Articles Posted in Fatal Traffic Accidents

Late last month, one woman was killed in a Maryland car accident that occurred on the side of Highway 50 near Route 410 in Prince George’s County. According to a local news report, the victim pulled over and got out of her car to assist another motorist who had lost control of their vehicle and crashed into a wall.

Evidently, shortly after the woman exited her car and was approaching the disabled vehicle, another car struck her. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency workers. The driver of the car that hit the victim was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Drunk Driving Accidents in Maryland

Despite countless government campaigns, motorists routinely get behind the wheel after having consumed too much to drink. In fact, in Maryland alone, there are approximately 170 people killed each year due to drunk driving. While the government often prosecutes drunk drivers, there is little that the criminal justice system can do to provide compensation to those who have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a Maryland DUI accident.

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While limousines are not a common form of transportation for most people, many find themselves occasionally riding in a limo for special occasions such as weddings, proms, or birthday parties. In addition, limousine touring has become increasingly popular as a way to more safely enjoy the Maryland wine country. Given the number of passengers a limousine can carry, Maryland limousine accidents have the potential to cause serious injury to a large number of people.

Earlier this month, a limousine accident in Upstate New York claimed the lives of 20 people, including everyone inside the limo and two pedestrian bystanders. Federal authorities have declared the crash as the deadliest in the United States in nearly a decade. According to a recent news report, the accident occurred in the early afternoon hours in Schoharie, New York. Evidently, a 2001 Ford Limousine approached a T-intersection at a high rate of speed, traveling through the intersection and into the parking lot of a restaurant. The limo then crashed into an unoccupied SUV.

Authorities noted that several people witnessed the accident, but it was clear from the physical evidence at the scene where the limo was coming from. It appears as though the roads leading to the intersection where the accident occurred are steep and offer only limited visibility of the approaching intersection. In fact, the New York Department of Transportation recently prohibited large trucks from using the road due to fears that the vehicles would lose their ability to brake effectively down the steep hill.

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It should come as no surprise that inexperienced drivers are responsible for a disproportionate number of Maryland car accidents. Indeed, according to the Maryland Highway Safety Office, there are approximately 15,800 accidents caused by motorists between the ages of 16 and 20 each year, resulting in about 87 deaths per year. This accounts for roughly 16% of all of the traffic fatalities in Maryland.

Maryland lawmakers have implemented a graduated licensing program to help ensure that those who drive on Maryland roads are properly educated and have the requisite amount of experience before getting behind the wheel on their own. First, new drivers must obtain a learner’s permit, and then a provisional license. And finally, assuming the new driver has passed all of the required tests and has been free of a traffic conviction, the new driver will be given a driver’s license.

While new drivers do have to jump through a number of hoops before they are able to obtain their license in Maryland, the fact remains that new drivers frequently cause car accidents. This may be due to a lack of experience, questionable judgment, distraction, or intoxication. In any case, the law does not excuse a driver from liability merely because they are new to driving. Those who have been injured in a Maryland car accident caused by a young or inexperienced driver may be able to pursue a personal injury claim to seek compensation related to the injuries sustained in the accident.

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Head-on collisions are some of the most serious accidents, due not only to the force involved but also to the direct impact. While there are many causes of head-on accidents, most of these accidents can be boiled down to one thing:  driver error. In cases of inclement weather, it is incumbent upon all drivers to make sure they reduce their speed to fit the weather conditions. This may mean traveling below the posted speed limit when rain, snow, or ice is present on the road.

When a driver fails to take adequate precautions and causes an accident, that driver may be held liable to anyone injured as a result of their negligence. This often includes the drivers and passengers of other vehicles, and it also includes passengers in the negligent driver’s vehicle. In tragic cases in which a head-on accident results in the death of one or more of the people involved, a wrongful death lawsuit may be one way that aggrieved loved ones can seek compensation for their loss.

Two Dead in Gaithersburg Head-On Collision

Earlier this month, two men were killed in a mid-evening collision involving three cars. According to one local news source covering the tragedy, the accident occurred on Airpark Road in Gaithersburg at around 8:00 p.m.

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Earlier this month in Baltimore, six people were killed and several others injured when a school bus collided with an MTA bus. According to one local news source covering the accident, there were no students on board the bus at the time of the accident, but the MTA bus did have several passengers on board.

Evidently, the accident occurred when the school bus was on its way to pick up the first students of the day. It was headed east on Frederick Avenue, shortly before 7 a.m., when it rear-ended a Ford Mustang. After the initial collision, the bus continued forward, crashing into a concrete pillar before it was sent into the driver’s side of the MTA bus.

Police arrived on the scene moments after the collision. A police spokesperson explained “it literally looks like a bomb exploded on the bus.” Investigators on the scene noticed that there did not seem to be any skid marks or other indications that the school bus had tried to slow down immediately before the collision. Police are unsure what caused the driver of the school bus to lose control but do plan on speaking to a surviving school aide who was on board the bus at the time of the collision.

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Over the past few years, states across the country have made a concerted effort to increase the safety of young drivers through the three-tier Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL) programs. Currently, all 50 states have some form of GDL program in effect, requiring young drivers between the ages of 15 and 17 to obtain various milestone achievements in one license tier before being moved to the next licensing tier. Each tier offers young drivers more freedom, but the program ends at age 18.

According to one national insurance news report discussing the efficacy of the GDL programs, the implementation of the programs has led to a 30% decrease in fatal accident involving teens between the ages of 15 and 17 years old. Despite the program’s success with younger drivers, the report notes that drivers ages 18-20 still suffer from high accident rates. Part of the problem, the article claims, is the fact that one in three drivers do not even obtain a learner’s permit until after the age of 18, effectively removing them from the strictures of the program. This age group contains those who are perhaps the most likely to be talking on the phone or texting while driving, both of which are illegal in Maryland.

According to the report, the Governors’ Highway Safety Administration is recommending that the program include all drivers under the age of 21. Maryland is on the cutting edge of the move toward stricter driver training laws, requiring all novice drivers – regardless of age – to complete 30 hours of classroom training as well as six hours of training behind the wheel. However, despite the efforts of lawmakers, inexperienced drivers will still continue to cause a large percentage of the serious and fatal car accidents across Maryland.

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Accidents between motor vehicles and pedestrians are common in the Maryland and Washington, D.C. areas. In fact, in Maryland alone, there are over 100 fatal pedestrian accidents each year. Of course, this does not take into account the hundreds of other pedestrian accidents that result in serious injuries. In part, the high frequency of pedestrian accidents in the area is due to the many mixed-use roads in busy urban and suburban areas across the region.

Most pedestrian accidents are preventable, and most of the time, the responsibility to prevent the accident falls on the driver of the vehicle. This is because motorists all assume a duty to those around them to operate their vehicle in a safe manner. Of course, this duty requires that motorists keep an eye out for pedestrians and obey all traffic laws in place to protect them. When a motorist violates this duty, the pedestrian may be able to seek monetary compensation from the motorist thought a Maryland or Washington, D.C. personal injury case.

In both Maryland and D.C., however, there are some strict rules in place regarding which accident victims are entitled to recovery. For example, if an accident victim is determined to have been at fault in the accident, they will be prevented from recovery. This stands true even if the pedestrian is determined to be just 5% at fault. Any fault assigned to the pedestrian could destroy their case.

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Driving is a privilege that many people take for granted. It used to be that not everyone needed a driver’s license. However, in today’s society, with urban sprawl an ever-increasing reality, even young drivers need a license to get to and from school and work. These young drivers, while they are required to attend a driver’s education course and pass applicable practical tests, do not always possess the judgment and real-world experience necessary to safely operate motor vehicles in all conditions.

Indeed, according to a recent study by the Center for Disease Control, young drivers aged 15-25 represent only 14% of the total driving population, but they end up being involved in over 30% of the total accidents. Interestingly, there are several contributing factors that experts cite when explaining the heightened dangers:

  • Speeding is involved in about 35% of all teen-driver crashes.
  • The presence of at least one male passenger in the car increases the likelihood of an accident.
  • Alcohol is involved in 25% of accidents involving teens.
  • Teens are less likely to wear their seat-belts, increasing the severity of the injuries suffered in most of the accidents.

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Earlier last month, three adults and one two-year-old child were killed when a woman crashed through a barricade at the Oklahoma State University homecoming parade. Somewhere around 46 others were injured. In a recent local news article, prosecutors told reporters that they believe the woman behind the wheel that day was acting intentionally when she drove her car into the crowd of people.

Evidently, the driver of the vehicle crashed through a barricade and then drove over an unmanned police motorcycle before crashing into the crowd of people. In the aftermath of the accident, police arrested the woman under suspicion of driving under the influence. Prosecutors overseeing the case believe that the tragedy looked as though it was intentionally caused. The results of the toxicology testing have yet to come back from the lab, and charges against the woman are currently pending.

The family of the woman, as well as her attorney, explained to reporters that she has suffered from mental health issues in the past, and this sort of conduct was not in her character.

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Earlier this month, a young mother and father were killed when the vehicle in which they were riding was struck by another motorist. According to one local news report, the accident occurred just a few blocks from the couple’s home in Clinton.

Evidently, the couple had guests over and stepped out for a few moments. As they were pulling out of their neighborhood, they began to make a right turn. However, before they could finish the turn, another motorist struck their vehicle from the rear. Both the husband and the wife were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. They left behind three children, ages 10, nine, and two.

Neighbors of the couple told reporters that the intersection where the accident occurred is known as one where drivers routinely speed. Police are currently conducting an investigation into the cause of the fatal accident. However, at the time of the article’s publication, the driver of the other vehicle was not facing criminal charges for his role in the fatal accident.

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