely maintaining your tires, not only can you avoid car breakdowns and accidents, you can improve your car’s handling and get better fuel economy. According to the NHTSA, drivers should inspect their tires once a month and:

  • Check tire pressure and make sure it matches the tire pressure in your car’s owner’s manual
  • Check while driving to see if there is evidence of tire vibration or misalignment
  • Inspect the tires for cracked or bulging sidewalls, uneven or excess tread wear, or other signs of trouble
  • Check the treads for foreign objects and remove anything you find
  • Make sure all the valves have caps

It is also important to make sure that you do not overload tires. Your owner’s manual should tell you how much weight your car can safely bear. Keep in mind that when pulling a trailer, part of the weight of the load is carried by the car. While driving, it is important to slow down at pot holes, speed bumps and railroad tracks. Avoid running over curbs or hitting against them while parking.

The Transportation Reporting Enhancement Accountability and Documentation Act of 2000 (TREAD) requires tire manufacturers to notify the NHTSA about reported defects. You can check if a recall has been issued on your tires by visiting safercar.org.

What if you are Injured as a Result of a Tire Defect

All tire manufacturers are required to comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, which means that they must manufacture tires to meet reasonable safety standards. However, tire companies often fail to do so.

In 2000 and 2001, Bridgestone/Firestone recalled millions of tires after it was discovered that hundreds of accidents that occurred due to defects in tires the company manufactured. These accidents frequently resulted in injury and death. The next year, a similar recall was issued by Continental Tires. Tire companies often try to blame accident victims by claiming that these victims improperly maintained the tires or did not properly respond when the tire failed. An attorney who has experienced in lawsuits involving car accidents can help victims get compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a tire failure, call the South Carolina car accident attorneys at Strom Law Firm, LLC, at 803-252-4800.

 

 

 

By: South Carolina Accident and Personal Injury Attorney Pete Strom

 

Jury Awards $35 million for Fatal Interstate Crash

Wrecks on the interstate occur on a daily basis and can sometimes be deadly.

A woman was a passenger in an automobile that was hit from behind by a tractor-trailer.  Their vehicle was stopped at the time of the accident and the damage was deadly.  She was one of four people killed.

Plaintiff’s attorneys argued that Centra Trucking Company who employed the driver of semi-truck was reckless in the supervision of their drivers.

They further claimed that the driver was fatigued at the time of the crash and falsified his rest logs to show that he was sleeping as he was driving. The attorneys demonstrated this by issuing a subpoena for the driver’s cell phone history which proved he was in Illinois when his rest log said he was in Missouri.

The jury awarded a $5.25 million compensatory verdict and a $30 million punitive damages decision for the victim.

Source: Roy Gibbs v. George M. Albright and Centra Trucking Co

Interstate accidents can be tragic.  At Strom Law Firm, our attorneys have a substantial amount of experience dealing with car accidents of all types and represent clients throughout the state of South Carolina who have been seriously harmed by negligent drivers.

Because the insurance companies that defend at-fault drivers or trucking companies know who we are and what we are capable of doing in court, they often become more willing to settle cases without a lawsuit being filed. However, if they dig their heels in you can be sure that we will be up to the challenge.

Contrary to what television lawyers may tell you, motor vehicle accidents are not simple. In all likelihood, what “getting the cash you need now” really means is that you won’t have the cash you’ll need down the road. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a car accident — turn the television off and call or contact us for a free consultation and full evaluation of your case.

Fewer Fatalities Expected in 2010

Wis10 reported that the South Carolina Department of Transportation expects fewer fatalities on the highway for 2010. According to DOT statistics, there have been 755 people killed on South Carolina roads this year. In 2009, there were a total of 851 deaths.

The DOT contributes this lower number to efforts made by the department to improve safety. Additionally, the DOT indicated that more people are wearing seatbelts and car seats regularly.

According to the report, this is only the second time in 47 years  that the number of fatalities has been below 800, so please buckle up this holiday season and take care.

The wreck attorneys and support staff at Strom Law Firm, LLC are experienced in this regard and can help ensure you are compensated for all your injuries; current and future.

Contact us today for a free consultation.