Monthly Archives: September 2015

Kansas Car Accident Attorney Explains the Importance of Defensive Driving

Defensive driving is a specialized form of driving that focuses on maximizing safety by using various safe driving techniques that give motorists advance time to identify and address hazards on the road. The purpose of defensive driving is to avoid collisions with other cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

While everyone in the state of Kansas is required to pass a driving test and written exam in order to obtain a driver’s license, it is fairly easy to pass these exams. In addition, many individuals cram a lot of information about traffic laws and safety into their brains in order to pass the written exam without retaining anything long term. Finally, Kansas only requires drivers to pass both exams once when they first apply for a driver’s license. There is no requirement for continuing education or courses nor periodic retesting. Many people on the road are simply unaware of certain traffic laws while other drivers are careless or even reckless when behind the wheel.

There were a total of 58,472 reported car accidents in 2013 that involved over 132,200 people. 13,106 of these involved serious injuries, and 327 were fatal. That means 1.94 accidents occurred for every one million miles driven by vehicles throughout Kansas. Over 50% of vehicles involved in accidents were cars. Likewise, the vast majority of victims were car occupants, though pickup truck and SUV occupants were close behind. The Kansas Department of Transportation estimates that 4 out of 5 crashes are caused by driver issues, such as failing to give full attention to the road, failing to yield right of way, speeding, and following too closely.

There are a variety of different ways to learn defensive driving in Kansas. Many organizations offer classes that teach students how to anticipate different dangerous situations that may require quick thinking and reflexes. Some of these courses involve discussion and hypotheticals, while others involve simulations and practice. The simulations replicate real-world situations, including bad weather, traffic, sharp turns, and poor lighting conditions. In addition, defensive driving courses give students a refresher on Kansas state traffic laws.

While defensive driving classes may sound incredibly boring, they can be life-saving. For instance, did you know that when parking on a hill facing downward, you turn your wheels toward the right shoulder, but when parking on a hill facing upward, you turn your wheels toward the left shoulder? Or that when your car hydroplanes during one of Kansas’s famous summer thunderstorms, you should never slam on your brakes? Defensive driving courses will provide you with a wealth of knowledge regarding unsafe road conditions, as well as how to react when other drivers on the road are careless or negligent.

In addition, defensive driving courses are usually fairly short and can be completed in one day. The Kansas DMV often gives credit for defensive driving courses by reducing points on your license or reducing a fine for a moving violation, and many insurance companies will agree to not raise your rates after a ticket or accident if you provide proof that you completed a course.

Defensive driving courses usually focus on:

  • Anatomy of a car accident
  • How to prevent or anticipate a collision
  • How to deal with road rage, exhaustion or stress
  • The effects of intoxication on driving
  • Available safety equipment in a car
  • Kansas traffic laws

Contact Kansas’s Premier Personal Injury Boutique Law Firm Today for a Free Consultation

For almost 30 years, Michael R. Lawless, P.A. has dedicated its practice to representing victims of heinous Kansas car accidents. Following a car accident, you need to focus on recovering. Michael R. Lawless, P.A. can assist you with reviewing your accident, conducting an independent investigation, negotiating with the other party, and zealously advocating for your best interests both inside and outside the courtroom. Michael R. Lawless, P.A. provides free consultations to potential clients throughout the state of Kansas. Contact our Lenexa, Kansas law firm at (913) 681-5566 or toll-free at (800) 734-3771 today.

Kansas Personal Injury Attorney Discusses the Dangers of Drunk Driving

According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, in 2013, 92,531 vehicles were involved in crashes, and unfortunately almost 3,000 of these accidents were caused by alcohol consumption. Drunk driving was the fourth leading cause of traffic fatalities. Every 3.66 hours, another drunk driving accident occurs. When you factor in the heavy traffic on Kansas roadways, poor lighting on dark rural roads, and only 36.5% compliance with seat belt laws for accident victims, collisions caused by intoxication can become extremely dangerous and even deadly very fast.

To keep roads safe, legislatures could completely prohibit the consumption of any and all alcohol prior to getting behind the wheel. However, politicians recognize that many individuals like to have a casual drink with a meal or while lounging at home and watching football. Therefore, Kansas permits a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of lower than .08. BAC is the number of grams of alcohol per 100 grams of blood. .08 is 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 grams of blood. If your BAC is .08 or higher when you are operating a vehicle, not only are you violating criminal Kansas driving under the influence laws but you are also opening yourself up to deadly accidents and civil liability.

Alcohol is known as a depressant because it slows your thinking process and response time. Messages traveling from your eyes to your brain will take longer to be interpreted. Therefore, if you are under the influence of alcohol and your eyes see cars suddenly braking in front of you, your brain will be slow to process what it sees and relay to your feet to also brake. The more alcohol you imbibe, the worse your response time will become.

Common injuries caused by drunk driving accidents include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Paralysis
  • Amputations
  • Spinal cord and nerve injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Broken bones, fractures, and sprains
  • Whiplash and other neck injuries
  • Lacerations, cuts, and bruises
  • Seatbelt burn
  • Internal injuries and bleeding

The National Transportation Safety Board, a federal agency that reviews vehicular crashes, heralds organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Remove Intoxicated Drivers, as well as increased awareness of the dangers of driving while drunk, with decreasing annual DUI-related deaths from 25,000 to 10,000 nationally. However, the Board says that progress has plateaued. One-third of all highway deaths are due to alcohol consumption. While drunk driving accounts for a small number of overall accidents, the majority of drunk driving accidents do result in fatalities and severe injuries. To address the plateau, the Board is petitioning for strict changes to the law.

One such change is universal requirement of ignition interlock devices installed in all cars, nationwide, for drivers with DUI or OWI convictions. At the moment, Kansas judges may include an ignition interlock device requirement for a DUI or OWI conviction, but it is not mandatory. An ignition interlock device is connected to the ignition of the car. The driver must blow into a device similar to a breathalyzer, and the device calculates BAC. If the BAC is 0.0, the driver may start the car. Drivers are also required to intermittently blow into the device while driving. If a driver blows an illegal BAC, authorities will be notified. The Board would like automatic installation of these devices once an individual has been convicted.

In addition, the Board recommends that the blood alcohol level be dropped to 0.05 across the country. Currently, most European countries have a 0.05 limit, but the U.S. has lagged behind. 0.05 is equal to approximately two alcohol beverages per hour for an average-sized adult, though variations in height, weight, and body chemistry can cause metabolism of alcohol to fluctuate widely.

Kansas Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Available for Free Consultations

If you were injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you may have legal recourse for damages, such as compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Michael R. Lawless, P.A. is a premier personal injury law firm located in Lenexa, Kansas that has served clients injured in car accidents throughout the state of Kansas for the past 27 years. To schedule a free consultation with Michael R. Lawless, P.A., contact us at (913) 681-5566 or (800) 734-3771.