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Dangers of Distracted Driving

Tragic Death of Teen Highlights Dangers of Distracted Driving

A tragic accident earlier this year serves as a reminder of how hard it can be to avoid the distraction of a phone while driving, and the dangers those distractions can pose. In May of this year, a local 17-year-old in a Mazda 6 was leaving a friend’s house at around 2:15 in the afternoon, heading toward Highway 45 in Citronelle. According to Citronelle Police, the teen, whose name was not released due to her age, was briefly distracted by her phone while driving, and unfortunately pulled out onto the highway at the wrong moment. An oncoming tractor-trailer already traveling at highway speeds was unable to avoid the Mazda, and the girl was killed in the crash. The driver of the tractor-trailer did not experience any injuries.

Distracted driving remains a major problem on US roads. Texting while driving is often cited as a major problem, but there are many ways that drivers can become distracted to a dangerous degree. There are three forms of driver distraction: 1) Visual, where the driver takes their eyes off the road; 2) Cognitive, where the driver takes their mind off the road, and; 3) Manual, where the driver takes their hands off the wheel. An activity like eating while driving would likely be both a manual and visual distraction. Looking at a GPS device for directions, a visual distraction. However, texting while driving is a cognitive, visual, and manual distraction. Texting while driving can make a crash up to 23 times more likely to occur. Texting takes the driver’s eyes off the road for a prolonged period of time, as compared to many other activities. Researchers estimate that a driver will spend at least five seconds with her eyes off the road if texting while driving. When traveling at 55 mph, this would mean that the car would travel the length of a football field before the driver looked up. The US Department of Transportation has found that teens make up the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of a fatal crash.

Hopefully, this tragedy can help others to be more aware of the dangers not just of sending a text while driving but reading one as well. As this incident illustrates, distracted driving can be as dangerous to the distracted driver as it is to others on the road. If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, contact the skilled attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum for a free consultation on your car accident and personal injury claims, at 866-224-8664.

Tractor Trailer

Woman Dies in Accident with Tractor Trailer

A woman has died after colliding with a semi. Lashunda Patrice Wells, 38, of Tuscaloosa, was driving on Interstate 65 near Hayden, Alabama, in Blount County on July 1st. For reasons not yet reported, Wells lost control of her 2005 Nissan Altima. The Altima struck a metal guard rail, bouncing back into traffic. When the car returned to the lanes of traffic, it was struck by a 2005 Peterbilt tractor trailer, as driven by Rick Griesbach, of Westborough, Wisconsin. The Altima then came to rest on the center concrete median. Wells was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Griesbach was uninjured.

Tractor-trailers and semi trucks can be highly lethal presences on roads and highways. While many professional truckers are experienced and skilled at what they do, there is simply more risk of harm involved should anything go wrong on the road either with or near a large truck. Tractor-trailers require almost 150% as long to come to a complete stop when traveling at highway speeds than would a passenger vehicle. Factors such as weather conditions can also come into play, as can any excessive wear-and-tear on the truck’s tires. Where a passenger vehicle may have been able to swerve around a car that quickly merged into traffic, tractor trailers bear a much greater risk of jackknifing or overturning, due to the weight of cargo in the trailer. Thus, attempting to avoid a hazard in the road could result in even more damage than simply colliding with the car or object immediately in front of a tractor trailer.

Accidents with tractor trailers or other large trucks can be highly destructive. Due to the number of components that can fail on a large truck, and the various parties that may be involved in maintaining, operating, and owning a tractor trailer, legal and factual issues involved in an accident with a tractor trailer can be convoluted and hard to keep straight. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident with a semi truck or tractor trailer, seek experienced legal help to determine if you may be owed compensation for your injuries in the crash. Contact the skilled Montgomery, Alabama personal injury attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum to discuss your options. Our truck accident attorneys are available to offer a free consultation on a possible claim for individuals based in and around Montgomery, including Coosada, Pike Road, Deatsville, Lapine, and Titus. Call 334-262-1911 today.