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Ann Arbor Motor Vehicle Accidents Blog

Drivers continue to risk lives, despite sobering DUI statistics

Educating people about the dangers of drunk driving isn't something that ends. Ongoing efforts are necessary to raise awareness of how devastating impaired driving can be.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the annual number of deaths caused by DUI has been reduced by 50 percent since 1980, when the organization was founded. However, more needs to be done each year as new drivers take to the roads and other drivers continue to risk their lives and the lives of others by getting behind the wheel while impaired.

Seat belts are there for a reason. Use them

Cars have been made safer for years. Sometimes the innovations come slowly, as with the incremental additions of various electronic vehicle stability controls or with some of the collision avoidance systems and "lane minders" that are beginning to show up on production vehicles.

At other times, such as when seat belts were introduced by government mandate in 1968, all new cars would have seen that feature added. In 1968, the belt was only lap belt and it was years later before three-point belts would become required for front seat occupants. More time would pass before that type of belt would be required for all occupants.

Police looking for driver involved in fatal motorcycle accident in Hartland Township

At the time of an Aug. 14 report, police were still looking for the driver of a maroon-colored vehicle linked to a fatal motorcycle accident in Hartland Township. The driver of what police say is a maroon Pontiac Grand Am is believed to have made an illegal U-turn, causing a motorcyclist to have to suddenly brake in an attempt to avoid hitting the car.

Two other vehicles were able to avoid a collision, but the motorcyclist wasn't able to stop in time. His bike slid and collided with a tanker truck, and the 48-year-old rider suffered critical injuries and later died after being taken by ambulance to the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor.

Vehicles turning pose a grave threat to every motorcycle rider

Riding a motorcycle provides a connection to the road very unlike a car. The feel of the pavement is visceral, and the sensation of wind on your body creates the feeling of being immersed as you travel, as opposed to the sometimes hermetically sealed containment that occurs in modern cars, where you can forget that you are even moving. That never happens in a motorcycle. You always know you are moving.

And this is why many motorcycle riders ride. They do it even knowing that they are at risk, every second they are on the bike. They know they must depend on their experience and the skills developed while riding, but they all know they also depend on something that they cannot control.

The consequence of a really, really bad decision

Driving is dangerous. That much is a commonplace. When you pilot 4,000 to 6,000 pounds of steel down the road at highway speeds, bad things happen when you drive too fast and lose control.

It probably seemed like something a "cool dad" would do. Give the keys to your Suburban, to your 15-year-old, unlicensed daughter. You were on vacation, it was a quiet morning, she would run with her friends to breakfast and bring you back something.

Sleeping and driving can become deadly driving

Driving requires a great deal of alertness. There are a great many things going on with even the most undemanding of road trips, on a reasonably straight roads, with little traffic. This is why so many activities that cause distraction in a driver are so dangerous. Use of smartphones for texting, watching YouTube videos and surfing the web are the latest of items that steal a driver's attention and leave them vulnerable to crashes.

Alcohol has long been the focus of campaigns to raise awareness and reduce accidents caused by the overindulgence by drivers. Of course, virtually any activity that does not focus on driving the vehicle can be distracting, from doing makeup or shaving to eating and changing a radio station.

Drive safely during the Fourth of July holiday

As residents of Michigan prepare for the Fourth of July weekend, a caution goes out to all drivers to avoid drunk driving during the long weekend. Winters are long here in Michigan and residents across the state seem summer and summer holidays as a reward for enduring those winters.

But everyone need to remain responsible when drinking, and if you are spending the weekend at a cabin or on the lakes that surround Michigan, you need to ensure that your drinking does not coincide with the need to drive. Last year saw fewer highway fatalities in Michigan than in 2013, but there were still nine traffic deaths over the weekend and three of those were alcohol-related.

Eleven injured in chain-reaction crash on I-94

It's summer and I-94 is busy. As if there is ever a time when it is not busy. Roads like I-94 are dangerous because of volume of traffic they carry. While you may be able to allow your consciousness to wander and live to tell about when you are driving a quiet section of rural interstate out west, there are no quiet sections along I-94 in Michigan.

A crash last week involved nine vehicles and it was fortunate that there were no fatalities, as the crash involved three semi-trucks. Semi-trucks, when fully loaded and traveling at highway speeds, possess a tremendous amount of potential energy and when released during a crash, can cause horrific damage and severe injuries for any who survive a wreak.

Negligent driving in car accidents may lead to monetary claim

Tort claims exist in Michigan and elsewhere to give an innocent or comparatively innocent person the right to recover monetary compensation from one or more wrongdoers who caused the person's injuries. With respect to car accidents, the right to recovery is predominantly based on principles of negligence rather than on intentional wrongdoing. A driver's failure to use due care under the circumstances is said to be negligence. If that negligence is a substantial factor in causing the injuries or death, then there is a legal right to recover damages sustained.

Where the driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol and drives recklessly, the wrongdoing approaches intentionality and will sometimes justify an award of punitive damages. The actions of the wrongdoer in that case are penalized in order to have a preventative effect on future accidents. The punitive damages part of the award is added to the compensatory damages amount and is provided to the injured victim.

Car accidents caused by distraction can carry stiff consequences

Anyone who has tried to drive and simultaneously use a cellphone for calling, texting or browsing knows how difficult it is to do without causing a crash or coming close to it. It might be a minor topic of concern if it was not such a dangerous activity. The fact is that over 3,000 people in the United States were killed in car accidents in 2013 due to distracted drivers. In Michigan, one 23-year-old woman has learned just how dangerous it is to use a cellphone and drive at the same time.

She was sentenced in a Michigan state court to six months in jail, two years of probation and community service for killing a bicyclist in an accident last fall. According to police, she was occupied with her phone and not focused on her driving. The judge added one extra penalty to the sentence: He ordered that the woman is not allowed to have a cellphone for two years.