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Traffic Fatalities Increase Following Daylight Savings Time

Published on Mar 14, 2017 at 2:42 pm in Car Wrecks.

Researchers have concluded that sleep deprivation on the Monday following the shift to daylight savings time in the spring results in an increase in fatal car crashes.  Here’s a link to the researchers’ abstract.

McMath Woods encourages all motorists to remember the three D’s of deadly driving:  drunk, distracted, and drowsy.

Traffic Fatalities on the Rise in U.S., Arkansas, in part, because of Distracted Driving

Published on Feb 16, 2017 at 3:10 pm in Car Wrecks, Distracted Driving.

Yesterday, the National Safety Council estimated that as many as 40,000 people died in car crashes in 2016.  This estimate represents a 6% increase over 2015 and a 14% increase over 2014.

What’s causing the significant increase in fatalities?  People are driving more miles and more people are driving distracted.

Arkansas State Police report a similar increase in car crash fatalities between 2014 and 2016.

Here’s a link to the National Safety Council press release.

Here’s a link to an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article discussing national and state fatality numbers.

Arkansas’s Roadway Fatalities Rise 11% Through June 2016

Published on Aug 24, 2016 at 2:22 pm in Car Wrecks.

Noel Oman, in an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article this morning, addresses the increasing number of Arkansas fatalities on our state’s roads.  Here’s a link to the article: https://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODN/ArDemocrat/PrintArticle.aspx?doc=ArDemocrat%2F2016%2F08%2F24&entity=ar00900

From 2004 to 2013, driving fatalities declined nationally.  However, driving fatalities rose nationally in 2014 and 2015 and that trend continues through June 2016.  Arkansas’s road deaths have followed a similar pattern as fatalities on the state’s roads have increased 27% when comparing statistics for January to June 2014 versus January to June 2016 and 11% when comparing statistics for January to June 2015 versus January to June 2016.

The National Safety Council’s recommendations to motorists and drivers are make sure passengers use their seat belts, designate alcohol- and drug-free drivers, get plenty of sleep and take breaks to avoid fatigue, never use a cellphone and monitor teen driving habits as teens are three times more likely to crash than experienced drivers.


18 Wheeler Wrecks and Regulations

Published on Jul 21, 2016 at 7:54 pm in 18 Wheeler, 18-Wheeler wreck, Car Wrecks, Careless Driving, Negligence, Tractor Trailer, Uncategorized, Wrongful Death.

We have blogged before about the challenges of handling a wreck involving an 18 wheeler. If you are involved in a serious wreck with an 18 Wheeler, be aware that it is very likely they will have experts, including accident reconstructionists, on the scene within hours. You should not delay in seeking help. You need someone preserving evidence on your behalf and making sure that everyone involved will be treated fairly and justly.

Most 18 Wheelers have downloadable data in them that should be preserved after a significant wreck. The data can show braking, speed, rpms, steering input and numerous other pre-crash items important to reconstructing what happened. This information needs to be preserved for all parties involved.

Can I Make A Claim For Future Medical Expenses?

Published on Mar 29, 2016 at 2:03 pm in Car Insurance, Car Wrecks, Consumer Awareness.

Under Arkansas law, an injured person can recover “[t]he reasonable expense of any necessary medical care, treatment and services received . . . and the present value of such expense reasonably certain to be required in the future.”  AMI 2204.  This means if an injured person has received $100 in medical treatment, then they can present  $100 in medical treatment  to the jury if the charges for the treatment were reasonable.  However, if the injured person claims $100 in medical treatment and $1,000 in future medical treatment, then they can present the $1,000 in future medical treatment only if the future charges are “reasonably certain” to be incurred.  What “reasonably certain” means has been discussed at length by Arkansas courts.   Usually, testimony from  a treating doctor on the seriousness of the injury and the need for future medical treatment will be enough to allow future medical expenses to be submitted to the jury.

Check Your Insurance Policy To See If You Have Medpay Coverage.

Published on Mar 25, 2016 at 1:58 pm in Car Insurance, Car Wrecks.

When I’m speaking with someone about a car wreck they’ve been injured in, one of my first questions is “do you have medpay coverage.”  The usual response is something like “you don’t understand, I wasn’t at fault for the wreck so shouldn’t we be going after the at-fault driver’s insurance?”  When handling an auto crash case, I will definitely pursue the at fault driver’s insurance but an initial concern is making sure the outstanding medical bills are paid.  The quickest, easiest way to pay the outstanding medical bills is through the injured person’s medpay coverage.  Medpay (short for medical payments coverage) is a required first party coverage in Arkansas.  That means every auto policy in Arkansas has a minimum $5,000 in medpay coverage UNLESS the insured signed a written rejection of medpay coverage.  Medpay is a no-fault coverage meaning your insurance carrier will pay your medical expenses, up to the coverage limits, regardless of fault.

Another great thing about medpay coverage is it’s affordability.  I looked at my auto policy this morning and I pay less than $6 per month for $25,000 of medical payments coverage.  While insurance rates vary based on driving record, age, and vehicle, I’ve never had a client tell me they didn’t have medpay coverage because they couldn’t afford it.

Please check your auto insurance policy today.  If you don’t have medpay coverage, get it.


What Is Gap Insurance?

Published on Mar 21, 2016 at 1:57 pm in Car Insurance, Car Wrecks, Consumer Awareness.

I often receive phone calls about liability insurance carriers not wanting to pay for all of the debt associated with a motor vehicle that has been totaled.  According to Arkansas’s jury instructions, the liability insurance carrier must only pay the difference in fair market value immediately before and immediately after the wreck.  See AMI 2210.  Fair market value is defined as “the price the [motor vehicle] would bring on the open market in a sale between a seller who is willing to sell and a buyer who is willing and able to buy after a reasonable opportunity for negotiations.”  See AMI 2221.  The amount the vehicle owner owes is irrelevant to the market value of the vehicle.

If your vehicle is totaled, you owe $10,000 on the vehicle, and the fair market value of the vehicle is $8,000, then you are upside down $2,000.  Stated differently, there is a gap of $2,000.  This is where good gap insurance coverage comes in handy.  A well written gap insurance policy will cover the $2,000 you are upside down on the vehicle.  As with most types of insurance coverage, there are good policies and bad policies.  When purchasing gap insurance, you must read the fine print to determine whether you are paying for a policy that covers the outstanding debt on the vehicle or only the fair market value.  As discussed in the first paragraph, the liability insurance carrier is required to pay the fair market value of the vehicle so gap insurance that only covers the fair market value is of limited benefit to the consumer.  For more information on how gap insurance works and the type of policy you need, check out the following link from the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office: https://arkansasag.gov/programs/consumer-protection/my-vehicle/gap-insurance

Wet Weather In Arkansas Affects Driving Conditions

Published on Mar 9, 2016 at 2:56 pm in Car Wrecks.

On average, there are 5,760,000 motor vehicle crashes yearly in the United States.  About 22% of those crashes, approximately 1,259,000, are weather related.  Of those approximately 1,259,000 weather related crashes, 73% occur on wet pavement and 46% occur during rainfall.  Crashes involving wet pavement and rain account for approximately 21% of all car wreck fatalities.  For more weather related crash statistics, check out the following U.S. Department of Transportation link: https://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/weather/q1_roadimpact.htm

Rain is in the forecast in Arkansas for the next five days.  McMath Woods encourages all Arkansas motorists to allow more time for their trips, put more distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you because your stopping distances will be reduced, and to drive slower.  Stay safe out there.



Is Hands Free Safer Than Hand Held Cell Phone Use?

Published on Mar 7, 2016 at 2:57 pm in Car Wrecks, Consumer Awareness.

In 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) called for a nationwide ban on driver use of portable electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle.  The requested ban included prohibiting drivers from using hands free cell phones while driving.  Why?  Because statistical data shows that even when drivers have hands free cell phones, they still perform visual manual tasks involving their phones which take their eyes off the road.

Here’s a link to the NTSB announcement: https://www.ntsb.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/No_call_no_text_no_update_behind_the_wheel_NTSB_calls_for_nationwide_ban_on_PEDs_while_driving.aspx

Here’s a link to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report on hand held and hands free cell phone usage: https://www.distraction.gov/downloads/pdfs/the-impact-of-hand-held-and-hands-free-cell-phone-use-on-driving-performance-and-safety-critical-event-risk.pdf

Are Distracted Drivers As Dangerous As Drunk Drivers?

Published on Feb 26, 2016 at 3:01 pm in Car Wrecks.

According to a 2006 comparison study entitled A Comparison of the Cell Phone Driver and the Drunk Driver, the answer is “yes.”  The conclusion of the research was “when driving conditions and time on task were controlled for, the impairments associated with using a cell phone while driving can be as profound as those associated with driving drunk.”  Here’s a link to the research article: https://www.distraction.gov/downloads/pdfs/a-comparison-of-the-cell-phone-driver-and-the-drunk-driver.pdf

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