In this Blog category you will find articles about motor vehicle accidents and how to avoid them. Personal Injury suits and insurance claims may require the help of an attorney. A good lawyer can protect your rights under the law.

What Is Being Done to Keep Teen Drivers Safe?

Teen Driver

It’s a fact. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash, with the risk of motor vehicle crashes higher among 16-19-year-olds than among any other age group.

On Wednesday, November 15, 2017, at approximately 2:07 p.m., the Oregon State Police responded to a head-on two vehicle fatal crash on US Highway 101 near milepost 14. The preliminary investigation revealed a black Honda Civic, operated by a male age 18, was traveling northbound and lost control rotating sideways into the southbound lane. A southbound silver Toyota 4-Runner was unable to stop, hitting the passenger side of the Honda. The teen driver of the Honda suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene. Speed was considered as a contributing factor for the crash.

Statistics show that teens are more likely than older drivers to speed and underestimate dangerous situations, and alcohol is frequently a factor. Among male drivers between 15 and 20 years of age who were involved in a crash in 2014, 36% were speeding at the time of the crash and 24% had been drinking, with 64% not wearing a seat belt. Distraction from cell phones and young passengers also increases the danger of a fatal crash.

Graduated Driving Licenses for Teens Featured in Most States

Nearly all states give graduated driving licenses to inexperienced young drivers while they safely gain experience before obtaining full driving privileges. Most programs are in three stages:

  • Learner Stage: supervised driving followed by a driving test
  • Intermediate Stage: limited supervised driving in high risk situations
  • Full Privilege Stage: a standard driver’s license

38 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice drivers. In all states, except Vermont, drivers in the intermediate stage are restricted from nighttime driving, and 46 states and D.C. restrict the number of passengers during the intermediate stage.

Once licensed in Oregon, for the first six months a teen driver can’t drive with a passenger under the age of 20 who isn’t an immediate family member, and for the second six months can’t drive with more than three passengers under the age of 20 who aren’t immediate family members. For the first year, teens may not

By |November 19th, 2017|Auto Accidents|

5 Reasons Insurance Companies Make Low Offers on Claims

The first in a new series of short, informational films, Richard Rizk reveals the 5 reasons he believes insurance companies makelow offers on claims. With experience working for and against insurance, Richard knows how to beat insurance companies at their own game.

By |November 2nd, 2017|Auto Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, Insurance Law, Personal Injury|

Top 5 Portland Neighborhoods to Avoid Trick-or-Treat

The evidence that Portland is one of America’s favorite cities is conspicuously reflected in its soaring housing costs and influx of non-native Oregonians. For several consecutive years, Portland has ranked as one of the top cities to live in the United States. As with any densely populated city, there are some neighborhoods that should be avoided after sundown.

GoLocalPDX News analyzed 5 years’ worth of data from the City of Portland and the Oregon Department of Transportation to create a list of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Portland. They considered the number of police and fire reports, and ODOT’s ranking of the city’s 60 most dangerous intersections to compile this list. On Halloween night, steer clear of these 5 neighborhoods, if you can.

Hazelwood

Halfway between the heart of Portland and Gresham lies Hazelwood, a neighborhood in which there are consistent reports of criminal activity. In the 5-year period, there were over 10,000 police incidents and almost 500 fire calls. The Gateway Transit Center is considered the most dangerous in Portland, with many crimes taking place near this stop. In 2009, there were more rapes and murders in Hazelwood than in any other neighborhood in the city. 122nd Ave. and SE Stark is considered the most dangerous intersection in Hazelwood.

Lents

Divided by I-205 and just south of US 26/ SE Powell Blvd is Lents. The Lents neighborhood had just under 7,000 police incidents and over 400 fire calls in the five-year period. The Eastport Plaza Shopping Center, which houses a Walmart Supercenter, is regarded as the neighborhood’s most active crime corner.

Powellhurst-Gilbert

Hugging Lents on its north-east corner is the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood in East Portland. This neighborhood had 6,025 police incidents and 394 fire calls. One-hundred seventy-one accidents were reported at the intersection of SE 82nd Ave. and SE Powell.

Centennial

Slightly northeast from Powellhurst-Gilbert is the Centennial neighborhood, which experienced 5,568 police incidents and 254 fire calls.

Montavilla

Just west of Centennial is Montavilla. This neighborhood had 3,695 police incidents and 229 fire calls in the five-year span.

5 Halloween Safety Tips

Besides avoiding certain parts of town, there are many ways to keep your children safe during their once-a-year trick-or-treat endeavor. Keep these simple tips in mind.

Plan

By |October 25th, 2017|Auto Accidents, Misc, Protecting Oregonians|

New Tests Show Truck Side Underride Guards Could Save Lives

Side Underride Crash

 

 

 

 

 

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, approximately 4,000 people were killed in collisions involving underride between 1994 and 2014. Of that number, about 1,530 were related to side underride crashes. Recent tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show that protective side panels at the bottom of trucks would prevent deaths from passenger vehicles sliding underneath.

In 2017, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) ran two 35 mph crash tests, one with a side underride protection device from Airflow Deflector Inc. called an AngelWing  and the other with a side skirt made of fiberglass meant only to improve aerodynamics, not prevent side underride. Those tests showed AngelWing side guards stopped passenger cars from sliding underneath, while cars that hit trucks equipped with only a fiberglass skirt did not stop and became lodged underneath the trailer, after the truck had sheared off part of the car’s roof.

David Zuby, executive vice president and chief research officer for IIHS said “Our tests and research show that side underride guards have the potential to save lives. We think a mandate for side underride guards on large trucks has merit, especially as crash deaths continue to rise on our roads.”

Regulators Delay Acting on Life Saving Side Underride Guards

Steel bars hanging from the backs of truck trailers called underride guards have been required on trucks since 1967 when a car slid beneath the back end of a big rig, instantly killing its driver. Due to the celebrity status of the car’s driver, media attention to the horrific crash prompted new federal regulations requiring protective underride guards on the back of all big rigs. Nothing, however, was done to prevent side underride crashes.

Fast forward to 2016, when Joshua Brown’s Tesla Model S fatally collided with the side of a big rig that sheared off the top of his sedan as it slid under the truck. Side underride guards on the truck would have stopped the slide, so that air bags and seat belt could have prevented his death.

Two Mothers Suffering Loss Seek Legislative Action

Mary Karth, mother of nine children, with a Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of Michigan has joined with another mother, Lois Durso in drafting legislation aimed at preventing underride crashes, called the Roya, AnnaLeah and Mary Comprehensive Underride Protection Act of 2017.

Durso

By |October 24th, 2017|Auto Accidents, Truck Crashes|

AAA Study Shows Dangerous Driver Distraction from Infotainment Systems

Dash Controls

The recent ban on texting while driving hasn’t eliminated all driver distractions. A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that In-Vehicle Information Systems (IVIS) requiring touch screen and voice interaction are just as distracting, increasing the risk of crashes.

The features of vehicle infotainment systems have expanded, opening up more tasks accessible to motorists while driving. Many of these features are unrelated to driving and divert the eyes and attention of drivers from the road and their hands from the steering wheel, causing them to miss stop signs, pedestrians, and other vehicles.

In 2017, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, formerly known as the American Automobile Association, commissioned the University of Utah to study vehicle infotainment systems, to find the most demanding task, compare the demand required for voice commands vs touchpads, and determine whether the demand varies between makes and models.

Four types of tasks were evaluated in the study, using different modes of interaction:

  • Calling or dialing
  • Text messaging
  • Tuning the radio
  • Programming navigation

The study found navigation to be the most demanding task, taking a driver’s eyes off the road for more than 40 seconds to set and navigate the system, and suggested that drivers set the system before beginning a trip and use it only when absolutely necessary.

Depending on the available features, each vehicle offered up to three modes of interaction, including:

  • Voice commands
  • Center stack display
  • Controls in the center console

Although all methods of interacting with an infotainment system were distracting, using the touch screen and knobs and buttons built into the dashboard was less demanding than using voice commands, which was less demanding than using writing pads and dials in the center console.

Two similar studies in 2015 at the University of Utah commissioned by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that, although voice-commands resulted in lower levels of visual demand than touch commands, interaction times were longer, taking up to 27 seconds to regain full attention after issuing voice commands, the time that it takes to cover the length of three football fields traveling at 25 mph.

“The voice-command technology isn’t ready,” said Joel Cooper, a University of Utah research assistant professor of psychology and co-author of the 2015 studies. “It’s in the cars and is billed as a safe alternative to manual interactions with your car, but the voice systems simply don’t

By |October 8th, 2017|Auto Accidents|

Tougher Distracted Driving Laws Take Effect

Beginning October first, Oregonians can expect police to pay closer attention to their habits behind the wheel. On that day, the state’s new, fortified distracted driving law will have taken effect. The new law makes it easier for distracted drivers to get pulled over by police, who can now issue citations to anyone holding any electronic device. The new law seeks to address gaping loopholes in the old law, which let people use their digital devices for everything except talking and texting. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce instances of auto accidents caused by distracted driving.

Distracted Driving More Dangerous than DUII?

While tough DUI laws across all 50 states have caused the DUI accident and fatality rates to go down, weak or no laws targeting distracted driving have allowed the rate of distracted driving accidents and fatalities to climb. As technology becomes ever more enthralling and commutes ever more drudging, our inclination to use technology as a distraction strengthens. As a result, more people than ever are driving distractedly by using technology at times that make them a hazard to be on the road.

Distracted driving often manifests in the form of texting while driving, which some claim is as or more dangerous than drunk driving. From 2002 to 2014, drunk driving fatalities dropped by 25%. This decline can be attributed to an increase in awareness of the dangers of drunk driving as well as tough penalties for DUI. In the same time frame, however, fatalities caused by distracted driving accidents shot up from 2,600 deaths in 2002 to 3,331 in 2011.

How does Oregon’s New Law Protect Drivers?

Under Oregon’s old cell phone law, drivers could not communicate via cell phone. As it turned out, it was difficult for cops to know just when someone was texting or placing a call when they saw a driver holding a phone.

At one point, an officer stopped a woman who was using her phone behind the wheel. He smelled alcohol and suspected she was under the influence. He then conducted field sobriety tests and arrested her for DUII. An Oregon Court of Appeals judge ruled that since the officer didn’t see the woman physically communicating on her phone, he did not have probable cause to make the stop. Thus, all the evidence obtained from the stop was suppressed. This made it difficult for police to enforce

By |October 2nd, 2017|Auto Accidents, Distracted Driving, Protecting Oregonians|

Lane Departure Warning Systems Offer Crash Prevention with Limitations

Lane Drift

New research data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) indicates that lane departure warning systems lower rates of single-vehicle, sideswipe, and head-on crashes of all severities by 11 percent and lower the rate of injury crashes of the same type by 21 percent. While encouraging, several limitations currently exist preventing this life-saving technology from reaching its full potential.

The latest data in this ongoing study, led by IIHS vice president for research Jennifer Cicchino, is based on 2015 police crash reports, which includes information on the circumstances of the crash, allowing researchers to examine the types of crashes that lane departure warning systems are designed to prevent.

“This is the first evidence that lane departure warning is working to prevent crashes of passenger vehicles on U.S. roads,” said Cicchino. “Given the large number of fatal crashes that involve unintentional lane departures, technology aimed at preventing them has the potential to save a lot of lives.”

A 2015 study of lane departure warning on trucks in U.S. fleets found lane departure warning systems cut the rate of relevant crashes nearly in half, a reduction greater than the new data. A similar study of Volvo cars in Sweden found a reduction of relevant injury crashes of 53 percent.

AAA believes that lane departure warning could totally eliminate almost 50 percent of all head-on collisions. Why hasn’t current test data shown those results? Greg Brannon, the Automobile Association of America’s director of automotive engineering, called IIHS’ studies “encouraging,” but said that drivers need to understand the limitations as well as the capabilities of the safety technology in their vehicle.

Limitations within Lane Departure Warning Technology

There are two types of lane departure warning systems, activated by unintended lane departure:

  • Lane departure warning systems (LDW) which give the driver visual, audible, and/or vibrating warnings when the vehicle is leaving its lane
  • Lane keeping systems (LKS) which automatically take steps to ensure the vehicle stays in its lane

Lane warning and lane keeping systems are based on:

  • Video sensors mounted behind the windshield, typically beside the rear mirror
  • Laser sensors mounted on the front of the vehicle
  • Infrared sensors mounted either behind the windshield or under the vehicle

Because they rely on visible lane markings, lane departure warning systems typically cannot decipher faded, missing, or incorrect lane markings or markings covered in snow or obscured by rain or excessive glare from the sun.

Few Vehicles on the Road with Lane Departure Warning Systems

In 2000, the United States company Iteris developed the first lane departure warning system in Europe for Mercedes Actros commercial trucks.

In 2002, the Iteris system became available on Freightliner Truck’s North American vehicles. With this system, the driver is warned of unintentional lane departure by an audible rumble strip sound on the side of the vehicle drifting out of the lane, but the warning is not generated if the driver gives an active turn signal before crossing the lane.

Honda was the first U.S. passenger vehicle automaker to introduce this feature, with its Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS) on the 2003 Inspire.

Nissan followed in 2004 with its Infiniti FX and in 2005 on the M vehicles, which issues a warning tone to alert the driver when the vehicle begins to drift over lane markings.

Also in 2004, Toyota added a Lane Keeping Assist feature to the Crown Majesta, which applies a small counter-steering force to aid in keeping the vehicle in its lane.

In 2006, Lexus introduced a multi-mode Lane Keeping Assist system on the LS 460. The LS 460’s LKA system issues an audiovisual warning, steers the vehicle to hold its lane, and applies counter-steering torque to ensure the driver does not over-correct the steering wheel while attempting to return the vehicle to its proper lane.

Audi began offering its Audi Lane Assist feature in 2007 on the Q7. This system will not intervene, but will vibrate the electric power-steering system when it detects an unintended lane departure. The electric power-steering system will then introduce a gentle torque that will help guide the driver back toward the center of the lane. However, a driver engaging the turn signal or accidently leaving it on will prevent the Lane Assist feature from functioning.

By |September 3rd, 2017|Auto Accidents|

Airbag Giant TAKATA Files Bankruptcy

IMPORTANT SAFETY RECALL…

The defect in these vehicles could kill or injure you or other people in your vehicle.

Tens of millions of drivers around the country have received alarming safety recall notices clearly stating how defective airbag inflators under pressure could cause the airbags to rupture and kill them. From owners of reliable Asian brands to owners of luxury European machines, almost no one is safe from these ticking time bombs. The recalls started showing up in people’s mailboxes back in 2008, with Honda issuing the first round for four thousand 2001 Honda and Civic models. Since then, recalls have continued expanding, affecting over a quarter of all vehicles on U.S. roads.

Over 42 million vehicles across 34 manufacturers have been fitted with faulty airbags since as early as 2004, killing 12 and injuring over 200 in the U.S. alone. From Honda to Ferrari, drivers still have no way of knowing if the airbags in their vehicles might be waiting to burst. Currently, just 35% of affected vehicles have had their inflators replaced. The full scope of the recall could take until 2023 to complete.

Japanese auto supplier Takata Corp lies at the heart of history’s greatest auto recall. The company is hanging by a thread, having just recently filed for reorganization bankruptcy for debts of over $9 billion. It also plans to sell a vast portion of its operations that have not been affected by the scandal to Chinese-owned Key Safety Systems Inc. for $1.6 billion. With nearly worthless shares, the company faces its downfall in its third generation of operation.

Takata Timeline of Events

2008

Four thousand Honda Accord and Civic models recalled from the year 2001.  

2009

In 2009, two women were killed by the airbags of their 2001 Honda Accords, one in Oklahoma and one in Virginia. The family of Gurjit Rathore of Virginia sued Takata and Honda for $75 million, claiming the companies were aware of safety issues since 2004. A $3 million settlement was reached in 2013.

2010

Honda again expanded recalls.

2011

In April, Honda recalled 896,000 Honda and Acura models from 2001-2003 to discover faulty airbag inflators were used as replacement parts. The recall was again expanded in December.

2013

By |August 30th, 2017|Auto Accidents, Product Liability|

Every Hour is Rush Hour in Portland

Although Portland is now the 26th largest city in the U.S., its traffic has quickly outpaced that. A comprehensive study on traffic patterns released by INRIX Inc. places Portland at #12 on a list of the nation’s top 15 cities with the worst traffic congestion. INRIX, a leader in transportation analytics, studied over one thousand cities across 38 countries for the largest traffic congestion study ever conducted. The study looked at 240 cities in the United States, which was deemed the most congested developed country in the world.

It wasn’t INRIX’s first study on global traffic patterns, but it was the first study in which the company performed an economic analysis to include figures showing the direct and indirect costs of congestion. The analysis estimated the total cost to the average driver in a city and the total cost to the city population. Direct costs were considered to be paid by the driver through wasted time and fuel while indirect costs took into account the increased costs to businesses that are then passed onto the consumer through higher prices. At #12, Portland drivers spent an average of $1,358 and lost 47 hours to congestion in just one year. The city lost $1 billion.

Why is there so much traffic?

The study cites “a stable U.S. economy, continued urbanization of major cities, and factors such as employment growth and low gas prices” for reasons that traffic continues to rise. In Portland, the combination of population growth, a robust economy, and cheap gas is a toxic formula.

These days, nearly every hour is considered “rush hour” on the city’s most populated freeways. If you’ve been noticing your daily commute getting longer, it’s not your imagination. With more jobs and more money to buy cars to drive to those jobs, and more freight traffic, there are certainly many more cars on the road slowing you down. Overall, nine key bottlenecks in the Portland metro area conspire to make your daily commute just a little more excruciating, one day at a time.

Portland’s Major Bottlenecks

#9: I-205 SB. Interstate 205 going southbound resembles a parking lot between the hours of 2:30 and 6pm, particularly the 5.3-mile stretch between the Glenn Jackson

By |August 29th, 2017|Auto Accidents|

Oregon Transportation Funding Bill Finally Gets Green Light

Transportation Funding Bill

After over two years of planning, negotiating, and compromise, the Oregon State legislature has finally passed a transportation bill that will provide funding for needed repairs and upgrades to Oregon’s highway infrastructure and statewide expansion of transit.

Earlier Funding Proposal Lacked Bipartisan Support

In June 2015, Oregon lawmakers revealed a transportation package that would have given new funding each year of $205 million for state and local roads and seismic upgrades to earthquake-vulnerable bridges. Also included in the package was funding for mass transit (not light rail) and bicycle and pedestrian paths.

Funding would have been provided through increased taxes and fees, with a 4-cent per gallon increase in the gas tax, flat fees for new vehicle registration, driver license, and vehicle registration, and a new income tax for transit projects that would have been placed on people who work in Portland and Eugene transit districts.

Oregonians may have accepted increases in taxes and fees for needed highway infrastructure repairs and upgrades, but Republican lawmakers refused to consider a transportation plan that would not repeal the Clean Fuels Bill that Governor Kate Brown had signed into law in March 2015. Environmental groups were unhappy that the carbon reduction plan developed over seven years would be replaced with one written by the Western States Petroleum Association. The transportation package failed to get bipartisan support, and the Clean Fuels Bill remained intact.

Oregon Lawmakers Try Again with a New Transportation Funding Bill

After a year of visioning and public hearings, in February 2017 a House and Senate panel revealed a new transportation funding package that would provide $5 billion a year for transportation work, to fund roads, bridges, and public transit, without listing specific projects that would be funded. The work could be paid for by gas tax hike, highway tolls, or lottery revenue.

In May 2017, the panel presented an $8 billion transportation package with more details to Oregon legislators and the public, with funding coming in over the next decade from increased taxes and fees. Added to a .06 percent higher gas tax, to increase another .02 every other year through 2026, were higher registration fees on vehicles with higher-than-average fuel efficiency, because those drivers pay less in fuel taxes than other drivers. There would also be taxes on new and used car sales and bicycles, a state-wide payroll tax increase of 0.1 percent starting

By |August 19th, 2017|Auto Accidents|