More than 29 Million Drivers and Car Owners Continue to Drive Without Insurance

Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that from 1981 to 2007, fatal car crashes in the U.S. averaged to 44,000 annually; from 2008 to 2015 the average rate went down to 33,000, thanks to the modern safety devices vehicles have been equipped with as well as to the stricter implementation of road safety rules.

The NHTSA believes that vehicles are more crashworthy or safer than these have ever been. But though more crashworthy, fatalities still number to more than 30,000, while injuries, to at least two million. More disturbing than statistical data on fatalities and injuries, however, is the number of individuals and families left alone to suffer the painful economic and non-economic effects of motor vehicle accidents all because the drivers at fault in the accidents are uninsured.

Carrying auto liability insurance is mandatory in the United States. It was actually made compulsory in 1925 with Connecticut and Massachusetts being the first states to mandate it on all their drivers. Even way back then, automobiles already crashed and caused injuries and deaths; people, back then, also saw that cars will continue to crash, injuring people and damaging properties in the process. The problem, however, was not that vehicles crashed or collided with each other, but that injured innocent victims were left to suffer physically and financially because drivers at fault did not have the financial capability to pay them for their damages and losses.

Today, with more than 29 million drivers and car owners who continue to drive despite not having insurance, victims not being compensated is not a remote possibility. Due to this, according to the website of Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller and Overbeck, P.A., besides the required coverage for bodily injury and property damage, there are a number of states which also require drivers to have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to have protection in accidents wherein the at fault driver is either uninsured or underinsured, meaning drivers whose policy limit is not enough to pay the total amount of losses suffered by the victim.

Reporting the Slightest Sign of Defect in Your Car can Make a Huge Effect on Road Safety

In 2014, nearly a million vehicles with unreliable front passenger air bags were recalled by Nissan, while 2.4 million sedans with faulty taillights were recalled by General Motors. These two recalls by two giant car manufacturing firms were definitely big news; however, these were overshadowed by two other much bigger issues: the ignition system problem (ignition switch, ignition cylinder and key) that plagued 26.9 million vehicles from General Motors and Takata’s explosive air bag inflators, which is fitted in nearly 53 million vehicles worldwide (about 34 million are in the US). This issue involving Takata Corp. is, to date, the biggest auto-safety recall in the history of the car industry.

There are hundreds of other recalls that have been made by (sometimes, the same) vehicle manufacturers due to parts that are defective or which malfunction, such as transmission shift cables that detach, a seat belt cable that fails to provide proper restrain, fickle tail/brake lights, front seats that do not detect occupants (which would result to air bags not deploying during an accident), power steering that fails, electronics that can disable front and side curtain air bags and seat belt pretentioners, and so many others.

Recalls are made either by vehicle manufacturers (voluntarily) or by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) through a court order. This move becomes necessary when vehicles or vehicle equipment turn out to have a safety-related defect or fail to comply with minimum safety standards set by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and Regulations.

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and Regulations – guidelines to which manufacturers of motor vehicles and equipment items must comply with where manufacture of vehicles and vehicle parts is the concern, was issued by the NHTSA in order to protect the public against defective cars and malfunctioning parts which increase risk of injury or death (in the event of car crash). Specifically, these guidelines spell out minimum safety performance requirements for motor vehicles and parts, especially those parts that affect safe operation, such as the brakes, lights and tires, and those that will keep drivers and passengers protected from fatal or serious injuries in case of a crash, like air bags, child restraints, safety belts, energy absorbing steering columns and motorcycle helmets (all types of vehicles and vehicle parts are covered by these federal standards).

Defective cars and malfunctioning parts usually get discovered only after these have already caused injuries or death to unsuspecting vehicle owners. Thus, it is of utmost importance to report any suspected defect to the NHTSA. Similar complaints from different owners about the same car brand and model is signal to the NHTSA to conduct an investigation about the vehicle in question.

Today’s vehicles are equipped with increasingly advanced safety features. An Oklahoma personal injury lawyer would likely acknowledge, however, that these features become useless if there are manufacturing or design flaws. Manufacturing mistakes and flaws in vehicle design, as well as the failure to detect these, are signs of grave negligence and carelessness on the part of manufacturers.

Car Accidents and Personal Injury

When it comes to transportation, we all have own preferences, but what everyone shares is the fact that we are all pedestrians. In all types of roads, whether intersections or crosswalks, pedestrians are wrought with dangers and risks. This is doubled in heavily populated areas such as a busy street in downtown or school areas. Unfortunately, in the U.S. the number of fatalities involving pedestrians has increased significantly, and although pedestrians have the “right of way” in most situations, there are still certain rules that each should follow for their own protection.

In an event of a car-pedestrian accident, it is usually rests on negligence. It is considered negligence on the part of a motorist (or pedestrian) if they have failed to practice reasonable care, which eventually resulted to injuries or damages to another person. For any type of vehicle, it does not take much force to injure a pedestrian: a speed of 10 miles per hour can already cause injuries to a pedestrian, while a vehicle going 30 miles per hour can lead to serious injuries after an auto accident.

If the pedestrian is the victim and the motorist is the one at fault, it would be better for the victim to file for a personal injury claim against the motorist. The Benton Law Firm, who has years of dealing with these types of lawsuits, asserts that these personal injury claims are not only for financial compensation, criminal liability can also be taken in order to prevent future accidents and injuries that may result from the motorists carelessness. In many states, car accidents involving pedestrians are viewed as reckless driving and are considered a misdemeanor offense.

Although it is generally the motorists who should yield to a pedestrians “right of way”, there are also instances where the pedestrians has violated safety rules and regulations. It is important to ensure that evidence and documentation regarding the incident should be presented if filing for a personal injury claim.

Car and Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycles have been viewed negatively by many people, and public perception of motorcycles and riders are that they are always the one at fault during a motorcycle and auto accident. The misperception is mainly due to the influence and image of riders and motorcycles portrayed stereotypically in the media and literature, and this has affected how people view riders or motorcyclists, and when they are involved in a road collision they are seen immediately as the one at fault.

What car and truck drivers should know about riders or motorcyclists is that because of their small size, they can be difficult to see on the road, and are difficult to determine the speed and distance when on the road. Also, that the time needed for motorcycles to stop is about the same with other vehicles on the road; therefore it would always be better to maintain a safe distance from a motorcycle, especially on slippery roads. Motorist also often tend to forget to yield when turning, resulting to collisions because the motorist simply did not see the rider or motorcyclist before turning. Riders or motorcyclists, on the other hand, should understand that they are should make their presence known when they are on the road, making sure that other motorists are aware that they are there and maintain a safe distance.

There are several ways in which a rider can cause an accident while they are on the road, and these are mainly because of their dangerous driving habits rather than being in motorcycles. Numerous driving conducts is mainly what causes people to view motorcyclists in bad light. According to the Mokaram Law Firm, these negative driving conducts are what hinders in claiming the financial compensation from insurance companies after an auto accident. Due to the fact that motorcyclists have very little protection compared to other motorists, injuries after a road accident often result in serious to life-threatening results. Riders should be aware of safety protocols as well as their rights on the road and know how to protect them, particularly after a road accident.