Avoiding Kansas City car accidents: 5 basic tips to help you arrive alive

September 8, 2014
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

file0001852320432.jpgOur Kansas City personal injury lawyers know that it's always a good time for a refresher on roadway safety. In this post, we discuss five basic driving tips to help Missouri motorists reduce their car accident risks.

1. Stay focused. It's no secret that distractedness is a contributing factor in many serious auto accidents nationwide. While cell phones are the most notorious form of distraction, there are in fact several common sources, including passengers, eating and drinking, reaching for dropped objects, and daydreaming. Anything that takes your eyes off the road (visual distraction), your hands off the wheel (manual distraction), or your mind off the task of driving (cognitive distraction) increases your chances of causing a crash.

2. Make adjustments. Responsible, defensive drivers know that they must adjust their driving to adapt to roadway or traffic conditions. When you encounter wet pavement, road construction or congested traffic, you may need to turn off your cruise control, drive slower than the posted speed limit, and/or increase your following distance. (And remember, Missouri's Move Over Law requires drivers to slow down and move over a lane for emergency vehicles displaying red and blue lights and MoDOT vehicles displaying amber and white lights.)

3. Don't tailgate. Following too closely is a surefire way to increase your chances of causing a rear-end collision - which can cause serious injuries to the occupants of the struck vehicle, even when the collision occurs at low speeds. By allowing extra space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you, you also allow yourself much-needed time to assess traffic conditions in front of you and respond to them safely. To ensure you're following at a safe distance, use the three second rule.

4. Avoid alcohol. Over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence in 2010, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That's about one percent of the 112 million self-reported drunk driving episodes that occur in the U.S. every year. And these impaired drivers are extremely dangerous: every single day, nearly 30 people are killed in car accidents involving an alcohol-impaired driver. Alcohol slows your reaction time, impairs your judgment, and damages your motor skills. Don't drink and drive.

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Avoiding Kansas City car accidents caused by aggressive drivers

June 6, 2014
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

night-traffic-1160501-m.jpgAccording to the Missouri Driving Guide, an aggressive driver is "an individual [who] commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property." Aggressive drivers significantly increase car accident risks in Lee's Summit and elsewhere throughout Missouri. Traffic accidents caused by these irresponsible drivers can result in significant property damage, personal injury and even death. And remember, these kinds of accidents are completely preventable when drivers behave responsibly.

Our Kansas City car accident lawyers would like to discuss the consequences of aggressive driving on Missouri roadways, since it's common for drivers to become agitated and react impulsively. Of course, we all get a little frustrated behind the wheel from time to time, but there are more efficient ways to deal with roadway stress than driving aggressively, which endangers our passengers and other motorists (not to mention ourselves). It's also important to know how to handle encounters with aggressive drivers: one wrong move could make them snap. Learning how to deal with these drivers safely can help you avoid a potentially serious accident.

Common aggressive driver behaviors:

• Using the horn gratuitously (especially to express frustration)
• Flashing the headlights
• Forcing another driver to swerve
• Intentionally tailgating
• Yelling at other motorists
• Making rude gestures
• Illegally passing other vehicles
• Speeding
• Running stop signs and red lights
• Weaving in and out of traffic

Read on for some useful tips to help you to deal with aggressive drivers on Kansas City roadways. By being proactive, you can help stop an encounter from ending in a traffic accident.

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Seat belts reduce serious injury risks in Kansas City, Missouri auto accidents

May 22, 2014
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

107206_buckle_up.jpgCar accidents are the leading cause of death in Americans between ages five and 34, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Experts say there is one simple step that motorists can take to dramatically reduce their risk of serious injuries: buckle up. In this post, our Kansas City car accident lawyers share some facts and statistics about seat belt use.

What is the effect of seat belt use on auto accident injuries and fatalities?

• Safety experts say that wearing a seat belt is the simplest, most effective way to prevent crash-related injuries. According to the CDC, wearing a seat belt reduces your risk of moderate to critical injury by 50%.

• Seat belts significantly reduce your chances of being ejected from your vehicle in the event of an accident. Many crash fatalities occur because of occupant ejection: in 2008, 77% of passengers who were totally ejected from their vehicles were killed.

• Appropriate restraints and child safety seats are even more essential for young passengers. Using a safety seat properly reduces fatal injury risks by 71% in infants and 54% in toddlers between ages one and four.

• Between 2004 and 2008, seat belt use saved more than 75,000 lives in the U.S.

Why don't more people wear their seat belts?

Thankfully, more and more people are using their seat belts in recent years. In fact, in 2012, seat belt use reached an all-time high of 86% nationwide. However, some motorists still refuse to buckle up. Here are some common reasons people give for choosing not to wear a seat belt:

Seat belts are uncomfortable. Seat belts are designed to keep you safe while allowing you to move comfortably. Many motorists who find seat belts uncomfortable simply aren't used to wearing them on a regular basis. It's important to remember that the advantages of wearing your seat belt far outweigh any minor inconveniences of buckling up.

My vehicle has air bags, so I don't need to wear a belt. Air bags and seat belts are made to work together to provide motorists with protection in all kinds of crashes. Air bags can provide important protection in accidents involving front or side impact, but seat belts can be essential in rear-end collisions or rollover crashes. Don't assume that you don't need your seat belt because your vehicle is equipped with air bags.

I don't want to be trapped if my vehicle catches fire or becomes submerged in water following a crash. Only one-half of one percent of motor vehicle accidents involve fire or water. If one of these crashes does happen to you, you're much more likely to avoid being knocked unconscious if you're buckled up - and remaining conscious is essential if you're going to escape your vehicle.

I'm just driving down the road, and I won't even be going that fast. All too many crash deaths occur close to home and at low speeds. There's never an excuse not to buckle up.

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Dealing with insurance companies after Kansas City car crashes: "Do"s & "Don't"s

May 2, 2014
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

file5491276601164.jpgAs Kansas City personal injury lawyers, we know that car accident victims often have concerns about talking with insurance companies in the aftermath of a crash. In this post, we share some basic "Do"s & "Don't"s to help address some of the questions we frequently hear.

DO:

Do notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. You may want to check on any time limits set by your provider: you don't want to forfeit your right to file a claim simply because you didn't file it in a timely fashion.

Do review your auto insurance policy and make sure you understand its terms. It's important that you're clear about what coverage your policy provides, given the circumstances surrounding your accident and any resulting injuries.

Do keep a written record of any communications you have with your insurance company. In particular, you'll want to keep track of the names and phone numbers of any adjusters, agents, or representatives that you speak with regarding your accident.

Do create a file for any bills, purchases, or paperwork that's connected to your injuries and your corresponding expenses. Putting everything in a folder will ensure that nothing is misplaced.

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Does age play a role in Kansas City car accidents?

April 11, 2014
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

402937_abuela_tejiendo.jpgAs regular readers of this blog will know, there are all kinds of studies and statistics about Missouri car accidents and the numerous contributing factors involved. In Kansas City, Blue Springs, and the surrounding areas, these factors can include road conditions, distracted drivers, weather events, and overcorrection, among many, many others. One factor that is often highlighted - sometimes unnecessarily - is driver age. We'd like to share some facts about older drivers, and help to put those facts into a practical perspective. As always, our Kansas City Missouri car accident attorneys believe that well-informed, prepared drivers make Missouri highways safer.

While there are a number of stereotypes and misconceptions about older drivers, the truth is that many older drivers are very sensible about regulating their driving, adjusting how and when they drive to accommodate changes brought on by aging. With a lifetime of driving experience, many senior citizens continue to be safe drivers who can make good decisions behind the wheel. It's usually unfair to make generalizations about people's abilities based on factors like age: there are many safe drivers (and irresponsible drivers, for that matter) in every age group, young and old alike.

If you have a loved one who is an older driver:
Driving is often a source of pride and independence, and it also marks a rite of passage in our culture. For these reasons, losing the right or the ability to drive can be disheartening and embarrassing. As a result, there are some older drivers who refuse to admit, even to themselves, that they struggle to drive, or that they can no longer drive safely.

Around 10% of older drivers have medical conditions that put them at risk for driving. These include conditions such as impaired vision; a reduction in cognitive function or attention; and a range of physical ailments that contribute to reaction time, alertness, and range of motion.

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Caught on video: Aggressive driving leads to crash

March 28, 2014
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

a-car-1324052-m.jpgThis week, a Florida man received national media attention when his aggressive driving caused him to lose control and crash his truck - and the whole incident was captured on video. According to the Tampa Bay Times, 33 year-old Jeffrey White was tailgating another vehicle, driven by Tracy Sloan, in the minutes leading up to the accident. White then passed Sloan, flashed an obscene gesture at her, and attempted to cut in front of her vehicle. Instead, his truck spun across several lanes of traffic and smashed into a light pole. White left the scene, but as a result of the video, authorities located and arrested him two days after the incident. He is charged with leaving the scene of an accident, careless driving and failing to wear a seatbelt - and the video of the incident has been viewed over one million times on YouTube.

Luckily, no one was injured in this crash, but as Kansas City personal injury lawyers, we know that aggressive drivers pose a serious threat to everyone on the road, including themselves. In this post, we discuss the problem of aggressive driving and share a few strategies to keep in mind, just in case you find yourself traveling near one of these dangerous drivers.

What is aggressive driving?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as occurring when "an individual commits a combination of moving offenses so as to endanger other persons or property." Aggressive driving often involves dangerous driving behaviors like speeding, making quick lane changes, failing to yield, tailgating and running stoplights or stop signs. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, nearly 90% of drivers nationwide believe that aggressive drivers pose a "very serious" or "somewhat serious" threat to their personal safety.

It's important to note that there's a difference between aggressive driving and what's commonly known as "road rage." While the term aggressive driving tends to refer to a series of traffic violations, road rage is a criminal offense defined as "an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of one motor vehicle on the operator or passenger(s) of another motor vehicle or is caused by an incident that occurred on a roadway." Both behaviors, however, can lead to serious auto accidents.

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Why do drivers hit and run? Facts and tips for Kansas City drivers

February 28, 2014
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

409860_burnout.jpgShockingly, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that approximately 11% of auto accidents reported to police are hit and run crashes, meaning the at-fault driver left the scene without providing any identifying information. Annually, an estimated 1,500 people die in hit run accidents. Our Kansas City personal injury lawyers know that these crashes can create numerous headaches and financial consequences for innocent victims involved. In this post, we share some general information - and a few basic tips - for Missourians who have been the victims of hit and run drivers.

Why do drivers hit and run?

When caught, hit and run drivers have given numerous reasons for leaving the scene of a serious crash. Here are a few of the more common excuses:

• The driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
• The driver is wanted on other criminal charges.
• The driver was operating a vehicle with a suspended or revoked license.
• The driver did not have insurance as required by large.
• The driver was negligent in causing the crash (driving aggressively, driving while distracted or fatigued, etc.).

What should I do if I've been the victim of a hit and run accident?

First, you should report the accident to police and to your insurance company. Notifying law enforcement officials will create a formal record of the accident, while notifying your insurer may help protect your right to compensation in the future. If the driver isn't located, you may need to utilize the underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage on your own policy.

If you were present when the accident occurred, write down any identifying information about the accident and the other vehicle that you can remember. Obviously, it's ideal if you can record the vehicle's license plate number, but any details - make, model, color, body style, location/amount of damage, etc. - may be helpful in the long run. Likewise, if any witnesses stop following the crash, be sure to get their contact information and ask them to speak with the police officer who responds to the accident.

You may also want to contact a personal injury attorney, who can help you understand your legal options and advise you about the best way to proceed.

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Using child safety seats & avoiding car accident injuries: Tips for Kansas City parents

February 7, 2014
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

file0001704977235.jpgAs Kansas City car accident lawyers, we know that auto accidents are the leading cause of death in American children between ages one and 12. One of the most effective ways to safeguard your young passengers is to ensure they travel in appropriate child safety seats. In this post, we discuss some basic facts about car accidents involving children, and offer a few tips to help parents use child safety seats effectively.

Car accidents involving children: The statistics

• According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1,314 children age 14 and under were killed in 2009 traffic accidents, and an additional 179,000 were injured.

• A CDC study found that, within a single year, more than 618,000 children rode in vehicles at least some of the time without the protection of a child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt.

• Using an appropriate child safety seat can reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71% for infants and 54% for children between ages one and four.

• An estimated seven out of 10 children are not properly restrained in appropriate child safety seats, even though 96% of parents and caregivers believe they have installed their children's safety seats correctly.

Child safety seat installation: Common mistakes

• Failing to use the right seat, given a child's size and weight
• Failing to secure/tighten the seat's harness and/or crotch straps
• Failing to position the seat in the correct direction
• Failing to correctly install/secure the safety seat in the vehicle seat

Missouri's Child Restraint Law

• Under Missouri law, children who are under age four or who weigh less than 40 pounds must ride in a child safety seat that is designed to accommodate their size and weight.

• Children between ages four and seven who weigh at least 40 pounds must ride in a booster seat, unless they are four foot nine inches tall or weigh 80 pounds.

• Children age eight and older (or who are taller than four foot nine inches or weigh more than 80 pounds) must use either a seat belt or a booster seat.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides numerous online resources for parents with respect to child safety seat installation and use. NHTSA's website also offers a convenient Child Car Seat Inspection Station Locator, which will help you find an inspection station near you.

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Car accidents and Missouri teens: Risk factors parents should know

January 24, 2014
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

em-slick-1-78227-m.jpgAs Kansas City personal injury lawyers, we know that young drivers are the most at-risk age group when it comes to car accidents. But why are these drivers so vulnerable? In this post, we discuss some of the most common contributing factors in crashes involving teens.

Car accidents involving teen drivers: The staggering statistics

• According to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, car accidents are the leading cause of death among adolescents, with the greatest lifetime risk of a crash occurring within the six month period immediately after a driver receives his or her license.

• Drivers between age 16 and 19 have a crash risk that is four times higher than the risk for older drivers between age 25 and 69 (per mile driven).

• Most accidents involving teen drivers can be attributed to some form of critical error. Failing to scan the roadway for potential hazards, traveling too fast for road conditions, and driving while distracted are the most common of these errors.

• Experts say drivers detect potential hazards within a three-second sequence: "Within a one-second window a driver scans for a hazard then has 2 seconds to detect and recognize it, and then decide how to respond in order to avoid or lessen the severity of a crash." Teen drivers, however, tend to detect hazards later than experienced drivers, which gives them even less time to respond and makes them even more likely to crash.

• In auto accidents caused by a teen driver's critical error, 21% involved teens who were driving too fast for conditions.

• In a survey, one-third of U.S. teen respondents admitted to texting or emailing while driving within the previous month.

• Passengers can also be an extremely dangerous distraction for young drivers. When a teen is driving with two or more peer passengers inside the vehicle, the driver's risk of a fatal crash is more than tripled.

• Parental involvement in a teen's driving education has proven to have a direct impact on their driving behaviors. Teens "who say their parents set rules and pay attention to their activities in a helpful, supportive way" are half as likely to be involved in an auto accident. These teens are also less likely to engage in risky driving behaviors and more likely to wear their seat belts.

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Holiday driving safety: Ten important hints to help you avoid Kansas City car accidents

November 7, 2013
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

rear-mirror-61639-m.jpgNovember is here, and the holiday season is just around the corner. While the months ahead are a time for celebrating with family and friends, they're also associated with an increased risk for car accidents, largely due to an increase in traffic on our state's roadways. In this post, our Kansas City car accident lawyers discuss ten important tips to help promote safe travel this holiday season.

Holiday driving safety: Ten tips for Kansas City drivers

1. Have your vehicle serviced before hitting the road. Get an oil change and a tune-up to make sure your car is ready for holiday travel. Doing so can go a long way towards preventing potential headaches when you're on the road. It's especially important to check the air pressure in your tires, particularly if you're driving a long distance and may encounter inclement weather conditions.

2. Clean out your vehicle in advance. Getting rid of any unnecessary clutter won't just make your travel experience more pleasant - it will make your vehicle safer, too. When accidents happen, loose items in a vehicle can quickly become safety hazards.

3. Pack an emergency kit. It never hurts to be prepared, just in case a collision or a breakdown leaves you in a pinch. Be sure to include a flashlight, blankets, an ice scraper, jumper cables and flares.

4. Check road conditions on your route. Knowing if you're going to encounter construction zones, lane closures, congested traffic or bad weather will help you plan your trip realistically.

5. Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Rushed drivers tend to drive too fast, follow too close, and make risky decisions - all of which can make you more vulnerable to an accident. Plan to leave early so you won't feel flustered by the holiday traffic.

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Alcohol-related car accidents can lead to Kansas City wrongful death lawsuits

October 22, 2013
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

gavel-952313-m.jpgAs Kansas City car accident lawyers, we know that drunk drivers don't just harm their victims: their victims' loved ones suffer as well. And when a drunk driving accident proves to be fatal, there are no words for the trauma and grief that surviving friends and relatives experience.

Recently, surviving family members filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a Montana bar, a drunk driver and the driver's mother in connection with a fatal crash in December 2011. According to the Independent Review, the lawsuit was filed by relatives of Devon Richetti, 31, who died when the vehicle she was riding in lost control, hit a sign, rolled over and crashed nearly two years ago. Law enforcement officials say the driver of that vehicle, 31 year-old Brandi Dullam, was traveling at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour in the moments leading up to the crash. Richetti, the front seat passenger, was taken from the scene by ambulance, but she later died as a result of serious head and torso injuries. Dullam and another female passenger were both seriously injured.

Dullam's blood-alcohol content was later found to be 0.233%, nearly three times the legal limit. In July 2012, she was convicted of vehicular homicide while under the influence and felony vehicular assault. She was sentenced to 25 years in prison with 15 years suspended.

In the recently-filed wrongful death lawsuit, Richetti's family members seek damages from three parties: the Veterans for Foreign Wars of the United States in East Helena (known as Club VFW), for allegedly serving alcohol to Dullam when she was already intoxicated; Dullam herself; and Dullam's mother, for "allegedly entrusting Dullam with her vehicle knowing she would drink to excess and then drive it."

Missouri's dram shop law:

• Under Missouri law (Section 537.053 RSMo), our state generally abides by "the common law rule that furnishing alcoholic beverages is not the proximate cause of injuries inflicted by intoxicated persons." In other words, a business is not automatically liable for an accident simply for serving alcohol to a specific individual.

• However, the law does create a set of circumstances under which victims may take legal action against a seller of alcoholic beverages: "a cause of action may be brought by or on behalf of any person who has suffered personal injury or death against any person licensed to sell intoxicating liquor by the drink for consumption on the premises when it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the seller knew or should have known that intoxicating liquor was served to a person under the age of twenty-one years or knowingly served intoxicating liquor to a visibly intoxicated person." (italics added)

• The law defines "visibly intoxicated" as "when [a person] inebriated to such an extent that the impairment is shown by significantly uncoordinated physical action or significant physical dysfunction."

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Fatal accident involved church bus, semi-truck, SUV

October 8, 2013
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

empty-highway-1420653-m.jpgBuses are becoming an increasingly popular mode of transportation, both here in Missouri and nationwide. In 2010, almost 850,000 buses were registered in the U.S., which is more than were registered at any other time within the last three decades. During the same year, there were 245 fatal bus accidents nationwide, which resulted in the deaths of 44 bus passengers.

Recently, a bus accident in Tennessee received nationwide media attention after the collision left eight vehicle occupants dead and 14 others injured. According to ABC News in North Carolina, the bus was carrying members of a seniors group from First Street Baptist Church in Statesville, who were en route home from a three-day festival in Gatlinburg. Local investigators say the accident happened when the bus blew a front tire, ran off the road and crossed a grass median on Interstate 40 near Knoxville. The bus then collided with an oncoming SUV and a semi-truck, which caused the semi to burst into flames. Six people on board the bus were killed, along with one occupant of the SUV and the semi-truck driver. The semi was reportedly "burned beyond recognition."

In the course of the accident, the bus plowed through cable guard rails that are designed to prevent median encroachment crashes and absorb collision forces. However, local law enforcement authorities remarked that these guard rails are not designed to handle the weight and force of larger commercial vehicles. "If this had been a traditional guard rail-type system that most people are familiar with, with the big wide metal galvanized steel guard rails, it would have pushed through that as well," Sergeant Bill Miller of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told USA Today. "Guard rails and cable systems are there to restrain vehicles but if it's a dead-on collision into that cable rail or guard rail system, the vehicle will go through that."

The crash is currently being investigated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). However, officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), who would have ordinarily launched an investigation, are currently unable to respond to the crash due to the government shutdown. Under FMCSA regulations, the church bus would not have been subject to the same safety standards and procedures as other kinds of commercial vehicles. Church buses that cross state lines must be inspected every year and registered through the Department of Transportation, but thus far, investigators have been unable to confirm that the First Street Baptist Church bus was federally registered.

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"Distracted walking" contributing to more pedestrian accidents in Missouri, nationwide

September 24, 2013
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

cell-phone-conversation-2-566845-m.jpgBy now, it's no secret that texting while driving is a contributing factor in many serious car accidents, both here in Missouri and nationwide. However, our Kansas City personal injury lawyers were alarmed to see a recent study indicating that cell phone use is creating yet another health hazard for pedestrians - and young people are particularly at-risk of injury.

The study, conducted by researchers at Ohio State University, revealed that cell phone-related injuries among pedestrians have more than doubled over a six year period. In 2010, about 1,500 pedestrians received emergency room medical treatment for cell phone related incidents, compared to just 559 in 2004. According to the study, the most at-risk age group for cell phone related injuries is adults under age 30 - and more specifically, people between the ages of 16 and 25. The types of injuries sustained were widespread, ranging from falling off walkways or bridges to walking into oncoming traffic. The outcomes of these accidents included broken bones, concussions, dislocated shoulders, and car crash-related fatalities.

Distracted walking: Facts about teens, pedestrian injuries and fatalities

• According to Safe Kids Worldwide, pedestrian fatalities are on the rise among teenagers between age 15 and 19. In fact, this age group now accounts for around 50% of all pedestrian deaths in victims under age 19.

• A Safe Kids study found that one in five high schoolers and one in eight middle schoolers had been observed crossing a roadway while distracted by the use of an electronic device (talking on the phone, texting, listening to music, playing a game, etc.). However, the most common source of electronic distractions in this age group was caused by headphone usage or text messaging.

• Nearly half of teens who were polled for the Safe Kids study admitted using a cell phone while walking to or from school.

So, how can these accidents be prevented? Safety experts say the solution is simple. If you receive a call, text or email while walking, and the message simply can't wait, step off the sidewalk and send your response. Then, put your phone away until you've arrived safely at your destination. Never use your phone in any capacity when you're attempting to cross a roadway: research indicates that cell phone users are four times less likely to remain within crosswalks, obey traffic signals, or check for oncoming traffic before entering an intersection. "Blame the universal myth of Multi-Tasking for the problem: human brain evolution does not allow for texting at the same time as walking, and that's a fact," Dr. Rock Positano told the Huffington Post. "You cannot think as a split screen: you are always limited to one task at a time, one requiring full attention and one which becomes a hazardous distraction. What appears to you to be multi-tasked activity are really two tasks half-heartedly attended to, with sometimes-fatal results. You can walk but not text, or text but not walk, much as you can drive but not text or text but not drive, and never both at the same time."

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National Child Passenger Safety Week to raise awareness about safety restraint systems

September 10, 2013
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

cool-baby-28861-m.jpgAs Kansas City car accident lawyers, we know that young children are extremely susceptible to serious, life-threatening injuries when they are involved in crashes - especially when they aren't restrained using proper safety devices. That's why we join local and national organizations in supporting National Child Passenger Safety Week, which is designed to raise awareness about the importance of child safety restraint systems. In this post, we provide some useful resources and safety tips for Missouri parents and caregivers.

Facts about National Child Passenger Safety Week

• This year's National Child Passenger Safety Week, which occurs from September 15-21, is not only endorsed by local law enforcement agencies like the Missouri Highway Patrol, but also by national organizations like the Ad Council and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

• According to the Patrol, 17 children younger than age eight died in 2012 crashes statewide, while an additional 1,743 suffered injuries. State troopers also issued citations to 2,362 Missouri drivers who failed to secure passengers under age eight in child safety seat appropriate for the child's age and size.

Car accidents involving children: The startling statistics

• Auto accidents are the number one cause of death in children between ages one and 19, reports Safe Kids Worldwide.

• When children between ages two and five are restrained using seat belts instead of appropriate child safety seats, they are four times more likely to suffer a serious crash-related head injury than children using car seats or booster seats.

• Nationwide, the average rate of "critical misuse for child restraints" is approximately 73%. Infant seats and rear-facing convertible safety seats are the mostly likely to be misused.

• Child safety seats have proven to reduce fatal injuries by up to 71% for infants and 54% for children between ages one and four - that is, when these safety seats are installed and used correctly.

Child passengers and Missouri law: What drivers need to know

• Under state law, children who are younger than age four or who weigh less than 40 pounds must be restrained in safety seats appropriate for their age and size.

• Children between ages four and eight who weigh between 40 and 80 pounds must be restrained using a booster seat or other restraint system appropriate for the child.

• Children between ages eight and 15 must be buckled up, no matter what kind of vehicle they are riding in or where in the vehicle they are riding (front seat or back seat).

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Motorcyclist killed, passenger injured when sedan turns in front of them

August 27, 2013
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

Suzuki.jpgAs Kansas City auto accident lawyers, we know that Missouri motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable to serious, life threatening injuries when they are involved in collisions with passenger vehicles. Since riders don't have the protection of an enclosed vehicle, they frequently suffer from head injuries, broken and fractured bones, and serious skin damage (also known as road rash) when these accidents occur. Unfortunately, many Missouri motorcycle accidents occur when a larger vehicle attempts to turn left in front of an oncoming rider - often because the other driver simply doesn't see the motorcycle until it's too late.

Recently, a New York motorcyclist was killed and his passenger suffered extensive injuries when their 2004 Suzuki struck a sedan that turned left in front of them. According to The Batavian, the occupants of the Suzuki were both ejected from their motorcycle when it struck the left-turning sedan on its passenger side. Authorities say 19 year-old Derek Sheldon was pronounced dead at the scene, while his passenger, 19 year-old Ashley Stillwell, was life-flighted to a nearby hospital, where she is listed in critical condition. The sedan's driver was uninjured in the crash, and the accident remains under investigation.

Sadly, motorcycle accidents like this one are not uncommon: in fact, they're on the rise [link to]. Consider these statistics:

• According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), people are 37 times more likely to die in motorcycle accidents than in other kinds of vehicle crashes.
A 2012 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that there has been a 55% death rate increase in motorcycle fatalities since 2000.
• In 2010, 4,502 people were killed in motorcycle accidents nationwide.

In recent years, the population of motorcyclists has increased dramatically on roadways throughout the country. The Motorcycle Industry Council data has seen a drastic jump in the number of motorcycles registered in comparison to previous years. Many analysts believe that the economy factors in to this increase, with motorcycles offering motorists a less expensive mode of transportation.

More bikes on the road, however, can mean more crashes. Motorcycle accidents commonly result in injuries and fatalities, especially when they involve other passenger vehicles like cars and truck. Because of the way motorcycles are designed, riders are more exposed to the elements and therefore more vulnerable to serious injury.

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