What automobile accidents are considered negligent acts? Are individuals liable for negligent acts and behaviors that cause injury, property damage, and wrongful deaths to other persons? In the United States, motorists have a duty of care to one another not to take actions that could cause others harm. When a motorist drinks and drives, speeds, fails to signal, or undertakes another negligent action, those who are injured have the right to pursue claims against the individual.
Other duties of care that motorists have include remaining alert on the road, maintaining control over the vehicle, properly utilizing the vehicle's controls and safety features, and maintaining the vehicle's mechanical components. They are requires to be attentive, to keep a proper lookout, to be attentive, to warn, to take evasive action, to maintain their vehicles in the appropriate lane of travel, to not drive at night any faster than that which allows them to stop within the range of their headlights and many other duties under the law. When a motorist fails to do these things, they are guilty of negligent acts. For instance, the motorists who caused the 3,477 distracted driving deaths in 2015 or the motorists who caused the 10,265 DUI related deaths the same year violated their duty of care to other motorists.
Speeding is one of the most common negligent acts on the road. Each day, nearly 112,000 motorists are cited for speeding. It is estimated that 1 in every 5 motorists will receive a speeding citation in any given year. In 2016, excessive speed was responsible for causing 10,111 traffic fatalities. This was roughly 27% of all fatalities that occurred that year which makes it just slightly less common than drunk driving.
Drowsy driving is also considered a negligent act in Kansas. For truck drivers this is called fatigued driving and motor carriers are required to track the weekly hours of truck drivers so that they do not become fatigued. In 2013, the NHTSA estimated that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 accidents that caused 44,000 injuries and 800 fatalities. However, both the CDC and NHTSA believe this number may be significantly underestimated and that drowsy drivers may be responsible for as many as 6,000 fatalities each year.
Aggressive driving continues to be a common form of negligence on the road. From 2003 to 2007, the NHTSA found that aggressive driving behaviors including speeding were factors in nearly 56% of fatal accidents. Aggressive driving is a broad term which includes passing without signaling, making erratic lane changes, following too closely, failing to yield, failing to signal, and driving too fast for conditions. More recent surveys conducted by the NHTSA show that while drivers are aware of the dangers of aggressive driving behaviors, up to 80% of drivers engage in at least one aggressive driving behavior each year. At Brad Pistotnik Law we see reckless behavior from bad drivers all the time in addition to driving with road rage.
Other examples of negligent acts include failure to stop at stop signs and red lights which claimed 771 lives and injured a further 137,000 people in 2015, or failure to properly maintain a vehicle which caused 44,643 accidents between 2005 and 2007. These actions and other negligent acts can cause serious injuries, property damage, and wrongful deaths. The law allows for the state to pursue criminal penalties against the individual for violating statutes and regulations while at the same time making it possible for private citizens to pursue claims against the motorist for their negligent acts and violating the standard of care that the motorist had to other people on the road. In Kansas, if a driver has three moving violations in a 12 month period of time they can be at risk of getting a suspended driver's license.
Brad Pistotnik Law represents car accident victims , truck accident victims, motorcycle accident victims and other vehicular cases who are pursuing claims against motorists who commit negligent acts in Lawrence, Topeka, Goodland, Hays, Manhattan, Wichita, Garden City, Liberal, Dodge City, Wellington, Emporia, Newton, McPherson, Salina, Winfield, Atwood, Goodland, Arkansas City, Lawrence, Overland Park, Olathe, and elsewhere in Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Illinois. Whether the accident caused personal injuries or wrongful deaths, we help clients pursue the compensation required to recover from motor vehicle accidents.
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