Kline Legal Group P.L.C.

Michigan Auto Accident Blog

Ignition interlock bill named after Michigan car accident victims

Repeat drunk driving offenders in Michigan are required by state law to have ignition interlock devices fitted to their automobiles. The devices require that drivers take a breath test before they start their vehicles and prevent operation when alcohol is detected. Laws similar to Michigan's are on the books in almost 30 states, but a bill that was submitted on January 11 in the U.S. House of Representatives would go even further.

If it is passed, the Abbas Stop Drunk Driving Act will task the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with drafting a regulation to make ignition interlock devices mandatory equipment on every passenger vehicle that is sold in the US. The bill is named after a Michigan family that lost five members when a drunk truck driver crossed the center line and hit the car in which they were traveling head-on.

What to know about houses and divorce

Deciding what to do with the family home is one of the biggest issues facing most people who get divorced. However, there are questions that Michigan homeowners and others should ask before taking a home in a divorce. The first thing that a person needs to determine is how much equity is in the home. Equity is the amount the home is worth after subtracting a mortgage balance or any other loans associated with the property.

If an individual obtains a home after a divorce, he or she may owe the other spouse a portion of the equity. How the equity is split may depend on state law or the terms of any agreement reached before, during or after the marriage ends. In some cases, it will be necessary to refinance the mortgage so that only the current owner's name is on the loan. This can be done at any time assuming that the new owner qualifies for a loan.

Dangers teens may face on the road

High school graduations mean that there will be millions of teenagers on the road in Michigan and throughout the country. It also means that teens may be drinking alcohol or using drugs while celebrating the end of their high school careers. Therefore, it is important for parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of drunk or impaired driving. Teens should also be taught about the potential dangers of driving while distracted or drowsy.

Parents should have this conversation whether or not their children use drugs, drink alcohol or engage in risky behavior behind the wheel. This is because they could be in danger of getting hurt if they are in a vehicle with someone who is drunk or too tired to drive safely. A son or daughter may also unwittingly be a distraction to the person who is driving the vehicle that he or she is riding in.

Rain increases the risk of fatal crashes

Many Michigan motorists drive too fast when it is raining outside. While people might think that driving at or above the speed limit in rain is okay, a recent study found that even light rain greatly increases the chance of fatal accidents.

The study was published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Overall, the researchers found that rain, snow, or ice on the roads increased the risk of fatal accidents by 34%. The study was conducted by a data analyst with the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies. The researcher reviewed data from 125,012 fatal crashes in the U.S. from 2006 to 2011.

How long does a personal injury case take?

Personal injury cases range in complexity. A standard injury that occurred as a result of a fender bender should be relatively simple to figure out. However, a litany of factors can drag out the process. For example, recently in Michigan, a group of people assaulted a woman after she was in a car accident. 

Your attorney will be able to tell you all you need to know about your case. Your lawyer will also be honest about how long you can expect the process to take. It may take longer than you anticipated, but it may be necessary for you to get the damages you deserve. 

Root Insurance study: distracted driving is a nationwide issue

Root Insurance, a company that provides insurance discounts to drivers who avoid phone use behind the wheel, has recently unveiled the results of its second annual distracted driving study. What Michigan residents should know is that ignorance is not the reason for high distracted driving rates: Many engage in it while knowing it is wrong.

For example, 47% of respondents said that distracted driving is a top concern for them when on the road, and 99% placed phone use among the top three distractions. Yet respondents admitted to using their phones for an average of 13 minutes each day behind the wheel. In its 2019 Focused Driving Report, Root Insurance found that Generation Z drivers, who are 18 to 24 years old, can be especially distracted, using their phones about 20 times per 100 miles traveled.

Technological solutions to drunk driving

For motorists in Michigan, drunk driving can be a real threat. In 2017 alone, 10,874 people across the country were killed by drunk driving accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Law enforcement and public awareness campaigns have stepped up to highlight the dangers of driving while intoxicated, but people continue to lose their lives on the roadways. Some are looking for a technological solution to the problem. That's why Volvo announced that it would install an anti-drunk driving system in its cars beginning in the early 2020s. The technology would also target distracted driving.

Including both cameras and sensors inside the car, the Volvo system would monitor drivers for signs of intoxication or extreme distraction. It would make use of autonomous technologies to stop the vehicle or park it safely on the side of the road. While the idea of a car taking over control from a driver may be disturbing, Volvo noted that the car would only act after a driver was "clearly intoxicated" and failed to respond to warning signals. The automaker also noted that the system was designed to prevent car accidents that could cause serious injuries or fatalities.

Self-driving cars not road-ready, says Rand Corporation report

Michigan drivers should know that the development of autonomous vehicles has been a bumpy one, even resulting in fatalities. In May 2016, the driver of a Tesla vehicle on Autopilot collided with a truck and died. In March 2018, a pedestrian in Arizona was fatally struck by a self-driving Uber vehicle, forcing Uber to shut down self-driving operations in that state. However, it has since restarted its testing program on public roads in the city of Pittsburgh.

A report from the Rand Corporation has found that automakers and the developers of autonomous vehicle tech are neglecting safety in their rush to introduce self-driving cars. It states that these vehicles must be tested for millions and even billions of miles before they can be deemed reliable in preventing crashes.

Travelers survey reveals numerous factors in driver distraction

The Travelers Companies, an insurance provider, has issued its 2019 Travelers Risk Index. What it has to say about distracted driving, based on a survey of more than 2,000 consumers and executives, should be of interest to drivers in Michigan. First, the most frequently cited forms of distraction were sending texts and emails at 44 percent, using social media at 23 percent and taking photographs or recording videos at 22 percent.

Many drivers say they find it hard to break these habits while 19 percent say they will continue to drive distracted even when it's against the law. Forty-one percent actively choose not to set their phones to Do Not Disturb whereas 35 percent say they either forget to do it or find it inconvenient. Workplaces are doing little to alter this: Just 18 percent advise employees to set their phones to Do Not Disturb.

State proposes "textalyzer" use among police, concerns remain

Michigan residents may have heard about a device called the "textalyzer," which is meant to determine whether someone was using their phone prior to a crash. Back in 2017, the New York legislature proposed a measure allowing its use among police officers, but the measure failed. Now, the Nevada legislature has proposed a similar measure.

There are privacy concerns, however, as many people believe that the textalyzer would violate the Fourth Amendment. This protects against unreasonable search and seizure. However, the maker of the textalyzer, the Israel-based company Cellebrite, has stated that the device only checks for user activity without accessing or storing personal content.

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