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Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

For most Valley Center residents, news of a distracted driving accident does not produce an image of an older adult driver talking or texting on a cell phone. Yet seniors in California routinely use their phones when they are behind the wheel of an automobile, including in San Diego County. California has had a ban on handheld cell phone use while driving since 2008, but seniors, along with drivers of other ages, continue to talk and text on their phones despite the ban. Indeed, data from a distracted driving study in Southern California suggests that teenagers and young adults certainly are not the only age group responsible for distracted driving crashes resulting from improper cell phone use. What should you know about older adult drivers and the risks of distracted driving? 

UC San Diego School of Medicine Study Shows Seniors Engage in Distracted Driving Behaviors at High Rates

According to a study conducted by researchers at the UC San Diego, seniors use cell phones behind the wheel much more frequently than you might think. Indeed, researchers from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine’s Training, Research, and Education for Driving Safety (TREDS) program found that almost 60% of seniors aged 65 and older use their cell phones for talking or texting while driving, putting themselves and others on the road at serious risk of injury in a distracted driving collision. 

Whether you are involved in a motor vehicle collision in Rancho Bernardo or elsewhere in Southern California, you may already know just how important seat belts are to preventing serious and fatal injuries. Yet many vehicle occupants still do not buckle up, especially when they are sitting in the back seat of a car or SUV. A recent article in Bankrate addresses the history of seat belts and motor vehicle safety and considers who far we have come by 2021. We want to discuss some of those considerations with you here and to urge you to seek advice from a Rancho Bernardo car accident attorney if you need help filing a claim for financial compensation. 

Long History of Motor Vehicles and Limited Seat Belt Use

According to the Bankrate article, seat belts have been around for much longer than you might think. To be sure, this safety device actually dates back to the 19th century—long before a majority of Americans owned any kind of vehicle—yet they have not been used as widely as many safety advocates would like. Indeed, by 1980, only about 10% of Americans reported that they wore seat belts when driving a car or occupying a passenger seat in a vehicle. Those numbers improved significantly in the late twentieth century and into the twenty-first century. By 2019, just over 90% of Americans report that they wear a seat belt whether driving or riding in an automobile.

Nobody expects to get hurt in a car accident in Vista or elsewhere in Southern California, yet negligent motorists routinely cause serious crashes that result in significant and debilitating injuries. When someone is injured in a collision, they should be able to have the option of filing a third-party claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance or filing a first-party claim through their own insurance. As you may know, California is an at-fault state or a “tort” state when it comes to auto insurance, and motorists are required to carry liability coverage to compensate others who have been injured in collisions. 

What happens when an uninsured motorist causes a car crash in Vista or in another part of San Diego County? What options does an injured party have for seeking financial compensation?

Determine if You Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage

north-county-san-diego-map-179x300With its office central to all North County San Diego cities, Walton law firm has been representing car accident injury claims for North County residents for over 20 years. From Del Mar to Oceanside to Escondido to Poway, the firm’s San Marcos office (along the 78) is easily accessible from all North County cities.

Have you been involving in a motor vehicle accident in North County, San Diego? If so, we can help.

With its main office in central North County (San Marcos), Walton Law Firm has represented residents from every North County city in car accident injury claims. With over 20 years of experience, our North County car accident lawyers know the roads and freeways and understand how complicated the claims process can be for the uninitiated. In short, the insurance companies who handle the claims have one objective, get you to sign a release while paying as little money as possible.

Just how dangerous are cell phones when it comes to causing distracted driving crashes in Valley Center? According to a recent report released by Cambridge Mobile Telematics, cell phones are much more dangerous than many of us assume. Even if drivers keep their phones away most of the time while they are driving, a high percentage of motorists will use their phone at least once or twice while behind the wheel. Some motorists assume it is relatively safe to check email or send a text message while sitting at a stop light or in heavy traffic. Others assume that quickly updating the navigation system on a smartphone will not result in any permanent consequences. 

Yet according to the Cambridge Mobile Telematics, more than 40% of all drivers in the U.S. are distracted by their phones while driving at any given point during daylight hours. Since it is not yet possible to know with certainty whether a collision was caused by a distracted driver, the new report intimates that cell phone-related distractions may cause many more serious and fatal traffic collisions than we would like to believe.

Distracted Driving Crashes can be Avoided, but We Need to do More

When teenagers begin driving in Escondido, the experience can be extremely stressful for parents—both as passengers in the front seat and as nervous figures waiting at home for a teenager to return safely with the car. According to an article in Forbes, parent anxiety might not be helping teenagers at all when it comes to reducing the rate of car accidents. Rather than feeling nervous about having your teen behind the wheel, it is better to take steps to combat your anxieties surrounding your child obtaining a driver’s license and to focus on rational tasks that can provide your teen driver with the safety training they need to stay safe on the road.

Teen Driving is Dangerous

Parents’ anxieties surrounding teen driving are not unfounded. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, on average, six teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 die every day in a motor vehicle collision, and as many as 300,000 teens require treatment in emergency departments every year for car accident injuries. Yet, as the CDC underscores and the Forbes article emphasizes, teen driving collisions are preventable.

Whether you are on the road heading to or from work, or you are driving up the California coast with your family for a weekend vacation, you should know that some types of accidents tend to happen more often in the summer than during other months. Winter weather collisions are not typically an issue in Southern California given that the weather is temperate year-round, but many of the summer and warm-weather accident hazards that exist throughout the country are certainly present in San Diego County and throughout the state in the summer. Travelers Insurance identifies some of the most common causes of car crashes from June through September. The following are tips for avoiding a summer auto accident.

 

  1. High Temperatures can Pose Dangers to Your Vehicle

 
High temperatures can wreak havoc on an automobile if it is not regularly and properly maintained. For example, if tires are underinflated and the weather is particularly hot, you could be at risk of a tire blowout while you are driving. Engines can also be at increased risk of overheating during the summer. Most of the vehicle-related risks that come with hot weather can be avoided if you have your vehicle serviced regularly.

When most of us think of speeding and car accidents, we think about drivers who are traveling at a speed well beyond the posted speed limit and often behaving in other aggressive ways. Yet speeding does not have to mean just driving beyond the posted speed limit. When there is inclement weather or there are poor driving conditions, motorists need to behave reasonably and need to recognize that they owe a duty of care to other drivers and passengers on the road. As such, even if a motorist is traveling at a speed below the posted speed limit, that motorist still may be unlawfully speeding—and thus may be responsible for injuries in an accident—if the speed is too fast to be considered safe for the conditions. 

When Traveling Below the Speed Limit May Still be Speeding

According to California Vehicle Code Section 22350, which is the speeding law in the state, “no person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.”

When researchers began to develop autonomous vehicles, or self-driving cars, the thinking was that these vehicles could eliminate the element of human error that contributes to so many car accidents in Southern California. Yet in the time that autonomous vehicles have been tested, they have not actually proven to be all that safe. Indeed, in some cases, self-driving cars have resulted in serious and fatal injuries, especially to pedestrians. According to a recent article in California StreetsBlog, a new study conducted by researchers at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) suggests that autonomous vehicles will likely prevent only about one-third of all motor vehicle collisions in California and across the country.

 
Why are autonomous vehicles so ineffective? Is there a possibility that the technology will improve in the coming years such that self-driving cars will do more to reduce the rates of traffic collisions in California?

 
IIHS Says Identifying Hazards is Not Enough to Prevent Collisions

nabeel-syed-2856-copy-300x200If you were injured in a car accident in San Marcos or elsewhere in Southern California, it is essential to know how to file an auto accident claim. Every car accident case will have its own particular set of facts, but we want to provide you with more information about the claims process and the ways a San Marcos car accident lawyer can help. 

Gather Information to Support Your Claim

You will need to gather information and evidence to support your car accident case. This process starts at the scene of the accident, where you should take photographs of the scene on your smartphone. You should also obtain contact information for anyone else involved in the collisions as well as witnesses who may be able to support your version of the events. Beyond the initial scene, it is also important to get medical attention as soon as possible. By seeing a doctor quickly, you will be able to prove that your injuries resulted from the car accident, and your medical records will become important evidence in your case.

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