Colder Temperatures Reignite Car Idling Debate

Detroit Parking Ticket Lawyer

Readers of The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog may remember two articles from this past summer that documented the saga of a Michigan man receiving a ticket for warming up his car one winter morning. Nick Taylor Trupiano, age 24 and of Roseville, Michigan, started his car in his driveway one morning in January of 2017. Taylor went back in his house to wait for it to warm up, but when he went back out to his car, was shocked to find a ticket on the windshield. The ticket read, “Vehicle parked in drive with keys in the ignition, motor running -- no one around."

Trupiano, angry and confused by the $128 fine, posted a picture of the ticket on Facebook, along with a heated description of the situation. The post was shared over 14,000 times. Facebook users were both angered at the Roseville Police Department for the bizarre ticket, and concerned that the same thing could happen to them. The Roseville Police Department responded, saying that, by leaving the car on with the keys in the ignition, Trupiano was “putting the public at risk” and creating a “public safety issue.” Essentially, Trupiano was leaving the car open to being stolen, since it was sitting in public view with the keys in the ignition. The law that Trupiano was ticketed under was put in place in order to deter carjackings. Had he started his car with a remote starter, it would have been fine. It’s the fact that the keys were in the ignition, making it fairly easy to steal the car, that was the issue. Trupiano fought the ticket, but lost, and was forced to pay the fine.

Many Michigan residents were concerned that the same thing could happen to them, since it's common for Michiganders in the middle of a harsh, typical winter to warm their cars up while they wait inside. Agreeing with Michigan citizens, Representative Holly Hughes introduced Bill 4215, a bill that would make it legal to leave a car running with the keys in the ignition so long as it was on private property. The bill passed the Michigan House of Representatives, and Governor Rick Snyder officially signed it into law on June 28, 2017. To be clear, it is still illegal to leave a car running with the keys in the ignition on public roads and freeways.

Detroit Snow Car Accident Lawyer

While the bill may have alleviated many Michigan residents’ fears about being ticketed for warming up their car in the winter, what was lost in the debate is whether or not cars even need to be warmed up in the winter. The short answer is, no. The idea that drivers need to warm up their vehicles before driving in the winter does stem from some truth, but doesn’t carry much weight now. According to the Washington Post, it is true that a vehicle's fuel economy does decrease significantly in colder temperatures, and it does take longer for the engine to warm up to its optimal temperature in the winter. More so, vehicles manufactured with carburetors do need to be warmed up in order to work well and prevent the car from stalling. However, automobile manufacturers stopped using carburetors by the mid 1990s, and began using electronic fuel injections. Electronic fuel injections can monitor and adjust to the temperature, so warming up isn’t necessary. As a result, modern vehicles don’t need to be warmed up for more than 30 seconds before driving - the engine will warm up faster while being driven than it would will idling in the driveway.

In short, if you’re warming up your vehicle to help your engine, that really isn’t necessary. But if you idle your car in the morning simply so your car is warm and you don’t have to spend the first 10 minutes of your commute in an icebox, that’s a different story! Many drivers warm up their car for comfort, but it’s important to consider the economic and environmental implications. Idling your car not only wastes fuel (and thereby wastes money) but it also gives off greenhouse gas emissions. A 2009 study found that idling cars account for 1.6% of all greenhouse gas emissions in America. While some idling, such as idling in traffic, is unavoidable, idling in the driveway is not. That same study found that based on the price of fuel in 2009, Americans could save $5.9 billion a year on fuel costs if drivers would cut out unnecessary idling.

Whether you decide to idle your car in the morning or not is up to you. But if you do decide to idle your car, make sure you do so in your driveway, where it is now legal. Do so on a public street, and you are fair game for a ticket.


While accidents can happen any time of year, driving in snowy and icy conditions can be especially challenging, and can lead to winter weather car accidents. If you have been involved in an automobile accident due to winter road conditions, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Holiday Shopping Means Heavier Traffic

With Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, family gatherings, and office holiday parties rapidly approaching, more and more Americans are going to be heading to the mall to do some shopping. As much as we tell ourselves the holidays aren’t about the gifts, Americans spend a lot of time and money each year buying presents for others (and quite possibly themselves). In fact, Fortune reported that holiday sales exceeded $1 trillion in 2016. And when that many people are heading to the mall, it not only means long checkout lines, but long traffic lines as well.

While Black Friday, which took place on November 24, 21017 is often thought of as the pinnacle of holiday shopping days, according to ShoppingTrak, Saturday, December 23, 2017, is a close second. While December 23rd may seem like an arbitrary date, the last Saturday before Christmas is known in retail as Super Saturday, because shoppers are finishing up finishing up their gift purchases or have left all of their shopping until the last minute. According to Fortune, 155.7 million people went shopping on Super Saturday in 2016. By the time Super Saturday rolls around, it is likely too late to be placing any online orders, so shoppers must go to the store. Rounding out the top five shopping days of the year are December 16, 2017, (the second to last Saturday before Christmas) December 26, 2017 (presumably when people are making returns and exchanges), and November 25, 2017 (the day after Black Friday).

Michigan Traffic Accident Lawyer

With millions of people going shopping on Super Saturday, and really throughout all of December, traffic near malls and shopping centers is going to be worse than usual. Whether you’re a shopper trying to get in on the action, or someone who finds themselves in the unfortunate position of living or working near a big shopping area, the traffic will be hard to miss. Parking lots will be chaotic, highway exits will be backed up, and more pedestrians than usual will be on the streets. And no matter how much you love the holidays, sitting in traffic can be frustrating, to say the least. So, to keep tempers down, driving school Aceable has some tips on to how drivers can avoid road rage when stuck in shopping traffic, and what to do should you find yourself in a motor vehicle accident with an aggressive driver.  

Tips for Avoiding Road Rage

  • Most road ragers are usually dealing with some sort of emotional crisis, so if your girlfriend or boyfriend just broke up with you (or got unpleasant news from your doctor, or just woke up on the wrong side of the bed), be extra careful when you get behind the wheel. Give yourself some time to defuse before getting behind the wheel.

  • Expect other drivers to make mistakes and remember that everyone is human. You’ll be less freaked out when they do.

  • Be predictable. Always check your blind spots and use your signals when you change lanes so you don’t turn anyone else into a road rager. Checking all the views around your vehicle and being a considerate driver should help with preventing road rage.

  • If it’s rush hour or you find yourself in a traffic jam due to an accident, listen to music and just come to terms with the fact that you’re going to run late. It’s okay. No need to be inconsiderate to drivers around you by making obscene gestures at people trying to merge into your lane.

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What To Do If You Enconter Road Rage

  • Avoid mad motorists, if at all possible. Ain’t nobody got time for that negative energy.

  • Don’t feed the trolls. If you try to speed up to pass an angry driver or prevent them from merging in your lane, it only makes things worse and can put your life in danger! Let them pass and leave plenty of room between you and that grump.

  • If an angry driver gives you the finger or makes another obscene gesture, be a grown up and ignore it. Such gestures have gotten people physically attacked many times. Um, no thanks.

  • Honk that horn only if you really have to for defensive driving purposes… like if a driver is merging into your lane and doesn’t appear to see you. Don’t use your horn if you’re simply annoyed because you’re sitting in traffic. We’re all in the same boat … er, car. Honking your horn is meant to be used to alert other drivers, not to scold them. Take the high road, engage in polite driving.

  • Don’t be afraid to report aggressive drivers to the authorities. You could save a life and prevent road rage from causing a bigger issue.

  • If you see a driver with road rage get into an auto accident, be cautious about approaching the vehicle and driver. Stop a safe distance away from them, then call the police to report the incident. Aggressive drivers can be unpredictable and it’s important to keep yourself safe

  • If an aggressive driver starts following you, don’t go home. Call the police and drive to the nearest police station. You don’t want to become the victim of a road rage attack.

While the holidays are supposed to be a joyous time, sitting in traffic, especially when you're trying to get last minute shopping done, can be anything but. No one likes sitting in traffic when they could be doing literally anything else, but no one likes getting in automobile accidents either. When shopping on Super Saturday, or doing any other holiday shopping this season, know that the mall is going to be busy, and things will likely be moving more slowly than usual. Remain calm, put on some holiday music, and remember that the holidays don’t last forever. Soon your Saturdays will consist of more than just sitting in mall traffic, and you won't be spending your time dealing with accident attorneys, insurance companies, and body shops, since you avoided getting into an aggressive driving car crash. 


Sitting in traffic can be frustrating, but it's important to not let that frustration get the best of you, and result in unsafe aggressive driving behaviors, which can lead to road rage car accidents. If you become the victim of an aggressive driving car accident, talk to an experienced accident lawyer at The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Call us at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

How To Get Vehicles Ready For Winter Driving

Detroit Snow Car Crash Lawyer

With winter here and snow on the way, and knowing Michigan's reputation for brutal winters, it’s important for citizens of Michiganders to make sure their cars are prepared for winter driving. Just as people spend extra time layering on jackets and gloves and scarves, extra time needs to be taken to prepare cars for colder temperatures as well.

Since we can’t control the weather, and we really can’t control how other people drive in it and what winter car accidents may occur as a result, we need to be in control of how well taken care of our vehicles are. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which conducted an analysis of critical reasons for motor vehicle accidents, problems related to the vehicle accounted for 44,000 accidents over the span of two years. While this may not seem like a lot when compared to accidents caused by human error, there are more preventative measures that can be taken when it comes to vehicle-related causes to make them avoidable. And while winterizing your car won’t necessarily keep drivers out of any automobile accidents over the coming the months, it can help to ensure that your car runs as smoothly as possible in colder temperatures.

Of those 44,000 accidents, tires and wheels, along with brakes, were the biggest culprits in causing car crashes. Steering, suspension, transmission, and engine-related problems all accounted for a smaller percentage of the automobile accidents. All of these car parts, regardless of how many car accidents they may cause, are aspects that driver’s should pay extra attention to as the winter season is nearly in full swing. DMV.org suggests the following tips for getting your vehicle ready for winter driving.

How To Get Your Car Ready For Winter

Coolant: It is especially important to have the correct antifreeze/water mixture to prevent fluid from freezing in your radiator. Consult your vehicle's owner's manual for information on this mixture. Pick up a tester at an auto parts store and make sure the fluid is filled to the maximum line.

Oil: Some mechanics recommend switching to a thinner oil if you live where temperatures drop below freezing. Your best bet is to consult your owner's manual or talk to your mechanic.

Wiper Fluid: Often overlooked, you'll need freeze-resistant wiper fluid to keep your windshield clean and your vision clear.

Inspect or Replace Your Tires: Low air pressure and worn tires are especially dangerous on wet or slick roads, as both can reduce traction

Snow Tires: Mounting the right tires on your car or truck can give you a huge advantage when trekking through snow. Many car makers and tire manufacturers recommend changing all four tires to snow tires in the winter. If you don't swap all four, the difference between snow and summer tires can cause other problems for your vehicle.

Cold Weather & Battery Capacity: It isn't only your engine that doesn't like to start in the winter. Your battery capacity is reduced by the cold weather, too. A thorough inspection of your battery, cables, terminals, and fluid will help you make sure your car is ready for the winter.

Pack an Emergency Kit: Items to include in your winter safety kit include a flashlight, blanket, leather gloves, hat, bag of kitty litter or sand, ice scraper and brush, small shovel, safe and leak-proof container of coolant, and snacks.

Michigan Ice Car Accident Lawyer

This list for winterizing a car is extensive and may seem a little overwhelming, but properly maintaining your car is a part of being a car owner, and is especially important in the winter months to help avoid getting into winter weather car accidents. While no amount of preparation can guarantee your car won’t break down or that you won't be involved in a motor vehicle collision, it can help prevent things that are easily avoidable. Winterize your car, take extra precautions when driving in winter weather conditions, and be prepared for a heavy holiday traffic this winter. It may not feel like it, but winter won’t last forever, and clear, sunny driving conditions will be back soon!


Winter driving is inherently more dangerous than driving during other times of the year. With snow, sleet, and ice already complicating driving over the next few months, the last thing drivers need is an easily preventable vehicle malfunction that makes them careen into a ditch or get into a motor vehicle accident. If you get injured in a car crash this winter, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney. 

Police Pull Over Vehicle Transporting Giant Christmas Tree

Michigan Car Accident Attorney

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, our attention turns to Christmas. And kicking off the Christmas season usually means heading out and picking out the perfect Christmas tree. Chopping down the tree provides for some great photo ops, and decorating the tree often calls for Christmas music and hot chocolate. But the in between time - getting the tree home - is possibly the most crucial part of the process, but often doesn’t get as much attention. Transporting your Christmas tree safely is crucial not only to keep the tree in good shape, but also for keeping everyone on the road safe.

One driver learned the importance of Christmas tree travel safety the hard way. According to local news outlets, police in Massachusetts pulled over a vehicle that was transporting a mammoth sized Christmas tree. The tree was spilling over the roof of the vehicle, with the vast majority of the vehicle not even visible. In a now viral Facebook post that's been shared thousands of times, the local police department stated that “Sudbury PD would like to remind you to transport your Holiday trees responsibility.” The incident occurred on Route 20, about 25 miles west of Boston. It’s unclear if the driver actually received a citation, or just a warning.

The danger in transporting a large tree on top of a car should be obvious. A 7-feet tall Douglas Fir can drape over the windows and windshields, drastically limiting the driver’s visibility (if not obscuring it completely). The heavy weight could very likely be too much for the vehicle, slowing it down and disrupting the flow of the traffic. Should the tree come loose from the car, it could hit another vehicle on the road, or block the road, causing cars to try and swerve out of the way, likely causing an automobile accident. So, to safely transport your Christmas tree home, check out this recent blog post from The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC.

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

Picking out the family Christmas tree is a quintessential part of the holiday season. And while safely securing the tree to your vehicle may not be the highest priority or the most fun thing to be doing while celebrating the holiday, it is crucial. A poorly secured tree can not only damage the tree and/or your vehicle, but can endanger your life, the lives of everyone traveling in your vehicle, and other drivers on the road. This Christmas, you want to call your lawyer to convey well wishes, not to embarrassingly tell them you caused a car crash because your Christmas tree fell off your car and landed on top of another!


Car crashes are always devastating, but can be particularly damaging to the spirit during the holiday season. Call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation if you've been involved in a car accident. Our experienced attorneys will handle your legal woes while you focus on spending this joyous time with your loved ones.

Fiat-Chrysler Issues Ram Recall

Dodge Ram Recall Car Crash Lawyer

Fiat-Chrysler has issued a recall on hundreds of thousands of pickup trucks. According to the Detroit Free Press, Ram trucks with a 6.7 liter engine manufactured between 2013 and 2017 are under recall due to a water pump issue that could potentially cause a fire. The recall affects owners of Ram 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks, as well as Ram 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs. This includes 443,712 vehicles in the United States, 46,220 vehicles in Canada, and 4,485 vehicles outside of North America. Fiat-Chrysler announced the recall on September 19, 2017.

The company is not aware of any accidents or injuries caused by the water pump problem, and is issuing the recall as a precautionary measure. According to the Fiat-Chrysler press release, “certain trucks are equipped with a water-pump bearing that, after exposure to certain conditions, may overheat and potentially cause an engine-compartment fire. Compromised water-pump function may activate a warning light in an affected vehicle’s instrument cluster." Any customers with questions can call the FCA U.S. Recall Information Center at (800) 853-1403.

Recalls can conjure up images of exploding engines and malfunctioning steering wheels, but more often than not drivers shouldn’t envision the worst case scenario. While the scariest sounding incidents are usually the ones that receive the most attention, recalls are quite common, and the number of recalls issued per year is the highest it’s been in decades. Fiat Chrysler, for example has issued a number of recalls over the last year, including one for a Jeep gear shift, that was responsible for the death of Star Trek actor Anton YelchinU.S. News and World Report found that in 2013 alone, 22 million vehicles were recalled, and that number has gone up. Most recalls, such as the Ram recall, are preemptive measures taken by the company. The majority of recalls are issued after a complaint has been filed by a driver (or many drivers), prompting an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA). A recall is then issued if they discover a problem in the manufacturing process, and the vehicle doesn’t meet federal safety standards. This sounds scary, but in reality a recall can be issued for something as small as a mislabeled sticker on a part under the hood. Some recalls are voluntary, and others are mandated by the NHTSA.

Michigan Car Defect Accident Lawyer

So what should you if you find yourself as the owner of a recalled vehicle? Instead of panicking, there are a number of steps you can take to in order to get your vehicle repaired and keep yourself safe from any potential recall related car accidents. Once the manufacturer has decided (or is forced) to issue a recall, they have 60 days to notify registered owners of the affected vehicles by mail. If you hear about a recall on the news (or on a law firm blog) that you think may affect your vehicle, but you never receive any correspondence from the manufacturer, you can check to see if your vehicle is affected by going to https://www.safercar.gov/ and entering the VIN number for your vehicle. If you are the owner of a used car that is under recall, according to Kelley Blue Book (KBB),  you should contact the manufacturer directly and make them aware of your contact information.

With most recalls, the manufacturer has usually engineered a solution that can be repaired relatively easily. According to U.S. News and World Report, “if the car is less than 10 years old from the date of the first purchase, the automaker must correct the problem by repairing the car, replacing the car or providing a refund for the purchase price of the car minus depreciation." If the car is older than 10 years old, you will have to pay for the repairs out of pocket. If you already had the issue repaired before the recall is announced, you may be eligible for reimbursement, but manufactures are not required to do so. Any local dealer can fix the problem, and you don’t need to take the car to get serviced at the dealer you purchased it from. It can be a frustrating process, but be patient. If it is a large recall, there will likely be a lengthy waiting list for repairs. Consumer Reports notes that the only time to really panic is if the manufacturer tells you to stop driving the vehicle. Again, this is rare, and the manufacturer should tow your car to the dealership and issue you a loaner in such an event.

Detroit Car Crash Accident Lawyer

Drivers are right to be concerned about recalls, no matter how small they may seem. All recalls should be taken seriously, regardless of whether or not they seem like they may lead to automobile accidents and injuries. If you find your vehicle under recall, stay calm, do your research, and proceed as necessary. In most cases, such as the Ram recall, you can continue driving your vehicle without worry. The manufacturer is looking out for driver safety, and taking the necessary precautions. That being said, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Check if your vehicle is under a recall even if you don’t hear anything from the manufacturer, and take the necessary steps to correct the issue. More so, drivers can be proactive. If you think something is not as it should be with your vehicle, let the NHTSA know. Your input could be what it takes for an investigation to be launched and a recall announced.  


All cars, whether under recall or not, have the potential to be involved in automobile accidents. While some events may be out of the driver's control, following traffic laws and being cautious are two things drivers can do to be proactive on the road. Even so, accidents can still 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. 

Christmas Tree Transportation Safety Tips

Once Thanksgiving has come and gone, many of us set our sights on finding the perfect Christmas tree. It has to be just the right size and shape, fit in the front window perfectly, and the lights and ornaments need to be distributed just so. But whether or not you get your tree from a local lot, or head out to a farm to cut one down yourself, we all need to get those trees back to our houses somehow. While seeing cars on the highway with a Christmas tree secured on top is a quintessential sign that the holiday is approaching, it’s incredibly important to ensure that the tree is secured properly not only for the tree’s sake, but for the safety of you, your family, and other people on the road.

Winter Car Crash Lawyer

While there aren’t really statistics that tell us exactly how many car collisions have been caused by rogue Christmas trees falling off of the tops of cars, having any sort object come lose from a car traveling at any speed is undoubtedly dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 52,000 of all automobile accidents that took place between 2005 and 2007 were due to environmental factors. Of those crashes, 50% were due to road conditions, such as debris on the road, and 11% were due to obstruction of the driver's view. A Christmas tree that is not secured properly can slide down the roof, blocking the windshield and obstructing the driver’s view. Should the tree come off the roof completely, the tree can slide down the car obstructing the driver's view, fall on to another car, or fall in the road causing drivers to swerve their vehicles to try and avoid hitting the tree, which are all outcomes that can cause a car crash. As such, Cars.com, in partnership with the National Christmas Tree Association, suggests the following tips for properly securing your Christmas tree to your vehicle.

Christmas Tree Transportation Safety Tips

  • Get your Christmas tree netted before leaving the lot to make it more manageable. If it's going on the roof, the trunk should be facing the front. Both will help reduce wind damage to the foliage.

  • Make sure to select a tree that will either fit inside your cargo area or, if you have a roof rack, on top of your roof properly. Also ensure that you have enough rope or cord to wrap around the tree and secure it to the roof rack or to cargo hooks.

  • Place a tarp or blanket over the cargo area to protect the interior from loose needles. If you're going to place the tree on the roof, place a tarp, plastic sheet or blanket between the tree and the rack to protect the roof from scratches.

  • If you are transporting a tree in the back of a pickup truck, keep in mind that there could be hot spots in the bed—from the exhaust pipe, for example. This can damage the tree's foliage, so put something under it like an old blanket.

  • Before leaving the lot, give the tree a good tug to make sure it's secure.

  • Drive slowly and avoid the highway, especially if you're not used to hauling heavy objects on your roof. They affect your vehicle's center of gravity and consequently emergency handling.

Michigan Christmas Car Accident Lawyer

Following these tips can’t guarantee that your tree will stay put, but they can help decrease the likelihood of losing your tree in transit. Some car collisions, such as those caused by winter weather conditions, may be out of your control. However, by taking time to tightly secure your Christmas tree to your vehicle is something you can be responsible for. While automobile accidents caused by Christmas trees may sound far fetched, it’s undeniable that having such a large object come loose on the freeway would be incredibly dangerous. Taking a few extra minutes to really secure your tree will not only keep you, your family, and other drivers safer, but may also save you an embarrassing phone call to your attorney about how you were involved in an accident with the family tree.   


The holidays are a joyous time of year, but hauling Christmas trees, winter weather, and holiday road trip traffic can all lead to car accidents. If you or a loved one have been involved in an automobile accident this holiday season, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Let our experienced accident attorneys put you at ease while you enjoy the season's festivities. 

Michigan Woman Dies After Car Is Struck By Deer

A Michigan woman died after her car was struck by a deer. According to the Detroit Free Press, forty-nine year old Susan Fries, of Ada Township died on the evening of November 20, 2017. Ms. Fries was not the only one involved in the deer car crash as a 23-year old driver, traveling in the opposite direction, hit the deer first. Due to this impact, the animal then flew through the air and broke through Fries’ windshield. The accident took place in Cascade Township, in western Michigan. The driver of the other vehicle was from Lowell, Michigan, and was not injured.

Michigan Deer Car Crash Lawyer

Fall and winter months are deer mating season, making the odds of being involved in a deer car crash much, much higher at this time of year than any other time. More specifically, according to the Detroit Free Press, mating season for deer is October through December, which can more than double a driver's chance of hitting a deer. According to data released by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (MOHSP), deer car accidents make up 13.9% of all car crashes in October and 19.1% of all car crashes in November. For the other 9 months of the year, deer car crashes only make up between 4% and 10% of all car crashes. In 2016, 42.6% of deer-related car collisions occurred between October and December. The majority (57%) of deer-related car crashes occur at nighttime on unlit roads. According to Mlive, 75% of deer-related motor vehicle accidents that occurred in 2015 happened on a country road where the posted speed limit is 55 MPH. The MOHSP also found that Oakland County had the most deer car crashes by far in the state of Michigan in 2016, with Lapeer and Jackson Counties coming in second. 

Due to the large number of deer car accidents, according to Slate, white-tailed deer could be considered the deadliest animals in North America, causing about 1.25 million car accidents and resulting in 150 fatalities. There are now 30 million deer in America, nearly 100 times more than there were in the early 1900s. In Michigan alone, there are there 1.75 million deer according to Mlive! 

While deer jumping out into the road causes the initial car accident, deer car accidents can be more dangerous because there can be a ripple effect. Drivers passing by often take their eyes off the road to look at the car accident, the deer, or other creatures such as vultures or coyotes who have joined the scene, causing them to become distracted from the road and potentially risk becoming involved in a car crash themselves. Lori Conarton, chairwoman of the Michigan Deer Crash Coalition, told Mlive that, “vehicle-deer crashes in Michigan are expensive, causing at least $130 million in damage annually." The Michigan State Police provide the following tips for avoiding deer motor vehicle accidents, as well as what to do should you find yourself involved in such a car crash.

Michigan Deer Car Crash Lawyer

Deer car crashes are unpredictable, and usually happen in a split-second, leaving little time for the driver to react. While deer car crashes are likely something that we will never be able to avoid completely, following these tips may help keep drivers safer. Drivers can’t predict when a deer car accident will happen, but by being mindful of where they are driving, how well lit the road is, and what time of year it is, drivers can be more prepared in the instance of a deer car collison.


While deer accidents may be more prevalent during fall and winter months, the truth is that car collisions can happen anytime of year. If you are involved in an automobile accident in which you have been hit by or have stuck an animal such as a deer, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Let us handle the legal matters while you focus on recovering from your injuries. 

Investigations Launched After Michigan Cop Is Not Penalized For Drunk Driving

An off-duty Michigan police officer was caught drunk driving, and now he and the officer who stopped him are both facing repercussions. 

According to the Detroit Free Press, early on November 9, 2017, at approximately 12:30 AM, an off-duty Roseville police officer was stopped for attempting to travel south in northbound traffic on Woodward Ave. The Roseville officer was pulled over by a Ferndale officer, and while the Roseville officer allegedly appeared to be drunk, he was not given a breathalyzer, nor was he ticketed or arrested. Instead, the Ferndale officer called his supervisor, and was told to drive the Roseville officer, as well as his passenger, back to the station in Ferndale. Once at the Ferndale station, a Ferndale lieutenant drove the Roseville officer and his passenger home.

Many view this as a case of special treatment-since the drunk driver was a cop, and was not breathalyzed, ticketed, or arrested. Instead, his transgressions were ignored and he was given a ride home. As a result, WXYZ Detroit reported that both Roseville and Ferndale police departments launched internal investigations into the incident on November 17, 2017. More so, the Ferndale Police Department submitted the incident to the city attorney for possible criminal charges. The Roseville officer, should he be charged, would be facing an Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) charge. The Roseville officer is currently suspended without pay, and the names of the officers involved are being withheld as the investigation is ongoing.

The Ferndale police department says that some discretion is always involved whenever a driver is pulled over, and that not all drunk drivers are ticketed or arrested. Ferndale Police Chief Collins said in a statement that, “our jobs are complex and we trust our people to use sound judgment. When somebody makes a call that is unsafe or not indicative of the department’s values and operations, we take that seriously and we act accordingly.”

The Roseville police department will be undergoing a drunk driving education program. Roseville Police Chief Berlin said in a statement, “in this day in age for anyone to drive drunk surprises me; there is a whole list of options to get home like Uber and Lyft. As a police officer you know the consequences. The lack of judgment surprised me."

Detroit Drunk Driving Car Accident Lawyer

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2,912 people were killed by a drunk driver between 2003 and 2012 in the state of Michigan. Michigan legislature states that it is illegal to drive while intoxicated, or impaired, by alcohol, illegal drugs, and some prescribed medication, and with a bodily alcohol content of 0.08 or more.

Roseville Police Chief Berlin is right-there are plenty of alternatives to drunk driving. By using a ridesharing app like Uber or Lyft, prearranging a designated driver, using public transportation, or calling a taxi, or having any way of getting home that doesn’t involve a drunk person getting behind the wheel, is the best way to avoid getting into a drunk driving car accident. Drunk driving is never OK, and no one should be able to avoid the consequences of committing such an avoidable crime. Drunk driving is a danger to every car and person on the road.


Drunk driving can not only lead to extremely dangerous car accidents, but is also illegal. If you or a loved one have been involved in a drunk driving car crash, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal cosultation.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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

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  • 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.