Kline Legal Group P.L.C.

Michigan Auto Accident Blog

Drivers think they're better than others at texting while driving

More than 90 percent of drivers believe distracted driving should be illegal, according to the findings of an online study conducted during August 2017. Respondents were insured drivers at or over the age of 18 from Michigan and across the U.S. Approximately one-third of those who responded indicated confidence in their own abilities to text and drive. More than 60 percent of individuals between the ages of 18 and 34 said they were confident they could safely text and drive. Only 6 percent of drivers aged 55 years or old said the same.

According to data reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 people were killed and more than 390,000 injured in distracted driving accidents during 2015. Teenagers were the group most likely to be distracted at the time of a fatal motor vehicle accident.

Daytime headlight use decreases car accidents

Although laws do not require drivers in Michigan to turn their headlights on during the day, the simple act heightens vehicle visibility and reduces crashes. A variety of studies have examined the effects of headlight use on clear days and found that the strategy lowered accidents by as much as 10 percent.

A closer look at the data revealed that the incidence of certain types of accidents associated with severe injuries and even deaths fell with daytime headlight use. Two-vehicle wrecks fell by 5.7 percent, and pedestrian accidents went down by 12 percent. Motorcycle crashes with vehicles coming from opposite directions showed the most dramatic reduction at 23 percent.

Tips for dividing IRAs in divorce

Michigan residents may know that an IRA can be split in a divorce. However, it is important to split such an asset properly to avoid paying income taxes. First, the withdrawal must be made pursuant to a divorce decree. Therefore, money should not be taken out of an IRA before the divorce is official, even if there is an informal agreement between the parties to divide proceeds within it.

It is important to understand that a qualified domestic relations order only applies when dividing proceeds from a company-sponsored plan like a 401(k). This means that an individual is still required to pay a 10 percent early withdrawal penalty even if the account was divided properly in a divorce. Ideally, funds from one person's IRA would be transferred to the other person's IRA through a trustee-to-trustee transfer. If the funds remain in an IRA, neither party experiences a taxable event.

What are some common causes of bicycle and car accidents?

Many bicyclists in the Ann Arbor area assume they are accident proof when riding on the streets. They assume motorists will automatically give them the right away and adjust their driving behaviors to avoid endangering them. Little do they realize that many drivers are not giving the roads their full attention, nor do they keep an eye out for bicyclists. 

Even when they wear helmets, reflective clothing and do their best to avoid cars, there is still a substantial risk of cyclists being hit by cars, injured or even dying. Before you go riding, take some time to learn the common causes of motor vehicle and bicycle accidents so you can better avoid them. 

Study shows collision avoidance systems prevent accidents

Michigan drivers whose vehicles include a collision avoidance system may be safer than those whose vehicles do not. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2015, vehicles that had these warning systems had a rate of single-vehicle head-on and sideswipe crashes that was 11 percent lower than in vehicles that did not have this feature. Furthermore, for injury crashes of the same type, the injury rate was cut by 21 percent in vehicles that had this technology.

The study looked at more than 5,000 accidents from 2015 that were caused by drifting into another lane or blind spots. These are both accidents that these collision systems can prevent. If all vehicles had this technology, the IIHS estimated that there would have been more than 55,000 fewer injuries in motor vehicle accidents that year. Two other studies of 2015 data, one conducted in the United States and one in Sweden, found that warning systems for lane departures cut accident rates roughly in half.

More hurdles ahead for autonomous vehicles

Some Michigan motorists may be eager to see autonomous vehicles become a reality. With almost 100 people on average lose their lives in traffic accidents around the country and human error as the cause of around 94 percent of those crashes, it is predicted that autonomous cars will be safer. One Morgan Stanley analyst said all vehicles would be fully autonomous within 20 years while Ford, Nissan, Toyota and other manufacturers predicted autonomous vehicles would be the market by the decade's end. However, the adoption of autonomous vehicles this may take longer than many industry experts have predicted.

Cost and consumer resistance are factors. Some truck drivers are against autonomous vehicles, and many drivers of all vehicles appreciate the perceived freedom of being in charge behind the wheel. Extensive mapping will also be necessary for these cars to operate. New regulations will need to be in place before autonomous vehicles can take the roads in any significant numbers.

Divorce and Thrift Savings Plans

Federal employees in Michigan who expect to go through a divorce may benefit from learning how their Thrift Savings Plan, or TSP, may be allocated. There are no existing federal statutes that require a former spouse to automatically receive the funds in a TSP account. In order for a former spouse to receive any part of those funds, the couple will have to agree to the division of the funds, or the judge will determine how much is awarded.

A Retirement Benefits Court Order has to be issued for a TSP. It can be a court decree of a legal separation, divorce or annulment. A property settlement that was approved by the court and that is related to the court decree is also sufficient, as is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order in most cases.

Tips about finances during a divorce

In addition to the emotional challenges of a divorce, Michigan estranged couples might also face financial challenges. However, there are steps that can be taken to prepare financially. On average a divorce costs about $20,000, but this does not take into account the costs in the years ahead.

For example, a marriage that lasts longer than 10 years is considered a long-term marriage. If one spouse does not work outside the home, the other spouse could be ordered to pay alimony until retirement. If the amount ordered for support is $1,000 per month and the two are fairly young when they get a divorce, this could add up to more than $400,000 over several decades. Child support is another cost.

Is your spouse hiding assets?

When Michigan couples begin gearing up for divorce, sometimes things get ugly. One unfair tactic some spouses use is hiding assets to avoid having to share them as part of the marital property division.

Knowing some common signs of such financial deceptions can alert you to potential misconduct before it is too late.

Device may help prevent drowsy driving

Although driving while fatigued is not as widely recognized as a danger as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is, it is believed to be responsible for up to 6,000 deadly car accidents nationwide each year. However, Michigan motorists may be able to purchase a device that shocks drivers who are dozing off behind the wheel and prevents these accidents from happening.

The founder of the company that designed the device became aware of the dangers of drowsy driving after a friend fell asleep behind the wheel and was in an accident. The friend only suffered a broken collarbone, but the man began looking for a way to help prevent these types of car accidents.

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483 Little Lake Drive, Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Phone: 734-249-6100
Fax: 734-302-7222
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