Articles Posted in Vehicle Safety Standards

No matter where you live or work in Maryland, be it Owings Mills, The District, Annapolis or Columbia, car wrecks, pickup truck crashes and SUV rollovers can happen without notice. In fact, traffic accidents across the state injure hundreds of people every year. Some of those injuries and even a few deaths could likely have been prevented had the occupants been wearing their seatbelts.

As an experienced auto accident lawyer in the Baltimore area, my years of helping others recover from injury accidents have taught me that certain habits can save lives; others, however, can sadly contribute to the loss of life on our public streets and highways. One habit I’m always happy to see is when a person buckles that safety belt. It’s a small part of every driver’s daily ritual, but it’s a significant one.

Seatbelt use is usually pointed at as one of the top reasons why people survive automobile wrecks. There are many out there, I suspect, who feel that airbags and other safety devices do a better job, but that’s not necessarily true — all of these systems work together to imporve passenger safety. As basic as they may seem, safety belts play a key role in protecting occupants in the case of severe traffic accidents, including head-on collisions, roll-over accidents and other potentially fatal crashes.

Defective automobile parts and components can result in minor accidents and even fatal crashes. Depending on what vehicle systems or safety equipment fail on a passenger car or truck, the resulting wreck can cause injuries from cuts and bruises to internal bleeding and even fatal brain trauma or serious spinal damage. As Maryland injury lawyers and auto accident attorneys, Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers has the experience to represent individuals injured in as a result of another person’s negligence.

A recent article shows that some fatal accidents are not a result of defective equipment, which brings into question the human factor. Driver error is one of the largest causes of traffic accidents. Depending on vehicle speed and road conditions the ultimate result can be devastating to the occupants involved in a sedan, sport utility vehicle (SUV) or pickup truck accident.

According to reports, investigators’ post-crash inspection of a Maryland State Police cadet’s Ford F-250 pickup truck showed no specific defects or height violations, which could have led to the fatal head-on crash that left a Parsonsburg man dead in an earlier accident.

Will a recent decision by officials in Washington, D.C., to eliminate the annual vehicle inspections previously required of District residents result in more auto accidents, injuries and deaths? That’s a good question and one that will require at least a few years to assess. As Maryland car accident attorneys and personal injury lawyers, our first thought is for the safety of all drivers and pedestrians on this state’s roadways. Will cars owned by D.C. drivers be anymore accident-prone? Only a mechanic can know for certain.

A recent op-ed piece brought this to mind. Since a poorly-maintained vehicle is much more likely to have something go wrong, it would seem logical that we might see more accidents involving the vehicles driven by District of Columbia residents, such as failed brakes, incorrectly aimed headlamps, breakdowns on the highway and other traffic hazards.

As of October 1, citizens of Washington, D.C., will apparently have one less annual concern, but the rest of us may pay for it in increased accidents. According to reports, the District has ended its safety inspection program, although this doesn’t include anything related to a vehicle’s emission system — hence, emission inspections will continue as usual.

In a move that could portend a rash of car, SUV and light truck accidents down the road, the District of Columbia has announced that it will be ending safety inspections for most privately-owned vehicles beginning on October 1. As a Maryland auto accident and personal injury lawyer, I have seen first-hand the human cost and property damage resulting from poorly maintained passenger cars.

Single-car accidents, as well as multi-vehicle crashes can be caused by the failure of a single critical vehicle system. Will D.C.’s decision mean more fatal collisions and non-fatal injury accidents around the area? Only time will tell, but one thing I know is that automotive safety is something that everyone who travels on our public roads should be concerned about.

According to a recent news article, budget concerns have led to decision. Along with the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, the Fenty administration has persuaded the D.C. Council to approve the change this year as a way to save $400,000. Although the safety inspection program is being terminated, emissions inspections will still be required every two years for all cars and trucks — as required by federal regulations. Under the latest decision, but motor vehicles that are not used for commercial purposes will no longer have to prove that they are road-worthy.

Deaths and injuries in Maryland, as well as across the country, caused by collapsed SUV and passenger car roofs as a result of vehicle collisions and rollover accidents could be reduced in the future thanks to new federal government requirements for greater roof-crush protection. For the first time in more than 30 years, automobile manufacturers will have to engineer their vehicles’ roof and body structures to meet a higher standard — the roofs of future vehicles will have to bear three times the curb weight of a vehicle.

Nearly a decade in the making, will this new requirement save the lives of auto accident victims? Unfortunately, the rules only cover vehicles with gross vehicle weight ratings up to 6,000 pounds (curb weight plus maximum passenger and cargo weight), which will leave out some full-size SUVs and pickup trucks. Still, it is a step in the right direction to reduce vehicle injuries.

Our experience as Maryland Auto Accident Attorneys tells us that there will always be accidents that threaten the lives and well-being of drivers and passengers. At Lebowitz–Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers, our skilled legal professionals have seen the results of roof crush injuries and deaths. We can only hope that the new standards will make a difference.

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