#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.

Happy Michigan Social Media Day!

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube - These are just a few of the popular social media platforms being accessed by billions of people worldwide. According to Statista, there were 2.46 billion social media users in 2017, and that number is projected to grow over the course of the next few years. Statista estimates there will be 2.62 billion users this year, and over 3 billion by 2021. It’s clear that social media is here to stay!

Today, June 30th, is Global Social Media Day! It was officially declared a holiday nine years ago by the website Mashable. In 2012, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder joined in on the celebration, and released a proclamation to recognize Social Media Day in Michigan. For each of the following years, excluding 2016, the State of Michigan has commemorated this holiday, and according to Michigan.gov, the trend continues for 2018. Per the Michigan.gov Social Media Policy, “The state of Michigan encourages the use of social media, social networking sites and emerging web tools to enhance transparency, communication, customer service, collaboration and information exchange among the State of Michigan and the public.”

While social media is used 365 days of the year, June 30th specifically recognizes and celebrates the positive impact social media has on user’s daily lives. The wide variety of platforms allow for more communication with friends and loved ones, both in Michigan and all over the world. Additionally, social media accounts give residents the opportunity to easily interact with government officials and departments. If Michigan residents have a question, they may get a timely answer if they ask their question via a platform such as Twitter. For example, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget McCormack is active on twitter, and regularly replies to tweets.

 

The State of Michigan is very active online, with over 450 accounts amassing over 5 million followers! In 2012, the Center for Digital Government awarded Michigan with an “A” rating, based upon, “social media implantation, ROI, innovation, creativity and collaboration,” according to StateTech. One prominent State of Michigan account, The Michigan Supreme Court (@MISupremeCourt), recently tweeted the news of #SMDayMI. Michigan’s highest court is active on several platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. In April, to spread awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, the Michigan Supreme Court sent out a tweet about Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The Michigan Law Firm added to the conversation, and retweeted the Supreme Court’s tweet. Social media allows the Michigan Supreme Court to use their influence to highlight important topics, and help people stay informed.

Social media is not only easy to use and cost effective, but it also provides the latest, up to date information to its followers and the general public. In the case of Michigan’s government departments and agencies, this means Michiganders are informed of everything going in the state, including important information such as laws that are passed, details concerning local events, reminders of the multitude of resources available to residents, as well as closures and construction projects to name a few.

It’s not all serious, however. There is plenty of fun content for followers to enjoy! For example, the Michigan Supreme Court released a tweet two days ago about “Cops and Cones,” an event held recently in Holland Township. The local Sheriff's office treated kids 12 and under with free ice cream! It’s a simple story, but one that spreads positivity and puts a smile on your face!

While social media may have its downfalls, it has undeniably been a powerful tool in the 21st century, leveraged by both the public as well as the government. As stated by Governor Snyder, “The ever-expanding exchange of information allowed by social media is an important factor in our mission to create a more people-focused government.” Social media allows everyone to join in on the conversation and connect like never before. These platforms provide information the public needs to be well informed and create positive change. To celebrate Michigan Social Media Day today, use the hashtag #SMDay and #SMDayMI on your social media platforms!


The warning, “don’t text and drive” cannot be reiterated enough. However, In the age of social media, distracted driving can involve much more than just texting. Popular platforms such as Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram can be informative and entertaining, but they can also be incredibly distracting when behind the wheel. Distracted drivers put themselves, as well as others on the road, at risk of serious injuries from distracted driving car accidents. Drivers should keep their phones out of sight so their attention can be fully maintained on the road. If you or someone you know has been involved in a distracted driving automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC to speak to an experienced car accident attorney. For a free legal consultation, dial 844.4MI.FIRM.

June Is Alzheimer's Awareness Month

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As June comes to a close, so does Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. The Alzheimer’s Association defines Alzheimer’s as the most common form of dementia that can cause problems with memory, behavior and thinking. While the illness can start off mild, it’s severity can increase overtime, and interfere with daily tasks and life and is typically found in people over the age of 65. And according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of 2013, as many as 5 million Americans were living with Alzheimer's. 

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s can affect day to day functions such as writing checks, dressing appropriately for the weather, identifying the day's date, and driving. While it is not necessary for someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to stop driving when the disease in its earliest stages, it is important to pay close attention to driving behaviors, as the number of driving errors may increase as the illness becomes more severe. The following are some of the warning signs that the Alzheimer’s Association suggests watching for, that indicate that an Alzheimer’s patient should stop driving.


How Alzheimer’s Affects Driving

  • Forgetting how to locate familiar places, such as the grocery store or a family member’s home

  • Failing to observe traffic signs

  • Making slow or poor decisions while driving such as driving at an inappropriate speed
  • Making errors in basic driving, such as driving at inappropriate speeds, hitting curbs and drifting between lanes, confusing the brake and gas pedals, and forgetting the destination during the drive

  • Difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast,

  • Impairs decision making abilities

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A study done by the University of Ottowa in 2016 showed that drivers with Alzheimer’s were less likely to use their brakes appropriately - whether using them too much or not enough, more likely to be in the wrong lane, speed, disobey traffic lights, and more likely to lose control of their vehicle. These errors could lead to potentially fatal car accidents for both passengers and drivers on the road, as well as the Alzheimer’s patients themselves.

Failure to navigate a busy intersection properly or ignoring traffic signs can also lead to car accident injuries and fatalities. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s symptoms increase over time, and as the severity of the illness increases, the patient’s ability to drive safely without getting into car accidents decreases. In addition, as the patient’s ability to think and make decisions deteriorates, they are less likely to be able to react quickly to the scenarios around them, such as not recognizing that the driver in front of them has slammed on their brakes until it is too late.

Having a conversation with a loved one about not driving anymore can be difficult and it is important to approach the matter gently. The Alzheimer’s Association suggests sitting down with those who are close to and taking care of the loved one, and creating a plan for when they should stop driving, discuss alternate methods of transportation and setting up a GPS system in their car. The Alzheimer’s Association also recommends periodic assessments of their driving, as this allows close monitoring of their driving and whether they will be able to continue to drive safely.

When the time comes, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends beginning the conversation by expressing concern, and showing love and support, as this may be a hard transition for them, and explaining to them why they should no longer be driving, and why it is a safety hazard for them, as well as those around them. If they express anger or resistance, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends being firm but understanding and empathetic, explaining that while this is a difficult transition, but is something that must happen. They also suggest, that if necessary, consult their doctor and have them reinforce that it is time for them to turn in their keys. If there is still resistance, it may be necessary to take away their keys or their car entirely. Even though this may be difficult, it is a matter of safety and an effective form of accident prevention.

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Arranging alternate forms of transportation does not have to be challenging, however, it will take communication between family members to ensure the loved one can get to where they need to be without too much difficulty. The most basic alternate form of transportation is to have family and friends drive the loved one when possible. They can take turns or shifts, and work around each others’ schedules. Unfortunately, this is not always the most convenient option, and it may be simpler to arrange for a taxi service instead. If there is not a taxi service available, there are transportation options created specially for elderly people; local senior citizens services and homes often provide transportation at low cost or free of charge. If possible, reduce the need for someone with Alzheimer’s to drive, by having groceries, prescriptions and other day to day necessities delivered.

It is important for the family and friends of those living with Alzheimer’s to understand the disease and create a supportive and loving environment to help them with this challenging time. Alzheimer’s Awareness Month aims to create an empathy and awareness around the illness. While many people have heard of the illness, many don’t know the extent of the effects that Alzheimer's can have on day to day life. Since Alzheimer’s is a fairly common disease, it is important for everyone to understand in order to support loved ones fighting the illness.


The Michigan Law Firm, PC handles all types of motor vehicle accident cases. Our accident attorneys make the legal experience as easy for clients as possible, so that victims of auto accidents can focus on recovering from their car accident injuries. Contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation.

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.

Driving Safety Tips

The National Safety Council's (NSC) National Safety Month is coming to an end, but the safety topic for Week 4, is still important. In fact, driving may be the danger that should be most discussed, since there were 40,100 motor vehicle deaths in America, in 2017 alone! The NSC warns, "We all believe ourselves to be safe drivers, yet up to 94 percent of motor vehicle crashes involve human error. Follow these tips to help stay safe on the roads."

Driving Safety Tips


Avoid Dangerous Driving Behaviors
Prevent injuries on the road by keeping your focus on the driving task:

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• Avoid impaired driving, whether by alcohol, lack of sleep or drugs, including over the counter and prescription medication
• Avoid cell phone distracted driving, including hands-free
• Practice with your teen drivers and teach them to avoid distraction
• Make sure all occupants are properly secured in age-appropriate restraints
• Never leave a child alone in a car and always keep your car locked when not in use
• If you drive for work, talk with your employer about safe habits – do not take calls while behind the wheel
• Regularly check your vehicle for recalls at CheckToProtect.org and stay up to date on the safety features in your car by visiting MyCarDoesWhat.org

Use Safety Features Correctly
Modern cars are filled with safety features that can help protect the driver, passengers and even pedestrians, but they must be used correctly. Look through your vehicle manual to learn which features are available and make use of them to stay safe while behind the wheel.

• Do not rely on safety features to replace you as the driver – you are still your car’s best safety feature
• Make sure you understand your vehicle safety features before using them – not all vehicle safety features operate the same way
• Maintain your vehicle to keep safety features working correctly, including clearing the vehicle of mud, ice and snow
• Pay attention to vehicle alerts and warnings
• Educate teens and all inexperienced drivers about the safety features present in the vehicle and how they work

1 step for safety:

Always wear a seat belt. In 2016, 48 percent of vehicle occupants killed on the road were unbelted, according to injuryfacts.nsc.org.

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While these tips can't guarantee that car accidents won't happen, they may help prevent some accidents. Many causes of car accidents are due to human error. Actions such as texting while driving, eating while driving, and other forms of distracted driving, cause dangerous car accidents that can lead to serious injury and even death. However, by just not engaging in distracted driving, several motor vehicle accidents may be prevented. Similarly, reading up on car safety features and alerts and warnings helps drivers avoid car accidents, since their car can tell them when something is wrong. Car accidents can happen at any time and for several reasons, but if people take as many safety precautions as possible, car accidents due to human error can be eliminated.


Many car accidents are avoidable, especially if they are distracted driving car crashes.  If you've been injured in an auto accident caused by a distracted driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PCThe Michigan Law Firm, PC helps victims of motor vehicle accidents identify and recover any benefits they may be entitled to under Michigan law. Our team of accident attorneys understands how traumatic being hit by a negligent lawyer can be. We help people injured in car accidents deal with the legal complexities so that they can focus on their recovery. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation, today.

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.

How To Drive Safely In Fog

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Hollywood relies on fog heavily in many movies and TV shows to set the mood of a scene. The horror thriller The Mist's entire plot is based around fog! The Mist is about a small town that is invaded by a mysterious fog which releases vicious creatures, that a group of townsfolk have to fight, to save their lives and their town. While ordinary, fog that doesn’t come out of a machine like a film set doesn’t give people nightmares for weeks like Stephen King’s story, it does come with its own horrors. Driving in fog, for example, can be a very scary experience because a lot of people don't know how to drive in fog. 
 
The Glossary of Meteorology from the American Meteorological Society informs that fog is a collection of water droplets suspended in the atmosphere in the vicinity of the earth's surface that affects visibility. Visibility distance is reduced by fog and heavy precipitation. Low visibility conditions cause increased speed variance, which increases car crash risk. Each year, over 38,700 car crashes occur in fog. Over 600 people are killed and more than 16,300 people are injured in these fog car accidents annually, according to the Federal Highway Weather Administration

According to the Detroit Free Press, early morning on January 10, 2018 there was a car crash on northbound I-275 at 8 Mile Rd. and another car accident on eastbound I-94 at Conner Ave, due to fog. These accidents are more recent, but like any good horror movie villain, fog has created other, more serious, accidents in the past and can still cause more car accidents in the future if drivers aren't careful. In April of 2015, a 60 car pile up was reported on a highway which left 2 people dead and over 2 dozen injured. The series of car accidents were caused by a dense fog that made it really hard for drivers to see where they were driving. The Detroit Free Press notes that drivers should be especially cautious of travelling through fog  when driving on bridges, overpasses, and ramps. 

The National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHTSA) reported that distracted driving during foggy weather is a main factor with car accidents. Fog makes it hard for people to see. Being distracted with something only adds to the chance of getting into an accident. The NHTSA reported that speeding while driving in foggy weather also contribute to the number of deaths each year from car accidents. 4% of car crashes in 2017 were caused by fog. 

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Driving in fog can be difficult and requires more attention from the driver to safely drive. Any type of distractions that draw eyes away from the road in already decreased visibility, increase the risk of getting into a car crash. Here are some tips from the National Weather Service on how to drive safely in fog, if driving is unavoidable.

How To Drive In Fog

  1. Slow down and allow extra time to reach your destination.
  2. Make your vehicle visible to others both ahead of you and behind you by using your low-beam headlights since this means your taillights will also be on. Use fog lights if you have them.
  3. Never use your high-beam lights. Using high beam lights causes glare, making it more difficult for you to see what’s ahead of you on the road.
  4. Leave plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you to account for sudden stops or changes in the traffic pattern.
  5. To ensure you are staying in the proper lane, follow the lines on the road with your eyes.
  6. In extremely dense fog where visibility is near zero, the best course of action is to first turn on your hazard lights, then simply pull into a safe location such as a parking lot of a local business and stop.
  7. If there is no parking lot or driveway to pull into, pull your vehicle off to the side of the road as far as possible. Once you come to a stop, turn off all lights except your hazard flashing lights, set the emergency brake, and take your foot off of the brake pedal to be sure the tail lights are not illuminated so that other drivers don't mistakenly run into you.

Of course, it's always best to avoid driving in foggy weather, but the above tips may be able to help drivers safely navigate foggy conditions and avoid car crashes.


There is always a greater risk of car accidents occurring when mother nature throws a wrench at a driver’s plan to take the car out. Fog is one factor that increases the chances of car accidents. If you have been in a car accident and want a free consultation with a car accident attorney, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM. 

Rollover Car Accident Kills 2 Students

Every day, thousands of people are involved in car accidents. Some of those car accidents can result in rollovers. According to the NHTSA, more than 15,000 car crashes happen each day in the United States and of those accidents, 7,000 resulted in rollovers. The NHTSA splits rollover car accidents into two categories: tripped or untripped. “A tripped rollover event occurs when a vehicle runs off the road and is tripped by a ditch, soft soil, a curb or other objects causing a vehicle to roll over. An untripped rollover event happens when the tire/road interface friction is the only external force acting on a vehicle, thereby inducing it to roll over.”

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According to the NHTSA, there are six main factors that cause rollover accidents:

6 Factors That Cause Rollover Car Accidents

1. VEHICLE TYPE - All types of vehicles can rollover. However, taller, narrower vehicles such as SUVs, pickups, and vans have higher centers of gravity, and thus are more susceptible to rollover if involved in a single-vehicle crash.

2. SPEED - Fatal rollover crashes are speed-related more often than fatal non-rollover crashes. Some 40% of fatal rollover crashes involved excessive speeding . Additionally, nearly ¾ of fatal rollovers took place where the posted speed limit was 55 miles per hour or higher.

3. ALCOHOL - Nearly half of all fatal rollover crashes involve alcohol . Impairment can result from any blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above .00 . Even a small amount of alcohol will negatively affect your judgment, muscular coordination, and vision, making you more likely to lose control of your vehicle.

4. LOCATION - Rural roads tend to be undivided and without barriers. They are thus more likely to be the scene of a fatal rollover. Almost ¾ of fatal rollovers occur in rural areas where the posted speed limit is typically 55 miles per hour or higher.

5. ROUTINE DRIVING - NHTSA data also suggest that over 90% of the vehicles in fatal, single-vehicle rollover crashes were involved in routine driving maneuvers (going straight or negotiating a curve) at the time of the crash. This further suggests that driver behavior (distraction, inattentiveness, speeding, and impaired driving) plays a significant role in rollover crashes.

6. SINGLE-VEHICLE CRASHES - NHTSA data show that nearly 85% of all rollover-related fatalities are the result of single-vehicle crashes. This means that the majority of rollover crashes and fatalities do not involve any other vehicle besides the one that rolled over, further suggesting that driver behavior plays a significant role in rollover crashes.

All of these are factors in rollovers, but sometimes the cause for a rollover accident is unknown. One example of an unknown cause of a rollover accident is the the story of  2 16-year-old girls, Darian Locklear and Julianna Ward-Brown. According to the Detroit Free Press, the girls were driving down I-94 near Williamston, Michigan, to their evening hockey practice when they lost control of the car and hit a tree in the median. The vehicle rolled and hit another tree. Police reported that they didn't have a cause for the accident and are still investigating the accident.

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There are many different causes of rollover car accidents and now car companies are helping to reduce the chance of a fatal rollovers. Jeep has created a product that helps keep the car in tact in case of a rollover. It's called a Roll Cage and can be bought and installed to any Jeep. The Roll Cage is installed on the roof of Jeeps to help in the case of a rollover accident. It prevents the car from rolling and if the car does roll the passengers inside the vehicle have a lower chance of getting injured. These Roll Cages are a small step in the right direction to help create safer vehicles for people to drive. 


Accidents of all kind are very scary. It can happen and any moment to anybody. An important thing to remember is to always make sure you are driving safely and within the speed limit with all your attention on the road. A small distraction can have a big consequence. If you or someone you know has been in an accident call  call 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.

Beware Of Wrong Way Driving Car Crashes

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WRONG WAY! DO NOT ENTER! Seeing a bright red sign next to the road that says, "WRONG WAY" on it, would make most people understand not to drive down that particular road. However, driving the wrong way on a highway happens more times then you would think, which is why the Michigan State Police are urging everyone to watch out for the reckless drivers who have been driving the wrong way down the highway. In Metro Detroit, according to the Detroit Free Press, tipsters call 911 to report 15 to 20 wrong-way drivers a month, although only 4 to 6 of those drivers have been caught on street surveillance cameras. Out of all those reported drivers, some wrong way driving incidents result in car accidents which cause serious injuries or even death.

One wrong way driver who caused a car accident was 65-year-old Mary Okke from Plainfield Township, Michigan. Ms. Okke died in August of 2017 after she drove her car the wrong way on U.S.-131 and hit a charter bus, just north of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Another wrong way driving car crash fatality was caused by Councilman, Michael Stack. The 59-year-old was driving the wrong way on I-275 in Canton when he struck and killed a young newly engaged couple in December of 2017. According to the Oakland Press, police said he had no alcohol in his system when he was driving, but they found an open bottle of vodka in his car. Finding the open bottle of alcohol led police to do a drug test to determine if there were any narcotics in his system, but all tests came back negative.

While police have determined that alcohol was not a factor in the Councilman's car crash, unfortunately that isn’t always the case. In early December, freeway cameras recorded a car driving the wrong way on I-75 heading north. Driving the car was a 27-year-old woman named Tonya Berta from Ida, Michigan. The police discovered that Berta's 1-year-old child was hidden under a blanket in the backseat. The Michigan State Police were not surprised when they found out that Berta was under the influence of alcohol. Fox2Detroit reported that Ms. Berta "was sentenced to 3 years of probation and 8 months in jail on the charge of operating while intoxicated with an occupant less than 16 and possession of a controlled substance, second or subsequent offense." 

Source: Google Maps - Partial Cloverleaf Ramp at I-94 and Gratiot Avenue in Detroit 

Source: Google Maps - Partial Cloverleaf Ramp at I-94 and Gratiot Avenue in Detroit 

Alcohol may have played a significant factor in Ms. Berta's car accident, but like the other 2 wrong way driving car crashes, alcohol isn’t the only cause of wrong way accidents. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has said that 60% of wrong way entries to freeways occurred at the old-fashioned design for ramps called “partial cloverleafs.” Partial cloverleafs are ramps that place the exit and entry ramps right next to each other, which can be confusing to drivers. These types of ramps can be found at I-94 and Gratiot Avenue in Detroit.

Another factor that could cause these wrong-way accidents is the time of day when the car crash occurs. A lot of car accident fatalities have happened late at night or early in the morning, when it is still dark outside and more difficult for drivers to see.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, “Nationwide, wrong way drivers cause about 360 deaths a year. In Michigan from 2011 through 2016, 8 motorists died in such crashes.” There have been almost half the amount of car crashes from wrong way driving in the last few months than there have been in 5 years. In an attempt to lessen the chances of wrong way driving, MDOT has made efforts to reduce the chances of drivers accidentally driving down the wrong ramp. As of July of 2017, MDOT has been installing better signs and new lane guides at highway entrances and exits that will help people navigate the highways more easily. However, placing larger signs next to highways does not mean that it is OK to drink and drive by any means. Drugs or alcohol should never be consumed before or while operating a motor vehicle.


When driving, it's always best to make sure full attention is kept on the road. Taking your eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, is enough time to take a wrong turn on a road you aren't meant to drive on. If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident, call 844.4MI.FIRM to have a free consultation with an accident attorney at The Michigan Law Firm, PC

Michigan Woman Dies After Being Struck By Vehicle In Parking Lot

A Michigan woman has passed away after being hit by a car in a grocery store parking lot outside of Muskegon, Michigan. According to the Detroit Free Press, Betty Jean Wolovek, 82, was struck by a vehicle in the parking lot of E&A Grocery on East Apple Avenue in Egelston Township, Michigan. The accident occurred on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2017, at around 10:30 AM. She was taken to Mercy Health, where she died from her injuries.

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The car accident is still under investigation. Currently, Muskegon police have not released any details about the driver or if any criminal charges have been filed. According to Wolovek’s son, she was hit by a female driver who remained on scene until the police arrived. He believes the driver was backing up when she hit his mother.  

Parking lot accidents are unfortunately common in the United States. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), an average of 50,000 accidents occur each year in parking lots and garages. Parking lot accidents result in about 500 deaths and 60,000 injuries each year. And since traffic deaths on highways and surface roads have been rising in recent years, it’s likely that the number of parking lot accident deaths may rise too.

A survey done by the NSC in 2016 found that 66% of drivers admit to making phone calls while driving in parking lots, and 56% admit to texting. Drivers also admitted to programming their GPS, sending or receiving emails, taking photos or watching videos, using a smartphone, surfing the internet, and video chatting, all while driving in parking lots.

Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the NSC, said that, "Parking lots are intense driving environments that require both drivers and pedestrians to pay close attention...It is discouraging that so many drivers are willing to add distractions to that mix. When you're in a parking lot, you need to be hyper-vigilant to the risks surrounding you – just because speeds are lower doesn't mean you are safe." To help prevent car crashes, the NSC provides the following tips for drivers while in parking lots.

Parking Lot Driving Safety Tips

  1. Stay in lanes and avoid cutting across lots.
  2. Drive slowly and use directional signals.
  3. Anticipate the actions of other drivers.
  4. Obey stop signs and no-parking signs.
  5. When backing out, be mindful of vehicles and pedestrians.
  6. Watch for small children and parents with baby strollers.
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It’s not just drivers who need to remain vigilant and free from distractions while in parking lots, however. From 2001 to 2011, more than 11,000 pedestrians were seriously injured because they were distracted by phones. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that like traffic deaths, pedestrian accident deaths are also on the rise. Pedestrian deaths jumped 9% from 2014 to 2015, and are at the highest number they’ve been since 1996. When walking through a parking lot, pedestrians need to put the phone down, and be aware of vehicles that could start backing up at any moment.

Drivers and pedestrians must work together to car accidents in parking lots. Pedestrians need to stay away from their phones and any other distractions while walking to and from their cars, and be on the lookout for cars with their brake lights on, or any other signal that a car may be about to move. Drivers should program their GPS, send emails, make phone calls, and do whatever else they need to do while their car is in park and not moving - not while driving. When backing out of a parking space, drivers should check and double check for pedestrians, shopping carts, and any other hazards that may be their way. Parking lots may not seem as dangerous as highways, but distracted driving accidents can happen anywhere, and drivers should always know how to be safe avoid car accidents.


Parking lot accidents may not receive as much attention as high-speed car crashes on the freeway, but the truth is that car collisions can happen anywhere. If you have been involved in an automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Distracted Driving Kills! Don't Text And Drive!

In 2018, not a day goes by that we don’t use technology. With the cars we drive, the phones we use, the watches on our wrist, technology seems to be in the air we breathe! Add on using the newest filters on Snapchat and Instagram, to sending text messages or answering phone calls, and technology can become extremely dangerous for drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that approximately 660,000 people are using their cell phones while driving, daily! And, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report from 2015 found that, “there were 3,477 people killed and an estimated additional 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.”

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That is why readers should know that April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month! It’s important for drivers everywhere to be reminded about the serious dangers that distracted driving poses, because, the kicker is that all distracted driving car accidents and distracted driving accident fatalities are completely preventable! The National Safety Council (NSC) warns us that, “Each death is 100% preventable. From cell phones to dashboard infotainment systems to evolving voice command features – all pose a threat to our safety. Just one second of your attention is all takes to change a life forever.”

Cell phones are the number one suspect that comes to mind when thinking of distracted driving car accidents. In particular texting and driving is a big cause of distracted driving car accidents. In 2015, a survey of Michigan drivers found that 41% of young adults between the ages of 20-30 have admitted to texting and driving on a regular basis! 26% even admitted to texting and driving on a daily basis! Coincidentally, the State of Michigan reported that, “There were 7,516 crashes in Michigan during 2015 involving distracted driving, resulting in 28 fatalities and 3,472 injuries. Cell phones were involved in 753 crashes, with three fatalities and 377 injuries."  

No matter the distracting device however, whether it be cell phones, headphones, or smartwatches, any electronic device can impair driving. It might not seem like a big deal to see if you received a text message or a news update when your phone pings, after all, you’re just seeing what type of notification it is and don’t plan to read the text or the news blurb. However, engaging in such a seemingly harmless distraction while driving can lead to a car crash. In fact, the NHTSA says that looking down at a phone for five seconds driving at 55mph is like driving the length of a football field, blindfolded!

Unfortunately distracted driving isn’t just caused by using electronic devices. Changing the radio station because Nickelback is playing, driving with one hand on the wheel and one hand carrying a Big Mac to your mouth, or quickly reaching over to pick up Elmo after your kid dropped him, can all be distracted driving actions that can lead to serious car accidents. While these types of distracted driving habits have always existed, distracted driving has evolved in the age of social media. It’s not just about calling or texting someone while driving, but about applying the cutest camera filter for a behind-the-wheel selfie, or even checking Twitter to see what’s trending, or going on Facebook to see how many likes a post has gotten. 

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The number of distracted driving car accidents and distracted driving fatalities are scary enough to make people want to throw their phone out of a car window, but that’s not practical. Our society can no longer function without the easy communication and quick internet access cell phones provide us. Many people even see cell phones as an extension of their body, like another limb even. Therefore, it’s unreasonable to tell people to leave their phones at home when they plan to drive. Rather than facing that horrifying ultimatum, the public should be made aware of less drastic ways to prevent distracted driving. For example, some tech companies have invented apps, and even programs in their operating systems to prevent distracted driving car accidents. As previously reported by The Michigan Law Firm, PC, apps like Groove, and phone lock out programs like Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving mode, help prevent distracted driving car accidents.

Some organizations like AT&T have launched sponsorships like the It Can Wait pledge, to end distracted driving. With over 24 million pledges to stop distracted driving, It Can Wait has become one of the most popular anti-distracted driving organizations. It Can Wait has even created a virtual reality simulator that allows users to experience the dangers of texting and driving and shows how using a cell phone while driving truly impacts ones vision. It Can Wait also wants their users to take the pledge today, to stand up to distracted driving, and to become an activist who says ‘No’ to using a distracting device like a cell phone, to prevent car accidents, and to save lives. The organization, as previously reported by The Michigan Law Firm, also launched their DriveMode application that helps minimize cell phone distractions while driving. 


Distracted driving car crashes happen daily due to texting and driving, eating and driving, taking pictures and driving, and from engaging in any activity that causes drivers to not pay 100% attention to the road. If you or anyone you know has been involved in a car crash caused by a distracted driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM. Our experienced accident attorneys offer free consultations to victims of car accidents.

A Healthy Economy Can Cause Traffic Accident Deaths

The Detroit Free Press reported that traffic accident deaths have decreased last year after a 2-year spike in deaths. They do caution however, that it's not time for celebration just yet. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimated that 40,100 people were killed in traffic crashes in 2017, which is down just under 1% from the 2016 total of 40,327. The NSC also said that it’s too early to tell if the decline in traffic deaths will continue to decrease, because the previous two years saw spikes in traffic accident deaths. Between 2014 and 2015, traffic accidents increased by 7%, making it the steepest increase in fatalities in the last 50 years. Before 2016, yearly traffic deaths had not yet reached 40,000. So, why the sudden increase in traffic deaths?

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Forbes.com reported that 2009-2012 were the worst 5 years of the US economy since the Great Depression. In December of 2012, the number of people employed declined by 3 million people. That means that between those 5 years, 3 million fewer people were working and fewer people were driving on the roads to and from work. Having fewer people driving on the road caused the number of traffic deaths to decrease to the lowest deaths per year. Supporting this is NSC data which shows that the lowest traffic accident deaths per year occurred in 2011 with 32,000 deaths. 

Following 2012, the economy started to get better and more people were employed. While a rise in employment is great news for the economy and the employed individuals, more people began driving more miles, which caused the spike in traffic accident deaths. As the economy recovered people began driving more often by going out on weekends, driving down unfamiliar roads, and driving longer distances, and while driving engaged in distracted driving behaviors.

The recovering economy explains why there are more people on the roads, which also explains the increase in traffic deaths. The more people driving the more risk of car accidents. So what is the explanation for distracted driving being a factor in traffic deaths? Fortune.com called distracted driving a new “epidemic.” One cause for the distracted driving epidemic is cell phones. Fortune mentions that in a survey of 2,300 people about their driving habits, 56% of people admitted to using their cell phones while driving. They also reported that for every 11 miles driven, the average person is on their phone for 0.4 miles of the drive. It doesn’t seem like a lot of distance or that it could be very dangerous, but using a cell phone while driving is dangerous. Looking away from the road for any amount of time may lead to a distracted driving car accident. 

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Touch screens inside car interiors are also a new driving distraction. A majority of new cars come with a touch screens instead of button and knobs. While the touch screen is a technological upgrade, it also requires users to look at the screen to select options, which makes it a big distraction. Although volume knobs and scanner buttons are also encourage distracted driving among other driving problems, they are a lesser evil because many people can reach out for these button without looking away from the road. In cases of a touch screen though, it's always safer to have passengers change settings in the car or to use voice activated commands, if a newer car has them. And if a vehicle has voice commands, it likely has Bluetooth, which helps avoid having to use cell phones to text or make calls, while driving. So, there are some new car technologies can prevent drivers from getting into distracted driving car crashes. Hopefully, these advancements along with a hopefully healthy economy will allow 2018 to continue the decline in traffic deaths!


As much as everyone loves staying home and ordering everything they need on Amazon with 2 day shipping, we can't avoid driving because of the risk of getting in a car accident. Instead, we should do our best to minimize the risk of car accidents by not engaging in distracted driving behaviors like using cell phones while driving. If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC to speak to an experienced car accident attorney. For a free legal consulataion, dial 844.4MI.FIRM. 

Driving With Your Dog In Your Lap May Soon Be Illegal

Today, it seems like dogs can come with us everywhere - airplanes, restaurants, malls, etc. We love to take them with us whenever possible, and they are often considered part of the family. They’re man’s best friend! But soon, dogs may not be allowed in the driver’s seat of a car. A newly proposed Michigan law would make it illegal for drivers to operate a vehicle with a dog riding in their lap.

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According to Click on Detroit, House Bill 5277 was introduced in the Michigan State House on November 28, 2017 by Detroit Democratic Representative LaTanya Grant. The bill clearly states that, “an individual shall not operate a motor vehicle while a dog is sitting in his or her lap." The only exception would be for cases in which the dog must be in the driver’s lap for medical purposes, and the driver would need to have American Disability Act paperwork to prove that it is necessary.

Should the bill become law, drivers would be fined $100 for their first offense, and $200 for every offense thereafter. Rep. Grant said that, “this is about making sure Michigan drivers are safe. It's just too much going on when a driver really needs to be focused on the road. Two seconds of being distracted can cost lives, it can be very fatal."

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Currently, laws regarding dogs, and all animals for that matter, in vehicles, are a bit of a grey area. Michigan State Police spokesperson Shannon Banner told MLive that Michigan legislature currently prohibits transporting an animal in a vehicle, “without providing a secure space, rack, car, crate, or cage, in which livestock may stand, and in which all other animals may stand, turn around, and lie down during transportation." But the definition of what exactly a, “secure space” is, is open to interpretation, and is usually determined on a case by case basis.

Many view the issue of driving with a dog on your lap as a form of distracted driving. The dog could potentially block the driver’s view of windows, and hinder the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle - both of which are actions that could result in a car crash. If this bill passes, it will be the first law in the State of Michigan to directly address driving with a dog in your lap.

In the meantime, laws regarding safe driving still exist. When you get behind the wheel, you are responsible for maintaining safe operation of your vehicle by following proper use of lanes and maintaining control of the vehicle. Both of these driving responsibilities can be hindered by riding with a dog in your lap. In other words, while you cannot currently be ticketed for driving with a dog in your lap, if doing so causes you to practice unsafe driving, you can be ticketed for that.

The proposed bill has been turned over to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for further review. In the meantime, think twice before you let the family pet ride in your lap. It’s likely that having a dog in your lap hinders your driving abilities to some degree. Let the dog ride shotgun, or on the floor, or in the backseat. In fact, make sure the dog is safe in a moving vehicle by using a pet harness that prevents it from getting injured in the event of a car accident. There are plenty of alternatives to having a dog in your lap, and the petting and cuddles can wait until you reach your destination. For more information about pet passenger safety, check out The Michigan Law Firm, PC blog!


Driving with a dog sitting on your lap may encourage distracted driving, and distracted driving can lead to fatal car crashes. If you have been involved in a distracted driving automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our accident attorneys are highly experinced in helping victims of car accidents identiy and collect any benegits they may be entitled to. For a free legal consultation, call 844.4MI.FIRM.

Springtime Is Here And So Is Allergy Season

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Springtime has been long awaited, but after it's arrival last Tuesday, many people have mixed feelings. On one hand, the sun stays out later and it gets warmer, much to our pleasure. But on the other hand, allergy season descends upon us. Runny noses and frequent coughing become the norm for the season, and tissue sales increase like Michigan gas prices. These reactions to allergies are quite annoying - but they may also be dangerous.

According to Canadian Pharmacy Meds, allergies, also known as Allergic rhinitis (AR), affect up to 30% of the adult population. However, many people don’t realize the possible dangers that may result from allergies. AR can decrease cognitive functions and can make even daily activities a difficult task. Untreated AR can even reduce driving ability and put the driver and others on the road at risk. Many people don’t usually consider something as commonplace as allergies to be the cause of a car crash, but a study reported in the July blog issue of United Allergy Services stated that many common seasonal allergy symptoms, such as watery eyes, sneezing and fatigue, can significantly impair one's driving ability. A coughing fit or watery eyes while driving could cause the driver’s attention to wander causing a distracted driving car accident. 

In the Allergy study, 19 people in the Netherlands were given a nasal spray or a placebo, and then exposed to grass/tree allergens or a placebo. Then they went on a 60-minute driving test with a camera attached to see how often the car veered towards the center lane. In the last 15 minutes of the drive, they were also given a verbal test while driving. As a result, those who weren’t treated for allergies and then exposed to them performed the worst at both the driving test and the verbal test. The participants’ driving was so impaired by allergies that they drove similarly to how someone with a blood alcohol level of 0.03% would drive! To help prevent allergy impaired driving, Canadian Pharmacy Meds recommends obtaining prescribed allergy medication for allergy season, and to start taking the medication before allergy season begins, to avoid suffering from allergy symptoms and potentially causing a car crash. Other ways to avoid the worst of allergy season are as listed:

Tips For Surviving Seasonal Allergies

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  • Keep all windows closed in your home and car to avoid letting in pollen.
  • Set your air conditioners to re-circulate in your home and vehicle to avoid drawing in outside pollen-rich air.
  • Limit your outside exposure when pollen counts are the highest. Stay inside between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. on warm and dry mornings, and throughout dry and windy days. The safest time for outdoor activities is immediately after a heavy rainfall.
  • Minimize contact with people, pets, and things that may bring pollen inside after spending excess time outdoors. Wipe down pets when they enter your home after being outside if you can’t avoid them.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen. In severe allergy cases, wear a facemask when daily pollen counts are extremely high.
  • Wash your face and hands after you’ve been outside to remove pollen.
  • Remove your work clothes and shoes as soon as you get home. Don’t drag allergens throughout your home, where they’ll continue to trigger your symptoms. Take off your shoes outside the door before entering. Throw your clothes in the hamper and change into something else.
  • Wash bed linens in hot, soapy water once a week.
  • Avoid line drying your clothes and bedding outdoors when your local pollen count is high.
  • Shower and shampoo your hair before going to bed to remove pollen and keep it off your bedding.
  • Gargling with salt water once or twice a day throughout allergy season can ease congestion and soothe a sore or scratchy throat.
  • Take symptoms seriously. If you feel lousy, rest, go to bed early, or take a sick day. Overexertion will only make you feel worse.

These tips may help those with severe allergies avoid the worst of the symptoms. Many people don’t see how common allergies could be dangerous rather than merely an annoyance. Being cautious and prepared for the upcoming allergy season may aid in avoiding allergy impaired driving and help people avoid an auto accident.


Spring is a time of happiness to many. The sun stays out later, flowers bloom, and warmth returns. Also returning, unfortunately, is allergy season. While suffering from allergies can be irritating, they may also be dangerous in the event that allergies impair driving abilities. If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Christmas Lights May Cause Distracted Driving Accidents

With Christmas just around the corner, houses, shopping complexes, and office buildings all around, are decorated in shining lights, Santa sleighs, and reindeer. While receiving gifts may be most peoples' favorite part about the upcoming holidays, Christmas decorations are another cause for excitement, as they bring out creativity and even competition, to see who has the best displays. In fact, the whole premise of the movie Deck The Hallsis, "two neighbors having it out after one of them decorates his house for the holidays so brightly that it can be seen from space!" Visibility from space may be a stretch, but many businesses, homes, and even cities in Michigan, go all out in lighting splendor during the holidays. Driving to see these Christmas light spectacles is a very popular Christmas pastime. 

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In fact, there are multiple holiday light displays throughout the Metro Detroit area which hold up traffic and draw crowds of pedestrians. Downtown Rochester, Michigan is famous for its outstanding light display throughout that connects all downtown storefronts. Restaurants and small shops are decorated in different colors, which gives the entire strip an amazing glow. Citizens of Michigan can view this sight by driving through downtown but also enjoy parking, walking around, and taking pictures with their family and friends. For those who don't like to leave the comfort and warmth of their car, Lake Shore Drive in Grosse Pointe is a popular holiday decoration destination. The houses in this neighborhood are known for the extravagant Christmas lights and people from all across the Metro Detroit area come to see them.

While the light shows and displays are so dazzling, it is for the reason that they are eye catching that they may also be dangerous. Looking at lights while in a car causes attention to veer away from the road and may in turn cause drivers to become involved in distracted driving car accidents. These distracted driving car crashes might not only involve other cars, but in such high traffic areas, may lead to distracted driving pedestrian accidents. A few weeks ago, in Massachusetts, a local news outlet reported that a 62-year-old man was hit by a car while crossing the street to view a popular Christmas light display that is put up every year. He was hit by a 23-year-old who was driving through the light display. This is just one example of the many distracted driving car accidents that can occur relating to both pedestrians and drivers during the holiday season. And although that distracted driving pedestrian accident occurred in Massachusetts, similar winter car crashes can occur to families talking selfies in downtown Rochester or couples driving through Lake Shore Drive.  

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Whether you are a pedestrian or a driver, one thing to always remember is to be aware of your surroundings and know that your actions can affect the lives of others. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every day 9 people are killed and around 1,000 people are injured due to distracted driving. That's over 12,000 people who get injured because of distracted driving! 

If you plan on driving to see holiday lights this year, choosing a designated driver, as you would to avoid drunk driving, may be a good idea. A designated driver would not look at the holiday decorations and instead would focus on the road so the rest of the vehicle's occupants can enjoy Christmas spectacles without worry. If you plan to take in the holiday spirit via walking, try to wear reflective clothing and move in a group so as to be visible, and try to stay on sidewalks and walkways, so as to avoid stepping in the road. While there is no surefire way to avoid being involved in a distracted driving car accident or a distracted pedestrian crash, by staying alert and staying in your lane (or sidewalk), any potential accidents can hopefully be avoided.

Pedestrians and drivers who want to take pictures of the holiday displays should be aware that cell phones are a huge contributor to distracted driving and adding Christmas lights just begging to be photographed and tweeted into the mix, doesn’t help. Getting the perfect Instagram picture is not worth a call to a car accident lawyer. Telling your accident attorney that you got hit by a car because you walked into the road while taking a selfie with Santa in the background not only sounds embarrassing, but may cause you deal with a ridiculous number of Michigan car insurance legal issues. 


The holiday season comes with an infectious spirit that causes people to drink eggnog, go caroling, and decorate their houses with lights. While driving around town to look at holiday light displays is a popular event, drivers and pedestrians should always remember to be aware of their surroundings and take precautions to prevent distracted driving car accidents. If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC, at 844.MI.FIRM, for a free consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney. 

Judge Throws Out Apple Lawsuit Relating To Distracted Driving

distracted driving accident

Should the manufacturer of a phone be held responsible for an automobile accident that was caused by someone using one of their phones while driving? It’s a question that likely isn’t going to disappear anytime soon, but at least according to one California judge, the answer is no.

According to Apple Insider, a class action lawsuit was filed against Apple in Los Angeles, California in January of 2017. The suit included victims and loved ones of victims who died in automobile accidents that were caused by a driver using an iPhone while behind the wheel. The suit claims that Apple had the technology to prevent texting while driving since 2008, and had a patent for it since 2014. The suit alleges that Apple refused to implement the technology as they were afraid it would cause them to lose sales to other phone manufacturers who weren’t using such technology. As a result, iPhone owners were able to text (or otherwise use their phone) while driving, injuring and killing others on the road. The plaintiffs wanted Apple to be held accountable for allowing drivers to be able to use their iPhones while driving.

But according to a circuit court judge in Santa Monica, California, it’s unreasonable to hold Apple accountable for the ultimate harm that is caused by an accident in which an iPhone was involved. As a result, the case was thrown out in August of 2017. Had the suit gone to trial, the plaintiffs were asking for Apple to halt production of iPhones in California until they would be manufactured with “lock out” technology, and that all current iPhones be updated to include the technology that prevents drivers from being able to use their iPhone while driving.

texting while driving accident

That ultimately didn’t happen, as the case was thrown out. But in the meantime, Apple has launched a new setting called “Do Not Disturb While Driving”, as part of their iOS 11 software update. As The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog previously mentioned, when enabled, Do Not Disturb While Driving mutes calls, notifications, and text messages, and keeps the screen dark. iPhone owners can also have the feature auto-reply to text messages, letting the contact know that the person is driving.

The safe driving feature turns on automatically when it detects an accelerating vehicle, or drivers can program the setting to turn on whenever the phone connects to their vehicle’s Bluetooth. There is an “I’m Not Driving” option for those who are riding in a car as a passenger, but of course there’s nothing really stopping the driver from claiming they are not driving, in order to be able to use their phone. Because of this, some feel as though the feature doesn’t go far enough to prevent a driver from engaging in distracted driving behaviors. They believe that Do Not Disturb While Driving should turn on automatically, without the driver having to enable it, and that there should be no option to turn it off. For similar smart phone apps that lock drivers out of their phones while driving, check out this blog post from The Michigan Law, Firm, PLLC.

While there may not be a perfect solution yet, it is clear that a solution is desperately needed. Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous driving behaviors a driver can engage in, risking not only their life, but the lives of everyone else on the road as well. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,477 people were killed in distracted driving car accidents in 2015 alone. On top of that 391,000 people were injured in distracted driving car crashes.

distracted driving accident lawyer

The aforementioned Apple lawsuit cites data from the United States Department of Transportation, which reports that 1.5 million people are texting while driving at any given moment. They also cite data from the California Highway Patrol and the Federal Highway Administration which notes that iPhones specifically caused 52,000 automobile accidents in California each year, as well as 312 deaths in 2015.

Regardless of whether or not Apple should be held responsible for automobile accidents caused by iPhones, the lesson here is that distracted driving is incredibly dangerous. While features like Do Not Disturb While Driving and other apps that lock drivers out of their phones while in a vehicle are helpful, it’s ultimately the driver’s choice as to whether or not they use their phone while driving, not the manufacturer's. No text or phone call or playlist is nearly important enough to take your eyes off the road, and could mean injury or death for you, your passengers, and other people on the road.


Distracted driving in any form is absolutely never okay. Regardless of whether or not your phone has technology that can prevent you from using it while driving, it's ultimately up to you to decide to put the phone down when you're behind the wheel. Even if you can choose to put the phone down however,  you can't control other people's actions, and car accidents can still happen. If you have been the victim of a distracted driving accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.  

QLine Has Hits and Misses in First Weeks of Operation

If you have found yourself in downtown Detroit recently, you may have noticed a new addition to the city streets - the QLine. The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog wrote about the announcement of the QLine in April of 2016, which has since developed from a concept to a fully operational transportation system.

According to The Detroit News, the QLine began operations on May 12, 2017 and rides were free of charge from opening day through Labor Day weekend. Riders began being charged for fares on September 5, 2017 at 6 AM. Over that 12 week time period, the QLine saw ridership increase from 4,000 to 6,300 rides per day. M-1 rail, the company that developed the QLine, said they were prepared for ridership to drop off slightly once fares were put in place, but they expect to average 5,000 rides per day over the first year. The company hopes to reach an average of 8,000 daily riders over the first 5 years of operation. In addition to increased ridership, the QLine also saw an increased number of ride operators. When the QLine opened they had 17 trained operators. They now have 21 and expect to have 27 by the end of their first year. The number of streetcars also increased, as the QLine now has 5 streetcars operating during peak ride times - Monday-Saturday, 10 AM to 7 PM.

Detroit QLine Car Crash Lawyer

The Detroit Free Press reported that the Qline was able to offer free rides for an extended period of time thanks to support from The Kresge Foundation. Now that fairs have been enacted, riders have several options for how they purchase tickets. A three hour pass costs $1.50, and an all day pass costs $3. People who find themselves traveling throughout Detroit often may want to opt for a monthly or yearly pass, which cost $30 and $285 respectively. Riders can purchase passes through a phone app using a credit or debit card. Alternatively, they can purchase tickets at station kiosks using cash and credit or debit cards.

While the payment options to ride the QLine are easy to use, not everything went smoothly on the first day fares were charged, as several kiosks were out of order, and not all stations had taken down signage saying that rides were free, thereby confusing passengers. Passengers also complained about the wait times, although M-1 rail says that wait times have now have decreased from 19 minutes when the QLine first opened, to just under 17 minutes. The company says they are further aiming to shave wait times down to 15 minutes.

Although passengers may not like it, M-1 Rail is likely relieved to now start charging for rides, as construction of the QLine cost $7 million more than expected, according to Crain's Business Detroit. The final estimated cost of the project is $144 million, while earlier estimates expected the project to cost around $137 million. M-1 raised $187.3 million for the project through private donations from corporations, universities, and hospitals. This money was to be used for not only the construction of the QLine, but also to keep it operating for 10 years, before turning it over to the city for it to operate as a public transportation system. But with an estimated yearly operating cost of $5.5-$6 million, this money will fall short of the 10 year mark. M-1 says in order to raise more money, they will solicit more corporate donors as well as government aid, in addition to selling more advertising, and possibly reselling the naming rights.

Detroit QLine Accident Lawyer

In the meantime, M-1 is continuously working on ways to improve riders experiences on the QLine. In order to shorten wait times, the QLine no longer stops at every station. Rather, it only stops if a passenger signals that they want to get off, or if there are passengers waiting to get on. Also helping to shorten wait times is increased battery power, reducing the amount of time cars need to stop to have their battery charged. M-1 is also working with MDOT to improve traffic signaling at large intersections, and police are issuing more tickets and towing cars in order to keep the QLine track free of obstructions. From a technology standpoint, M-1 is working on further developing the QLine app to let riders know when it is approaching, and they are installing electric maps at stations that show points of interest in the city, in relation to their location from that stop. M-1 also plans on adding directional signage to each station that helps riders find their way to downtown.

The QLine runs along Woodward Ave from New Center to Downtown, passing through Wayne State University, Midtown, and Foxtown. The QLine operates Monday-Thursday 6 AM to 11 PM, Friday 6 AM to 12 AM, Saturday 8 AM to 12 AM, and Sunday 8 AM to 8 PM. The QLine runs extended hours for special events such as concerts and home games at Comerica Park, Ford Field, and the new Little Caesars Arena. 

Systems like the QLine are a great transportation option for cities like Detroit, and an effective alternative to drunk driving. After all, the QLine is cheaper than taking an Uber or a Lyft and still helps people avoid the risk of getting into drunk driving accidents. Having a public transportation system also clears up traffic congestion, which in turn keeps drivers from exhibiting road rage that causes car accidents. However the QLine does add yet another obstacle that drivers must pay attention to on busy city streets. It's easy to get into a motor vehicle accident when a driver is taking a right turn at an intersection and doesn't see the QLine streetcar coming up to the light in the lane the driver needs to cross. 

While it may take Detroit drivers some time to get used to sharing the road with this new public transportation system, the long term benefits of the QLine such as preventing drunk driving car crashes and aggressive driving car accidents, make it worth putting up with a little early on confusion. 


Public transportation systems can cut down on the amount of traffic and therefore the number of road rage car accidents in busy cities and on the number of drunk driving car accidents.  However they can also add confusion and distraction to already busy streets, resulting in distracted driving car crashes. If you have been involved in any type of motor vehicle accident, including one involving public transportation, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM to speak with an attorney experienced in handling these types of cases.

Clown Horror Movie 'It' Marks Start of Halloween Season

Michigan Halloween Car Crash Lawyer

Fall is a beautiful time of year. With changing leaves, apple cider, football games, and pumpkin flavored everything, what's not to like about the changing of the seasons? Well, as anyone with a fear of clowns may remember, this time last year, the streets were flooded with creepy clowns. Clowns were everywhere, and The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog even wrote about the clown sighting, as what started out as a creepy, but generally harmless prank, ended up having deadly consequences.

Readers may recall that a 16-year old boy in Reading, Pennsylvania died after getting into a fight with someone dressed as a clown, and in Wisconsin, clowns were chasing cars in the streets. Right here in Michigan, a clown reportedly attacked a 7-year old in Sterling Heights. As a result of the creepy clown craze, many establishments started banning people in clown costumes from entering, and some halloween stores stopped selling clown costumes all together. It was a bizarre and terrifying phenomenon that preoccupied Americans throughout the fall of last year.

This Fall, while there have yet to be reports of actual clown sightings, one famous one is leaving his calling card in various cities around the world. Stephen King’s 1986 novel It, which was first made into a miniseries that debuted in 1990, has been rebooted into a movie, and premiered on September 8, 2017. Leading up to the release, the trademark of Pennywise the killer clown, a red balloon tied to a storm grate, has been found in cities around the world. On September 5, 2017, in a now viral Facebook post, the Lititz Borough Police Department in Pennsylvania reported finding red balloons tied to storm grates throughout their town. Down under, in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, pedestrians also noticed the balloons popping up on their streets. Luckily for all of us, it does not appear as though Pennywise was behind it. In Pennsylvania, 5 teenaged girls admitted to placing the balloons as a way to scare their classmates who were excited about the movie. In Australia, the red balloons were used as a promotional campaign for the release of the movie.

Detroit Halloween Car Crash Lawyer

Spooky pranks such as dressing up as a clown or leaving red balloons around town may seem fun and innocent, but the consequences can go much further than planned. Trying to scare people may seem harmless enough, but what if those people are driving a car? Motorists who are calmly driving down the road are likely to be startled at best and petrified at worst, by a clown jumping out into the road, seeming coming out of thin air, and chasing them down the road. Being scared while operating a motor vehicle could potentially result in the driver taking their focus off of the road, which for even a second could cause a car collision. Seeing a red on a grate while passing through an intersection could have a similar distracted driving car crash effect. Even if people aren't scared by seeing the balloon and realizing it's implication, they could take their hands off the wheel to point it out to a friend or try and take a picture.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 people died in 2015 alone, due to distracted driving accidents. While many people associate distracted driving with texting or talking on a cell phone, being chased by a clown or seeing red balloons in your street can be pretty distracting too. Nobody wants to call their car insurance company or a car accident lawyer and have to tell the embarrassing story of how they totaled their car because they saw a red balloon coming out of the sewer!

So, leading up to Halloween this year, everyone should remember to have a good time, but to have a safe time, by doing things that don't involve public pranks.


Cell phone related distracted driving accidents are not the only kind of distracted driving car crash. Whether it's a hyper pet in the back seat or a creepy Halloween decoration, anything that momentarily causes a driver to take their eyes off the road could cause a car crash. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a distracted driving car collision, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.