All motorists must follow the rules of the road. Failure to do so, whether it is because of distractions, recklessness or intoxication, could result in a serious or even fatal car crash.
Some people in Montana may think that they can combat driver fatigue with a cup of coffee or an energy drink, rolling down the window for some fresh, cool air or turning up the volume on the radio. However, none of these acts can compensate for the fact that if a person is overtired, he or she should not be behind the wheel of the car. Driver fatigue is responsible for many accidents every year. Therefore, this spring heralded a new public service campaign by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration warning drivers about the dangers of drowsy driving. The campaign advocates for stricter laws, more road signs and an increase in educational efforts and public service announcements in order to combat driver fatigue.
Even though motorists are educated and trained to drive safely and added technology in vehicles is supposed to make traveling in motor vehicles safer, this doesn't save travelers in Montana and elsewhere from negligent drivers. While our awareness of safety concerns is heightened, this doesn't stop drivers from engaging in distracting activities while driving, driving while fatigued or even drunk driving. Such actions make it difficult to drive and could be the cause of a car colliding head on with an unsuspecting motorist.
Many people in Billings engage in multi-tasking every day to the point where some will brag about how many activities they can do at once. The advent of smart phones has made multi-tasking even more prevalent. However, there is one instance in which multi-tasking can be dangerous -- while driving. Driving while trying to send or reply to a text message or other cell phone notification can cause a person to take his or her attention off the road, leading to a car accident.
Automobiles hold an important role in America, but they are also the culprit for many risks, dangers and catastrophes across the nation. Although many efforts are made to prevent and reduce negligent, reckless and intoxicated driving, these are the common causes of car accidents.
It is unfortunate that some drivers in Montana choose to get behind the wheel after drinking. Not only does this violate the law, but it places other drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians in jeopardy. Any car accident carries with it the danger of people being severely injured and dying, but when it involves a drunk driver, it is particularly egregious due to the irresponsibility and lack of concern for others. Making matters worse is when there is an auto accident because of a driver under the influence and the driver compounds the situation by fleeing the scene, turning it into a hit and run. Those who are injured or families who lose a loved one in this type of crash need to know their rights to seek compensation.
For years, deaths in motor vehicle accidents have been on the decline in the United States. But some Montana readers may be surprised to learn that this is no longer the case. According to preliminary estimates released recently by the National Safety Council, car accident deaths in 2016 were up six percent over the previous year. This follows a seven percent increase in 2015. That two-year increase in fatal accidents is the largest in over 50 years.
Drunk driving is a serious problem in Montana. For many people, the consequences are fatal. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drunk driving killed 932 people in the state in the ten-year period from 2003 through 2012. That averages out to about 93 deaths per year, and between seven and eight per month.
In Montana, once a personal injury lawsuit is commenced both sides are required to exchange information in a process known as "discovery." The goal of discovery is to promote fairness and prevent surprises in litigation by allowing each side to inquire about the other's case before trial.
Whenever a school bus is involved in an accident, the safety of the students on the bus is a paramount concern. In a recent collision involving two school buses and two automobiles just outside Billings Senior High, none of the students on the two buses were hurt. Unfortunately, two occupants of the cars were injured and taken to area hospitals. Billings Police indicated their injuries were not life-threatening,