Motor Vehicle Accidents

What is the Self-Drive Act?

On September 6, 2017, the House of Representatives passed a bill intended to ease self-driving cars onto the roads, changing federal rules for safety and vehicle testing.

Under the Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research In Vehicle Evolution Act, or Self Drive Act, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) would be required to develop a new set of safety rules for autonomous cars. The bill would exempt autonomous cars from certain federal safety rules in favor of new ones promulgated by the DOT. The legislation seeks to ensure the safe, innovative development, testing, and deployment of self-driving cars. The act would also provide more opportunities for research and development.

Under the Act, the Department of Transportation would develop a new safety certification process to set standards governing self-driving car automakers. The DOT would develop and implement a long-term rulemaking plan for self-driving car testing and deployment on roads.

Continue Reading Self-Driving Car Bill Passed by House – Will Federal Law Pre-empt State Law for Self-Driving Cars?

You’re meeting friends for dinner and without a second thought pull up your ridesharing app (such as Uber or Lyft). To save a few dollars, you opt for the company’s shared ride service. The company offers this cost-saving option to allow multiple passengers – who do not know each other – to share rides.

The car pulls up as scheduled and you get in. The other passenger looks at you intently and ignores your attempt at conversation. Then, at a stop light, he pulls out a gun and robs you. When you resist, he pistol whips you repeatedly. Now you’re dazed and bleeding, your cell phone and wallet are gone and you’re left wondering what to do.

Sound farfetched?

Continue Reading Should You Share Your Rideshare?

Your car breaks down. You call a tow truck and a ridesharing service. The car pulls up and you get in. The driver seems a bit disheveled but you brush it off because you are in a hurry to get to a meeting. After you’re on your way, the smell of alcohol is unmistakable and suspecting the driver is drunk, you tell him to pull over. Before he can do so, he rear-ends the car in front of you, opens the door, and takes off running. Now, you’ve got a gash above your eye and you’re stranded. To make matters worse, when you get out of the car to call the police, someone steals your laptop from the backseat.

Continue Reading Do You Know Who Your Uber Driver Is?

Your plane just landed in Newark and you open your ridesharing app to arrange for a ride. A few minutes later, the driver texts you that he has arrived. You have his photo, license plate number, and description of the car and you spot him as soon as you step outside. All is well. You get into the car and suddenly a van rear-ends the ridesharing car. You’re injured. Now what? Who will pay your medical bills?

New Jersey legislators recently addressed that question. Under the newly enacted Transportation Network Company Safety and Regulatory Act, drivers and the ridesharing companies that employ them must meet certain insurance coverage standards.

The new law provides for $1.5 million in coverage under certain conditions as explained below.

Continue Reading What Happens if my Uber or Lyft Driver Has an Accident?

Summer is almost here! Do you know where your kids will be going? Amusement parks, day camp, swimming pools, lakes, the shore, grandma’s – the list of fun things to do is almost endless.

But if they are getting in a car – don’t forget to check on car restraints. Are there enough age appropriate car restraints in the car for all of the children who are going on the trip? Ask and check. Before your child rides in a car, ask the driver if he or she has the appropriate car restraints. If need be, install your child’s own car seat in the car. Never allow a child under 13 years old to ride in the front seat unless the air bag is deactivated. If they are old enough, talk to your kids about not getting into a car without appropriate child safety restraints.

Why is this so important? Because between 2010 and 2014, 2,885 children died in motor vehicle accidents in the United States – and almost half of them (43 percent) were not wearing seatbelts or were improperly restrained. Another 15 percent were sitting inappropriately in the front seat.

Continue Reading Are Your Kids Taking a Summer Vacation from Car Restraints?

Red light cameras have become a hot topic in many states. Some people view them as a safety measure, whereas others view them as only a moneymaker for municipalities. Even still, others view them as unwanted governmental intrusion into citizens’ private lives. As a result of the criticisms raised over the cameras, some states have opted to turn them off.

As some states have started to turn off the cameras, new research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that turning off red light traffic signal cameras actually costs lives. The Institute’s research shows that red light programs in 79 large U.S. cities saved nearly 1,300 lives through 2014.

Continue Reading Can Red Light Cameras Actually Save Lives?

If you think you think you can drink heavily all night and be okay to drive in the morning you may end up seriously injuring someone on your way to work. And if you are the bar or restaurant that served that drunk driver, you remain open to liability lawsuits. Worse than either of these is the result for innocent drivers who are caught in the ensuing accidents from “morning-after” drunk drivers.

Continue Reading Morning-After Hangover Accident Results in Judgement Against Driver & Night Club

In decades ahead, driverless cars may be the new norm in America. Recently, Tesla Motors discloses the first-known death caused by a self-driving car. In that accident, the driver put his car into Tesla’s autopilot mode. The autopilot mode is able to control the car during highway driving. The car’s sensors apparently failed to distinguish a large, white 18-wheel tractor-trailer crossing the highway. The car attempted to drive full speed under the trailer, and the bottom of the trailer impacted the windshield of the car.

A police report stated the top of the vehicle was torn off by the force of the collision. However, the truck’s driver was not injured. Tesla noted that this was the company’s first known autopilot death in approximately 130 million miles driven by its customers. Tesla further noted that within the US, among all vehicles driven, there is a fatality every 94 million miles.

Continue Reading After Tesla Autopilot Death: Could Self-Driving Cars Actually Make the Roads Safer?

Everyone knows that a drunk driver is liable for injuries he causes while behind the wheel. But what about the person or place that served the driver alcoholic beverages before he started driving? Is that person or place liable for injuries the person causes later on when driving while intoxicated? A recent case delves into this issue.

Continue Reading Who is Really at Fault for Injuries Suffered at the Hands of Drunk Drivers?

Snow Removal Law

Now that the temperatures outside have started to dip and the winter driving season is upon us, it is time to remind you of New Jersey’s ice and snow removal law. Remember to remove all ice and snow from your vehicle before driving, especially from the hood, windows, and roof. Motorists who fail to obey this law face fines of $25 to $75 for each offense, regardless of whether the ice and snow is dislodged from the vehicle. If flying ice or snow causes property damage or injury to others, motorists face fines of $200 to $1,000 for each offense.

Also keep in mind that flying ice or snow can cause a car accident, resulting in injury or death to anyone on the roadway. If you cause an accident and injure or kill someone, you could be sued and your assets could be at risk. So be safe and remove all ice and snow off of your car every single time before you drive. It could be the difference between causing an accident and getting home safely. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident as a result of snow or ice that became dislodged from a vehicle on the roadway, see legal counsel immediately.

Winter Driving Tips

The State’s Division of Highway Traffic Safety offers some winter driving tips, which are worth repeating here. Read them over, and always remember to drive safely and follow all motor vehicle laws. The State’s winter driving tips are:

  • Drive slow (at or below the posted speed limit) and adjust your speed for the changing road conditions.
  • Turn on your headlights, using low beams when traveling in snow.
  • Increase your following distance. In winter weather, travel at least eight to 10 seconds behind the car in front of you.
  • Give snowplows plenty of room to work. Don’t tailgate and try not to pass. If you must pass, take extreme caution in doing so. Remember, a snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see him, but they don’t always see you.
  • If you skid, don’t brake or accelerate. Remove your foot from the gas, and gently steer your car in the direction of the skid (the direction the rear of your vehicle is sliding.) When your car starts heading in the desired direction, carefully straighten the wheel.
  • Slow down before exiting the highway. Exit ramps often have icy patches, sharp curves and stalled or stopped vehicles.
  • Have a personal safety kit easily accessible in your vehicle that includes: an ice scraper/brush; shovel; jumper cables or battery starter; blanket; sand, salt or kitty litter for traction; lock de-icer; flashlight and new batteries; extra windshield wiper fluid; safety flares/warning device; cell phone with spare battery; water and non-perishable food (i.e., granola or protein bars); and paper towels or a cloth.
  • If your vehicle does become disabled, pull off the road as far as possible and turn on your emergency flashers. Remain with your vehicle until help arrives. If you can’t get your vehicle off the road and are uncertain about your safety, do not stay in your vehicle or stand behind it. Proceed carefully to a safe location away from traffic.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident caused by someone who wasn’t paying attention, you should contact legal counsel immediately. Stark & Stark is dedicated to helping injured people and we can make sure that your rights are represented. The insurance companies have people working hard on their side, and so should you.