A recent report from the Maryland government roadway fatality reduction initiative, Zero Deaths Maryland, indicates that Maryland is currently on track for a higher number of roadway fatalities in 2023 than in 2022. At this time last year, Maryland had 321 roadway fatalities reported, while currently Maryland has 353 roadway fatalities reported. Since 2018, the number of fatal crashes in Maryland has gradually increased year by year. In 2018, there were 485 fatal crashes, but the total rose to 546 by 2020.

There are various causes of fatal automobile accidents, including the size of the vehicles involved and whether any of the vehicle operators were impaired. According to Zero Deaths Maryland, the state has been relatively stable when it comes to fatal car accidents involving driver impairment and overall accidents involving impaired drivers. In 2017, Maryland had 170 driver-impaired fatal crashes while in 2021, the state had 154 driver-impaired fatal crashes. Similarly, in 2017 there were 6,654 total driver-impaired crashes, while in 2021 there were 6,522.

Accidents involving large seized vehicles such as trucks or RVs and campers are also inherently more dangerous than other types of crashes for a number of reasons. Trucks, especially semi-trucks or 18-wheelers are heavier and larger than standard passenger vehicles, resulting in more serious accidents when they are involved in crashes. Additionally, the conditions that many truck drivers operate under force them to drive extreme distances, resulting in fatigue. Finally, shipping trucks are also potentially carrying hazardous cargo, complicating truck crashes and accidents. While many people intuitively understand the greater risks involved in truck accidents, they may not know that according to the statistical analysis organization Policy Advice, truck accidents have increased by 52% since 2009, and 74% of all fatal passenger vehicle accidents include a large truck. A recent news article discussed a local fatal truck crash.

In today’s fast-paced world, speed seems to be a common theme both on and off the roads. Unfortunately, the consequences of speeding can be devastating, especially when young and inexperienced drivers are involved. A recent tragic incident in Leonardtown, Maryland serves as a sobering reminder of the dangers associated with speeding and young drivers.

According to a local news report discussing the tragic collision, emergency services were called to a horrific head-on motor vehicle collision on Newtowne Neck Road in Leonardtown, Maryland on July 26, 2023. The collision involved a 2013 black Kia Rio and a 2015 silver Dodge Durango. The Dodge Durango was being driven by a 39-year-old individual with two passengers. Despite the chaos, all three occupants of the Durango survived the collision with non-life-threatening injuries.

Tragically, the news was not as favorable for the occupants of the Kia Rio. The driver, a juvenile male, was flown to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. However, the young passenger,a 14-year-old boy, lost his life in the collision. This heart-wrenching incident underscores the need for heightened awareness of the dangers posed by speeding, especially for young and inexperienced drivers.

Maryland, like many other states across the country, sees its fair share of car accidents every year. Understanding the common causes of these accidents is crucial for both policymakers aiming to improve road safety and drivers looking to protect themselves and their loved ones. Below, we delve into some of the most prevalent causes of car accidents in Maryland, in the hopes of raising awareness and potentially reducing their frequency.

  1. Distracted Driving: In the era of smartphones and constant connectivity, distracted driving has emerged as a major concern. Texting while driving, using apps, or even just glancing at a notification can lead to a loss of focus. Even a few seconds of distraction can be enough to cause a catastrophic accident. It’s not just phones though; adjusting the radio, eating, or any activity that diverts attention from the road can be hazardous.
  2. Speeding: Exceeding the posted speed limits or driving too fast for conditions remains a significant cause of accidents. Speeding reduces the driver’s ability to steer safely around curves, extends the distance necessary to stop a vehicle, and increases the distance a vehicle travels while the driver reacts to dangerous situations.

Speeding is a massive cause of car accidents throughout the country. Some estimates project that speeding is a contributing factor in over a third of all accidents nationwide. Approximately 41 percent of drivers surveyed admitted to frequently or sometimes driving 15 miles per hour or more over the speed limit on the highway (roads with speed limits over 55 miles per hour). An additional 37 percent of drivers admitted to driving 10 miles per hour or more over the speed limit on residential streets (roads with speed limits over 30 miles per hour) in the past 30 days.

How Does Speed Impact the Seriousness of a Car Accident?

Unfortunately, the probability of death or serious injury rises with impacts at higher speeds. According to some estimates, the risk of serious injury or death doubles for every ten miles per hour over 50 miles per hour that a vehicle is traveling. As a result, pedestrians and bicyclists struck by cars driving 40 miles per hour are eight times more likely to die than a pedestrian or bicyclist struck at 20 miles per hour. A recent news report detailed a fatal car accident.

According to the news report, the fatal accident occurred on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, in the early afternoon in Mechanicsville. At 1:44 pm St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Patrol deputies were dispatched to a motor vehicle crash on Three Notch Road near the intersection of Mr. Zion Church Road in Mechanicsville. When law enforcement officials arrived on the scene, they found multiple vehicles involved in a significant crash, with two cars overturned. Three vehicles were involved, a white 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, a silver 2008 Toyota Camry, and a silver 2000 Toyota 4Runner.

Road accidents involving motorcycles are statistically some of the most dangerous and deadly types of crashes. According to a press release from the U.S. National Highway Transportation Administration, over 80% of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death to the motorcyclist. With numbers like that, motorcyclists should educate themselves on the most common causes of motorcycle crashes, and be vigilant in exercising appropriate safety precautions when taking a bike out on the road.

Motorcycles are some of the smallest motorized vehicles on the road, and the vehicles themselves offer little, if any, protection in the event of a crash. Cars and trucks have been designed with safety features in mind since they became widely used on American roads. Most cars include seatbelts, airbags, and are structurally designed to protect the occupants in the event of a crash. Motorcyclists do not enjoy the same safety features on their bikes. These safety deficiencies can be somewhat offset by the improved maneuverability and stopping distance offered by a motorcycle, but the fact remains that if a crash does occur, the biker is at considerable risk.

Motorcyclists have the ability to use additional safety equipment in the event of a crash. By far, the most important piece of safety equipment is a helmet. Wearing a helmet greatly reduces the risk of serious injury or death to a rider in the event of a crash. The Maryland Transportation Code, Section 21-1306 requires that anyone driving or riding on a motorcycle wear an approved helmet. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) evaluates and grades helmets that are on the market. Riding with a DOT approved helmet is important, as many less expensive helmets on the market today are not sufficient to protect a rider from an accident occurring on public roads or highways.

Americans love to have fun. The recreational industry in the country is a multi-billion dollar business, and many Marylanders enjoy participating in recreational activities for their amusement. Boating, four-wheeling, skiing, rock climbing, and other recreational sports and hobbies generally have inherent risks associated with them, which can result in participants suffering serious injury or death in the event of an accident. Activities that involve multiple people of various skill levels recreating in the same space can be a recipe for accidents and injuries. The recently popularized negligence trial involving actress Gwenwth Paltrow and a man she allegedly crashed into while skiing at a Utah ski resort has brought attention to the liability for accidents occurring at shared recreation areas.

The case against Ms. Paltrow was relatively simple. The plaintiff sued the actress after allegedly suffering injuries in a skiing accident. The main dispute in the trial was over which of the skiers was at fault for the crash. When skiing, the person farther down the hill generally has the right of way, and another person who causes an accident by failing to yield that right of way could be held accountable for any injuries suffered by the other skier. The jury in the Gweneth Paltrow trial found that the plaintiff could not prove, by the preponderance of the evidence, that the actress failed to respect the plaintiff’s right of way. As a result of the verdict, Ms. Paltrow will not be responsible for any of the other skier’s injuries.

Who Is Liable in a Skiing Accident?

When recreation is enjoyed in a public or private place, there may be other parties who can be held accountable for an accident. A private business, such as a ski resort, race track, or marina does have a duty to ensure that their customers are not placed in unreasonable danger by the actions of the owner. Businesses often attempt to reduce their liability by requiring their customers to sign an express waiver of liability, or implicitly assume the risks of that activity by agreeing to participate. Although these waivers reduce the liability of the business, they are not absolute. Businesses still have the responsibility to adequately train their staff and prevent acts of gross negligence by their employees. If employees act outside the scope of their job description, they may be held accountable in their individual capacity.

Every day, road users share the road with a multitude of vehicles, pedestrians, and bikers. This includes smaller cars sharing the road with much larger trucks that vary in size and weight. Truck drivers also need a different type of licensing in order to be able to properly share the road with other vehicles. According to the International Used Truck Centers, on average, semi-tractor trailer trucks are around 72 feet long, 8.5 feet wide, and 13.5 feet tall. When a car collides with a semi-truck, it can be devasting and shocking. Dealing with the aftermath of a serious crash can be challenging.

In a recent news report, a 25-year-old man was killed in a car crash in Indiana. According to police reports, the two vehicles crashed when a semi-tractor trailer was crossing the road to make a left turn. While the semi-tractor trailer was attempting to make the left turn, a passenger vehicle struck it, driving under the truck. Investigators determined that the driver of the semi-tractor trailer is at fault because the driver failed to yield to the right of way. The driver of the passenger vehicle was taken to a local hospital but unfortunately succumbed to his injuries.

[sc_fs_faq html=”true” headline=”h3″ img=”” question=”What Should Families Know About Fatal Truck Wrongful Death Lawsuits?

When a manufacturer places a defective product on the market, they put consumers at risk of serious harm. If a person suffers injuries from a defective product, he or she may bring a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. When a manufacturer realizes their products have caused harm, they can and should announce a product recall to prevent further harm.

For example, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in Bethesda, Maryland, Fisher-Price has reannounced its recall of 4.7 million Rock ‘n Play infant sleepers. Fisher-Price originally announced the recall in 2019 after over 30 infant fatalities occurred in the sleepers. These fatalities often happened when infants placed in the sleepers would roll from their backs to their stomachs or side without proper restraints. Sadly, since the recall, there have been 70 additional fatalities. In total, 100 infant deaths occurred. Fisher-Price’s re-announcement of the recall comes after reports that at least eight infants died after the initial 2019 recall.

What Are the Elements of a Maryland Product Liability Lawsuit?

An injured plaintiff suing a product manufacturer should understand the elements of a negligence vs. strict liability theory of recovery. Plaintiffs can bring a negligence lawsuit if the defendants who caused their injuries acted carelessly—or if they were careless by failing to act. To succeed in a negligence claim, plaintiffs must prove the defendants owed them a duty of care, breached that duty by acting carelessly or failing to act, caused the plaintiffs’ injuries through their carelessness, and that the plaintiffs suffered resultant harm. When suing a manufacturer for negligence, plaintiffs must prove the manufacturer owed them a duty of care to manufacture their products safely and failed to meet that duty.

A recent news report detailed a tragic accident that occurred in Caroline County, Maryland. According to the news report, the car accident involved two cars on Williamsburg Road. Initial reports revealed that a Nissan drove east when it crossed the center and struck a Ford F-450 head-on. The driver of the Nissan, a 44-year-old male, died at the accident scene. The crash is still being investigated and a post-crash analysis is being conducted.

Head-on collisions, although much rarer than other types of accidents, can have devasting impacts for the parties involved. While the reasoning behind these types of collisions can vary, some of the causes can include but are not limited to, mistakes that occur when driving, distracted driving, drunk driving, and mechanical issues with a vehicle. However, it may take some time to determine who the at-fault driver was in head-on collisions. This is because of the forceful impact that these crashes have, which may result in vehicles veering off to different parts of the roads and ending up in completely different orientations. Post-crash analysis can be pivotal to determining what lead to the accident and may involve the evaluation of skid marks and debris from the scene of the accident.

Head-on collisions can have devasting consequences including death, brain injuries, broken bones, and paralysis, to name a few. This can result in lost wages, limited mobility and a change in the quality of life, and other consequences. As a result, after such an accident you may be considering what legal steps to take to recover damages.

A driver who is involved in a car accident is required to remain on the scene in the state of Maryland, and fleeing the scene of an accident can result in penalties. Hit-and-run accidents may happen for a variety of reasons, including due to a driver being uninsured. According to a recent news report, a 23-year-old male died after a pedestrian hit-and-run crash. Interstate 95 in Maryland was closed for over four hours as a result of the accident. A man and a woman passenger parked on the side of the road and were having a discussion outside of their vehicle. During the conversation, the woman entered the highway and the man attempted to pull her back from the road. While in the roadway, the male was struck by a Nissan Altima. The Nissan Altima fled the scene. While laying injured on the road, a tractor-trailer also struck the male but failed to stop their vehicle. Soon after, a Honda CRV additionally struck the male and stopped on the shoulder to call 911.

Penalties for Hit-and-Run Drivers

Pursuant to Maryland law, leaving the scene of an accident that results in serious bodily injury is a felony that is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. However, if the hit-and-run accident results in death and the driver was found to have reasonably known that the accident caused death, perpetrators can face up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Additionally, hit-and-run accidents in Maryland can lead to 8 to 12 points on a driver’s license.

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