Category Archives: Car Accidents

Could Distracted Driving Be Stopped by Smart Cars?

If you’ve been paying attention to the media lately, then you know autonomous vehicles are the future of driving. These new cars will be able to pick you up and take you wherever you need to go without the need of a driver. Experts even claim that autonomous vehicles will be safer and eliminate road hazards like distracted driving. However, the autonomous driving future is still a ways off, are there technological solution that could help drivers fight distraction today?

Are Smart Cars Capable of Stopping Distracted Driving?

Tesla faced a mountain of pressure from government officials when one of its cars crashed into an 18-wheeler, killing its driver while operating in semi-autonomous mode. This led to the company employing its vast technical know-how to make sure drivers continued to pay attention to the road when autopilot was activated. But what if that technology were deployed in all cars, regardless of whether they were in semi-autonomous mode or not?

That’s a question Fakhri Karray of the University of Waterloo’s Center for Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence is trying to find out. Using software and Microsoft Kinect digital cameras, Karray and his team of engineers are developing a system that cars can use to tell if drivers are distracted or not.

The system uses the cameras to watch the driver’s entire body, and uses an algorithm to determine if that driver is distracted or not. Automakers like Cadillac are also developing such systems, but they focus on just the head or eyes. The system at Waterloo observes the entire body. These researchers are also using neural networks instead of pattern recognition to develop a system that makes fewer mistakes when trying to figure out when someone is driving distracted.

How Long Before This Technology Is Available?

According to Karray, if left up to automakers, it could take years before we see systems like this developed for consumer vehicles. However, he believes he could get a system like this running in just a year, which could allow the third-party market to make options available much sooner than automakers can provide.

Regardless, we will still have to exercise self-control and care when out driving. There is all manner of distractions for drivers on modern roads—from cellphones to infotainment systems. It is the responsibility of the driver to keep their focus on the road while behind the wheel.

Public safety officials are launching safety campaigns all over the country to help remind drivers of this responsibility. And personal injury attorneys like the Bay Area lawyers at Mary Alexander & Associates can do their part by helping the victims of distracted driving seek justice against negligent drivers. Contact experienced legal help if you have a legal concern about your motor vehicle accident.

What are my Options as a Passenger Injured in a Car Accident?

If you are a passenger injured in a car accident, you also have rights. In fact, you may be in a position to receive more compensation than any of the drivers. If for instance, both drivers are partly at fault, the compensation awarded may be limited. If you have suffered injuries as a passenger, you first need to establish who was at fault. This is where our personal injury lawyers in San Francisco, CA come in. In most cases, none of the drivers will admit fault willingly. There is a need for an investigation to ascertain the party liable to cover for your injuries.

Making Third Party Injury Claims

As a passenger injured in a car accident, you can make an injury claim to the following parties:

• The insurance provider of the owner or driver of the car you were traveling in.

• The insurance provider of the other driver involved in the auto accident.

A claim to any of these insurance policies is considered a third party claim because you would be making a claim to another insurance provider other than your own. As a passenger injured in a car accident, it is also possible for you to sue both insurers. This can happen when the compensation received is not sufficient to cover for the injuries you have suffered. Our lawyers can help you sue for full compensation and receive the maximum amount allowed in injury claims.

The Need for a Personal Injury Lawyer

When you get involved in an injury, one of the things you contemplate is whether to hire the services of an accident injury lawyer. It is important to note that, even in straight forward cases complications can arise along the way. Personal injury laws also differ from one state to another. In light of this, you need a lawyer who has extensive knowledge of the law. Another hurdle in these cases is calculating the compensation. You may not be in a position to know how much your case is worth. The competent lawyers of Mary Alexander & Associates will review your case and advise you on the best way forward. Contact us and let our experience work for you.

DISTRACTED DRIVING: IS IT REALLY THAT BIG OF A DEAL?

We all know that distracted driving is unsafe and can result in an accident. But not everyone knows exactly how dangerous it really is. What is even worse is that many of those who actually understand the dangers that distracted driving poses continue to engage in acts that distract them from the road.

What is distracted driving? To put it basically, distracted driving is any activity that casues the driver’s attention to be diverted from the road. Some examples of distracted driving include:

  • Talking on the phone while driving
  • Texting while at a stoplight or driving
  • Taking videos while driving
  • Using a smartphone app while driving
  • Eating while driving
  • Using GPS while driving

A driver that texts while driving takes his or her eyes off of the road for an average of five seconds each time. If the driver is traveling at 55 miles per hour, five seconds is just enough time to go the distance of a football field. In 2014, 3,179 people were killed and an additional 431,000 more were injured as a result of distracted driving.

Drivers who talk on a phone while driving are four times more likely to be involved in an auto accident. Drivers who text and drive are eight times more likely to be involved in a car accident. These alarming statistics prove just how dangerous distracted driving can be. All drivers need to pay attention when they are behind the wheel and avoid distractions. By doing so, we all play our part in making the roads and highways safer.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver call Mary Alexander and Associates toll-free at 415-966-2626 to get assistance from our auto accident attorneys.

Facebook’s executive chef killed in California motorcycle crash

Due to its beautiful weather, California has more than its share of year-round motorcyclists. But even though it is common to see motorcyclists out at any time of year, that doesn’t mean that California roads and highways are motorcycle-friendly.

These smaller, two-wheeled vehicles offer less protection to their riders and are less visible to other motorists. As a result, motorcycle accidents tend to be more deadly than car accidents.

Those who work in Silicon Valley are currently in mourning over the recent death of an executive chef who worked for Facebook and had previously worked for Google. He was killed earlier this week when his motorcycle collided with a stopped SUV.

According to news sources, he was riding with his brother on Monday night in bad weather when they approached an intersection that is known to be somewhat hazardous. The SUV was stopped in the road due to a flat tire. The victim’s brother was able to swerve out of the way in time to avoid hitting the stopped vehicle, but the chef was not. He died at the scene due to the impact of the crash.

It is unclear at this point whether the fatal crash was an unavoidable accident or if it could be attributed to some act of negligence such as poor road/intersection design. If it is the latter, the man’s family may wish to pursue legal action to make sure that no one else is forced to suffer a similar fate.

For now, however, the colleagues, friends and family of this this well-known and much-loved chef must grieve the loss of a life that was taken far too soon.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, “Motorcyclist dies after hitting stopped vehicle on Rt. 23 on South Side,” Allison Manning, July 23, 2013

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