National Sleep Awareness Week
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has recently issued a press release regarding the National Sleep Foundation’s National Sleep Awareness Week. During this week, March 2nd through the 9th, the CHP hopes to raise awareness about the dangers of fatigued driving. As daylight savings time kicks in this weekend, many Californians are going to dread getting up on Monday morning. Even losing just one hour of sleep can seriously impact a person’s internal clock. Even if you think you would never fall asleep behind the wheel, you should know that even driving while drowsy is considered a dangerous behavior. Drowsiness can slow one’s reaction time, affect a driver’s decision making abilities and make that person less attentive to the task of driving.
Drowsy Driving Statistics
• In 2011, more than 3,700 crashes involved a drowsy driver in California.
• In those 3,700 collisions, 42 people were killed and more than 2,200 people were injured.
• The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 2.5 percent of fatal crashes and 2 percent of injury crashes involve drowsy driving.
Stay Alert, Stay Alive
Officials with the CHP are asking motorists to stay alert and stay alive as their sleep schedules change in the coming weeks. Commissioner Joe Farrow points out that the safe operation of vehicles depends upon drivers who are wide awake and alert at all times. Even if you’re not at risk for falling asleep, being tired behind the wheel can seriously impact your attention span while driving.
NHTSA’s Tips for Drivers Who Become Sleepy
• Pull over and stop driving.
• Have the caffeine equivalent of two cups of coffee.
• Pull over, take a 20-minute nap and then drive to the closest safe resting are for sleep.
After a Crash Involving a Drowsy Driver
Even if a driver doesn’t fall asleep at the wheel, driving drowsy can still cause devastating wrecks. It may not be immediately apparent that a driver was drowsy at the time of a crash, so an experienced personal injury lawyer can stay on top of investigative developments. Especially where commercial drivers are concerned, it may be necessary to determine if a driver had adequate sleep or rest or if he or she was taking some kind of sedating medication. After any kind of wreck, it’s always a good idea to contact a skilled personal injury lawyer.
Multi-Vehicle Injury Crash in Santa Maria
On Thursday night, at least one person was seriously injured in a crash that involved multiple vehicles in Santa Maria. According to Noozhawk, the wreck happened sometime before 7:00 p.m. on West Fesler and North Curryer Streets.
A trapped and injured victim had to be extricated from a damaged vehicle. First responders worked for nearly a half an hour, using specialized equipment, to free the victim. That person was immediately rushed to Marian Regional Medical Center for treatment of moderate injuries. Very few details have been released about this crash, which is likely still under investigation. There is no word on whether or not anybody else was hurt in this wreck. Additionally, at this time, it is unclear how many cars were involved in the collision.
Car Crashes into La Jolla House
On Wednesday afternoon, a car crashed into a home in La Jolla. The incident happened just before 5:00 p.m. A woman was driving on Avenida Manana, when her car left the roadway and crashed through the wall of a house and into a car port. According to Channel Seven News, she was taken to a local hospital or treatment of injuries.
Very little information has been released on the cause of this crash. Was the driver distracted? Was there a medical issue that contributed to her car leaving the roadway? This wreck is still under investigation, and there is no word on how much damage was done to the home.
Hit-and-Run Crash Sends Elderly Man to The Hospital
Last Thursday, a hit-and-run crash sent an elderly man to the hospital. The incident happened at around 11:20 p.m. on the corner of Broadway and Roemer Lane. This crash is still under investigation, and police officers are trying to locate the driver. The 68-year-old victim was riding his bike, when he was struck by a car. He was swiftly rushed to the hospital for treatment of serious injuries.
Very few details have been released about this crash. According to KSBY News Channel Six, police officers are asking witnesses or anybody with information about the wreck to come forward. This area of Broadway doesn’t have a designated bicycle lane, but it does have particularly heavy traffic.
Chula Vista Cyclist Killed by Drunk Driver in Stolen Car
On Monday afternoon, a cyclist was struck and killed on East J Street near Dennis Avenue. The victim, 44-year-old David Voigt, was struck by an apparent drunk driver in a stolen vehicle. According to San Diego Six News, 29-year-old Michael Reyes was drinking prior to driving the stolen Nissan Maxima.
Just before 4:15 p.m., Reyes drove into oncoming traffic and hit Voigt on East J Street. Both men were taken to UCSD Medical Center. Voigt died as a result of injuries sustained during the crash, and Reyes was treated for injuries that were described as non-life threatening. According to authorities, Reyes is facing multiple charges. The team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. sends their deepest condolences to the family members and friends of David Voigt.
Brain Injury and Car Accidents
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s) don’t just happen to professional athletes who get hit in the head too many times, they happen to regular people, every day. The second leading cause for brain injuries are motor vehicle accidents. Even though, it’s the second leading cause for brain injuries across the country, car crashes result in the highest percentage of TBI-related deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 1.7 million TBI’s occur each year.
What is a TBI?
A traumatic brain injury occurs when a sudden traumatic event damages the brain. It can happen when something strikes the head or an object pierces the skull. It can also happen when the brain moves around inside of the skull. Since high speeds and brutally abrupt stops are common with car accidents, brain injuries are also frequently seen after crashes. Brain injuries can be mild, moderate or severe depending upon the amount of damage involved.
Car Accidents and Teen TBI
A 2012 article from Forbes reports on the result of a study which shows that car crashes are the leading cause of fatal head trauma among teenagers. Of the more than 55,000 teens who were seriously injured in car accidents between 2009 and 2010, 30 percent suffered from acute head injuries.
Recovering from and living with a brain injury is difficult. One of the hardest parts about living with a brain injury is that your scars are essentially invisible. In most cases, nobody can see your brain injury. You are dealing with the after effects of an injury that may be difficult to explain to loved ones, acquaintances, classmates and coworkers.
After Any Car Accident
After any car accident, you should get medically evaluated. Even if you feel fine at first, you need to see a doctor. Many brain injuries characteristically have a delayed onset of subtle symptoms. You may feel a little shaken up, but you need to see a doctor in case you have a brain injury. Stabilization and healing can take time, but brain injuries are one of the most difficult injuries to heal. Sensory processing problems, memory issues, cognitive and communication problems are just a few of the subtle, but life-altering symptoms that can appear after a brain injury. Getting medically evaluated needs to be a top priority for anybody who has been injured in a crash.
Strangest Personal Injury Cases
The circumstances of a personal injury lawsuit vary from case to case. Everybody is familiar with cases that involve car accidents, defective and faulty products and negligent property owners, however it’s not uncommon to hear of really strange cases every once in a while.
Listed below are a few of the strangest personal injury cases.
• The Infamous “Hot Coffee” from McDonald’s
• Burglar Sues Homeowner
• Cookie-Induced Anxiety Attack
• Emotional Distress from Television Show
The Infamous “Hot Coffee” from McDonald’s
This isn’t exactly one of the strangest cases, but it is certainly the most well known personal injury case. This was the ‘poster case’ for so-called frivolous lawsuits in the early 90’s. Everybody had an opinion on the hot-coffee debate. Unfortunately, not everybody had the whole story. A 2011 film documentary, entitled Hot Coffee, brought a lot of important information to light for previously misinformed consumers. Everybody expects coffee to be hot, but Ms. Liebeck’s coffee was upwards of 180-190 degrees Fahrenheit. She was hospitalized for eight days, had to undergo skin grafting for third-degree burns and had an additional two years of medical treatment for the injury.
Burglar Sues Homeowner
This is a strange, but frequently occurring lawsuit. Everybody has heard about the burglar that breaks into a home, only to get injured and sue the homeowner. During a 2012 burglary in Northern California, a homeowner turned the tables on a burglar, by shooting him multiple times. The burglar is now suing the 90-year-old homeowner. The burglar also shot the homeowner in the face during the crime.
Cookie-Induced Anxiety Attack
A pair of teenagers in Colorado was sued by their neighbor after delivering home-baked cookies to her door. The two teenagers stayed home from a dance to bake cookies for neighbors. One of their neighbors didn’t appreciate the anonymous cookie delivery. Wanita Renea Young called the police after the terrifying experience which she said caused an anxiety attack.
Emotional Distress from Television Show
The popular gross-out show Fear Factor often portrays actions that could make even the most iron-stomachs queasy, but one man actually tried suing the show. Apparently this ‘fan’ could handle watching contestants eat bugs and worms, but when it came to rats mixed up in a blender, he just couldn’t stomach it.
Pedestrian Safety in California
Anytime a pedestrian gets struck in San Diego or along the Central Coast, it’s pretty serious news. Since pedestrians don’t wear helmets or have the added safety features of automobiles, it’s not uncommon for collisions to cause devastating and fatal injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), on average in 2011, a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured ever eight minutes across the U.S.
Pedestrian Injuries Across the U.S.
• In 2011, 4,432 pedestrians were struck and killed.
• An estimated 69,000 pedestrians were injured in 2011.
• In 2011, pedestrian fatalities made up 14 percent of all motor-vehicle-related traffic deaths.
• 32 percent of pedestrian fatalities happened between 8:00 p.m. and 11:59 p.m.
Who is Most at Risk?
The NHTSA found that over two-thirds of pedestrians killed were males. The rate of injury for male pedestrians was also significantly higher than the rate of injury for females. Additionally, older pedestrians, age 65 years old and older, made up 19 percent of all pedestrians killed. Also, nearly one-fifth of children, ages five through nine, killed in automobile wrecks were pedestrians.
Be Aware, Stay Focused!
The NHTSA offers teens a variety of tips for safely walking to their destinations. They recommend walking on the sidewalk facing traffic. Additionally, pedestrians are also encouraged to cross streets at corners or in crosswalks, when available. Another important part of staying safe is being visible. Brightly colored clothing is a great choice, and reflective material is also a good idea when walking after dark. Most importantly, drivers need to look out for pedestrians. Pedestrians of all ages are only safe when automobile drivers are paying attention to the roadway and observing all signs, signals and traffic laws.
Everyone is a Pedestrian
Unfortunately, pedestrians are one of the few groups to actually experience an increase in fatalities in 2011. The NHTSA’s “Everyone is a Pedestrian” campaign is aimed at raising awareness about the important topic of pedestrian safety in America. All too often, we read about fatal and injury-causing pedestrians accidents in the news, especially in California. These crashes have to stop. These aren’t freak accidents that only happen once in a while. These pedestrian strikes are happening in crosswalks, on street corners and during well-lit daylight hours. Putting a stop to pedestrian deaths needs to be a top priority for California motorists.
Fatal Three-Car Wreck in Fallbrook
On Thursday, a three-car crash in Fallbrook took the life of a 36-year-old Oceanside resident. The crash happened on a curving stretch of eastbound State Route 76. The driver’s car, a Kia Sephia, allegedly veered out of control just before 7:00 a.m. According to KUSI News, the car then hit a westbound Nissan Altima before getting broadsided by a Mercury Sable.
Witnesses pulled over and tried to revive the Kia driver, but he died on the scene. First responders transported the driver of the Sable and a male passenger to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido for treatment of injuries. This crash is still under investigation, but CHP public-affairs Officer Jim Bettencourt did mention that the roadway was wet after a light rain, at the time of the crash.
Fatal Crash in Santa Barbara
A head-on collision on Highway 154 resulted in the death of a 31-year-old Nipomo man. The wreck happened at 2:38 p.m. on Wednesday at Highway 154 and San Antonio Creek Road. Very few details have been released about the cause of this collision. According to KEYT News Channel Three, the passenger side of a Hyundai sedan hit the front of a Lexus. The Hyundai also struck an embankment.
One person was pronounced dead on the scene, the man from Nipomo. Susan Jorgensen of Santa Ynez, the other driver, sustained injuries in the crash. Both directions of the highway had to be closed for over two hours. This crash is still under investigation, and it is unclear whether drugs or alcohol were contributing factors.
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