There's no question that pedestrians are some of the most vulnerable people on the road. Without so much as a helmet to protect them from cars skidding around in bad weather or distracted drivers, they can be injured in a car accident quickly and seriously if they don't see a vehicle approaching. Why wouldn't they? Perhaps because many of them are distracted themselves.
A 20-year-old Maryland man who fled the scene after a car accident that killed three of his friends has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. With the criminal case complete, the young man could soon find himself the defendant in multiple wrongful death lawsuits, as well as a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of his lone surviving passenger.
Like a lot of states, Maryland has a ban on handheld cellphone use while driving as a means to cut down on the number of cellphone-related car accidents. Enacted in October 2010, the law isn't quite as stiff as neighboring Delaware's. (For example, a Delaware motorist can be pulled over for that offense alone. In Maryland it can only be enforced if a driver is pulled over for another offense.) The penalties are also slightly lower in Maryland.
Call it a simple fact of modern life: car accidents happen. You've probably heard people talk about all the supposedly dangerous activities that, from a statistical point of view, are safer than traveling in a car: There are more car accidents than plane crashes. You're more likely to be injured in an auto collision than while bungee-jumping. This may be true, but these facts don't make the pain of a car accident any easier to take, especially when the traffic crash involves circumstances you can't control, such as the other driver's behavior.
When you first get behind the wheel as a teenager, the experience can be both exciting and nerve-racking. You feel as though you're officially not a kid anymore and are excited about the freedom you'll gain once you finally obtain your driver's license. There can also be a sense of fear as you realize you're in control of a machine that weighs thousands of pounds and has the capacity to cause damage to structures and people.
Maryland authorities believe that a recent school bus accident that sent more than a dozen students to the hospital was caused by a drunk driver. Students from the Great Mills High School girls basketball team were returning home from a game when a chain of events caused the bus to careen off the highway, hitting trees before coming to a stop in the woods.
When drivers are drowsy, their driving skills suffer. They may miss seeing traffic signals, weave between lanes and make other errors in judgment. They may even fall asleep at the wheel with predictably disastrous results. Sleepy drivers are a significant danger on the roads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that drowsy driving causes 56,000 car accidents every year in the United States, and that the actual number is likely to be considerably higher.
It only takes a few seconds for an accident to happen, but the consequences can last a lifetime. In very serious cases, motorists and passengers can lose their lives. In car accident cases, a detailed and thorough investigation is often needed to understand exactly what happened. In a recent fatal crash, Maryland police believe they have a good understanding of what caused the accident-- a driver was apparently driving the wrong way on the highway.
The recent early blizzard to hit the east coast should remind all drivers that it is never too early to think about winter driving safety. Drivers unprepared for winter conditions could easily find themselves in car accidents. At the least, it means slowing down.
It is always tragic when a young person dies in a motor vehicle accident. On Oct. 20, a 23-year-old Morgan State University senior with a promising future died in a car accident at approximately 10:30 p.m. The crash took place in the Fells Point neighborhood in Baltimore, and resulted in the death of an 18-year-old front seat passenger in another vehicle.