The Parents' Guide To Safe Teen Driving

For a parent, a teenager finally getting their driver's license can be a double-edged sword. It’s a celebration since parents no longer have to pick up and drop off their teens from their high school sports and club events and they can now make their teens run endless errands on Sunday mornings! On the downside, parents may fall into the eternal pit of worrying about their teens’ safety on the road. After all, according to the Center For Disease and Control (CDC), more than 2,400 teens died due to car crashes, the main cause of these car accidents being driver inexperience, in 2016!

Detroit Teen Car Crash

Most teens beg for a car for their Sweet Sixteen, but Michigan parents worry more than other parents around the country because in Michigan, “if an individual is 14 years and 9 months and has successfully completed Segment 1 of an approved driver education program they may be eligible for a Level 1 Learner’s License.” Before parents start panicking that their teen is driving just after graduating from Middle School, parents should make sure that their teen is qualified and ready to drive on their own.

The Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) offers parents a few tips on how to coach a teen in driving.

How To Coach Teen Drivers

  • Model Safe Driving- Teens learn what they observe. Be a good role model and follow the rules of the road.

  • Practice a lot- Practice as much as possible. You and your teen should be the only people in the vehicle.

  • Plan your routes ahead of time - While your teen is driving, be able to communicate your intentions clearly before your teen executes any of your requests. For example, "turn right" is a bad request. "Turn right at the next corner" is a better request.

  • Start simple- Learning to drive can be overwhelming - for your teen and for you. Begin with the basics, such as turning, parking and backing up. When you both feel comfortable, consider progressing to more advanced skills such as merging, changing lanes and parallel parking.

  • Start sunny- Begin practicing during the day, in good weather. As your teen improves, gradually start driving during different driving conditions, including a variety of times of day, weather and types of roads.

  • Don't rush into rush hour- Start with safe, low-risk driving conditions, such as empty parking lots and quiet rural roads. Gradually make progress to neighborhood streets with little traffic, then busier roads and highways.

  • Talk with your teen- Keep the lines of communication open so your teen feels comfortable talking with you. This builds trust and respect.

  • Take deep breaths- Remember, new drivers need a lot of practice. Making mistakes is part of learning. Remain calm and focused. Teens will show the greatest improvement in the first 1,000 miles to 5,000 miles of driving.

Of course, a few coaching tips won’t cover the wide range of environments and challenges a driver may face while on the road. So, it is very important for parents to monitor their teens’ driving and educate them on how distractions can be dangerous when driving.

The Michigan State Police (MSP) mention 3 main types of distracted driving which may affect a teen driver:

  1. Visual: taking your eyes off the road.

  2. Manual: taking your hands off the wheel.

  3. Cognitive: taking your mind off what you are doing.

Taking a Snapchat video, passing the aux cord, typing in a location on Google maps, texting a friend, or even drinking water or eating while driving, are all actions categorized as distracted driving. According to The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), 391,000 drivers were injured by distracted driving in 2016. What is even more terrifying is that, according to the National Safety Council, “cell phone use is now estimated to be involved in 26% of all motor vehicle crashes.”

Detroit Distracted Driving Car Crash Lawyer

Nobody, especially not a teen driver, wants to deal with traffic fines for distracted driving because they had to check the notification that popped on their phone. Fines may raise car insurance rates and can even eventually lead to license suspension. And cell phone usage while driving isn’t even legal for some teens, because according to Michigan Secretary of State (SOS), Michigan law prohibits drivers who are Level 1 and Level 2 license holders under the Graduated Driver Licensing program from using a cell phone while driving. “Violations are a civil infraction and fees may be up to $240.” And no teen wants to suffer through the consequence of getting their keys taken away by their parents just before prom!

So, to avoid fines, car accidents, and to give parents peace of mind, parents should ensure that their teens are properly taught how to drive before they let them on the road by themselves. Parents can teach their teens themselves or enroll their teens into driving courses. Parents and their teens should also discuss the dangers of distracted driving as well as the seriousness of car crashes to ensure that teens understand what can go wrong if they neglect to drive with caution and full attention on the road.


While parents may face the same car accident risks and obstacles each time they get behind the wheel, they have the experience to handle road dangers that many teen drivers do not. A teen driving car crash can cause serious damage to vehicles, to the teen drivers, and to others on the road. However, The Michigan Law Firm, PC understands that teen drivers aren’t always at fault in their first car accident. Our accident attorneys handle all types of motor vehicle accident cases. Call us at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

Move Over Or Face The Consequences

On February 12, 2019 a Michigan State Police trooper was hit not once, but twice while stopped on southbound I-75 as he was attending to a disabled vehicle. The officer reported he had his lights on and was stopped in the left and center lanes. The officer was taken to the hospital with neck and back pains, according to a report by MLive.

Accidents like this are why Michigan and several other states have the Move Over Law. The Move Over Law, “requires motorists to slow down and move over for stationary emergency vehicles with their lights activated.” However, the growing trend of stopped emergency vehicles getting hit by an oncoming driver in the next lane has clearly caused many collisions resulting in injuries and fatalities, which may be why Michigan has expanded the Move Over Law.

The expanded Move Over Law, which went into effect on February 13, 2019, protects emergency vehicles such as, police, fire, ambulance, rescue, road service, road maintenance, utility service, solid waste hauler, and tow trucks.

Expanded Move Over Law

  • When approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with its emergency lights activated, carefully slow down to at least 10 mph below the posted speed limit and fully move over into an open lane.

  • If this is not possible due to traffic, weather, or road conditions, slow down to at least 10 mph below the posted speed limit, and pass with caution allowing the emergency vehicle as much space as possible.

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

Drivers who fail to move over or slow down for stopped emergency vehicles could end up with 2 points on their driver’s license and a fine of $400, according to the new law. Also, “a driver could face felony charges and face up to 15 years in prison and/or a $7,500 fine if the violation causes death to a police officer, firefighter, or other emergency response personnel.”

For the safety of everyone on the road, drivers should move over when they see a stationary emergency vehicle with its lights on. Why pay fines and risk points on a license, when obeying the law is as simple as changing lanes?!


Changing lanes can be a lot like playing a game of chess; drivers must consider all of the pieces, or in this case, other vehicles in play. One missed blind spot or emergency vehicle and it could be checkmate and a car crash can occur. And remember, in the real world, there are no pawns to sacrifice on the road; every piece is a queen. The Michigan Law Firm, PC represents victims who have been injured in serious car crashes. Call us at 844.4MI.Firm for a free legal consultation with a Michigan accident attorney.

Get A Date, Not A DUI, This Valentine's Day

Being handcuffed and placed into the backseat of a police car for drunk driving can kill the romance of a Valentine’s Day date in a second.

Detroit Drunk Driving Lawyer

Picking out the most attractive outfit, spraying the most fragrant perfume, and finding the perfect dozen red roses are, of course, important parts of preparing for the perfect Valentine’s Day date. But the plan that matters most is how to get home safely after drinking a bottle of bubbly or a few Valentine-themed cocktails.

In 2014, a BACtrack report found that, “14 of the 15 biggest drinking days of the year, all of which have an average BAC of 0.08% or higher, fall between December and March.” Of these holidays, Valentine’s Day is the 3rd drunkest holiday! What is even more astonishing is that, “the day after Valentine’s Day had a high of 0.092% BAC.” So, while some people are venturing out to Meijer for 50% off Valentine’s Day candies like heart-shaped Reese’s cups and chocolate covered strawberries, others may be hitting the road after a few glasses of red wine left over from the night before.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017 there were 10,847 deaths caused by drunk driving, and, “in every State, it’s illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, yet one person was killed in a drunk-driving crash every 48 minutes in the United States in 2017.” With Valentine’s Day falling on a Thursday this year, many individuals may want to drive home after their night of celebrating so they can wake up early and drive to work the next morning. These potential drunk drivers should know that not only are they putting themselves and others at risk of drunk driving car crashes, but they may also be endangering their driving record. The Michigan State Police (MSP) found that “annually, tens of thousands of drivers are arrested in Michigan for alcohol-related offenses.”

The MSP has a few suggestions on how to avoid drunk driving car crashes. People enjoying Valentine's Day festivities can adapt these tips to their plans to stay safe this tomorrow. After all, the police station drunk tank isn’t the ideal venue for a intimate date and you don’t want to blow your date budget on bail money!

How To Avoid A Valentine’s Day Drunk Driving

  • Designate a sober driver before drinking alcohol. An Uber driver, particularly an Uber Black driver, is technically a chauffeur right? And chauffeurs instantly make a date feel classier and allow couples to converse in the back seat instead of having to focus on the road.

  • Call a friend, cab, ride service, walk, or take the bus. Aren’t midnight strolls in the moonlight the height of romanticism? So, picking a restaurant near the house will give couples the chance to pick out constellations on the walk home after dining and drinking.

  • Stay overnight. Similar to bringing over a sleeping bag to a friend’s house to crash after a rager, one way to safely drink without limitations on Valentine’s Day, is by staying the night at a hotel. Some upscale hotels even have 5-star restaurants located inside, so the only drunk traveling to worry about is walking to the nearest elevator. Take the Shinola Hotel in Downtown Detroit for example. Inside the hotel is the San Morello restaurant, but if you don’t want Italian, there are dozens of other dining options in walking distance!

Detroit DUI Lawyer

Of course, the easiest way to avoid drunk driving on Valentine’s Day, is to just not drink! Isn’t the sugar high from the candy hearts, smarties necklaces, and the decadent dessert from dinner enough to keep people hyper?! Drunk driving car crashes can occur just as quickly as it takes Cupid to shoot an arrow. So, stop and smell the roses (bouquet) on Valentine’s Day by having a drink or two, but don’t let drunk driving become a thorn in your side!


Choosing a piece of chocolate from a newly opened, heart-shaped box of Russell Stover’s chocolate may be a difficult task, but choosing a law firm to represent a drunk driving accident victim can be very easy. The Michigan Law Firm, PC helps those who have been injured in car crashes identify and receive any benefits they may be entitled to under Michigan law. Contact us a 844.4MI.Firm for a free legal consultation.

MSP Responded To Nearly 100 Icy Road Car Crashes Today!

Source: Giphy, HBO’s Game of Thrones

It’s January 16th, but some days have been unbelievably warm and sunny with 50°F weather. People are still flocking to outdoor ice cream stands like it’s still summer! Unfortunately, it appears as our good luck has faded and as they say on Game of Thrones, “Winter is coming.” Metro Detroit citizens woke up to the surprise of slick, icy roads this morning after getting used to the mild winter that that graced Michigan so far.

The Michigan State Police (MSP) responded to nearly 100 car accidents, just today! Not only did they have to provide emergency services for car crash calls, but an MSP patrol car was also involved in a speeding car crash. The MSP tweeted about the crash saying, “We got lucky overnight! A courtesy van, road commission salt truck and a state police patrol car were all hit while trying to keep you safe overnight. Fortunately, we can fix metal. No one was hurt. Please, Move Over!!”

Clearly winter weather is dangerous to drive in. But, since we can’t stay indoors for months at a time, it’s important to learn how to properly navigate vehicles through snow and ice. The MSP even tweeted a winter driving safety tip, “Another quick pointer this morning. Four wheel drive is great in snow and mud. On ice four wheel drive becomes four wheel slide! So pick up drivers and SUV drivers need to slow down this morning.” The MSP also informed readers of, "Some hot spots in the district: I 75 downriver and I94 in Detroit. Multiple crashes in both areas causing temporary closures and lane restrictions."


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1,259,000 weather related accidents occurred between 2005 and 2015. Specifically in winter months, the data shows that 17% of crashes occurred during snow or sleet, 13% occurred on icy pavement, and 14% occurred due to snowy or slushy pavement. Therefore, drivers need to be very careful when driving in winter weather conditions. Driving safely in the snow is better than being a passenger in an ambulance.

I-696 Ready To Go, But Please Drive Slow

Interstate 696 (I-696) officially reopened on January 6, 2019 for drivers travelling eastbound in Macomb County from I-94 to I-75. Eastbound 696 is also open, with the exception of Hoover Rd. to Eastbound 696, which are expected to reopen Saturday, January 12. This is exciting news! Still not excited? Well, this means many drivers are going back to their scheduled routines, will no longer see “workers ahead” signs, and face less stop and go traffic in the early mornings. Not to mention, drivers will no longer travel in constant fear of dodging potholes! While these new, smooth, wide, open lanes may put on a smile on commuters faces, they may also cause drivers to take advantage of these repairs and speed, which may then lead to traffic violations, monstrous fines, and even car crash fatalities.

Failing to follow the posted speed limit may lead to traffic violations issued by the Michigan State Police (MSP). Driving recklessly, speeding, or even travelling 10 mph or less over the legal speed limit are examples of traffic violations. According to Michigan’s Secretary of State (SOS), “each time you are convicted of a traffic violation, drivers will have to pay certain court fines and costs.” In addition, points may be posted to a driver’s record. Under Michigan's point system, “each traffic violation has a point value, which is set by law in the Michigan Vehicle Code.” Also, “points are placed on someone’s driver record only after they have been convicted or found guilty of or responsible for a civil infraction.”

Points For Speeding Traffic Convictions:

Speeding Car Crash Lawyer

Six Points:

  • Reckless Driving.

  • Fleeing or eluding a police officer.

Four Points:

  • Drag Racing, 16 mph or more over the legal speed limit.

Three Points:

  • Careless Driving, 11 through 15 mph over the legal speed limit.

Two Points:

  • 10 mph or less over the legal speed limit.

Once convicted of a traffic conviction, points remain on the offender’s driving record for 2 years from the date of the conviction. Racking up points might seem fun in an arcade game but in terms of driving, may lead to suspended licenses.

If traffic convictions such as tickets or license suspension don’t alarm drivers and persuade them to follow posted speed limits, maybe the possibility of a car accident, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, or even death might. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “there were 37,461 traffic fatalities in 2016. Among them, 10,111 (27%) were in crashes where at least one driver was speeding.” Furthermore, the speed of a vehicle at the time of a motor vehicle accident also has an impact on the severity of a car crash and any subsequent injuries. According to a study presented at the University of California Berkeley, “for every 1% increase in speed, a driver’s chance of an accident increases by 2%, the chance of serious injury increases 3%, and the chance of fatality increases by about 4%.” So, while drivers may feel the “need for speed,” it’s imperative to remember that I-696’s posted speed limit is 70 mph. However, it is important to note that according to the Michigan Department of Transportation ( MDOT), semi trucks are not permitted to exceed 65 mph on the freeway. Going faster than these recommended speed limits may cause severe injuries or even death in the event of a speeding car crash.

Source: Giphy, Top Gun

Newly repaired roads are a treat for Michigan drivers. Aside from their shiny, smooth, aesthetic appeal, new roads mean that drivers no longer have to swerve to dodge potholes and they reach their destinations faster since their drive no longer impeded by roadblocks and machinery taking up some of the lanes. However, drivers shouldn’t take advantage of this new luxury and speed! Even the slightest speed increase may reroute a driver’s life forever if they cause a speeding car crash.


Speeding comes with a price tag, and no one can afford a traffic fatality. Drivers must use caution when travelling on the freeway. Traffic violations can be a pain to deal with, but car accident injuries like herniated discs, broken bones, and TBI’s are far more painful. If you’ve been involved in a car crash caused by a speeding driver, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Michigan Is The 9th Most Deadly State For Car Crashes

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A recent article by 24/7 Wall St., an online news site that publishes news articles about finance, technology, and other current events, ranked the 50 states in order of deadliest car crashes. This ranking was determined by looking at the number of car accident deaths in each state during 2016, and then adjusting that for population so the numbers read as fatalities per 100,000 people. In the listing of each state, 24/7 Wall St. also listed the number of car accidents in 2016 prior to the adjustment, the percentage of seatbelt use, the deadliest car accident holiday in each state, and the percentage of the car accidents that occurred in a rural area.


Michigan, despite having about a 95% seatbelt use, had the 9th highest number of fatal car crashes in 2016 at 1,064 deaths! According to the Michigan State Police, in 254 of the car crash deaths, alcohol was involved, in 139 drugs were involved, and in 141, both alcohol and drugs were involved. In 206 of the 1,064 fatal car accidents, the passengers or drivers were not wearing a seat belt. In fact, those not wearing seat belts were 44 times as likely to be killed in a car accident than those who were wearing seat belts. Finally, 52 of the 1,064 fatal car crashes occurred in the snow and 72 occurred in the rain, but a whopping 609 occurred in clear weather! 24/7 Wall St. also stated that rural areas are more dangerous locations for car accidents because they often have higher speed limits and are lined with trees and telephone poles. Proving this correct is the fact that 40% of Michigan’s fatal car accidents occurred on rural roads. 

The Michigan State Police reports that 30.6% of fatal car crashes occurred at intersections. They compiled a list of the most dangerous intersections in Michigan based on the number of car crashes that occurred at each intersection in 2016. The most dangerous intersection of the year was Ford Road at Lilley Road, with 85 car crashes, 26 of which lead to car accident injuries. Trailing right behind is 12 Mile Road at Dequindre Road, also with 85 car crashes, and 20 car accident injuries. Another infamous intersection where many metro Detroit car crashes occur is the intersection at 12 Mile Road and Telegraph Road, an area notorious for having a high speed limit, and having heavy rush hour traffic.

Out of the 1,064 car crash fatalities that occurred in Michigan in 2016, it is safe to say that many of them could have been prevented since most of the car crashes occurred in clear weather. In fact more car crash deaths were caused by drugged driving or drunk driving than were the caused by bad weather, and drugged driving and drunk driving are completely preventable actions! It is up to each driver to prevent car accident injuries and car crash fatalities by following safe driving practices in order to lower Michigan’s reputation as a car crash prone state.


Everyone knows someone who has been in a terrible car accident, and as a result, has suffered painful and life altering injuries, not to mention the medical bills that go along with them. There is no excuse for irresponsible and reckless driving practices. If you or a loved one have been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to a negligent driver, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM. Our attorneys fight for Michigan’s injured drivers. 

Beware Of Wrong Way Driving Car Crashes

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

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

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.

Michigan Dog Car Crash Lawyer

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."

Detroit Dog Crash Lawyer

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.

Holiday Season Causes More Drunk Driving Accidents

It is almost impossible to separate Christmas and New Years from drinking alcohol. From spiced wine, spiked punch, and brandied eggnog at holiday parties, to beer while watching football on New Year's day, almost every holiday event has a corresponding alcoholic beverage. And while it is, of course, fun to celebrate the holidays with friends and family, with a drink or two, often times figuring out how to safely get home from those parties is overlooked. The winter holiday season is therefore unfortunately notorious for seeing a spike in drunk driving accidents, as too many people drunkenly get behind the wheel after their holiday celebrations.

Detroit Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), more people are likely to die in alcohol related crashes during the holidays than at any other time of year. During Christmas and New Year's, 2 to 3 times more people die in alcohol-related crashes than during comparable time periods during the rest of the year. During this time period, alcohol causes 40% of traffic fatalities, as compared to just 28% during the rest of December.

Data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that in December of 2015, drunk driving resulted in 840 deaths. Also in that month, drunk driving accidents were 4 times more likely to occur at night as opposed to during the day. In Michigan alone, the Michigan State Police reported that there were 5 fatal crashes and 6 fatalities on Christmas day in 2016. On New Year’s Eve 2016 and New Year’s Day 2017, there were 9 fatal accidents and 11 fatalities. In all of these car accidents, alcohol and lack of seat belt use were factors that lead to car accident fatalities.

Making matters worse, there is a significant increase in traffic during the holidays, putting more people at risk of being involved in any type of car accident, let alone a drunk driving car accident. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the amount of long distance road trips taken increased by 23% during Christmas and New Year’s as compared to the rest of the year. People travel, on average, 275 miles to visit friends and family over the holidays, with about half of travelers completing their trips in one day, without spending any nights away.  So many people on the road means heavier traffic, and more people at risk of being involved in an automobile accident. Unlike Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s fall on a different day of the week each year, making traffic patterns more difficult to predict.

When consuming alcohol at holiday parties, drivers often don't realize just how drunk they are, and think they are OK to drive. When alcohol is consumed, skills that pertain to driving (such as concentration, and decision making) are diminished more quickly than some of the more obvious signs of drunkenness take to set in. Even though alcohol may not initially change the drinker's behavior, anyone who imbibes alcohol may still be impaired. Alcohol slows reaction times, makes it tough to control behavior, and may even amplify aggression. When large quantities of alcohol are consumed, speech can be slurred and drinkers may feel a loss of balance and drowsiness. All of these symptoms of drinking can impair driving abilities, and a person experiencing drunk driving behavior has no business being behind the wheel.

Michigan Winter Car Crash Lawyer

If you find yourself enjoying an alcoholic beverage this holiday season, call an Uber or take the bus home. Better yet, if you know you'll be drinking ahead of time, prearrange a ride.  If you're spending the holidays with a group of people who will all be partaking in alcoholic beverages, select a designated driver. These are all ways in which you may be able to reduce the likelihood of causing a drunk driving accident. And if you see someone who is drunk at a party, HuffPost has the following tips for helping prevent a drunk driver from taking the wheel.

Holiday Drunk Driving Prevention Tips

  • If someone is noticeably impaired, take away their keys.

  • Remind drunk people that police often set up more drunk driving checkpoints during holidays (although this is illegal in Michigan, so it may only work if you are out of state).

  • Set ground rules, such as a person cannot start drinking until they have turned over their keys

  • Find out who at the party does not drink, and assign them as designated drivers.

  • If you’re at a family party with teenagers, hire them out to “babysit” the adults by driving them home.

So, if you have a drink or two during holiday festivities, keep in mind that  no matter how quickly you think you can sober up, or if you’re the "least drunk" person at the party, anyone who has been recently consuming multiple alcoholic drinks is not suitable to drive. There are plenty of options available to make sure a drunk person does not operate a vehicle. While you can’t guarantee you won’t be involved in an automobile accident, you can guarantee that you will not be the one to call an accident attorney and admit to driving drunk.


Drunk driving is never OK, but alcohol-related accidents are unfortunately common during the holiday season. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a drunk driving automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Let us handle the legal issues while you focus on recovering. 

Michigan Woman Dies After Car Is Struck By Deer

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

Michigan Deer Car Crash Lawyer

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

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

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

Michigan Deer Car Crash Lawyer

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


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

Michigan Judge Under Hit-and-Run Crash Investigation

Michigan Hit and Run Car Crash Lawyer

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

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

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

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

Roseville Car Crash Lawyer

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

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


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

Drugged Driving Accidents Increase In Michigan

Michigan Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

Now that opioid addiction has been declared a national epidemic, it should come as no surprise that drugged driving has increased as well. Although drunk driving is still an issue that many police officers and legislators are combating nationwide, the increase in social acceptance of using marijuana and prescribed medications is making driving under the influence of drugs hard to combat. Statistics from the Michigan State Police (MSP) speak for themselves with "fatal drunken-driving crashes across the state down 36%, while those caused by people impaired by drugs have risen 263%."

"Drunk driving is no longer socially acceptable, but drugged driving is socially acceptable because people don't think it's a problem...I fault the pharmacists and the doctors. They do not do a good job of educating their patients about these drugs," said Candace Lightner, the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and We Save Lives.

Drugged Driving Statistics

According to a report released by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), 43% of motorists that have been fatally injured as a result of a car accident are known to have tested positive for drugs in their system. This number that is surprisingly higher than the 37% of drivers that have tested positive for alcohol in their system after a fatal car crash.

Drugged Driving Car Crash Lawyer

Another scary fact, is that unlike drunk driving, drugged driving has been shown to occur at any time of the day, not just at night or on the weekends, like most predictable drunk driving accidents. According to the Detroit Free Press, The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute collected data from 2011 to 2015 in order to prove there was a correlation between the time of day a drugged driving car crash took place and the results of the driver operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs. 

"Alcohol-involved crashes are very concentrated late at night and on weekends when bars close, but drug-involved crashes seem to occur at all times of day." said Carol Flannagan, a research associate professor at The Transportation Research Institute.

Drugged driving has grown to be such a major issue on the roads in Michigan that a roadside drug testing pilot has been planned to roll out before the end of this year in 5 undisclosed counties. The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog previously discussed the drug testing pilot program.

Michigan Roadside Drug Testing Pilot

Since drugged driving is so hard to convict due to most drivers using drugs that were prescribed to them, Michigan law has allowed for a driver to be legally persecuted if a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) can prove that the drug(s) impaired their driving. The roadside drug testing pilot will only allow for state approved DREs to identify drivers who may be driving while under the influence of an abused substance and request an oral sample that will be sent off to an independent lab to be tested. If a driver is found guilty, legal repercussions include but are not limited to 15 years in prison, community service, and thousands of dollars in fines and legal fees, according to The Michigan Secretary of State (SOS). The reason behind such harsh punishments is to drive home the seriousness of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID).

Detroit DUI Lawyer

The roadside drug testing pilot was influenced in part by a drugged driving car crash took place in Escanaba, Michigan involving a truck driver under the influence of THC, a chemical often found in marijuana. The high driver crashed into an elderly couple,Thomas and Barbara Swift, both 73, on the highway. Thomas died at the scene of the crime whereas Barbara died 3 days later succumbing to her injuries in a hospital. Their son, Thomas Swift, proposed a bill in memory of his parents and Governor Rick Snyder later passed the bill as law.  A second case that highlighted the severity of drugged driving made international news after a driver in a pickup sped erratically in Kalamazoo, Michigan and killed 5 bicyclists before police could arrest him. The driver was identified as Thomas Pickett Jr., 50, and was found not to have alcohol in his system as expected, but methamphetamines, painkillers, and muscle relaxers. He was charged with 14 felonies and is facing trial this year.

With data showing that drugged driving happens throughout the day coupled with the knowledge that 10 million Americans, 12 years and older, have admitted in a 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health that they have driven under the influence of drugs, it is enough to scare anyone away from driving. However, people should have faith that the roadside drug testing pilot, once implemented, will hopefully decrease and deter the number of car crashes caused by people driving under the influence of drugs or alchohol. Then, Michiganders will only have to worry about horrible Michigan winters cuasing them road trouble.


It is sad that medications meant to help people handle their illness are oftentimes abused, not only by the prescribed user, but possibly by loved ones too. Until pharmaceutical companies, patients, and lawmakers can come together to figure out how to properly handle this growing epidemic, drugged driving accidents will continue to be a problem motorists face on the roadways. Have you been hit by a drunk driver or a drugged driver? Call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM today. With our legal team by your side, you can hope to receive any compensation you may be entitled to under Michigan law.  

School Bus Traffic Safety Laws for Drivers

As students across Michigan return to classes for the new school year, drivers are sure to notice an increased number of school buses on the road. School buses are an excellent mode of transportation for students. In fact, riding a bus is safer than walking or driving a family vehicle. More so, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), students are 70x more likely to get to school safely when taking a bus as opposed to traveling in a car. The reason for this level of safety may be due to how school buses are designed. First, the bright yellow color of a school bus makes it highly visible. Then, the equipped flashing lights, cross-view mirrors, and stop-sign arms, not to mention protective seating inside the bus, also help to keep students safe.

Michigan School Bus Accident Lawyer

In addition to these design elements, there are traffic laws put in place that also keep school buses safe on the road. However, the traffic laws that drivers must follow when driving near a school bus can be a source of confusion, and not following these laws properly may lead to a school bus crash on the road or a pedestrian car crash at a student crossing. According to the NHSTA, more school-age pedestrians are killed during the hour before or after school than any other time of day, largely due to drivers not stopping when they are near school buses. Data published by the NHSTA shows that 1,353 people were killed in accidents involving school buses between 2003 and 2014. Of those who died, 71% were not on the school bus but were were traveling in other vehicles, such as sedans and SUVs.

School bus traffic laws can be confusing, but the Michigan State Police has offers the following recommendations to help drivers avoid becoming involved in school bus car crashes.

School Bus Safety Tips for Drivers

  1. Prepare to stop when a slowing bus has its overhead yellow lights flashing.

  2. Stop at least 20 feet away for buses when red lights are flashing, unless driving in the opposite direction on a divided highway.

  3. Slow down in or near school and residential areas.

  4. Look for clues-such as safety patrols, crossing guards, bicycles, and playgrounds-that indicate children might be in the area.

  5. Watch for children between parked cars and other objects.

  6. School buses are like traffic signals:
    • When overhead lights are flashing yellow: Prepare to stop.
    • When overhead lights are flashing red: Stop.
    • When hazard warning lights are flashing: Proceed with caution.

School Bus Safety Tips for Students

  1. Always stay in sight of the bus driver.
  2. Don't hurry off the bus; check traffic first.
  3. Don't go back to the bus after exiting.

As the NHSTA notes, the greatest risk does not come from riding the bus, but from approaching or leaving one. While following these tips cannot guarantee bus accidents won't happen, they may help keep both students and drivers safe by reducing the number of injuries and deaths from school bus accidents. 


Stopping for school buses is the law, but this law is not always followed. Not stopping for school buses may result in injury or death for those who are on the school bus, those who are traveling in other vehicles, and even pedestrians. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a school bus crash or any type of bus accident, call The Michigan Law Firm PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Our firm is experienced in handling personal injury and motor vehicle accident cases.
 

The Dangers of High-Speed Police Chases

Source: GIPHY, Channel 4 News' Police Chase in Inglewood

Source: GIPHY, Channel 4 News' Police Chase in Inglewood

Nothing makes for more exciting TV footage than a police chase. Yet in reality, police chases put all drivers on the road at risk of car accident injuries, all because of someone's reckless decisions. Earlier this summer on June 4, 2017, 25-year-old Timothy Remon Gomez stole a vehicle and took it for a joy ride near Grand River Avenue. Gomez was spotted speeding by Michigan State Police (MSP) who ran his license plate in their database to find that the car stolen. When Michigan State Police tried to pull him over, Gomez decided to flee, leading the Michigan State Police on a high-speed chase on I-96.

However, while attempting to turn westbound onto Martin Luther King Boulevard, Gomez crashed the stolen car and instead attempted to flee on foot. Authorities soon found Gomez hiding not too far away in an abandoned house. Gomez was arraigned in the 36th District Court Monday and was charged with driving without a license, resisting and obstructing police, and receiving and concealing a motor vehicle fleeing and eluding third degree, by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy. Mr. Gomez was lucky that no one was harmed in this high-speed police chase.

High-Speed Police Chase Statistics

Deaths linked to police pursuits have increased in the last few years. An analysis by USA Today listed that 1 in 3 pursuits result in a high-speed car crash and police chases are responsible for more than 11,000 deaths from 1979 to 2013. It is estimated that 5,000 of those deaths include innocent bystanders and passengers. Typically, reports do not specify whether the victim was killed by the fleeing vehicle or another vehicle that was hit during the chase, but a relatively high number of high-speed car chases are caused by minor traffic violations, misdemeanors, or nonviolent felony charges.

“Overwhelmingly, someone is fleeing because they’ve got a minor warrant, their car isn’t insured, they’ve had too much to drink...the sanctions imposed by courts nationwide for merely stealing a car don’t justify anybody taking any risk.” said Edward Flynn, the police chief of Milwaukee, WI.

Police Technology Improvements

Michigan Police Accident Lawyer

When analyzing previous police chases, officials are often torn between police being better trained on pursuing suspects in motorized vehicles or choosing better technology to help avoid high-speed police chases altogether. According to a 2006 Justice Department study, police officers only receive 40 hours of driving training compared to 72 hours of weapons training, and though many police cruisers have portable computers or electronic dashboards, the main "technology" used in police chases is tire spikes. This method is two decades old, and involves officers knowing where a fleeing car is headed so that they can pull a strip of spikes across the road to bring the vehicle to a stop by popping its tires. It's important to note that this procedure also endangers police personnel standing in the middle of potentially busy roads to try and stop the motor vehicles with the spikes. 

In terms of modern improvements, "devices that would shut off the engines of moving cars by transmitting microwaves are not commercially available a decade after the Justice Department funded their development," reports USA Today. A new device was made back in 2010 that shoots a GPS tag onto the exterior of a vehicle to track when cars stop so police can make an arrest. Still, only 20 of the 18,000 police departments nationwide use the device.

While high speed driving is sometimes necessary for law enforcement agents to do their jobs, speeding in a car is dangerous even when the reason for doing so is to catch a criminal. Although speeding may be unavoidable, hopefully, new technologies and more high-speed chase training will help avoid some speeding car crash injuries.The hope is that the primarily negative consequences of police chases, such as innocent pedestrian car crashes, will spur officials and tech companies alike into improving the software available for high-speed pursuits. Even adopting new policies that emphasize reserving police chases for suspected violent felons could help minimize the risks of injury related to a speeding car accident. 


Fact: Around 76% of high-speed police chases last only about 5 minutes yet are responsible for approximately 7,400 car accident injuries every year. If you or someone you know has been in an auto accident involving a speeding driver, please contact The Michigan Law Firm PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Man Dies In Flint Area After Crashing Stolen Police Car

Flint Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

A 24-year old Michigan man has passed away after stealing a Michigan State Police car early on the morning on July 9, 2017, and crashing it 20 miles away. 

MLive reports that police officials were called to the area of M-55 and Plank Road in Tawas shortly after 4 AM, to look for a man driving a golf cart along the road without headlights. 

Phillip Everett, of Greenbush, Michigan in Alcona County, was stopped by troopers and arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. As troopers worked to secure the golf cart, Everett was able to move into the driver’s seat of the police car and drive away at high speeds. 

Law enforcement discovered a short time later that Everett had crashed the patrol car at southbound US-23 near East Bessinger Road in Arenac County. He died as a result of his injuries sustained in the crash. 

Flint Drunk Driving Car Crash Lawyer

Drunk driving crashes kill 1 person every 51 minutes in the United States, despite all 50 states making it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. As in Everett's case, driving while impaired may lead to arrest, serious injury, and even death. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends the following safety tips to help prevent drunk driving:

  • If you will be drinking, plan on not driving. Plan a safe ride home before you start the party. Designate a sober driver ahead of time or plan to use a ride-sharing business like Uber or Lyft.
  • If you become unexpectedly intoxicated, do not drive for any reason. Once again, call and Uber or call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation. The NHTSA also has a SaferRide mobile app available, allowing users to call a taxi or friend and identify their location so they can be picked up. 
  • If someone you know has been drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel. Take their keys, take them home, or help them arrange a sober ride. 
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact your local law enforcement. Your actions could help save someone’s life. 

Drunk driving can lead to serious injuries or fatalities. Reckless driving and speeding may also lead to accidents, endangering drivers, passengers, and people in other motor vehicles and on the roads. If you or someone you know has been involved in a severe car crash, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Pedestrian Deaths Increase Due To Wearing Headphones

In January 2017, Christopher Laurence Duncan was struck by an Amtrak train in Lima Township, Michigan and was later pronounced dead at the scene. Michigan State Police believe that Duncan was walking along the train tracks with his headphones on and did not hear the train approaching. The conductor onboard the train claims that he sounded his horn at Duncan and resorted to using the emergency stop brakes but was unable to stop in time to avoid the train crash. Despite the high speed and loud sounds of the train, which was going 76 mph towards him, Duncan remained blissfully unaware of the commotion because he was handicapped by the sounds blasting from his headphones instead.

Pedestrian Car Accident Lawyer

Train vs Pedestrian Accidents Are On The Rise

Unfortunate and probably preventable deaths like Duncan’s have shown to be on the rise according to a study by LiveScience. The study gathered information from 116 vehicle accidents in the U.S. between 2004 to 2011 involving a pedestrian wearing headphones. The results highlighted that most of the civilians who were wearing headphones were under the age of 30. and that most of the vehicles involved in those accidents were actually trains. It should also be noted that more than 66% of the victims were also male.

The lead author of the study and ER doctor at University of Maryland Hospital for Children, Dr. Richard Lichenstein did divulge however that based on the data collected for the study, that it was hard to determine if the victims were crossing the tracks or had fallen onto the tracks. The data however did show that about a third of the vehicle drivers sounded the horn to alert the pedestrian before the impeding motor vehicle crash. 

In a statement, Dr. Lichenstein said, "Everybody is aware of the risk of cell phones and texting in automobiles, but I see more and more teens distracted with the latest devices and headphones in their ears. Teenagers may not be as experienced or as conscious of their surroundings, and they're just zoning in on their music."

As a result, nearly 70% of the 116 accidents reviewed in the study resulted in death. Researchers state that the pedestrians wearing the headphones are distracted and experiencing sensory deprivation which can lead to ‘inattentional blindness’. This means that the distracted person's mental attention has been reduced, which in turn causes them to be involved in accidents as they are not aware of any impeding dangerous situations around them. 

Ways To Mitigate 'Inattentional Blindness'

The best way to avoid an accident like the one Duncan was in, is by completely disconnecting one's self from electronic devices that cause some kind of sensory deprivation such as headphones, eye wear like virtual reality glasses, and other devices that draw a large amount of attention away from other senses. If such devices must be used, it is important to try limit the amount of distraction by turning down the brightness or volume of the device, especially when in public.  It is also important to watch the social cues of others in the vicinity to infer if danger is imminent. 

Inattentional blindness is a serious mental handicap that many people can be unaware that they are experiencing. It is human nature to believe that we can multitask and take in our surrounds at the same time without error. However likely that maybe for some people, such behaviors are usually unsafe. Like pedestrians, motorists who talk or text on the phone while driving are also engaging in this dangerous multitasking behavior and are placing others at risk.

Train Accident Lawyer

Dr. Lichenstein's study is one of many showing the increasing hazardous situations pedestrians are placing themselves in by becoming preoccupied with their wireless devices. Headphones cause users to zone out one's surrounding which in turn can lead to them not reacting in time to avoid being involved in a motor vehicle accident. Have you or loved one been injured in a car or train accident as a pedestrian? Call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. When you are fighting for your rights, having an experienced and knowledgeable law firm in your corner is an advantage you need. 

Memorial Day Weekend Traffic Fatalities

Memorial Day celebrates the many men and women who have risked their lives to defend our country, but it also kicks off Summer travels. Whether by plane, train, boat or car, most Americans use this long weekend for a short getaway. With so many people leaving on vacation however, congestion and accidents are expected to follow. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 439 people will be killed and 50,500 will be seriously injured, over this three day weekend, due to Memorial Day motor vehicle crashes. 

Memorial Day Car Crash Lawyer

Memorial Day Car Crash Statistics

This year, it is expected that nearly 39.3 million Americans will go on vacation for Memorial Day. 88.1% of those traveling are planning to do so by driving, despite gas prices being increased by 11 cents since Memorial Day 2016. Additional statistics estimate that out of the over 50,000 car accidents and injuries incurred on this holiday every year, that 44% of these car crashes involve alcohol. In Michigan alone, out of all of the fatal car accidents that took place over Memorial Day weekend in 2015, approximately 33% of these motor vehicle accidents included a pedestrian or driver with alcohol in their system, according to Michigan State Police (MSP) reports.

Safe Driving Recourse

Although there are’t any plans to set up drunk driving checkpoints over the holiday weekend due to the questionable legality in Michigan, the MSP will still be on the road identifying drunk drivers and distracted drivers. MSP will also be involved with the Crash Awareness and Reduction Efforts operation (C.A.R.E.), which is an international traffic safety initiative to keep the roadways safe during the Memorial Day weekend. Other programs that MSP will be participating in are the nationwide “Click it or Ticket” kickoff geared toward making sure that both children and adults are properly wearing and using their seat-belts. If a Michigan police officer discovers a driver not wearing a seat-belt between May 23 to June 5, they can expect to receive a base fine of approximately $65. 

Memorial Day Weekend Travel Safety Tips

Unfortunately, tickets and fines don't deter everyone into following the rules of the road. Therefore, even if you are adhering to the law, that doesn't mean that every other driver on the road will. So, for those who are planning on traveling by car, truck, bus, or RV this weekend, here are a few traffic safety tips provided by CNN News:

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer
  • Drive shorter distances. It is reasonably deduced that with the large number of drivers on the road who are traveling long distances, accidents can be reduced if other drivers drive shorter distances.  

  • Take the highway. On highways everyone is heading in the same direction and there are no turn lanes, so, traffic doesn't often stop - unless a car crash or traffic jam occurs. This helps make for a quicker journey than taking local roads which usually eat up time with red lights, turn lanes, and four way traffic.

  • Congestion could save a life. As odd as it sounds, taking the road less traveled could lead to speeding and accidents. In congested traffic, the only way to go is slow, which can further prevent accidents from happening or at least lessen the damage caused by any potential impact.

  • Leave early. Based on Waze traffic congestion studies, it is best to avoid the roads on Thursday between 3 to 5 P.M., on Friday from 8 A.M. to 3 P.M., and on Monday from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M.

  • Don’t drive under the influence. Is there really much more that needs to be said? Driving under the influence can affect reaction time, cognitive functions, and motor skills, all of which can lead to drunk driving car accidents.

  • Drowsy driving is a no-go. When experiencing constant blinking, swerving, or trouble recalling the last few miles, take it as a sign to pull over and rest or to switch drivers if possible. Falling asleep behind the wheel can lead to motor vehicle accidents and irreparable injuries. 

Drunk Driving Lawyer

It's also a general rule when driving any time that drivers should stay focused at all times on the road. That means no distractions from pets, phones, or even passengers. In this day and age, it's especially important to refrain from trying to text, post, tweet, record a video, or do anything else that can potentially cause attention to move away from the road. As many studies show, there are enough accidents caused around Memorial Day every year that could be avoided if drivers just take their time, drive responsibly, and abide by traffic laws.

Unofficial start of Summer aside, Memorial Day should be respected and we should do our best to remember those who died to serve our country. Thank you to those who laid down their lives in service, to those who have served, and to those who are serving. 


It is important for Michigan drivers to be aware that with the Summer travel season upon us, that the roads will quickly fill up with people wanting to take advantage of the warm weather. This surplus of out of town drivers on the road will cause travel times to be extended and thereby make crash statistics increase. Long weekends like Memorial Day, may even bring out an influx of road rage accidents and aggressive driving accidents. If you or a loved one becomes involved in a car accident over Memorial Day weekend, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. We provide free consultations to victims of motor vehicle accidents. Speak to a Michigan car crash lawyer today at 844.4MI.FIRM. 

Michigan Roadside Drug Testing Pilot Delayed

Rick Snyder signed a bill in June 2016, instructing Michigan police to create a roadside drug testing pilot program in five counties in Michigan. The criteria for picking the five counties will be based on the number of impaired driving crashes, impaired driver arrests, and the number of Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) in the county. 

Rick Snyder Roadside Drug Testing Lawyer

Why Was The Bill Passed?

The bill was signed because of an incident which took place in Escanaba, Michigan. A tractor-trailer driven by Harley Davidson Durocher, ran a red light and killed Barbara and Thomas Swift. Durocher, was sentenced to 5 years in prison after toxicology reports showed that he had THC, a chemical usually found in marijuana, in his system. After the death of his parents, Brian Swift contacted the Republican senator of Escanaba, Tom Casperson, to create a better way to catch and charge drivers under the influence of drugs. Thus the roadside drug testing pilot came to fruition.

What Does The Roadside Drug Testing Pilot Include?

"The five-county pilot program will be used to help determine accuracy and reliability of the tests." Gov. Rick Snyder said in a press release after signing the bill. 

Reports from the Office of Highway Safety Planning listed Michigan as having 99 certified DRE officers covering 37 counties. Michigan State Police spokeswoman Shannon Banner reassured the public that DRE officers have to undergo “highly specialized training” in order to identify people who are drug impaired. Banner also insisted that the test will only be administered by DRE officers who are employed by the state, county, and municipal agencies involved in the pilot. 

Michigan Drunk Driving Car Crash Lawyer

Banner told MLive that, "In order to receive an oral fluid test, a driver must be suspected of impaired driving -- there will be no random traffic stops or traffic checkpoints. The police officer making the traffic stop must follow established policies and procedures and have reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop."

If someone suspected of having drugs in their system while driving refuses to take the oral fluid test, they will acquire a civil infraction, as the new law states. During the course of the year that the pilot program will be running, an independent lab will conduct and confirm the testing to ensure the accuracy of the test kits, along with its handling.  

Who Opposes The Drug Testing Pilot? 

The main opposing force for the bill is Attorney Neil Rockind of Rockind Law, who argues that the bill is setting a dangerous precedent for Michigan motorists to be treated as guinea pigs. Rockind said, “The criminal justice system wants to take science and turn it into a fast, easy utility...science is neither fast nor easy...People are not guinea pigs. No citizen should be the subject of a test program when their liberty and way of life are on the line."

Is The Pilot Underway? 

In an article concerning the rise in traffic fatalities in Michigan, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning Director Michael L. Prince said, "Some trends are emerging, especially with regard to drug-impaired traffic deaths, and our office is aligning resources accordingly. More resources are available to train law enforcement officers in the detection of drug-impaired drivers and OHSP is continuing federal funding for impaired driving traffic patrols throughout the year."

Michigan Drunk Driving Car Accident Lawyer

Prince's comment seems to imply that the roadside drug testing pilot is still under delay even though it was rumored to start in Spring of 2017. In spite of this pilot being able to prevent or at least bring awareness to the 10 million people who choose to drive while on drugs nationwide, the Michigan State Police have yet to finalize the five counties chosen for the pilot. 

When the program is put into effect however, hopefully the number of car accidents involving drug and alcohol use will go down. In the meanwhile, drivers should be extra cautious on the road. Keep clear of drivers who are not following road rules, in order to avoid becoming involved in a car crash. On the other hand, if drivers plan to drink, they should find an alternative way to get home that doesn't involve putting themselves behind the wheel, so they don't harm other innocent drivers.


Once it's in effect, the roadside drug test pilot could possibly cut down the number of accidents and thereby prevent deaths and serious injuries caused by drivers under the influence. If you or someone you know has been in an accident caused by an impaired driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Victims of drunk driving accidents deserve an attorney who will stand by them and fight for their rights. Call us today, 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Lamborghini Huracan Added To Italian Police Service Fleet

While Italy is already known for its production of ultra high-end sports car manufacturers like Ferrari and Maserati, the country's police department is currently making a splash for its newest service vehicle. On March 30, 2017, the keys to a Lamborghini Huracan were handed to Interior Minister Marco Minniti, during a ceremony in Rome, Italy.

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According to CNN, "In addition to the as-standard all-wheel drive and aluminum-carbon fiber hybrid chassis, the Huracan comes equipped with crime-fighting gadgets, including an on-board police tablet computer. It's also decked out in police decals and comes in the official color of the Italian police - police medium blue. The car also features the standard cop-issue gun holster, portable extinguisher, VHF police radio and even hooks to hold the "paletta," the traditional hand-held red-and-white "stop" sign, in place."

The question on everyone's mind is why does a police department need a supercar with a top speed of 201 mph that can go 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds? 

Well, "The supercar will be used for special assignments such as the urgent transport of blood and organs, but when its not required for ultra-quick deliveries, it will patrol the highways surrounding the Italian city of Bologna, according to the manufacturer. Its specialty, unsurprisingly, will be chasing down speeders." Fortune reports, "There's also a defibrillator in the car, which can save lives by inducing targeted electric shocks that restore normal heartbeat in case of serious arrhythmia or ventricular fibrillation."

CNN also informed readers that "It isn't the first supercar pressed into the service of the law. Another Huracan has been operated by Rome's traffic cops since 2015, and a Gallardo LP560-4, with its top speed of 230 mph (370 km/h), will be retired as the new vehicle comes into service."

The Dubai Police Department's Luxury Platoon

Using supercars as police vehicles is not exclusive to Italy. In Dubai, tourists stopping the police to take a selfie with their service vehicle is a common occurrence. Who can blame tourists from being amazed when among the Dubai Police Department's collection are a bespoke Aston Martin One-77 (only 77 of these were ever built), a Bentley Continental GT, three hybrid Porsche Panameras, two BMW i8s, and a Bugatti Veyron. The Veyron is the department's most impressive vehicle, boasting a top speed of 253 mph and the capability to go from 0 to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds, which The Guinness Book of World Records certified as the world's fastest police vehicle in service.

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These luxury police cars are however are only typically driven around the Dubai Mall and Jumeirah Beach and other tourist hot spots, in order to drum up attention. In fact, Major Sultan Al Marri of the General Department of Transport & Rescue told CNN, "We're not looking to just show off with the car, we're looking to show tourists how friendly the police is here in Dubai. We are looking for ways to connect with people all the time."

The Michigan State Police's Sports Cars

Though they may not be on the same six-to-seven-figure price level of the Huracan and the Veyron, the Michigan State Police (MSP) is no stranger to sports cars. In addition to Chevrolet and Ford SUVs and the nationwide police standard vehicle, the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, the MSP also uses Dodge Chargers. And though they're known for the "Blue Goose," for their 100th Anniversary earlier this year, the Michigan State Police added 50 new 2016 Dodge Chargers, painted black and gold in homage to the 1937 Ford Model 74-one of their first patrol cars. 

Source: GIPHY,  Top Gun

Source: GIPHY, Top Gun

Sports cars, whether the go 0 to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds like the Charger or in 2.5 seconds like the Veyron, are all designed with the same purpose in mind: speed. However, speed is also one of the main causes of car accidents. In research conducted by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it was found that, "There were 32,675 traffic fatalities in 2014, among them 9,262 (28%) that occurred in speeding-related crashes." So, even if you "feel the need for speed, " like Top Gun's Maverick, it's safer for drivers of sports cars to stick to the speed limit. Otherwise, speeding drivers might find themselves being speedily rushed to the hospital in an ambulance.


Car accidents caused by speeding are very preventable. By following the speed limit, drivers are less likely to be involved in motor vehicle collisions, and in the case they are still involved in car crashes, are likely to avoid more serious injuries than they would have sustained if they were speeding. Speeding to save five minutes off of your travel time is not worth being involved in a collision that could cause serious injury or even death. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a car crash caused by speeding, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. We help victims of speeding collisions identify and receive compensation from any benefits they may be entitled to under Michigan law. Call us at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultaion.

State Policeman, "What To Do When Police Pull You Over?"

When flashes of red and blue appear in the rear view mirror and the piercing sound of a siren soon follows, many drivers begin to panic as they realize they are being pulled over by the police. Drivers start thinking back on all of the bad things they ever done while behind the wheel of the car - that time when they were speeding to make it to work on time, another time when they didn't use a turn signal when changing lanes, or all those times they were texting while driving. Rather than freaking out, motorists should keep a level head, and remember the following information on how to handle a police stop. 

Michigan State Police Lieutenant Rob Davis recently spoke with an MLive reporter in order to supply the public with, what he calls, proper traffic stop etiquette. Lt. Davis warns that his advice is not to be taken as a "how-to-guide" for traffic stops, since no two traffic stops are the same. Nonetheless he has supplied the public with a general rule of thumb of what to do when being pulled over.

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What To Do When Pulled Over By Police

1. Acknowledge That You Are Being Pulled Over

Drivers can do this by simply turning on their turn signal to alert not only the officer that they intend to pull over to the side, but other drivers as well. “I can’t speak for everyone else but this simple gesture always held a lot of weight in my decision making,” Lt. Davis said. 

2. Get To A Safe Location

What Lt. Davis means by finding a safe spot is that the driver should find an area on the roadway where they can be easily seen by passersby. Make sure the area is well lit not just for the safety of the driver but for the officer as well. That means avoiding sharp curves or bends, dark intersections, deserted roads, etc. 

3. Roll Down Your Windows

Once a safe area is found and the motorist has put their car in park, Lt. Davis states that rolling down both side windows, especially if they are tinted, and if need be, turning on the interior lights of the car, is a good idea. "It makes it easier for both parties to see." Lt. Davis said.

4. Police Are Naturally Cautious, Don't Be Offended

This advice goes to those motorists who instantly respond with hostility or offense at the officer's cautious approach. The officer who signaled for you to pull over is trained to be vigilant and to be prepared for anything. It's nothing personal. Just as the motorist may not know the officer, the officer doesn't know the driver or how they may react.

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5. "Identification and Proof Of Insurance, Please"

First, Lt. Davis warns that if a driver must go digging for their documentation, they should wait until the officer signals them to do so. Secondly, drivers should refrain from removing their seat belt unless the officer wants them to step out of the vehicle.

6. "Did You Know You Were Doing 10 Over The Speed Limit?" 

This is the point in the traffic stop that many drivers hate, because depending on their response they will either be walking away with a citation or a simple warning and a promise to the officer to never do it again. Lt. Davis said, “Hopefully the officer will advise you whether you're receiving a ticket or not prior to returning to his car."

7. You Are Free To Go

The end of a traffic stop is once again decided by the officer. Drivers should have their documentation returned back to them, a ticket, or not, and a verbal confirmation given by the police deputy. 

8. Safely Merge Back Into Traffic

Once again, drivers shouldn't be offended by the officer remaining behind them with their lights on. More than likely the officer wants to make sure that the driver is safely back in traffic or is finishing up paperwork or even answering another call.  

Whether a driver agrees with the ticket or not, they should accept the officer's judgement and wait to argue the ticket in a hearing rather than confronting the issuing officer. Try to keep from making the situation worse by physically or verbally showing anger. The officer is simply doing their job by making sure the roads are safe for everyone. 

These tips are just that, tips. They are not rules to follow and do not guarantee that you won't get a ticket. Instead, these are polite pieces of advice to follow to ensure that a traffic stop goes over smoothly and respectfully on both the officer and the driver's end.


Traffic stops are not enjoyable and can be quite nerve wrecking, but hopefully Lt. Davis' advice will help relieve the pressure in how to properly conduct one's self in case a traffic stop happens. Is there a traffic ticket you want to argue in court? Call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC today for a free consultation at 844.4MI.FIRM.