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Talking to your car is not as crazy as it sounds. There are a whole host of in-dash tools and electronic equipment installed in most vehicles. Voice-activated smart phones and in-dash entertainment systems are examples of some of the electronic components that may integrate with your vehicle and that you may be able to “talk” to. mobile-phone-in-hand-1438231-1-m

Unfortunately, many people believe that talking to their electronic devices while driving is safe.  There are many motorist who avoid picking up their handheld devices or holding their cell phones as they drive, but who feel perfectly comfortable using voice-activated controls. The reality, however, is that even talking to your car can be very dangerous and can significantly increase the risk that a motor vehicle accident will happen. An experienced Atlanta car accident lawyer should be consulted by victims involved in a collision for help understanding their legal rights if a distracted driver causes a car accident to occur.

Talking to Electronics Increases Car Crash Risks

According to Yahoo News, several recent studies have found that many voice-activated electronic systems are “so error-prone or complex that they require more concentration from drivers rather than less.”

In other words, motorists trying to make the safe and smart choice to talk to their phones, GPS devices or other in-vehicle electronics may be actually at greater risk of getting hurt in a car crash than those who choose to hold the devices and enter data by hand.

The studies revealing this troubling information was released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, working jointly with the University of Utah.  One study examined infotainment systems in popular vehicles made by Mercedes, Chevrolet, Ford, Chrysler and Hyundai. Another study took a close look at whether using Apple’s virtual assistant Siri was safe while driving.  The motorists in this study navigated, sent texts, posted on Social media accounts or used their calendar by asking Siri to take care of the tasks for them.

The different systems were graded on a scale of one (least distracting) to five (most distracting) and were tested by 162 different university students and other volunteers in a lab setting, in a driving simulator and while driving in a neighborhood in Salt Lake City.

Apple ended up receiving the worst rating in the study. Drivers who were using Siri in a driving simulator rear-ended other vehicles twice.  Because Siri was so distracting, Apple’s system received a rating of 4.14.

Among the infotainment systems, Chevrolet’s MyLink received the lowest rating of just 3.7.  The infotainment system from Chevrolet, as well as from Mercedes, Ford and Chrysler, were found to be much more complicated than just using a cell phone would have been.

Drivers need to be aware that their hands-free devices are not necessarily safe and should make it a priority to stop using all electronics in any form while driving and instead to remain focused on the road at all times.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury in a motor vehicle crash. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. 

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Fall football season is a time when many young people attend homecoming and other games with their friends. Unfortunately, many teenagers choose to drink at these events. Winter dances and holiday parties are another time of the year when young people may feel pressured to consume alcohol and then get behind the wheel. breathalyzer-465392-m

An Atlanta car accident lawyer knows that teenagers are the age group with the highest rate of motor vehicle collisions and that car accidents are a leading cause of death among teenagers. Preventing teens from getting in the car drunk during fall and the upcoming holidays could help to save lives. Parents should be aware that one of the biggest influences on whether their kids choose to drive drunk is who their children’s friends are.

Peer Pressure and the Risk of Teen Drunk Driving

A study that was published on the website of the National Institute of Health (NIH) reveals that teenagers are very susceptible to peer pressure when in their vehicles. According to the study:

  • Teens who have friends or peers in their car with them are focused on peer approval and their driving safety is compromised. There is a significant risk of a motor vehicle collision among teens who have friends in the car with them, and there is no such comparable risk among adults driving with others.
  • While less popular teenagers are generally very susceptible to peer pressure, more popular adolescents are at the greatest risk of consuming alcohol when underage as a result of pressure on this specific issue from their peer group.
  • A teen whose peer group disapproves of impaired driving is significantly less likely to consume alcohol and then operate a motor vehicle.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving recognizes the influence that a teen’s peer group can have and aims to use positive peer pressure to help encourage kids to drive sober. MADD has a Power of You(th) program that provides facts to young people. For example, according to surveys published by MADD, only 30 percent of teens responding to one survey indicated that they had consumed alcohol in the prior month and only 20 percent of teens said that they had engaged in behavior classified as binge drinking. Many young people might assume that a larger number of other teens drink.

As a part of the Power of You(th) program, MADD also has chosen national teen influencers. These are young people who have felt the effects of impaired driving on their own lives or who have been leaders in local clubs and organizations that fight against impaired driving. The influencers will attend and participate in MADD events to help convince young people that drinking and driving is never OK.

Parents need to know that a child’s peer group has a profound impact on his or her behavior behind the wheel. This football and holiday season, parents should be sure that they know who their children are with when they go to dances and other events. By talking to your kids and getting to know their friends, you can determine if your child’s peer group is a positive influence or is a group of kids at risk of getting into an impaired driving accident.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury in a motor vehicle crash. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. 

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In 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spearheaded efforts to get more than 7.4 million car seats recalled. The reason for the recall was a defective buckle that could cause the car seat to function improperly, putting children at risk. child sad

An Atlanta car accident lawyer knows that car seats have a huge impact on whether a child will be hurt or killed in a collision or not. As many as 1/3 of all kids under the age of 13 who lose their lives in a motor vehicle accident are not properly secured using a car seat, booster seat or seat belt at the time of their deaths. Unfortunately, many parents try to secure their children but it turns out that a problem with the car seat (like a defective buckle) results in the child not having the necessary safety protection. The NHTSA is trying to help parents to avoid this problem with a new tool.

NHTSA Takes Steps to Help Prevent Child Fatalities in Vehicle Collisions

The NHTSA has announced a new initiative called “Don’t Delay. Register Your Car Seat Today.” The goal is to get parents to register their car seat on a new Parents Central website. Once a parent has registered a car seat, manufacturers can notify the parent of a problem with the product and parents can take action to switch to a new seat or have their existing seat repaired.

Registration makes a big difference in whether repairs are made or not. Light vehicles must be registered by law, and when a light vehicle is recalled, about 75 percent of people get their car repaired. However, with no required car seat registration, only around 40 percent of parents have their car seats repaired when a recall occurs.

When a defective car seat is in use, a child may not benefit from having the proper security in the car. This is can have a huge impact on safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of deaths for young children. However, car seat use can reduce the risk of death by 71 percent for kids between the ages of zero and one. Car seats can also reduce the risk of death for kids between the ages of one and four by 54 percent, and can reduce the risk of death for kids between four and eight by 45 percent.

If a car seat is defective, parents can take legal action against the car manufacturer if their child is hurt or killed. However, registering a car seat to be notified about recalls is one of the best ways for parents to avoid this type of tragedy.

Parents can also take advantage of other tools that the NHTSA has made available. For example, the NHTSA has a Car Seat Finder tool that allows parents to input their child’s weight and their child’s age. Using this tool, parents can find the right car seat or booster seat that will meet their families needs.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you if you or your child is hurt in a car accident. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. 

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The United States regulatory authorities in charge of reducing traffic collisions routinely publish “good news,” for the public. Just recently, for example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tried to put a positive spin on the fact that the number of traffic deaths in the year 2012 increased as compared with 2011. While revealing that 30,800 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents over the course of 2012, the NHTSA said that this is one of the first increases in the death toll in decades and that the number of people killed annually in car accidents is still near historic lows. car fire

The reality is that while we have brought down the death toll since the record high number of fatalities in the 1970s, other countries have had a far greater percentage reduction in the number of people who die in motor vehicle crashes than the U.S. When a collision occurs, an Atlanta car accident lawyer should be consulted for help pursuing a damage claim.

Why is the U.S. Failing in Traffic Death Reductions

There are more than 25 other countries that have done better in reducing the death rate for motor vehicle accidents over the past several decades. For example, while the U.S. has reduced the number of annual car crash deaths 41 percent since 1972, the Netherlands and Germany both reduced the death toll by 81 percent and Great Britain reduced its death toll by 76 percent.

Other countries have done better than the U.S. for a variety of possible reasons, but USA Today recently suggested that the big issue may be that regulators in this country are more focused on technology while other countries are more focused on driver behavior.

On the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for example, recent news stories discuss air bag technology; car seat improvements; and new rules for vehicle-to-vehicle communications technologies. Car makers regularly compete to make driving more automated to reduce human error, even up to creating self-driving cars, and crash test ratings all push car makers to incorporate more and more safety features.

These technologies and added safety features are a good thing, but they mainly try to mitigate damage after an accident has already happened. Changing driver behavior to prevent accidents in the first place may be a better solution. For example, other countries that have had greater success in reducing the car accident death toll generally have embraced solutions like tough rules against distracted driving, red light cameras and radar detectors. The U.S. has been slower to embrace these tools and to encourage drivers to behave in a safe way behind the wheel.

Technology can, unfortunately, fail as the recent GM ignition switch problems have demonstrated. If the focus is on changing driver behavior and making sure motorists make smart choices behind the road, collisions can be prevented more reliably. If the U.S. were to follow the example of other countries, as many as 20,000 fewer people could die in traffic accidents annually.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury in a motor vehicle crash. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. 

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Georgia lawmakers are taking preliminary steps to legalize marijuana for medicinal use. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, General Assembly leaders appointed members to make recommendations on the issue of medicinal marijuana. This action took place after House Bill 885 failed to pass in the last legislative session. The bill would have permitted families in Georgia to use cannabis oil to treat seizure disorders and would have provided immunity from prosecution to those in possession of the oil. flowering-cannabis-plants---hydroponics-indoors-1431036-m

A report on medical marijuana legalization is expected by the end of the year, and could move Georgia closer to becoming one of many states that is relaxing the rules on marijuana use. Unfortunately, as states move forward towards making marijuana more accessible, the issue of stoned driving will become even more pressing. Stoned driving is dangerous, and victims of collisions with impaired drivers should consult with an Atlanta car accident lawyer for help pursuing a claim for monetary compensation.

Stoned Driving Can Put Atlanta Drivers at Risk of Collisions

The New York Times took a close look at stoned driving earlier this year, indicating that around six percent of drivers tested positive for marijuana when stopped randomly on American highways in 2007. There are likely more stoned drivers on the roads now that the rules for marijuana use have been relaxed. In fact, the Denver Post reported that more drivers in Colorado are testing positive for marijuana after fatal collisions now that recreational marijuana has become legal in the state.

Marijuana can affect a person’s ability to drive, and a motorist who has any measurable amount of THC in the blood stream has twice the risk of becoming involved in a collision as compared with someone who has not used cannabis products. People who have used marijuana are less able to multitask when stoned and they require more of their brain power to do simple tasks than people who are sober.

Unfortunately, although it is clear that a stoned driver is a danger on the roads, it is less clear how to effectively regulate the practice of driving under the influence of marijuana. The ABA Journal recently published an article about the challenges of regulating stoned driving, calling the determination of driver impairment an “imperfect science.”

Both Colorado and Washington state have set limits on the amount of THC in a person’s blood in order to keep stoned drivers off the roads. However, scientists have not established a direct link between THC and a level of driving impairment. Furthermore, a person is most impaired by cannabis 30 minutes after taking the drug, but has the highest levels of THC 10 minutes after smoking marijuana.

The difficulty in regulating stoned driving should be carefully considered by Georgia lawmakers as they decide whether to move forward with medical marijuana. People on the roads deserve to be safe, and victims of stoned driving collisions should consult with an Atlanta car accident lawyer for help.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury in a stoned driving crash. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. 

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School zones are supposed to be safe zones for children, with lower speed limits and plenty of warnings for drivers about the possibility that young pedestrians will be crossing the roads.  Unfortunately, a new study from Safe Kids USA reveals that far too many motorists are failing to follow safety rules in school zones. Unfortunately, drivers are traveling through school zones when they are distracted. This can endanger the lives of children as they commute to and from school each day. school-bus-910927-m

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned that “As pedestrians, children are at even greater risk of injury or death from traffic crashes,” when compared with adults. When motorists are distracted when traveling through a school zone, the lives of young people are in jeopardy.  Victims of distracted driving collisions and their family members should consult with an Atlanta car accident attorney to take legal action if a driver negligently caused a distracted driving accident in a school zone. 

School Children at Risk of Atlanta Distracted Driving Accidents

Every year, an estimated 25,000 children in the United States suffer an injury while commuting to or from school.  The CDC reports that almost one in four traffic fatalities among kids under the age of 14 are pedestrian deaths, so a good number of kids are killed while walking to class. Children may also be injured or hurt while walking to or from the bus, especially if drivers are not paying careful attention.

The high rate of pedestrian accidents among children makes the data from the Safe Kids USA report even more disturbing. According to the report, as many as one driver out of every six is distracted when traveling through a school zone.  More drivers are distracted during the afternoon commute home than the morning, and drivers tend to be the most distracted in school zones with no flashing lights as well as in areas where there is a high traffic volume of 10,000 or more vehicles per day.

Both male and female drivers make the dangerous choice to drive distracted in a school zone, although women are slightly more likely than men to be focused on something other than the road. In fact, 187 out of every 1,000 female drivers going through a school zone are distracted compared with 154 out of every 1,000 male drivers.

The motorists who are distracted in school zones have many different things that are taking their attention away from keeping children safe.  For example:

  • 98 out of 1,000 motorists driving in a school zone are using an electronic device, such as a cellular phone.
  • 44 out of 1,000 motorists driving in a school zone are smoking, or consuming food or beverages.
  • 19 out of 1,000 motorists driving in a school zone are either reaching behind them or looking behind them.
  • Three out of 1,000 motorists driving in a school zone are reading something.

Motorists in large vehicles including minivans and SUVs were the most likely to be engaged in behavior classified as a distraction. Unfortunately, these motorists may do the most damage to young collision victims.

Whenever a driver of any vehicle makes the choice to drive distracted through a school zone, an Atlanta car accident lawyer can help. Call Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation after your distracted driving accident.

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The Insurance Research Council has released a report demonstrating that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of victims of motor vehicle collisions who get help from attorneys after accidents occur.  The number of represented collision victims has more than doubled since 1977, and has also changed significantly just between 2007 and 2012.  An increase in the number of represented victims is good news, because it means that more people who are hurt in car accidents are getting the help they need to stand up to insurance companies. law books

If you or a loved one is involved in a collision, an Atlanta car accident lawyer can provide advice and guidance, and can deal with the insurance companies on your behalf.  With more victims recognizing that they need help dealing with insurance companies, it is becoming more important than ever to have legal help after your crash.

More Victims Benefitting from Legal Representation After Atlanta Car Accidents

According to the Insurance Research Council, only 17 percent of people who suffered losses in a car accident in 1977 sought legal representation to make a personal injury protection claim.  Three decades later, in 2007, 31 percent of people making a personal injury protection claim after a collision had a lawyer.  Just a few short years later, 36 percent of victims were represented in their personal injury protection claims by 2012.

The number of people making a bodily injury claim who had a lawyer also increased between 2007 and 2012. In 2012, fully half of all victims of collisions had an attorney representing them when they made a bodily injury claim. In 2007, a slightly smaller number of people were represented, with 49 percent of victims making a personal injury claim represented by a lawyer.

Between 2007 and 2012, during the same period when the number of people seeking legal help increased, claimed losses from collisions also went up. The RMIAA reports that there was an eight percent annualized increase in average claimed economic losses among motor vehicle collision victims making a personal injury protection claim. Among victims of collisions making a bodily injury claim, the average claimed losses increased four percent between 2007 and 2012.

The Insurance Research Council describes itself as an “independent, nonprofit research organization supported by leading property and casualty insurance companies and associations.  Because it is supported by insurance companies, it should come as no surprise that the IRC took a negative view towards more people being represented by attorneys.  

The reality, however, is that victims are seeking legal representation because insurance companies are not treating claimants fairly.  The American Association for Justice published a comprehensive report detailing the anti-consumer practices of insurance companies, all of which are focused on denying people the compensation that they deserve and on delaying the payment of claims. Insurance agents were rewarded for denying claims, and insurers frequently tried to delay payouts until victims felt they had no choice but to accept a low settlement offer.  These are the types of tactics that have made it necessary for collision victims to seek help from attorneys so they can obtain fair compensation for losses.

An Atlanta car accident lawyer can help victims to deal with insurance companies and fight for the compensation they need. Contact Sammons & Carpenter. P.C. today at (404) 814-8949 or online to schedule your free consultation. 

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Our Atlanta car accident attorneys read about a collision between a car and a lawn mower which left four people dead, including three teenagers. The accident happened only a week before the school year was to start in Murray County.

The accident occurred Thursday on Old CCC Camp Road near Chatsworth. The car’s driver, River Sosebee, age 17, drove eastbound when he sped around a curve and lost control of the vehicle. The car overturned and hit a driver on a lawn mower. Sosebee aDSCN8171nd the car’s backseat passenger, Joshua Roberts, age 17, and Chelsie Hullender, age 18, were all killed in the accident. The driver of the lawn mower, Bryan Bartley, age 57, also died in the crash. The fourth passenger in the car, Alexis Pinson, age 18, was taken by Lifeforce to Erlanger Medical Center in critical condition.

Students at Murray County High School, where both Sosebee and Roberts were juniors, were shocked by the tragic accident. A fellow student, Nick Stiles, said of the two, “Sweethearts. Never hurt anybody. I don’t even think they would hurt a fly.” He continued, “I think but they will never be forgotten. You know? I think it’s going to change a little bit. It’s not going to be the same without those two.”

Parents at the school were also shaken up. One mother, Ginger Garrison, told reporters, “I just never realized how important they are and how they could be gone so quickly, any of them. That could have been my son. That’s what I believe was most parent’s reaction.” At a football game the weekend after the accident, spectators observed a moment of silence. Murray County High School principal Gina Linder said, Sosebee and Roberts were “well known” and “well liked” students, and “Both were energetic and smiling, just great kids. They were both big tall and strong kids. You could see them down the hall smiling.”

Atlanta Car AccidentLawyers

If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle accident, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. The Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter can explain to you your legal options and help you choose a course of action. Please contact us as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.

Photo Credit: pippalou via morgueFile

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Our Atlanta tractor trailer accident attorneys saw a news report about a tractor trailer crash on I-20 this week that injured two people. A FedEx tandem-trailer truck rear ended a converted school bus while the bus drove slowly in the right lane. A Georgia State Patrol spokeswoman wrote, “After impact, both vehicles traveled off the right shoulder of the roadway and overturned.file481287608833 (1) At some point after the crash, both vehicles caught on fire.” The truck driver, who sustained critical injuries, was airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, where he was taken to the burn unit upon arrival. The bus driver was taken to Tanner Medical Center in Villa Rica. Police closed the westbound lanes of I-20 for about three hours due to the crash and resulting fire.

This week’s crash was just one example of many dangerous accidents involving large trucks on the road. Earlier this month, a tractor trailer rear-ended a mail truck while the mail truck made deliveries in a residential area. The mail truck overturned before stopping upside down in a resident’s front yard. The impact caused mail to scatter across the yard. The driver of the mail truck became stuck underneath her vehicle, and Gordon County firefighters were forced to remove her from the car. According to a Georgia State Patrol Trooper, she was in stable condition when a Gordon County EMS ambulance took her to Floyd Medical Center. A gas leak also occurred as a result of the crash. The tractor trailer driver faces a charge of following too closely.

Luckily, neither crash caused any fatalities, but the fire and gas leaks still caused real damage. These accidents have the potential to be enormously dangerous or even fatal. Extra caution must be taken when driving, or when driving near, large vehicles such as tractor trailers.

Atlanta Tractor Trailer AccidentLawyers

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident with a tractor trailer or other large commercial vehicle, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. The Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter can help you understand your options and advise you on how to proceed. Please contact us as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.

Photo Credit: o0o0xmods0o0o via morgueFile

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Our Atlanta car accident lawyers saw the news about a fatal car crash from a couple weeks ago. At around 11pm on a Sunday night, a car tire burst on I-75 near Valdosta in Lowndes County. The car, a Honda Accord, spun out of control and hit a retaining wall, with the rear of the car still blocking the left lane. A Toyota 4Runner traveling down the highway strucfile2811244091888k the Accord. One of the the 4Runner’s occupants had to be air-lifted to Tallahassee for medical treatment. The driver of the Accord was taken to South Georgia Medical Center for treatment.

About 20 minutes after the initial accident, while traffic was still moving slowly, another crash occurred along the same stretch of I-75. Sergeant Carl Taylor of the Georgia State Patrol said, “Traffic had stopped due to the first crash on the interstate, and for whatever reason, a tractor trailer Southbound struck the stopped vehicles in the road way. It made contact with a total of, I believe, seven other vehicles, which would be a total of eight vehicles in this crash.” Corporal Peter Lukas of the Georgia State Patrol said, “There was three semis involved, one U-Haul, one F-250 with a camper and three other vehicles.”The second accident severely damaged two cars and caused four deaths. 13 others were taken to the hospital with injuries.

According to Sergeant Taylor, an initial investigation indicates the accident might be to due distracted driving by the tractor trailer’s driver. Police took blood samples, but neither alcohol nor other intoxicants were found to have factored into the crash. SGMC treated the tractor trailer’s driver for non-life threatening injuries, and he could face multiple charges related to the crash. An investigation by the Georgia State Patrol’s Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team is ongoing. It is estimated the investigation could take more than a month to complete.

Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers

If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. Distracted driving is a real danger. Drivers, particularly those of large and potentially dangerous vehicles such as tractor trailers, need to be focused on the road. The Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter can help you understand your options and advise you on how to proceed. Please contact us as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.

Photo Credit: wallyir via morgueFile

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