Motor Vehicle Accidents Caused 20,160 Deaths in First Six Months of 2021: NHTSA

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The year 2020 saw a reduction of cars on the road due to the global pandemic, but also tragically saw a rise in traffic fatalities. Safety officials were hopeful that 2021 would see numbers starting to go down, but sadly, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

New estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are showing that 2021 saw the largest ever six-month jump in car accident fatalities. 2020 saw a staggering 38,680 people that died as a result of a traffic accident, the largest number of fatalities since 2007. And now, 2021 is shaping up to be another record breaking year.

 

2021 Traffic Accidents So Far

The NHTSA has released its Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First Half (January-June) of 2021, and warned that the number of traffic deaths was up 18.4% from 2020. Nationwide, there were more vehicle miles traveled during the first half of 2021, about 13% higher than 2020, or around 173 billion miles.

The current estimate of the fatality rate for the first half of 2021 is 1.34 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled, up from 1.28 per 100 million miles traveled in the first half of 2020. And these numbers have continued to trend upwards since the first update from the NHTSA in September.

 

Why Are Fatal Car Accidents on the Rise?

Although vehicles themselves have continued to become safer, adding new features every year that are designed to prevent accidents, there has still been an increase in overall deaths since 2019. These increases also include a rise in pedestrians killed by motor vehicles, a number which increased by nearly 5% in 2020, a year when fewer vehicles traveled during pandemic lockdowns. 

According to traffic experts, the explanation for the fatality spike is likely due to the fact that there were fewer cars on the road during the lockdowns. With less traffic, congestion was eliminated, which made people tend to drive at faster, and more lethal speeds. Many drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2020 didn’t wear seatbelts, and were more likely to be driving while drunk

 

How Are Agencies Working To Make Streets Safer?

The rise of fatal car accidents has become one of the main focuses of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The NTSB has released a series of safety recommendations, and called on the NHTSA, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) to all collaborate on standards to protect pedestrians and drivers alike. 

The NHTSA released all their data during the second annual National Pedestrian Safety Month Campaign, which focuses on issues that may be responsible for the increases in pedestrian fatalities that the United States has seen over the past few years. The campaign focuses on:

  • Embracing new safety technology
  • Reducing speeding
  • Comprehensive review of roadways, focusing on accommodating pedestrians. 

In addition, the NHTSA has issued their 10th edition of Countermeasures That Work, a guide covering 10 areas of concern on the roadways. Specifically the report covers:

 

What Was the Most Common Cause of a Fatal Accident in 2021?

While data on 2021 is still pending, the NHTSA has data available on 2019. 

  • Drunk driving: Drunk driving claimed the lives of 10,142 in 2019
  • Speeding: Was the next most deadly, claiming 9,478 lives
  • Distracted driving: Was the third most deadly, claiming 3,142 lives in 2019

These three factors have long been listed as the most dangerous factors in determining whether or not a car accident will be fatal.

 

When You Need a Car Accident Lawyer in Philadelphia

Tragically, it appears as though vehicle accidents and fatalities are only going to continue to rise throughout the end of the year. If you or your loved one were injured in a car accident, you likely have many questions about how to proceed with a personal injury lawsuit against the at fault driver.

The experienced Philadelphia Car Accident Attorneys at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt can help you better understand the particulars of your case with a free consultation. Call us today at 1-866-333-7715 or reach out online via our form.  

10 Tips To Help Prevent Accidents With Trucks and Other Commercial Vehicles

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Commercial trucks are a common sight on American roads, with nearly 37 million trucks being used for business purposes in 2018. Almost 4 million of those trucks were extra-large class 8 trucks, weighing over 33,001 pounds. Unfortunately, these large trucks can pose an extreme danger to other vehicles on the road, with over 500,000 trucking accidents reported in the United States every year. 

Because of the proliferation of large trucks, and their high likelihood for dangerous accidents, it is critical to learn how to drive safely around them. Below are our top safety tips to help you avoid a catastrophic accident with a large truck. 

  1. Give Trucks More Space

Commercial trucks can take 20-40 percent farther than cars to stop, with even greater distances on wet or slippery roads. If you are closely following a truck and it experiences a mechanical failure, or incident such as a tire blowout, you are highly likely to be involved in an accident. 

If you are driving below 40 mph, a good rule of thumb is to leave at least one second for every 10 feet of vehicle length. This means you should leave about 4 seconds between your vehicle and a commercial truck. For speeds over 40 mph, leave one additional second. Double your following distance in adverse weather conditions such as rain. 

  1. Don’t Drive in a Truck’s Blind Spot

All vehicles have a blind spot, but commercial trucks have four large blind spots that pose a danger to other drivers. The most dangerous place to be when driving next to a commercial truck is on it’s passenger side, as that blind spot is significantly larger than the one on the driver’s side. Always pass large trucks on the driver’s side, and avoid staying directly alongside a commercial truck as you can easily be in their blind spot without knowing it. 

  1. Use Caution When Changing Lanes

Never pass trucks on the right, and do not linger as you pass the truck. If you cannot see the truck driver, they cannot see you. Move at a steady speed as you pass, and do not slow down or brake when you move in front of the truck, as they need more time than a passenger vehicle to slow down or stop. 

  1. Pay Attention in Adverse Weather Conditions

Rain, snow, ice, or fog are dangerous conditions for anyone to drive in, but they are particularly dangerous for commercial trucks. They will need extra time and distance to slow down or stop, so it is more critical than ever to give them enough room on the highway. Trucks can roll over or spin out in high winds or on wet roadways, and any passenger vehicles in their way are at risk of a serious accident. 

  1. Patience Is Key

It’s easy to become frustrated when sharing the road with a commercial truck. They take up a large amount of space and take longer to speed up or go around curves. Some drivers respond to this with road rage or aggression, but remember that if you are going up against a vehicle that is 20 times your size, you will almost always be putting yourself in grave danger. 

Trucks are often driving under speed caps that prevent them from driving the same speed as a personal vehicle, which is done for everyone’s safety. Truck drivers want to do their jobs safely and efficiently, so have patience when sharing the road with them, and wait for a safe time to pass. 

Not All Accidents Are Avoidable

Even if you follow all the above tips, it’s still possible that you may be the victim of a trucking accident. Truck drivers that are distracted, fatigued, or have a truck with a mechanical error, can create situations that are beyond your control. If you are involved in a trucking accident, a skilled lawyer can help you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries and losses. Call the team at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt today to discuss your case. We can be reached by calling 1-866-333-7715 or by filling out our form

What Should You Do After a Truck Accident

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If you or your loved one were injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, you know firsthand how devastating this type of accident can be. Semi-trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, making them roughly 20 times the size of a small passenger car. Their large size means they can take 20-40 percent farther than cars to stop, with even greater distances on wet or slippery roads. The sheer size and weight of a truck mean any encounter with them has the possibility to cause catastrophic injuries.

In 2018, large trucks and buses were involved in over 5,000 fatal crashes, and the number of large trucks and buses involved in fatal crashes has increased by 48-percent since 2009. If you were injured in an accident involving a large truck, there are several steps you can take to ensure you receive fair compensation that covers the cost of your medical bills and auto repairs. Keep reading for our top tips on how to protect your legal rights after a trucking accident. 

Call for Help

Your first priority should be to assess your safety, as well as the safety of your passengers. Even if your injuries seem minor, you should immediately call 911 and request an ambulance. You should always be examined by a doctor, as internal injuries and head trauma can sometimes go undetected and cause greater damage later on. You will also want to get a police report, which will be pivotal in documenting and proving your case

Take Photos at the Accident Scene

Take shots from multiple angles, and be sure to include pictures of your vehicle, the truck, your injuries, and your passengers’ injuries. If you are unable to take photos yourself, have a trusted friend or family member take the pictures for you. Taking photos will be especially important if the weather may have been a factor in visibility, or in making the roads slick. 

Collect Witness Information and Other Documentation

Other things you should try to collect at the scene are:

  • The names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails of all drivers and witnesses 
  • Pictures of the truck driver’s insurance cards
  • Pictures of the truck driver’s license
  • The name and contact information of the trucking company the driver works for
  • The trucks license plate number, make and model, color, and any other identifying information

Leave Your Vehicle As It Is

Make sure to communicate to your mechanic that they are not to perform any repairs until the vehicle has been appraised by the insurance company. Just like injuries to your body, your car may seem fine, but it’s best to get the opinion of a trusted mechanic to check for hidden damages that may not be evident at first glance. 

What NOT To Do After a Trucking Accident

It is important that you don’t admit fault after a trucking accident. If you are partially responsible, a skilled lawyer can help you understand the extent to which you may be liable, and help you find ways to reduce your liability. 

You’re also under no obligation to talk with the insurance companies that will call you. Politely, but firmly, let them know “I am working with a lawyer, and they will reach out to you”. Insurance adjusters are notorious for offering small settlements in the hopes that you will accept readily, not realizing that you can fight for better compensation. 

Contact an Attorney

This is of the utmost importance because you can be sure that the trucking company already has specialized attorneys to minimize their own liability. A truck accident attorney working on your behalf will conduct an investigation, gather and protect key evidence, and handle communications with all other parties involved. This also lets the trucking company and their insurer know you mean serious business, and they are more likely to offer you a better settlement offer. 

Trucking accidents can be much more complicated than accidents involving two personal vehicles, as multiple other parties may be involved. These may include the trucking company, the driver’s employer, or the manufacturer of the goods being transported. The skilled lawyers at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt can help you determine if you have a case, and who is ultimately liable for your accident, with a free consultation. Call us today at 1-866-333-7715 or reach out by filling out our form

 

Five Killed and 60 Hospitalized After Tragic Pennsylvania Turnpike Crash

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A tragic accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike early Sunday morning left five dead and over 60 injured when a passenger bus with Z&D Tour Inc. lost control around a turn and set off a chain-reaction which involved three tractor-trailers and a passenger vehicle.

Police say that the bus was not able to get around a particularly tight turn, went up an embankment and flipped between the exits for New Stanton and Breezewood.  This set off a chain reaction which led to the horrific amount of injuries sustained, in what the spokesman for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Carl DeFebo called “the worst accident in his decades-long tenure with the turnpike.”. 

UPS confirmed that two of their drivers were killed in the accident:

Sadly, UPS confirms the identities of two of our drivers who are victims of this tragic incident. Daniel Kepner, age 53, had 5 years of service, and, Dennis Kehler, age 48, had 28 years of service. Both were driving together in a tractor-trailer vehicle out of our Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, operating center. Our drivers will be missed and our thoughts and prayers go out to their families. This is all of the information available at this time,”

FedEx and Z&D Tour Inc. have so far declined to comment beyond that they are cooperating with authorities.

Trucking Accidents in Pennsylvania Cause Serious Injuries

There are thousands of fatal accidents each year caused by trucks and tractor-trailers, and sadly Pennsylvania has one of the highest rates of trucking accidents in the US. Victims overloaded local hospitals and staff, having prepared for mass casualty plans, were able to handle the influx of victims, and provide the necessary treatment for their injuries.

Multiple patients had to be treated at Allegheny Health Network’s Forbes Hospital for neurosurgical issues, abdominal injuries, brain bleeds, contusions, and fractures from this Sunday’s accident, and staff from Forbes reported that their training for such an event had paid off.

Trucking accidents can cause serious injuries compared to standard vehicles, and almost 98% of the time a collision occurs between a large truck and a passenger vehicle the passenger sustains catastrophic injuries.

What or Who Exactly Caused The Tractor-Trailer Crash on The PA Turnpike?

While the bus from Z&D Tour Inc. has been identified as the first car in the crash, authorities have yet to determine what exactly caused the pile-up, and they say it can take weeks or months to determine.  While the weather can certainly be a factor, it’s still too early too determine whether it is a factor.

The bus that initially flipped was heading from Chinatown in New York City to Cincinnati.  

Finding The Right Attorney If You Or A Loved One Has Been In A Tractor Trailer Accident

With the severity of injuries that trucking accidents cause to passenger vehicles, it’s important that you make sure your medical costs immediately after the accident, and following the accident are covered.  

At McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt, we understand the complexities that are associated with these catastrophic accidents, and we provide comprehensive counsel to those who have suffered injuries due to trucking or multi-vehicle accidents.  Our team can take care of all types of serious and catastrophic injury claims, including brain or spinal cord injury, broken bones, burns, paralysis, and amputation or loss of limb and remove the stress from your family to help you focus on recovering from your injuries.

 McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt has won over $200,000,000 for our clients in various personal injury cases, and our team has worked directly with dozens of trucking cases involving commercial vehicles.

We take a vested interest in your case and you won’t pay a dime unless we win.  In many cases, we can advance the expenses necessary to help you find treatment and work with medical experts in order to properly diagnose your injuries, and how they’ll impact your life going forward.

Don’t hesitate to contact our team or call us directly at 1-800-590-4116 to speak directly to our team.

 

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