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As climate change concerns and a heightened awareness of the need for regular exercise rise, more individuals are choosing to ride bicycles for their daily commutes or for leisure. However, bicyclists can face dangers on the roads, especially in busy areas without clearly defined bike lanes. In 2020, 938 bicyclists were killed in traffic accidents. In the Washington, D.C. area alone, 29 percent of traffic fatalities were attributed to bicyclists and pedestrians. It’s no question that bicyclists are required to exercise extra caution on the roads, especially when drivers of larger vehicles are often not looking out for them.

According to reports, a bicyclist recently died in a collision with a truck driver in the Washington, D.C. area, near George Washington University. The collision happened at an intersection in Foggy Bottom, where officers believe the truck driver was attempting to turn right while the bicyclist attempted to ride ahead of the truck on the passenger side. The right passenger side of the truck struck the bicyclist during the turn. The hurt bicyclist died from his injuries in the hospital the same day as the accident. The incident is still under investigation and comes less than a week after another bicyclist died in a collision with a dump truck in the D.C. area, raising concerns about bicycle safety in the city.

How Can D.C. Bicyclists Stay Safe?

Driving under the influence or while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs leads to many serious risks and can lead to devastating injuries or even deaths. Driving while impaired with alcohol has been shown to impair one’s judgment, reaction time, and ability to process changing driving conditions on the road. Every day, 29 people die in motor vehicle accidents in the United States that involve an alcohol-impaired driver according to the CDC. This equates to one death every 50 minutes, and the annual cost of car accidents involving alcohol totals more than $44 billion according to the CDC.

A recent news article reports that a car accident happened in the area of Willows Road and Abberly Crest Lane in Lexington Park in Maryland. It was a rear-end crash and deputies found one person unresponsive when they arrived at the scene. A preliminary investigation determined that a car traveling northbound was struck in the rear end by another car, which was operated by an 18-year-old male. The 18-year-old driver was taken to a local hospital in critical condition and later succumbed to his injuries. An initial investigation found that speed and alcohol played a role in the accident.

In the state of Maryland, driving under the influence (DUI) has different consequences than driving while impaired (DWI). In Maryland, a person may be charged with a DUI if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is .08 percent or higher, which is called under the influence per se. A DUI conviction will result in 12 points on your license, which can result in a license revocation. In Maryland, a DWI holds slightly lesser consequences. A DWI charge involves a BAC that is .07 percent and when the driver is presumed impaired.

Driving or riding a motorcycle can be a fun experience, but motorcyclists face unique risks while sharing the road with cars. The average motorcycle is about 80-100 inches long. When compared to other vehicles that motorcycles share the road with, other vehicles can range from a mid-sized sedan that can be around 14 feet long to large pick-up trucks that on average can be around 235 inches long. Although motorcycle accidents do not necessarily happen more frequently than other motor vehicle accidents, accidents involving motorcycles can be particularly devastating. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019, motorcyclists were nearly 29 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle miles traveled. Motorcyclists and drivers of other vehicles should take precautions and be mindful of others on the road to prevent devastating accidents.

In recent news, an accident occurred outside of Maryland and led to severe injuries for a motorcyclist. The accident occurred at the intersection of 3rd and E streets in the Judiciary Square neighborhood of D.C. According to the report, D.C. Fire and EMS crews were responding to a fire around 10 a.m. when they collided with a motorcyclist. The motorcyclist was taken to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. No one on the fire truck was injured. The crash is still being investigated.

As seen in the accident described above, sharing the road with emergency vehicles can present additional risks as these vehicles respond to various emergency situations multiple times throughout the day. All drivers should take extra care to be aware of the changing environment around them while they are on the road, which may mean safely yielding to the right when emergency vehicles have turned on their emergency signals. In addition, emergency vehicles and other vehicles must be mindful of smaller vehicles on the road, including motorcycles.

In Maryland, car accidents occur every day for a variety of reasons, but one common occurrence is due to drivers disobeying traffic signals. Without traffic signals, busy highways and roads would be filled with chaos and more traffic accidents. Devastating car accidents can happen in a split second, which is why obeying all traffic laws and traffic signals is vital to safety. Drivers have a legal duty to follow traffic laws and signals to prevent harm to themselves and harm to other motorists and pedestrians. When drivers fail to follow traffic signals, it can be due to negligence. Such negligence may include driving while distracted or driving while fatigued, because diverting one’s attention away from the roads, even for one second, could result in a car accident. Sometimes determining the cause behind a driver failing to follow traffic signals can be tricky.

For example, last month, the Maryland State Police released a report on a fatal three-vehicle crash in Hartford County, Maryland. The accident occurred in Abingdon, Maryland, and involved a tractor-trailer that was traveling north on Emmorton Road. At the same time, a Chrysler and a Jeep Compass were traveling south on the same road. According to the initial investigation, the driver of the tractor-trailer reportedly failed to stop at a red turn signal and instead proceeded through the intersection of the road. The front of the tractor-trailer struck the left side of the Chrysler while in the intersection. The driver of the Jeep then swerved to avoid a collision, but the quarter panel of the Chrysler struck the front right fender of the Jeep. As a result, the Chrysler traveled off the road before coming to a stop near a brush.

An ambulance transported the driver of the Chrysler to a nearby medical center, where the driver was later declared deceased. The other two drivers refused medical treatment at the scene. The accident led to road closure for the next five hours following the crash. At the time of the report, no charges had been filed and an investigation was pending to determine the cause of the crash.

When a loved one unexpectedly passes away because of an accident, you may feel overwhelmed and at a loss for what to do next. Although the path to healing is a long and complicated one for all who are involved, understanding the legal avenues you have available to you can be crucial for finding closure and receiving the compensation you and your loved ones deserve after an accident.

According to a recent local news report, Maryland State Police are investigating a multiple-vehicle crash that killed a local man and injured a pedestrian. Based on a press release from local authorities, troopers responded to a report of an accident involving five separate vehicles and a pedestrian at around 3:00 AM. A preliminary investigation found that a Dodge rear ended a Chevrolet, which led to a separate driver stopping his vehicle on the shoulder to assist with the accident. A Nissan then also crashed into the Dodge and hit the pedestrian. Separately, a Chevrolet also stopped at the scene before being struck by a GMC. The driver of the second Chevrolet was pronounced dead at the hospital. Local police are continuing to investigate the accident.

In Maryland, like other states, there are specific laws governing legal avenues for accidental deaths and compensation for these losses. Maryland defines wrongful death as one stemming from “an act, neglect, or default including a felonious act which would have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued.” In simpler terms, this means that if the deceased could have brought a lawsuit against the at-fault party if they had survived the accident, then their relatives and loved ones have the standing to bring a claim upon their passing.

In Maryland, hit-and-run accidents refer to incidents in which at least one individual involved in a crash leaves the scene before rendering aid or providing identifying information. These crashes contribute to the pain and suffering and economic burdens of typical injury crashes but can aggravate the severity of a victim’s outcome. The delay or complete lack of medical attention for the victim can lead to deadly consequences. In addition to civil ramifications, those who flee an accident scene can face criminal charges.

An analysis by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Fatal Reporting System (FRS) revealed an increase in fatal hit-and-run accidents. There are many individual, vehicle, and environmental factors that play a role in these accidents. Additionally, researchers apply two primary behavioral theories to drivers who commit hit-and-runs. Under the “rational decision theory,” drivers may decide to flee when they have the opportunity, the incentive, and the time to flee. For instance, drunk driving is more likely to occur at night or when there is limited lighting and fewer witnesses. Similarly, a drunk driver who commits an accident at night may take the opportunity to flee.

For example, a recent article reported on a 3 a.m. Hagerstown drunk driving accident where the driver may have been attempting to flee. Police explained that they saw the driver leaving the scene when they arrived at the accident. Police apprehended the vehicle on the ramp and arrested the driver with DUI. The second car’s driver and one passenger suffered life-threatening injuries. Further, emergency responders transported another passenger to the “shock trauma” unit. Early evidence suggests that both drivers may have been under the influence of alcohol.

Rear-end accidents refer to incidents when a rear vehicle’s front bumper collides into the back of the vehicle in front of them. While most Maryland rear-end accidents tend to occur at low speeds near stop signs, congested traffic, or stop signs, they can occur in any traffic scenario. Studies suggest that four primary factors, driver, vehicle, road, and environment, influence the likelihood and severity of a rear-end accident.

Driver factors include physiological and psychological characteristics that may affect the driver’s conduct. Vehicle factors include the performance and braking style of different types and grades of cars. The driving environment also impacts a drivers’ reaction time and visibility. Finally, road factors such as the maintenance and surface of roadways can impact the likelihood of a rear-end accident.

Fatal rear-end accidents include additional factors that may influence the likelihood of these incidents. For example, accidents involving improperly restrained occupants are more likely to result in a fatality. Additionally, the higher velocity of the subject vehicle at the time of the collision correlates with a higher fatality rate. Further, post-crash fires are linked to more fatalities.

Being involved and injured in a car accident is traumatic enough. However, the situation can be more complicated when the injured passenger knows the driver who caused the accident—and, in fact, the passenger was in the same car as the responsible driver. The injured person may not want to seek compensation or file a lawsuit, because it is a friend or relative who is liable. While this may be a common feeling, it is important to remember that anyone injured in a car accident has a right to seek compensation—regardless of who is responsible for the accident.

A recent car accident involving a Washington Football player led to the death of a 29-year-old woman. According to a news report, the deceased was the passenger in the car that the football player was driving in Virginia. The car struck several trees, rolled over, and then went off the right side of the road. The victim was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. The driver is being treated for serious, but not life-threatening, injuries.

In many situations, if a driver was injured in a car accident involving a stranger, they would not hesitate to bring a personal injury lawsuit. However, being involved in a car accident with a friend tends to stop people from bringing this suit. But it should not. It is important to remember when seeking compensation from a driver, the driver’s insurance company is the one who will often pay for any damages. People have insurance to cover accidents like this. This is a common misconception—that the individual personally will pay for the injured person’s recovery out of their own pocket. Instead, by filing a lawsuit against the driver, it ensures the injured person is compensated, but their friend or relative is not financially harmed in the process.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducts periodic studies to improve road safety and accident prevention. Recently, the agency found that the United States had the most traffic fatalities since 2007. Amongst the list of most dangerous highways, the NHTSA found that the stretch of 1-95 near Baltimore, Maryland was home to a significant number of fatal accidents.

Although accidents can occur at any time, certain factors increase the likelihood of accidents and injuries. According to NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data, specific roads, counties, and states present more risk factors to drivers. Generally, the agency designates a roadway amongst the most dangerous based on the number of fatal accidents on the roadway. Fatality rates are based on the number of traffic deaths per 100 miles for every highway in the country.

A critical finding of the study was that 1-95 is the most dangerous roadway in the country, specifically in major cities such as Baltimore, Maryland and Boston. The majority of the accidents occurred during the winter during inclement weather. Statistics indicate that there were 284 fatalities or 14.88 fatalities per 100 miles. While the pandemic brought a drastic downturn in daily traffic, the number of fatalities increased. In fact, there was a over 25% increase from 2019 to 2020 in vehicle-related fatalities.

Many children and teenagers throughout the United States, especially those who live in cities, walk to school or a bus stop daily. While walking is a healthy and enjoyable mode of transportation for many school-aged children, it can present a risk of a Maryland pedestrian accident. According to the most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Maryland is the 7th most dangerous state for pedestrians. This ranking is startling for a small state. Following a harrowing accident on National Walk to School Day, safety advocates urge lawmakers to expedite their Vision Zero plan.

The Vision Zero initiative stems from the US Department of Transportation’s Mayor challenge. The program aims to reduce the rate of pedestrian accidents by improving bike lanes and pedestrian walkways. The plan falls under a common framework that emphasizes the “Five E’s.” The “Five E’s” are evaluation, engineering, enforcement, education, and encouragement of necessary systemic changes. Residents and advocates are asking government leaders to add in another “E”: exigency.

The urgency comes after a 29-year-old father was walking his two young daughters to school when a Jeep slammed into them. The father explained that he was dragged nearly 20 feet by the vehicle. His 8-year-old daughter suffered severe injuries to her leg that has confined her to a bed, and his 6-year-old daughter suffered severe facial injuries that will require extensive surgery. Additionally, the family is receiving therapy to help them cope with the psychological aftermath of the incident.

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