Volvo's Automatic Braking System for Semi-Trucks

Truck Accident Lawyer Michigan

Volvo Trucks Global is taking a step into the future with its new automatic braking system. The company has created a Collision Warning/Early Braking system for its trucks. This development, as detailed in Business Insider, is designed for trucks to brake automatically if they get too close to other vehicles in front of them. A sensor on the front “sees” the road ahead, and brakes the truck on its own, if it gets too close to the car in front of it. 
 
When braking, an alarm sounds and a display light activates on the dashboard, anticipating the truck’s sudden stop. The truck’s back taillights flash like hazards when the automatic braking system is in use, alerting drivers behind the truck, so that drivers behind can avoid a rear end car crash. All this for a truck carrying 40 tons of cargo!   

The primary goal of Volvo working to make automated features for semi-trucks is to increase auto safety. Hayder Wokil, Autonomous and Automated Driving Director for Volvo Trucks, said, “We are focused on solutions that can make difficult, repetitive and time-consuming tasks easier for all concerned.” The latest technological improvement will affect other drivers on the road, beyond just the truck drivers. In 2015, almost 64% of fatal crashes involving large trucks also involved two other vehicles, as found in an analysis by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In other words, other drivers are at risk of injury or death from a semi-truck accident. Developments like automated truck brakes may improve the safety of truck crashes for all drivers. 
 
Worldwide, companies like Volvo are using trucks to minimize harvest damage that human-operated trucks create, utilizing automatic garbage trucks, and enlisting self-driving delivery trucks to bring packages to people’s doorsteps. With so many possibilities for advancement, the automated truck industry will likely see rapid growth in the coming years. It will be exciting to watch consumer fears grow into fascination, as more and more automotive companies focus on turning even the biggest trucks on the road into a safer form of transportation in the near future. 

Michigan Truck Accident Attorney

Volvo's automatic braking system for semi-trucks will make stopping suddenly much easier for truck drivers, helping drivers behind them avoid rear end car accidents. If you or someone you know has been involved in a truck accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. Our skilled attorneys can tell you if you are eligible for any compensation under Michigan law. 

Suspected Drunk Driver Causes Fatal Car Crash

In July, a 19-year-old man was killed after a suspected drunk driver T-boned him at an intersection in York Township, Michigan, according to the Detroit Free Press. Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office, said the car crash happened at the intersection of Bemis and Moon Roads. The 19-year-old was traveling eastbound on Bemis, while the 34-year-old driver of the other vehicle was traveling southbound on Moon. "The victim goes through the intersection," Jackson said. "The suspect runs the stop sign, T-boning him in the driver's side and killing him." 

Michigan Drunk Driving Car Crash Lawyer

The motor vehicle crash in also injured two passengers in the 19-year-old's vehicle. The 34-year-old was arrested, and alcohol is believed to be a factor in the car crash. 

Jackson commented, "We suspect he was highly intoxicated."

Drunk driving is one of many risky driving habits that people exhibit, despite the consequences of potentially enduring or causing injury or death from a vehicle collision. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2015 alone, 10,265 people were killed in drunk driving crashes. That is 1 person killed every 51 minutes, every day of the year. 

The good news is that drunk driving deaths have been cut nearly in half since 1982 through stricter laws, smart law enforcement, and increased advocacy. Yet people are still dying in drunk driving car crashes. With technological advances such as personal breathalyzers and the popularity of ride-sharing, there are no excuses for driving while intoxicated. It is important to remember to drive sober or get pulled over.


Drunk driving is a well-known form of risky behavior on the road, yet this type of distracted driving accident still occur frequently. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a drunk driving car accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Parents Claim Their Son Was Not The Driver In Fatal Car Crash

The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog previously reported on a May 8, 2015 fatal rollover car crash in Stony Creek Metropark, involving 5 teenage boys. Speeding and alcohol were found to be factors in the motor vehicle collision that killed Johnathan Manolios, Emanuel Malaj, and Michael Wells, and critically injured Gregory Bobchick and Joseph Narra, all of Macomb County, Michigan. Now, the parents of one of the three teens killed are disputing the conclusion that their son, Johnathan Manolios, was driving the Jaguar at the time of the motor vehicle crash. 

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The family of Johnathan Manolios has filed a federal lawsuit with the U.S District Court in Detroit, which also alleges misconduct by Macomb County and the Sheriff's investigators working on the case, including Sheriff Anthony Wickersham, Captain David Kennedy, Sergeant Jason Abro, and Deputies Renee Yax and David Crabtree. The Detroit Free Press says the lawsuit's complaints range from due process violations to defamation and negligence.  

The complaint was referred by Wickersham to the county's corporation counsel, John Schapka, who simply said, "I've reviewed the complaint. It is pathetic." A statement released by George and Susan Manolios says, "The only things we have ever wanted were answers and the truth." 

The Free Press describes how, "In the days and weeks after the crash, the sheriff's office said the car with the five teens was traveling about 72-82 mph, crashed into a guardrail, and rolled five times. Sheriff's officials said everyone in the car tested positive for alcohol."

On the subject of who was driving the car, "In 2015, Wickersham had said a relative of Bobchick's owned the car and that he did not know why Manolios was driving, but investigators believed Manolios pressured Bobchick to let Manolios drive the car." 

On the other hand, "The Manolios family lawsuit claims Narra was the actual driver of the vehicle, and that Manolios's body was found furthest away from the car on the other side of a riverbank 150 feet away. It also alleges that the defendants did not have the expertise, equipment, or manpower to investigate the case properly, refused to turn the case over to the Michigan State Police to reconstruct the accident, and did not conduct forensic testing on the car that would have "conclusively proven who the driver was." 

Michigan Drunk Driving Car Crash Lawyer

The lawsuit also claims that Sgt. Abro inserted himself into the case to ensure Narra "upon information and belief, a family friend, was not prosecuted for the serious crimes that were committed that evening." The allegations mention that Abro had Narra's mother sign a consent to search form, allowing Abro to obtain Narra's toxicology results from the hospital, and that Abro ordered the roof of the car to be cut off "with no legitimate purpose other than to destroy the deployed airbags so that DNA testing could not be performed." 

Among other complaints, the lawsuit "alleges that the parents inquired with the Sheriff's office where Manolios's body was found in relation to the crash scene because it was necessary for them to go there and memorialize the location pursuant to their religious beliefs. They allege that they were misinformed and told where Malaj's body was found, not Manolios's body, depriving them of their right to full practice of their religious beliefs."

To make matters worse, the complaint states the defendants confused Manolios's body with Malaj's, delivering what they thought was the body of their son, but was really Malaj's body, to the funeral home. 

This lawsuit is one of several that have been filed in federal and circuit courts since the 2015 speeding car crash. The lives of five teenage boys and their families were altered forever by the unsafe decision to drink and drive, regardless of whoever was driving. Not only are there deadly consequences to high speed car accidents, but drunk driving is a whole other category of danger. There are alternatives to driving drunk, and no one in a vehicle-driver OR passenger-should bring alcohol on the road. While it's sad to imagine that investigators may have made errors in figuring out who was driving and in delivering the wrong body to the funeral, it's important to see this situation as a cautionary tale of the dangers of driving under the influence. 


Teenage drivers are less experienced on the roads, and may make unsafe decisions that put themselves and their car passengers at risk for serious injury or even death, in the event of a motor vehicle accident. In order to avoid having to call a personal injury lawyer, it is important for people of all ages to stay informed about the dangers of risky driving behavior, so they can do everything they can to minimize their risk of getting involved in an auto accident. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a serious car crash, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 884.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Help! We Can't Stop Texting And Driving

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

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Distracted Driving Statistics

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Science Behind Distracted Driving

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

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

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

Distracted Driving Prevention Apps

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

Michigan Distracted Driving Car Crash Lawyer

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

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


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

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

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

Pokemon Go Car Crash Lawyer

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

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

Michigan Phone Car Accident Lawyer

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

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

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

Michigan Distracted Driving Car Accident Lawyer

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


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

Stay Safe At The Summer Drive-In Theater

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Summer is in full swing, and with kids everywhere out of school, parents are looking for ways to keep their children busy. While the pool, park, and zoo are excellent options for a fun day out, many Michigan families are spending summer evenings at the drive-in movie theater. A drive-in typically takes place in a large parking lot, where vehicles can pay to park and watch movies on theater-size big screens, as they sit comfortably in their cars and listen to the sound on the radio. Some drive-ins even have concession stands where people can buy snacks and drinks. The drive-in movie theater is an entertaining way for parents to use their cars for something other than driving, while making the kids happy, too.

The drive-in movie theater is not a new concept. In fact, they weren’t even called drive-ins originally, but a “park-in” because of the parking lot movie theater setting. In the summer of 1933, motorists parked their cars on the grounds of Park-In Theaters in Camden, New Jersey, the site of the first ever drive-in movie theater. As the idea caught on, more drive-ins popped up all across the country. According to HISTORY.com, one of the largest drive-ins featured parking space for 2,500 cars, a kid’s playground, and a full service restaurant, spread out across 28 acres. If only extravagant drive-ins like that existed today, parents would never have to worry about their children being bored!

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Today, however, there are less than 350 drive-in theater locations across the country. Luckily for Michigan residents, the United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association (UDITOA) says our state is home to 8 different theaters with 18 total movie screens. Metro Detroit is home to two drive-ins: the USA Hockey Arena Summer Drive-In located just off M-14 in Plymouth, and the Ford Drive-In in Dearborn. Movies begin at dusk, and films change weekly, showing everything from Disney cartoons to the latest action blockbuster. 

However, just because vehicles are parked at the drive-in, does not mean they aren’t still dangerous. Children often run around and play in the parking lots at a drive-in as they wait for the movie to start, putting them at risk for a severe injury or fatality from a moving vehicle nearby. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) recommends summer motor vehicle safety tips, including tips for kids.

Motorist and Child Safety Tips for Drive-In Theaters

  1. When backing out of a parking space at the drive-in, walk around your vehicle first to look for children running and playing. Children playing are often oblivious to cars around them.
  2. When using a backup camera, it is important to remember that kids might be out of view, but may still be in the path of a vehicle. Additionally, all vehicles have blind spots that increase in size as the height and size of the car increases.
  3. There are lots of people and vehicles moving around upon entrance and exit to the drive-in, so drivers must pay attention to their surroundings and parents must watch out for their children so as to prevent a motor vehicle from backing or running into a pedestrian.

Summer drive-ins transform everyday vehicles from modes of transportation to a relaxing place to kick back and catch the latest movie. The rare and old-school format of drive-ins make them fun for families of all ages. Still, warm weather calls for summer safety tips, and safety at the drive-in is just as important as on the roads. Anytime a motor vehicle is involved is an opportunity to practice automobile accident prevention safety, and the drive-in movie theater is no exception. 


Summer is a great time to enjoy the warm weather at a local drive-in movie theater. Children playing at the drive-in should watch for moving vehicles and drivers must be aware of their surroundings, in order to prevent an injury or fatality from a car crash. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Man Dies In Flint Area After Crashing Stolen Police Car

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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. 

90% Of Motorcyclists Killed In 2016 Had No Formal Training

Although May was National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, today, June 19, is International Ride to Work Day. Today, motorcyclists worldwide are celebrating their favorite form of transportation. Motorcycles give a certain freedom and excitement to drivers, unique from other boxed-in vehicles on the road. Add to that the fact that the weather in Michigan is starting to heat up, motorcyclists are starting to increase in number on the roads.

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Unfortunately however, not all motorcycle drivers ride safely, and often motorcycles don't stand a chance of surviving a collision against the giant hunks of metal that are cars and trucks, moving alongside motorcycles on the roads. According to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, nearly 90% of motorcyclists killed in crashes on Michigan roads last year had no formal training during the last ten years. This is a staggering statistic, especially considering the wide number of training classes available across the state. However, many motorcycle accidents may be preventable if riders receive the proper training these classes provide and an official endorsement. 

Michigan Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

The Michigan Department of State encourages programs that educate people on the safety of operating a motorcycle. There are multiple types of motorcycle training classes offered, through both public and private organizations, all as part of the Michigan Rider Education Program. And it is not just first-time riders who have the opportunity to take Michigan motorcycle driving classes. Beyond the Basic Rider course for beginners, other classes include: the Three-Wheel Basic Rider course for those who want to learn to ride three-wheel (instead of two-wheel) motorcycles, a Returning Rider Course for experienced drivers looking to refresh previously learned motorcycle skills, and an Advanced Rider course for already endorsed motorcycle drivers who want to brush up their riding skills.

With such a range of training class options, it seems silly for those operating a motorcycle to think they do not need training. Yet, the facts are there. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there was an 8% increase in fatalities from motorcycle crashes, nationally from 2014 to 2015. Obviously, the number of deaths from motorcycle accidents in the United States is only increasing. With many of these deaths being able to be prevented with simple training courses, there is a need for more awareness and exposure regarding these types of classes.
 
Michigan residents are encouraged to check Michigan.gov for the location of nearby motorcycle training classes that have been approved by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). In addition to taking a motorcycle safety class, motorcyclists may be interested in reading some general safety tips for motorcyclists, that The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog previously posted.

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Inexperienced and unprotected drivers may put themselves in dangerous situations that may lead to serious injuries or death from a motorcycle crash. The training classes the State of Michigan offers may be able to teach proper riding techniques to prevent motorcycle collisions or at the very least inform the rider how to act in such dangerous situations.

There is nothing wrong with a little wind in your hair, as long as one remembers to enjoy motorcycles the safe way. And this International Ride to Work Day, it is especially important to remember that safety comes first when enjoying the celebration of motorcycles.


Motorcyclists face unique safety risks as they are sharing the road with other, much larger vehicles. Special training classes can teach new skills or refresh old techniques, in order to help riders prevent themselves from getting into motorcycle accidents. If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle car crash, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC for a free consultation at 844.4MI.FIRM.

Obesity Is A Factor In Motor Vehicle Fatalities

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If you made a New Year's resolution to lose weight but find yourself falling off of the workout routine, a study conducted by Berkeley School of Health might give you an extra incentive get back in the gym. In conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC), UC Berkeley’s Safe Transportation and Research Education Center (SafeTREC) decided to conduct a study on whether or not obesity played a factor in motor vehicle fatalities.

Though the study was published in 2013, this information is even more relevant in 2017 as 1 in every 3 Americans are obese, and since obesity in general is steadily on the rise. The study's results showed that obese drivers are actually 78% more to die in a car crash compared those in the normal-weight category. So, yes, obesity is definitely a factor in car crash deaths.

Co-author and SafeTREC researcher epidemiologist Thomas Rice said, “This study highlights yet another negative consequence of obesity.”

The Higher The BMI, The Higher The Chance of A Car Crash Fatality

Drivers with a body mass index (BMI) under 18 or between 25 to 29.9 are found to have around the same fatality rates as those people with an ideal BMI ranging from 18.5 to 24.9. The problem comes in for those who have a BMI ranging between 30 and 39.9. Those whose BMI falls between 30 to 34.9 have a 21% increase in risk of death as stated by the SafeTREC’s study. The study also showed that those with a BMI between 35 to 39.9 increase their fatality rates by 51%. Obese drivers with a BMI above 40 have a 81% possibility of death in the event of a motor vehicle fatality. SafeTREC's study also confirmed that woman who are obese are more likely to die in a car crash than their male counterparts. 

In simpler terms, if a male driver was the nation's average male height of 5 feet 9 inches and weighed the national male average of 195.5 pounds with a BMI of 28.5, he would essentially face the same mortality rates as a male that weighs 158 pounds at 5 feet 9 inches with a BMI of 23. However, if a male that was 5 feet 9 inches weighed 220 pounds with a BMI of 32, he increases his chances of death by 21%. 

Vehicle Changes Made For Overweight Drivers

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Researchers of the study suggest that,“it may be the case that passenger vehicles are well designed to protect normal-weight vehicle occupants but are deficient in protecting overweight or obese occupants.”

Rice said, “Vehicle designers are teaching to the test –designing so that crash-test dummies do well, but crash-test dummies are typically normal size adults and children. They’re not designed to account for our nation’s changing body types.”

Now changes are underway starting with vehicle safety and design through test-dummies that are heavier in size to reflect the nation's growing weight. Michigan Medicine trauma surgeon Stewart Wang, M.D., is a collaborator on car safety as the director of the University of Michigan's International Center for Automotive Medicine (ICAM). Dr. Wang offers some perspective to engineers who are designing a safety mechanism that will later be placed into vehicles.

The surgeon says, "crash-test dummies look nothing like my patients...The condition, size and shape of an individual is hugely important in how severe their injuries are in any given crash." Dr. Wang also says that many of his obese clients suffer from lower extremity injuries in auto accidents as a result of the lap belt being too slack and causing them to slide under it upon impact. These types of injuries combined with, "their obesity makes treatment more difficult and delays recovery." Wang's medical research of live patients have provided ICAM with vital information which was used in the creation of new test dummies by manufacturer Humanetics, so that engineers can better interpret potential injuries to drivers of a certain weight, sex, and age. 

Source: GIPHY

Source: GIPHY

According to ScienceDaily.com, "Teams at ICAM gain tremendous insight from hundreds of thousands of CT scans, which can quickly be used for 3-D printing of prototypes once they're shared with engineers. This has revolutionized the way dummies are made and what they look like."

With scientific research highlighting the importance of test-dummies reflecting the nation's growing population of overweight and elderly drivers, changes can finally be made to vehicles that lead to lower rates auto accident fatalities, for all ages and body types. 


According to the CDC, obesity can be combated through local and state programs that work with communities in creating an environment that encourages healthy eating and physical activity. Living a healthy lifestyle including a lifetime commitment to eating healthy and exercising should help those combating with obesity lose and keep off their weight. Have you or a loved one been injured as a result of an auto accident? Call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation today. 

Motorcycle Safety Tips

April showers bring May flowers. May sunshine brings motorcycles. Therefore, May is Motorcycle Awareness Month. In celebration of those who have been riding a motorbike for years and in concern for the safety of first timers, The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC would like to address the importance of motorcycle safety.

Michigan Motorcycle Crash Lawyer

Motorcycle safety is a very serious concern. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that motorcycle riders are 27 times more likely than other motorists to die in car crashes and 6 times as likely to be injured. For motorcyclists who are 60 years of age or older, the risk of serious injuries and death increase exponentially due to physical factors such as brittle bones, slower reflexes, and poor eyesight. Bearing this in mind, here are some important tips that could benefit riders who take their bikes for a spin over the next few months.

Motorcycle Safety Tips

How To Obtain A Motorcycle Endorsement

Michigan Biker Accident Lawyer

Along with a traditional automobile driver's license, motorcyclists mush obtain a state regulated motorcycle license endorsement, in order to legally operate a motorcycle. To gain this endorsement, people who are interested in driving motorcycles should invest in a motorcycle education course. As with basic driver’s education classes, bikers should make sure they are properly informed and instructed on their state's biker laws and how to properly ride a motorcycle.

Michigan motorcyclists have two ways that they can obtain a cycle endorsement on their license. One way is by taking a basic rider or returning rider course from an approved Secretary of State (SOS) training facility and instructor. Once the course is completed, the rider will receive a certificate of completion from the sponsor that they should then take to be submitted at a SOS branch. From there, a vision test is administered and if the rider passes, they must pay a small fee of $13.50 to obtain their motorcycle endorsement.

The second option is to go directly to an SOS branch and take the vision and written test, whereupon successful completion, the purchase of a temporary instruction permit is needed. In obtaining the temporary license, bikers are instructed to clock 180 days worth of driving time with a currently endorsed motorcyclist, before they can take the road test. Then, only if the rider passes the road test will they receive a completion certificate to take to the SOS where they are then obligated to pay an additional $9.00 for their motorcycle permit. 

How To Purchase A Safe(r) Motorcycle

Many people admit that the main thing they look for when purchasing a bike is speed and aesthetic appeal, right? Well, motorcycles are more than a beautiful and powerful machine to use on the road. They should also be safe, seeing as they offer much less protection than a car, when involved in a motor vehicle accident. First and foremost, riders should not even consider purchasing a bike they cannot handle. Is it too powerful? Too fast? Is the rider able to touch the ground when seated on the bike? Those are all valid questions to ask when purchasing a bike. Other important items to add to the checklist are:

Motorcycle Safety Feature Checklist

Source: Giphy,  The Hangover

Source: Giphy, The Hangover

  • Make sure handlebars and other controls are easy to reach.

  • Is it easy to mount and dismount the bike?

  • Check the pressure and tread of the tires.

  • Make sure headlights and other indicators are working properly.

  • Make sure fluid levels are adequate.

  • Are the hand and foot brakes in working order and easy to grip?

After purchasing the bike, it's important to check for leaks, working brakes, traffic indicators, mirrors and tire pressure every time, before taking the bike for a spin. Making sure the motorcycle is well maintained will not prevent a car crash every time, but it could help reduce the the likelihood of involvement in a crash and/or limit the damage incurred in an accident.

Don't Forget Your Helmet

One look at a bike and it becomes glaringly obvious that it provides less protection than a car or a SUV. Without a top or sides, it's the opposite of a sturdier metal box car or truck. Although every state, including Michigan, does not require riders to have one, helmets are a biker's best friend. According to the NHTSA, "58% of motorcyclists killed in 2015 were not wearing helmets, as compared to 8% in states with universal helmet laws." That is a big difference in the lives that may have been saved if the biker was just wearing a helmet.

The best place to start when looking for a motorcycle helmet, is by looking for helmets that have the Department of Transportation (DOT) sticker of approval. They are usually no more than 3 pounds heavy, have thick interior lining, and come with a face shield that acts as a line of defense for the eyes. After securing a helmet which protects, arguably the most important part of a biker, the brain, it's time to start purchasing items that can protect the rest of the body. The body is essential to shield from the elements of the road or weather, when riding a motorcycle.

Motorcycle Safety Gear and Clothing

Michigan Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
  • A heavy leather, denim, or long sleeve jacket or shirt are clothing items that may protect the rider's arms.

  • Full fingered gloves aide the riders grip.

  • Eye gear such goggles or glasses are imperative. 

  • Durable and heavy duty pants that completely cover the legs are a good idea.

  • Boots, especially ones that cover the ankle and have a hard or thick sole, will help protect the riders feet.

  • Bright and/or reflective gear is recommended, especially for night rides.

  • Pack or wear appropriate weather climate gear in case of driving long distances or as the weather forecast permits it.  

And yes, even during the summer time, thick and padded gear is expected to be worn to be as safe as possible.  

Passenger Motorcycle Safety Tips

For riders who are carrying extra cargo, balance is key. It is important that passengers mount the bike only after it is turned on. Then, both riders should adjust seating arrangements to where the passenger and the rider are both comfortably seated on the bike. Passengers should sit as close to the rider as possible to prevent throwing the bike out of equilibrium. Wrapping their arms around the rider's waist or hips, while keeping both feet planted on the foot pegs at ALL times, is highly advised to all passengers-even when the bike has stopped.

Michigan Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle drivers should explain the importance of avoiding touching the muffler to the passenger, because it gets extremely hot and can cause severe burns. Passengers should also keep their movements to a minimum unless they are leaning at the same time and direction as the rider, in order to keep the bike balanced. Another precaution is that passengers should only dismount once the driver says so, to avoid them from accidentally tipping the bike or losing their grip while driving or parking the bike.

Driving A Motorcycle Safely

Riders of motorcycles are held under many of the same laws and expectations as any other motor vehicle operator. For instance, distracted driving, drowsy driving or falling asleep behind the wheel, and operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol are all serious driving offenses that can be punishable under law. Therefore, abiding by simple traffic laws, driving carefully during bad weather, always remaining vigilant and aware of the road, avoiding road hazards, and making sure to be as visible as possible to other vehicles, are all safe driving habits that bikers should utilize everyday. Some additional defensive driving tips the DMV.org list riders to use are:

Motorcycle Defensive Driving Tips

  • Be courteous to cars, trucks, bicycles, pedestrians, and any others who share the road with bikers.

  • Bikers should keep a car length worth of space between themselves and the vehicle in front of them.

  • When looking back, to the side, or over the handlebars,  it is best to do so by looking above or over the shoulder, and not below or under the arm.

  • Be assertive. Bikers who hesitate can cause other drivers to react nervously due to them expecting the motorcycle to make unexpected driving maneuvers. 

  • Don't be afraid to use a car as a shield when on the road. An example from the Road Guardians is for motorcyclists to remain close to a vehicle to avoid being hit by left-turning traffic from the opposing direction, when passing through stoplights.

  • Avoid riding aggressively. This includes changing lanes without a turn signal, aggressively swerving around traffic, and slamming on the brakes-all of which are behaviors that can cause a collision.

Motorcycle Car Crash Attorney

Since their choice of vehicle offers less protection than other modes of transportation, bikers must be twice as careful when hitting the road.Considering that motorcyclists are more likely to die in a fatal car crash than the occupants of a car, these tips, though they are not 100% effective in preventing motor vehicle accidents, could potentially decrease the number of fatalities and accidents that occur every year. 



With proper training, gear, a well-maintained motorcycle, and the above tips in mind, bikers should be ready to safely hit the road. Of course, no amount of safety tips can ever prevent a motor vehicle accident. Driving is a dangerous an unpredictable action. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motorcycle accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our consultations are free and our firm is knowledgeable on Michigan motorcycle laws. We help victims of motorcycle injuries identify and obtain any benefits they may be entitled to under Michigan law. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM.

Detroit Ranked #1 in Pedestrian Fatality Accidents

Detroit Pedestrian Car Crash Lawyer

Citizens of Detroit, Michigan have many gripes about the city including construction, decay, and of course traffic. While, the city itself is going though some improvements, citizens still have every right to be upset about traffic however, as the National Highway Traffic and Safety Association (NHTSA) just issued a report showing that Detroit has the highest pedestrian fatality rate per 100,000 population. In fact, the NHTSA calculates that in 2015 alone, 5,376 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes - that’s the highest it’s been since 1996.

Alcohol Kills Pedestrians

The NHTSA contributes that most of the pedestrian accidents are caused by alcohol consumption. To be exact, 48% of the accidents involved either the pedestrian or the driver consuming alcohol before the crash occurred. Also to be noted is that fact that most of the accidents occurred during the winter months (December, January, and February) and predominantly at night time. 

NHTSA Safety Precautions 

Safety Precautions For Pedestrians:

Walking Car Accident Lawyer
  • Pedestrians should use crosswalks when they are available and walk in the direction against traffic. 
  • Be cautious! Electronic devices such as cell phones and music devices play into 'inattention blindness’ in which wearing headphones can make the wearer tune out of their surroundings. Also, pedestrians should keep in mind to not wear any headgear that may rest too low on their face or cover the eyes.
  • Drivers won't always see pedestrians due to distractions, blind spots, sun glare, or poorly lit areas. So, it should go without saying that wearing reflective gear or bright clothing to improve visibility is also advisable. 
  • Most importantly, avoid using drugs and alcohol before going out. As the NHTSA study shows, drugs and alcohol play a major role in pedestrian deaths.

Safety Precautions For Drivers:

  • Abide by state set speed limits.
  • Keep in mind that stopped cars could possibly be stopping to allow for pedestrians to cross the road, especially at crosswalks. 
  • Be alert! Pedestrians won’t always walk or be visible in places that motorists usually expect them to be. 
  • Don’t drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Both will hinder coordination and judgement when driving. 

Safety Reminder

With summer fast approaching, citizens of Detroit should remember that both motorists and pedestrians play a part in sharing the road and keeping it safe for everyone. By following the safety precautions listed above, the people of Detroit can work together to make Detroit safer and to bring down Detroit's traffic fatiality ranking. 


Police can only do so much in catching and preventing drivers or pedestrians from getting behind the wheel while under the influence. Loved ones must also do their due diligence in making sure friends and family arrive at their destination unharmed and alive. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a pedestrian accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC for a free consultation. Our firm will fight to help you identify and receive any benefits you may be entitled to under Michigan Law. Call us today, at 844-4MI-FIRM. 

Walmart Truck Driver Pleads Guilty To Vehicular Homicide In Tracy Morgan Case

Tracy Morgan Walmart Truck Accident

Back on June 7, 2014, Tracy Morgan, actor and comedian known for his antics on the TV show Saturday Night Live and for his character Tracy Jordan, on the TV show 30 Rock, was involved in a truck accident with a few of his friends. The crash with a Walmart truck left Morgan with a traumatic brain injury and several broken bones including his ribs and caused him to be in a coma for 6 days. Morgan's friend, fellow comedian James "Jimmy Mack" McNair, was killed in the truck crash. Now, two and a half years later, Morgan can finally put his truck accident behind him for good.

According to CNN, Kevin Roper, the driver of the Walmart truck, pled guilty to second-degree vehicular homicide and four counts of third-degree aggravated assault in Middlesex County Superior Court, in New Jersey. Roper was responsible for crashing into Morgan's chauffeured limo on the New Jersey Turnpike in Cranbury, New Jersey. At the time of the accident, Roper had been behind the wheel of the Wal-Mart truck after not sleeping in the past 24 hours. He had decided to drive 12 hours to work before starting his 14-hour shift, which according to federal regulations, which state that truck drivers should have at least 10 hours off in order to have enough time to sleep, is illegal. 

"Mr. Roper entered a guilty plea to certain counts of the indictment pending against him," Roper's attorney David Glassman told CNN in a statement. "In exchange, he was granted admission into the PTI program (pretrial intervention program)." By entering a 3 year PTI program Roper will be able to maintain a clean record, and the charges against him would be dismissed upon completion of the required 300 hours of community service while staying arrest free. 

Glassman’s own opinion of the court's decision was that the deal was "an exceptional result and opportunity given the serious nature of the charges and potential for far more serious outcomes. Kevin is grateful for this opportunity to get these charges dismissed and move on with his life."

Michigan Truck Accident Lawyer

As for Walmart's role in the crash, “Safety is the absolute highest priority for Walmart,” the retailer said in an emailed statement acquired by CBS New York. A Walmart company spokeswoman said that Roper’s truck was equipped with a system designed to slow its speed and notify him of stopped traffic ahead, but it is unknown if the system was working at the time. 

However, due to the notoriety of the accident, Walmart made an undisclosed settlement with Morgan back in May 2015. The only statement made about the settlement came from Morgan who said, "Walmart did right by me and my family, and for my associates and their families. I am grateful that the case was resolved amicably."

Tracy Morgan is currently on a comedy tour titled, “Picking Up The Pieces.” 


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 72,000 crashes and 800 deaths are attributed to drivers who fall asleep behind the wheel.  The CDC states that the warning signs of drowsy driving include lane drifting, frequent yawning or blinking, and difficulty remembering the last few miles. If any of these symptoms occur, it is best for drivers get to a secure location and rest until they are able to proceed to their destination. If you or anyone you know has been involved in an accident involving a driver who fell asleep at the wheel, please feel free to contact the Michigan Law Firm PLLC. Our attorneys are highly qualified in dealing with a variety of motor vehicle accidents. Call us today, 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation.

Safety Organizations Concerned As Traffic Fatalities Rise

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and State Highway Safety Office members are becoming alarmed over the increase in motor vehicle fatalities in the United States. In 2015, 35,200 individuals lost their lives while on the road, representing the largest year-over-year percentage increase (7.7%) since national record-keeping began. 

Car Fatality Lawyer

“Although that figure is well below the more than 40,000 people killed annually just a decade ago, each death on U.S roadways is unacceptable, and, after many years of progress, this increase is troubling,” Claims Journal wrote in an article this past week. The safety organizations say there are clear solutions to this increasing problem. Solutions include strong road laws with highly-visible law enforcement and more in depth public education campaigns. When these tactics have been used in the past, the nation has seen a nearly 25% drop in the number of fatalities between 2005 and 2014, including a record low in 2011. 

The GHSA has repeatedly stated that they are determined to keep the most at-risk road users safe. While auto accident fatalities have risen quite dramatically in the past year, pedestrian and motorcycle fatalities have increased even more. Those groups have seen a 10% increase each in fatalities over the past year. The Claims Journal points out that while “improving vehicle safety has increased the likelihood for passenger vehicle occupants to survive a crash, pedestrians and motorcyclists lack these same benefits and remain just as susceptible to serious injury or death in the event of a collision.”

The GHSA has a similar goal to what the Michigan Department of Transportation and Michigan State Police have been promoting, a “Towards Zero Deaths” campaign. Part of the campaign reminds drivers on the expressway how many motor vehicle fatalities there have been so far in 2016 by updating electronic highway signs. 


As accident fatalities continue to rise across the United States, drivers must become more cautious when out on the road. Next time you think you can make that yellow light going on red, think about the people you could be putting in danger, including yourself. If you or somebody you know has been injured in an auto accident caused by reckless or aggressive driving, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are highly experienced in handling all types of motor vehicle accidents, including collisions caused by careless driving. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.