Archive for the ‘Distracted Driving Accidents’ Category

Tragedy and Negligence Go Hand-In-Hand

Monday, November 5th, 2012

In our lives there are many different aspects of it that are constantly changing whether we can expect them, or not. However, we ultimately must come to terms with them, and sooner or later become accustomed to the change, which we then can manage to some degree. Similar to that of the change in our lives is that of the road, which is constantly changing whether it is expanding, the rate of traffic it sees over time, the weather conditions that are present on it, and as well as that of the accidents that easily occur each day.

Understanding Roadway Negligence

Many people do not understand how some automobile accidents occur, especially from the outside looking in they appear to be completely avoidable. In fact, the majority of auto accidents are completely avoidable, but why, in this case, do they keep occurring? Individuals in this day and age get behind the wheel of an automobile in order to travel, however, their travel is not what constantly is their focus while on the road. Today, negligence behind the wheel of a vehicle constitutes for the majority of accidents on the road, which ultimately end with accidents that produce catastrophic damage, injuries, and death with whatever it touches.

What You Can Expect From Negligence

Recently, one case truly highlights what can happen in the blink of an eye when drivers on the road are not putting their attention and care into that of driving. A vehicle was attempting to cross over to another side of a Mississippi highway like many of us do everyday. However, as the vehicle, which had appropriately yielded and waited until the highway seemed safe, it then proceeded to pull into the opposing lane and was struck by a truck. As a result, one female passenger was killed instantly, and the vehicle soon was then engulfed in flames.

With so many variables and possibilities that could occur in a matter of moments while on the road one would think that drivers would remember to keep their safety, and the safety of others as their top priority while behind the wheel of a vehicle. Make sure that safety is constantly on your mind while behind the wheel, and if involved in an auto accident of any kind to seek out an experienced auto accident attorney immediately.

At Barrett Law, our experienced Mississippi personal injury lawyers represent injury victims throughout Mississippi.  Our law firm has roots that reach back 75 years so contact us today for your free initial consultation at (800-707-9577) to see how we can help.

School Bus Safety Tips For You And Your Family

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Once again it is that time of the year again. The Summer sun has now finally turned to the leaves of Fall and cooler temperatures are once again upon us. However, Fall can only mean another thing for students the end of days by the pool and the return to the classroom. School is just one of those things in life that we all have to deal with whether from the perspective of the student, or that of the parent. Yet, when it comes down to public transportation methods for students, such as school buses, are you and your child both update with safety tips you should know, and live by?

Understanding School Buses Inside And Out

School buses have always been known as the “big yellow cheese”, whether we rode them as children, or adults. Today, school buses now have the possibility of being updated greatly with safety belts, tinted windows for students, and even air conditioning units. However, contrary to that of the old days one thing certainly has not changed, which is that of accidents associated with school buses. When a school bus is out on the road performing its purpose of transporting students from one place to another we expect the school bus operator to be 100% safety conscious.

Safety and School Buses Go Hand In Hand

Unfortunately, that is not always the case. In order to make sure you, and your child are safe from school bus related accidents here are a few things you should know pertaining to that of school bus safety.

  • When a bus has stopped, and either has flashing lights, or a stop sign make sure to stop behind the bus and be patient. Students are exiting it.
  • Always be alert of school buses on the road and make sure that the driver can actually see you, and you understand the size of a school bus.
  • Remember when you see a school bus in residential areas to always go the school speed limit allotted in the zone in order to help keep everyone safe.

Remember, everyone has ridden a school bus at one point or another in their lives, and understand safety factors of it to some degree. However, when you, or your child are involved in a school bus related accident of any kind whether it was your fault, or not you need an experienced automobile accident attorney by your side every step of the way.

If you suffer any of these serious injuries because of an anesthesia mistake, our experienced Mississippi anesthesia medical malpractice lawyers are committed to assisting victims of substandard medical care obtain the financial compensation to rebuild their lives.  At Barrett Law, our experienced Mississippi personal injury lawyers represent injury victims throughout Mississippi.  Our law firm has roots that reach back 75 years so contact us today for your free initial consultation at (662) 834-2376 to see how we can help.

Texting: Who Is Liable?

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Technology is an aspect of our world that is constantly changing every single day. The moment that we purchase the most updated, newest item the very next day it becomes either the previous model, or outdated. Although the actual hardware of technology can change, and vary over time their role and function seems to remain the same. The cellphone is one device that is constantly changing with different features, but is still used for its main purpose, communication. Today, texting is a common form of communication, which a variety of individuals participate in all throughout the day.

Cellphones behind the Wheel

However, one place that texting is, and should not be is behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Texting and driving today claims the lives of many, and can occur in the blink of an eye all throughout the United States. Research, and studies show that texting while driving, or using your phone at all behind the wheel of a motor vehicle is actually more dangerous than driving under the influence. We see accidents caused by texting and driving, or using a cellphone all the time, which we may actually even ourselves cause, or be involved in. Yet, when it comes down to an automobile accident caused by a text message is the sender, or the receiver at fault?

Sender or Accident Contributor?

Usually, one would automatically think that an individual who reads the text message while driving is at fault. However, one recent case shines a new light on the matter at hand. A 19-year-old man was driving and was texting his mother, who knew he was out driving. As a result, the boy crashed into two motorcyclists, which led to one’s legs being amputated and the other being seriously injured. Today, the attorney of the motorcyclists is claiming that the mother is also at fault for the accident and knew that her son was operating a motor vehicle and texting at the same time.

When it comes down to cellphones within a motor vehicle make sure that yours is put in your glove compartment box, or in your consol. If you are truly the type of individual who is always talking on the phone makes sure to invest in a hands free device that can help you keep your attention on the wheel and the road.

If you suffer any of these serious injuries because of an anesthesia mistake, our experienced Mississippi anesthesia medical malpractice lawyers are committed to assisting victims of substandard medical care obtain the financial compensation to rebuild their lives.  At Barrett Law, our experienced Mississippi personal injury lawyers represent injury victims throughout Mississippi.  Our law firm has roots that reach back 75 years so contact us today for your free initial consultation at (662) 834-2376 to see how we can help.

States Cracking Down on Pokey Drivers That Promote Aggressive Driving and Road Rage

Friday, April 20th, 2012

There are a virtually unending list of unsafe driving practices that may cause serious collisions and result in major life changing injuries or the loss of a loved one.  The state of Delaware is the newest state to enact a law targeting an increasing cause of auto collisions that is rarely thought of by the typical driver as a major accident risk – driving too slow.  Many states are now passing tough new laws that impose substantial fines for drivers that drive slowly in the left lane of traffic.  While most drivers understand that speed is a major contributor to car accidents, it is usually driving too fast, rather than too slow, that most drivers perceive as a serious danger of causing auto accidents.

The new laws sprouting up in a growing number of states specifically designates the left lane as being reserved for passing on roads that have at least two traffic lanes in both directions.  Many states including Mississippi require drivers to remain in the right lane when traveling slower than the flow of traffic.  When drivers obstruct traffic by driving relatively slowly in the left lane, other drivers get impatient and angry, and aggressive driving and road rage incidents are a frequent result.

Aggressive driving generally is comprised of consciously engaging in more than one traffic violation at any point in time.  An example might include a driver passing on the shoulder while speeding.  While violating traffic safety laws always creates a risk of injury for other vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians, these risks increase dramatically as a driver disregards an increasing number of traffic laws while driving.  It is not uncommon for aggressive driving to anger other drivers resulting in the even more lethal danger of road rage incidents.  Road rage is different from aggressive driving because it does not involve “accidents” based on unsafe driving.  The term refers to aggressive behavior that is intended to cause injury or harm another.

While dawdlers in the left lane of traffic may be annoying, the practice certainly does not excuse or justify aggressive driving behavior or road wage.  Nonetheless, legislators and law enforcement authorities in many states believe that alleviating this source of frustration will make the roads safer by discouraging the interruption in the flow of traffic caused by pokey drivers in the left lane.

One driving safety advocate points out that it is never a good idea to continue driving in the left lane if you are being passed on the right.  Drivers that are frustrated by drivers traveling too slowly may tailgate, flash their lights, make obscene gestures and even pass on the left shoulder, which is extremely reckless behavior.  If you or someone you love is injured or a loved one dies because of aggressive driving and road rage, the experienced Mississippi aggressive driving accident attorneys at Barrett Law are committed to holding drivers who consciously violate traffic safety laws accountable for their actions.  At Barrett Law, our experienced Mississippi personal injury lawyers represent injury victims throughout Mississippi.  Our law firm has roots that reach back 75 years so contact us today for your free initial consultation at (662) 834-2376 to see how we can help.

Mississippi Distracted Driving Accident Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Monday, February 6th, 2012

While the majority of Mississippi drivers are careful and attentive when driving, there are some drivers that find it necessary to engage in other activities when driving that prevent them from focusing on the road ahead and potential traffic hazards.  Virtually all drivers sometimes exercise poor judgment by driving when distracted.  The danger associated with distracted driving in Mississippi has grown exponentially with the increase in handheld electronic communication gadgets.  Mobile phones, iPods, tablet computers, GPS devices and other electronic devices have become as dangerous as drunk drivers.  We have provided information regarding the rights of Mississippi motorists who are involved in Mississippi distracted driving accidents.

What are the most dangerous forms of distracted driving?

There are many forms of distracted driving that can result in serious collisions in Mississippi including the following:

  • Texting while driving
  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Eating or drinking
  • Reading
  • Surfing the internet
  • Using a GPS device
  • Reaching for an object or child in the vehicle
  • Grooming including brushing one’s hair or putting on makeup
  • Conversations with passengers
  • Adjusting the car stereo or CD player

Are many car accidents caused by districted driving?

Distracted driving is such a serious public safety issue that it is has been called “the new drunk driving epidemic” by federal motor vehicle safety agencies.  Motor vehicle accidents cause fifteen fatalities and 1,200 injuries per day in the U.S.  This amounts to 5,400 distracted driving fatalities and almost 450,000 injuries per year.  Distracted driving has become the number one cause of motor vehicle related fatalities among teen drivers.

How serious a factor are cell phones as a driver distraction?

Whether used for telephone calls or texting, many drivers routinely use their cell phone when driving.  A study conducted of U.S. drivers found that three-fours of all U.S. drivers surveyed admitted to talking on their cell phone during the previous thirty day period.  A quarter of U.S. drivers admit to frequently using a cell phone while driving.  Texting and emailing from a mobile phone is particularly distracting because it requires concentration on the screen and physical manipulation of a keyboard.  Nonetheless, approximately nine percent of drivers indicate that they text or email regularly while driving.

How do driving distractions impact driving behavior?

There are three kinds of driver distractions: (1) visual, (2) physical and (3) mental.  A visual distraction is any distraction that causes a driver to divert one’s eyes from the roadway, such as looking at the screen of a cell phone or glancing at children in the backseat of a vehicle.  A physical distraction involves reaching for an object or passenger in the vehicle.  The classic physical distraction might be reaching into the back seat to discipline children.  Mental distractions can range from carrying on a conversation that diverts mental concentration to listening to music on the radio.  The most dangerous types of distractions impact a driver on all three levels.  If you send a text message while driving, for example, it requires that you use your fingers to type, your eyes to view the screen and your mind to process what to write.

Is text messaging really as dangerous as drunk driving?

A study conducted by the University of Utah revealed that drivers that text while driving exhibit more impaired driving ability than drivers with a BAC of .08 percent, which is the legal limit for DUI.  The researchers compared reaction times of drivers when braking and found that texting activity slows reaction time considerably more than being over the legal limit for DUI.

What laws limit or restrict cell phone use while driving in Mississippi?

Twenty separate bills were proposed in Mississippi to restrict cell phone use while driving during 2011 with three more addressing text messaging bans in 2012.  However, the only cell phone restriction currently in effect is a restriction on text messaging by inexperienced teen drivers that have not yet been granted an unrestricted drivers’ license.  Mississippi bus drivers are also prohibited from using any wireless communication device when transporting children.

Some driving distractions are so much a part of the daily behavior of motorists that drivers never even contemplate the risk.  One of the most dangerous forms of driving distraction other than the use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices is eating and drinking while driving.  When food and drinks are spilled, drivers may be forced to divert their hands, eyes and concentration away from the task of driving to clean up the mess.  The distraction is even greater if the food or beverage is hot or scalding.  If you are injured in a Mississippi distracted driving accident or a loved one dies, you may have the right to seek damages for your injuries or loss.  The experienced Mississippi distracted driving accident attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing aggressive representation to Mississippi distracted driving accident victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.


Distracted Driving as the Leading Cause of Auto Accidents in Mississippi

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Distracted Driving as the Leading Cause of Auto Accidents

Any time a driver on the road is paying attention to anything other than the road and the traffic around them, they are putting themselves, other motorists and pedestrians in danger. Although cell phone use and the practice of texting is in the news constantly as a cause of auto accidents, in truth there are plenty of other lower-tech distractions which cause as many, if not more, collisions. Consider the person who just spilled hot coffee in their lap or dropped something on the floor and bent down to pick it up—while driving. According to a study done by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, these two things are actually among the most common distractions drivers suffer. Still, cell phones are definitely a distraction—and a danger. Experts believe that those who regularly talk on their cell phone while driving are as much as four times as likely to have a car accident.

More Incidences of Distracted Driving

Unfortunately, our lives are so incredibly busy, that many people almost feel as though they live in their car. They eat breakfast in their car on their way to work, attempt to re-set the GPS, fiddle with the radio, and even put on makeup, shave and read while commuting to work. Parents find themselves turning around—while driving—to see what’s going on with the kids in the backseat, or attempting to put a bottle or pacifier into the mouth of a crying baby.  If you’ve ever passed a car where a woman was applying mascara, using the rear-view mirror, while navigating a busy city street, you probably were very alarmed—and with good reason. People who regularly eat in their car, also regularly spill, then their attention is completely consumed with cleaning up the mess from their clothing or the upholstery.

Types of Distractions

Generally speaking there are three main types of distractions, including visual, manual and cognitive. Visual distractions occur when you take your eyes from the road—most distractions tend to be visual in nature. Manual distractions occur when you physically remove your hands from the wheel of the vehicle, and mental or cognitive distractions happen when your mind is anywhere but on the task of driving.

Many forms of distractions encompass all three of these—if you are texting your husband while driving, you are visually distracted as you glance back and forth at the screen, manually distracted as you use your fingers to type, and cognitively distracted as your mind is on what you are texting rather than watching the road. If the kids are screaming in the back seat and you turn around to swat one of them, again, you have engaged in all three types of distraction—at the same time. Even daydreaming as you drive home from running errands can be a significant distraction, and can lead to an accident.

How Many Accidents are Caused by Distractions?

Because many people don’t want to admit they were applying makeup or texting when they crash into the car ahead of them, it’s hard to get solid statistics on just how many accidents are caused by distracted drivers. Research indicates that the number could be as high as fifty percent of all accidents being directly related to driver distraction—a number that truly boggles the mind. Teens especially are among the worst offenders for talking and texting while driving, although the newest phones have technology which actually shuts the phone down when it detects the motion of the vehicle.

Contacting an Attorney

If you’ve been injured in an accident due to a distracted driver, it’s important that you contact an attorney who can work aggressively to get you the settlement you need and deserve while you work on recovering from your accident and resulting injuries.

Distracted Driving Involves More Than Cell Phones

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Over twenty percent of all injury accidents in 2009 could be directly attributed to distracted driving. When most people hear the term “distracted driving,” they immediately think of cell phone use and texting while driving. The truth is, there are a variety of distractions which drivers encounter on a daily basis, and there are different types of distraction as well. A visual distraction occurs when you are driving and take your eyes off the road, whether for a second or a longer period of time. Manual distraction occurs when you are engaged in exhibiting a negative hand gesture to another driver and your hand or hands are removed from the wheel.

A cognitive distraction occurs when a driver is “spaced out,” thinking about a problem in their life, or an upcoming vacation—anything other than the road ahead and the drivers surrounding them. A parent who turns around to holler and grab the child’s leg who has been kicking the seat for the past ten minutes is suffering from all three types of distraction—a very dangerous combination. Texting also involves all three types of distractions, which is why it has been found to be so deadly. When you engage in texting, your hand is off the wheel, your eyes are off the road, and your mind is on the text you are sending, or the person you are sending it to, rather than your driving.

Other Common Distractions

While cell phones can certainly be deadly, there are other distractions that are dangerous as well. How many of us routinely eat and drink while driving? What happens when your taco drips on your brand new skirt, and you first take your hand off the wheel to try and “catch” the taco sauce, your eyes leave the road as your survey the damage, and your mind is on how you will get your skirt cleaned off and still get to work on time. You’ve just committed another three-way distraction no-no, and in that very few seconds when your mind, hand and eyes are away from the task of driving, an accident can happen.

What about talking to the passengers in your car, sometimes even turning around to talk? Yes, many of us have been guilty of this at one time or another. If you live in the city, you have likely seen women applying makeup or combing their hair while driving; in fact some women routinely use the drive to work to take care of such tasks. Visitors to a new area can often be seen reading a map which is spread out across the steering wheel while driving down the road. Fiddling with a GPS system, radio station or CD player are common as well.

In other words, most all of us who have been driving for any length of time are guilty of at least one of these distraction no-no’s. Parents, especially those of small children, have even more levels of distraction. The baby is crying in the back seat and you turn around to see why. The kids are fighting in the back seat and your turn around to threaten or cajole. While all of these things are “normal,” per se, they are still extremely unsafe behaviors which can lead to serious or even fatal car accidents.

The Research on Cell Phones

So, as you can see there are lots of ways you may find yourself driving in a distracted manner, however cell phone use and texting still top the list for distractions which cause serious accidents. Of all of those people who were killed in a distracted driving crash, almost twenty percent involved cell phone use. The under-twenty age group had the highest levels of distracted driving, and astonishingly, using a cell phone while driving can delay the driver’s reactions as much as having a BAC concentration over the legal limit of .08 percent.  The bottom line is that any type of distracted driving is dangerous, and potentially fatal. If you are the victim of a crash caused by a distracted driver, it is important that you get legal advice and discuss your options.

Learning How to Drive without Electronic Distractions

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Distracted driving has become one of the leading causes, if not the leading cause, of serious car crashes in Mississippi and throughout the country.  The primary reason for the surge in distracted driving crashes involving car, trucks, SUV and other motor vehicles is because of our growing dependence on electronic gadgets.  These devices include cell phones, iPods, handheld computers, Kindles and media players.  These popular devices are raising serious concerns for the safety and well being of Mississippi drivers because it has been well established that the use of these devices when driving a motor vehicle is deadly.  Last year alone, 29 percent of all serious car crashes were directly related to the driver becoming distracted by the use of these devices, with 16 percent resulting in fatalities.

Our society has become so dependent on portable electronic devices that many people are finding it difficult to lay them down when they get behind the wheel of a car.  Our law firm has been representing those who suffer serious injury or wrongful death in Mississippi car crashes for many years.  We our committed to helping keep the residents of Mississippi safe.  This new danger confronting every Mississippi motorist is deadly and is growing in epidemic proportions.

We have developed some suggestions for Mississippi drivers to aid in alleviating this terrible epidemic that is killing too many of our friends, family and community members.  Below are some suggestions to help drivers avoid use of electronic handheld devices when they get behind the wheel of any motor vehicle. We encourage everyone owning a handheld device to seriously consider following the suggestions listed below before getting in the driver’s seat.  If everyone in our community makes a commitment to stop engaging in this risky behavior, we can prevent many needless catastrophic injuries and wrongful deaths.

Tips for Phone-Free Driving

  • All drivers should develop a habit of turning off their cell phone when they climb behind the wheel.
  • You should consider recording a voice mail greeting telling callers it is not safe to make calls while driving, and you will return their call as soon as you can do so safely.
  • Travelers should organize their route and schedule to allow time to make and return phone calls from the parking lot of one location before leaving to drive to the next one. This strategy has helped employees who drive frequently maintain productivity and accessibility.
  • While you drive do not make or answer cell phone calls, even with hands-free and voice recognition devices.  Studies indicate that hands free calls are no safer than those where a handset is used.   If you must make an emergency call, you should leave the road and park in a safe area.
  • You should not send or read text messages or email.  If necessary, you should have a passenger use the phone for you.
  • Someone else should drive if you need to make or return calls.
  • Every driver should focus all of his or her attention on the road and driving safely.

Mississippi drivers need to remember how important it is to give their full attention to the road and avoid putting their cell phones above the safety of other people.  These devices have changed the way we communicate, but it is time we also change the way we communicate when we drive to avoid unnecessary car crashes and the human toll that accompanies such fatal car crashes.

At Barrett Law, PLLC, our Mississippi accident attorneys have been representing residents in Lexington and throughout Mississippi in serious motor vehicle accidents for over 75 years.  We offer a free initial case evaluation so that we can assess your case and advise you of your rights so contact us today at (662) 834-2376.