Most vehicle collisions are not “accidents.” People accidentally lose their remote controls. They do not accidentally violate traffic laws and cause crashes. Driver error such as this accounts for over 90 percent of the car wrecks in Fayette County. The three most common driving infractions mentioned in this study, excessive speed, inattention, and improper lookout, all make our top five list.
Because of the extreme forces involved, vehicle collisions often cause serious injuries. In many cases, the medical bills alone exceed $100,000. The resulting lost wages and other property losses might be almost as high. Additionally, these victims must deal with almost unimaginable pain and suffering.
A Kentucky personal injury attorney can obtain compensation for all these losses. Financial compensation does not turn back the clock and reverse the damage. But it gives victims the strength they need to put their lives back together and carry on. And that’s the next best thing.
Excessive velocity is a factor in about a third of the fatal car crashes in the United States. Speed increases the risk of a crash and the force of a collision.
Speed multiples safe stopping distance. At 30mph, most vehicles travel about six car lengths after drivers see hazards and apply the brakes. At 60mph, safe stopping distance multiplies to eighteen car lengths.
Additionally, according to Newton’s Second Law of Motion, speed multiplies the force in a collision. Excessive velocity transforms relatively minor “fender benders” into serious injury collisions.
Failure to Maintain a Proper Lookout
These citations are often factors in pedestrian and motorcycle crashes. Most drivers watch for size and motion. Pedestrians on sidewalks do not move fast enough to draw attention, and small motorcycles often get lost in a sea of large SUVs and pickup trucks.
Some legal loopholes often come up in these claims, such as the sudden emergency doctrine. Many tortfeasors (negligent drivers) argue that jaywalking pedestrians “darted out into traffic.” As a result, they are responsible for their own injuries. But this argument generally does not hold up in court. A sudden emergency is usually a lightning strike or another completely unanticipated event.
Alcohol causes or contributes to about a third of the fatal car crashes in Kentucky. Alcohol is a depressant which slows motor skills and reaction times. Furthermore, alcohol gives people an artificial sense of well-being. As a result, intoxicated drivers have lesser driving skills and they take more chances behind the wheel. That’s often a deadly combination.
These wrecks not only cause serious injuries, as outlined above. Frequently, they are legally complex as well. Kentucky’s dram shop law often holds restaurants, clubs, and other commercial alcohol providers vicariously liable for damages in these situations.
Over the last several years, lawmakers in Kentucky and elsewhere have cracked down on drivers’ use of hand-held cell phones. These devices are so hazardous because they combine all three kinds of distracted driving, which are:
- Manual (taking a hand off the wheel),
- Visual (eyes off the road), and
- Cognitive (mind off driving).
Illegally using a cell phone while driving, along with the other kinds of traffic tickets discussed, usually involves the negligence per se rule. Tortfeasors who violate these laws and cause crashes could be liable for damages as a matter of law.
Pending legislation would significantly broaden Kentucky’s cell phone ban. But even the broader law contains many loopholes and exceptions. For example, hands-free devices, which are arguably more dangerous than hand-held gadgets, would still be legal in the Bluegrass State.
Running a Red Light
These dangerous traffic tickets often overlap with one another, and running a red light is a good example.
Some people intentionally run red lights. Perhaps they are in a hurry, perhaps they think no one else is approaching the intersection from a different direction, or perhaps they simply don’t care. Other drivers run red lights because they are impaired, due to alcohol, distraction, or something else. Furthermore, most drivers who run red lights are also speeding.
The results are usually the same. These wrecks often end in t-bone collisions. Either the driver or the passenger, depending on which way the victim is travelling, bears almost the full brunt of the tortfeasor’s speeding vehicle.
A few moments of driver neglect could cause a serious injury. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.