August 2012 Archives

August 31, 2012

Alabama Injury Lawyer: School Bus Safety Refresher

While National School Bus Safety Week doesn't start until mid-October, the start of the new school year marks an appropriate time to address the issue of school bus accidents. schoolbus.jpg

Alabama injury lawyers know they are far too common - and they are almost always preventable.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association reports that more than 25 million children board some 475,000 school buses each year. In Alabama last school year, there were about 375,000 public school students riding the bus every day, with nearly half a million miles traveled collectively each day.

That's a lot of opportunity for accidents.

We know that there are relatively few child deaths due to school bus accidents (on average, about 8 per year), but more than 8,000 are injured. That's actually a fairly low estimate, as the American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that more than 17,000 kids show up in hospital emergency rooms to be treated for school bus-related accidents.

Bus drivers can be responsible for child injuries when they slam on the brakes or turn corners too sharply.

However, the vast majority of accidents occur when kids are getting on and off the bus. In fact, kids are three times more likely to be fatally injured while outside or near the bus than while actually on it. There are a large number of child injuries that occur while students are walking to the bus stop or waiting for the bus. Children must often navigate busy roads, sometimes in the dark, to get to their stop.

It's possible in some cases that a driver simply may not see the child, but most injury-causing accidents occur because other drivers are impatient. They are more concerned about getting to their destination than the safety of our children. About 40 percent of school bus pedestrian accidents involve young children, primarily between the ages of 5 and 7, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Recognizing this, Alabama legislators enacted a measure in 2006 that requires vehicles attempting to pass a school bus to come to a complete stop when the bus displays its red flashing stop sign, indicating children are being picked up or dropped off. This applies to drivers moving in both directions, except when traveling in the opposite direction on a divided highway. Violation of this statute will result in a fine of $400, and second-time offenders will lose their license and have to perform 100 hours of community service.

Unfortunately, no penalty is going to prevent every driver from being careless around school buses. With that in mind, here are some ways your children can protect themselves from danger:

  • Always walk - never run - to the bus stop.
  • Walk on the sidewalk, if there is one. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left of the road, facing traffic, so that you can easily see vehicles coming toward you.
  • While at your bus stop, do not run and play. Wait in a safe place, away from the road.
  • When getting off the bus, make sure you take at least three giant steps away from the door. Stay away from the wheels of the bus and watch out for cars.
  • If you leave something on the bus, don't try to go back and get it. The driver may not see you trying to get in and could start moving before you've gotten all the way on.

Continue reading "Alabama Injury Lawyer: School Bus Safety Refresher" »

August 28, 2012

Montgomery Injury Lawyers Wishing a Safe Labor Day Weekend

Be ready for congested roadways and more accidents. According to AAA Travel, there's going to be a near 3 percent increase in the number of travelers over the Labor Day weekend in 2012 compared to the numbers in 2011. Last year, there were 32.1 million travelers over the long holiday weekend. This year, experts are predicting 33 million.
Our Montgomery car accident lawyers wish each of you a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend. Traffic is expected to be fierce. Be patient and allow plenty of time to reach your destination.

For statistical purposes, a Labor Day "traveler" is defined as someone who travels more than 50 miles from their home to their vacation destination. According to NBC 13, the Labor Day holiday weekend runs Thursday the 30th through Monday the 3rd. During this time, drivers are asked to be safe and alert on our roads. More travelers equates to higher risks for accidents.

There may have been a recent hike in gas prices and the economy is still struggling a bit, but that's not stopping travelers. Since this time last year, gas prices are up nearly 15 cents a gallon. But the last of the trio of summer holidays is expected to be plenty busy.

Auto travelers will be accounting for nearly 90 percent of holiday travelers. That means that more than 28 million Americans are expected to jump behind the wheel and head out for that much-needed time away from work. It's important to understand the risks that accompany a road trip. You want to make sure that you inspect your vehicle before heading out to help ensure the safety of everyone involved.

"It is an encouraging sign that Americans continue to prioritize travel," said Bill Sutherland, with AAA Travel Services. "Travel is still within America's discretionary spending budget."

According to a recent travel survey, drivers are going to be taking a little longer trip than normal, too. The average distance of this year's Labor Day trip is just over 625 miles, compared to about 605 miles in 2010.

Travelers are expected to be spending more on their trip this year, too. The median holiday funds are expected to total close to $750, according to Fox Business. That's up from just $700 in 2011.

Regardless of where you're going or how much you're spending, you're urged to keep safety a number one priority. The streets are going to be congested. Practice your safest driving habits and stay sober behind the wheel to help to keep you and your passengers safe over this long holiday weekend.

We're especially talking to those who plan on drinking. During this time of the year, drunk driving accidents are common. To help to stop these accidents before they happen, law enforcement officers in the state of Alabama and across the nation will be pushing the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" anti-drunk driving campaign. In 2010, there were more than 150 people killed over the Labor Day weekend. Drunk driving car accidents accounted for about 40 percent of these accidents.

Stay safe and enjoy the weekend responsibly. Happy Labor Day!

Continue reading "Montgomery Injury Lawyers Wishing a Safe Labor Day Weekend" »

August 19, 2012

Smart Consumers Carefully Review Alabama Auto Insurance Policies

Guys pay more for car insurance. It's just a fact of life. Generally speaking, men get into more accidents and get more traffic citations than women. As drivers age, the gap in these costs start to close, but never quite make it back to even, with men always paying more than women.
When it comes down to it, insurers know that they're going to have to dish out more for their male clients than their female clients, according to Yahoo News.

Our Montgomery accident attorneys understand that no one really wants to deal with an insurance agency after a car accident. It can oftentimes be quite the headache just to gain the compensation that you know you deserve. You always need a lawyer when dealing with an insurance company in the wake of accident that result in serious or fatal injury. Even when dealing with your own company after an accident.

Sometimes it seems as though you need an attorney just to choose a policy! The male-female issues is just one example. According to a recent study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), male drivers were involved in about 18 million more accidents than female drivers during 2000 through 2009.

During this time, women not only got into fewer accidents, but they were also involved in less DUI issues and were cited by law enforcement officials less often. Male drivers are more likely to speed and to engage in other dangerous driving habits behind the wheel, and insurance companies know this and they're not granting any mercy.

So how can men work to lower their coverage rates? One of the easiest things is to age. That's right! All a driver has to do is reach their 25th birthday and they're automatically granted lower rates. Men who are over the age of 25 are typically safer drivers and are involved in fewer accidents. Experts say that this decrease is the result of driving experience and maturity.

Change might be on its way though. Women are starting to engage in more dangerous driving behaviors behind the wheel now. This is partially because there are more female drivers. Years ago, you would typically only find females in the passenger seat while they allowed their male counterpart to drive. That's not to much the case anymore.

"In 1963, 40 million motorists in the U.S. were women. Today, more than 88 million women are licensed drivers, almost half of all motorists in the U.S.," said Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute (III).

Male or female, insurance companies can be tough to deal with. Oftentimes, they're thinking in business terms and not in your best interest. If you're dealing with you insurance company after an accident, make sure you get in touch with an experienced attorney to help you to fight for your rights.

In general, you should choose coverage limits as high as you can afford. Often, substantial additional coverage limits are available for a modest increase in premium. In the wake of an accident, motorists with $100,000 or $200,000 in coverage are going to be in a much better position than those whose policies provide legal minimums.

You may also be eligible for a number of discounts, including low-mileage discounts; early payment discounts; discounts for anti-lock brakes, airbags and anti-theft devices; and discounts for bundling your insurance policies. In today's online Internet marketplace, comparison shopping can be difficult. Seeking the advice of an agent may result in making a better purchasing decision.

Continue reading "Smart Consumers Carefully Review Alabama Auto Insurance Policies" »

August 9, 2012

Alabama Work Zones and Summer Risks for Traffic Accidents

There were nearly 3,000 car accidents in highway work zones in the state of Alabama in 2010. In these accidents, there were nearly 850 injured and more than 20 killed. These numbers were significantly higher than the previous year. What's most alarming about these accidents is that most all of them are completely preventable. Car accidents in work zones are most commonly the result of speeders, distracted drivers and drunk drivers.
"Most work zone crashes can be avoided if drivers slow down, pay attention and don't drive while impaired," says John R. Cooper, director of the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT).

Our Montgomery car accident lawyers understand that the summer season is prime-time work season for road construction. Crews take advantage of the clear, warm weather and work to help to make roads safer for travelers. The problem is that drivers aren't doing their job to help to make these construction zones safe for everyone.

Experienced drivers may feel lulled into a false sense of security when driving through road-construction zones. The truth of the matter is that serious and fatal traffic accidents are common in construction zones.

"Always be aware and alert that the situation could change at any time with construction equipment or construction workers," ALDOT Spokesperson Rebecca White said.

To help to keep everyone safe through Alabama's work zones, officials with ALDOT offer you the following safe driving tips for road construction areas:

-Always obey road flaggers. They're there to help you to navigate your way through a work zone as safely and as efficiently as possible. Flaggers know what is best for moving traffic safely and have the same authority as a sign. You can be cited for disobeying their directions.

-Stay alert at the wheel and minimize distractions. Keep your hands off the radio, stay off your phone and avoid other distractions during this time.

-Stay up with traffic flow. Don't slow down to "gawk" at road work equipment and crews.

-Plan accordingly. Schedule yourself enough time to deal with the delays of work zones.

-Stat calm. Work zones aren't there to inconvenience you. They're there to help to make traveling safer and more efficient for you.

-Always expect the unexpected. These aren't normal driving conditions. Be ready to react. Look out for dangers from roadside workers, roadside equipment, other motorists and even bicyclists and pedestrians.

-Avoid changing lanes in work zones. Get in the lane that you need to be in as soon as possible, before you enter into the work zone.

Alabama AGC is working to get companies and resident drivers to make a pledge and commit to participate in a Safety Stand Down. This pledge is to help to get drivers to be more aware and cautious through our state's work zones.

Continue reading "Alabama Work Zones and Summer Risks for Traffic Accidents" »

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