#BirdBoxChallenge Is Becoming A Bigger Horror Than The Movie

Move over In My Feelings Challenge! The Bird Box Challenge, a recent viral challenge inspired by Netflix’s hit horror movie Bird Box, has taken over!

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Starring Sandra Bullock, the movie’s antagonist is a supernatural entity that shows people their worst fears and terrorizes them to the point where they kill themselves. To avoid certain and painful death, the characters blindfold themselves as they travel to safety. Fans of Bird Box have started performing various tasks while blindfolded and have been sharing images and videos as #BirdBoxChallenge.

Unfortunately, this dangerous ‘challenge’ has been causing tons of injuries, including a car accident on January 11, 2019. Layton, Utah law enforcement stated that a 17-year-old driver was partaking in the “Bird Box Challenge” when she swerved into an approaching vehicle and crashed into a light pole, according to a local news report.

“Apparently, as a part of this ‘Bird Box Challenge,’ (the driver) used her beanie to pull over her eyes as she was driving on Layton Parkway, and she ended up losing control of her car and skidded into the westbound lanes of Layton Parkway and hit another car and ended up hitting a light pole as well,” Layton Police Lt. Travis Lyman said.

After the challenge went viral, Netflix urged people to not participate in the challenge, tweeting, “Can’t believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE. We don’t know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes.”

In 2016, the NHTSA reported that 3,450 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Although no car accident injuries occurred in this Bird Box car crash, it must be noted that drivers who take part in distracted driving “challenges” not only put themselves, but also others, at risk of a being involved serious car crashes.


The car accident attorneys at The Michigan Law Firm, PC take care of the legal hassles involved car accident lawsuits so that car crash victims can focus on getting their lives back on track after a serious car accident. Contact us at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation if you have been injured a distracted driving car crash.

GM Super Cruise: The Future of Hands-Free Driving

One of the first things we are taught in driver’s education is how to properly hold a steering wheel. However, as technology progresses, our vehicles are increasingly gaining the ability to drive themselves. It seems that the future of driving is hands-free.

As reported by the Detroit Free Press, General Motors made an exciting announcement during the Intelligent Transportation Society’s annual conference in Detroit. GM revealed that their newest hands-free technology, known as the Super Cruise, will be implemented in their entire line of Cadillac vehicles as soon as 2020. Super Cruise is already available in the 2018 Cadillac CT6 Sedan, and after 2020, it will be introduced into other GM models, including GMC and Chevrolet. This innovative feature is described as, “the world’s first true hands-free driving system for the freeway.” It should be noted that “hands-free” driving only applies to simple cruising, and that manual control is necessary when changing lanes and merging or exiting the highway.

According to Cadillac, Super Cruise relies on LiDar mapping, short for Light Detection and Ranging, to allow hands-free driving across 130,000 miles of limited-access freeway stretching the US and Canada. Along with LiDar, GPS informs the system of upcoming curves and hills for the vehicle to adjust accordingly.  Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), another element of Super Cruise, accelerates the vehicle and actives the brakes when necessary.

Another main component of Super Cruise is the embedded Driver Attention System. While the emphasis is on hands-free driving, that does not mean attention free driving! Cadillac’s exclusive head tracking software certifies that drivers have their eyes on the road. If the system notices a lack of attention, it will send a series of alerts to inform the driver to either pay attention, or re-engage their hands on the steering wheel. Additional cameras and sensors work to maintain the vehicle within the proper lane markings as a part of the Lane Keep Assist feature.

It is important to keep in mind that while this technology is cutting-edge, it has not yet been perfected. There are many limitations that drivers should be aware of to avoid an unintended distracted driving car accident. As mentioned earlier, full attention is required by the driver while using Super Cruise. This means that any handheld devices, particularly cell phones, should be kept out of sight. It can be tempting to rely on this innovative technology to do the driving while the occupants of the vehicle watch TV or text, but in doing so, the distracted driver puts themselves at risk of a car accident injury. A fast reaction time may be vital in preventing a car crash, if a traffic obstacle requires the driver to manually take control of the vehicle.

While important, it is not enough to simply pay attention to the road when Super Cruise is activated. The vehicle must be regularly taken in for scheduled maintenance to ensure that all cameras and sensors are working properly. Additionally, for the technology to work as intended, road lane markings must be able to be detected by the vehicle. Because poor weather conditions may impact detection, Super Cruise is best used in good weather.

As stated by Steve Carlisle, Senior Vice President of GM and President of Cadillac, “Cadillac is proud to be the leader for the company’s [General Motors] innovation.” Super Cruise is an impressive, realistic step towards fully autonomous driving. The ultimate goal of autonomous vehicles is to eliminate human error, making driving safer and easier. But for the time being, the technology necessary to make this goal a reality is still developing. While the concept of Super Cruise is hands-free, the driver’s hands should still be nearby, and their eyes should stay on the road ahead.


No matter which vehicle make you are driving, and no matter if it has Super Cruise or not, the driver's full attention to the road is essential. All it takes is a few seconds for a car accident to occur. If you or someone you know has been involved in a distracted driving car accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

The Michigan Supreme Court Tweets: Don't Text And Drive

The Michigan Supreme Court recently released a tweet about Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which is in April, in order to show their support of this campaign. The dangers of distracted driving are well known, but many people don’t realize the reality of these dangers. Texting and driving, which the Michigan Supreme Court mentioned in the tweet, is a highly publicized distracted driving activity, but isn’t the only one. Any activity which takes a driver’s attention from the road is considered distracted driving and could result in a distracted driving car crash. Logically, people know distracted driving is dangerous, but don’t realize that the dangers of distracted driving apply to them. Unfortunately, that kind of thinking can cause people to not be as careful while driving, and be the cause of a distracted driving car crash.

In one example of how dangerous distracted driving is, The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (MOHSP) recently released a video about Sam Howell, a resident of St. Charles, Michigan, who was an unfortunate victim of a distracted driving car accident back in 2005. In a follow up press release about the video, the MOHSP said that Howell had dropped his cell phone and was trying to pick it up when it rang, when he drove right off the road. Howell suffered severe injuries in his distracted driving car crash and  doctors estimated only a 3% chance of surviving at the time. Following the car accident, Howell was was in a coma for more than two months. Howell’s treating medical providers thought he would never wake up again, let alone be able to walk, talk, or eat, much to his parents’ dismay.

“This is not only his nightmare but our nightmare,” Jim Howell, Sam’s father, said when given the news about his son’s chances of survival in 2005. Maureen Howell, Sam’s mother, added, “Nothing on your phone is worth that.”

However, despite his low chance of surviving the distracted driving car crash, Sam woke up from his coma and began his road to recovery. Now, he can walk unassisted and  advocates for increased awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, by using his own distracted driving car accident as a cautionary tale. “I remember reaching for my cell phone, which had fallen on the passenger floor and was ringing. I grabbed it, sat up, and was airborne off the road,” he said. He encourages people to not do what he did, and to put cell phones away and out of sight, while driving.

Don't text and drive

Distracted driving is a topic that should be spoken more about, especially since according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, about 481,000 people use their cell phones while driving. That is why it’s quite progressive that The Michigan Supreme Court, whose youngest member is 49-years-old  has chosen to embrace social media like Twitter, to spread awareness about the topic. The Michigan Supreme Court didn’t just tweet about distracted driving during Distracted Driving Awareness Month, but they used  images and short text to drive home the point. Sure, even dogs have their own Twitter accounts these days, but having the highest federal court in the United States weigh in on a topic, proves how serious and important distracted driving is.

Distracted driving is a dangerous activity that claimed 40,100 lives in 2017, according to The National Safety Council (NSC). Checking a text, Facebook notification, or talking to your friend about how excited you are about Avengers: Infinity War, are all important things to people living in 2018. But, they are things that should be done when not behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Distracted driving is 100% preventable! Any car accident injuries or car crash fatalities caused by a distracted driving accident are therefore also 100% preventable! 


More important and influential  institutions like The Michigan Supreme Court are joining social media in order to keep up with current topics and events. Hopefully, by adding their thoughts to the social media conversation, they will  help spread awareness on important subjects  like distracted driving and help save lives. If you or someone you know is a victim of a distracted driving car crash, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. Our attorneys are highly experienced in helping victims of distracted driving car accidents identify and collect any benefits they may be entitled to under Michigan law.

Eating And Driving Is Distracted Driving!

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You’re driving home from a long day at work and are starving from that light and unsatisfactory salad you had for lunch. The McDonald’s you just picked up is sitting on the chair beside you, tempting you with it’s tantalizing smell. You can just imagine those french fries, so salty and delicious, and your mouth waters. One fry wouldn’t really be an issue, would it? You reach for a fry, and realize that you can’t just eat the fry by its lonesome. You need that ketchup. So you reach into the bag, glancing between it and the road as you paw around for a packet of ketchup. After finding it, you carefully balance the fry in your hand, tear open the packet of ketchup, and slowly spread it along the french fry. You finally eat it, and your eyes close as you savor the salty treat, your taste buds dancing with delight. You open your eyes again, debating whether to grab another fry or not, when you notice that your car is heading straight into the ditch on the side of the road. You're about to get into a car accident. Oops!

Eating on the go is a common occurrence. People late to work in the morning, people who work late and pick up food on the way home, and people snacking on long drives and road trips, all eat while driving. However, eating while driving is a form of distracted driving that may lead to dangerous distracted driving car crashes.

Distracted driving is anything that distracts people from keeping their full attention on the road when driving. While most people associate distracted driving with texting or making a phone call while driving, eating is also a habit that causes people to take their eyes off the road, and therefore can cause distracted driving car accidents. Many people don’t comprehend how these distracted driving activities, which nearly everyone has done at least once in their lives, could be dangerous, since they overestimate their alertness and think they’ll be safe, “just this once.” It may seem silly, but even something as small as eating a single fry could cause a distracted driving car crash. 

Source: Giphy, FX’s It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

In fact, the Auto Alliance Driving Innovation’s public service campaign, which works to eliminate distracted driving, Decide To Drive, states that eating while driving is one of the most common forms of distracted driving. After all, the modern world is full of food designed to eat while driving. Just take a look at Go-Gurt, a cup of yogurt repackaged in an easy to hold and slurp tube, or the entire marketing ploy behind KFC’s Go Cup being that it fits in the cup holder, making it perfect to eat fried chicken while driving. So, why isn’t eating and driving a more pressing issue when discussing distracted driving? According to Decide To Drive, “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that eating and driving increases the likelihood of crashes by 80 percent. Additionally, 65 percent of near-miss crashes are caused by distracted drivers who are eating or drinking while driving.” And since 40,100 distracted driving deaths occurred in 2017, according to The National Safety Council (NSC), it’s safe to assume that a good number of these distracted driving fatalities were due to eating while driving. That is a large number of deaths for something that could have been prevented by paying a little more attention to the road. If waiting to get home to eat those McDonald's french fries is too taxing, people should consider parking and eating them in the McDonald’s parking lot!

This is why April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Hopefully, by bringing awareness to how dangerous distracted driving is, like eating and driving, fewer people will get into distracted driving car accidents in the future. 


Distracted driving, whether it is by eating food, texting, or blaring the radio, can be a dangerous activity and may result in a distracted driving car accident. Make a positive change for Distracted Driving Awareness Month by reconsidering eating that 5-layer Beef Burrito you just picked up from Taco Bell’s drive thru while driving. Instead, perhaps wait until your arrival home or even dine. Stay safe and avoid distracted driving. If you or anyone you know has been the victim of a distracted driving car crash, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free legal consultation.

Don't Groom And Drive!

With only 24 hours in a day and a majority of those hours being spent on work or sleep, there isn’t much time left to spend on yourself, doing leisurely activities, running a few errands, and checking a few things off your to-do list. Grooming is a good example of a time consuming personal care task that people are finding they don’t have time for. So, to squeeze into morning routines while also taking advantage of rush hour, many people are grooming themselves while driving!

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Applying a little lipstick or making a few fixes to your hair couldn’t possibly be a bad idea, right? Well, it is in fact a bad thing! Grooming while driving is part of a bigger issue known as distracted driving. 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 people were injured because of distracted driving in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

When people hear of distracted driving, they automatically think about texting and driving. While cell phone usage majorly contributes to distracted driving, it’s not the only factor. Applying makeup while driving is something that a lot of people do often. According to a recent study, around 1 out of 5 of female motorists have admitted to putting on makeup while driving, and nearly 500,000 car crashes are caused by women putting on makeup! 

Looking away from the road while driving for even a few seconds is enough time for a car accident to happen. Whether it’s putting on makeup or fixing your hair, distracted driving is 100% preventable! The Auto Alliance’s DecidetoDrive.org gives a few tips to help drivers prevent themselves from engaging in distracted driving.

Tips To Help Drivers Avoid Distracted Driving

  • Plan ahead. Poor planning is often the catalyst for driving and grooming incidents. Rather than placing your life and the lives of others at risk, plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to perform grooming routines before you leave the house.

  • Keep grooming items out of reach. If you take grooming items with you, make sure they are well out of reach. For example, instead of leaving brushes or makeup on the passenger seat, secure them in the trunk or in the back seat so you won’t be tempted to use them when you are operating the vehicle.

  • Pull over, if necessary. If you can’t wait to take care of a grooming need while you are traveling, pull over to the side of the road. The few extra minutes it will add to your commute are a small price to pay for highway safety.

  • The most important tip to avoid grooming while driving? Keep your eyes on the wheel and hands on the road at all times.

  • For additional tips, we encourage you to take a look at Decide to Drive’s “Wreck-less Checklist”—a handy guide with advice about how to avoid a range of distracted driving behaviors.

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In a recent study, the NHTSA examined all of the activities that people engage in while driving and 8% of people admitted to grooming while driving. It’s important to note that women applying makeup aren’t the only groomers who are distractedly driving. Men and women have both been known to shave while driving and even brush their teeth! Grooming while driving sounds silly but is understandable because everyone wants to look good, especially when they’re about to meet other people! What is not understandable however, is continuing to groom while driving after realizing how many distracted driving car accidents have occurred due to this. Since April is Distracted Driving Awareness month, hopefully people will now take the time to gargle mouthwash and comb their hair at home, in a parked car, or on the side of the road, instead of while operating a motor vehicle!


Distracted driving is 100% preventable and 100% likely to get distracted drivers into legal trouble if their distracted driving behavior causes a car accident. Legal trouble aside, distracted driving car accidents can also lead to serious injuries and even death. Not only does distracted driving risk the life of the distracted driver but also everyone else on the road. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a distracted driving car crash, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free legal consultation with a car accident attorney.

Apple Unveils Highly Anticipated iPhone X

September marks a lot of things - back to school, the return of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and for the past few years, a new iPhone. This year was no different, as on September 12, 2017, Apple announced their highly anticipated iPhone X (pronounced iPhone 10 like the roman numeral), in honor of the 10 year of the iPhone. The Apple Event, which took place at Apple’s new Steve Jobs Auditorium in Cupertino, California, was so highly anticipated that some thought it would be as revolutionary as the day Apple announced the very first iPhone, back in 2007.

According to The New York Times, The iPhone X features new technology and design that puts it far ahead of Apple’s existing iPhones, living up to the hype that was created by leaks spread prior to the launch. The aspect of the iPhone X that many will find most striking is the price - $1000. This makes it Apple’s most expensive iPhone to date, by a margin of a few hundred dollars.

So what does $1000 get you in an iPhone? The Washington Post reported that physically speaking, the design is different from anything Apple has previously released. While the phone is essentially the same size and shape as the iPhone 7, the screen is bigger as it is “edge-to-edge,” covering the entire surface of the phone, and wrapping around the edges for an immersive visual experience. This screen design is something Apple has been hoping to achieve for years. The display features an OLED screen, a higher quality screen than its predecessor, the LCD screen. The phone is also made entirely out of glass. While this may make it sound fragile, the iPhone X is dust and water resistant, and 50% more durable than any glass Apple has previously made.  

Another noticeable physical difference is the lack of a home button. On existing iPhones, the home button is what users press to awaken and unlock the phone with Touch ID (fingerprint scanning technology), as well as to close an app and return to the home screen. Since the home button is gone, so is Touch ID. Instead, the iPhone X boasts Face ID, face scanning technology that unlocks the phone by scanning the user’s face, as opposed to their fingerprint. Once the phone is unlocked, tasks such as closing an app are performed by the user making specific gestures with their fingers on the screen.

In addition to the physical differences, the iPhone X sports some software upgrades as well. The phone has faster processing speeds, and a better camera that takes higher quality pictures. The phone also boasts improved battery efficiency, as well as wireless charging. Instead of being plugged into an outlet, the phone will charge on charging mats called AirPower mats. Apple says we can expect to see these mats in hotels, cafes, and even in cars sometime in the near feature. One of the most surprising features of the phone however, may be Animoji; yes, animated emojis. The program uses the facial recognition software to scan your facial expressions, and recreate them on animated emojis, most of which are animals, but of course the poop emoji is included as well!

Source: Apple Press Release

Apple’s iPhone X had a lot of hype to live up to, and it seems to have met those expectations. The new design and upgraded software elements clearly differentiate the phone from anything Apple has done before. One thing it has in common with all phones, however, is the ability to cause distracted driving accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state there are 3 kinds of distracted driving - visual, which takes your eyes off the road, manual, which takes your hands off the wheel, and cognitive, which takes your mind off of driving. Cell Phones are especially dangerous because using one can result in all three types of distracted driving at once.

So while, new technology such as the iPhone X can be groundbreaking and exciting, we're glad that Apple is also looking out for driver safety with apps like Do Not Disturb While Driving. Apple’s iPhone X and their latest software iOS11 come standard with this distracted driving prevention app. When enabled while driving, the iPhone displays a black screen, and notifications for text messages and phone calls are silenced. To learn more about this feature and the dangers of distracted driving, check out this recent article from The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog. After all, looking away from the road and at a text from your friend about the most recent character death on Game of Thrones is not worth getting into a distracted driving car accident. 


Distracted driving happens every day, especially in our technology filled age, in which toddlers have iPhones. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a car crash caused by a negligent driver with a cell phone, call The Michigan Law Firm at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Our attorneys fight for our clients' rights and work hard to get any compensation they may be entitled to, under Michigan Law.

Lawsuit Against Snapchat For Rewarding Speeding Drivers Dismissed

Last May, The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog reported on a car accident caused by a driver using Snapchat, while behind the wheel. Following this motor vehicle crash, the Spalding County State Court in Griffin, Georgia was tasked with ruling over a case that may have helped set a precedent for companies that create platforms, apps, and devices, who could be found responsible if their invention potentially causes a driver to become distracted while driving.  

Snapchat Car Crash Lawsuit

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The defendant in the case, Christal McGee, was 18 years old at the time of the September, 2016 Snapchat car accident. After being involved in the car crash, McGee posted a selfie on Snapchat that depicted her strapped to a gurney with a head wound, captioned, "Lucky to be alive." The photo went viral and sparked an investigation into her auto accident. Investigators found that McGee had been using a Snapchat filter that apparently records how fast the user is going at the time the picture is taken, and rewards the user with a 'trophy' if they are going more than 100 mph. It was discovered that McGee was going about 107 MPH with three passengers in the car, when Wentworth Maynard drifted into her lane and was rear-ended by McGee's speeding vehicle. 

The case was looking to determine whether or not Snapchat should be held responsible for this motor vehicle crash, and if they should pay reparations to Wentworth-a former Uber driver- and his wife Karen, who were both in the car rear-ended by McGee. Maynard had suffered a severe traumatic brain injury from the auto accident. After deliberating, Judge Josh Thacker ended up dismissing the charges against Snapchat, saying the company was immune to the charges under the following clause from the 1996 Communications Decency Act:

"No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." 

McGee, however, has been charged with reckless driving, speeding, driving too fast for road conditions, and a felony charge of serious injury by vehicle. One of McGee's passengers was Heather McCarty, who was 27 and pregnant at the time of the distracted driving car crash, and had simply accepted a ride home from her co-worker, McGee.

The New York Daily News reports that while in the vehicle, McCarty said, "What are you doing? Slow down!" to McGee as she supposedly attempted to reach 100 mph. "I just remember screaming 'There's a car!' and I know we hit the back of his vehicle and I don't remember anything after that." 

Michigan Distracted Driving Laws 

The Michigan House of Representatives is in talks of creating a bill that will ban drivers from using their cell phone while behind the wheel, with the exception of Bluetooth and other hands-free technology. Drivers, MLive reports, would also be allowed to use their handheld device if they are pulled to the side of the road or in another area where they can remain stationary. Another exception is if the phone is securely mounted to the windshield or dashboard within easy reach. The bill will include banning the use of electronics such as handheld games, laptops, and GPS devices. Michigan drivers would even be prohibited from using the devices at stop signs and traffic lights.  

Source: GIPHY, American Broadcasting Company's  The View

Source: GIPHY, American Broadcasting Company's The View

The bill defines phone use as:

"Conducting a search; viewing, taking, or transmitting an image or video; playing games; performing a command or request to access an internet page; and composing, sending, reading, viewing, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving, or retrieving an e-mail message, text message, instant message or other electronic data." - H.R. 4466

Any motorists that are found guilty would have to pay a $250 fine for the first offense and $500 for the second. First responders such as EMTs, firefighters, and law enforcement officers however, would be free to use a two-way radio or citizens band (CB) radio service. The bill would also exempt citizens who are reporting an accident, road hazard, crime, or other emergencies.

Jim Santilli, chief executive officer of the Transportation Improvement Association, a Troy-based nonprofit supporting the introduction of this bill, has said that after California banned the use of handheld electronic devices, traffic fatalities dropped by 22% and deaths specifically related to drivers using handheld devices fell 47%. So, it stands to reason that Michigan could benefit from implementing a similar law, helping minimize social media car accident injuries and distracted driving fatalities on the road. 

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If you've ever tried to tell a teenager to put away their phone at the dinner table, you know how difficult the task is. Young adults and teens thrive on taking pictures, watching videos, and constantly checking social media. Hopefully however, with publicity from this Snapchat lawsuit and other social media car accident lawsuits and the possibility of new distracted driving laws being passed, distracted driving will be seen as a serious offense. Drivers may then be persuaded to turn of their mobile devices when behind the wheel, to prevent distracted driving accidents from happening. To nail this point on the head, a Snapchat spokesperson stated in relation to the McGee-Maynard case, "No Snap is more important than someone's safety." So, let's remember to practice safe driving habits and to leave the phone in the backseat, turned off, or in the hands of a passenger, next time we get ready to operate a moving vehicle. 


As accidents caused by distracted drivers are occurring increasingly more often, it is important that drivers become aware of preventative and safety measures to deter them from using their electronics while operating a vehicle. Distracted driving causes just as much harm and as many fatalities as drunk driving and so, it's prevention should be treated just as importantly. If you or someone you know has been in an accident involving a distracted driver, please call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Automakers Respond To Consumer Technology Demands

Forget about fuel economy, acceleration times, or reliability. What many new car shoppers want to know is if they will be able to integrate their smartphone with their new car’s multimedia system, and if the latest vehicle is Wi-Fi compatible. Automakers are increasingly developing new cars with these consumer demands in mind.  People in the market of buying a new car want to be able to access things like navigation, music, phone calls and text through their car's dashboard touchscreen, steering wheel buttons, or by voice command for a more hands-free experience. In response, the 2017 lineup of vehicles include one or more tech-savvy feature. Demand for multimedia systems, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, continues to increase, and with it, the number of vehicles catering to these needs.

Detroit Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer

A year ago, fewer than 50 vehicles were offering one or more of these features. The list has reached over 100 this year, as reported by the Detroit Free Press. General Motors now has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in 30 of its models. Ford, a company that one year ago didn’t even have one vehicle with a multimedia system, is now the first vehicle manufacturer to offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay on every vehicle line it sells, including the luxury Lincoln brand. BMW and Porsche have the option for Apple CarPlay in a majority of their models, though no plans to add Android Auto have been announced.

While many automakers are jumping to integrate already existing technology into their cars, Toyota is going against the grain by creating their own system, called Scout GPS Link. This system allows the integration of a smartphone navigation app with the vehicle's multimedia system on many of the Toyota and Lexus models.

On the Wi-Fi front, GM and Ford are following in the footsteps of Chrysler by implementing Wi-Fi in some of their vehicles, thereby bringing wireless connection to models other than just luxury cars. Some GM cars now even have OnStar 4G LTE, Ford has upgraded their MyFord Touch system to make accessibility easier for users, and even Chrysler has extended Wi-Fi to its Jeep and Dodge models, giving vehicles an extended 150-foot range for secure and private network connections.

Distracted Driving Accident Attorney Michigan

As with all new inventions, the latest and greatest vehicle technology is not without its setbacks. When a driver is too busy changing the music, sending a text message, or consulting the multimedia system for directions, they are engaging in distracted driving behavior and are putting themselves and other drivers at risk of being involved in a distracted driving car crash.

Not only do these high-tech systems pose a car accident risk, but they also increase the likelihood of car hacking incidents. Researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek conducted a controlled experiment to test the capabilities of the software, finding that they could remotely access a Jeep Wrangler and control its functions through its multimedia system. They were even able to cut the brakes and engine!

In response to the rising threat of car hacking, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) accounced that "to ensure a robust cybersecurity environment for these dynamic new technologies, NHTSA adopted a layered research approach, modified its organizational structure, and is continually developing vital partnerships, encouraging members of the industry to take independent steps to help improve the cybersecurity posture of vehicles in the United States. NHTSA's goal is to stay ahead of potential vehicle cybersecurity challenges, and to continue seeking ways to address or avoid them altogether."

Despite the public’s desire for a wireless network while on the road, it comes at a price some are not willing to pay. It has been proven that the Wi-Fi systems in cars can be exploited. Until the guidelines and regulations concerning cybersecurity in cars and their multimedia systems are tested, improved and enforced, drivers must use their car's technology with caution in order to avoid being hacked. Drivers should also be wary of interacting with their car while driving in order to avoid distracted driving car accidents.


Multimedia systems are designed to make things easier for the driver since they allow the driver to be able to use the features of their smartphone, without actually using their phone. While this hands-free technology may help to prevent the number of car accidents caused by distracted driving, it doesn't complete eliminate distracted driving behaviors. If you or anyone you know has been involved in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, contact The Michigan Law Firm PLLC. For a free consultation, call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM.

 

 

Help! We Can't Stop Texting And Driving

Distracted driving has become a major issue in our world today, especially since more people have smartphones than ever before. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that each day in the United States, 660,000 drivers use an electronic device while driving. Also, each day, approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in automobile crashes reported to have involved a distracted driver, based on statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It should be mentioned that these are just the reported distracted driving car accident cases, and there many be thousands of other cell phone car accidents that occurred without official documentation, because of how difficult it is for authorities to pinpoint a distracted driver. It therefore goes without saying that distracted driving is very dangerous, and with the technological era upon us, it is also on the rise.

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Distracted Driving Statistics

The following statistics, provided by Click On Detroit, help put the dangers of distracted driving into context:

  1. Taking your eyes off the road for more than two seconds doubles your risk of a crash.
  2. When driving 55 miles per hour, five seconds with eyes off the road is equivalent to driving the length of a football field blindfolded.
  3. Distraction is a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes

The texting and driving problem has gotten so big that highways across the country now regularly warn drivers "Don't text and drive," and 46 states and the District of Columbia have laws banning texting and driving. If these laws don't deter people from engaging in distracted driving, we hope that drivers will keep these shocking statistics in mind, to help prevent a distracted driving car accident and to minimize the risk of experiencing a life-changing car crash injury on the road.

Distracted Driving Accident Attorney

However, although we know that talking or texting while driving is an issue, the problem isn't just calling or sending a text message to catch up with your best friend. Drivers with smart phones are now even using Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google Maps, Spotify, and YouTube, all while operating a vehicle on busy roads. In a survey sponsored by the National Safety Council that focused on 2,400 drivers of all ages, 74% said they would use Facebook while driving, and 37% said they would use Twitter while behind the wheel, with YouTube (35%) and Instagram (33%) close behind. 

 CNN talked to Jennifer Smith, a mother of two and founder of the advocacy group StopDistractions.org. She lost her own mother in a crash nearly 8 years ago when a 20-year-old who was talking on the phone drove through a stoplight. Since then, Smith has devoted her life to helping other families who have become victims of distracted driving crashes by providing support, lobbying for legislation, and planning public awareness events.  Smith believes that people need to really focus on what's important. "As I'm talking to new families, more and more of them are telling me, 'It's Snapchat,'" said Smith, whose daughters were 1 and 13 when their grandmother was killed in Oklahoma City. "It's Snapchat today, but then what is it tomorrow?...Social networking while driving is not necessary and should not be done by anyone, in any way, who's driving. Period. And somehow we've got to make the whole country understand that."

Also acknowledging the widespread problem of using social media while driving, Deborah Hersman, President and CEO of the National Safety Council commented, "We know that it's an under-reported issue and it's a lot like impaired driving in that way where people know it's not acceptable to do it, and yet a lot of people still do it anyway." 

The Science Behind Distracted Driving

David Greenfield, founder of the Center for Internet and Technology, told CNN that the constant need to check our phones, even when operating a vehicle, is caused by the “addictive nature of smartphones and how our brain instinctively responds to those pings, which signal an incoming text or social media update.” 

Smartphones are taking over the world. They are affecting our brains and behavior on a daily basis. When we hear the alert of a new message, social media notification, or new email, our brains get a dose of dopamine, which is a chemical that leads to an increase in arousal. “The dopamine reward centers are the same centers that have to do with pleasure from eating, pleasure from sex and procreation, pleasure from drugs and alcohol,” Greenfield said. “This reward circuitry is as old as time and if we didn’t have it, we probably wouldn’t exist as a species.”

Where the trouble arises however, is not the higher level of dopamine, but the shutdown of access to the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for most of our judgement and reasoning. “The parts of the brain that say, ‘OK, how important is this text? Is this text worth dying for? Is this text worth killing somebody else for?’” Greenfield said. “The answer, of course, logically, would be ‘no,’ but if you have less access to that part of your brain when you’re in this state, which seems to be the case, then you’re not really using your judgement.” 

Distracted Driving Prevention Apps

Scott Tibbitts, founder of a technology called Groove, believes he can help bring an end to distracted driving. His distracted driving prevention app sends a signal to the driver’s phone service provider, altering it to hold off on all texts and social media notifications while they are driving, and also prevents the driver from posting anything while the car is moving. Tibbitts compares the addiction to texting while driving to having an open bag of potato chips in the car. “I know I shouldn’t be eating potato chips, but just take a deep breath of that barbecue sauce. Well that’s what the ‘bing’ is. The ‘bing’ is “Oh, my gosh this might be the text message from my daughter that says, 'Dad, I need help,'” Tibbitts explained.

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Groove is only one of many distracted driving prevention apps and phone features being developed to minimize distracted driving, like Apple's Do Not Disturb While Driving feature and At&T's DriveMode app. It may seem ironic to use technology to stop the usage of electronics while driving, but it actually might make more sense. If people are relying so much on their mobile devices, what better way to spread the word about the risks of distracted driving and to help break bad habits than with the cell phones themselves? 

Every time we look at social media while behind the wheel or text while driving, we get a false sense of security and believe that we will be safe in future attempts. Despina Stavrinos, director of the University of Alabama’s distracted driving research lab, says it’s similar to the reinforcement theory. “So you’re driving every day, sending text messages, and nothing happens. So it’s reinforcing to you, ‘Hey, I can do this. I am a pretty good multitasker,’” said Stavrinos. In reality, distracted driving is doing nothing more than putting drivers and passengers at risk for severe injury or death. People are smart enough to develop addictive apps and modern cell phone technology, so they should be more than capable of making the right decision to forget the distractions and focus on the road while driving. 


In many ways, distracted driving can be just as dangerous (if not more so) to drivers and others on the road, than drunk driving. If you truly believe that text messages, Facebook alerts or emails are that important, pull over to the side of the road and complete your business before getting back on the road. If you or someone you know has been involved in a distracted driving car crash, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC today. Our firm are highly experienced in dealing with all types of motor vehicle accidents and can help you. Call us at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Chrysler Portal: A Concept Vehicle Made With Millennials In Mind

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They've popularized the selfie, revolutionized the uses for social media, and thrive off of constant action. Who are they? They are millennials of course!

Also known as Generation Y, millennials  are the youngest generation of adults, made up of people born from 1980-2000, who are currently coming in to their own in today's world. While most associations to millennials seem to be negative, for example, one big stereotype is that millennials are lazy and narcissistic, they are the future of the world and of the economy. Recently, however millennials have been labeled as “ruining the American economy,” since statistics have shown that millennials commute by car less than any other generation, thus raising concerns for the multi-billion dollar auto industry. 

To address this lack of millennial car consumer demand, Chrysler unveiled its all-electric Portal concept car at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, 2017. Fiat Chrysler, CNN News reports, is said to have spent 20 years conducting research on these potential customers, understanding their behavior and greatest vehicle desires. There is little surprise that technology was found to be the main requirement millennials were looking for in their cars. With the constant connections and multi-tasking young people do nowadays, both at home and in the workplace, automakers are developing new products with a different crowd in mind.

Chrysler Portal Concept Car

Chrysler Portal's Millennial Inspired Vehicle Features

  1. Portal’s most touted feature involves something as millennial as it gets: selfies. The car is able to take a photo of all six passengers, and then send the image to everyone’s mobile device so it can be shared on social media, connected via plug-in ports.
  2. Another important aspect of Portal is its music, a valuable part of the driving experience for potential millennial customers. The car allows everyone in the vehicle to combine their songs and videos into one shared playlist to listen to while on the road. Portal’s stereo also has “zoned audio” that lets passengers listen to different audio in different parts of the car, without wearing headphones. This technology also can amplify certain external sounds for the driver, like the sound of sirens from an approaching ambulance.
  3. A display screen on the car’s ceiling lets the vehicle’s occupants access a shared playlist from the passengers’ mobile devices, along with putting together things like a drive-thru dinner order. Portal can even pay for the dinner order by linking payment information with the feature.
  4. Portal also has a fully customizable interior. Indoor LED accent lighting can be changed to any color, and car sears may be moved back and forth along tracks and even removed completely to create more storage space. 
  5. All-electric, Chrysler's proposed vehicle can drive up to 250 miles on a full charge. In fact, just 20 minutes of charging allows vehicle operators to drive 150 miles. Not only is this convenient, but it caters to millennials' environmentally friendly mindset. 
  6. While Portal still has a steering wheel and pedals, its limited self-driving capabilities keep the product current with autonomous car technology. The steering wheel is able to fold into the dashboard when not in use. 
  7. Perhaps most importantly to the busy, career driven young person, Chrysler’s millennial-focused vehicle uses cameras with facial recognition software mounted on the outside of the car to recognize people approaching the vehicle. That allows for custom interior and entertainment features to automatically be set up for the passengers before they even enter the vehicle. Portal sounds like it has everything a millennial could ever dream for!
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While automakers are busy working to develop new vehicles with millennial customers in mind, cities on the other hand, are continuing to expand public transportation and other alternative forms of getting around. This recent growth in alternative transportation including city bike share programs, like Detroit's own MoGo, is why Citylab predicts that millennials will rely less and less on cars. Additionally, people who have more money tend to drive more, and millennials just aren’t making much income right now.  Also, this age group cares more about their environmental impact than other generations, choosing other forms of transportation to get around in order to keep the planet clean.  

Chrysler seems to be on the right track in gearing their new motor vehicle concepts towards millennials. However, it is important to remember to focus on the road at all times, as fancy selfie features and multitasking audio systems may increase the chances of a car crash due to distracted driving. Millennials can call themselves the “cool” generation all they want, but new cars like the Portal must promote safety as well as tech savvy, because nothing is cool about causing a car crash.


By designing a vehicle tailored to millennial preferences and driving style, Chrysler's concept vehicle could become a hit among America's biggest generation. However, with the introduction of even more technology in the car, millennial drivers must remember to always keep their eyes on the road, no matter what angle the in-car selfie is snapping a photo from. If you or someone you know has been involved in a distracted driving car accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

Pokemon Go: Virtual Reality Game's Recent Real Life Accidents

As many people know, in today's tech-savvy world, keeping a cell phone in your car is dangerous, and it is even more dangerous to text or use an app on your smartphone while driving. Many apps require a person's attention on their phone screen for more than just a quick glance, which is more than enough time to cause a car collision. This time last year, the Pokémon Go app was just beginning to take users by storm, with people everywhere constantly discussing the game and traveling around town to "catch" the Pokémon. The game projects characters on the screen amid the player's actual surroundings, combining the virtual with reality. One year later, the game continues to develop new features and bring people together, with some even attending in-person live events to play the game. The popularity of the app has created yet another form of distracted driving, and has led to several motor vehicle accidents in Michigan and around the country.

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In one example, a man crashed into a cop car in Baltimore, Maryland while playing Pokémon Go, last July. USA TODAY reported that the Pokémon Go enthusiast slammed into a parked Baltimore police car while playing the game on his phone. In body-camera video released by the Baltimore Police Department, several officers are seen standing near the police car as a Toyota Rav 4 slams into the police cruiser and continues driving. In the video, an officer runs after the vehicle, which stops near the end of the block, and the driver gets out of his car. The officer asks if everyone is ok, and the driver, whose face is blurred in the clip, shows the police officers his cellphone. “That’s what I get for playing this dumb--- game,” the man says to the officers. A spokesperson for the police department mentioned that the incident wasn't even the first one that week!

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania last summer, CBS News said that teen Autumn Deiseroth was hit by a car in an incident related to Pokémon Go. Deiseroth saud she did everything right while playing the game near her home, including looking both ways before crossing streets, but she was hit by a car anyway, after the game lured her across a busy highway. "She was not walking and playing the game," her mother, Tracy Nolan, told a CBS affiliate. "She was coming home to tell her mother she found Pokémon. I'm blaming the game itself because it's dragging kids across major highways. Kids don't need to be going across highways."

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Here in Michigan, Pokémon Go is being blamed for a suspected drunk driver crashing into a parked car in Commerce Township, while his eyes were glued to his smartphone. According to the Detroit Free Press, a 28-year-old Walled Lake man fled in his wrecked car but was arrested after deputies followed a trail of vehicle debris from the crash to the suspect's home. The Oakland County Sheriff's Office said in a news release that deputies determined that the man had been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash and transported him to Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital for a blood draw via a search warrant. He was also treated for injuries sustained in the crash. The suspect told police he had been in the area searching for Pokémon on his phone, while driving, when he struck the parked vehicle. The driver was arrested following his treatment and was lodged in the Oakland County Jail pending charges.

Pokémon Go has even gone so far as to lead to fatal vehicle-pedestrian crashes. On October 14, 2016, 24-year-old Cody Soucie of Roseville, Michigan hit Ryan Mannes, 14, with his motorcycle while Mannes played Pokémon Go with two of his friends. Soucie had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.14, which is almost twice the legal limit. Mannes had walked into the street to catch a Pokémon, as described in the Detroit Free Press, and was hit by Soucie upon returning to the sidewalk. Mannes was pronounced dead at the scene with catastrophic injuries. Soucie was charged with a felony crime that could lead to, up to 15 years in jail. 

Distracted walking, including looking down at cell phones, is an alarming new trend that poses a significant safety threat, in the form of inattentional blindness, to pedestrians and motorists alike. The National Safety Council emphasizes that pedestrians and drivers using cell phones are both impaired and too mentally distracted to fully focus on their surroundings. Of course, no one plans to be hit by a car while playing Pokémon Go. However, what is unknown to many people is that unintentional injuries are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Apps like Pokémon Go and virtual reality games are fun to play and are experiencing a surge in popularity, but users are advised to always be safe while playing, and to definitely never use them while driving, so as to help prevent a severe injury or car crash fatality. 

Michigan Distracted Driving Car Accident Lawyer

Additionally, there are several ways to avoid distracted driving accidents and drunk driving car crashes. Apps have recently been developed that actually work to minimize phone usage while in a vehicle. Car sharing services like Uber and Lyft are available to take people home so that people under the influence don't have to risk their life or the lives of those on the road by driving while intoxicated. Drunk driving and distracted driving are never okay, even if the goal is just to catch Pokémon. As games for smartphones multiply, safety and awareness must also increase, in order to avoid fatal car crashes.


Pokémon Go was created to bring the game to life and to get people to be more active and spent more time outdoors. While these are admirable goals from Niantic, the creater of Pokemon Go, it is important to be safe and vigilant while playing the game, and to never play while driving, as Niantic themselves warn. It is also important to be aware of one's surroundings at all times, because you never know when a vehicle headed your way, if your head is down and absorbed in a game. If you or anyone you know has been involved in a car accident caused by a distracted or drunk driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Daimler's Autonomous Future Truck

Visitors to The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog may have been keeping up with news on autonomous technology from companies like Ford, Toyota, and Google. A company that we haven't yet mentioned however, is Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz. Daimler is also a member of the autonomous car industry and was one of the first to begin the automated transportation revolution with its development of self-driving trucks. The world of semi-trucks was transformed with the creation of the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck. The truck's design includes automated driving capabilities that will allow drivers to operate the heavy, cargo-bearing vehicle much more easily, efficiently, and comfortably. Diamler-created autonomous technology, called Highway Pilot, has set the Future Truck apart from competitors, allowing it to be the safest semi-truck of its kind. Daimler had previously planned to release the Future Truck in 2025, giving driver-less car onlookers a not-so-far away glimpse into what roads may look like in the near future.
 

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

Mercedes-Benz Highway Pilot Autonomous Technology


The Future Truck uses Highway Pilot software to autonomously control driving. Daimler envisions a workplace similar to a living room for truckers, where they can relax as they control driving with an iPad. Highway Pilot uses sensors to observe areas in front of the vehicle and to take over control in certain situations, such as during sudden stops. Highway Pilot allows the humans to do all the thinking, without incurring any risk, and leaves the driving to the truck itself. 

Another characteristic of the Future Truck is vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Self-driving trucks will be able to pull over for emergency vehicles or slow down with traffic congestion, using data from the inter-vehicle signals. The trucks will be also be able to switch lanes and react to broken down vehicles on the shoulder, even steering and braking through construction zones with the help of its communication features. 

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

Daimler has embraced the opportunity to transform the future of long-distance driving with the development of their Future Truck. Klaus Riff, Deputy Head of Prevention for G Verkehr–Transport Industry Professional Association, confirmed for Daimler that truck drivers face extreme demands everyday, due to factors like sustained attention, tight schedules, and high traffic density. Not only are individual drivers likely to benefit from automated technology, but entire business models will be rearranged. Business Insider mentions how labor costs will be controlled differently and workloads will be streamlined, affecting businesses and consumers with these steps towards more advanced trucks. 

Daimler's Highway Pilot technology was officially tested in October 2015 with the Mercedes-Benz Actros truck, making it the world's first series-production truck to operate autonomously on a motorway. A top German politician, Winfried Kretschmann, and Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Board Member of Daimler AG responsible for Trucks and Buses, rode on the maiden journey of the Mercedes-Benz Actros with the Highway Pilot system, further displaying Daimler's commitment to ease of driving and safety precautions.

Autonomous Truck Regulations

Automated trucks, just like autonomous cars, have not been developed without closely monitored regulations. Four states in the US currently allow the operation of autonomous vehicles on public roads under certain conditions. Those states are Nevada, Florida, California, and Michigan. Europe has been facing more strict restrictions. Vehicle safety tests in the EU have been designed for cars with someone behind the wheel, meaning the Future Truck and other driver-less cars like it, fail these tests. Politico reported last year that there were no plans to review this law, setting Europe back from the US and other countries where autonomous driving has been tested on roads. 

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

Additionally, policies have regulated truck driver workweeks, working to help reduce motor vehicle fatalities that drowsy driving from a combination of lack of sleep and long hours on highway roads may cause. Semi-truck drivers carrying cargo may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 hours off duty, and according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), may only drive 60/70 hours on duty in 7/ 8 consecutive days. With the release of the Future Truck, truck drivers will be able to rest more often and therefore go longer distances in faster times. Human error will be minimized since trucks will be driving themselves. 
 
Daimler’s automated semi-trucks will soon be approaching reality after years of planning, and the world will finally experience a new type of long-distance travel. Planes, trains, and automobiles are all slowly becoming autonomous, and the transportation industry is just on the brink of a revolution. Daimler and Mercedes-Benz have been a step ahead of the pack, and only have to look eight more years ahead to see The Future Truck front and center. 

Source: Daimler


The future of semi-trucks is looking autonomous and automated. In the present time however, while trucks are still being operated by humans, automobile drivers should take caution  when driving near trucks, as their size makes it harder for them to react quickly to vehicles around them. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle accident involving a semi-truck or other large vehicle, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Fourth Of July Travel Safety Tips

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As the Fourth of July, one of the most anticipated holidays of the year, approaches, many American families are preparing to travel to celebrate this patriotic day. Thousands of people take to the roads on Independence Day, contributing to what U.S. News describes as “the busiest summer travel holiday.” This year, the holiday weekend will extend longer than normal, from Friday, June 30th to Tuesday, July 4th, when AAA Travel says a record-breaking 44.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home. As a result, drivers need to extra careful when traveling on the roads over the longer weekend, since other drivers may have over-indulged in celebratory beverages at barbecues and parties.

To avoid being involved in a motor vehicle accident, travelers may want to follow the Fourth of July Travel Safety Tips below, recommended by TODAY:

  • Follow basic safety practices. Wearing seatbelts, using helmets, being mindful of speed limits, and remembering to not drink and drive can go a long way to keeping roads safe.
  • Take preventative measures. Check oil levels and tire pressure, along with coolant levels, because cars may overheat when stuck in traffic. Car owners may also benefit from a check-up with a mechanic, prior to a long road trip, to examine vehicles for any unusual problems that might impede driving vacation.
  • Plan trips with timing in mind. If it can be helped, it can be safer to travel a few days before or a few days after the Fourth of July, as the days closer to the holiday tend to be more congested.
  • Keep a safe following distance. Stay three seconds or more behind the car, truck, or motorcycle in front of you. This will allow you enough time to brake if you need to stop suddenly.
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  • Minimize distractions. Keep phones put away and out of reach, leave snacks and drinks in the cooler, and turn the radio stations on before leaving the driveway. If mobile devices absolutely must be in the car, hand them to a passenger to control or utilize one of these safety apps researched by The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC to help prevent a deadly collision from distracted driving. Besides these distractions, road trips also call for additional reasons to focus on the road. Arguments, even if they are in the backseat, may make drivers anxious or cause them to take their eyes and ears off the road. Pets, along for the vacation, should be kept inside a carrier or fascinated into pet-specific seat belts, so as not to jump into the front seat and distract the driver. Additionally, loose items like sunglasses and maps might fall from the dashboard or overhead sun visors, startling drivers enough to threaten the safety of everyone in the car.
  • Know where you are going. Look up directions for road trip routes beforehand, making a plan for the hours spent on the road. Enlist a passenger to help navigate, so that the driver can focus on getting to the destination safely. Remember not to look at a phone screen for distractions while also behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.  
  • Get plenty of rest. Prior to traveling over the Independence Day weekend, don’t forget to sleep in the midst of packing and planning. Lack of sleep can lead to drowsiness while driving, which is a risk factor for severe car crashes. Car drivers should take frequent breaks and rotate drivers if necessary.
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The Fourth of July can be fun for everyone, as it is a day off work to enjoy the summer weather, cook out in backyards, and swim in the lake. Holiday road trips are a great way to bond with family and friends, and visit destinations, both new locales and well-loved spots. However, drivers must always be cautious of their surroundings, especially during such a busy time for travelers. Keep flashes of red, white, and blue to the fireworks in the sky instead of blinking on top of police cars. There is no doubt which would make the Founding Fathers more proud.


The 4th of July is a day to celebrate freedom for all people in the United States of America. Driving is a privilege not a freedom. Don't take advantage of the holiday as a reason to drive dangerously, drunkenly, or distractedly this upcoming Independence Day weekend. If you or someone you know has been a victim of an automobile collision, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Are Americans The Worst Drivers In The World?

Source: GIPHY

Source: GIPHY

The United States is known for its enthusiastic love of American football, for popularizing the juicy hamburger, and for its all American privilege of freedom for all. What the US can't proudly brag about however are its citizens' bad driving habits, commonly characterized by cell phone usage and the consumption of snacks and drinks while behind the wheel. The frequency of car accidents on US roads is constantly in the news. In fact, ABC News reported that there were over 41,000 deaths on American roads in 2015 alone. As tragic as this statistic is and as commonplace a stereotype about bad American driving is, surprisingly, American drivers are only in the middle of the pack when it comes to road safety.

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Perhaps it's due to different driver’s license requirements and road organization from country to country, that many other countries come out on the better side of traffic fatality statistics than the US. This may especially be because distracted driving is not as common in these countries as it is in the United States. Germany in particular comes out on top as a safer driving country than the US despite the fact that their road speeds regularly reach 140 mph on the autobahns. Distracted driving is a danger that millions of Americans participate in daily, that may lead to severe injuries or traffic fatalities. However, because German drivers tend to obey road rules more than Americans, and are less likely to be distracted by activities that take their eyes off the road when they are traveling at such high speeds, they are generally safer drivers. 

Another reason Germany has more safe drivers may be due to the training Germans receive prior to becoming certified to drive. In Germany, there is a more difficult path to earning a driver’s license, involving a tougher written test, and required road tests in four different types of driving environments before allowing people to get a driver’s license, at age 18. On the other hand, each US state has their own age requirements for receiving a license, typically allowing teens to becoming licensed at age 16, following driver’s education classes and a basic road test. On top of stricter German license requirements, new drivers in Germany are essentially on probation for two years and in the event that they receive a traffic infraction, are booted back to driving classes.

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Even stricter than Germany, Japan carefully polices written and road tests, only allowing drivers to skip their road test if they take a $2,500 driving course. The country is so specific on their driving requirements that, coupled with excellent public transit systems, many people avoid driving altogether. Then there is Iceland, which requires driving in snow and ice to be a part of the road test. Some US States, including Michigan, could benefit from adding this type of practice to their road tests for optimal winter driving safety!

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Great Britain also appears to have safer drivers than in the US, possibly because the country has fewer freeways going through city centers than American cities do. This means that there are fewer high speed auto collisions as a whole. Heavy congestion in British cities also doesn’t allow many people behind the wheel in Great Britain to be able to get up to the speeds typically needed for fatal collisions. Andrew Howard, head of road safety for Great Britain says, “Our plummet in road deaths in recent years has been particularly in urban areas. You now can’t get up the speed to have them."

The famous British 'stiff upper lip' has also been attributed as a reason that car accidents are not as prevalent in Great Britain, as British drivers maintain their emotions and don't exhibit aggressive driving behavior, which in the US usually leads to road rage car accidents. An American expatriate living in London for the past 11 years explained, “You still have very much more courtesy and abiding by the rules in England. Someone will go zipping by at 100 [mph] , but they’ll do it in the appropriate lane."

While many countries have better safe driving records than America, there are still others that have worse car crash statistics. Unlike the other European countries mentioned in this article, Portuguese streets are almost twice as deadly as American roads. Turkey's driving conditions were described in a US State Department 'driver safety briefing' as, “pedestrians seemingly completely oblivious to oncoming traffic … vehicles backing up (in reverse) on exit ramps and on main highways … [and] oncoming drivers who play inscrutable light games, flashing and flashing whether you have your ‘brights’ [high beams] on or not.” 

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Perhaps worse than bad driving skills are the bad behaviors of Russian drivers who often bribe the police to get out of traffic tickets and driving under the influence of alcohol, and to drive unlicensed vehicles. Sergius Morenc, an ABCNEWS correspondent in Moscow, said, "there are, of course, standards and rules to be followed, but nobody follows them...If somebody breaks down, say, in the fast lane, he will take his spare wheel out or start working on the engine where he stopped." 
Finally, the United States still has safer roads than South Korea, the worst country to drive in, because highways are desperately in need of repair due to constant car accidents which occur when roads are congested.

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So, the truth comes out: Americans are not really the worst drivers in the world. But, stereotypes are hard to shake, which is maybe why many Europeans still wonder if Americans are the worst drivers. Nevertheless, the US could do with less distracted driving driving car accidents. Americans should stop participating in lengthy group chats, stop finessing their Pandora playlists, or eating a three course meal while in the driver’s seat. Speedy driving also needs to be reduced in order to have safer American roads and to reduce the number of fatal speeding car collisions. Overall, driving policies are criteria that vary no matter where one is in the world, but it is the need to travel between destinations that unites all people to rally for vehicle safety.


Driving is a universal action. Humans also universally display tendencies of speeding, distracted driving, and other actions that may lead to dangerous motor vehicle accidents. If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident and call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. We offer free consultations for victims of motor vehicle collisions. Contact us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM.

Life-Saving Apps That Prevent Distracted Driving

Over the years, distracted driving has grown to be a major issue on the roadways across America. It is estimated that 660,000 drivers are using an electronic device during any time of the day. The proof of damage that distracted driving can do has been recorded on phones through social media platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat by the very drivers who are engaging in the dangerous act. With so many injuries and tragic deaths that stem from distracted driving accidents, 391, 000 injuries and 3,477 deaths in 2015 to be precise, many state governments are revising their laws and punishments for drivers who are caught driving while distracted. Although Michigan has yet to change its law concerning devices that can be used when behind the wheel of a vehicle, for safety purposes, Michigan drivers should consider not using their electronic devices while driving.

Distracted driving

While it's simple to tell drivers to not use their phones or to turn off their phones when operating a motor vehicle, it's also very easy to turn a phone back on or to reactively turn attention away from the road and onto a phone when it signals a notification. That is why it may be beneficial to drivers who own smart phones to download an app that silences all cellular communication when the user is driving. DMV.org has reviewed and suggests a few such apps that can hopefully deter drivers from looking at their phones while driving.  

Out of the several surveyed distracted driving apps, four stood out to DMV.org and were approved by organizations such as Fathers Against Drunk Driving and Mothers Agains Drunk Driving. The apps were chosen because they are compatible on both the Apple iOS and Android systems.

Distracted Driving Prevention Apps

1. LifeSaver

Aptly named, LifeSaver is geared toward stopping drivers enacting distracted driving by utilizing GPS tracking and reward systems. Because the app taps into GPS monitoring, it knows when a driver is on the road and prevents drivers from using their phones. Once the driver arrives at their destination, it will alert loved ones that it is now okay to call and that the driver safely arrived. This app isn't just geared toward parents and teenagers engaging in safe driving habits and related rewards, but commercial businesses as well. 

2. TrueMotion

One of the few free distracted driving apps that are available on both iOS and Android, TrueMotion uniquely utilizes a trip score system. The trip score points out to the user, the moments during the road trip that a driver was driving distractedly and presents an overall rating on the motorists driving. This can then be used to positively change future driving habits.

3. AT&T’s DriveMode

This app blocks any texts and phone calls to completely keep drivers from cellular distraction. It even automatically replies to text messages telling contacts that you are driving if they try to text you.

Also, since most parents control their children's cell phone usage already, parents who are worried about their teen driver can set up the app to alert them when it is not in use and if they are any changes to the settings. One of those helpful settings is that DriveMode can be set to automatically engage once the user's car is going more than 15 mph. This app also allows parents and all users to set up goals and prizes for the number of miles driven safely.

4. Drive Beehive

This app is the official safe driving app of Parents Against Distracted Driving. It creates incentives to promote safe driving by allowing the driver to connect with family, friends, schools, business, and any other responsible sponsor who can set an award for the amount of miles driven safely. 

Apple's iOS 11

Distracted Driving Car Crash Lawyer

While it is not an app, The Michigan Law Firm blog recently informed readers of a feature of the new Apple iOS11 operating system called Do Not Disturb While Driving (DNDWD). Similar to ATT's DriveMode, when DNDWD is in use, the iPhone automatically detects speed when it determines that a user is driving, it proceeds to turn off of cellular communication. The DNDWD function also informs anyone trying to contact the phone that the owner is currently driving and even gives them the options to text the word 'urgent' if it is vital that the iPhone owner be reached. 

In today’s world, phones have become an essential item of everyday life. As useful as they are however, they can also be highly distracting and cause accidents. An accident can happen in a matter of seconds, coincidently the same amount of time people use to glimpse at a text message or to scroll through contacts to make a call. But it's not worth it! As DMV.org says, "Distracted driving accounts for 9 deaths every day—deaths that are completely preventable simply by keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel." 


Distracted driving apps exists for a very serious and useful reason - to save lives. If you or a loved have been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to a distracted driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM. Our firm offers experienced advice on distracted driving accidents and will work to fight for any benefits you may be entitled to under Michigan law.

New Apple Technology Seeks to Break Bad Driving Habits

Distracted Driving Car Accident Attorney

Do-do-do! Your iPhone goes off from the car's cup holder signaling a text message. You pick it up to read it while simultaneously switching to the far left lane on the freeway and speeding up. It’s your best friend. The text says that he needs to call you right now to talk about last night's episode of The Walking Dead. You turn down the radio and dial his number as you grab a fry out of your McDonald's bag and stuff it into your mouth. With both hands off the wheel, you accidentally serve into the lane to your right. The car behind you and the car to your right honk! You abruptly drop your phone and use both hands to get back in your lane. Now you hear your phone ringing but it's lodged in the space between your seat and the center console. You sigh and try to fish it out while driving singlehandedly.

Sound familiar?

This is what it is like to drive distracted - something many of us have done but hate to admit. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that, daily there are about 660,000 drivers who use their cell phones while driving. The constant need to multi-task and the busy work life of hundreds of thousands of Americans endanger the safety of everyone on the road.

Therefore, as technology continues to develop, companies are being challenged to develop products that are not only new and improved, but that keep individuals safe while driving. Many cars already have wireless programs that allow drivers to talk on their phone or respond verbally to text messages without having to take their eyes of the road or their hands off the wheel. However, cell phones are still easy to check and within reach of the steering wheel, making cell phone usage while driving a lethal combination.

Michigan Distracted Driving Car Crash

Apple’s latest software, iOS 11, has been created with these distracted drivers in mind. Its newest feature, called Do Not Disturb While Driving (DNDWD), is designed to prevent people from checking their phones while driving a car. Engadget tried out the new software and explained that the program uses Bluetooth or WiFi doppler effect to determine how fast a phone's user is moving. If an iPhone user is moving at high speeds, like those achieved while riding in a car, a blank screen will appear if the user tries to use the phone, in order to shield drivers from the constant flow of notifications and alerts. There is however an option to disable DNDWD when the program prompts users to say whether or not they are the drivers, thereby allowing passengers in moving cars to freely use their mobile devices.

The feature also has the capability to auto-reply to text messages, telling your phone contacts that you are driving and will view their messages when you reach your destination. There is even an option to customize certain contacts, allowing them to text back “urgent” to have their text message come through even if Do Not Disturb While Driving is on. Obviously, this feature is only intended to be used in case of emergency. While no software can prevent complete distraction, iOS 11 is Apple’s way of making iPhones safer for drivers. These efforts may dramatically decrease distracted driving.

Source: GIPHY, FX's  Louie

Source: GIPHY, FX's Louie

One demographic that can definitely benefit from DNDWD is teenagers. Teens are the largest age group reported to have engaged in distracted driving behavior when involved in fatal car crashes. Young people also make up the majority of smartphone users in the United States. With DNDWD, Apple has discovered an easy way to save the lives of many of its teenage iPhone users, even marketing the idea of safe driving as “cool.”

Teens aside, distracted driving is not something for adults to take lightly either. Distracted driving may lead to serious injuries and death from car collisions in any age group. Alarmingly, 3,477 people were killed by distracted driving accidents in 2015 alone. Parents need to lead by example for their children, who may make the excuse that “Mom does it,” to use their phone while driving. In some states, it is against the law to text, talk on the phone, or participate in other distractions while driving. Yet time and time again, adult drivers pick up their cell phone while also driving on the road. Citizens of Michigan are especially guilty of this action since cellphone usage while driving is not illegal in Michigan. By utilizing Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving feature, drivers of all ages, Michiganders included, have even less of an excuse to drive distracted and are encouraged to choose to be safe rather than sorry.

Aside from any emergency situations, most motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted driving are completely avoidable. The next time you drive, consider the serious and deadly consequences of driving while distracted. Pick your radio station before leaving the driveway, save the snacks for the dinner table, do your makeup and shave in a bathroom mirror, and keep your pet securely fastened away from the driver. Most importantly and most easily, keep your phone in the back seat, in a purse or bag, or just simply turn it off. If a phone must be kept on, use programs designed for your safety, such as DNDWD, to help break the bad habit of checking every text, game notification or Instagram post, while driving. Explaining to the ER doctor that you wrapped your car around a tree because you needed an update on the Tigers game is not fun.

Source: GIPHY, SmallBizTechnology.com

Source: GIPHY, SmallBizTechnology.com


Distracted driving is a constant threat to drivers and passengers. Cell phones are a common form of distraction, taking driver's eyes, hands, and ears off the road, possibly leading to a car crash. If you or someone you know has been been the victim of a motor vehicle collision caused by distracted driving, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM. Our firm offers free consultations for those who need assistance in navigating their legal options while recovering from their car accident injuries.

The Dangers Of Driving In Heels

Michigan Car Accident Attorney

A Florida woman from Fort Walton Beach claims that her flip flops are the reason behind her automobile accident. The anonymous female driver stated that she was in the process of backing out of her driveway when her foot slipped and her heeled shoe got caught under the gas pedal preventing her from braking in time. She crashed through her neighbor's house across the street and nearly killed a young boy in the process. Accidents like this may seem outlandish but are more common than people might believe. In fact, a UK court recently heard an ex-model's tale of how she accidentally hit a cyclist while test driving a car, due to wearing 2-inch-heels.

Why Proper Driving Footwear is Important

The model in the UK case was Julie Hunter. Ms. Hunter was supposedly test driving a car in a 30 mph zone but was going 50 mph. In an attempt to avoid hitting another vehicle on the road, Ms. Hunter spun out her car and hit a cyclist named Debbie Riches. Upon impact, Riches’ bicycle flew 20 feet into the air before landing and becoming pinned under Ms. Hunter's vehicle. Ms. Riches was pinned under Hunter’s vehicle for about 30 minutes until fire crews arrived and were able to lift the car by utilizing inflatable airbags. Riches was pronounced dead at the scene. The medical team rushed Hunter to a nearby hospital for her fractured skull and internal ear damage.   

The crash investigator who worked on the scene determined that there weren’t any mechanical issues with the car Hunter drove or the bicycle that Riches was riding at the time of the accident. However, the investigator did say that the, "very high" heels worn by Hunter may have inhibited her ability to drive. 

Examples of Improper Driving Footwear

Car Crash Lawyer Detroit

Coincidentally, Shell Oil Company conducted a survey on over 1,000 drivers and determined that at 29% of drivers aged 18-30 are more likely to drive while wearing inappropriate footwear, including shoes with wide bottoms, thick soles, or even driving barefoot. Shoes that have wide soles can make it harder for a driver to properly place their foot on one pedal at a time. In a similar sense, shoes with thick soles make it harder for a driver to gauge the amount of pressure needed to apply to the pedals. Respectively, improper footwear does not just pertain to woman, but includes male footwear as well. Some typically male styles of shoes that may be improper for safe driving include oxfords, work or steel toe boots, and sandals.

The Recommended Footwear for Driving

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

The Telegraph advises that drivers should stick to shoes like the moccasins or athletic footwear for easy stow-ability, comfortability, and proper sole-to-pedal ratio. Motorsports shoes are also a responsible alternative to prevent scuffing while providing grip. 

With summer having arrived in Michigan, many drivers refuse to wear anything but sandals until cold weather hits returns. These drivers should remember the importance of wearing proper foot gear as a precaution to avoid getting into car accidents. If compromising their style is their biggest worry, drivers can keep a pair driving appropriate shoes in their car year round that they can switch out with whatever shoes they want to wear once they get out from behind the wheel of their motor vehicle. Valuing fancy footwear over driving safety is not worth a trip to the ER!


All drivers, and not just ladies, should be aware of the shoes, or lack their of, that they wear when driving. Wearing the right footwear could possibly prevent motor vehicle accidents. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM today, for a free consultation. 

Plymouth, MI Automotive Supplier Aims To Change Pet Travel Safety

Plymouth Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

Last week, The Michigan Law Firm blog informed readers about The American Humane Society's tips for driving safely with pets in the vehicle. One of the tips was to belt or restrain animals so that they can't distract the driver.

While innovations in the field of human car safety are being produced seemingly every day, pet travel safety has been largely unstudied and is lacking data in the automotive industry. However, Johnson Controls in Plymouth, Michigan tells The Detroit Free Press that they are aiming to change the way drivers travel with their pets. The company has brainstormed ideas on how to engineer seats and devices that can protect pets and their owners while riding in a vehicle. 

Pet Safety Laws

Pet vehicle safety lacks guidelines and regulations since the government has yet to pass any into law. This is very concerning to the 53% of dog owners who have traveled with their pet, at least once a month, over the past year, according to a study conducted by Kurgo.   

“Cars are developed for people; they aren't developed for dogs," said Lindsey Wolko, the chairman of the Center for Pet Safety in Reston, Virginia. "We have to get to the point we can have solutions that work for both. Dogs are the number 1 traveling companion, and they have little protection in the marketplace."

Pet Travel Statistics

The American Humane Society (AHS) estimates that around 100,000 dogs die in car accidents each year due to riding in truck beds. This estimate doesn’t include dogs that have jumped from vehicle windows or those that were improperly restrained - if at all - during a car collision. The number is hard to determine when most accidents involving a pet's death are rarely reported. Sadly, there are even fewer statistics and data available concerning cats and their safety and fatality rate involving car accidents.

An article in USA Today highlighted the chilling facts that most dog restraints fail. So, it comes as no surprise that a whopping 84% of dog owners do not use restraints when traveling with their dog.

Animal Car Crash Lawyer

Not only do most pet owners not bother with restraints, but Kurgo’s survey lists that 65% of drivers admitted to engaging in at least one distracted activity while they were driving with their pet, such as feeding them treats, trying to take a picture of the animal, or tying to pet the animal. Any of these distracted driving behaviors are serious issues when considering that a driver traveling with their pet could get into an automobile accident. Pets can be a major safety risk due since they can cause distractions leading to car accidents and since they can easily be tossed out a car and killed instantly in an accident, thereby possibly distracting other drivers on the road and causing them to get hurt too.

The Future of Pet Travel Safety

For now, Johnson Controls is still conducting their research by using pets volunteered by their employees, and observing the way pets enter and exit a vehicle and watching how they move around inside the vehicle.  

“We want to understand the future of pet travel safety — and what it should look like," Wolko said. "Because of the work Johnson Controls has done with seating development in automobiles, this could lead to a whole new world of pet safety."


Wolko has pointed out the importance of supplying proper animal safety restraining devices for those motorists who travel with their pets. If pets don't have proper restraints while on the road, their owners are leaving themselves, their pets, and innocent bystanders at risk of getting into a serious auto accident. Hopefully, the public won't have to wait long for Wolko to invent or improve on restraining devices used to secure pets in vehicles. Have you or a loved one been involved in a motor vehicle collision involving a pet? Call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844. 4MI.FIRM for a free consultation today. 

A Majority of Americans Practice Risky Driving Habits

Distracted Driving Car Crash Lawyer

Risky driving behaviors are on the rise as drivers find more ways to multitask while they are behind the wheel. A study done by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) revealed that almost 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event. Risky driving habits can include texting or calling while driving, dealing with children in the backseat, playing with the controls, and eating. According to a Washington’s Top News survey, more than 40% of drivers admitted to reading text messages or emails while behind the wheel, and over a third acknowledged that they responded to those messages.

The survey uncovered some other worrisome data as well. Over half of the drivers surveyed reported going more than 15 miles per hour over the speed limit within the past month, and almost half had sped in a residential neighborhood, something that is especially dangerous due to low speed limit postings. Another shocking piece of data emerged about impaired driving as well, showing that 13% of drivers reported driving an automobile when their blood alcohol content (BAC) was over the legal limit within the past year, and around 9% admitted to doing this more than once in the past year.

Drunk Driving Car Accident Lawyer

The survey results don't come as a huge shock to anyone, mainly because we are all guilty of some form of distracted driving. However, these results should still serve as a harsh reminder of the consequences that can come with driving without having undivided attention on the road. It is important to remember that texting and driving (including other services such as emailing, Snapchatting, etc.) is illegal, and taking calls while driving can also be dangerous. New studies have shown that even hands-free capabilities do not dramatically increase the safety of a driver. 

It is also illegal for drivers to drive with a BAC over .08%, and it is never wise to drive after consuming any alcohol. There are many other ways for people to get home besides driving themselves, so there is never a good excuse for getting behind the wheel. Speeding while driving is one of the leading causes of death in car accidents and distracted drivers may not only injure themselves but those around them-this could include children if driving in a residential area. By adhering to all safety regulations and laws of the road, drivers can reduce their chances of being involved in an accident.


Distracted driving can lead to serious injury or even death. Answering a call or taking a driving selfie is not worth your life. If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident involving a distracted driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are highly experienced in handling all types of car crashes including those caused by distracted driving. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Bus Driver Asked Children, "Are Y'all Ready To Die," Before Crashing

Johnthony Walker, 24, was charged with vehicular homicide after allegedly killing 5 children from Woodmore Elementary School, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on November 21, 2016. Walker was a school bus driver transporting 35 children ranging from ages 5 to 10. According to CBS News, more than 20 children were injured and had to be rushed to the hospital after it took nearly two hours for emergency crews to clear them from the accident. Kirk Kelly, the interim school superintendent, confirmed that one of the children killed in the accident was a kindergartner, another was a first grader, and three of them were in the fourth grade. Kelly refused to release the names of the students, but did divulge that 12 of the students have remained hospitalized with 6 of them in intensive care. 

Michigan School Bus Accident Lawyer

The accident was caused by Walker who was supposedly not paying attention and going well over the posted 30 miles per hour speed limit. Jasmine Mateen, whose 6-year-old daughter was killed in the crash, recounts, “My daughter said right before the bus flipped that he was speeding around the curve and asked them ‘Are y’all ready to die?’” According to another boy on the bus, the bus then hit a garbage bag and a mailbox before flipping over and finally wrapping around a tree.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) sent out investigators to acquire the school bus’ black box. The black box contains data of the vehicles movements which the NTSB will analyze to confirm or deny witness accounts and the local authorities' findings. NTSB chairman Christopher A. Hart says they are focusing on gathering witness accounts and any other evidence pertaining to the accident, including if the school bus had any cameras.

Ms. Mateen had a total of three children aboard the bus, including her daughter who died in the accident. One of the children, who was seated next to the sister who passed away, claims to have seen her sister “smushed” between the seats. Mateen, along with a few other parents whose children rode on Walker’s bus, claim to have complained about Walker’s incessant habit of speeding, before the accident but were unsuccessful in causing action to be taken. 

Michigan Bus Accident Attorney

On whether or not the school district had received the complaints the parents made involving Walker, Amy Kutcher, the Hamilton County School District Spokeswoman, declined to say. Kutcher would only admit to Walker being an employee who was hired by an outside contractor, Durham School Services. “Legally there is no way that we could discipline someone who is not our employee,” Kutcher continued to say, “We’ve got 192 Durham bus drivers. Obviously, this is a bad one.”  
  
The Durham School Services CEO,  David A Duke, did release a statement via twitter saying that the company is “devastated” by the accident and are working with authorities as well as school officials to investigate the crash. The NY Post researched that Durham School Services, "has had 346 crashes over two years, including three resulting in deaths and 142 with injuries, according to federal figures. During that period, it had 53 incidents involving unsafe driving violations."

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

Walker actually had a sullied driving record. Not only was he found at fault in an accident in which his bus crossed the yellow line on a curve and hit another vehicle, on September 20th, but his license was also suspended for a month in 2014 for failing to show proof of insurance. Aside from a spotty driving record however, it did not appear that Walker had a criminal record in Tennessee. In fact, Walker's mother, Gwenevere Cook assured WDEF, “He don’t hang on the street, he don’t smoke, he don’t do drugs, he don’t drink. He’s never been in trouble, never, ever been in trouble.” Instead Walker was a father to a three-year old and a well-liked bus driver. 

Walker appeared before a judge on November 29, 2016 facing five counts of vehicular homicide and charges of reckless endangerment and reckless driving. According to CNN, a police spokeswoman said that a sixth vehicular homicide charge would likely be added.


School bus accidents are even more saddening than regular bus accidents as they involve children. As heartbreaking as the Chattanooga bus crash was, citizens of Michigan should remember that any type of motor vehicle accident is always possible. Injuries sustained in automobile collisions can be minor or may even lead to death. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, including a public bus or school bus crash, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our firm is highly experienced in handling all types of automobile accidents and will fight to grant you any benefits you may be entitled to under Michigan Law. Let us do the hard work while you and your family focus on healing. Contact us, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.