Do you live in a college town? If so, students are headed back to dorms and classes for the fall semester. While you may be accustomed to watching for younger children in school zones, we often forget that we need to slow down and be careful when driving near college campuses.
With college in session, there will be more pedestrians and bicyclists using the roads and sidewalks near campuses and around town. As a motorist, you have a duty to take reasonable precautions to avoid a bicycle accident or pedestrian accident.
Some drivers are simply worse than other drivers. They do not take the safety of others into concern when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Most drivers are very safe drivers who try to avoid accidents. However, even the safest driver may have habits that put him or her at risk for an accident. In many cases, we may not realize that our behavior is that bad. Below are two of the worst driving habits that can increase your risk of being involved in a traffic accident.
Distracted Driving in Pennsylvania
Distracted driving has become an increasing problem throughout the United States. The NHTSA estimates that 3,477 lives were lost in 2015 because of distracted driving. Roughly 391,000 people were injured in traffic accidents involving a distracted driver.
Many drivers are not fully aware of the danger of driving while distracted. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and AAA Exchange have conducted several studies involving distracted drivers. Studies have shown that the danger continues even after a distraction has ceased. The time it takes for a driver to be engaged fully in the task of driving after “multitasking” is 27 seconds. During those 27 seconds, a child could run into the road, a vehicle could suddenly stop, or a piece of road debris could suddenly appear. Just a few seconds could mean the difference between avoiding an accident and causing a collision.
Examples of distracted driving include:
- Texting while driving and talking on a cell phone
- Reading or sending emails
- Using any form of social media
- Looking at videos or reading
- Using a GPS device
- Eating, drinking, and grooming
- Taking care of children or interacting with other passengers
- Daydreaming or focusing on things outside of the vehicle
Any distraction can increase the risk of a traffic accident. For tips on how you can avoid distractions and other information on distracted driving, visit the distracted driving website provided by AAA Exchange.
Road Rage and Aggressive Driving
Instances of road rage and aggressive driving are also increasing throughout the United States. AAA Exchange estimates that almost 80 percent of drivers experience episodes of anger and aggression at least once in the last year. Aggressive behaviors can lead to accidents and injuries. Examples of driving habits that can lead to road rage, aggression, and traffic accidents include:
- Tailgating and following too closely
- Speeding and reckless driving
- Yelling at or cussing at other drivers
- Making obscene gestures toward other drivers
- Blocking cars from passing
- Ramming other vehicles
- Getting out to confront other drivers
- Sideswiping other vehicles
- Throwing objects at vehicles
- Changing lanes without signaling
- Running stop signs and red lights
If you engage in aggressive driving behavior, you can be increasing your risk of being involved in an accident. For more information about aggressive driving and tips on how to avoid road rage, see AAA’s brochure on road rage.
Call an Erie Accident Attorney for Help
If you are the victim of an aggressive driver or distracted driver, you have the right to file a claim for damages. You should not be liable for the damages caused by a negligent driver.
Call The Travis Law Firm toll free at (800) 401-2066 to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our Pennsylvania accident attorneys.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage can be confusing in Pennsylvania because of the state’s full and limited tort laws. To understand the PIP requirements and tort laws, it helps to understand the difference between an “at fault” insurance state and “fault” insurance state.
At Fault vs. Fault Insurance
Some states require drivers to carry liability insurance (fault insurance) to pay for damages from an accident that the driver causes. These states require that you prove a driver caused a collision before you can recover compensation from that driver.
Other states have adopted a no-fault insurance policy whereby drivers are required to purchase no-fault insurance (PIP or Med-Pay). No-fault insurance pays for damages in a car accident regardless of who caused the crash. In other words, if you are injured in a car crash, you file your claim with your own insurance company even if the other driver caused the crash. However, PIP coverage does not pay for all damages. In most cases, it only pays for some of your lost wages, and it does not cover pain and suffering damages.
Pennsylvania has a no-fault insurance policy, but it also allows drivers to choose between limited tort insurance policies and full tort insurance policies.
State Minimum Insurance Requirements for Pennsylvania
Drivers in Pennsylvania are required to carry both liability and PIP coverage. The minimum liability coverage is $15,000 in bodily injury coverage ($30,000 per incident) and $5,000 in property damage liability insurance. In addition, each driver must have $5,000 in PIP coverage.
If you are injured in an accident, you file your claim against your PIP coverage first. If your medical bills, lost wages, and other financial damages exceed the PIP coverage, you can file a claim against the driver who caused the accident. However, whether you can sue for pain and suffering damages depends on whether you choose full tort or limited tort coverage.
If you choose limited tort coverage, you cannot be sued for pain and suffering damages (noneconomic damages) for an accident you cause, BUT you cannot sue another driver for your pain and suffering damages either. The exceptions to this restriction are when an accident results in death, permanent serious disfigurement, or serious impairment of a bodily function.
However, if you chose full tort coverage, you can sue the driver who caused your crash regardless of the severity of your injuries. By choosing full tort, you also open yourself to lawsuits for accidents that you cause. Unfortunately, many people regret not choosing full tort when they are injured in an accident caused by another driver because pain and suffering damages can be a significant amount of a car accident settlement. In these cases, it comes down to proving that your injuries meet the threshold level for filing a lawsuit for pain and suffering.
Erie Car Accident Attorneys Can Help
If you are injured in a traffic accident, sorting out the insurance issues can be confusing and overwhelming. Our Erie accident attorneys can review the applicable coverage and advise you of your options for recovering compensation for your damages.
Call The Travis Law Firm at (800) 401-2066 to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our Erie accident attorneys.
Summer in Pennsylvania is a wonderful time to be outdoors with family and friends. Whether you are celebrating a summer holiday, birthday, or other special event or if you are simply enjoying being outdoors, you need to take precautions to avoid summer accidents.
Avoiding Common Summer Accidents
You may not be able to avoid all summer accidents. However, by taking some precautions, you may be able to reduce your risk for these common summer accidents:
We discuss several types of car accidents because some causes of crashes are more common than other causes. However, we do not discuss back over accidents even though these types of car accidents are very common, especially involving children.
According to Kids and Cars, approximately 232 deaths and 13,000 injuries occur each year because of back over accidents. Many of these injuries are children under the age of five years. Even though children may be at the highest risk for these accidents, anyone can be the victim of a back-over accident.
Last year, actor Anton Yelchin, known for his role in the recent ‘Star Trek’ movies, died in a back over accident when his Jeep crushed him after rolling backward down the driveway. Yelchin’s family alleges in a wrongful death lawsuit that the cause of the back over accident was a defective automobile part. However, many back over accidents are preventable because they are caused by human error. Below are ways that you can stop a tragedy from occurring by preventing back over accidents.
A new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that young millennials have some of the worst driving behaviors compared to any other age group. Young millennials were defined as young adults between the ages of 19 and 24 years. In a press release from AAA, the company revealed shocking details from the study about this groups driving behaviors. Some were quite shocking.
Being injured in a motorcycle accident can be very traumatic. Whether you are the driver or a passenger, you can suffer life-altering injuries that can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. The NHTSA reported an eight percent increase in motorcycle fatalities during 2015 (4,976 deaths). In Pennsylvania alone, 170 riders were killed that year in motorcycle crashes. The NHTSA also estimates that 88,000 motorcyclists were injured during 2015.
As experienced Pennsylvania motorcycle accident attorneys, we see how devastating an accident can be for the rider and his or her family. It is our goal to help motorcyclists and their families hold negligent drivers responsible when they cause accidents. Contact The Travis Law Firm toll free at (800) 401-2066 to schedule a free legal consultation with an Erie motorcycle accident lawyer.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) annual report on pedestrian safety projects an unprecedented 11 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities for 2016. Awareness and efforts to prevent DUI accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists are in the works throughout the United States to reduce the number of alcohol-impaired bicyclists and pedestrians injured in accidents.
When you think about impaired driving, you most likely think about drunk driving (driving under the influence of alcohol) or drugged driving (driving under the influence of drugs). Both drugged driving and drunk driving are crimes in Pennsylvania. As an experienced Erie criminal defense attorney, I can attest to the strict penalties of a DUI conviction in our state. That is why I urge everyone who has been stopped and ticketed for DUI to contact an experienced Erie DUI attorney before saying anything to the police or the prosecution.
However, impaired driving is not only limited to drunk driving or drugged driving (or buzzed driving). There are many reasons why a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely can be impaired. Some of those reasons may or may not lead to a criminal charge.