Shoppers Should Prepare For Black Friday Traffic

Black Friday. We’ve all seen the videos of massive crowds outside of a Walmart, people trampling over safety barricades at Target, and getting into fistfights over flat screen TVs at Best Buy. While consumer greed and violence are as closely associated with Black Friday as turkey is with Thanksgiving, something that often gets overlooked is Black Friday traffic. After all, those hordes of people storming the doors of the local mall had to get there somehow, right?

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

Thanksgiving traffic is bad all week and Black Friday is no exception. According to data collected by Google, eager shoppers actually begin their drives to malls across the country on Thanksgiving evening. Traffic starts to pick up at around 4 PM on Thursday, with the number of drives over the course of Thursday evening being 5 times higher than a normal Thursday in November. Waze, a navigation app created by Google, found similar data. Users of the Waze app saw traffic peak throughout Thursday evening, drop off slightly overnight, and pick up again early Friday afternoon. Waze reports that traffic is at it’s worst on Friday between noon and 3 PM. Similarly, Time reports that traffic between 12 AM and 2 PM on Black Friday is significantly higher than traffic on an average November day. More drivers on the road than usual, coupled with the fact that they’re anxious to get to the store quickly and could be driving in an unfamiliar area, means that car accidents can happen. Drivers need to be alert and follow the rules of the road to avoid being involved in Black Friday traffic car crashes.

So where exactly is everyone going on Friday? In general, Waze found that people are most often searching for electronics stores, outlet malls, and Christmas tree farms. Unsurprisingly, they also found that the most searched for navigation destination on Black Friday in 2015 was Walmart. The app saw an 85% increase in the number of searches for Walmart as compared to other Fridays in November. Other department stores that were frequently searched for include Costco, Kohls, Macy’s, and Target.  For clothes, drivers were searching the most for Burlington Coat Factory, Marshalls, Old Navy, Ross, and TJ Maxx. When it comes to home decor, drivers were most interested in finding Bed Bath and Beyond, Homegoods, Ikea, Lowes, and Home Depot. If your Black Friday plans include any of those destinations, know that the roads are going to be unavoidably congested with shoppers looking for good deals. It also means that if you wait to go Black Friday shopping until Friday afternoon, the store shelves could likely be empty when you get there.

Michigan Black Friday Car Crash Lawyer

While Thanksgiving brings bountiful feasts and plenty of leftovers, Waze also found that searches for restaurants see a drastic increase on Black Friday as well. Mcdonald’s, Chick-Fil-A, Panera Bread, In-N-Out, and Chipotle were the most searched for restaurants on Black Friday in 2015. In Detroit specifically, the most searched for term on Black Friday was “hamburgers.” If your Black Friday deal hunting makes you hungry, your best bet for hitting a restaurant is between 2 PM and 3 PM, so as to avoid lunch and dinner traffic.

A huge increase in the number of cars on the road unfortunately means there may be an increase in the number of motor vehicle accidents as well. According to Time, there are 34% more automobile accidents on Black Friday as compared to the number of accidents in the two weeks before and after. The majority of those accidents were backing or parking related, which is not surprising considering how many people are trying to get in and out of parking lots on Black Friday. On the road, drivers are likely in a hurry to get to their destination, and could be making poor driving choices as a result. While no one likes sitting in traffic (especially when a great sale is on the line) drivers should know that bad traffic is something they need to expect when it comes to Black Friday shopping.

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

But there is a chance that all of that could change, however, thanks of course to the internet. A report from the Chicago Tribune found that over Thanksgiving weekend in 2016, there was a significant increase in the number of people who stayed home on Black Friday, and did all of their shopping online. The National Retail Federation found that “109 million people shopped from their computers and mobile devices from Thanksgiving Day through Sunday, while about 99 million hit the sales in brick-and-mortar stores.” The year before, the numbers were more evenly split, with 103 million people shopping online and 102 million in stores. The internet has already changed much of how we live our lives, and maybe soon we will be able to thank it for saving us from Black Friday traffic.

Everyone loves a great sale and being able to knock out some holiday shopping early. And while the crowds inside the store are one thing, the crowds getting to the store are quite another. If you plan on going Black Friday shopping, traffic should be a part of that plan. Roads, especially near malls and shopping centers, are going to be congested. You probably can’t do anything to change how much traffic there will be, but you can be responsible for planning for it. Know that your drive to Target is probably going to take longer than it does on a normal day, and build that time into your schedule accordingly. When you’re on the road, don’t let your frustration with traffic and desire for a great deal on an iPad result in dangerous driving behavior. In the parking lot, check and double check that your path is clear when pulling into and backing out of parking spots, and espescially be on the lookout for pedestrians and shopping carts. There is no Black Friday sale that is worth risking your life, the lives of those you are traveling with, and the lives of other people on the road.


Don't let your desire for a good sale get the best of you this Black Friday. With so many drivers on the road, traffic will be bad and car collisions can happen. If you or a loved one are injured in an automobile accident this Black Friday, or any other day of the year, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Drivers Should Be Prepared for Heavy Thanksgiving Traffic

Thanksgiving is here, and for many of us, that means overeating, watching football, and leftover turkey sandwiches for weeks. It also means that many of us will be piling in the car and hitting the highway in order to do so. Thanksgiving, and the days surrounding it, are some of the busiest travel days of the year, with millions of Americans traveling to see loved ones.

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

Thanksgiving weekend is generally considered to include Wednesday evening, and all day Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with some resources including Tuesday afternoon as well. According to the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), the number of long distance trips during this time period increases by 54% as compared to the average number of long distance trips the rest of the year. While TV news reports are often focused on long airport security lines and flight delays, USDOT reports that 91% of long distance holiday travel is by vehicle. They also note that the average long distance Thanksgiving trip is 214 miles, with about half of all travelers completing their trip within the same day, and not spending any nights away. Over Thanksgiving weekend, 53% of long distance trips are to visit friends and family, whereas this only accounts for about 24% of long distance trips during the rest of the year.

According to Travel and Leisure, an estimated 41,900,000 people piled into their cars over Thanksgiving weekend in 2015. With that many people on the road, traffic is going to bad. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Saturday after are when the roads are at their worst, but roads are more congested than usual for the whole weekend. Time reports that roads start seeing an increase in traffic at about 1:00 PM on Tuesday, with gridlock setting in from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Heavy traffic returns on Wednesday morning at around 11:00 AM, and stays that way all day, with 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM being the worst of it. When coming home after the holiday, traffic is up to 60% worse on Saturday than it is on Sunday. If you’re able to complete your trip in one day, Thursday is the day to do it. Traffic on Thanksgiving day mimics weekend traffic patterns, meaning if you leave in the morning or evening (avoiding mid-day) you shouldn’t see too much slow down.

Detroiters should be warned that they likely won’t be able to avoid traffic this Thanksgiving, as Northbound US 23 and Northbound I-75 Merge in Detroit rank #9 on ABC News’ list of America’s Top 10 Most Congested Roads. They say that “this stretch of road near Flint, Mich., attracts people fleeing to the beautiful northern Michigan forests for turkey and fun. Cabin owners, resort seekers and deer hunters flock north from Detroit, Indiana, Ohio and even Chicago.”

Unsurprisingly, data giant Google has been collecting information via their Maps app about our Thanksgiving travel habits. Google reports that “ham shop”, “pie shop”, and “liquor shop” are the most searched for terms on Maps on Wednesday, as people do last minute cooking or need to pick up a hostess gift. Likely a result of cooking mishaps in years past, “buffet restaurants” are what’s most searched for the most on Thanksgiving day. On Black Friday, Americans are searching for “electronics store”, “outlet mall”, and “Christmas tree farm” the most. In Detroit, however, the most searched for item on Black Friday is “hamburgers”.

So many people traveling over a certain time period unfortunately means that accidents are going to happen. According to the National Safety Council, there were 391 traffic fatalities during the Thanksgiving period in 2016. This accounted for 12.84% of all traffic deaths during November of 2016. That number is up from 301 deaths over the same time period in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA notes that 50% of the people who died in automobile accidents over Thanksgiving in 2015 were not wearing seat belts. National Safety Council has the following tips for how drivers can be safe and prepared when traveling over the holiday.

thanksgiving traffic

 While following these tips can’t guarantee you won’t be in any accidents this Thanksgiving, it could help reduce the likelihood. Heavy traffic doesn’t mean you shouldn’t travel over the holiday, but it does mean you should be prepared and know how it will affect your travel plans. Check traffic and weather before you leave, and know that your route will likely take longer than it does on a normal day. Try and stay calm when you’re stuck in traffic, and know that everyone else is likely just as frustrated as you are. And of course, making good choices like wearing a seat belt and not getting behind the wheel while drunk are behaviors that should be practiced year round.


While Thanksgiving leads to hugely heavy traffic, car collisions happen anytime of year. If you or a loved one have been involved in an automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 
 

Hyundai Launches Online Car Shopping Program

Between Amazon Prime, Postmates, and a number of other online retailers with quick delivery times, almost anything can be purchased online and arrive at your doorstep in as little as an hour. Now Hyundai is trying to get in on the massive online retail business by introducing a car shopping program that allows drivers to purchase a car online just like they order home goods from Target or food from Blue Apron.

Detroit Car Crash Lawyer

According to Edmunds, the Hyundai Shopper Assistance Program is a retail program in the U.S. that allows drivers to online shop for vehicles. Launched on October 10, 2017, the program claims to offer transparent pricing, flexible test drives, a streamlined purchase process, and a three day money-back guarantee. The program is currently only available in Miami, Orlando, Dallas, and Houston, but the company plans on making it available nationwide by early 2018.

As part of the program, participating dealer websites will post vehicle specific pricing so customers know the exact price of the make and model they are interested in. Hyundai says this “not only makes it easier to shop and compare” but will allow the driver to make “faster better-informed decisions.” They can then schedule a test drive on their phone, either online or through an app. The test drive can even begin at their home, with a representative from the dealer bringing the vehicle to the driver’s house. The car manufacturer says that “this can be especially convenient for parents at home with children, as well as those who would prefer their test drive on familiar roads.”

Hyundai is the first mass-market car brand to enter the world of online shopping. The brand says they know “buying a new car hasn't always been as smooth a process as we'd all like. We hear you. So we're happy to introduce Hyundai Shopper Assurance.” Consumer Reports notes that Hyundai knows people don’t like going to the dealership, so they’re trying to eliminate that aspect of the car buying experience.

Michigan Car Accident Lawyer

In addition to pricing and scheduling test drives being available online, the program also offers the ability to apply for financing, get credit approval, figure out payment plans, and value trade-ins online as well. The hope is that consumers will be more likely to purchase a vehicle if they don’t have to spend large amounts of time at the dealership. The program also allows customers to return their vehicles within three days of purchase (as long as it has less than 300 miles and passes a dealer inspection). According to Dean Evans, chief marketing officer for Hyundai Motor America, “for nearly a decade, the word 'Assurance' has been synonymous with Hyundai and represents our efforts in redefining the car ownership experience. Shopper Assurance is the next step in that tradition and is car buying made simple.”

Online shopping is clearly a very popular means of making a purchase, and car dealerships are largely unpopular. Hyundai is smart for realizing this, and allowing their customers the ability to purchase a vehicle from the comfort of their own home. As the program rolls out into more and more cities, we will see if customers like online car shopping, or if they miss being able to see all of the dealer’s vehicles in the flesh. If the program is popular, it is likely we’ll be seeing more and more automobile manufacturers offering online shopping programs too.  


Car accidents can still happen no matter how much time and effort you put into researching and purchasing a vehicle. If you have been involved in an automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney today. 

10 Year Old Takes Mom's Car for a Joyride

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

A kid stealing a car and speeding around town and on the highway may seem like something out of an action movie or a video game, but a very real joyride happened just south of the Michigan border last month. According to USA Today, on October 26, 2017, a 10-year old from northern Ohio lead police from multiple departments as well as state highway troopers on a high speed chase through his town and eventually onto the Ohio Turnpike in a stolen vehicle.

The boy had stolen his mom’s 2004 Toyota Avalon, and began driving it through his neighborhood in Westlake, Ohio. A police officer saw the boy go speeding by at around 9:30 AM, and was being chased by another vehicle that was driven by the boy’s mother. Police were also tipped off to the joyride by two 911 calls. One caller reported the vehicle swerving in and out of lanes and running other vehicles off the road. A second caller said the boy appeared to be traveling at speeds of 90 mph or higher.

Two other police vehicles began chasing the boy, following him for about 15 miles. They tried to stop him from entering the interstate, but failed. Once he entered the interstate, he drove through a toll both on the Ohio Turnpike, at which point 4 other police vehicles joined the chase. The police vehicles formed a moving road block, in order to the slow the boy down, who at the point was reaching speeds of 100 MPH. The chase on the interstate lasted about 20 miles, before the boy eventually pulled over into a grassy area. A police vehicle gently bumped up against the boy’s vehicle in order to prevent him from reentering the highway. Reportedly, police motioned to the boy to pull over several times, which he responded to by shaking his head no. Luckily, no was injured in the chase.

WKYC reported that once the boy finally pulled over, he was taken first to a hospital, and then placed in the custody of Erie County Children’s Services. The boy was reportedly very combative with police, kicking and spitting at officers once he had pulled over. Remarkably, this is the second time in only two weeks that he has taken one of his parent’s cars for a joyride. On October 16, 2017, he stole a Dodge Charger and lead police on a very similar chase. Currently, police are speaking with the Erie County Prosecutor’s Office about criminal charges.  

Michigan Car Accident Lawyer

The boy is not the only one who could be facing criminal charges. While laws vary by state, the boy’s parents could be held responsible for his actions to some degree. If this situation took place in Michigan, according to Michigan law, the parent only faces criminal charges if they were involved in a child’s “bad act,” or if they had knowledge the child was planning to commit a bad act. In 2003, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled “parents may be held liable for failing to exercise the control necessary to prevent their children from intentionally harming others if they know or have reason to know of the necessity and opportunity for doing so.” More so, parents of a child who commits a crime may have to pay for any damages they caused if they child is unable to pay for them.

Joyrides such as this one may sound far fetched, but they do need to be taken seriously. While statistics on underage kids taking cars for joyrides are unavailable, it only takes a quick Google search to know that they do happen, and that they can be extremely dangerous. Parents need to ensure that their car keys are never left out in the open for children to take, as well as make sure their kids know how dangerous it is for them to operate a car. It may sound like something that could never happen to you or your child, but cars are fancy, secretive objects that can be very appealing for a child to try and get their hands on. Once behind the wheel however, a child's lack of experience in driving, a lack of education in road rules, and shorter stature may lead to the child causing a car accident. 


A child speeding down the highway is never something a driver expects to see, much less knows how to respond to. Highways are dangerous enough for the most seasoned driver, and having a child driver only increases the risk of a car crash happening. If you have been involved in an automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

It's National Traffic Incident Response Week!

Most of us know to some extent that we need to slow down when an emergency vehicle is approaching, but do you know exactly what the law says? The Federal Highway Administration has declared the week of November 13-19, 2017, to be National Traffic Incident Response Week. The goal of the week is to raise awareness regarding the proper response when sharing the road with first responders. This week aims to remind drivers that they need to slow down and pull over, as well as help drivers be more aware of what laws their state specifically has in regard to emergency vehicles on the road. 

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

According to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), traffic incidents are the number one cause of death for EMT/EMS responders, and one of the leading causes of death for police officers. Nearly 13% of police officers and firefighters who die in the line of duty are killed in traffic incidents. OHS also notes that traffic incident managers often report that drivers simply are just unaware of the laws, in their state, regarding what to do if they are involved in an automobile accident. OHS suggests the following steps drivers can take in order to make the roads safer for first responders.

How Drivers Can Minimize First Responder Dangers

  • If you can steer it, clear it: After a fender-bender or crash, if (and only if) your car is driveable and there are no injuries, move your car to the shoulder or a nearby safe place off the road. Many drivers think they should not move their car until the police arrive and they can make an accident report, but this is false and can put drivers, their cars, and other people at risk.

  • Slow down and move over: When you pass by an incident scene and/or see lights, vests, or reflectors, slow down and move over. This provides a protective buffer for you, for emergency responders, and for the motorists behind you. You can get a ticket if you don't slow down and move over.

  • Drive safely: As always, drive sober and without distractions such as cell phones. Use your seat belt and stay aware of your surroundings.

Detroit Car Crash Lawyer

In the state of Michigan, there is a law on the books specifically regarding emergency vehicles. The Emergency Vehicle Caution Law, also known as the Move Over Law, applies to police, fire, rescue, ambulance, and road service vehicles.

Michigan Move Over Law

On Roads With Two or More Lanes of Travel in the Same Direction

  • When approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with its emergency lights activated carefully move over into an open lane.

  • If this is not possible due to traffic, weather, or road conditions, slow down and pass with caution, allowing the emergency vehicle as much space as possible.

On Roads With One Lane of Travel in Each Direction

  • When approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with its emergency lights activated carefully move over into an open adjacent lane.

  • If this is not possible due to traffic, weather, or road conditions, slow down and pass with caution, allowing the emergency vehicle as much space as possible.

Drivers who violate the law face misdemeanor penalties. This can result in 4 points going on the driver’s license and/or fees and fines of up to $150. If violation of the law results in injury or death of a police officer, firefighter, or other emergency response person, the driver could face 15 years in prison and/or a fine of $7500.

First responders are there to keep us safe, especially if we find ourselves involved in a motor vehicle accident. As drivers, we need to repay the favor by making sure that first responders are safe when they’re on our roads. Being aware of your state’s laws so you know exactly what you need to do is best for keeping first responders safe, as well as keeping you out of legal trouble. By keeping first responders safe, we're helping them keep us safe.


While first responders are there to keep us safe in the event of a car collisions, they can't prevent them from happening. If you have been involved in an automobile accident call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation  with an experienced accident attorney today. 

Lawrence Technical University Students Developing Autonomous Tech

While much of the focus on the development of autonomous vehicles in Michigan has been on automobile manufacturers in Detroit, and MCity at the University of Michigan, another Michigan college has been making strides in the development of autonomous technology as well. Lawrence Technical University in Southfield, Michigan, is one of the only places in the country where an autonomous vehicle is being developed by students, not engineers.

Michigan Autonomous Accident Lawyer

According to The Detroit News, a group of students, lead by two professors, are creating an Autonomous Campus Transport/Taxi, also known as ACTor.  The vehicle is a semi-autonomous car that so far, can navigate short routes, stop at stop signs, and detect pedestrians in the street. Investors have donated money to the project to take it from a semi-autonomous vehicle to a fully autonomous vehicle that can be used as a taxi around campus. This is expected to be achieved by August of 2018. At that point, the vehicle will be fully autonomous, but the driver would still be ready to take over the vehicle at any time.

The vehicle is a Polaris Gem, and the project has received a great amount of support form local investors. Hyundai MOBIS invested an initial $15,000 in the project, which allowed the students to purchase the vehicle. Dataspeed, an engineering firm in Rochester Hills, invested in the project by installing the hardware into the vehicle, which allowed the students to be able to focus on writing code. Solar Technology Inc. provided the radar system that allows the vehicle to be able to find it’s way, and Realtime Technologies Inc. provided a cash donation. Last spring, the project won the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition at Oakland University, which has also lead to the project receiving more funding. 

Nicholas Paul is a first-year computer science graduate student who is leading the team of student developers. He said that once they got the vehicle, “[they] were able to plug in the vehicle and begin working. [They] were able to write smaller programs; some of them only handle stop sign recognition, obstacle detection. All of these things that come together to create the software that runs on this vehicle currently. All of those components help make intelligent decisions, safe decisions about the surroundings and the destination, where it needs to go.” He also says that word about the vehicle is traveling quickly around campus. Informing people about autonomous technology is one of the goals of having a self-driving taxi on campus, as well as a providing a transportation option for those who have trouble getting around. 

Detroit Car Crash Lawyer

The students at Lawrence Technical University are further highlighting just how important southeast Michigan is when it comes to the future of autonomous technology. With their contributions, along with the work being done at the University of Michigan, and by Detroit automobile manufacturers, we could be seeing autonomous vehicles on the streets sometime very soon. Having autonomous car on the road in turn may lead to safer roads with fewer car accidents. Since driver-less cars remove the driver and thereby human error, it's very likely that we will have fewer car accidents on the road. It's exciting to know that southwest Michigan is playing such a large part in developing autonomoustechnology that will likely change driving and driver safety as we know it. 


Until self-driving vehicles become mainstream and are able to fully eliminate human error, car accidents are still going to happen. If you or a loved one have been the victim of an automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free legal consultation. Our attorneys are highly expereinced in dealing with all types of motor vehicle accidents, including car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and bus accidents. 

Mother and Son Die After Colliding with School Bus

A mother and son from mid-Michigan died earlier this month after colliding with a school bus. According to the Detroit Free Press, Joshua Schafer was driving with his mother Kimberly when he rear-ended a school bus, killing both himself and his mother, who was riding in the passenger seat. Joshua was 19 years old, and Kimberly was 56.

The accident occurred in Isabella Township, Michigan, near Mount Pleasant. On Friday, September 8th, at around 7:45 AM, the bus was traveling eastbound on Weidman Road, just west of Whiteville Road. Mlive reported that the bus had stopped to pick up the first student on its route when it was hit. The car went underneath the bus. The bus driver was the only person on board at the time, and was not injured. Police said that no photos or videos of the crash were available.

school bus accident

Joshua was a sophomore at Central Michigan University, according to the university newspaper. It was his first week on campus, as he had transferred from Mid-Michigan Community College.

Authorities say that early morning sun may have been a contributing factor to the accident, as the car was facing and traveling eastbound, into the bright morning sun. While research on sunglare related accidents is sparse and very few statistics are available, we do know that school bus related accidents are unfortunately common. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 1,353 people died in automobile accidents involving school buses between 2003 and 2014. 71% of those who died were not traveling on the school bus. For more information on school bus car accidents, as well as safety tips for drivers when sharing the road with school buses, check out this recent post from The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC.


When sharing the road with school buses, drivers need to slow down, and stop when appropriate. Even so, car collisions involving school buses will still occur, resulting in injury or death. If you or a loved one have been involved in an automobile accident involving a school bus, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. 

Kalamazoo Crash Underscores Consequences of Speeding

A tragic car crash in Kalamazoo, Michigan over Labor Day Weekend has demonstrated the deadly consequences of driving over the speed limit. Five teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17 died in a fiery car crash around 1 AM on the morning of Saturday, September 2, 2017. They were traveling nearly 100 mph in a Dodge Charger when they slammed into a tree. A parked Kalamazoo police officer saw the car go speeding by and began following the car in order to slow it down. Upon rounding a corner however, he discovered that the car crashed and was being consumed by flames.

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

Speeding car accidents like this Kalamazoo car crash one are unfortunately not uncommon. Readers of The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog may remember a similar teenage speeding car crash that resulted in the deaths of 3 of the 5 teenagers involved, in Stony Creek Metro Park.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines a speed related crash as one in which the driver “was charged with a speeding-related offense or if an officer indicated that racing, driving too fast for conditions, or exceeding the posted speed limit was a contributing factor in the crash.” In 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, 27% of all fatalities from automobile accidents in the country were due to speeding. In Michigan, speeding related fatalities are also about 27% of all fatalities from automobile accidents. Data from the NHTSA shows that drivers between the ages of 15 and 34 are most likely to speed, and males are more likely to speed than females. Also, weekends and night time are when the most speeding occurs. In states with harsh winters such as Michigan, ice and snow also increase the likelihood of speed related car crashes.

This heartbreaking car accident highlights the dangers of speeding. Whether it’s 1 mile per hour over the speed limit or 20, speeding is not only dangerous, but is also against the law. According to the Michigan Legislature, driving at a speed greater than the posted speed limit is known as a violation of a basic speed law (VBSL). Basic speeding laws are set in place to assure that vehicles will be able to stop within a clear distance of the car ahead if need be. 

Michigan’s Posted Speeding Laws

Speeding Car Crash Lawyer
  • 25 miles per hour in business districts.
  • 25 miles per hour in residential districts.
  • 25 miles per hour within the boundaries of a public park.
  • 55 miles per hour on truck-line and county highways.
  • 55 miles per hour on gravel highways.
  • 70 miles per hour on limited access freeways.

In the state of Michigan, speeding is considered a civil infraction, resulting in speeding tickets of up to $100. In some circumstances, driving over the speed limit may even be considered reckless driving, which may result in a fine of up to $500 and possibly jail time. More so, according to the Michigan Secretary of State, driving over the speed limit can also result in points being added to the driver's license. Different violations have different point values, and the points stay on the driver’s record for two years after the conviction date.

Points for Speed Related Infractions

  • Reckless driving = 6 points
  • Drag racing = 4 points
  • Driving 16 mph over the speed limit or more = 4 points
  • Careless driving = 3 points
  • Driving 11-15 mph over the speed limit = 3 points
  • Driving 10 mph or less over the speed limit = 2 points

Speeding is illegal and dangerous. Driving over the speed limit may result in points on the driver’s record, a suspended license, tickets, and even jail time. What's worse however is that speed related automobile accidents may lead to serious injury or death. Going 10 mph over the posted speed limit and potentially rear-ending a vehicle due being unable to slow down in time for a sudden red light, is not worth shaving 5 minutes off of a commute. Drivers should instead plan out their trip before they leave and should be prepared to leave ahead of their scheduled departure time to ensure a smooth, steady, and safe drive to their intended destination. 


Speeding not only hurts your driving record, but it may also lead to serious injuries and death in the event of a speeding car crash. Driving over the speed limit, regardless of how much over the limit, is illegal. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident caused by a speeding driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

BMW Issues Fire Hazard Recall

BMW is recalling over 1 million vehicles in North America due to a potential fire hazard. In what is actually two separate recalls, the automobile manufacturer is recalling 1.4 million vehicles in the U.S. and Canada, and is looking at potentially expanding the recall to other countries. The recall was announced on November 3, 2017.

According to Reuters, BMW announced the recall after meetings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The manufacturer is recalling 670,000 3-series vehicles from model years 2006-2011, and 740,000 vehicles from model years 2007-2011 including 128i vehicles, 3-Series, 5-Series and X3, X5, and Z4 vehicles. The first recall is due to a wiring issue in the heating and air conditioning system that could potentially cause the system to overheat and start a fire. The second recall is due to a valve heater that may rust, also potentially resulting in a fire.

Michigan BMW Car Accident Lawyer

The Chicago Tribune reported that BMW was first made aware of the wiring issue in 2008. There were no reports of injuries caused by the wiring issue from 2007-2014, but in 2015 BMW learned of a situation that resulted in injuries caused by the wiring problem. Regarding the issue with the valve heater, BMW first received a report in 2009 about an issue that occurred in 2007. Luckily, no injuries caused by the valve heater have been reported.

Vehicle recalls can be nerve wracking, but in both of these instances, the recalls are precautionary and the odds of a fire are small. The recall officially goes into effect on December 18, 2017. After that date, BMW has 60 days to notify drivers of the affected vehicles by mail, letting them know their vehicle is under recall. If you believe your vehicle is under recall but do not hear anything from the manufacturer, or want to be proactive about knowing the status of your vehicle, you can go to www.safercar.gov or www.nhtsa.gov/recalls and enter your vehicle’s VIN to see if it is under recall. Or, click on the button below.

All BMW dealers will repair wiring harnesses, valve heaters, and any other parts necessary to resolve the issues. Drivers can take their vehicles to any BMW dealer to have their vehicle fixed - it doesn’t need to be the dealer they bought the vehicle from. Drivers should be patient, as a recall as large as this will likely have a lengthy waiting list for repairs. Most importantly, drivers shouldn’t panic. BMW has not said that the vehicles are unsafe to drive, so drivers can continue to use their vehicles without worry of getting involved in recall related car accidents.

No matter how much research you put into purchasing your vehicle, or how well you maintain it, it is virtually impossible to predict or prevent your vehicle from being recalled. Recalls can be stressful, but they are a part of being a car owner.  By being proactive about checking your car’s VIN for recalls and paying attention to any mail you receive from the manufacturer, you can help prevent being involved in any recall car crashes. Should you find your vehicle under recall, remain calm, and learn what necessary steps need to be taken in order to repair your car to make it safe for you and your family.


Car accidents caused by mechanical failure and faulty defects are rare when compared to those caused by human error, but they still happen. If you or a loved one have been involved in an automobile accident which was the result of a recalled car defect, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Our attorneys are highly experienced in handling all types of motor vehicle accidents, including those caused by car recall defects. 

Kalamazoo Bike Accident Could Change Michigan Law

A 2016 bicycle accident in Kalamazoo, Michigan that sent shockwaves through the community is still having an impact over a year later. On June 7, 2016, 5 bicyclists were killed by a speeding driver, and on September 27, 2017, the Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously on a group of bills designed to change state laws in order to protect cyclists. According to Mlive, survivors of the crash Paul Gobble and Jennifer Johnson say that they have observed “animosity towards bicyclists using the roads” and that “it's time to make Michigan safer." The proposed bills aim to do just that.

The Kalamazoo crash was the worst in Michigan’s history, killing 5 and seriously injuring 4 others. A social cycling group called The Chain Gang had departed out on a ride to Plainwell, Michigan and back. About half an hour into the ride, a speeding, blue Chevy pickup truck came flying down Westnedge Ave, driven by Charles Pickett Jr., and collided with the group from behind. Tony Nelson, 73; Larry Paulik, 74; Debra Bradley, 53; Melissa Fevig Hughes, 42; and Suzanne Sippel, 56, were all pronounced dead at the scene. Sheila Jeske, 54, and Paul Runnels, 66, survived along with Gobble, 48, and Johnson, 42. The survivors say they are still dealing with the physical and psychological effects of the crash.

Detroit Bicycle Car Crash Lawyer

Sen. Margaret O'Brien, R-Portage and Sen. David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, introduced a package of bills aimed at protecting cyclists on the road. The bills now heads to the Senate floor. Currently, Michigan is one of only seven states to not have laws requiring cars to pass cyclists safely. The proposed bills are as follows.

Proposed Bicyclist Road Safety Bills

  • Senate Bills 123 and 170 require cars to observe a five-foot passing zone for bicycles.

  • Senate Bill 124, sponsored by O'Brien, requires driver training courses to include at least one hour of education on the laws pertaining to bicycles, motorcycles, and other vulnerable roadway users.  

  • Senate Bill 330, sponsored by O'Brien, allows prosecutors to count a driver whose license had expired or suspended in another state as having a suspended or revoked license when they are charged with operation of a vehicle causing death while holding a suspended or revoked license or registration.

  • Senate Bills 580 and 581, sponsored by Knezek, expand the prohibition on texting while driving to include the use of a computer, tablet, camera, or other internet-based communication device, and update sentencing guidelines.

Mlive reported that Pickett was charged with 5 counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death, 5 counts of second degree murder, and 4 counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing serious injury. Also, According to a police report, officers found marijuana, a small amount of methamphetamine, rum, vodka, beer and wine in Pickett's pickup truck after the crash." Nearly a year and a half after the crash, Pickett’s trial still has yet to occur. It was originally scheduled for April 24, 2017, and then rescheduled for September 19. 

Detroit Bike Car Accident Lawyer

In that time, Pickett was denied application for leave to appeal his second degree murder charges. Pickett’s attorney, argued that evidence used to charge his client with second degree murder was insufficient. His lawyer says that an interview between his client and a detective that took place in a hospital directly following the crash violated Pickett’s constitutional rights, and therefore could not be used as evidence. His lawyer also argued his client should be charged with reckless driving causing death, but not second degree murder. The court denied the application, “for failure to persuade the Court of the need for immediate appellate review." Pickett plans on pleading insanity to the charges.

This past June, on the one year anniversary of the accident, a mass was held to honor the victims. The Chain Gang also held their first annual Finish the Ride Memorial Ride, a 27-mile bike ride to remember the victims and honor the survivors of the tragedy, following the same route the riders were planning on doing the day of the crash.

Bike accidents are unfortunately common in the United States, with many receiving little to no media attention. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), bicyclists made up 2% of all traffic related deaths and 2% of all crash related injuries in 2014. In 2015 alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported over 1,000 cyclists deaths, and over 467,000 bicyclists were injured. The NHTSA also found that bicyclists deaths were more likely to occur between 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM, and in urban areas. This is likely due to decreased visibility when the sun goes down, and congested city streets. Bicyclists who are killed are usually males between the ages of 20 and 24. The NHTSA notes that, “a large percentage of crashes can be avoided if motorists and cyclists follow the rules of the road and watch out for each other." The NHTSA also provides the following tips for motorists and cyclists to safely share the road.

Safety Tips for Motorists

  • Yield to bicyclists as you would motorists and do not underestimate their speed. This will help avoid turning in front of a bicyclist traveling on the road or sidewalk, often at an intersection or driveway.

  • In parking lots, at stop signs, when backing up, or when parking, search your surroundings for other vehicles, including bicycles.

  • Drivers turning right on red should look to the right and behind to avoid hitting a bicyclist approaching from the right rear. Stop completely and look left-right-left and behind before turning right on red.

  • Obey the speed limit, reduce speed for road conditions, and drive defensively to avoid a crash with a cyclist.

  • Give cyclists room. Do not pass too closely. Pass bicyclists as you would any other vehicle—when it’s safe to move over into an adjacent lane.

Safety Tips for Cyclists

Detroit Bicycle Accident Lawyer
  • Check your law to make sure sidewalk riding is legal.

  • Watch for pedestrians.

  • Pass pedestrians with care by first announcing “on your left” or “passing on your left” or use a bell.

  • Ride in the same direction as traffic. This way, if the sidewalk ends, you are already riding with the flow of traffic. If crossing a street, motorists will look left, right, left for traffic. When you are to the driver’s left, the driver is more likely to see you.

  • Slow and look for traffic (left-right-left and behind) when crossing a street from a sidewalk; be prepared to stop and follow the pedestrian signals.

  • Slow down and look for cars backing out of driveways or turning.

Drivers and bicyclists learning to share the road with each other is key to reducing the number of cyclist injuries and fatalities due to car accidents. While those on bikes are the ones most likely to be injured or killed, both parties need to be aware of and watch out for each other. While bicycle car accidents can’t be avoided altogether, drivers and bicyclists can work together to ensure travel safety. Whether it be by following tips from organizations like the NHTSA, or through bills like the ones Senators O’Brien and Knezek are hoping to pass, bicyclists need more protections on the road so accidents like the one in Kalamazoo don’t become the norm.


While drivers and cyclists can both work to ensure that those traveling on bikes are safer, bicycle car accidents still happen. What's worse is that bicyclists are more likely to be injured and to suffer more serious injuries than those in the motor vehicle, when involved in a bicycle car accident. If you or a loved have been the victim of an automobile collision, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Let our highly experienced attorneys handle the legal matters while you focus on recovering from your injuries.   

Detroit Automakers Announce Commitments to Electric Vehicles

Two Detroit-based automakers are strengthening their commitment to producing electric vehicles. On Monday, October 2, 2017, General Motors and Ford both announced their plans to drastically increase their production of electric vehicles in the coming years. According to the Detroit Free Press, GM is planning on releasing two new electric vehicles in the next 17 months, and Ford plans on adding 13 electric vehicles to their lineup over the next 5 years.

Mark Reuss, the Chief of Product Development at GM’s Warren Tech Center, GM believes that, “the future is electric.” One such electric GM vehicle will be a mid-sized luxury SUV, and another will be a large, sleek, crossover with three rows of seating and is rumored to be a “futuristic” version of one GMs current electric models, the Chevy Bolt. The two vehicles GM is releasing in the near future are part of a larger plan to have 20 electric vehicles on the road by 2023, and is looking to “begin production of hydrogen fuel cells at its Brownstown battery plant in Michigan by 2020.” The automaker says that some of these vehicles will be battery operated and others will be fuel cell operated (meaning they use hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity). The good new for the environment about fuel cell technology is that the only emission of a fuel cell vehicle is water.

GM's announcement for an electric SUV comes at a great time as the market for SUVs is growing quickly (even millennials are interested in larger vehicles), and GM is looking to capitalize on that. 

Michigan Electric Car Crash Lawyer

Meanwhile Ford has created “Team Edison," a team within the company that is dedicated exclusively to the development of electric vehicles. Ford will be investing $4.5 billion over the next 5 years to develop 13 new battery electric vehicles. These are likely to include hybrid versions of the F-150 pickup truck, Mustang, police responder vehicle, and maybe even an autonomous vehicle. The company is also developing a battery operated small electric SUV. Sherif Marakby, Ford’s Vice President of Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification said that, “by 2020, Ford plans to produce an electric car that can go 300 miles before needing to recharge.”

Despite the push from large automakers, and the fact that electric car sales reached a record high in 2016, as previously mentioned by The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog, electric vehicles are still fairly uncommon sights on the road. According to Bloomberg, there were 2 million electric vehicles on the road in 2016. While this is a whopping 60% increase from 2015, electric vehicles still only account for just .2% of total lightweight duty vehicles. The New York Times reported that in the first 8 months of 2017, “Americans purchased only about 60,000 battery-powered electric vehicles, and about the same number of plug-in hybrid models...accounting for only 1% of the market.”

If anything, it will be government regulations, not consumer interest, that drive the demand for electric vehicles. China, the United States, and countries in Europe are moving towards tighter emission regulations that could eventually lead to getting rid of gas powered vehicles all together. China, home to strict pollution regulations, is also home to the greatest number of electric vehicles on the road. Bloomberg reported that the US, Germany, China, France, and the UK, among others are part of the Electric Vehicle Initiative, which aims to have “30 percent market share for battery power cars, buses, trucks and vans by 2030.”

Tesla Car Crash Lawyer

One company that is almost synonymous with electric vehicles is Tesla. While they have shown that there is a demand for electric vehicles, they have also shown how they can be difficult to produce. Tesla’s Model 3 sedan had hundreds of thousands of people paying $1,000 deposits just to be put on a waiting list for the vehicle. But the company recently announced that in the third quarter of this year, they were only able to produce 260 vehicles due to production issues. When it comes to fuel cell vehicles, they are difficult to produce as hydrogen is expensive and not widely available.

Detroit automakers showing such a strong commitment to electric vehicles is encouraging. It’s exciting to know that in a few years there will be many “clean” cars on the road, cutting down on emissions and pollution. Hopefully other automakers will join GM and Ford and make electric vehicles a priority as well, and research and development will make these vehicles easier and cheaper to produce, making them more easily available. Electric vehicles are good for everyone - they will save drivers money on gas, and they help the planet reduce its carbon footprint.


Electric vehicles are good for the environment, but car accidents happen regardless of how fuel efficient a vehicle is. If you have been involved in an automobile accident involving an electric car, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney today. 

Tips for Drivers Sharing The Road With The QLine

Readers of The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog may remember a recent post discussing the new public transportation system in downtown Detroit, the QLine. The QLine is a streetcar system that runs along Woodward Ave through downtown, Wayne State University, Midtown, and Foxtown. The QLine opened in May of 2017, and while it’s a great transportation option in Detroit, it may also cause confusion for drivers in the city.

Detroit QLine Car Crash Lawyer

The QLine tracks are on public roads, changing the traffic patterns drivers in the area are used to and requiring drivers to pay attention to the streetcars as well as newly posted traffic lights and signage. The QLine adds yet another element drivers need to be aware of on already busy city streets. One driver unfortunately learned this the hard way, colliding with a QLine streetcar. CBS Detroit reported that on Thursday October 5, 2017, the driver of a long-bed truck pulled out in front of the QLine at the intersection of Willis and Woodward Ave, colliding with the streetcar. The driver was found to be at fault, and will likely receive a citation. Luckily damage to the vehicle and the QLine was minor and no was injured.

M-1 Rail, the creators of the QLine, said that in the 5 months the QLine has been operating, it has been involved in about 6 minor accidents. The QLine is a large, relatively slow moving vehicle, being 66 feet long and traveling at 35 MPH. While it may be frustrating to be stuck behind the QLine, drivers need to be careful not to make any sudden movements, such as cutting out in front of the QLine at an intersection, or attempting to pass the QLine and cutting it off.m in order to avoid being involved in a motor vehicle accident. The QLine released this video to suggest safety tips for drivers.

While these driving safety tips cannot guarantee that QLine car accidents won’t happen, they can help drivers be more prepared when it comes to sharing the road with the QLine. While it may take some getting used to for drivers, the QLine is a great transportation option for those who don’t want to try and navigate Detroit themselves, and an excellent alternative to drunk driving for those who have had a fun night on the town. The QLine is still a relatively new system, and likely over time drivers will be more accustomed to sharing the road with the streetcars. In the meantime, drivers should be aware of their surroundings when driving in Detroit, follow all posted signage and traffic signals, and not try to outrun the QLine, no matter how slow it seems to be moving.


Public transportation systems like the QLine that operate on public roads require some time for drivers to get used to sharing the road with them. But regardless of how much time has passed and how comfortable drivers are with the Qline, car accidents can still happen. If you have been involved in an automobile accident involving a public transportation vehicle such as a SMART Bus or the QLine, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Drunk Driving Accident Kills 5

Michigan Drunk Driving Car Accident Lawyer

A fiery car collision from May 9th, 2017 in Oceola Township, Michigan, which took the lives of 5 people, has concluded with murder charges. The Detroit Free Press reported that Matthew Jordan Carrier, age 22 from Fenton, Michigan, was bound over for trial on Thursday, September 21, 2017. This means the judge believes there is probable cause, and the case will go to trial. Carrier was charged with 5 counts of second degree murder. 

Carrier was driving a 2002 Subaru Impreza that belonged to his friend who was also passenger in the car, Justin Andrew-Humberto Henderson, of Fenton, 18. Also traveling in the car were 24-year old Preston Tyler Wetzel, and 23-year old Kyle Eugene Lixie, also both of Fenton.

Carrier says he can recall consuming “most” of a fifth of Smirnoff vodka, but that he was “less drunk” than Henderson, which is why he was driving the car. Officials said Carrier’s blood alcohol content was .15, nearly twice the legal limit in the State of Michigan of .08.

Carrier was driving southbound on Argentine Road, reaching speeds of up to 103 MPH. He ran the stop sign at the intersection of Argentine Road and M-59, colliding with a Cadillac headed east on M-59. Albert Boswell, 39 was driving the Cadillac, and was traveling with his girlfriend,  Candice Lynn Dunn, 35, of Oakland County, her mother, Linda K. Hurley, 69, and her mother’s boyfriend, Jerome Joseph Tortomasi, 73, both of Macomb County. Boswell was the only passenger in the Cadillac to survive the crash. In the Subaru, Henderson and Wetzel were both killed, while Lixie was taken to the University of Michigan Hospital for the injuries he sustained, and was eventually released.

In addition to 5 charges of second degree murder, Carrier also faces 14 other charges, including operating a vehicle while intoxicated and driving on a suspended license causing death. Nine witnesses took the stand at the hearing, resulting in these charges. The judge presiding over the hearing said that Carrier’s blood alcohol level, a prior OWI conviction, and other alcohol violations show Carrier had malicious intent, since he had not learned from his previous charges. This malicious intent resulted in second degree murder charges. Carrier is currently being held in the Livingston County Jail. He says he wishes he had died instead of his victims.

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

Carrier claims he thought he could drink without it being a problem, but when it comes to operating a motor vehicle, this line of thinking is dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10,265 people died as a result of drunk driving in 2015 alone. No matter how well you think you can handle your alcohol, or if you’re “less drunk” than your friends, driving while intoxicated is not only illegal, but can also be deadly in the event of a drunk driving car crash. Having a designated driver, using a ride-sharing service like Uber, or having some other back up plan that doesn’t involve a drunk person getting behind the wheel is the best way to prevent being involved in a drunk driving car accident. Think of it this way: If ordering an Uber after a tailgate this weekend seems too inconvenient, does calling your attorney to tell them you were involved in a drunk driving car accident really sound much better?


Drunk driving is never OK, under any circumstances. And while you can make sure that you never drive drunk, you cannot guarantee that others on the road won't drive while intoxicated. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a drunk driving accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation with an experienced car accident attorney. 

General Motors Settles Faulty Ignition Switch Cases

Three years after the initial recall was announced and over a decade since the defect was initially detected, General Motors (GM), has been ordered to pay a $120 million settlement regarding their massive ignition switch defect scandal. According to the Detroit Free Press, the settlement was announced on October 19, 2017, and is settling claims in multiple states. The ignition switch defect killed 124 people and injured 275 more.

The defect was found in smaller cars such as the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion, which were made by the old GM. The defective ignition switch caused the cars’ engines to stall and prevented airbags from deploying, all while the car was in motion. GM recalled 2.7 million vehicles in 2014 due to this issue. The state of Michigan will be receiving $4.3 million, which will be put in the state’s general fund. The settlement does not include payments GM has made/is making to families of those killed or injured in accidents caused by the defective ignition switch.

Detroit Car Crash Lawyer

The recall is one of the largest in the U.S., and has a timeline spanning over a decade. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office said in a statement that "certain employees of GM knew as early as 2004 that the ignition switch posed a safety defect because it could prevent airbags from deploying. However, despite this knowledge, GM personnel decided it wasn’t a safety concern and delayed making recalls. GM continued to market the reliability and safety of its motor vehicles which were equipped with this defective ignition switch.”

According to NPR, GM first noticed a problem with the defective ignition switch in 2001 during pre-testing of the Saturn Ion. An inquiry was launched looking into this, and was closed in 2003, saying the problem had been fixed. GM again noticed the same defect in 2004 during production of the Chevrolet Cobalt, but rejected a proposal in March of 2005 to fix the issue due to the time and money it would require. In December of that same year, GM released a statement saying the defect occurs when "the driver is short and has a large and/or heavy key chain...the customer should be advised of this potential and should ... [remove] unessential items from their key chain, ” but did not issue a recall.

GM Recall Lawyer

Fast forward to 2007, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a probe into the issue, but closed it saying they found no correlation between the faulty ignition switch and the complaints they received. Another NHTSA probe of the issue was opened and closed in 2010. By the end of 2013, GM had officially linked the faulty ignition switch to 31 car collisions and 13 deaths. Finally in February of 2014, the defect was officially reported to the NHTSA and the initial recall was launched. More recalls were issued in March, April, and May of that year.

On the day the settlement was announced, GM said in a statement that “the resolution includes a financial component, and assures GM will continue ongoing improvements made to ensure the safety of its vehicles. These improvements include continuation of a new organizational structure devoted to global vehicle safety and the company’s Speak Up for Safety program.”

Hopefully, GM is serious about this commitment to safety, and another car safety recall such as this could be avoided. While recalls are often for relatively minor issues, the number of injuries and fatalities due to the GM ignition switch defect shows that recalls need to be taken seriously. Drivers need to pay attention when recalls are announced, and be proactive about checking their car’s VIN number to make sure their vehicles are safe to drive. While some mechanical issues are impossible to predict, knowing if your car is under recall is something all drivers are responsible for, not only for their own safety, but for the safety of their passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians.


Regardless of whether or not your vehicle is under recall, car accidents due to mechanical failures happen. If you or a loved one have been involved in a motor vehicle accident due to a recall, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

Rock Thrown From Overpass Kills Michigan Man

A Michigan man has died after the vehicle he was traveling in was struck by a large piece of concrete. According to the Detroit Free Press, on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, Kenneth White, 32 of Mount Morris, Michigan was riding in the passenger seat of a work van, traveling south on I-75 at about 70 MPH. As the vehicle approached the Dodge Road overpass, a chunk of concrete weighing about 6 pounds smashed through the windshield. White sustained fatal injuries, most notably a fractured skull, and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. The accident occurred in Vienna Township, Genesee County, about 80 miles north of Detroit. White leaves behind a fiance and a young son.

Flint Car Accident Lawyer

Investigators immediately suspected that the chunk of concrete had been thrown from the overpass intentionally, as opposed to other accidents in which debris has fallen from overpasses accidentally. Before White’s vehicle had been struck, approximately 20 other rocks had already been thrown, and 4 vehicles had been hit and were pulled over waiting for police to arrive. Those 4 vehicles only sustained minor damage.

Mlive reported that investigators were handling the accident as a homicide investigation, and initially offered a $2,500 reward for anyone with information who was willing to come forward. Police received a social media tip that lead them to take 5 teenagers into custody for questioning. Kyle Anger, 17; Mark Sekelsky, 16; Mikadyn Payne, 16; Trevor Gray, 15; and Alexander Miller, 15, all of Clio, Michigan, have since been charged as adults with second-degree murder. They have also been charged with conspiracy to commit second-degree murder and six felony counts of malicious destruction of property. They face up to a lifetime in prison, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled yesterday morning, November 2, 2017.  According to Fox 2 Detroit, "police say the 17-year-old Anger is accused of throwing the rock that hit the van."

Flint Car Crash Lawyer

Officials say the the debris were gathered from a dead-end street in Vienna Township, Michigan, and then transported to the overpass in a flatbed pickup truck. Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell said in a statement that “while some may be saying well we want first-degree murder, I don't believe there was pre-mediation (to cause a death) here. It's not a prank. It's second-degree murder. I don't think anybody is laughing. This is not a prank.”

According to ClickOnDetroit, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton, who is trying the 5 teenagers as adults echoed Sheriff Pickell saying, "I don't believe this was a deliberate act to take someone's life...It was a willful and wanton act that resulted in someone's death. These people should've known better. They should've known this could kill someone, and under Michigan law, that's second-degree murder."

While we can all make choices to drive as safely as we can, accidents like this are unfortunately something we have no control over. Nothing, a rock or otherwise, should ever be thrown from an overpass. It’s not a prank, it’s not funny, and it could be deadly. Drivers already have enough to pay attention to on the road in order to avoid being involved in motor vehicle accidents. Adding something that's falling from the sky that the vehicle will likely be unable to avoid is has proven to be deadly, and anyone who thinks that doing such a thing is funny or harmless will likely find themselves in serious trouble.


Any sort of "prank" that involves distracting drivers or adding another element to the road that drivers need to be prepared for is not funny, and could lead to a serious car accident and fatal injuries. If you or someone you know have been the victim of an automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

Daylight Savings Time Linked To Car Accidents

Drowsy Driving Car Crash Lawyer

Depending on the time of year, changing the clocks for Daylight Savings Time (DST) is viewed as either a blessing or a curse. During Autumn, it's wonderful to earn an extra hour of sleep when DST comes around, but when it come time to "Spring forward" is when problems arises. Research shows that it can take people a couple of weeks to adjust to the spring time change - which is essentially the same as subjecting everyone to jet lag. Losing that hour of sleep can lead to drowsy driving and may potentially cause a sleepy driving car accident if drivers fall asleep at the steering wheel. The lack of sleep can also hinder a driver's alertness on the road. These side effects help explain why 40% of pedestrians were killed in 2015, following the end of DST. 

It's also a misconception to think that just because we gain an hour of sleep in the Autumn, that this phase of Daylight Savings Time is without its drawbacks. One factor researchers believe to be behind the increase in traffic deaths during "fall back" time, is the lack of natural light that is available in the morning. Darker roads are more difficult to maneuver, and may increase the chances of a motor vehicle accident.  

“Even though it’s dark, you’re still behaving like it’s light,” says Lawrence University economist David Gerard, addressing sleepy driver behavior following the first weeks after DST.

How To Adjust To Daylight Savings Time

Sleepy Driving Car Crash Attorney Detroit

Experts suggest that people should prepare a few days before Daylight Savings Time by getting in a few extra hours of sleep, especially for those who already only get around 3-4 hours of sleep every night.

"A lot of these accidents occur because we don't have residual sleep [reserves] to survive that insult," Richard P. Allen, a John Hopkins neurologist, said to Vox Media. "When we're running nearly empty on our sleep-wake status, it doesn't take much to push it into a negative area." 

With evidence that supports the link between DST and dangerous drowsy driving accidents on the road, it’s no wonder states such as Arizona and Hawaii have opted out of participating in the time change. Most of Africa and many areas in Asia have also refused to observe the time change. Daylight Savings Time might seem like a harmless hour out of our days, but taking steps to be more awake while driving are vital to help minimize health risks from abnormal sleeping patterns and the car accidents that follow. Since Autumn daylight savings is coming up in three days, on Sunday, November 5th, now might be the time for Michiganders to start catching a few extra zzz's to prepare!


Daylight Savings Time has come a long way from power saving initiatives during WWI, but it can still negatively affect people's health. The disruption to a person's biological rhythm can cause harm to themselves or to someone else in the event of a drowsy driving car accident. If you or somebody you know has been injured by a sleep-deprived driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Michigan Horse-drawn Buggy Collision Kills 3

Grand Rapids Car Crash Lawyer

A horse-drawn buggy collision in central Michigan has killed three and injured several others. The Detroit Free Press reported that at 8:34 AM on Sunday, October 29, a pickup truck rear-ended a horse-drawn buggy that was carrying a family of nine in Montcalm County, Michigan. The buggy was traveling east on Condensery Road near Wood Road in Bushnell Township, Michigan when it was struck but a Dodge truck. The truck was driven by Brandon King, 29, from Sheridan, Michigan.

Three children traveling in the buggy suffered fatal injuries. A 7 year-old girl, a 9 year-old girl, and an 11 year-old boy were all pronounced dead at the scene. An 18 month-old girl, a 2 year-old boy, 3 year-old boy, and 8 year-old boy were all transported to Helen Devos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The 18 month-old has since be released. The children’s parents, Paul Martin and Judith Martin were also injured, and were taken to Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan and Spectrum Health Butterworth in Grand Rapids, Michigan, respectively. King was a wearing a seatbelt at the time of the truck accident and was not injured. Investigators have ruled out alcohol as a factor.

Under Michigan law, horse-drawn buggies are street legal and are considered traffic. However, there are no types of licensing laws when it comes to horse-drawn buggies, so they can be driven by a person of any age. Michigan legislature states that “a person riding an animal or driving an animal-drawn vehicle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all the duties, criminal penalties, and civil sanctions applicable to the driver of a vehicle.”

Michigan Horse Car Crash Lawyer

According to Mlive, horse-drawn buggies are considered “implements of husbandry”, which is any sort of vehicle use for farming or agricultural purposes. As such, they are required to display an orange safety triangle on the rear of the buggy, which indicates that they are a slow moving vehicle. They also must not obstruct traffic, meaning that if a large line of vehicles forms behind the buggy, it must pull of to the side of the road and let the vehicles pass. It is not until the person dismounts the buggy that they are considered a pedestrian, and the horse is considered an animal.

While seeing a horse-drawn buggy, or any other sort of “implements of husbandry” may be frustrating due to their slow moving speed, it’s crucial that automobile drivers remember that there are people riding in them, and that those people are at a bigger risk for injury should a motor vehicle collision happen as compared to the driver who is protected inside their metal vehicle. Passing and overtaking a buggy may seem like a quick fix drivers to get back up to the speed they want to be going, but buggies don’t operate the same way vehicles do, and it’s impossible to predict how a horse will react when a car goes flying by. No one likes to have to slow down, but under Michigan law, horse-drawn buggies have as much of a right to be on the road as any driver.


Driving on rural roads can present obstacles many drivers aren't used to, such as slow moving farm vehicles, sharp curves, and unpaved roads. It's important that drivers are extra cautious when traveling in a rural area, especially if it's something they don't do often. If you have been involved in an automobile accident, including a car crash in a rural area, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

Detroit Submits Bid for Amazon's New Headquarters

A newly released ad campaign has taken social media by storm, all in the hopes that one of the biggest companies in the world will make Detroit its new home. A video entitled Detroit. Move Here. Move The World. hit social media on Thursday, October 19, 2017, as part of the official Detroit-Windsor bid to be selected as the location for Amazon’s next headquarters, which is being called HQ2.

Source: YouTube - Detroit Moves HQ

According to the Detroit Free Press, Amazon announced a request for proposals for HQ2 in September of 2017, and since then cities across America have gone into a frenzy hoping to win Amazon’s affection. WXYZ Detroit reported that upon hearing about the competition, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder asked Dan Gilbert to put together a proposal for Detroit. Gilbert is a Detroit businessman and downtown developer, who has been heavily involved in the rebuilding of the city. The deadline to submit proposals was October 19, and the winner will be announced in 2018. Amazon plans on investing $5 billion in their new location, and will employ over 50,000 workers. The full development of the headquarters would be spread out over 15-17 years, and could require as much as 8 million square feet of office space.

According to Crane's Detroit Business, in addition to Gilbert, a 60-person “Amazon committee” was assembled, consisting of business, education, political, and philanthropic leaders. Specific details of the bid regarding tax incentives, mass transportation for employees, and filling such a large talent pool are being held closely guarded by the committee. The video, which has been viewed over 100,000 times on Youtube alone, was put together by journalist and filmmaker Stephen McGee, with a voice over by Detroit-based poet, playwright, and performance artist Jessica Care More. The video features scenes of iconic Detroit locations, businesses, auto manufacturers, and nearby universities.

Detroit Car Accident Lawyer

The Detroit News reported that Gilbert told the Associated Press that “we feel like we have a lot of advantages. One of them is we’re proposing international headquarters on the border of two North American countries. We’ve got a hedge against any kind of immigration issues that might be on either side because you have two countries. You also have a huge, deep talent base in Canada and special universities.” He also added “we have a lot of transportation advantages because Amazon is sort of a transportation company to some degree. All the stuff with autonomous vehicles and drones and aerospace, there is a lot of that in Detroit.” Detroit's history of vehicle manufacturing, as well as developments of autonomous technology, are central to the bid. The video states that Detroit is “where mobility is born.”

There is still a long and competitive process ahead, as Amazon says over 200 cities have submitted proposals. But should Detroit win the bid, it is hard to overstate how much of a boost to the local economy having a company as large as Amazon setting up shop would be. Detroit is in the middle of a revitalization, and what better way to catapult that by having one of the largest and most influential companies in world make Detroit their new home. For more information on Detroit’s bid, visit Detroitmovestheworld.com, or check out #MoveTheWorld on social media.


With a company as large as Amazon moving into Detroit, tens of thousands of people will be added to the daily commute, meaning more accidents are likely to happen. If you have been involved in an automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free legal consultation with an expereinced automobile injury lawyer.

Michigan Judge Under Hit-and-Run Crash Investigation

Michigan Hit and Run Car Crash Lawyer

A Michigan judge who usually sentences criminals for hit-and-run crimes could possibly be ending up in front of another judge for the very same reason. The Detroit Free Press reported that Roseville District Court Judge Catherine Steenland of the 39th District Court is being investigated for fleeing the scene of an accident.

On the night of September 25, 2017, Judge Steenland allegedly sideswiped another vehicle while she was making a turn. She then left the scene and returned to her home. The car collision allegedly took place on Gratiot between 13 Mile and Masonic. The driver of the other vehicle supposedly followed Judge Steenland to her home and watched her exit her vehicle. The two never spoke to each other. Anonymous sources tell CBS Detroit that police officers later reported to Judge Steenland’s home, and she refused to cooperate with them. The sources also say that Judge Steenland’s vehicle has since been impounded.

Roseville Police Chief James Berline said in a statement that “a complaint was made, and as Judge Steenland is a sitting judge responsible for the City of Roseville, the matter was turned over to the Michigan State Police for investigation. Any comment regarding this matter will have to come from MSP.”

This is not the first legal trouble Judge Steenland has faced. In June of 2008, she pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle while visibly impaired in Ogemaw County. She was charged in the 82nd District Court in West Branch in northern Michigan. She was suspended without pay for 90 days.

Roseville Car Crash Lawyer

In Michigan, the driver of a vehicle who knows or who has reason to believe that he has been involved in an accident shall immediately stop his or her vehicle at the scene of the accident and shall remain there...or immediately report the accident to the nearest or most convenient police agency or officer. In other words, if there’s a chance you were in an accident, you need to stay on the scene until you are able to talk to the police. There may be exceptions in cases where it would be dangerous for the driver to remain on scene. Fleeing the scene of an accident is generally considered a misdemeanor crime, that carries with it a 90 day prison sentence and/or a $100 fine.

Leaving the scene of an automobile accident isn’t OK for anyone to do. It may seem like an easy way out, but it can just create more problems down the line. What could be a minor car collision that could easily be handled by an exchange of insurance information could become a much bigger legal matter if you decide to flee. By staying at the scene of a car accident and cooperating with first responders and investigators, you may be able to avoid having to call an accident attorney or criminal lawyer because you made a bad decision in the moment.


Hit-and-run accidents can be a legal headache for the person who fled the scene, but can also lead to prolonged pain and suffering for the other victims of the car crash. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Halloween Driving Safety Tips

So, it's finally Halloween. You carved and put out the pumpkins, you covered the trees in cobwebs, and you have the noise machine rigged to make ghost sounds in tune with the gauze ghosts you hung from the roof. You even have an enormous cauldron filled to the brim with a wide assortment of candy. You sit back and sigh wishing you could go trick-or-treating. After all, you've made your house into the exact kind you would've been excited to go to as a child. But then, you remember that you're going to a costume party this evening. You can still go all out with your attire, plus there will be alcohol in addition to the candy there. Why were you even upset? An adult Halloween is way better!

While adults typically don't go trick-or-treating, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate Halloween that don’t involve running from house to house looking for candy. And while Halloween can be a fun night for adults too, it’s important not to have too much fun and risk anyone’s safety. Since most adult Halloween parties involve alcohol, it's important that people don't engage in drinking and driving, which can lead to drunk driving car accidents. What's worse is that since so many children are on the streets on Halloween night, drunk driving accidents are very likely to cause serious injury or death to children.

Michigan Halloween Drunk Driving Lawyer

Drunk driving is an unfortunately all too common occurrence on Halloween night, taking the lives of both those who were in the car, as well as innocent bystanders. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that between 2009 and 2013, 43% of all deaths that occurred on Halloween were due to a drunk driving related car collision. In 2013, 26% of all pedestrian fatalities were caused by a drunk driver. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 55 deaths on Halloween night in 2015, a significant rise from 17 deaths in 2011. Officials expect that number will steadily rise over the coming years.

The NHTSA also found that drunk driving car accidents are three times more likely to occur on Halloween than New Year’s Eve. David Bohl, the director of an alcohol abuse recovery center outside of Chicago, believes this is because the idea of adults celebrating Halloween has increased in popularity over the past few years. Speaking to The Chicago Tribune, Bohl said that more adults are choosing to celebrate the night with drinking. If people are celebrating on the weekend (regardless of what day the holiday actually falls on) this can lead to 6-8 hours of alcohol consumption.

In an effort to combat drunk driving, ride sharing app Uber has a Halloween guide for those who will be drinking. Ride sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft are a a great way to minimize drunk driving accidents. However, it’s important to remember that with ride sharing apps, surge pricing is usually in effect for nights like Halloween, so the fare may be higher than expected. Therefore, Halloween party-goers who plan to drink might want to consider public transportation, a cab service, or selecting a designated driver, as other safe alternatives to driving while intoxicated.

Michigan Pedestrian Car Crash Lawyer

Even if drivers are not drunk, it is important to be especially cautious on Halloween night as the streets will be filled with excited trick-or-treaters looking for candy. According to the NHTSA, many pedestrian accidents are caused by common mistakes made by drivers that can be avoided. Safe Kids has the following tips for drivers.

Halloween Driving Safety Tips

  • Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.

  • Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.

  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.

  • Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.

  • Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic, and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.

  • Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.

Celebrating Halloween is not something that has to end once you’ve outgrown trick or treating, but it’s also not a reason to endanger your own life or the lives of others. As Halloween continues to be a popular night for drinking, drunk driving accidents are likely to continue. Even if you only plan on having a couple of drinks, stay safe and have a designated driver or use a service such as a ridesharing app. If you are not drunk, it is still necessary to take extra precautions, drive safely, and be aware of the increased amount of child pedestrians roaming the streets that evening. There is no way to assure car collisions won't happen on Halloween, but being aware of the dangers and having a plan for staying safe can help lower the risk to yourself and others.


Drunk driving is bad idea regardless of the time of year, and drunk driving accidents happen year round. If you have been involved in a drunk driving accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Let our attorneys handle your legal troubles while you recover.