February 2012 Archives

Single Vehicle Rollover Accident Kills Ozark, Missouri Man

February 26, 2012

wet_road.jpgOur Springfield auto accident lawyers have seen many cases of people injured or killed as a result of another driver's negligence. Single vehicle accidents, on the other hand, are normally caused by one driver's error - and they can be just as deadly as collisions involving multiple vehicles. A one car accident claimed the life of a Ozark man on February 25. The Missouri Highway Patrol reports that 23 year-old Jordan Jones was traveling west on Riverdale Road near Ozark when he lost control of his vehicle. His 1992 Honda Accord subsequently left the roadway and collided with a parked vehicle.

The force of the collision caused the Accord to flip over, ejecting Jones, who was not wearing a seat belt. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Highway Patrol's crash report.

State Trooper Ivy Warren cites speed as the main causal factor in the collision: the Accord was traveling so fast that Jones was not able to regain control of the car. Indeed, speeding is a very common cause of single vehicle accidents. In 2010, 39.5% of fatal Missouri accidents were speed-related, according to the 2010 Missouri Traffic Safety Compendium. Of these fatal speed-related accidents, 58.3% involved a vehicle colliding with a fixed object. In this case, since the vehicle was parked, it is considered a fixed object.

The faster you're driving, the less time you have to react if something unexpected happens. Speeding is even more dangerous under special circumstances: when you're driving at night, for example, or navigating sharp curves, or traveling on a road in disrepair. If you're driving too fast in these situations, it's even more likely that you'll lose control of your vehicle - and that you won't be able to regain control in time to avoid a crash. After that initial loss of control, drivers frequently respond by overcorrecting, or jerking the wheel sharply, which can result in skidding, spinning, running off the road, overturning, and/or colliding with a tree, a utility pole, or another fixed object.

In addition to speeding, there are several other common causes of single vehicle accidents, including the following:

• Driver distraction, such as texting or fiddling with electronic devices
• Driver fatigue
• Driver intoxication due to alcohol or drug use
• Equipment failure, such as brake failure
• Poorly maintained vehicle, such as driving with bald tires
• Poor road conditions or poorly maintained roads

According to Smartmotorist.com, most worldwide car accidents are completely preventable. A staggering 95% of motor vehicle accidents involve some degree of driver behavior combined with other factors. Although accident victims will frequently blame road conditions or other drivers, a sizable percentage are caused by excessive speed or other unsafe driving behaviors.

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National Driver's Test Ranks Missouri in Top Ten for Driver Knowledge

February 20, 2012

868517_a_driver.jpgMissouri drivers have a reason to pat themselves on the back. According to test results from the 2011 GMAC Insurance National Driver's Test, Missouri was ranked 8th in the nation for having the most knowledgeable drivers in the country. Adequate driving knowledge reduces your risk of a car accident in Springfield or elsewhere in Missouri.

According to the results, one out of five tested drivers in the United States were unable to meet the basic requirements to get a valid driver's license. This means that nearly 37 million drivers -- or 20% of those on our nation's roadways -- would fail a written driver's license test if they had to take it today.

Missouri may have not ranked number one (that was Kansas, with an average test score of 82.9%), but our Springfield car accident lawyers are pleased that we didn't score as poorly as New York or Washington D.C., where the average score was a dismal 71.8%. Missouri's average was an 81.3%.

"The GMAC Insurance National Driver's Test has become the benchmark for America's driving IQ," said Scott Eckman, chief marketing officer, GMAC Insurance. "All Americans need a refresher course when it comes to rules of the road and it begins with education. We're hoping this year's GMAC Insurance National Driver's Test results will inspire drivers to arm themselves with the knowledge they need to stay safe."

The nation's average did see a slight increase from 2010, rising from 76.2% to 77.9%. While every little bit helps, there are still way too many dangerous, ignorant drivers on our roadways. These dangerous driving habits only lead to an increased number of car accidents.

Test results reported that nearly 90% of drivers that were tested could not properly identify the correct action to take when pulling up to a steady yellow traffic light. Another 25% of those drivers were unable to determine what a safe following distance was.

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Save-A-Life Tour Visits Springfield, Missouri High Schools, Promotes Teen Awareness of Distracted Driving Risks

February 15, 2012

1104507_mobile_phone.jpgOur Springfield, Missouri car accident attorneys are always happy to hear about initiatives that aim to curb distracted driving, especially in teen drivers. We applaud the Springfield Council of Parent Teacher Associations (SCPTA) for sponsoring the Save-A-Life tour, which visited two local high schools this week: students from Central and Hillcrest participated in activities to promote awareness about the dangers of texting and driving.

Save-A-Life is well-known for its national high-impact alcohol awareness program: its drunk driving simulators have been widely praised for their ability to provide a sober perspective on the effects of alcohol on the mind. Last year, with support from the Missouri Eye Institute, the SCPTA brought the tour to Parkview and Glendale: students and faculty alike reported that the drunk driving presentations were hugely affecting. "They bring people to talk who really know what they're talking about," said Dawn Thompson, SCPTA president.

This is the first year the tour has offered presentations and simulation activities that address distracted driving, and Thompson said the SCPTA felt that it was a timely, relevant subject to discuss with students. "Since a lot more accidents are happening now with distracted driving, we thought this was the way to go. It affects more kids. It seems everybody has a cell phone now," Thompson said.

And she couldn't be more right. Here are just a few of the staggering statistics that reflect trends in teen driving behaviors:

• Teen drivers are significantly more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident caused by distracted than any other age group. (NHTSA)
• 40% of American teens say they have been passengers when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger. (Pew)
• 3 out of 4 teens say they own cell phones. (National Teen Driver Survey)
• 48% of teens say they talk on a cell phone, at least sometimes, while driving. (National Teen Driver Survey)

Save-A-Life's distracted driving program uses a combination of personal accounts, videos, and distracted driving simulation to present its message. Students at both high schools saw photographs of car accident damage. They also heard from the friends and family members of people who were injured or killed because of texting and driving. Then, juniors and seniors used the texting and driving simulator, which was equipped with a steering wheel, an iPod touch (which received frequent text messages), and a large screen to simulate the roadway and traffic.

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Winter Weather Creates Hazards for Missouri Drivers: Springfield Police on Emergency Status

February 13, 2012

ice_storm_4367.jpgIt's a snowy Monday here in Springfield, which made for slick, hazardous conditions during the morning commute. Our Missouri car accident attorneys want to encourage drivers to take extra precautions today: the snow is continuing to fall, and local weather forecasts indicate that the snow will change into freezing rain this afternoon. As of 9:00 a.m., the Springfield Police Department had already reported dozens of accidents in the Springfield metropolitan area (including slide offs, non-injury collisions and a few injury accidents).

Because so many officers are responding to accident calls, the Springfield Police are currently on "emergency status." If you are involved in a collision this morning, you may be asked to a make a walk-in accident report, under the following circumstances: all vehicles involved are operable; the accident is non-injury; and no alcohol/drug-impaired driver is involved.

At present, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is reporting that I-44 and other highways in the Springfield area are snow-covered, while highways to the southeast are partly covered. Crews continue working to clear and salt local roadways.

Meanwhile, the Missouri Highway Patrol has responded to several accidents this morning, but the majority of these were minor in nature. One more serious wreck happened near Strafford at around 7:15 a.m.: an SUV slid into the path of a tractor-trailer, and the two vehicles collided nearly head on. The impact forced the tractor-trailer off the road, and it subsequently hit a fence and then a tree. Both drivers and a passenger in the SUV were taken to Mercy Hospital with moderate injuries.

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Two Teen Drivers Killed in Missouri Last Weekend in Separate Lane Departure Accidents

February 6, 2012

${filename}.jpgIt only takes a fraction of a second for a driver to make a mistake and cause a serious accident. Our Springfield, Missouri car accident attorneys know that teenage drivers are an especially at-risk group: motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for American teens. In 2009, these accidents claimed the lives of 8 teenagers every single day. We frequently blog about various initiatives that promote responsible driving practices in young drivers, and we encourage parents to utilize these programs and the resources they provide. Doing so could make all the difference in the world.

(For links to teen driving resources, see the end of this post.)

Two Teen Drivers Killed in Separate Missouri Accidents Within 2 Days
Over the weekend, two teen drivers were killed in separate accidents in southern Missouri. The first accident happened on Friday in Howell County, near Mountain View. 16 year-old Christina McBride was traveling on County Road 3890 when she ran off the west side of the road. Her pickup truck overturned and struck a fence, ejecting one of her passengers. McBride was killed, and her passenger, 14 year-old Michael Richison, sustained serious injuries: he was taken to Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains, and subsequently transferred to Mercy Hospital in Springfield. Another passenger, 17 year-old Lindy McBride, is also listed in serious condition at Mercy.

It's not clear what circumstances caused McBride to lose control of her vehicle and leave the roadway, but her pickup was the only vehicle involved in the accident. None of the three teens wore a seatbelt. According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, this accident was Troop G's 7th fatality in 2012, compared to 4 fatalities at this time last year.

Then, on Saturday, another young driver died in Greene County, just north of Willard. The driver, 16 year-old Carlos Lopez, was driving on Missouri Highway 123 when his Pontiac Sunfire crossed the center line and struck a Dodge pickup head on. Lopez was pronounced dead at the scene, and his passenger, 44 year-old Darla Goetz, was transported to Mercy with serious injuries. The occupants of the pickup truck survived the accident, but both were hospitalized: the driver suffered minor injuries, and a passenger was moderately injured.

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