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May 28, 2014

Fatal Maryville Wreck Demonstrates Victims Deserve Compensation for Injuries Despite Criminal Charges

file841272198500 morguefile username Jusben.jpgA 27-year-old Walland motorist was recently charged with vehicular homicide, assault, and reckless endangerment in connection with a deadly three-car crash on U.S. Highway 411 in Blount County. According to local authorities, the man was northbound on the roadway when he attempted to pass another motorist at a high rate of speed in the center lane. The 27-year-old apparently lost control of the vehicle and crossed into the southbound lanes where he struck two other automobiles. Sadly, a 72-year-old Tellico Plains woman was killed in the traffic wreck. A 76-year-old passenger in her car was taken by ambulance to the University of Tennessee Medical center for treatment. Additionally, a 19-year-old Maryville woman was treated and released by Blount Memorial Hospital for injuries she purportedly sustained in the crash.

Local authorities stated all three victims were wearing a seat belt when the wreck occurred. The Walland man who stands accused of causing the fatal accident, however, sustained a number of avoidable wounds when he was ejected from his vehicle. The man was apparently released from the hospital the same day he was criminally charged.

The exact cause of the deadly collision is under investigation by the Traffic Safety Unit of the Blount County Sherriff's Office. At this time, law enforcement apparently believes drugs or alcohol may have played a role in the fatal traffic accident. A spokesperson for local authorities stated toxicology results on the 27-year-old driver are still pending.

Continue reading "Fatal Maryville Wreck Demonstrates Victims Deserve Compensation for Injuries Despite Criminal Charges" »

January 8, 2014

Tennessee Traffic Fatalities Down in 2013, Blount County Alcohol Related Accidents Down According to Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Data

TrafficDataTennesse and Blount county roads are well travelled, and not everyone drives safely or obeys the rules. With so many cars on the road, car accidents are inevitable and regularly reported in the media. If you have been injured or lost a loved one due the the negligent driving of another, you should speak with a local car accident attorney.

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The good news is that car accident fatalities in Tennessee are down. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security ("TDOSHS ") recently release its preliminary traffic crash data and statistics report. According to the figures, accident fatalities in Tennessee had a more than 2 percent decrease, falling from 1,015 in 2012 to 988 in 2013. This is the fourth time in 50 years that vehicular fatalities were below 1,000. The report is an annual preliminary report that is released every January outlining state and county traffic fatalities, injuries, and property damage. It even breaks down contributing factors like age, alcohol, and deer. However, it was not all good news as pedestrian fatalities have increased by 25 percent over the past year from 68 in 2012 to 85 in 2013.

In the TDOSHS press release about the data, Commissioner Bill Gibbons stated, "The decline in the number of traffic fatalities in 2013 indicates that Tennessee is moving in the right direction." Gibbons claims that state troopers who are being deployed as a direct result of the most recent data available allows for maximum impact on enforcing laws relating to DUI and seat belt enforcement. Gibbons believes there is still a lot of work left to complete, however. The press release noted that fatalities related to impaired driving decreased by 26.6% from 2010 to 2013 while state troopers increased the number of DUI arrests and seat belt citations.

Continue reading "Tennessee Traffic Fatalities Down in 2013, Blount County Alcohol Related Accidents Down According to Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Data" »

December 27, 2013

Maryville and Knoxville Tennessee, Celebrate Responsibly While Ringing in the New Year, Don't Drink and Drive

sphere_bldg.png2014 is only a few days away and it is time to say goodbye to 2013. Many Knoxville and Maryville residents will mark the event by watching Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest. However, the more social among us may want to ring in the new year with other people. There is no shortage of fun and exciting things for both families and adults do in Knoxville. Our car accident attorneys wish everyone a safe and wonderful new year.

According to an AP-Times Square New Year's Eve Poll, 54 percent of us will be celebrating at home, while 1 in 5 will be at someone else's house, and 8 percent will go to a bar or organized event.

For a small taste of things to do and see for your New Year's celebration in Knoxville:

  • Couples who wish to dress up and dine on a 1920's themed dinner prepared by local favorite, Holly Hambright, can attend the New Year's dinner at the Candoro Arts & Heritage Center.

  • Catering to the aquatically adventurous, the Volunteer Princess offers a fabulous cruise down the Tennessee River while enjoying a full bar and live music.

  • For families with children, they can celebrate at noon on the 31st at the East Tennessee Discovery Center. There will be a ball drop with confetti. Children can enjoy the play spaces including the newly unveiled Imagination Playground.

  • Want to enjoy bringing in the new year with a soulful local band, see the Dirty Guv'nahs play at the Tennsseee Theatre.

  • For the healthy, you can do a New Years 5k run on January 1.

Continue reading "Maryville and Knoxville Tennessee, Celebrate Responsibly While Ringing in the New Year, Don't Drink and Drive" »

April 17, 2013

Triple Fatality Knoxville DUI Suspect on Trial for Vehicular Homicide

At the same time a 23-year-old University of Tennessee Honors graduate was getting behind the wheel of his vehicle after drinking, a young, pregnant mother was heading out to help a friend who had run out of gas.
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Their worlds collided violently when that 23-year-old student slammed into the young mother, killing her, her unborn child and another good Samaritan. The Samaritan was a 45-year-old man who lived nearby and had stopped to see if the women needed assistance.

Our Knoxville personal injury lawyers, like so many in this community, encourage you to drink responsibly as we head into the heart of the spring and summer travel season.

A reconstructionist expert with the Knoxville Police Department testified there is no indication that the young driver even touched his brakes or made any effort to stop after the crash. Instead, he fled to his nearby residence, where detectives found him a short time later. By the time they arrived, officers said there was evidence that the defendant had already attempted to wash the blood from his sport utility vehicle.

The woman who had run out of gas was not injured, but she took her own life several months later.

The crash occurred last spring. The defendant is now on trial on 11 felony charges, including three counts of vehicular homicide, DUI, reckless endangerment and hit-and-run. The emotional trial has been heavily covered by local media. One of the latest revelations came from the student's roommate, who testified that the driver admitted to being drunk that night when he arrived back home.

The defendant's lawyer is attempting to argue that while his client was drinking, he was not legally drunk. It's going to be a hard-sell defense, but even if he's successful, it doesn't change the fact that three innocent people are dead as a result of gross negligence.

Many times in cases like this, regardless of the criminal trial outcome, survivors of drunk driving crashes will pursue civil action.

Criminal cases are all about penalties that the defendant must pay for his crime against society. Civil cases are about repaying damages to you for your great loss. This may include out-of-pocket medical expenses, medical bills, actual or potential lost earnings, emotional distress and pain and suffering. Survivors who have lost a spouse or child or parent may also sue for loss of companionship or services.

While nothing will ever bring your loved one back, the idea is to help restore you, to whatever extent is possible.

In cases of drunk drivers, it's also possible for claimants to seek damages from third parties. For example, if the defendant was under the age of 21, you may pursue damages from whoever served or sold him alcohol. If he was drunk and had just left a bar, you may be able to seek damages from the bar for failing to serve alcohol responsibly.

It's important to remember the consequences of drinking and driving as we head into summer. If more drivers pictured themselves standing trial for killing a family, fewer might take the chance when it comes to climbing behind the wheel after having too much to drink.

Continue reading "Triple Fatality Knoxville DUI Suspect on Trial for Vehicular Homicide" »

February 7, 2012

Photos at Sobriety Checkpoints to Convey Message of the Dangers of Drunk Driving in Tennessee

A drunk driving car accident in Tennessee 41-years-ago is remembered by signs on the side of the road on Murfreesboro Road near Clovercoft Road. That night, the lives of two residents changed forever. A woman involved in the accident, who was seven months pregnant at the time, remembers it vividly. She says her husband, herself, their daughter and their nephew were heading back from a peach-picking trip is Nashville when a drunk driver crashed into the car. Their 19-month-old nephew and their 4-year-old daughter were killed in that accident.
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The pregnant passenger suffered from a broken neck and burns on almost three-quarters of her body. Her husband was badly burned as well.

Our Tennessee drunk driving car accident attorneys understand that the Franklin Police Department conducted its very first sobriety checkpoint this last Saturday to help to reduce the risks of anymore accidents like that one. The funds for the checkpoints were provided by the Governor's Highway Safety Office. That checkpoint was dedicated to the family, which has been mourning their run-in with a drunk driver for more than 40 years. Pictures of the woman, the husband and the pair's daughter, who was born prematurely and blind, were on display at that site of the DUI checkpoint, according to The Tennessean.

As this family is all too painfully aware, the consequences of drunk driving can last a lifetime.

"This kind of shows more of a powerful reason of why we are out there," said Franklin Police Officer Rachel Gobe. "We are out there for a reason: to save lives."

The woman involved in the drunk driving accident was the national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and started the organization's Tennessee chapter back in 1981. She even appealed to President Clinton, asking him to lower the drunk driving limit from .10 to .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC). That national standard was passed late in 2000.

Although she is no longer the national president of the organization, MADD is still going strong in its fight against drunk drivers across the nation. According to a recent press release from MADD, new legislation is being pushed to require everyone convicted of drunk driving to install ignition interlock devices, or machines that measure a driver's blood alcohol content. The vehicle won't start if the driver has been drinking. The majority of drunk driving car accidents are caused by repeat offenders. The interlock devices would help to make sure these motorists won't be drunk on our roadways.

"While drunk driving remains the primary threat to American families traveling on our roadways, we are closer than ever to making sure no family must endure the pain of losing a loved one to this 100-percent preventable crime," said MADD National President Jan Withers.

These devices are one of the most beneficial components of the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®. The passage of laws requiring these devices for all offenders have already reduced the risks of drunk driving-related fatalities, as observed recently in Arizona and Oregon.

Ignition interlock devices save lives and save taxpayer money. For an offender who has been sentenced to use an interlock device, the user has to dish out about $2.25 for each day for its use. Researchers conclude that for every dollar invested in these devices for a first-time offender, it saves the public about $3. When you consider that drunk driving accidents cost the nation more than $130 billion every year, the fees required by these convicted drivers is a small price to pay to help ensure roadway safety and to help to reduce the risks of alcohol-related traffic accidents.

Lastly, MADD is hoping to get the ROADS SAFE Act into legislation. This act could help to offer research funds to those creating Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS). Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety are working to advance this potentially life-saving technology.

Continue reading "Photos at Sobriety Checkpoints to Convey Message of the Dangers of Drunk Driving in Tennessee" »

February 2, 2012

Tennessee Department of Transportation Working to Reduce Risks of Knoxville Drunk Driving Car Accidents Over Super Bowl Weekend

"Real Fans Don't Let Fans Drive Drunk" is the message to remember this Super Bowl Sunday. The Tennessee Department of Transportation, Tennessee Department of Safety and the Governor's Highway Safety Office (GHSO) are all pushing that message during Super Bowl XLVI. It's the second most dangerous day to be on our roadways. It ranked in at second place, just behind New Year's Eve for having the most fatal car accidents in Knoxville and elsewhere. Prepare to cheer on your favorite team Sunday and prepare yourself to avoid a potentially fatal accident.
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"This Super Bowl Sunday, we want to see zero alcohol-related fatalities in Tennessee, so you will see more troopers in more places looking for people who break the law. Make sure you come out a winner this Super Bowl weekend. Designate a sober driver or take a cab home if you've had too much to drink," said Department of Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell.

Our Knoxville drunk driving car accident lawyers understand that officers across the state will be out in full force in search of drivers who are under the influence of alcohol. Drunk driving car accidents are completely preventable, and we're asking all residents to huddle up with family members and friends to come up with a game plan to keep everyone safe on our roadways on Sunday. Kickoff between the Giants and the Patriots is at 6:30 p.m. and residents are urged to have their rides situated before then. Make sure you have a designated driver or a safe place to stay if you'll be drinking during the game.

In 2006, troopers made roughly 25 arrests for driving under the influence over the Super Bowl weekend. During this time, there were nearly 10 fatal accidents. One was alcohol-related. That number was down from the statistics from the previous year's Super Bowl weekend. We're hoping that these numbers can be brought down even lower.

Getting a ride home from a sober friend is always a winning play. There nothing safer than catching a ride with someone who is sober. It's important to keep an eye on your loved ones, too. Make sure everyone you know is taking care of themselves on Super Bowl Sunday.

Tips for Going Out on Super Bowl Sunday:

-Most importantly, fans who will be drinking should find a designated driver before the game begins.

-Make sure your designated agrees to drink only non-alcoholic drinks.

-Drink in moderation over time. Drinking too much in too short of a time can make you sick and ruin your game day.

-Always wear your seat belt.

-Keep phone numbers to cab companies with you in case you or a friend is need of a safe ride.

-Eat plenty of food along with your alcohol consumption.

According to the Designated Driver poll from 2005, about 70 percent of drivers have either been a designated driver for someone or have ridden home with a designated driver. This means that nearly 150 million people know how to party responsibly. Let's make this year's stats reach 100 percent. Enjoy the game!

Continue reading "Tennessee Department of Transportation Working to Reduce Risks of Knoxville Drunk Driving Car Accidents Over Super Bowl Weekend" »

December 18, 2011

New Statistics Reveal More Car Accidents in Tennessee than Last Year

The number of car and trucking accidents in Maryville and elsewhere throughout the state took more lives in 2010 than in 2009 despite an announcement from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that claimed the U.S. saw its lowest number of traffic fatalities since 1949.

In 2010, there were roughly 33,000 people who died in traffic accidents in the country. Yes, this is a decrease from the previous year, but there are a number of accident categories that saw a significant increase during this time.
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The NHTSA recently released the 2010 Motor Vehicle Crashes Overview, which details accident statistics from the previous year. This is the most up-to-date information available on traffic accidents in the country. While the number of traffic fatalities decreased nationwide, the number of injuries in fact increased. Broken down into categories, the number of fatalities among large truck occupants, van occupants, bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists actually increased.

Our Maryville car accident attorneys understand that the reduction in traffic-accident fatalities may be short lived. The number of fatalities witnessed during the last part of 2010 illustrated a significant increase. Safe driving experts expect this trend to continue as the economy grows stronger. With a more steady economy, residents feel more confident in getting out and traveling. An increase in traffic equates to an increase in your risks for an accident.

The NHTSA is doing more to specify the types of accidents we see on our roadways. With the release of this year's report, the NHTSA introduced two new measures, the "distraction-affected crashes" and the "alcohol-impaired driving crashes."

-Distraction-affected crashes: This measure is used as a way for the Administration to collect more data regarding the contributions of distractions in a traffic accident. The new measure is being used to zoom in on traffic accidents in which a driver was believed to have been distracted at the wheel during the accident. These types of accidents took the lives of roughly 3,100 people throughout the year.

-Alcohol-impaired driving crashes: This new measure is used to examine traffic accidents in which alcohol was most likely the cause. This measure allows researchers to look closer at accidents in which a driver had a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or above, the legal limit for each state.

"We recognize our responsibility to improve our understanding of the dangers that continue to threaten drivers and passengers," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.

Increases in traffic fatalities were witnessed by:

-Large truck occupants

-Motorcyclists

-Occupants of vans

-Pedestrians

-Bicyclists

-Urban-area traffic accidents

-The state of Tennessee. 2009: 986 fatalities. 2010: 1,031 fatalities.

Despite the recent announcement of a decrease in the national traffic accident fatality number, we'd like to point out that 20 states experienced increases. Drivers are urged to remain cautious and alert on our roadways. As motorists flock to our roadways during the holiday season, there will be more dangers lurking than ever. Drive defensively and alertly to avoid an accident. Have a Happy Holiday and New Year!

Continue reading "New Statistics Reveal More Car Accidents in Tennessee than Last Year" »

July 20, 2011

Knoxville Drunk Driving Accidents Illustrate Risks to Cyclists, Motorists

A County Election Commissioner in East Tennessee is facing charges of DUI and vehicular homicide after a Cocke County bicycle accident that killed a 21-year-old Vermont woman, The Republic reported.

Knoxville bicycle accident attorneys understand the risk cyclists face throughout the Tennessee summer. Those risks are exacerbated anytime a drunk driver hits the road. Drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs continue to be involved in a large number of serious and fatal Tennessee car accidents.
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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports nine cyclists died in Tennessee bicycle accidents in 2009. Nationwide, about one-third of all fatal accidents involve a drunk driver. Tennessee drunk driving accidents claimed 332 lives that year.

The Tennessee State Highway Patrol reports the 73-year-old commissioner was jailed after the accident on Tennessee Highway 73. Authorities report a second bicyclist was also struck in the crash. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports he was driving a 2001 GMC 2500 Sierra pickup shortly before 10 p.m. when the truck struck the two women riding bikes. The paper reported the second cyclist, a 19-year-old woman from Seattle, Washington, was not injured.

In other Knoxville accidents news, the News Sentinel reports a Knoxville man is facing drunk driving charges after allegedly causing a hit-and-run accident. A motorist reportedly followed the suspect and subdued him with pepper spray until authorities arrived. The crash occurred about noon in the 9000 block of Kingston Pike.

A motorist who witnessed the accident called 911 and followed the 2004 Nissan Titan pickup truck outside the city and onto Concord Road in West Knox County. He confronted the suspect at a stop and a struggle ensued. The 51-year-old witness subdued the suspect with pepperspray and waited for police.

Many times, the victims of hit-and-run accidents question whether they should bother to consult with a Tennessee injury lawyer -- particularly in cases where the at-fault driver is never identified. In such cases, it can be more important than ever to consult with an attorney with the knowledge and experience to determine whether you can make a claim. In some cases, when the driver is identified but uninsured, a claim may be filed against policies in place on other vehicles in the household. In other cases, a victim may be able to make a claim against his or her own insurance carrier.

Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are not uncommon and the at-fault driver is often lacking insurance or driving without a license. The News Sentinel recently reported the arrest of two men following a fatal hit-and-run Maryville car accident. That accident involved a victim who jumped from a moving vehicle.

Continue reading "Knoxville Drunk Driving Accidents Illustrate Risks to Cyclists, Motorists" »

July 6, 2011

Tennessee Teen Institute Camp Focuses on Teen and Drunk Driving Car Accident in Tennessee

A number of teens gathered at the Tennessee Teen Institute (TTI) at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville to discuss the importance, and raise awareness of, teen and drunk driving car accidents in Tennessee.

The camp invited teens from ages 13- to 18-years-old from across the state, according to the Jackson Sun. About 350 teens spent the week at the camp participating in activities that aimed to explain the dangers of drinking and driving.
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Our Tennessee personal injury attorneys understand that events like this are important in keeping our roadways safe. These drivers, teens and ones those who are impaired by alcohol, pose serious threats to motorists on our roadways. For this reason, the National Transportation Safety Board has placed both types of drivers on their "most wanted" list. This list targets these drivers and encourages government enforcement to reduce the risks of such traffic accidents.

"It's really youth-driven and youth-led," said Barry Cooper, director of JACOA, which helps organize TTI every year. "The student staff members work together, and they really make the camp."

Teens are targeted at this camp because they are the most vulnerable on our roadways. Car accidents are the number one cause of death for teens in the United States. It is estimated that nearly 10 teens die on our roadways every day. This death rate is higher than for deaths related to cancer, gun violence or drugs among those in this age group.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 5,000 teen drivers were involved in fatal traffic accidents in 2009 alone in the United States. Nearly 200 teen drivers in Tennessee died on our roadways during that year.

To help reduce the risks of these fatal teen car accidents, the NTSB recommends that all states enforce a graduated drivers license (GDL) . Luckily, Tennessee is one step ahead and already enforces the system, according to the Department of Safety & Homeland Security.

Under Tennessee's GDL program, a teen must complete the following steps to get a full, unrestricted driver's license:

-Tennessee Learner Permit: A teen must be 15-years-old and pass a standard vision screening. They're also required to pass the Class D knowledge exam. New drivers are required to show proof of school attendance/progress from a current Tennessee school or a letter from the school in your previous state that confirms your attendance and acceptable grade marks.

-Tennessee Intermediate Driver License: A driver can get this license when they turn 16-years-old. They must have had a valid learner permit for a minimum of 180 days and must have completed 50 hours of behind the wheel driving experience, which needs to include 10 hours of night driving. They must then pass another road skills test.

-Tennessee Unrestricted Driver Silence: After all of the above steps are completed and requirements met, a teen can then apply for their full, unrestricted license.

Although teens are not old enough to consume alcohol, it doesn't mean that they won't. This is why the camp focuses on intoxicated driving as well. Through the camp, students will learn that nearly 11,000 people were killed in these preventable car accidents in 2009 on U.S. roadways. Drunk driving accidents account for nearly a third of all traffic accident fatalities. It is estimated that someone dies every 48 minutes because of these accidents. Tennessee witnessed nearly 350 deaths on our roadways because of accidents that involved an intoxicated driver.

To help combat intoxicated driving accidents, the NTSB recommends that states follow these tips:

-Limit plea bargaining deals in court.

-Limit diversion programs.

-Conduct a number of sobriety checkpoints.

-Enforce administrative license revocation for those who either refuse to take or fail a sobriety test.

-Install ignition-interlock devices in the vehicles on those who have been convicted of drinking while driving.

-Use jail alternatives, such as dedicated jail/treatment facilities, home detention with electronic monitoring or intensive supervision probation.

"This is building future leaders for the state in prevention," said Cooper. "Some of these kids now are social workers or getting master's degrees and doing things. They're taking what they learned and moving on."

Continue reading "Tennessee Teen Institute Camp Focuses on Teen and Drunk Driving Car Accident in Tennessee" »

June 22, 2011

Smokies Relief Pitcher Involved in Hit-and-run Knoxville Car Accident

A relief pitcher for the Tennessee Smokies was reportedly the victim of a hit-and-run car accident in Knoxville early last Friday morning, according to KnoxNews.

The pitcher, Ty'Relle Harris, suffered a leg injury and was taken by ambulance to the University of Tennessee Medical Center. These injuries were reported to by non-life threatening. He remains at the UT Medical Center.
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Our Tennessee personal injury attorneys understand that almost everyone is involved in an accident at one time or another. It is important that we all do the right thing in these situations. Motorists are urged to check on one another to make sure that injuries receive the proper attention. Motorists are also to exchange information and report to authorities when necessary. Often in a hit-and-run crash, either the fleeing driver doesn't have insurance or a valid license, or he or she may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you're the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you are urged to contact an experienced attorney immediately as recovery can be made against at-fault drivers.

In cases where a driver lacks insurance, a claim may be made against insurance policies in effect on other vehicles in the household. And in cases where the at-fault driver is not located, or does not have sufficient means to make a recovery, a victim may be able to make a claim against his or her own insurance carrier.

The hit-and-run driver was reportedly apprehended by the Knoxville Police Department after fleeing the scene. He is currently facing charges of leaving the scene of an accident, vehicular assault and drunken driving.

The Smokies are currently in the middle of a five-game series against the Chattanooga Lookouts at Smokies Park.

"Ty'Relle is a great teammate and we missed him tonight," Smokies manager Brian Harper said. "He's a good young man and there's no question he would have pitched tonight. Hopefully he'll get better."

Hit-and-run accidents saw a near 19 percent jump in frequency from 1999 to 2001 and have continued to steadily rise since 2003, according to hitandrunreward.com. Hit-and-runs don't only affect vehicle occupants, either. It is estimated that one out of every five pedestrians killed on our roadways die from a hit-and-run.

The AAA Foundation of Traffic Safety estimates that more than 20 percent of all fatal accidents from 1993 to 1999 involved a driver without a driver's license. This is a common scenario in hit-and-run accidents.

If you witness a hit-and-run accident, you are encouraged to stop and help the victim and the police. Try to get a description on the fleeing car. Try to get the make, model and color of their vehicle. Try to get their license plate number and the direction in which they headed.

Continue reading "Smokies Relief Pitcher Involved in Hit-and-run Knoxville Car Accident" »

March 15, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Increases Risk for Knoxville Car Accidents

Police will be out in full force this St. Patrick's Day weekend to crack down on drunk driving in an effort to reduce the risk of Knoxville car accidents.

A Pub Crawl is planned in the Old City for Wednesday night. As Channel 6 News reports, local merchants have organized a seven-bar pub crawl for $7. Seven bars means a long and exciting celebration for locals and visitors.
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Knoxville personal injury lawyers encourage you to put safety first this holiday weekend. These pub crawls heighten the risk for drunk driving and Knoxville police will be on the lookout. "By doing bar checks and intensive patrols, or what we call saturation patrols in the areas with a lot of bars, a lot of extra officers on duty," says Lt. Greg Hoskins.

According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 35 people die every day in the United States as a result of drunk driving accidents. This means a person will die every 40 - 45 minutes in an accident with a drunk driver.

The "Drunk Driving. Over The Limit. Under Arrest." campaign offers free, printable posters, templates, and banners to help keep you and your friends and businesses safe this St. Patrick's Day.

"The best advice is, always a designated driver. It's as simple as that. One person, nothing to drink. That was if you are stopped by police you should be fine," says Lt. Hoskins.

DUI Checkpoint & Crime on the Road offers these tips to help keep Tennesseans safe this St. Patrick's Day:

-Before you go out, designate a sober driver.

-If you're impaired call a friend or family member, use public transportation or get a taxi.

-Use the local Sober Ride program.

-Call the police department if you seen an impaired driver on the road.

Continue reading "St. Patrick's Day Increases Risk for Knoxville Car Accidents" »

March 12, 2011

Drunk Driving a Leading Cause of Car Accidents in Knoxville, Maryville

Our Knoxville accident lawyers know that in 2009, alcohol was involved in more than one-third of all fatal Tennessee car accidents.

Knox News reported on a recent early morning crash that sent 3 people to the hospital.
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The accident happened in front of Rocky Hill Elementary School, located in the 1200 block of Morrell Road. A Honda traveling southbound slammed into a Toyota traveling northbound around 1:40 a.m. The driver of the southbound vehicle was cited for driving on a suspended license. Law enforcement suspect alcohol may have been involved.

All injuries sustained in the crash appeared non-life threatening.

Brittany Thomas, 21, and her 10-month old son Aiden were not so fortunate. It was a little over a year ago, when they were killed on Alcoa Highway by an accused drunk driver whose car drove across the median, flew into the air, and hit Brittany's car.

WBIR-TV 10 reports that to honor these two victims law enforcement officials set up sobriety checkpoints along Alcoa Highway. Several agencies sponsored two billboards featuring Brittany and Aiden, and warning drivers on the tragic consequences of drinking and driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported nearly 11,000 people lost their lives in drunk driving accidents in 2009. This is at the alarming rate of about 1 every 45 minutes. In Tennessee 345 of 989 fatal crashes were alcohol related.

Other 2009 NHTSA facts about alcohol impaired driving:

-32% of total traffic fatalities are alcohol-related.

-14% of children (age 14 and under) died in alcohol-related crashes.

-37% of alcohol-related fatal crashes happen at night versus 9% during the day.

-16% of alcohol-related fatal crashes happen during the week versus 31% during the weekend.

-35% of the drivers in fatal alcohol crashes were 21 to 24 years old.

Always remember these safety tips:

-Before the celebrating begins designate a sober driver.

-Never serve alcohol to anyone under the age of 21.

-If you are hosting the event, provide non-alcoholic drinks as an option and stop serving at least an hour before the event ends.

-Don't let anyone leave that has had too much.

Continue reading "Drunk Driving a Leading Cause of Car Accidents in Knoxville, Maryville" »

March 10, 2011

Fewer Tennessee Trucking Accidents if Positive Drug Tests Followed Truckers from Job to Job

Road Safe America joins the American Trucking Association and other safety minded organizations in advocating for a central clearinghouse to monitor heavy commercial vehicle drivers who test positive for drugs and alcohol.

Historically, drivers that test positive for drugs and alcohol hop from state to state and job to job to avoid detection. Our Knoxville personal injury lawyers know these kind of drivers should not be behind the wheel of an 80,000 pound truck. As long as such job-hopping is permitted to continue, motorists will be at high risk for Tennessee trucking accidents involving drunk drivers.
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The Safe Roads Act, S. 1113, was introduced by Senators Pryor, Snowe, Nelson and Wicker in May 2009. It would establish an all-inclusive national clearinghouse for positive alcohol and drug test results. The passage of this bill would undoubtedly make our roadways safer by reducing the risk of drunk drivers operating heavy commercial vehicles.

In 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 1,041 large truck crashes each day. Nearly 12 people every day die in large truck accidents and an additional 246 are injured. In 2008, approximately 7% of all fatal crashes involved a large truck on Tennessee roads. It was reported that 2% of large truck drivers involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.

Alcohol and drug testing is a fact of life in the trucking industry today. All truckers that have a commercial driver license (CDL) -- whether owner-operators with a CDL or drivers employed by motor carriers -- are subjected to drug and alcohol testing.

A study done by the Insurance Institute for Traffic Safety, as reported by Drug Library, found that 15% of all truckers had marijuana, 12% had non-prescription stimulants, 5% had prescription stimulants, and 2% had cocaine in their systems. Some truckers believe that marijuana use is safer than drinking, but studies show that effects on reaction time after smoking can last up to 24 hours.

A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) study of crashes involving large trucks found that prescription drug use was a contributing factor in 28.7% of all crashes sampled and over-the-counter drugs were a contributing factor in 19.4% of crashes. Side effects from drugs can include: dizziness, drowsiness, blurred vision and confusion of which any could cause an accident.

Continue reading "Fewer Tennessee Trucking Accidents if Positive Drug Tests Followed Truckers from Job to Job" »

February 5, 2011

Weather, Super Bowl Weekend, Increase risk for Car Accidents in Knoxville, Maryville

For Super Bowl XLV, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in conjunction with the NFL, Mothers Against Drunk Driving , and the HERO Campaign are sponsoring the Fans Don't Let Fans Drive Drunk campaign.

Our Knoxville personal injury attorneys are football fans like anyone else, but also know Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most dangerous days of the year when it comes to the risk for Tennessee drunk driving accidents.
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Hosting or attending a Super Bowl party can be the highlight of the NFL season, as long as you drink and drive responsibly.

"Football is one of America's favorite pastimes, but fans can put themselves in serious danger if they don't plan ahead," NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said. "Whether you're at the game or watching from a sports bar or a friend's house, designate a sober driver before the game. And remember, Fans Don't Let Fans Drive Drunk."

Drivers are considered over the legal limit when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 or higher. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported a total of 10,839 fatalities in alcohol-related crashes in 2009.

This equated to 32% of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States. During this time, 67% of fatalities in alcohol-related crashes were drivers with BAC of .08 or higher. There were a total of 989 traffic fatalities in the state of Tennessee in 2009; 35% of these fatalities occurred when at least one driver tested positive with a BAC of .01 or higher.

There were 198 fatalities in Tennessee when the BAC was tested at .15 or higher.

Nationally, alcohol-impaired fatal crashes were four-times higher at night than during the day in 2009.

Playing host to a Super Bowl Party can play a key role in getting drivers home safely after the game.

-Serve plenty of food and snacks throughout the game.

-Have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks like soda, juice, or water available.

-Have extra beds ready in case anyone needs to sleepover after drinking too much.

-Pick a point in the game in which you will stop providing alcohol to your guests and start offering coffee and dessert.

-Designate to drive so you and you friends can enjoy the game.

Continue reading "Weather, Super Bowl Weekend, Increase risk for Car Accidents in Knoxville, Maryville" »

January 28, 2011

New Technology could prevent Drunk Driving Car Accidents in Tennessee

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration debuted new in-car technology this week that aims to prevent drunk drivers from operating a vehicle while under the influence.

Personal injury lawyers in Knoxville and Maryville are frequently called to assist victims and families in the aftermath of a Tennessee drunk driving accident. Each year, the federal government reports more than 11,000 people are killed in drunk driving accidents -- or about 1 every 45 minutes. Alcohol was involved in more than one-third of fatal car accidents in Tennessee in 2009, accounting for 345 of 989 fatal crashes.
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The DADSS technology was introduced on Friday at the Massachusetts lab where it is under development. The systems, which could be installed in new cars, test blood-alcohol level through touch or breath.

"Drunk driving continues to be a national tragedy that needlessly claims the lives of thousands of people on our highways each year," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "We need to put an end to it."

Laura Dean-Mooney, the national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, was also on hand for the demonstration.

"Auto makers have stepped up to help turn cars into the cure," she said. "This project has made substantial progress and this technology could one day be an important step in our efforts to eliminate drunk driving."

The $10 million effort is a cooperative between the NHTSA and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS).

"What we're doing is developing technology that won't interfere with sober drivers, will require virtually no maintenance or upkeep and will have such precision that it only stops a driver when their blood alcohol content is .08 BAC or higher, which is the illegal limit for drunk driving in every state," said ACTS Vice President Shane Karr. "Now that we have actual prototypes, a tremendous feat in itself, we'll be working to identify the gaps in performance between these prototypes and the precise standards we've identified as true technology requirements. This will point the way forward for the next phase of research."

NHTSA Administrator David Strickland called it the "new frontier in the fight against drunk driving" and said the next stage of testing could begin later this year.

Continue reading "New Technology could prevent Drunk Driving Car Accidents in Tennessee" »