Understanding Oregon’s New Distracted Driving Law

distracted drivingLegislation passed in May takes effect this month, imposing stiff fines for anyone caught even holding their cell phones or other electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle. The new distracted driving laws were modified to close some loopholes from earlier legislation.

House Bill 2597 makes it so Oregon drivers may face fines of up to $2000 for using any “mobile electronic device” while on the road.

A first offense could trigger fines of $1000, but may be erased if the driver agrees to take a state-approved distracted driving avoidance class at their own expense.

Legislators have worked to close a gap in Oregon’s 2009 hands-free law that although it requires drivers to use a hands-free device to make phone calls and banned texting while driving, didn’t explicitly block users from playing games or program a navigation device when driving.

The revised law prohibits any drivers from holding or touching a phone or electronic device at all while operating a vehicle.

While a vehicle doesn’t need to be turned off to use a handheld device, it must be parked safely like on the side of the road or in a parking lot, not stopped at a traffic light. Additionally, a driver is not banned from using navigation, but can only use what’s referred to as a “one touch” action, so a driver may access a preprogrammed route or end navigation after he or she has found the way as long as they can do it with one touch.

There are few exceptions, like if there is an emergency, a drive may use their device to call 911, but only if there is no one else in the vehicle able to do so.

The penalties have drastically increased with an escalation for multiple offenses or seriousness of incidents. For examples if the driver is involved in a crash or has had a previous offense, he or she will be facing a higher fine and possible jail time due to the circumstances.

If you have been injured in a distracted driving crash, it is important to speak with an experienced Portland personal injury attorney. Call today for your free, initial consultation.

Understanding Personal Injury

Unfortunately, when an injury occurs you may not realize the long-term complications you may face for months or even years to come. It is important to understand what a personal injury due to another person’s negligence or wrongful conduct can mean to your life. If you have suffered such an injury, it is vital to consult with a Portland personal injury attorney to at least review your options.

Personal injuries can occur due to the carelessness or negligence of another person or due to the intentional act of another. They are injuries suffered in a car accident, in a work-related accident, due to medical malpractice as well as many other factors. You may have a personal injury from getting injured in another person’s home or on their property. Sometimes they are due to someone’s direct actions and other times due to their inactions.

If you have suffered any type of personal injury, you may be scared or confused and unsure what steps you need to take. It is vital to seek the proper medical care, even if you feel physically ok. Many times there may be unseen injuries that will continue to affect you as time passes. Injuries are important to document for future reference, if necessary.

If someone else was responsible for your injury, they may also be responsible for your pain, suffering, injury, loss of property, loss of wages as well as medical bills. Holding them responsible helps alleviate the burden for you and your family and helps make sure another family doesn’t have to suffer at the hands of the responsible part again.

You may suffer injuries, even in low-speed car accidents where you don’t think you would have. Although you can represent yourself in a personal injury case, it may be difficult to get a fair settlement. Therefore, it is crucial to speak with an experienced Portland personal injury attorney who can argue your case for you. Call today for a free, initial consultation.

Fighting For Drunk Driving Victims

Our Portland personal injury lawyers fight for drunk driving victims who have been injured because of the carelessness of another driver. We work to recover appropriate compensation due them to help offset costs from the injury.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, between 2003 – 2012, there were 1,232 people killed in crashes involving a drunk driver. About one in three traffic deaths in the United States involve a drunk driver. Despite efforts, drunk drivers continue to get behind the wheel millions of times. If you or your loved one has been a victim in a drunk driving accident, it is crucial to seek counsel from a Portland personal injury lawyer. 

Did you know that in 1987, sobriety checkpoints were declared unconstitutional in Oregon and therefore the police cannot setup any sobriety checkpoints within the state? This does not help law enforcement officers to fight drunk drivers and alcohol and drug impairment continues to be a factor in many crashes throughout Oregon.

Many people think of drunk driving an alcohol-only issue, but those laws include all driving under the influence. This encompasses driving under the influence of any type of controlled substance or any prescriptions medicines known to cause issues driving.

Obviously a driver driving drunk may be held responsible for an accident they cause, but other people may also be held liable.

Anyone who allows a family member or friend to borrow their vehicle, even though they know or should have known the person was impaired can be held liable for a crash of the drunk driver.

Secondly, anyone who knowingly serves or allows alcohol to be served to underage drinkers can also be held responsible. This could include bartenders or even parents serving of-age young adults.

Finally, any establishment that continues to serve a patron even though the patron has had enough to drink can be held liable for a crash after that person has left the establishment.

If you or your loved ones are drunk driving victims or have been injured in an impaired driving accident, it is vital to discuss your situation with a Portland personal injury lawyer today. Call for your free, initial consultation.

Distracted Driving Fines To Increase With New Law

When a new law takes effect this fall, drivers will face more restrictions aimed at decreasing distracted driving as well as stiffer penalties in an effort to force a downward number of distracted driving accidents. Let’s take a look at the new penalties.

For a first offense, the violation will be considered a Class B violation as long as the offense didn’t contribute to a crash. Many in this situation will be faced with a $260 fine with a minimum fine of $130 and a maximum of $1000. After January 1, the court may suspend the fine if the driver completes an approved distracted driving avoidance course and shows proof to the court within four months.

Although the fine will be suspended, the violation will still be recorded on the driver’s driving record.

If a first offense resulted or contributed to a crash, the violator could get a Class A violation. This comes with a presumptive fine of $435, but a minimum of $220 and a maximum of $2,500. This fine would also be in place should a driver have a second offense.

For a third offense within 10 years, a driver would be facing a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum fine of $2,000 and up to six months in jail.

The previous law had an expected fine of $160 and did not have increased fines for repeat offenders or those involved in more serious, or even deadly crashes.

Distracted driving is a national problem that has continued to grow and affect people’s lives. If you or a loved one has suffered serious injury in any distracted driving accident, we are here to help. We can fight on your behalf to obtain the compensation you deserve. Call today to set up your free consultation.

Legislation Being Considered To Use Textalyzer After Crash

Legislation being considered in New York would give authorities the ability to check a driver’s phone for signs of distraction following any accident and impose fines to those who refuse using what some refer to as a textalyzer.

A bill being considered would authorize the use of a textalyzer device that could analyze a driver’s phone after any accident.

Law enforcement would be allowed to analyze anyone’s phone who had been in any accident. Anyone who refused would face fines like facing fines for refusing a breathalyzer. The idea is an officer could generate a report analyzing if the driver was using their phone at all around the time of the accident and if they were, whether they were using their device hands on, or hands free.

The proposed law would be known as Evan’s law, named for a 19-year-old killed in a car accident that was later found to be because of distracted driving. The driver of the car he had been riding in was texting and driving, but it was months before that was known. Police could check his phone at the time because they needed a warrant to do so.

Officials across the country have been considering measures to cut down on the number of distracted driving accidents and fatalities.

Some privacy advocates have voiced concern over such a law. Many cite the fact that most phones contain a wealth of private and personal information and handing it over would give access to all that our phone contains.

If you were seriously injured in a distracted driving accident, it is crucial to speak with our experienced distracted driving attorneys. Call today for your free, initial consultation.

How An Experienced Portland Injury Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You

When most people start a personal injury case, a common thing they want to know is how long the case will take. The reality is there is no set time for cases. Some cases may move quickly and be over before you know it. Others may be very complicated dragging on for years. However, working with experienced Portland personal injury lawyers can help make sure you get the compensation you deserve.

While this can be quite frustrating, we will be there every step of the way as your advocate. Our experienced team of experienced Portland personal injury lawyers will fight on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve.

Recovering compensation for a seriously injured person can be very difficult even when it is clearly another party’s fault, but it can also be crucial in providing for the injured person.

Some people wrongly assume the insurance company will give them fair compensation and will work to resolve the claim quickly, but claims can get denied on technicalities or insurance companies can employ strategies to delay settling a claim. Sometimes it is strategic on the insurance company’s part in an effort to get the injured party to accept less than they should. They can prey on someone’s desperation to have an answer and get their bills paid since an injured person is often both off of work due to the injury at the same time as racking up thousands and sometimes more in medical care.

By working with experienced Portland personal injury lawyers, you will have someone on your side fighting for your rights and making sure you are treated fairly. We work to make sure both your damages and expenses are fully covered as well as the party or parties at fault are held responsible.

If you have been injured in an accident, your experienced Portland personal injury lawyers can get you the money you deserve. Call Kroll & Johnson today for your free initial consultation.

Decrease Chance Of Leaving Road Debris Behind

Accidents caused by road debris are on the rise, according to a recent study released by the AAA Foundation. Many of these accidents are entirely preventable, but it is up to the driver to properly secure their load before departing on their trip.

As a driver, you can take steps to decrease your chances of causing an accident by road debris.

First of all, maintain your vehicle. Your vehicle should be regularly checked by trained mechanics. Tires that are badly worn, underinflated or overinflated can suffer blowouts, leaving pieces of tire across the roads. Of course, it can be difficult to regain control of your vehicle during a blowout as well, which increases your chance at an accident.

Secondly, Parts of your exhaust systems and hardware attached to your vehicle can rust and corrode. Parts of mufflers and other parts can drag on the pavement and possibly break free. These problems can be avoided with the help of trained mechanics and regular inspections. Make sure you address any issues that arise before they cause problems.

Lastly, whenever moving or towing furniture, all items must be properly secured. To properly secure a load, make sure all items are properly tied down with rope, netting or straps. Large objects should be tied directly to a vehicle or trailer. Make sure to cover the entire load with a sturdy tarp or netting and try not to overload the vehicle. Before departing, make sure to double-check the items to make sure they are secure.

In Oregon, being responsible for debris that falls onto a roadway could cost you in fines. It is your responsibility to make sure what you are towing is secure.

If you or a loved one has been injured by roadway debris, you may want to consider filing for damages. Call our office today for your free consultation.

Report Finds Drug-Impaired Driving Surpassed Alcohol-Impaired Driving In Deadly Accidents

A new report released this week found deaths caused by driving while under the influence of drugs surpassed those deaths caused by driving while under the influence of alcohol in 2015.

The report entitled “Drug-Impaired Driving” found that positive drug tests were more common than the presence of alcohol in fatally injured drivers. According to the report, 43 percent of those motorist who died had drugs in their systems while only 37 percent of those who died tested positive for alcohol.

Unfortunately, drug impairment can be difficult to measure because not all drugs affect all drivers in the same way. According to the report, hundreds of drugs can impair drivers and while some drugs that impair drivers are illegal, many are legal to use, at least under certain situations and are often available over-the-counter at many stores.

Out of those drivers tested in crashes, 35.6 percent tested positive for marijuana, 9.3 percent were positive for amphetamine, 7.4 percent were positive for a drug not on the FARS list and 55.1 percent tested positive for another drug.

Oftentimes, drugs have an undetermined effect on someone’s driving. The effect varies from person to person and are very complex. Due to complex nature of determining if drugs affected a driver detrimentally, it can be quite difficult to prosecute and convict a driver driving under the influence of drugs.

If you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries in an accident involving a driver under the influence, it is crucial to work with experienced and tenacious Portland personal injury attorneys who can go to bat for you. Call now and set up your free consultation to find out how your Portland accident attorneys can fight for you.

View the full report here. 

 

Study: Road Debris Accidents Double

Road debris contributes to more than 200,000 crashes and 500 deaths every year in the United States, according to a report released by the AAA Foundation.

According to the report released in the fall, nearly 39,000 people were injured in crashes from 2011 through 2014. More than one-third of those deaths resulted from a driver swerving to avoid hitting debris, researchers found.

In some cases, cars struck debris, causing chain-reaction collisions. The worst part is that accidents from debris is not only quite dangerous, but generally preventable. According to researchers, the problem has increased dramatically over the past decade. A 2001 study found 25,000 crashes and less than 100 deaths were attributed to debris, while the study just released found that debris-related crashes have nearly doubled. Nearly 10,000 injuries and 125 deaths were reported yearly from debris-related incidents.

Researchers found the majority of the incidents occurred between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and neither bad weather nor darkness seemed to increase the accidents.

A driver could face fines should something fall off their vehicle onto a roadway and cause an accident. In Oregon, drivers may face a Class B traffic violation, which includes a $260 fine. Owner and driver in violation are jointly and severally liable to the state, county or city for all damage done as a result of the violation.

“Drivers have a much bigger responsibility when it comes to preventing debris on the roads than most realize,” said Jennifer Ryan, director of state relations for AAA. “It’s important for drivers to know that many states have hefty fines and penalties for drivers who drop items from their vehicle onto the roadway, and in some cases states impose jail time.”

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of debris in the roadway, it is crucial to speak with an experienced Oregon personal injury attorney today. Call for your free, initial consultation.

After A Truck Accident

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a truck accident, there may be differences in both what compensation you can recover and what laws apply. Although some laws of negligence apply that would are relevant to any vehicle accident, there are additional ones that apply only to commercial truck drivers and trucking companies as well as special licensing and training requirements of truck drivers. This can make truck accidents more difficult to defend and easier for a plaintiff to win in their favor.

Anyone who has been seriously injured or lost a loved one in an accident with a truck can sue as long as someone else is at fault for the accident. This includes adults as well as children who can sue through a parent or guardian.

Since Oregon is a modified comparative negligence state and an injured person can sue for their injuries as long as their percentage of fault is not greater than 51 percent.

In a truck accident, even more than a typical accident, it is crucial to conduct a thorough investigation. Since most trucks are commercially-owned, the trucking company will conduct their own investigation immediately after the accident, which puts you at a disadvantage if you do not investigate on your own behalf.

Most cases against relating to a truck accident must be brought within two years of the accident and in wrongful death cases there is a three-year statute of limitation. The specific compensation you can seek depends entirely on your individual case. It is important a qualified attorney reviews the facts of the cases and seeks out the information to best support your case.

These types of cases can be quite complex and require the expertise of a seasoned Oregon personal injury attorney. Call our office today for your free initial consultation.