Test Your Knowledge About Distracted Driving – What You Know Can Keep You Safe and Those You Care About

Posted by Joel Feldman on Oct 18, 2016 1:39:27 PM

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”  Nelson Mandela

In 2015 we lost more than 35,000 in traffic crashes. The percentage increase over 2014 was the largest percentage increase in 50 years. Traffic deaths had been trending downward since 2007  and the early estimates for 2016 indicate that even more of us will be killed than in 2015. The largest percentage  increase in 2015 fatalities was for distracted driving, even larger than drunk driving and speeding. October 16-22 is National Teen Driver Safety Week.  As the most inexperienced of drivers teens are disproportionately affected by distracted driving, with recent studies suggesting that distraction may be responsible for more than 50% of teen crashes. Tragically, almost 3,000 teens die annually in traffic crashes. Accordingly, EndDD.org (End Distracted Driving) and Anapol Weiss, a Philadelphia Law firm, have teamed up to create a distracted driving quiz to educate all of us about distracted driving. EndDD.org provides free distracted driving presentations to DistractedDrivingQuiz.pngstudents across the country and Anapol Weiss attorneys have spoken to more than 100,000 students since 2012. There is no better time than now to test your knowledge about distracted driving by taking the EndDD.org/Anapol Weiss Distracted Driving Quiz.

Distracted driving is so prevalent. Some drivers believe that they are such good drivers that they can take chances while driving. Others just don’t realize the risks they are taking when they use a smartphone to text, access e-mail, use Facebook, use Snapchat, apply makeup, or do one of a number of things that take our concentration away from driving. What percentage of drivers feel threatened by other drivers cell phone use while driving? Who texts more while driving - teens or 30 year olds? If parents drive distracted are their children more likely to also drive distracted? Are “hands-free” and “voice-activated” devices safer?

Learn the answers to these questions and many more with our interactive quiz.  Please use this link to take the test and share with those you care about. http://www.enddd.org/end-distracted-driving-quiz/

The vast majority of distracted driving crashes are preventable. Education and awareness are vital to reducing senseless distracted driving crashes. What you know can save your life and others.

To schedule a free distracted driving presentation at a school, community event or work, place go to EndDD.org - Host a Presentation. 

 

Topics: Auto Accidents, Distracted Driving, ENDDD

National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 16-22

Posted by Joel Feldman on Oct 14, 2016 2:22:54 PM

The leading cause of death for teens is motor vehicle crashes. Distracted driving is now believed to contribute to more than 50% of serious teen crashes. Unfortunately the number of fatalities grew in 2015 over 2014 and is likely to continue to grow again in 2016. Teens die in car crashes at nearly tree times the rate of any other age group so this is terrible news for our youngest drivers.

In recognition of these unfortunate facts National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 16-22. Many IMG_2453.jpgorganizations will be working to keep our most inexperienced of drivers safe. Raising awareness during this week  is very important, but Anapol Weiss believes that crashes, injuries and deaths from distracted driving are at epidemic proportions for our teens and we can’t just focus on this crisis one week in the year. To do our part to keep teens safe Anapol Weiss attorneys have been volunteering to go into middle schools and high schools and give free distracted driving presentations developed by EndDD.org  Since 2010 Anapol Weiss attorneys have spoken with more than 100,000 students across the country. The presentation is IMG_9083.jpgscience-based and was developed with the help of researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia(CHOP).  

Click here to schedule a free presentation in your community.

But we all can do more to reduce distracted driving crashes. Businesses can adopt safe driving policies like the one we have at Anapol Weiss. Parents must model safe driving behavior for their children. It isn't good enough to tell our children not to drive distracted, we must stop driving distracted ourselves and be the drivers we want our children to be. Here is a Family Safe Driving Agreement that can be used to initiate a  conversation within your family. Doing so could save your children’s’ lives.

Topics: Auto Accidents

Federal Regulators Dropping the Ball on Autonomous Vehicle Safety

Posted by Larry Coben on Sep 29, 2016 11:34:40 AM

Autonomous vehicles may be the most significant technological development we’ll see in our lifetime, but recently the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued guidelines that fail to provide thoughtful, thorough regulatory guidance. In doing so NHTSA ignored its Congressional mandate and passed the buck to the states.

Rather than provide us with one set of consistent, national regulations that prioritize transparency, safety, and accountability, NHTSA is pushing us into a patchwork of state-by-state rules that will create confusion when clarity is badly needed.

This exciting technology has the power to improve highway safety, but not if the automobile industry is left to its own devices. From faulty airbags to dangerous ignition switches, hidden devices to conceal exhaust levels, and malfunctioning gas pedals, auto manufacturers have a well-documented record of carelessness and negligence.

Now, because of NHTSA’s failure, auto makers will be able to duck responsibility if their autonomous vehicles malfunction and cause injury or death. Consumers will be in a horror scene from a sci-fi movie every time an autonomous vehicle is on the road.

We believe that NHTSA is making a grave mistake by failing to uphold its federal obligation to ensure transparency, safety, and accountability at this critical moment and we urge them to reconsider their reckless approach immediately.

Larry Coben earned his law degree, cum laude, from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in 1973. He has represented clients in nearly every state in the U.S. against multi-national corporations marketing Coben-1.jpgdefective and unsafe products.

In addition to hundreds of articles in various publications, Larry has authored three books:

  • Crashworthiness Litigation, 2d, American Association of Justice, 2008.
  • Products Liability Litigation: Product Studies—Chapters on Crashworthiness, Frontal, Restraint Systems, Seat Belts. Clark, Boardman and Callaghan, 1996.
  • Pennsylvania Products Liability Guide, Bisel Publishing Co., 1993.

Topics: Auto Accidents, Crash Safety

This Little-Known Pennsylvania Driving Law Could Save Lives

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Sep 14, 2016 10:23:25 AM

Have you ever heard of Pennsylvania’s “Steer Clear” law? This important piece of the PA vehicle code requires drivers to move over at least one lane or slow down when they encounter an emergency scene, traffic stop, or disabled vehicle where emergency responders such as law enforcement, tow truck operators, and/or PennDOT personnel and vehicles are present.

The law is intended to prevent injuries and save lives, but it only works if drivers are aware of it and too often they’re not. According to this story in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports that there were 76 crashes involving parked vehicles in the state in 2014 and 82 in 2015. An annual average of 90 crashes a year were recorded from 2000-06 before the “Steer Clear” law. That average fell just below 85 in the years since the law passed.

Marzzacco1.jpg

Anapol Weiss attorney Christopher Marzzacco has worked on numerous cases where accidents involving responders could have been avoided had drivers been more familiar with the “Steer Clear” law.

If you have questions about the “Steer Clear” law, or if you or someone you know was injured by a driver who violated the law, contact Christopher. 

Topics: Auto Accidents, Anapol Weiss, Distracted Driving

No Substitute for Visiting the Scene of an Accident say Top PA Accident Lawyers Ryan Hurd & Jim Ronca

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Sep 12, 2016 12:30:17 PM

In a recent piece in The Legal Intelligencer, Ryan Hurd and Jim Ronca of Anapol Weiss contend that 632_P_AnapolWeissLaw_Event.jpgdespite technology and time constraints, there is no substitute for a physical visit to the scene of an accident in assuring due diligence on behalf of car accident victims and other plaintiffs. Citing examples ranging from a fatal car accident to a slip and fall at work, the top PA personal injury attorneys describe instances in which crucial evidence and testimony was discovered even after an official car accident report and defense investigation. They further demonstrate the inherent value of firsthand knowledge of the accident scene for evaluating whether or not to accept a case or preparing an attorney to place testimony and evidence in context.

Topics: Auto Accidents, Anapol Weiss, Distracted Driving, Motorcycle Accident, Truck Accidents

Joel Feldman of Anapol Weiss & EndDD.org Advises Personal Injury Attorneys on Helping Clients through Post-Trauma

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Sep 9, 2016 11:54:29 AM

In his advocacy for victims of distracted driving, Joel Feldman of Anapol Weiss, also advocates a paradigm shift in how personal injury lawyers conceive and respond to families’ grief.

444_P_Anapol_Weiss_Lawfirm.jpgMr. Feldman described in a contribution to the Legal Intelligencer how his own tragic loss inspired deeper insight into the grieving process of his clients and their need for information in wrongful death settlements. He explains that, with the best intentions, wrongful death attorneys often pursue swift settlements when auto insurers approve the maximum claim. They assume, as Mr. Feldman once did, that this is the best “closure” that they can provide a grieving family, however he advises that for a grieving family, "closure" is both elusive and frequently undesired—tantamount to forgetting their loved one.

Mr. Feldman advocates a shift in both procedure and attitude in wrongful death cases. First, he explains how his experience taught him the value of detailed information in comprehending loss and that he now makes a specific effort to obtain a written statement from the defendant addressing his client’s need for as much detailed information as possible. Secondly, he advises attorneys that in responding to their client’s grief, they must avoid suggestions of “closure” that may feel disrespectful to their loved ones’ significance and proscribes a deeper understanding of the grieving process that suggests seeking meaning through loss, a distinction that appreciates that a family can not close-the-book on their loved one, but can, in their post-trauma, open a new chapter that honors their memory.

Topics: Auto Accidents, Anapol Weiss, Distracted Driving, wrongful death

Chris Marzzacco Makes the Case for Legal Action to Stop Texting and Driving

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Sep 8, 2016 11:31:03 AM

In his recent contribution to the Legal Intelligencer, Christopher Marzzacco of Anapol Weiss cites the alarming statistic that distracted driving caused 15,000 crashes in 2015 in Pennsylvania and warns that this figure is not likely to reduce until, like drunk driving, distracted driving becomes socially unacceptable. Mr. Marzzacco persuades us that stronger legal consequences will help facilitate this social change by demanding the public more deeply consider the personal consequences of distracted driving.

Marzzacco1-1.jpgA number of recent and upcoming bills in both Pennsylvania and surrounding states contribute in unique ways towards a reconsideration of what constitutes distracted driving and why we do it. In Pennsylvania, it is currently illegal to text and drive, but not talk and drive. A new bill aims to ban all cell phone use while driving and allow PA to catch up with other states in its recognition of cell phone use as inherently dangerous. Another bill strengthens judicial sentencing authority while allowing victims and their families to seek punitive damages from texting and driving accidents.

The boldest idea highlighting the dangers of texting and driving extends liability to a person who knowingly texts a driver behind the wheel. While a controversial issue, it sends a clear message that texting while driving is a deadly problem and that safe driving is a shared responsibility.

Topics: Auto Accidents, Anapol Weiss, Distracted Driving

5 Summer Driving Tips

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jun 20, 2016 12:32:45 PM

Summer_driving_tips.pngSummer brings with it a whole host of new driving dangers and concerns. While conventional wisdom might tell us that driving in wintery conditions is the most dangerous, August actually ranks as the most dangerous month of the year to drive. With these added dangers, focused driving is more important than ever to avoid an auto collision. Stay aware of the following risks as you drive this summer:

  1. Teenagers are on the road. Statistically, young drivers are involved in the most car accidents. With school over for the year, teens flood onto the roads in larger numbers than they have for months. This poses an increased risk both for them and for the drivers around them. New and experienced drivers alike should take particular care as they navigate the roads throughout the summer.

  2. The Fourth of July is the most dangerous day of the year to drive. Whether it’s the huge number of people out on the road, the festive atmosphere, or the proclivity to daytime drinking, several factors contribute to making July 4th a risky day to drive. Data from 2007 tells us that 926 people were killed in auto accidents in just that one day.

  3. Certain hours are riskier than others. More auto collisions tend to occur during rush hour. The hours between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. are the most dangerous time to be on the road in terms of the absolute number of people killed. The hours between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m., however, see the highest number of fatalities proportionally (less drivers are on the road, but more of them are involved in accidents).

  4. Weekend traffic can lead to more incidents. The shore traffic from Philadelphia to South Jersey is legendary. Not only are the roads congested, but people may be more inclined to use their cell phones when they are stuck in traffic. Unfortunately, using a cell phone while momentarily stopped is not a safe driving practice, and contributes to car crashes.

  5. Hot weather contributes to car troubles. The extreme heat of summer months can adversely affect the car’s battery, engine, and tires. Make sure to stay on top of repairs and maintenance throughout the summer months.

Even if you take every possible care, other people’s bad decisions and carelessness can still put you in danger. Anapol Weiss has decades of experience dealing with victims of car accidents and truck accidents. Contact our car accident attorneys to get your legal questions answered.

Topics: Auto Accidents, Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving: The Myth of Multi-Tasking

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jun 14, 2016 3:48:55 PM

Distracted_Driving_MultiTasking.jpgIn a fast-moving world, we all fall prey to the trap of doing too many things at once. Work, family, and other responsibilities pile up, and many of us feel like doing only one thing at a time is not enough. Too often, we turn to multi-tasking out of habit, convenience, or the need to accomplish more tasks than we have hours in the day. But rather than helping us get more done, multi-tasking can be detrimental to our work and lives in a variety of ways. As tempting as it may be, multi-tasking can have tragic and even deadly consequences.

Studies on Multi-Tasking

Studies show that only about three percent of us actually have brains wired to be able to multi-task, meaning to do more than one thing at the same time. As for the rest of us, when we try to do multiple things at once, we actually switch from one task to the other and both tasks suffer. You may think that you can watch television and respond to emails at the same time, but in fact, you are probably switching quickly between the two. In this scenario, your focus on both activities is not as strong as it could be, and your emails may be less coherent or take longer to accomplish. If one of the tasks is driving or operating heavy machinery, the consequences are much larger.

Switching back and forth between two activities takes a toll on both activities. As you multi-task and switch between activities, it takes some time to refocus your attention on the original task. Imagine you are driving with your full attention on the road, and you stop at a red light. Is it safe to pull out your phone now and check your emails, if you put it away again when the light turns green? Surprisingly, studies show that it takes 18 to 27 seconds for you to refocus your attention on driving – even after the light has turned green and you have put your phone down to drive. You still risk driving distracted if you use your phone at red lights because of the time it takes to regain full concentration on a task.

While we might be able to pat our heads and rub our stomachs at the same time, tasks with a more significant cognitive component require our full attention. Certain activities are more cognitively demanding than others, and tasks like driving rank high in terms of how much cognition they require. Definitions of multi-tasking vary among traffic safety experts; some consider multi-tasking to be two tasks of any kind (e.g., driving and changing the radio station), while others consider it to only apply to cognitive tasks (e.g., driving and talking on the phone).

Research has demonstrated clearly the degree to which multi-tasking while driving can affect concentration on the road. Using MRI technology, one study showed that a sentence listening task (in which participants answered true/false questions of increasing difficulty) reduced participants’ visual resources by 37 percent. The brain becomes overloaded; driving is a demanding cognitive task by itself, and the additional cognitive task of answering questions transfers resources away from vision to cognition.

Hands-Free is Not Risk-Free

As states passed laws prohibiting using a cell phone while driving, “hands-free” technology began to emerge in response. Today, drivers can use a Bluetooth instead of a physical cell phone. Drivers can now even use voice-activation to give commands and receive responses. However, as previously discussed, the cognitive demands of these activities remain, pulling the driver’s attention away from the road. One study measured the degree of cognitive distractions for tasks, rating them on a five point scale. Listening to the radio causes minimal risk distraction, ranked in Category 1. Talking on a cell phone, either handheld or hands-free (studies find the difference between the two to be negligible), was ranked in Category 2: moderate risk distraction. Listening to and responding to voice-activated features ranked at a Category 3, or extensive risk. The study proved that hands-free does not mean risk free; our brains can still become highly distracted even if our eyes and hands remain engaged.

The news is littered with examples of lives destroyed by distracted driving or multi-tasking while driving.

In April 2014, a Pennsylvanian motorcyclist suffered catastrophic injuries, later resulting in an amputation, when he was struck from behind by a tractor trailer. The driver’s phone records later showed that he had been engaged in a nine-minute cell phone call at the time of the accident. Had the driver been more focused on the road and not multi-tasking, he might have noticed the motorcyclist and stopped sooner.

In February 2014, a school bus driver was killed when involved in a distracted driving-related car crash on a highway in New Jersey. The vehicle in front of the school bus made a risky left-hand turn across a lane of traffic. The driver of a tractor trailer coming in the other direction had been on the phone for 25 minutes and did not notice the vehicle cut in front of him. Rather than hit the tractor trailer, he swerved into the other lane and crashed into the school bus head on. The driver was using Bluetooth, a hands-free device, but the distraction of the phone call was still enough to slow his reflexes and prevent him from stopping in time.

In August 2010, three young women were driving home on an Arizona highway when their car broke down in the middle of the road. A taxi driver in the lane behind them was momentarily distracted when his in-vehicle computer beeped to alert him to the location of his next fare. He looked away from the road to read the message on the screen, and crashed into the back of the stalled car. The car burst into flames, and all three women suffered severe burns. The taxi driver’s distraction, however momentary, tragically changed the lives of three young people.

The examples go on and on; the stories above are just a few of the victims Anapol Weiss has represented. The distracted driving story closest to our hearts, however, is that of Shareholder Joel Feldman’s daughter Casey, who was killed in 2009 by a distracted driver reaching across his car for an iced tea.

Creating Positive Change

Through his EndDD.org campaign, Shareholder Joel
Feldman has reached hundreds of thousands of
people in the U.S. and Canada. Below are a few
changes his organization has made to combat the
epidemic of distracted driving. 

  • Produced a distracted driving PSA for the
    U.S. Department of Transportation
  • Worked with Pennsylvania State Senators
    Teplitz and Wosniak on proposed legislation
    prohibiting handheld use of cell phones for
    making or receiving calls while driving
  • Brought the issue of distracted driving to the
    Today Show on NBC and CBS Philly
  • Spoke at the National Transportation Safety
    Board’s first multi-model roundtable discussion,
    “Disconnect From Deadly Distractions,” in
    Washington, D.C.
  • Presented a science-based distracted driving
    program to 300,000 teens across the country
    at no cost to the schools

Pledging to Make a Difference

It is not enough to refrain from driving when intoxicated or overtired. It is not enough to avoid texting or talking on the phone while driving. Car crashes and other incidents occur all the time from simple inattentiveness. It only takes a split second to become distracted – by changing the radio station, fixing the GPS, reaching for a drink, taking a bite of a snack, or putting on lipstick.

The difficulty lies in the fact that human beings are inherently prone to distraction. At work, walking down the street, or behind the wheel of the car, we all experience the feeling of our minds jumping from one thing to another. Distraction is not a negative phenomenon in and of itself; it helps us to discover creative solutions to problems in our personal and professional lives. However, when driving, we take on a responsibility to conquer that tendency to the best of our abilities. Your life and the lives of those around you depend on it. Although everyone’s mind drifts sometimes, we can do everything in our power to minimize distractions by refraining from multi-tasking and dedicating 100 percent of ourselves to the task of driving a car.

Please take a look at End Distracted Driving (EndDD.org), an organization founded by Joel and his wife, Dianne Anderson, after Casey’s death. With the volunteered help of trial lawyers and other professionals, EndDD.org has reached more than 300,000 teens across the country with presentations on the dangers of distracted driving. EndDD.org’s family-centered safe driving agreement offers a checklist of simple steps you can take to avoid being a distracted driver. In partnership with EndDD.org, Anapol Weiss has a downloadable safe driving policy to promote safe driving habits among employers and employees. With these tools, families, businesses and communities can do their part to make the roadways safer and distraction-free.

Take a pledge with us to refrain from driving or operating equipment while distracted or multi-tasking.

Topics: Auto Accidents, Distracted Driving

Challenging Auto Manufacturers to Make Safer Cars and Trucks

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jun 9, 2016 11:18:43 AM

Challenging_Automakers.jpgCrashworthiness refers to a motor vehicle’s ability to safely protect people during a collision. Cars and trucks must have various safety features, such as airbags, headrests, roll bars and seat belts, that are meant to prevent or lessen injuries. When these features fail, unnecessary injuries occur.

Automakers have, without question, a responsibility to sell cars and trucks with safety features that work properly each and every time. Unfortunately, automotive defects continue to occur and in greater numbers.  Industry analysts told MarketWatch that  safety recalls were “well above” usual in 2015, with a record 51 million cars recalled in nearly 900 campaigns.  The year 2016 could be another banner year with additional cars affected by the Takata airbag recall ­- another 35 to 40 million cars were added in May.  Some estimate that nearly one-quarter of all vehicles on the road in the U.S. could be subject to a safety recall.

Failure to Equip?

Some vehicle manufacturers began introducing ground-breaking safety technology to minimize or reduce the risk of crashes in their products beginning in the mid-2000s. Since then, others have joined the ranks but these features are either only being added as optional features or limited to luxury vehicles.

The absence of these safety features may cause an accident or serious injury. As a result, litigation surrounding the corporate decision not to include computer aided technology is rapidly trending in the court system. Some of the safety features whose absence may lend to a “failure to equip” claim include: automatic emergency braking with collision warning, lane control and lane departure warning, blind spot assist, and autopilot.

Holding Vehicle Manufacturers Accountable

Anapol Weiss is committed to taking auto manufacturers to task.  Over the past 40 years, we have battled with automotive giants such as General Motors, Volkswagen, Honda and Ford for design and manufacturing defects that killed or seriously injured passengers.

Vehicle owners and passengers have a right to expect the best protection possible from their cars and trucks. When an automotive defect results in death or catastrophic injury, our crashworthiness team will hold automakers accountable.

Topics: Auto Accidents, Crash Safety, Product Liability, Defective Airbag

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