November 2011 Archives

Deer Season Creates Hazards for Greene County Drivers: How to Stay Safe on the Road

November 30, 2011

1323461_deer.jpgFall is a beautiful season here in Greene County, Missouri. It's also an exciting time for many Ozarkians, as it brings the beginning of deer season - which means it's important for drivers to be especially observant during this time of year. Contrary to popular belief, auto accidents caused by car-deer collisions are a concern for both urban and rural drivers alike. In 2010, the Missouri Highway Patrol reported that almost one-third of accidents involving deer occurred in urban areas. With that in mind, Springfield car accident attorneys advise you to take extra care behind the wheel this season.

According to the Missouri Insurance Information Service, increased deer activity is a "major factor" affecting the increased number of car-deer collisions during this time of year. The Springfield Police Department concurs, reporting that the majority of car-deer collisions take place between the months of October and December, typically after dark (between 6:00 pm and midnight). When there are hunters in the woods, deer herds are more likely to be on the move, and to be spooked easily, increasing the likelihood of a collision.

The Springfield Police say the best defensive driving response is to slow down right away if you see a deer, whether or not the animal is actually in the road. Don't speed up immediately after you pass the animal by: deer usually travel in groups, so if you see one, there are likely others somewhere in the vicinity. Many accidents are caused when a driver sees a deer and slows down, only to speed up and collide with a different animal.

Often, car-deer collisions can be avoided by awareness and defensive driving. However, there are occasions when impact can't be avoided. In those circumstances, police say, drivers have better odds when colliding with a deer than with something else, like a tree, a ditch, or another car. Injuries and fatalities are most often the result of a driver swerving to miss a deer, which is a natural response, but as a result, many passenger injuries and fatalities occur when a driver swerves, overreacting, and instead collides with a fixed object or oncoming traffic.

Continue reading "Deer Season Creates Hazards for Greene County Drivers: How to Stay Safe on the Road" »

Are Pedestrian Accidents on the Rise in Greene County Missouri?

November 23, 2011

Thumbnail image for 175765_cross_walk.jpgMissouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) issued a press release Monday November 14, 2011 with information about the number of pedestrian accident fatalities so far in 2011. The numbers are cause for concern in Greene County and throughout Missouri. MoDOT is concerned for the safety of pedestrians and wants to raise awareness. And Greene County Missouri pedestrian accident lawyers want to raise awareness too. So with that in mind, here are some of the statistics to help you be aware of the dangers.

As of the end of September, 2011, 54 pedestrians have died as a result of pedestrian traffic accidents in Missouri. One reason for concern is that 57 was the total number for 2010 pedestrian fatalities. And if the current pace is maintained (six pedestrian deaths per month), Missouri will end 2011 with 18 more pedestrian deaths, for a total of 72 pedestrians killed in motor vehicle related accidents.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Numbers
In 2009, the latest year of data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,092 fatal pedestrian accidents were reported in the United States. There were 33,808 persons killed in all reported traffic accidents nationwide.

In Missouri, there were 68 pedestrians killed that same year. While this number is too high, Missouri still fared better than many states: the top four states for number of pedestrian fatalities in 2009 were Florida (466 killed with a fatality rate of 2.51 per 100,000 population), California (563, 1.52 rate) Texas (344, 1.39 rate), and New York (306 at 1.57 rate). Missouri was ranked 25th with a rate of 1.14 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 population.

Continue reading "Are Pedestrian Accidents on the Rise in Greene County Missouri?" »

Bois D'Arc, Missouri Train Accident is a Reminder about the Dangers of Train Crossings

November 22, 2011

Train accidents can be a shock. For the most part, they are relatively rare, but when they do occur they are generally catastrophic, causing significant property damage and quite often death. Most train accidents are the result of auto drivers or pedestrians entering a crossing or the tracks after ignoring warning signs or devices, failing to yield to the train. Whether people intentionally ignore a crossing gate and think they can beat the train or whether they simply did not hear an approaching train, the results are the same. A recent train accident near Bois D'Arc, Missouri is an example of what can happen in a situation where someone does not yield to an oncoming train.

375093_bnsf_locomotive.jpgBois D'Arc Train Accident
A woman died in a train accident south of Ash Grove on the morning of November 16, 2011. Traveling southbound on Farm Road 47, about 1 mile west of Bois D'Arc city limits, the woman was driving over the tracks when her car was hit by a passing train. According to Missouri State Highway Patrol, she failed to yield at the crossing. She was 68 and lived in the area. The crossing at this intersection has a railroad crossing sign but no lights, bells or crossing arm.

It is also important to note that this is the first accident at this crossing, going back in the records to 2006, the oldest year available in the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) data base.

Railroad Crossings in Greene County Missouri

There are 228,000 railroad crossings on private and public roads in the United Sates. The following information is derived from the FRA data base about public crossings in Greene County.

  • 127 railroad crossings in Greene County Missouri

  • 15 total rail crossing accidents between 2006 and mid 2010

  • 2 people died and 8 were injured

  • 8 of the accidents involved an automobile hitting a train

  • 5 accidents involved the train hitting a car or truck, representing 1 of the fatalities

  • 2 train accidents involved pedestrians, representing the second fatality

  • 8 of the train accidents were in Springfield, Missouri

  • 1 crossing had more than one train accident (Springfield on the Chestnut Expressway)

Both crossings with fatal accidents had gates and they were operational at the time
According to the FRA, approximately 21 trains pass through the crossing at Farm Road 47 each day. They travel at a maximum speed of 40 miles per hour.

Continue reading "Bois D'Arc, Missouri Train Accident is a Reminder about the Dangers of Train Crossings" »

Teen and Young Adult Drivers Have Propensity for Car Accidents, Which Can Prove Fatal in Ozark and all of Missouri

November 16, 2011

Car accidents involving teenaged and twenty-something drivers happen every day. Sadly, they are often fatal. In Ozark and surrounding Womandriving3_xenia.jpgMissouri these accidents often involve very high speeds. In fact, speeding is one of the leading causes of car accidents, following inattention, driver fatigue and drunk driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic accidents are the leading cause of death in people aged 3 to 33. And the 16-20 year old age group accounts for the most injury, property damage and fatal crashes per driver.

Why are young drivers involved in such a high percentage of traffic accidents?

  • Difficulty judging speed

  • Tunnel vision

  • Unaware of driving ability/limitations

  • Perceived indestructability

Mostly it boils down to inexperience and a false sense of security. With driving experience comes more improved reactions to unexpected events. After we have a few near misses or spin out on snow or ice or even have a car accident, we learn ways to avoid similar events. After enough practice we even start driving with these actions and reactions in an automatic manner. In other words we incorporate these abilities into our driving and are barely aware of what we are doing. We trust our driving experience.

Continue reading "Teen and Young Adult Drivers Have Propensity for Car Accidents, Which Can Prove Fatal in Ozark and all of Missouri" »

One Way to Avoid Car Accidents in Springfield, Missouri is to Pay Attention to Missouri State Highway Patrol Information

November 15, 2011

Unfortunately when itdreamstimefree_2185608.jpg comes to ways to reduce traffic accidents, it takes from a near miss to a tragedy to get most people's attention. If you drive in Springfield, Missouri, or anywhere for that matter, you can take a proactive approach to improving your chances of avoiding a car accident. If we are honest with ourselves, all of us could find ways to improve our driving and increase our safety.

How to Improve Driving Skills
One way to do this is to look for tips or safety reminders. A great recourse is the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP). MSHP's website is full of safety tips and information. Once a month, they post information on a topic regarding traffic or boating laws. This section is called "Featured Revised Missouri Statute of the Month." The purpose of this page is to inform and remind the driving (and boating) public about a new statute, an updated or revised one, or commonly asked questions about traffic laws.

MSHP's goal is to increase awareness in the hope of improving legal and safe driving thereby reducing traffic accidents and the associated injuries, property damage and death. The most recent post involves traffic lanes and a popular question for the MSHP.

"What lane do you drive in?"
The Springfield, Missouri car accident lawyers feel this is an important answer. Many traffic accidents occur because of improper lane use and improper passing. Missouri law is clear about traffic lanes. The first part of the law might seem obvious: when driving on a highway with one lane in each direction we drive in the right lane and stay in that lane.

Continue reading "One Way to Avoid Car Accidents in Springfield, Missouri is to Pay Attention to Missouri State Highway Patrol Information" »

Battlefield Missouri Car Accident Proves Fatal and Raises Questions about Liability Insurance

November 9, 2011

Auto insurance is a constant topic in the news. And when it comes time to use auto insurance it would be better to already know the answers to these questions: what is covered and how much will be paid? After an accident involving a horse just south of Battlefield, Missouri, it is a good time to review information about auto liability coverage.

The accident happened on Missouri Farm Road 194, also known as Blue Springs Road, on Friday October 21, 2011. A Springfield, Missouri man was riding his horse eastbound along the road. A Dodge caravan came up from behind them and hit the horse. The horse died and the rider was taken to St John's Hospital in Springfield, Missouri. The rider is listed in fair condition. There was extensive damage to the caravan but the driver was not hurt.

Thumbnail image for 1024682_professor_at_work.jpgIn regards to this type of accident, assuming the rider of the horse did not cause the accident, the driver would be liable for injuries and damages to personal property.

What is Auto Liability Insurance?
First here is a review of liability and its legal usage. Liability comes in all forms and in many settings and refers to legal financial responsibility. It is used in both civil and criminal law and payment of damages (and/or time served) usually resolves the liability.

Continue reading "Battlefield Missouri Car Accident Proves Fatal and Raises Questions about Liability Insurance" »

Drunk Driving Still a Problem and Springfield Missouri Police Crack Down

November 6, 2011

If you were driving in the area of the Chestnut Expressway and Nettleton Avenue in Springfield, Missouri Friday night October 28, 2011 you probably noticed a sobriety checkpoint or were caught in the traffic delay. The Springfield Police Department (SPD) conducted the checkpoint as a way to increase enforcement of drunk driving. Drunk driving continues to be a significant cause of car accidents and as such remains a priority for enforcement. There was a second checkpoint conducted by SPD and Greene County Sheriff at the Kansas Expressway and Walnut Lawn on October 22, 2010.

photo_2092_20070112.jpgThis Halloween weekend was targeted by Springfield Police Department because holiday weekends tend to have an increase in drunk driving and in car accidents. SPD's primary objective was to catch drunk drivers before they caused a car accident and placed other people in danger. The sobriety checkpoints are funded through grant money from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). The operation funnels cars into two lanes or less. At the checkpoint, vehicles are stopped and approached by an officer. Anyone with a valid driver's license and no evidence of drinking are sent on their way. The plan was designed to keep non-offenders for no longer than three minutes.

Results of Springfield PD Checkpoints
The checkpoints were conducted from approximately 10 p.m. until 2:30 a.m. each night.

During the October 22 checkpoint:

  • 1,151 vehicles were stopped

  • 14 DWI (driving while impaired) arrests were made

  • 11 traffic related arrests

  • 7 drug related offenses

  • 1 warrant arrest

  • 30 uniformed officers from both agencies participated

Springfield Police cadets and current academy recruits as well as MoDOT crews helped with the operation. MoDOT crews assisted with traffic flow.

Continue reading "Drunk Driving Still a Problem and Springfield Missouri Police Crack Down" »

Texting and Driving Mock Car Accident in Ash Grove, Missouri Provides Realistic Experience for Scoffers

November 2, 2011

Ash Grove Missouri car accident lawyers know that quite often warnings are just empty words with no real meaning. 145311_accidents_5.jpgThe warning that "texting and driving causes car accidents" seems to be one of those phrases that a lot of people can ignore, especially teenagers. It might be for the reason that most of us take more than just words to get a message across. And in Ash Grove, Missouri on October 25, 2011, at the Ash Grove High School, the students were given the texting and driving message in a visual aid setting in order to provide a very powerful "reality" about the dangers of texting and driving.

Mock Accident at Ash Grove High School

Imagine walking up to a scene of blood, an amputated arm, twisted metal, and bloodied people lying around what used to be a car. Then realize that those people are your friends.

The mock car accident scene uses all of these components to totally immerse the students, and anyone else who is watching, into the reality of the dangers of texting and driving. With make-up, fake skin, fake blood and a wrecked car the scene looks pretty real. It is made even more so when a kid with an "amputated arm" is air-lifted from the scene by a real Lifeline helicopter. These mock scenes are so real looking and seeming that some students have even fainted.

Very Real Consequences
Pam Holt, St John's Regional Health Center's Injury Prevention Coordinator, participated in the event. St John's provided the support and props. Ms. Holt helped create the "amputated arm" with a Dixie cup, fake blood and creepy skin. The purpose of the "amputated arm" is to show that death is not the only consequence to car accidents. If this student had really experienced this car accident his life would be changed forever, not only from this life-long and debilitating injury, but from medical bills to insurance bills to a major change in his life-style and that of his family's.

Continue reading "Texting and Driving Mock Car Accident in Ash Grove, Missouri Provides Realistic Experience for Scoffers" »