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Middleton Wisconsin Personal Injury Law Blog

Travelers raises awareness of summertime distracted driving

Drivers in Wisconsin may want to know what the Travelers Institute, the public policy division of a leading property casualty insurance provider, has to say about accidents during the summer. It appears that distracted driving becomes especially prevalent during the summer months. To raise awareness of this issue, Travelers held an Every Second Matters event on Capitol Hill on June 15.

The institute brought attention to the result of a recent TrueMotion study. For the study, researchers used sensor data from a distracted driving mobile app called TrueMotion Family to analyze the behavior of over 20,000 drivers. The data was culled from 8.4 million trips taken between January 2017 and May 2018. Researchers found that drivers were distracted more by their smartphones during the months of June, July and August than in any other month.

Wisconsin fatal collisions: Support for grieving families

If you unexpectedly lose a loved one in a fatal Wisconsin car accident, your life may never be the same. Only those who have lived through such tragedies can understand the emotional pain and suffering associated with such incidents. If you were to learn that your loved one's death was entirely preventable and due only to another person's recklessness behind the wheel, you may feel frustrated and angry in addition to grief-stricken.

Wisconsin law allows immediate family members to seek legal accountability against a reckless driver who caused a loved one's death. That can be quite challenging, especially if defense attorneys aggressively try to dispute your assertions. A recent fatal collision in Dane County is an example of a case where there might be grounds for filing a wrongful death claim.

July 4 the worst day for fatal car crashes

Drivers in Wisconsin should be careful when the Fourth of July holiday comes up. Every year between June 30 and July 4, there are nearly 200 traffic deaths in America. This same five-day period contributed to 40 percent of all highway deaths between 2007 and 2011 according to the Esurance and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The main reason for this spike in deaths is alcohol intoxication.

The fact that more drivers are on the roads during the Fourth of July weekend is another major factor. AAA estimates that 37.5 million Americans will be traveling at least 50 miles from their homes between June 30 and July 4. Many will be taking unfamiliar routes and thus make themselves more prone to accidents.

New tech to keep smartphones from distracting drivers

Of the many drivers in Wisconsin and elsewhere who distract themselves with their smartphone, some wish for new technology that can save them from themselves, so to speak. It may seem ironic, but there are devices out there to solve the problem that was caused by technology in the first place. One company has developed a device that plugs into the car and links the driver's phone to its service provider via a cloud. The service provider can block all communications once the user is driving.

The device is called Groove and can virtually put the phone on "airplane mode." It does not merely silence messages, and it prevents not only texting but also all accessing of social media networks. Callers and senders are notified that the recipient is driving. Groove allows for navigation and music streaming, but these can be blocked as well after a simple customization.

How autonomous vehicles affect crash coverage

The development of autonomous vehicle technologies may be of interest to many people in Wisconsin, especially with the potential they pose for improving vehicle and driving safety. Car crashes cause over 100 deaths across the country every day, and many manufacturers and enthusiasts look at the development of self-driving cars as a way to mitigate the level of human error that can be dangerous on the roads. However, autonomous technology has not yet reached the level of truly self-propelled vehicles. While such cars are in development, the most common technologies are those that are designed to assist a human driver by highlighting potential dangers and helping them avoid crashes.

Like all human technologies, autonomous driving systems can also be flawed; while they are designed to circumvent human-caused motor vehicle accidents, some experts have noted that human programmers can make similar errors. Many of the accidents that have garnered media attention have not been the fault of the semi-autonomous technology. In some cases, human drivers relied too much on the technology that is only meant as an assistant, allowing the car to keep going while taking their own eyes and attention off the roadways.

Obeying Wisconsin seat belt law could prevent fatal injuries

Wisconsin has one of the nation's strictest seat belt laws, and road safety advocates have urged lawmakers in other parts of the country to follow the Badger State's example. All passenger vehicle occupants in Wisconsin must fasten their seat belts, and the results of a study published recently in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health reveals that taking this safety precaution could prevent them from suffering potentially fatal liver injuries in a crash.

The researchers studied motor vehicle accident statistics gathered between 2010 and 2015 from the National Trauma Data Bank, and they discovered that accident victims who suffered severe liver injuries died almost twice as often as those who suffered moderate or minor liver injuries. They also found that vehicle occupants who were properly restrained were far less likely to suffer a serious liver injury. The researchers say that this is a key discovery because the liver is one of the organs most often injured in car accidents and cannot be removed by surgeons.

Could a third party be liable for your car accident?

A car accident can change your life and leave you with injuries that affect you and your family for years to come. You know it is important to fight for the full and fair recovery you deserve, but you might be unsure how to do this. If you are the victim of the reckless and dangerous actions of another driver in Wisconsin, you have the right to seek compensation through a personal injury claim.

Seeking legal recourse through a civil claim is not an option for everyone, but you would be wise to take steps to fully understand all of your options after a serious accident. While the other driver could be to blame for the injuries and losses you experienced, it is also possible a third party shares liability. An evaluation of your case can help you understand your options.

Distracted driving varies by state

Using a cell phone while in a moving vehicle could be considered a form of distracted driving. Those in Wisconsin use their phones on 36 percent of all car trips in 2017, which is below the national median phone use rate. Drivers in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama used their phones during 47, 45 and 44 percent of car trips in 2017, which was the highest in the United States.

This data was obtained by reviewing the habits of 300,000 users of a safe driving app called Everdrive. In 2015, there were 3,477 fatalities related to distracted driving in the United States according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). There were also 391,000 injuries because of distracted driving during that year. It is important to point out that there are many types of dangerous driving, many of which do not involve phone use. The NHTSA data included all instances of distracted driving such a eating while a car was moving.

Daydreaming a bigger problem than cellphones, study says

Wisconsin motorists might be cautious about using their cellphone while they are driving, but according to one study, a greater danger may come from drivers who daydream instead of keeping their thoughts and eyes on the road ahead. Erie Insurance looked at national data for fatalities over five years and found that more accidents in which distracted driving was a factor involved daydreaming than cellphones.

Of the 172,000 fatalities, roughly 10 percent happened because of distracted driving. In 61 percent of those cases, at least one driver was daydreaming. Cellphones were in second place but were the cause of a much smaller percentage of distracted driving deaths at 14 percent.

The dangers of distracted driving

Wisconsin motorists may be interested to learn that a survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed that nearly half of the participants reported bad driving behavior. Even so, more than half of the participants viewed talking on a phone while driving as being a major threat while 78 percent viewed texting while driving as dangerous as well.

The survey collected data from more than 2,600 drivers who were 16 and older. All of the participants had reported that they had driven a vehicle in the past 30 days prior to taking the survey. When asked about dangerous behaviors they participated in when driving, about half of the participants reported that they talked on a cellphone. About 45 percent reported that they read texts or emails while driving while 35 percent reported that they actually sent texts or emails while behind the wheel.

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