May 2011 Archives

Shots Fired at Springfield Missouri Motorists after Traffic Altercation

A Springfield, Missouri gunman, who police believe fired multiple rounds at a man near West Central and Missouri Streets, is still on the loose. Springfield police continue their search for the man who they believe fired shot at another motorist. He reportedly raced his car through the intersection, left his vehicle and ran towards a tree where he and the victim got into an altercation.
After the accident, the victim of the alleged shots fired tried to speed away in his truck and crashed into a tree at 806 W. Central, according to News-Leader. Officers were called to the Springfield car accident shortly after 12:30 p.m.

While the facts and circumstances of this case are still being investigated, road rage and aggressive driving continue to endanger the safety of all motorists on the road. Our personal injury attorneys understand that drivers get irritated behind the wheel from time to time. It is important to control your emotions as anger and impatience only leads to aggressive driving, which can result in serious injury or criminal charges.

The victim reportedly had cuts on his hand, but it did not appear to be a wound from a bullet. Officials believe that he received the injury in the car wreck. Officers have yet to determine motives in the incident.

Road rage is typically defined as a criminal act while aggressive driving encompasses driving behaviors of which we are all guilty from time -- such as speeding or following too closely.

The NHTSA says you might be an aggressive driver if you:

-Openly express your frustration behind the wheel.

-Neglect to pay full attention when driving. Aggressive drivers commonly eat, drink or talk on the phone behind the wheel.

-Tailgate often. Tailgating is a major cause of accidents that can result in death or serious injury.

-Make frequent lane changes. If you swerve in and out of traffic to advance ahead, you can pose serious threats to other motorist's safety.

-Run red lights. You should not enter an intersection if the light is yellow. Flashing red lights at intersections should be treated as a stop sign.

-Speed. You should not exceed the posted speed limit because you're oftentimes irritated by driving conditions.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers you these tips for how to effectively deal with an aggressive driver:

-Remain calm in traffic. Remember to be courteous and patient with other drivers.

-Correct your unsafe driving habits that could possible antagonize, provoke or endanger other motorists.

-Keep stress levels on the road low by allowing plenty of time to get to your destination and even consider changing your schedule or route to avoid congestion. Try listening to calming music or books on tape while driving.

-If your community offers a witness "tip line," be sure to report any incidents of dangerous driving you may witness.

-If an aggressive driver tries to pick a fight or antagonize you, don't make eye contact and don't respond.

The NHTSA discovered that 50 percent of those who participated in a phone survey admitted they had driven recklessly, had sped or engaged in other aggressive driving behaviors.

Aggressive drivers can express their anger in a number of ways. They can give rude gestures, verbal abuse, cut off other cars, deliberately prevent others from moving their vehicles, lay on the horn, flash lights or physically assault another motorist.

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Teens Join National Organization to Fight Teen Car Accidents in Springfield, Missouri

As May comes to a close, lets remember, National Youth Traffic Safety Month urges teens to join together to focus on car accidents in Springfield and elsewhere in the county as these accidents rank as the number one cause of death for young drivers.

National Youth Traffic Safety Month is used to encourage teen drivers to develop and organize safe driving education projects in their community, support local law enforcement agencies and their efforts and to sway lawmakers to enact regulations to help protect teen drivers.
Our Branson personal injury lawyers urge local teens to get involved with the month-long campaign and help to raise awareness about the potentially fatal driving habits of inexperienced drivers. More than 50 teens were killed in motor-vehicle related crashes in 2009 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The NHTSA reports that roughly 3,000 teens across the country were killed in motor-vehicle accidents in 2009. Another 350,000 teens suffered injuries that required medical attention that same year. It has been noted that nine of the ten most dangerous days for youth on U.S. roadways were between May and August. Many believe that the end of the school year contributed to these unfortunate statistics. With the school year winding down and prom, graduation and summer break right around the corner, more and more teens are expected to hit our roadways, increasing accident risks.

Motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death and injury among teens in the United States. Safety advocates view this as a preventable crisis that needs our nation's immediate attention.

This year's National Youth Traffic Safety Month offers a number of opportunities and initiatives to help get our youth involved in this month's campaign. National Organization for Youth Safety (NOSY) will be hosting the Act Out Loud Contest, the Above the Influence Drugged Driving Poster Contest, Drive2Life PSA Contest and several other awards programs and scholarships. The various contests and programs will provide winners with prizes of more than $200,000 and will present awards to winning youth organizations.

The NOYS Coalition is also partnering with the United Nation's Decade of Action for Road Safety in an attempt to help spread awareness about traffic accident problems worldwide.

The campaign works towards a goal of reducing and stabilizing road accident fatalities around the world by 2020.

According to the NHTSA, nearly 2,500 drivers ages 15 to 20 were killed in traffic accidents in the United States in 2009. An additional 228,000 teens suffered injuries in the same year.

Parents are urged to join the fight against teen driving accidents by speaking with your teen driver about the dangers of unsafe driving habits. To help you set some ground rules and reach an understanding with your teen, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers you a teen-parent driving contract to discuss and commit to.

A complete list of teen safe driving events can be found on the NOYS website.

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Heavier Trucks Increase Risk of Springfield Missouri Tractor-Trailer Accidents

The risk of serious or fatal injuries suffered in Springfield tractor-trailer accidents could increase if heavier semis are permitted on Missouri roads, the News-Leader reported.

Springfield accident lawyers know motorists are already at high risk of fatal injuries if involved in a crash with a tractor trailer -- some of which can weigh 80,000 pounds, or 20 times the weight of a 4,000 passenger car. As we reported recently on our Springfield Missouri Car Accident Lawyer Blog, 98 percent of those killed in accidents with large trucks are the passengers of smaller vehicles.
Missouri trucking accidents claimed 83 lives in 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nationwide, nearly 4,000 were killed and 74,000 were injured.

With revenue in the $600 billion trucking industry set to double in the next decade, Congress is being lobbied to permit trucks to run down the nation's roads 16,000 pounds heavier and to permit double- and triple-trailer trucks nationwide. Not only would such a move come at the expense of highway safety, it would add significant costs to the task of maintaining roads and bridges -- a price also paid not by the trucking companies but by the motoring public.

Nationwide, 1 in 8 fatal crashes already involves a large commercial truck. Bigger trucks would mean more weight and energy in crashes, and longer stopping times. Heavier trucks would also be more prone to rollover crashes. Maintenance issues involving brakes, suspension and tires would also increase the risk of accidents.

Some 4,000 Missouri bridges are classified as "structurally deficient" and another 3,000 are "functionally obsolete." Increasing the permitted weight of trucks would be good for trucking industry profits, but would come at a cost to taxpayers in both road maintenance and lives lost.

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Missouri Highway Patrol to Participate in Operation Care To Reduce Auto Accidents in Springfield Missouri and Statewide this Memorial Day Weekend

1285084_flag.jpgAs Springfield MO residents excitedly gear up for the first three day holiday weekend of the year, the Missouri State Highway Patrol is also gearing up--for full participation in Operation Care (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) the entire Memorial Day Weekend. Its purpose--to reduce car crashes and traffic fatalities, and keep Springfield citizens safe on Missouri's highways.

Springfield Auto Accident Attorneys join the Missouri State Highway Patrol in urging everyone to think about safety when making their holiday plans. Of course we all believe that holidays are to be enjoyed, however... take special care to avoid distracted driving, and remember to buckle up. If you will be drinking, either have a designated driver or DON'T BE DRIVING!

How Does Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) Reduce Springfield Car Crashes?

This Memorial Day every available Highway Patrol officer will be on the road enforcing traffic laws and assisting motorists. In addition, the Patrol will assign Troopers to 20-mile stretches along Interstates 35, 40, 44, 55, and 70, and U.S. Highways 60 and 63 over the weekend. Springfield and Nixa Car Crash Attorneys are pleased to hear that our dedicated Troopers will be on the alert for all traffic offenses; seat belt use, use of child safety seats, intoxicated drivers, and of course, speeding.

Can Operation Care reduce the number of holiday auto accidents from the 1,010 that were recorded in Missouri last Memorial Day Weekend, including six fatalities and 440 injuries?

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Memorial Day Increases Risks for Car Accidents in Springfield, Nixa and Elsewhere

A newly released report, from the National Safety Council (NSC), reveals estimates for car accidents in Republic and elsewhere for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend. The NSC predicts that more than 400 traffic-accident fatalities will happen across the nation over the summer kick-off weekend. They estimate another 39,400 injuries will occur.
The NSC is also an advocate for the use of seat belts as they estimate that more than 300 people could survive the holiday weekend if they wear their seat belt. They add that another 103 lives could be spared if all people wore their seat belt.

Our Aurora personal injury lawyers would like to remind you that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be running the "Click It or Ticket" campaign well into June. This campaign has been proven as the most successful of all seat belt campaigns as it has contributed to the highest national safety belt usage rate -- nearly 90 percent. Officers will be strictly enforcing their zero-tolerance policies throughout the entire nation during the summer travel season.

Data from the last six years illustrates the dangers of driving during the Memorial Day holiday weekend as traffic accidents average more than 12 percent higher during this weekend than other non-holiday weekends.

Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday in May. The holiday is always celebrated as a 3.25-day long weekend that includes Friday night, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. This year, the holiday weekend will extend from 6:00 p.m. on Friday, May 27, to 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 30. Drivers nationwide are encouraged to practice safe and alert driving habits throughout the entire holiday weekend in an attempt to avoid becoming one of these unfortunate statistics.

The NSC offers you these tips to help you enjoy a safe Memorial Day holiday weekend on our roadways:

- Give yourself plenty of travel time so that you don't experience frustration or road rage.

-Halt all distracted driving habits behind the wheel. Devote all of your attention to the roadway.

-Make sure you get plenty of rest before driving during the holiday weekend as drowsy driving can greatly increase your chances of being involved in an accident.

-Be sure that all passengers are buckled up and that children are in age-appropriate safety or booster seats.

-Do not drink and drive. Even a moderate amount of consumed alcohol impairs a driver's reaction time and driving judgment.

-Practice defensive driving habits and exercise caution, especially during inclement weather.

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For or Against Speed Cameras; No Debate About Risk of Speed in Springfield Car Crashes

Missouri lawmakers are on the verge of permitting speed cameras throughout the state.

On May 11, the General Assembly agreed to convene a conference committee to hash out the differences between the House and Senate version of the proposal. Language up for inclusion in the final version would permit local government to set up photo radar units, virtually without limitation.
Our Springfield car accident lawyers are following the debate regarding speed cameras and red light cameras in Southwest Missouri and elsewhere in the nation. Many argue they are a burden -- and a governmental intrusion. Others argue they are saving lives. As the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently said about red-light cameras: "Somehow, the people who get tickets because they have broken the law have been cast as the victims -- We rarely hear about the real victims -- the people who are killed or injured by these lawbreakers."

While some may continue to debate the effectiveness or fairness of such enforcement measures, what is not up for debate is that speeding is a primary cause of car crashes in Springfield and elsewhere in Missouri. Speeding and drunk driving continue to be the two primary causes of fatal car accidents in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Last year, the state Supreme Court struck down Springfield's photo ticketing as illegal. Since then, companies that make speed and red light cameras have been hard at work lobbying lawmakers to write permission for the devices into state law.

The government reports:

-Fatal accidents increased by approximately 15 percent when states began raising highway speeds from the 55 mph nationwide limit.

-About 30 percent of all fatal accidents involve speeding.

-Speed-related accidents cost the nation an estimated $40 billion a year -- or more than $76,000 per minute.

-Speed reduces a driver's ability to steer safety around curves or objects in the roadway.

-Increased speed means increased reaction time and stopping distance in the event of an emergency.

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Spring in Springfield Missouri and Motorcycles are Back on the Roads--Tips for Springfield Drivers to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents

1189681_motorcycle_riders_1.jpgIt's finally Spring in Missouri and Springfield motorcycle riders are hitting the highways. Springfield personal injury lawyers urge all motorcycle riders to use continue to wear a helmet. Study after study has shown helmet use saves lives and cuts dramatically cuts down on traumatic brain injury caused by motorcycle accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
estimates that motorcycle helmets saved 1,784 lives across the country in 2007.

Although motorcycle fatalities dropped two percent in 2010 from the previous year, the rates of injuries and deaths are still too high. As Springfield motorcycle accident attorneys, we hope to see a greater standard of safety on the roads for all Missouri drivers, including of course the citizens of Nixa, Ozark, Branson, Bolivar and all other Greene County cities and towns.

Motorcycle accidents stem from both user error and lack of caution from drivers of other vehicles. Although in sports, the best defense is a good offense, motorcycle riding is not a sport! The best defense on the highway is always, always, always to stay alert and respect not just the laws but all other drivers on the road. In the spirit of safety, the motorcycle accident lawyers at Aaron Sachs and Associates challenge all Springfield drivers this spring and summer season to up your game!

Tips to Avoid Springfield Motorcycle Accidents:

1. Please think of a motorcycle in motion as a person, not a vehicle, and act with caution and consideration for their vulnerability. A car provides much more protection in case of a traffic accident.
2. Never "share" a lane with a motorcycle - they are legally entitled to their own lane
3. Because of a motorcycle's small size, it may look farther away than it is. Always assume the motorbike is closer than it looks to avoid motorcycle accidents.
4. Motorcycles are hard to spot, also because of their size, so as the weather warms up--be on the look out for them, particularly at intersections.
5. Many motorcycle accidents occur because cyclists slow down by downshifting and don't use a brake light. To avoid hitting a motorcyclist, allow 3-4 seconds of following distance. Don't tailgate a motorcycle.
6. Bikers often adjust position within a lane to be seen more easily and to stray clear of road debris, passing cars, and wind. Understand that these position shifts aren't to be reckless, show off, or allow you to share a lane with them.

Springfield Motorcycle Accident Lawyers will post tips for all Greene County motorcycle riders to ride defensively and avoid motorcycle wrecks--so stay tuned and stay safe this motorcycle riding season.

(Springfield Motorcycle Accident Attorney meetings by appointment only.)

Springfield Missouri Auto Accidents Contribute to 30 Billion Dollar Whiplash Injury Toll Nationwide

As Springfield personal injury attorneys are all too aware, one of the most common consequences of a car crash is a whiplash injury. This painful and debilitating personal injury happens as a result of a sudden acceleration-deceleration force, that is usually the result of certain types of auto accidents.

The various expenses connected to whiplash are estimated at up to $30 billion a year, including the cost of medical treatment, disability payments, lost productivity and last but not least, litigation.

The most common scenario for a whiplash injury is a rear end collision. Frequently, the car the victim is in is not even moving, and is suddenly struck from behind. Studies using sophisticated crash dummies have determined that after the rear impact the lower bones in the neck are forced into a position called hyperextension while the upper bones in the neck are in a hyperflexed position. This creates an abnormal S-shape in the cervical spine. Ouch!

If you have been in a car accident in Springfield, Nixa, Ozark, Branson or any other Missouri city or county, you might not notice any neck pain at first. Springfield car crash lawyers are well aware that symptoms of whiplash may not show up for 24 hours or more after the initial crash. If you have whiplash, these symptoms will show up within the first few days after the injury:

• Neck pain and stiffness
• Headaches
• Low back pain
• Pain or numbness in the arm and/or hand
• Dizziness
• Ringing in the ears or blurred vision

Continue reading "Springfield Missouri Auto Accidents Contribute to 30 Billion Dollar Whiplash Injury Toll Nationwide" »

Are Springfield Missouri Truck Accidents Unavoidable? Learn to Drive Defensively

232053_semi-truck_3.jpgAccording to truck accident lawyer Aaron Sachs, trucking revenues currently are above $600 billion, and expected to double by 2015. The trucking industry is booming. However, where there is trucking, inevitably there are truck accidents. For Springfield MO drivers who have to share the roads with big trucks, semi's and tractor trailers, this creates an extremely hazardous situation.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) approximately 500,000 truck accidents happen every year, nationwide. Of this number, some 5,000 truck crashes result in fatalities. In fact, one out of every eight traffic fatalities involves a trucking collision.

Springfield truck accident lawyers point out that in a collision with a big truck, the cars, vans and SUVs are at a potentially fatal disadvantage. A tragic 98% of all fatalities in a truck accident occur to the people in the smaller passenger vehicles.

Residents of Springfield, Rolla, West Plains, and Cassville MO might be surprised to hear that 68% of all fatal truck accidents occur not in cities, but in rural regions.
Springfield truck accident attorneys recommend drivers of smaller vehicles learn to practice defensive driving around trucks.

Top Ways Springfield Drivers Can Avoid Truck Accidents:

• Stay extra alert when driving near a tractor trailer or other big rig.
• Give trucks plenty of room when they are turning, going through a construction zone, or on entrance and exit ramps.
• Give trucks extra room in bad weather conditions. They cannot accelerate, stop or maneuver as quickly as a passenger car.
• Try not to drive in a truck's blind spots.
• Avoid passing a truck on the right when the truck is turning right.
• Never cut off a truck while passing.

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Help Available For Traumatic Brain Injury Car Accident Victims in Springfield, Missouri

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for istockphoto_14271352-headache.jpgA traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most catastrophic injuries anyone can ever sustain. The leading cause of TBI in Springfield, Republic, West Plains and the rest of Missouri is auto accidents. In fact, according to Springfield car accident lawyer, Aaron Sachs, a TBI occurs every 15 seconds in this country and is actually a leading cause of death for persons under age 45. Currently there are approximately 5 million Americans currently suffering with some form of TBI disability.

Experienced Springfield car crash lawyers will tell you that traumatic brain injury can be mild to severe, based on the amount of trauma that was sustained in the auto accident. It is vital for a person who may have suffered a brain injury in a Springfield motor vehicle accident to seek immediate medical treatment for condition evaluation and stabilization.

A sad statistic is that 200,000-300,000 brain injury victims require extensive medical treatment and hospitalization each year.

If you or a loved one is suffering with TBI, don't go it alone. There is community support available that can make all the difference in coping with this trauma. If you need legal advice, be sure to contact an attorney experienced in brain injury cases. Contact the Springfield Brain Injury Attorneys of Aaron Sachs and Associates for a free consultation, no pressure or obligation at 417-889-1400.

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Springfield Motorcycle Accidents a Safety Reminder as Summer Riding Season Begins

The News-Leader reported that a 58-year-old woman was killed in a Springfield motorcycle accident on Saturday when she was thrown from her bike after striking a van that was making a left turn.

Our Springfield motorcycle accident attorneys remind motorists that May is Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month. Saturday's crash was the second fatal motorcycle accident in a week's time and should be a reminder to motorists to watch for our biker friends as the spring and summer riding season gets under way.
The Missouri Highway Patrol also responded to a motorcycle accident that claimed the life of a 50-year-old Springfield man, the News-Leader reported. The crash happened shortly before 9 p.m. Thursday on U.S. 160.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is also encouraging motorists to use May to get used to looking for motorcycles again through its campaign "Look. Learn. Arrive Alive."

"It's important that motorists and motorcycles are looking out for each other," said Leanna Depue, chair of the Coalition's executive committee. "With an increasing number of motorcyclists, we encourage drivers to share the road to make sure everyone Arrives Alive."

Attorney Aaron Sachs points out that "ninety-nine percent of those killed in motorcycle accidents are riders and more than 80 percent of all Missouri motorcycle accidents result in serious injury or death." In 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 5,290 riders were killed in motorcycle crashes nationwide and 96,000 were injured. Missouri motorcycle wrecks claimed 102 lives.

Paid radio announcements will begin April 27 and run through July.

More than half of all motorcycle accidents that involve another vehicle are the fault of the other driver. As such, the responsibility for preventing serious or fatal accidents falls on both motorist and rider.

Tips for riders from the Missouri Motorcycle Safety Program include:

-Wear appropriate riding gear, including helmet, face shield, full-length clothing and gloves.

-At night, be careful not to override your bike's headlight.

-Conduct pre-ride inspections and understand how to perform minor maintenance.

-Use both brakes together. The front brake should account for as much as 2/3 of a bike's stopping power.

-Slow down entering curves.

-Use special care around mud, sand or water in the roadway.

-Roads may be particularly slick following a rain stop as oil and fluids on the road mix with water.

-Standing on the pegs can help you keep control when riding over obstacles or rough surfaces.

-Always plan ahead.

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