Timothy J. Casey Attorney at Law
Representing Clients In Phoenix And Communities Throughout Arizona
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Arizona Personal Injury Blog

Accidental injuries are a leading cause of death

For people age 44 and under, the leading cause of death is accidental injury. This may come as a surprise to many Arizona residents. According to 2016 statistics, however, 61,749 Americans in the aforementioned age group died due to unintended incidents of various types. This amounts to nearly twice as many as from cancer and heart disease combined. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted two primary types of accidental deaths: motor vehicle crashes and unintentional poisonings.

Over 2 million people are injured and 32,000 killed in auto accidents ever year. Car crashes have a number of causes, but one rising issue of concern is distracted driving, particularly texting and driving. When drivers use their mobile phones while operating a vehicle, their minds and eyes are off the road -- and in many cases, their hands are also off the wheel. In 2016 alone, 3,450 people lost their lives due to car accidents caused by distracted driving. Safety experts advise drivers to put their phones out of reach when behind the wheel in order to help resist the urge to look or text.

How drivers can stay safe in bright sunlight

Bright sunlight in the early morning or late afternoon can create visual illusions, hurt drivers' eyes and reduce reaction times. The risk for a life-threatening car crash actually goes up 16 percent in bright sunlight when compared to normal weather. That's why drivers in Arizona will want to consider the following tips for staying safe during such conditions.

First of all, drivers should try to avoid going out in bright sunlight. When they have no choice, they could wait a few moments until the sun has totally risen or set behind the horizon. On the road, they should keep their distance from the vehicle in front. When the rays begin to impede driving, it's a good idea to exit the road and wait 10 or 15 minutes for the sun to change positions.

These tips can help you deal with an insurance adjuster

Imagine driving through Phoenix on your way home from work. You're ready to start a long weekend with family for some fun and much-needed rest and relaxation. Unfortunately, your plans completely unravel when another car fails to stop and rear-ends you at a traffic light. Now you have to put your car in the shop, deal with the insurance company and see a doctor about the pain in your neck and back.

In addition, you will have to talk to an insurance adjuster from the other driver's insurance company. This person's job is to assess the damage to your vehicle and make an estimate as to the cost of repairs.

Arizona drivers should be aware of distracted driving

According to safety advocates, distracted driving is becoming a major problem throughout Arizona and the rest of the country. In fact, a recent AAA poll shows that 88 percent of motorists consider distracted driving to be the most significant danger on the nation's roadways. This is a real threat because an ever-increasing number of drivers rely heavily on cell phones.

It is important for all drivers to understand the science behind distractions. When a driver is distracted, it typically involves a visual, manual or cognitive interference. Trying to text and drive is the worst distraction because it involves all three. If a driver tries to read or send a text, they could have their eyes off the road for five seconds. While that may not seem like much, it is like traveling the distance of a football field if the driver is traveling at 55 mph.

Crash numbers are up in states that legalized recreational pot

During the analysis of 2017 motor vehicle accident data, it was determined that crashes are on the rise in three western states neighboring Arizona that have legalized recreational marijuana. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that accidents were up 6 percent in some cases, and they adjusted the findings for other possible negative influences such as crash locations and inclement weather. Police records from accidents reported in those states confer a 5.2 percent upsurge in crashes on their states' roadways, but the good news is that fatalities are not higher in those states.

An additional study with recreational weed users operating driving simulators showed that some motorists think more slowly and swerve more when they are under the influence. Researchers agree that more studies are needed to understand the full effects of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, on the mind and body. Like alcohol, driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal in all 50 states.

Recalls urged after unexplained Hyundai, Kia auto fires

Consumer safety advocates in Arizona and nationwide have called for recalls of Hyundai and Kia cars after reports of sudden fires in some vehicles. The Center for Auto Safety is urging a recall of 2.9 million cars and SUVs. According to the center's information, there have been 220 fires in popular models like the Kia Sorento, Kia Soul and Hyundai Santa Fe, as well as over 200 reports of melted wires and smoky odors.

In a statement, the center noted that it had called for an investigation into the vehicle fires; since that time, approximately one fire a day has been reported. All of the fires were not linked to a collision and began independently. According to the center, many of the fires began for no apparent reason while owners drove on the highway. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reportedly investigating the fires in conjunction with reports on engine failures in Hyundai and Kia models. In 2017, the two companies recalled 1.2 million vehicles due to engine issues.

Vehicle crash deaths down, large truck fatalities up

Overall, Arizona motorists can appreciate that there has been a recent decline in the number of crash fatalities for most types of vehicles. This is the basic takeaway from the data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that compares crash statistics from 2016 and 2017. The most notable exception with the various stats reported by the NHTSA is with collisions involving large trucks as well as accidents in urban areas.

On a positive note, 2017 saw widespread reductions in the loss of life in motor vehicle accidents involving passenger cars, motorcycles, vans and bicycles. Fewer pedestrians also lost their lives as a result of vehicle-related accidents, marking the first reduction in this figure in five years. Alcohol-impaired and speeding-related collisions inched downward as well, as did fatal crashes involving light pickup trucks. The NHTSA statistic that really stands out, however, is the nearly 19 percent increase in fatalities related to large straight truck wrecks.

AAA says drivers are overconfident in their car safety tech

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has released a study showing how drivers in Arizona and across the U.S. are relying too much on advanced car safety features like adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring. This technology is meant to assist, rather than replace, drivers, and it can backfire and put drivers at risk when the limitations are not properly understood.

The study finds, for example, that 20 percent of drivers with blind-spot monitoring never bother to look for oncoming cars when changing lanes. 80 percent do not understand the system's limited ability to detect fast-approaching cars, pedestrians and bicyclists.

People know distracted driving is dangerous, but they don't care

Have you ever tried to send a text message while driving, only to have your attention pulled back to the highway when your car hit the gravel on the shoulder of the road?

Maybe it got your attention. You didn't hit anything -- like a cyclist or another vehicle -- but you realized what type of danger you put yourself in. You felt like you just looked down for a second or two, but it was long enough to drive all the way out of your lane.

The defective gun that fires on its own

Always treat a gun as if it is loaded. That's common advice from hunters and collectors. Always assume a gun can fire at any time. Never point it at something you do not want to shoot.

That advice perhaps takes on a new importance if you have a rifle that, according to numerous complaints, can fire all on its own. That rifle is the Remington 700.

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