Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accident

To combat decreases in revenue from the state and county, the town of Takoma Park, Maryland has turned to traffic cameras as a source of city funding. City officials maintain that their main purpose is to promote driving safety. The city has installed at least six cameras at major intersections. Locations were chosen, the city says, based on the prevalence of past speeding offenses. Between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011, the city reportedly collected almost $1.74 million in traffic fines from tickets issued through camera evidence. After administrative costs paid to the vendor that manages the system, the city’s net revenue was $898,018. Maryland law requires that money obtained from traffic camera citations go solely towards public safety projects.

The city issued 6,530 tickets for violations captured by the cameras between October 1 and November 22, 2011. Not all tickets are paid, of course, but the system has apparently given the city a much-needed boost in revenue.

Despite any possible concerns over enforcement of criminal issues, the effect of the cameras on public safety, according to city officials, has been profound. Takoma Park Police Chief Ronald Ricucci told Gazette.net that the city’s two main “target areas,” New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard, have seen reductions in auto and pedestrian accidents since the city began using the cameras. It is not entirely clear how the cameras could improve driving safety while also increasing revenue from speeding tickets, unless a reduction in auto accidents is not directly related to the amount of speeding in those locations.

The cameras may prove to be useful when traffic accidents do occur, as a source of evidence. Traffic cameras typically take a photograph of an intersection or stretch of road with a wide enough angle to capture a vehicle and its surroundings, but also with enough detail to see features like license plates numbers. Images from the cameras could assist in resolving disputes over whether a driver ran a red light, which driver had the right of way, whether a driver made an improper merge, and so forth. This is still a new technology, especially in our legal system, which is slow to adapt to many new technologies. As such, evidence rules and court procedures are still adapting to this new type of evidence.

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A Montgomery County jury has awarded the family of Xiufeng Wang and Yunshu Li $2.032 million for Wang’s Maryland personal injuries and Li’s wrongful death. The elderly couple were hit by a dump truck in a backover accident On October 9, 2008.

Wang, 78, fractured his back and wrist. His wife Li, 74, was pronounced dead at the Germantown truck accident site. The couple were walking in a crossed traffic lane at a road construction site when the truck struck them.

In their Montgomery County truck accident complaint, their family sought damages from multiple parties involved in the construction project. They contend that Hakes Contracting Incorporated and Milestone Construction Services Inc. did not give pedestrians a safe alternative route in the construction area after taking off a portion of the sidewalk. They also accused the dump truck operator of negligence.

Heather Greer, 14, died on Thursday after she was injured in a Harford County pedestrian accident. The Pylesville teenager was crossing Route 136 when she was hit by a motor vehicle.

According to Maryland State Police, Greer died from injuries she sustained from the impact of being hit by a 2009 Toyota Highlander. She was pronounced dead at the R. Adams Cowley, University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center where she was flown by helicopter after the Pylesville car crash.

Child Pedestrians

A jury has awarded the family of Kelay Smith $3.3 million against the state of Maryland for her Prince George’s County pedestrian accident death. Kelay, 26, died when she was hit by a driver while walking on the 5700 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, which is also called Route 4, on August 12, 2008. At the time Kelay, who was five months pregnant, was walking home with her sister Krystal Fletcher, 22, who was not injured. She and her unborn child died at the hospital.

The Maryland pedestrian deaths happened when a car driven by Petrello Cabbagestalk drove onto the shoulder of the road, striking Kelay and pedestrian Derrick R. “Mooky” Jones. The 30-year-old Forestville resident died at the accident site. Cabbagestalk, whose car slammed into a tree, was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

The family’s Maryland wrongful death lawyer contends that the pedestrian deaths were preventable. He says there is a 200 feet gap on the street where there are no guardrails or sidewalk. That is where the Prince George’s County traffic crash happened. He believes that the state could have done more to make that area of the road safer for pedestrians.

According to Maryland lawmaker James Malone, the state’s law regarding handheld cell phones while driving is not tough enough. Delegate Malone, a Democrat from Baltimore County, is supporting a bill that would make using a handheld cell phone while operating a motor vehicle a primary offense. Hopefully, such a bill will stop more people from distracted driving with their phone or PDA so that they don’t cause a Maryland car crash.

Under the current law, talking on a handheld phone while driving is a secondary offense, which means that the ban can only be enforced if the driver is being cited for another violation. Also, although drivers are banned from sending text messages, they are allowed to retrieve and read them. Malone and others also want to make the text messaging ban tougher. Sen. Jim Brochin, D-Baltimore County is sponsoring a bill in the Senate that would make it illegal to also read texts while driving.

According to the Maryland State Highway Administration, in the past five years, there have been over 380 distracted driving fatalities in the state. Distracted driving, as described by US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, is an epidemic. It was the cause of 5500 fatalities in the US in 2009—yet many people, when they can get away with it, continue to text, talk on the phone, send emails, surf the Internet, or play games on their cell phone while driving. Although talking on a handheld device is not safe either, at least the driver has both hands on the steering wheel.

A distracted driver can be held liable for Baltimore County personal injury or wrongful death if his/her failure to pay attention caused a catastrophic Maryland car accident. There are steps that an experienced Baltimore personal injury law firm can take to prove that a driver was distracted when the Maryland traffic crash happened. For example, there may be phone records that can be obtained to match up when the crash happened and when a call was taking place. A witness may have observed the distracted driver texting.

Md. Bill to Tighten Cell Phone Use While Driving, ABC News/AP, February 16, 2011
Distracted driving epidemic: U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood calls issue a ‘personal crusade’, Sea Coast Online, October 24, 2010
Related Web Resources:
Cellphone Laws, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Distraction.gov

Related Blog Posts:
US DOT Holds Second Annual Distracted Driving Summit in Washington DC, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, September 22, 2010
Maryland Injury News: Distracted Driving Blamed for Increasing Number of Fatal Teenage Automobile Accidents, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, July 17, 2010
Maryland Auto Injury News: Distracted Driving Blamed in Baltimore Woman’s Death following Fatal Howard County Crash, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, June 26, 2010

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently issued its 2009 Traffic Safety Facts Research Note, which includes its motor vehicle traffic crash statistics for the year. According to the NHTSA, 33,808 people were killed in auto collisions in the US, which was a 9.7% drop from the 37,423 people that died in traffic crashes in 2008. This is the lowest number of US highway deaths to occur in a year since 1950.

The drop in traffic deaths happened even as estimated vehicle miles traveled went up by 0.2% in the past two years. NHTSA also says that the lowest injury and fatality rates at 1.13 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled occurred last year.

Locally, our Maryland motor vehicle crash lawyers and Washington DC car accident attorneys are happy to report that there also was a decline in the number of traffic deaths for the year. There were 549 Maryland traffic fatalities last year—down from the 591 motor vehicle deaths in 2008 and 29 Washington DC auto crash deaths in 2009—a drop from the 34 Washington DC motor vehicle traffic deaths the year before.

The nation also saw a reverse in the yearly increase in motorcyclist deaths, which has been on the rise for 11 years. In 2009, there were 4.462 US motorcyclist fatalities. Compare that to 2008 when there were 5,312 motorcyclist deaths.

More 2009 US Traffic Facts:
• 23,382 passenger vehicle deaths
• 503 large truck crash fatalities
• 4,092 pedestrian accident deaths
• 630 pedalcyclist crash fatalities
• 2,217,000 traffic crash injuries
• 1,976,0000 passenger vehicle injuries
• 17,000 large truck injuries
• 90,000 motorcyclist injuries
• 59,000 pedestrian injuries
• 51,000 pedalcyclist injuries
• 10,839 drunk driving deaths
• 162 Maryland drunk driving deaths
• 10 Washington DC drunk driving deaths

Highlights of 2009 Motor Vehicle Crashes, Traffic Safety Facts (PDF)

2009 Data Show Major Across-the-Board Declines in all Categories
Despite a Slight Increase in Road Travel
, NHTSA, November 9, 2010
Related Web Resources:

Maryland Department of Transportation

District Department of Transportation

Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog

Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog

Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog

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Police have identified the pedestrian killed in Thursday’s Baltimore tractor-trailer crash on Interstate 95 as Michael A. Coll, 36.The cause of the Maryland traffic crash is still under investigation. Following the deadly collision, all northbound roads were temporarily closed.

Coll’s death comes just two days after New Windsor bicyclist John Martin Jr.,51, was fatally struck in Union Bridge on Route 75 by a semi-truck that was making a right turn. According to a preliminary probe, trucker Anthony Edward Woodie failed to yield to the bicyclist when turning. He may face criminal charges.

Our Baltimore truck crash lawyers want to remind you that it is important that you not speak with the other party’s insurer without exploring your legal options first. Many trucking companies will take persuasive action to get you to settle for less than you may be owed for your injuries or a loved one’s death. It is important that you have a Maryland personal injury law firm advocating on your behalf.

A 14-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy were injured during an East Baltimore car accident yesterday afternoon. The two children were close to the intersection of North Highland Avenue and East Fayette Street when they were hit by a car. Charges are pending against the motorist that struck them.

Child Pedestrian Accidents

Many children lack the judgment and experience to protect themselves from Maryland pedestrian accidents. Although drivers must always refrain from negligent driving to avoid striking pedestrians of any age, they must exercise extra caution around children.

Steps motorists can take to avoid striking child pedestrians:

• Drive at a slower speed in residential neighborhoods and areas where children are likely to be playing or walking to and from school.

• Obey traffic signs and signage and respect crosswalks and speed limits.

• When backing up your car, do so cautiously and slowly. Many child pedestrians are injured in backover accidents each year.

• Don’t text message or talk on the phone while driving.

• Keep your eyes and attention on the road at all times.

In 2008, 270 children in the 14 and under age group were killed in US pedestrian accidents. Our Baltimore injuries to children and minors lawyers have seen the devastating toll pedestrian accidents can take on the victims and their families.

Serious Maryland pedestrian injuries have included traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, internal injuries, and wrongful death.

Teen, toddler hit by car, injured; charges pending against driver, Baltimore Sun, July 11, 2010

Children: 2008 Traffic Safety Facts, NHTSA (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
Pedestrian Safety, CDC
Pedestrians, NHTSA

Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog

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A Harford, Maryland tractor-trailer crash has killed one man while critically injuring his wife. Leonard Clark, 38, and his wife Kimberly, 39, were standing next to I-95 on the night of February 24 when they where hit by a semi-truck.

The seriously injured couple was transported to Maryland Shock Trauma Center where Leonard was pronounced dead. As of last Friday, Kimberly’s condition was considered very serious.

Our Maryland tractor-trailer crash attorneys extend our sympathies to the Clark family. Losing someone you love and/or getting seriously hurt in a semi-truck crash is catastrophic. Tractor-trailers are so huge in size and heavy and weight that anyone struck by a semi-truck is at high risk of sustaining serious injuries and/or dying.

Just the day before the Maryland truck accident involving the Clarks, 22-year-old Boonsboro pedestrian Anthony Allen McChesney died when he was hit by a United Parcel Service semi-truck on I-81. The Hagerstown truck crash occurred at around 4:31 am.

Also last month, during the early afternoon of February 11, a State Highway Administration worker got hurt when a tractor-trailer hit his truck as he warned motorists that a crew was removing snow off the Baltimore Beltway. The SHA worker, James Flutka, sustained injuries. Truck driver Robert Scolaro, who was transporting diapers, was not injured. He did receive a traffic citation for failure to control speed.

D.C. man killed, wife injured in accident, The Washington Post, February 25, 2010
Boonsboro man struck and killed by tractor-trailer on I-81, The Herald-Mail, February 23, 2010
Even with the worst of two severe winter storms behind them, state police and roads officials are warning against complacency on the part of drivers, Carroll County Times, February 12, 2010
Related Web Resources:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Maryland State Highway Administration

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According to the Baltimore Sun, since January 2003 at least 29 Maryland pedestrian fatalities have occurred in the 52-mile section of US 40 where it merges into Interstate 70 in Western Howard County. At least 8 of the pedestrian deaths occurred in Baltimore City, and except for 2 fatalities, the other pedestrian deaths occurred in West Baltimore. 21 pedestrian fatalities occurred in Baltimore County, Howard County, and Harford County, with the 3-4 fatalities that took place in the Maryland cities of Rosedale, Ellicott City, and Aberdeen occurring within a few hundred feet of each other.

Maryland State Highway Administration spokesperson Dave Buck says US 40, a main arterial highway, was constructed before pedestrian safety was considered a priority. A recent report by Surface Transportation Policy Project and Transportation for America recently pointed to highway design as one of the main causes of pedestrian deaths.

The report noted that 56% of pedestrian fatalities occur on roads that weren’t designed with pedestrian safety in mind. The report says arterial roads usually have multiple lanes, high speed limits, and few (if any) crossing signals or crosswalks.

Other arterial loads linked to Baltimore pedestrian accidents include Ritchie Highway, US 1, Reierstown Road, Liberty Road, and Mountain Road. With so many pedestrians continuing to die and get hurt in US traffic crashes each year—4,378 US pedestrian fatalities, 69,000 pedestrian injuries, and 116 Maryland pedestrian deaths in 2008—local, state, and federal entities must make sure that roads are properly designed to limit the number of pedestrian injuries and deaths.

U.S. 40 among top danger spots for pedestrians, Baltimore Sun, November 23, 2009

Pedestrians, NHTSA (PDF)

Related Web Resources:

Read the Report (PDF)

Maryland Department of Transportation

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