Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accident

According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, about 83% of the 609,000 Marylanders traveling 50 miles or more over the Memorial Day weekend will travel by car—that’s 508,000 motor vehicle riders. A decrease in local gas price is one of the reasons cited for an increase in road travelers from last year. Air travel is also expected to increase this year by 7%. Another reason cited for this rediscovered travel bug is that a poor economy has forced hotels, cruises, airlines, and car rental companies to lower their prices.

With more people getting into their cars and heading toward vacation destinations and family reunions, the roads will likely be more crowded this weekend. Traffic and the excitement and rush to arrive at a specific location can create a less relaxed travel climate that can increase the chances that a motorist might become involved in a catastrophic Maryland car accident.

Here are a number of safe driving tips to help you navigate your way through the Memorial Day weekend:

• Make sure you have your maps organized and travel routes planned before leaving.
• Check the Internet, listen to the radio, or watch TV to see where there may be traffic backlogs that you can avoid.
• Make sure that your car is in proper working condition before you head out.
• Have a roadside emergency kit with you.
• Get plenty of rest before you drive.
• Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination.
• Take periodic breaks while driving so you don’t get lethargic or drowsy.
• Don’t speed.
• Obey traffic laws.
• Don’t talk on the cell phone or text message or read maps while driving.
• Drive defensively.
• Don’t drive drunk.

• Keep emergency numbers at your disposal.

More Marylanders to hit the road this weekend, Baltimore Sun, May 21, 2009
Related Web Resources:
AAA Mid-Atlantic
MD Roads

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Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is a time when law enforcement and highway safety officials throughout the various US states, along with the federal government, take steps to remind motorcyclists and drivers that they must share the roads safely with one another. The month of May kicks off a period of the year when more Maryland motorcycle riders will get on their bikes now that the weather is getting warmer.

Other groups also getting behind the efforts by traffic and safety officials to prevent Maryland motorcycle accidents are the Maryland Motor Truck Association and the Abate of Maryland. Together, they are reminding car drivers, truck drivers, and bus drivers that due to a motorcycle’s smaller size, this type of vehicle can easily get lost in a larger motor vehicle’s blind spot or get covered behind trees, bushes, and fences.

Of the 5,154 US motorcycle deaths that occurred in 2007, 88 of them were Maryland motorcycle deaths—a definite increase from the 58 Maryland motorcycle fatalities that happened in 2003. One reason for this is that motorcycle use has grown in popularity throughout the state.

According to a 2008 news article, more than 1,000,000 motorcycles have been sold in the last six years. The higher cost of gas over the past couple of years may be one of the reasons that more people have opted to ride motorcycles. A motorcycle averages 50mpg, which is twice the mpg of many cars.

AAA Offers the Following Safety Suggestions for Motorists Sharing the Roads with Motorcycles:

• Be on the look out for motorcycles, as well as cars and pedestrians.
• Allow motorcyclists the same driving privileges that you have, including letting them have a full lane to themselves.
• Always signal to indicate when you are turning.

• Give motorcycle riders plenty of space to maneuver.

AAA’s Safety Awareness Suggestions for Motorcyclists Sharing the Roads with Other Drivers:

• Wear protective gear so that other drivers see you.
• Give yourself plenty of space to maneuver your bike in the event of an emergency.
• Try not to ride in a driver’s blind spot.
• Don’t share a lane with other vehicles.
• Signal and indicate.

• Make sure you are properly trained to ride your motorcycle and that you have enough experience to operate one safely before you get on a Maryland freeway.

Keep an eye out for motorcycles, Frederick News Post, May 10, 2009
Area motorcycle deaths disproportionate,, June 18, 2008
Related Web Resources:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Congress Highlights Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

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The winter time can be a deadly time for Washington DC and Maryland motorists if they aren’t careful. Poor visibility and icy roads can only make the outcome of an auto accident, caused by negligent or careless driving, worse. To help prevent fatal auto accidents from occurring in snowy weather and icy conditions, offers a list of 10 common driving mistakes that can prove fatal in the wintertime:

1) Not checking the weather before you get in the car.
2) Driving too fast under current weather conditions. This can cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle on slippery roads.
3) Following too closely behind the vehicle or snowplow equipment in front of you. Allow greater distance between you and the other motorist than you would when there isn’t snow on the road. Do not drive using cruise control when the conditions are wet.
4) Overcorrecting your car on ice.
5) Driving while you’re tired.
6) Driving when there’s poor visibility.
7) Failing to get the car winter ready. Also, make sure you have an extra key that is easily accessible in the event that you get locked out of your vehicle.
8) Driving on back roads.
9) Not carrying an emergency tool with you, such as jumper cables, a spare tire, water, dried food, a cell phone, and warm clothing.

1) Leaving your vehicle if your car stops, which could be the warmest place for you to be.

According to a University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health study:
• Poor weather is a factor in 1.5 million of the car accidents that occur every year, resulting in 800,000 injuries and 7,000 deaths.
• Almost 20% of highway deaths involved poor weather as a factor.

• Driving the day after the year’s first winter storm is the most dangerous day of the year to operate a motor vehicle.

The National Safety Council recommends a number of safety tips for winter driving, including:
• Tune your engine.
• Check your battery.
• Make sure the fluids in your car are at the correct levels.
• Make sure your car is equipped with the proper equipment, including tire chains, a snow scraper, and a snow shovel.

• Have first-aid supplies and a compass with you.

In Depth: 10 Deadly Mistakes Of Winter Driving,

Safe Winter Driving

Related Web Resources:
All-Weather Driving Tips, Road & Travel Magazine
Baltimore, Maryland Weather, Maryland Weather

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In Maryland, a Washington County Circuit Court judge has ordered the man convicted of Debra Reed Fields-Jordan’s manslaughter by vehicle death to pay her family $2,084,076.31 in restitution. Fields-Jordan died in a May 2008 motor vehicle accident when a pickup truck ran a stop sign and struck her motorcycle on Md. 77.

The driver of the pickup truck fled the motorcycle accident scene. Police, however, apprehended Harry W. Shrader a few days later because the truck was registered in his name. In November 2008, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to vehicular manslaughter and is now being held at the Maryland Correctional Training Center. Shrader was intoxicated at the time of the deadly traffic crash.

In August 2008, Fields-Jordan’s husband, Stephen J Jordan, sued Schrader for his wife’s wrongful death. Jordan sought $2 million in punitive damages and $4 million in compensatory damages. He accused Schrader of causing emotional trauma, mental anguish, loss of companionship, society, marital care, comfort, protection, advice, attention, training, guidance, counsel, education, and his wife’s love. Last month, Jordan filed documents accusing Schrader of trying to defraud his family from any wrongful death compensation they could be owed when the inmate transferred more than 44 acres of land to his girlfriend.

A bill that is calling for a Maryland reckless driving law would make it easier to prosecute reckless drivers if passed. The proposal calls for drivers who were responsible for causing a motor vehicle fatality because they exhibited negligence leading to “substantial risk” of safety to be charged with a misdemeanor crime. The penalty would be up to three years in jail.

Maryland Delegate Luiz R.S. Simmons (D-Montgomery) has been pushing for this law for five years. He claims that the state’s standard for proving vehicular homicide is too high.

Currently, some 30 US states have laws that allow reckless driving charges even if the driver did not exhibit “gross negligence.” The bill has died every year so far because the House Judiciary Committee chairman, Del. Joseph F. Vallario, has not called for a vote on the matter.

Maryland State Police are investigating a deadly motor vehicle crash in St. Mary’s County that left a newlywed couple dead. Phillip Brian Natalie died at the crash scene, while his wife, Jessica Laurel Natalie, was pronounced dead at St. Mary’s hospital following the crash. Jessica and Laurel, who were both 26, were married this summer.

The collision took place at the intersections of Crimson Drive and Willows Road. Police reports indicate that the Maryland motor vehicle collision happened after a Toyota Camry, driven by 25-year-old Lateesha Shonte Cooper, made a left turn and drove into the path of the motorcycle that the couple was riding. Cooper, who is also a Lexington Park resident, was treated at a hospital for her injuries and later released.

According to Lt. Michael Thompson, preliminary findings made it appear to him as if the motorcycle was trying to avoid Cooper’s car. He noted the possibility that Cooper might have failed to yield the right of way.

Maryland State Police records show that there were 96 motorcycle deaths in Maryland in 2007. Police say that although only 2% of all registered motor vehicles in Maryland are motorcycles, these vehicles were involved in 16% of the state’s deadly traffic collisions. While Maryland motorcyclists are responsible for 50% of these auto accidents, the other 50% of traffic crashes are caused by other motorists.

2007 NHTSA US Motorcycle Crash Statistics:

• 5,154 motorcyclists died.
• 103,000 others were injured.
• 1,784 lives were saved because of helmet use.
• 2,332 two-vehicle crashes involved collisions between a motorcycle and another vehicle.

• 25% of all motorcycles involved in deadly accidents were in collisions with fixed objects.

Lex. Park Couple Killed in Motorcycle Crash, Southern Maryland Online, October 20, 2008
2 killed in crash with car, Southern Maryland Newspapers, October 15, 2008

Related Web Resource:

Motorcycle Traffic Safety Fact Sheet, NHTSA

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US Transportation Secretary Mary Peters announced the latest national drunk driving-related death statistics. Peters noted that while the number of total DUI deaths has dropped significantly in 32 US states, half of the states experienced an increase in drunk driving-related motorcycle fatalities.

Overall, almost 13,000 people died in accidents involving motorists with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or more—a drop from the almost 13,500 DUI victims that died in 2006. Peters noted that 1,621 motorcyclists that died in alcohol-related collisions last year—a 7.5% increase from the year prior.

Of the 12,998 drunk driver-related deaths that occurred last year:

• 7,283 of the victims where drunk drivers.
• 2,067 victims were riding with the drunk driver.
• 1,361 fatalities were motorcyclists that were intoxicated.
• 81 of the deaths were passengers of intoxicated motorcyclists.

• 1,431 victims were occupants of other motor vehicles.

The state that experienced the greatest drop in alcohol-related deaths was California, with 1,155 alcohol-impaired deaths in 2007 compared to the 1,272 fatalities in 2006.

States that experienced an increase in drunk driver-related deaths in 2007 included North Carolina, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Alabama, Maine, Montana, Alaska, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Delaware, North Dakota, West Virginia, Minnesota, Virginia, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.

The number of drunk-driving deaths in Maryland for 2007 was 179.

DUI Fatalities Down Nationwide and in 32 States, Says U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, NHTSA, August 28, 2008
2007 Traffic Safety Annual Assessment – Alcohol Impaired Driving Fatalities (PDF)

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The parents of Gene Sergent, a motorcyclist who died after his motorcycle collided with an ambulance in Maryland City on September 14, 2007 has filed a $4.4 million wrongful death lawsuit.

John A. Turkette and Frieda L. Sergent say that witnesses saw the driver of the ambulance, Darrel E. Blount, run a red light when his emergency lights were off. They are accusing him of causing the accident.

Their allegations contradict the Anne Arundel County police’s report that it was Sergent that ran a red light on Route 198 in front of the Maryland City Plaza shopping center. An Assistant County lawyer has acknowledged that there are report discrepancies among the witness reports.

The investigation that determined Sergent was at fault closed in April. Those findings were primarily based on police findings. According to Anne Arundel County police, Firefighter Blount was exiting the shopping center in his ambulance when Sergent drove his sport bike into the motor vehicle.

Sergent’s mother, however, claims that police can’t be trusted to be unbiased, because the “police department and fire department” are family. She and Turkette are suing Blount and Anne Arundel County. The lawsuit was filed in US District Court in Baltimore. Frieda L. Sergent says she is determined to clear her son’s name.

Whether you are a Maryland resident or someone from outside the state who was seriously injured or lost a loved one in a Maryland motorcycle accident, our wrongful death lawyers would like to talk to you. Even if police reports indicate that you or your loved one caused the accident, there may be evidence that proves otherwise. If so, you could be entitled to receive personal injury or wrongful death recovery.

Lawsuit filed in fatal ambulance crash, Hometown, June 26, 2008
Police recruit, two others die in weekend crashes,, September 17, 2007

Related Web Resource:

Anne Arundel County

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Federal, state, and local agencies have designated the month of May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month to remind drivers and motorcyclists to “Share the Road” safely and keep motorcyclists safe.

In 2007, one out of every nine traffic accident fatalities was a motorcyclist. 4,810 motorcyclists died in 2006. While the number of car and truck accident deaths has declined, motorcyclist fatalities are on the rise.

Recent studies indicate that about 80% of motorcycle accidents result in injuries or death for the motorcyclists or their passengers—compared to 20% of other kinds of motor vehicle crashes.

In Maryland recent motorcycle accidents include:

In April, a motorcyclist (and his passenger) was critically injured after he crashed his bike to avoid colliding with a large farm sprayer.

In another accident last month, a motorist was seriously injured after almost crashing into a Dodge pick-up truck.

Beginning June 1, 2008, a new Maryland law goes into effect that will allow motorcyclists to place light emitting diode (LED) pods and strips so that other drivers can see them. The accent lighting will hopefully reduce the number of motorcycle injuries and deaths at night on Maryland roads.

Maryland Senate Bill 713 also lets motorcyclists use blue dot illumination on the backs of motorcycles.

According to ABATE of Maryland, Inc, the largest association of motorcycle riders, the majority of motorcycle accidents happen because the driver of the vehicle didn’t see the motorcyclist or was at fault in some other way.

If you or someone you love was seriously hurt in Washington D.C. or Maryland because of another party’s carelessness or negligence, contact our motorcycle accident law firm for your free consultation.

May is Motorcycle Awareness Month,, April 14, 2008
New Maryland Law Allows LED on Motorcycles, Clutch and Chrome, April 8, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Maryland Senate Bill 713

ABATE of Maryland

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reporting that 4,810 motorcyclists died in deadly highway crashes in 2006—a number that grew for the ninth year in a row.

Over one of every nine road fatalities in 2006 involved a motorcycle rider. The NHTSA is providing this information to prepare motorists for “Share the Road,” Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, which takes place in May.

Motorcyclists continue to likely to be involved in motor vehicle accidents for a number of reasons, including:

• The smaller size of a motorcycle can make it more difficult for other drivers to see.
• It is sometimes hard to gage how fast a motorcycle is moving.

• Motorcycle riders don’t have anything except for protective clothing standing between their bodies and the impact of a collision.

To prevent motorcycle accidents, The NHTSA recommends that car drivers, truck drivers, and bus drivers do the following:

• Allow a motorcyclist the full lane width.
• Always signal your intentions.
• Check your blind spots.

• Allow more following distance when you are driving behind a motorcycle.

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration provides a list of protective gear for motorcyclists:

• The DOT (Department of Transportation)-approved Helmet, which is mandatory for all motorcyclists riding in Maryland.
• Approved eye protection (Also mandatory for Maryland riders)
• A long-sleeved jacket or shirt
• Over-the-ankle shoes/boots
• Long pants made with sturdy material
• Full-fingered gloves

Please contact our Maryland motorcycle accident law firm to discuss your case with one of our experienced motorcycle crash lawyers. Your first consultation is free.

2008 Motorcycle Awareness Safety,
Protective Riding Gear, Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration

Related Web Resources:

Maryland Motorcycle Roads

Maryland MVA Guide for Motorcycles,

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