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Traffic Fatalities on Rise, Apps may be to Blame

December 6, 2016 News 0 Comments

Car accident side impactAn alarming rise in traffic fatalities in the past two years have left experts scrambling to find a reason behind the trend. Surprisingly, the increase in deaths may be attributed, at least in part, to the increase in the use of mobile devices while behind the wheel. In fact, the connection has led some to plead for new regulations that would eliminate a driver’s ability to use those apps while driving a motor vehicle.

Media reports have discovered that while increased awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving had led to decreasing fatalities on the nation’s roads, 2015 and 2016 have actually seen an uptick in traffic deaths. After an eight-percent increase in fatalities in 2015, 2016 has been shaping up to be even more deadly. The first six months of 2016 saw a nine-percent increase in fatalities over the previous year. Numbers are not yet available for the second half of 2016, so time will tell whether the second half of 2016 will see a similar increase.

Distracted driving a national epidemic

One of the reasons for the increase in fatalities is likely a larger number of cars on the road due to lower unemployment rates. People are using their cars to commute to their jobs or simply get out and about now that their income levels have increased. Reduced gas prices may also be driving the trend. However, distracted driving may be another reason that has safety experts seriously concerned.

According to the federal government, distracted driving played a role in around 10 percent of the 35,000 traffic fatalities in 2015.  Distracted driving can mean a number of things, from eating to using a phone while behind the wheel. One thing is for certain – distracted driving of any kind is a significant danger on roadways. Today, distracted driving has expanded from simply talking on a cell phone to sending texts, browsing the Internet and using a host of different apps like Snapchat and Waze.

“I’d put it as one of the biggest causes of accidents,” Steve Tomzik, battalion chief of the Streamwood Fire Department in Illinois told the Chicago Tribune. “A lot of people in cars are now so self-contained, they’re really not paying attention. They’re eating a sandwich, talking to their friends, running their lives. You should be paying attention to what you are doing.”

Tomzik admitted to the Chicago Tribune he has actually witnessed distracted drivers weaving in lanes, creating a similar danger to those driving while under the influence. Tomzik added that he has seen devastating consequences in many of these accidents, including drivers and passengers going through windshields and others pinned underneath vehicles.

To combat at least a large percentage of this danger, safety officials have proposed that makers of smartphones create software that would lock drivers out of their ability to text or go online when behind the wheel of a vehicle. Drivers would still be permitted to make calls and navigation systems could still be accessed as long as they instructed drivers on how to use the system without distraction. Other functions, including texting, reading text and browsing the Internet would not be allowed.

Legal assistance in Louisiana

When you are the victim of a distracted driving accident, the consequences of that event can be life-changing in a variety of ways. Your injuries may prohibit you from working, while medical bills to treat your injuries can continue to mount.

Victims of distracted driving accidents need experienced legal help to ensure their rights are protected and they receive every type of compensation allowed under the law. Louisiana car accident lawyer Bart Bernard has the experience, skill and resources to help victims maximize the value of their claim. To schedule a free case review, call 225-275-BART in Baton Rouge or 337-989-2278 in Lafayette.


Single Car Crash Kills Abbeville Man

November 8, 2016 News 0 Comments

Shards of car glass on the street

On Sunday, October 30, 2016, a single-vehicle early morning crash claimed the life of 21-year-old Adan Quinn of Abbeville.

The crash took place before 2:30 a.m. on US 167 near River Road. Quinn was reportedly driving a 2007 Infinity southbound of 167 when he ran off the right side of the road. He then over-corrected the vehicle, crossing the other southbound lanes of traffic and over the median, overturning. Quinn was partially ejected. He was not wearing a seat belt and was pronounced dead on the scene. His passenger, Bryan Gamez, 21, was wearing a seat belt and survived the crash with moderate injuries.

Police have not yet determined the cause of the fatal crash but suspect impairment may have played a part; toxicology samples are still being analyzed by the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab. State Troopers have used the tragedy as an occasion to remind drivers to avoid distractions while driving, wear a seat belt, and never drive impaired.

Effects of distracted driving

The dangers of distracted driving cannot be understated; nationwide, it kills nine people every day and injures 1,000 more. The problem is especially prevalent among the younger drivers; teen drivers cause one out of every ten fatal car accidents and 14 percent of all auto crash injuries.

It should not be surprising that a leading distraction these days is texting, which makes a crash 23 times more likely. Researchers have found that in an average scenario, a driver sending or receiving a text takes their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. At freeway speed, this is long enough to drive the entire length of a football field without looking. Texting is not just a visual activity though; it occupies the hands while also drawing the driver’s attention away from the road at the same time.

In Louisiana, lawmakers recognize the risks involved in distracted driving; it is against the law to operate any motor vehicle on the road while writing, sending, receiving, or reading a text-based communication. The first offense can be punishable by a $175 fine and each violation after that by a $500 fine. It is also illegal for new drivers to use a cell phone except when using it “hands free.”

Auto accident liability

When someone is injured in an accident because another person was careless, such as by driving with distractions, they may be able to recover compensation for their injuries. Compensation can include reimbursement for medical bills, payment for pain and suffering, lost wages, and in the case of death, funeral expenses and wrongful death payments. But to recover, a plaintiff must be able to establish, in a way that meets the legal criteria, that the defendant was liable for the accident.

Proving liability in a traffic crash involves knowledge of relevant laws, understanding of the mechanics involved, willingness to work with scientific and medical experts, and the ability to convey the concepts to a court and jury. For this, you should trust an experienced, dedicated car accident lawyer. The Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers has been representing personal injury victims in Louisiana for nearly 20 years. We know injury cases inside and out and fight tirelessly for our clients. For a free consultation in Lafayette, Lake Charles, or Baton Rouge.


  1. Governors Highway Safety Association, Distracted Driving Laws,

2016 Brought a Sharp Rise in Traffic Fatalities

October 21, 2016 News 0 Comments

fatal car accident

From January through June of 2016,  19,100 people lost their lives on the nation’s roadways and about 2.2 million more suffered injuries in motor vehicle accidents.

The National Safety Council has revealed that this fatality statistic reflects a troubling nine percent increase from the first six months of 2015 and an even more alarming 18 percent increase from the same time period in 2014. The cost of the deaths and car accident injuries for the first half of 2016 is estimated to be at about $205 billion.

Problems on the nation’s roadways

“Our complacency is killing us,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman. Hersman is the president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Americans should demand change to prioritize safety actions and protect ourselves from one of the leading causes of preventable death,” she added. Otherwise, the total number of motor vehicle accident deaths for the entirety of 2016 could exceed 40,000. If so, it would be the first time in nine years that traffic fatalities had surpassed that threshold.

Some of the states that have seen the most significant upward trends in traffic fatalities are Vermont (up 82 percent since late 2014), Oregon, New Hampshire, and Florida.

These statistics are certainly unacceptable, but there may be a few factors behind the upward trend. During the first half of 2016, drivers in the U.S. logged an estimated 1.58 trillion miles. This was a 3.3 percent increase over the same time period during 2015. Additionally, the average gas prices from January through June were 16 percent lower than they were during 2015. “While many factors likely contributed to the fatality increase, a stronger economy and lower unemployment rates are at the core of the trend,” said a written statement released by the National Safety Council.

Understanding your legal rights and options

After a car crash occurs, it can be difficult to think clearly. Victims may want to simply put the matter behind them as quickly as possible and so many of them accept the first settlement offered by the insurance carrier. But all too often, these settlements aren’t sufficient to cover medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other losses. These cases become even more complex when one or more car crash victims have lost their lives.

A skilled car accident lawyer can aggressively negotiate with the insurance carrier to secure a fair settlement. If a lawsuit is necessary; however, car accident victims and their families can rest assured that their legal counsel will be there every step of the way to provide effective advocacy.

The Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers has developed a sterling reputation among Louisiana families. Mr. Bernard has consistently secured maximum compensation for his valued clients following car accidents, motorcycle crashes, truck collisions, and other types of accidents.

Call our office today at 337.989.2278 to request a free case evaluation at our Lafayette, Baton Rouge or Lake Charles locations.

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