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Montgomery County Personal Injury Law Blog

Maryland police believe speeding caused fatal crash

Police in Maryland believe that excessive speed likely contributed to an accident on the afternoon of March 9 in Anne Arundel County that claimed the life of a 22-year-old man and left his 24-year-old passenger seriously injured. The collision, which involved a Maryland Transit Administration bus and a Chevrolet sedan, took place at about 4:15 p.m. near Chestnut Hill Cove.

Police reports indicate that the bus was attempting to make a left turn from Fort Smallwood Road onto Energy Parkway when it was struck on the passenger side by a southbound sedan. The car struck the bus with sufficient force to push it onto the center median according to police officers at the scene. The bus was not carrying any passengers at the time, and the 30-year-old man behind the wheel escaped the accident without injury.

Why DUI offenders need treatment instead of incarceration

Alcohol use on America's roadways has been a problem for as long as automobiles have existed, and public policymakers have long struggled with the best ways to respond to drivers who operate vehicles while they are intoxicated. Better detection and education has helped the public be more vigilant about their own driving practices and drinking habits and has brought the issue a long way. Another approach that law enforcement and the legislature often adopt is increased criminal penalties. For a long time, these penalties were viewed as a strong deterrent to drinking and driving, but research has called that into question in recent years.

Preventing skateboarding liability

Due to the high risk of injury that is associated with skateboarding, the fear of liability may make some Maryland business owners apprehensive about having the recreational sport take place on their property. Because it is considered to be an unsafe activity, it is regulated by laws on the state and local levels.

The laws are generally under safety and health codes or within the jurisdiction of state traffic laws. They may also be included with the laws that regulate rollerblading, bicycling and other pedestrian activities. In some places, there are laws that target skateboarding specifically and may include ordinances that forbid the activity on sidewalks or in designated bike lanes. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that over 25,000 people visit the emergency room for injuries related to skateboarding each year. Almost three-fifths of the injuries affect minors under 15 years of age.

The potential dangers of trampoline parks

Indoor trampoline parks have increased in popularity in Maryland and elsewhere across the United States. This has led to an increase in the number of emergency rooms visits related to injuries that occur there. In 2010, there were fewer than 600 such visits compared to 6,932 in 2014. According to the International Association of Trampoline Parks, there were 50 million visits to parks located in North America in the past year.

Overall, there were 91,750 emergency room visits on average between 2010 and 2014 because of trampoline injuries. Many of these injuries occurred while using trampolines at home, and because of the injury risk, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages their use. However, a larger percentage of injuries that resulted in an injured person going to a hospital occurred at parks. The most common type of trampoline accident injuries included sprains and fractures.

4 killed, dozens hurt after train smashes into tour bus

Maryland residents may have heard about the charter motor coach that was hit by a CSX train in Mississippi. The incident took place on March 7 and left four passengers dead and roughly 40 others injured.

According to reports, the accident occurred as a charter bus, which was carrying mostly elderly tourists from Texas, became stuck as it attempted to drive over train tracks at a crossing in Biloxi. Five minutes later, as some of the passengers were exiting the bus, a CXS train traveling 19 mph collided with the bus, pushing it down the tracks for nearly 200 feet and sending frightened passengers in all directions. Although those operating the train first saw the bus approximately 510 feet away and applied the emergency brakes, they were unable to stop the train in time. The report noted that the train was originally traveling 26 mph, which was about 20 mph lower than the track's speed limit.

Self-driving cars and liability

Motorists may begin to see an increasing number of self-driving vehicles on the road. Maryland drivers who concerned about the safety of autonomous cars may also be interested to learn about the insurance changes that may occur as a result.

Self-driving cars offer a range of safety benefits even as the software that is used to operate them is susceptible to fatigue. Being immune to distracted driving and intoxication are some of the safety advantages touted by automakers. With regard to insurance claims, autonomous cars are expected to change the types of lawsuits. There is likely to be a sharp increase in product liability claims. Software developers and the manufacturers of the autonomous cars will be specifically targeted because of their financial resources. Plaintiffs in product liability lawsuits may also include the subcontractors that were responsible for developing the vehicle's algorithm for avoiding a crash or that provided the sensors.

Do you need an attorney if you are charged with a DUI?

When it comes to misdemeanor crimes, sometimes defendants think that it is easier to simply navigate the criminal justice system themselves, especially if they plan on accepting a plea bargain. While it is understandable why you would think this saves time or money, the fact is that for many charges, the penalties are left up to judicial discretion, and the prosecutor's recommendation can carry a lot of weight as well.

Know the facts about Maryland's DUI penalties

Every state in the country has been working hard to decrease the number of drunk drivers on their roads, but they all take just a little bit of a different approach. Before you visit Maryland, or before you get your first license in the state if you are a new driver, you should make sure you understand the particular nuances of the DUI statutes here so that you can make sure you steer clear of trouble while you are on the road.

Daylight savings time causes accident increases

Maryland drivers face an increased risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident when daylight savings time occurs each year. In the spring when the clocks are moved forward, forcing people to lose an hour of sleep, more accidents happen, according to researchers.

Researchers at Stanford University and John Hopkins University analyzed crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the weekend when daylight savings time occurs. They found that crashes did not increase on the Sunday following the time changes, but the researchers believe that is because people are able to sleep in on that day. They did find an increase on the Monday following the time change, however.

Just how accurate are breath tests?

Over the past few decades, the fight to make driving safer for both vehicle operators and passengers has focused on reducing the number of people driving under the influence. The strategies used by law enforcement and the legislature have been broad, including public education, increased penalties for driving under the influence, and increased enforcement and detection. One of the keys to that success has been the rise of breath tests for drunk driving. As more and more data is gathered on those devices, though, it is becoming increasingly obvious that there are serious questions about their reliability and their results.

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