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Speed limiter technology may lessen commercial accidents - 29 May 2017 20:45

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Recent debate surrounding the idea of speed limiters has many commercial trucking companies up in arms. The National Highway Travel Safety Administration feels that vehicles over 26,000 pounds should be equipped with speed limiter technology

In addition to creating safer roads, speed limiter technology will also save over $1 billion dollars in fuel costs each year.

Speed limiter technology is a governor on a vehicle that prevents it from going above a certain speed. Many passenger vehicles come equipped with driver-programmable speed limiter technology that allows drivers to block their cars from going over a set speed.

The NHTSA is proposing that this technology is imposed on commercial vehicles without driver control to limit their speeds to 60-68 miles per hour.

NHTSA argument comes on the heels of data released by the Insurance Institute for Highways Safety that claims there were 3,852 fatalities in the US directly related to commercial vehicle accidents. Proponents for the NHTSA base their suggested speed on information gathered by a study conducted by Virginia Tech scientist that claim that many commercial vehicle accidents could have prevented if the vehicle was traveling at a slower speed.

On the other hand, the American Trucking Association, a principal lobbyist who opposes the idea of speed limiter technology, argues that if commercial vehicles should have their speed regulated so should passenger cars.

What the American Trucking Association fails to see is that a passenger traveling in a car at 50 miles per hour that is involved in an accident with a tractor trailer is 20 times more likely to suffer fatal injuries. And tractor trailer speed is the leading reason that these types of accidents occur.

Joel Kofsky, a Philadelphia auto accident attorney, understands the serious injuries that victims of tractor trailer accidents face. He explains, "I've seen too many people's lives shattered because of accidents involving commercial vehicles. And, it's not just the accident and the recovery time that upsets victims' lives, it's the long-term damage and day to day living after the crash that makes things difficult for the victims and their families."

Having been involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, it is in everyone's best interest to find an attorney to help. A large commercial company will have their own team of attorneys to protect its drivers. No individual is equipped to go up against a large corporate law firm on their own. Hiring representation by someone who understands the laws in depth is the only course of action that should be considered in this situation. - Comments: 0

Smartphones may be pushing up insurance Prices - 29 May 2017 20:38

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Smartphone use is continuously increasing in today's society. While they allow information and communication in the palm of our hands, they are also one of the leading causes of increases in car insurance rates. While on the surface it seems improbable that these gadgets would raise car insurance, it is not that they are a direct cause, but rather an indirect one. So how exactly do smartphones fit in with increasing car insurance rates?

It’s common knowledge that driving while talking on the phone is dangerous. It leads to a lapse in concentration of the driver, which in turn decreases their awareness of the road, and increases the chance of an accident occurring. This is because both driving and smartphone conversations require a significant amount of thought and your brain is unable to do either well when attempting to do them at the same time. This often results in crashes due to delayed braking times and not seeing traffic signals.

Distracted Driving and Accidents

Being part of an auto accident generally raises your car insurance rates, purely because you had to make a claim. If you are the cause of an accident, this will more than likely affect your personal insurance premiums. While some companies may look past your first incident most insurance rate premiums will increase come renewal time, regardless of if it was only your first accident. The price increase will vary from company to company depending on the insurance company's pricing practices and other factors including, how major or minor the incident was, if another driver was involved or not, if anyone was injured because of the accident and of course if there are lawyers involved.

Distracted Driving and Insurance Rates

Some insurance companies may even increase your premium rates if you get a ticket for having a cell phone while driving. A mobile phone ticket is generally considered a minor offense, rated about the same as a low-level speeding ticket or running a red light. How high individual car insurance premium rates will rise due to a ticket varies depending on your insurer. While some may let a first minor infraction slide, other car insurance agencies may raise your rates between 10 to 20 percent. While there isn’t an industry standard for whether a cell phone ticket will affect your car insurance policy it is possible, especially if you become a repeat offender.

Smartphone Accidents vs. Cell Phone Accidents

Why smartphones specifically over regular cell phones? This is because people aren't just using their smartphone just for calling people anymore. They were not as distracting as when people brought smartphones into the car and began texting, web surfing, videoing, and other applications while driving. While calls are the leading reason leading to incidents, just using an app on the phone can be more than enough. Distracted Driving was always there, but it just intensified as more applications for the smartphones became available.

The driving impairments associated with using a smartphone while driving can be as profound as those related to driving under the influence of alcohol. A study undertaken by a group from the University of Utah showed that intoxicated drivers exhibit an aggressive driving style, leading to following the vehicle immediately in front of them more closely and applying more force while braking. However, the drivers reactions were delayed when using either handheld or hands-free phones. Consequently, they were involved in more traffic accidents than if they had not been distracted due to conversing on a cell phone. The study concluded that the relative risk of being in a car crash while being distracted by the use of a cell phone is similar to the hazard associated with driving with a blood-alcohol level at the legal limit.

What are drivers doing with smartphones?

Just how poorly are smartphones being used by drivers? Well a survey undertaken by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., the largest U.S. auto insurer by market share said that "36% of the people it surveyed in 2015 admitted to texting while driving, and 29% said they access the Internet, compared with 31% and 13%, respectively, in 2009."

However, it is widely believed by researchers that the problem is actually way bigger than it is viewed to be by surveys like this one. A significant portion of drivers involved in traffic accidents will rarely admit to using a smartphone while being behind the wheel. Meaning smartphones may actually be causing more accidents and therefore increasing car insurance rates more than we know.

What are smartphones doing to insurance rates?

However, even if you have never caused or been part of an accident, car insurance rates are still increasing due to smartphones. This is due to insurance companies needing to use price optimization, and it happens to lots of people all the time. A driver could have no history of accidents, but all of a sudden their car insurance rate and they are left wondering why.

With the rate of accidents increasing due to smartphones, insurance companies need to overcome this by increasing their car insurance rates for the general population; so as to cover any losses they may have otherwise incurred. In fact, insurers are expected to raise their rates by approximately 8% this year, on top of the average 6.5% increases already seen in 2016. While this is not all necessarily due to smartphone usage, it can be assumed that a relatively large portion of it most likely is.

Conclusion

Overall the increase in smartphone usage in today's society is also leading to an increase in accidents due to distracted drivers. Drivers are even using handheld devices more and more to call and text, even as more states pass laws against it. This is, in turn, increasing car insurance rates, not only for the individuals causing the accidents but also people who have cars that never even leave their driveway.

As a law firm we are seeing far more Car Accidents in Philadelphia cases as a direct result of smartphone usage whilst driving. Insurance companies need to make money to pay for car accident claims while making a profit for themselves on top of this. Naturally, in turn they have to increase their rates for all drivers, regardless of previous involvement with traffic incidents.

Joel J. Kofsky is a Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer that specialises in auto accidents, slip and fall accidents, workers compensation claims and product liability. The Law offices of Joel J. Kofsky is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania. For a free consultation call 215 735 4800 - Comments: 0

What Should you do if you are involved in a hit and Run - 29 May 2017 20:35

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A typical car accident is stressful enough, but a hit and run accident puts even more pressure on accidents victims. Yet, thousands of drivers in Pennsylvania suffer these accidents every year, and more often than not, they do not know where to turn for help. In approximately 11% of all car accidents, one of the drivers flee the scene.
Leaving the scene of an accident is never the answer. In Pennsylvania, over 100,000 traffic crashes happen every year. The consequences drivers are subject to if they leave the scene depends on the type of accident, who have been affected and how. It's often not the accident that is likely to lead to serious charges; it is leaving the scene that warrants legal ramification.

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If the driver responsible for the accident is found, he/she will be held liable for damages including medical bills, pain, lost wages and other consequences that victims have suffered. But, in the meantime, victims need to make sure that they are on the road to recovery.

Hit and run accident attorney Joel Kofsky advises victims of hit and run accidents. “First and foremost, you have to remain calm. If you are in a hit and run accident that results in damage to a vehicle or a driver, you must call the police and provide assistance to anyone who is injured."

Sadly, remaining calm in a hit and run is not often the case. Victims are worried that the driver at fault will never be discovered. That leaves the victim with the need to seek damages from his insurance company rather than the insurance company of the driver at fault for the accident. If this happens to you, you need to find a lawyer to negotiate with your insurance company on your behalf.

If you are a victim of a hit and run accident, the Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky are here to protect your interests. “Unfortunately, we have seen too many victims taken advantage of in these tough times. We are here to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.”

If you or your loved one has been in a hit and run accident, you should seek professional help. The longer you wait, the harder it gets to receive full compensation. - Comments: 0


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