Posted On: September 30, 2010

Queen Anne's County Maryland Wrongful Death Lawsuit : Family Awarded $100K in Chesapeake Bay Bridge Fatal Truck Accident Case

The family of a truck driver killed in a 2008 Chesapeake Bay Bridge tractor trailer truck accident has been awarded a $100,000 settlement by the responsible driver's insurance company.

According to news reports, a big rig truck driver, age 57, was hauling refrigerated chickens across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge eastbound in the early morning hours of Aug. 10, 2008. Then, a 19-year-old woman who'd been out clubbing with friends in Baltimore, Maryland after a wedding fell asleep behind the wheel, crossed the center line, and hit the tractor trailer truck. The car crash set off a series of events that caused the truck to go out of control, hit another vehicle and break through the opposite barrier -- plunging into the Chesapeake Bay waters below. The truck driver was killed.

As Queen Anne's County car accident injury lawyers know, many factors are taken into consideration in both criminal and civil courts. This fatal Maryland car and truck accident case was controversial: even though the defendant had been drinking in Baltimore prior to the fatal traffic accident, her blood alcohol level was below the legal limit. The Queen Anne's County State Attorney at the time told the press: "The act of falling asleep while driving and drifting across the center line is not sufficient to constitute gross negligence."

The driver plead guilty to charges of negligent driving, failure to drive right of center and violating a license restriction and paid $470 in fines. Shortly after, the truck driver's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the woman driver in Queen Anne's County Circuit Court, Maryland.

The pending $100K settlement from State Farm will close the wrongful death lawsuit, however property damage claims are still in progress. e.g., It cost the state of Maryland and two tow truck companies several hundred thousand dollars to remove the tractor trailer truck from Chesapeake Bay. Also the driver of a third car that was hit in the bridge traffic accident will reportedly sue the offending driver for property damages.

See related Maryland Injury Attorney blog article:
Chesapeake Bay Bridge Accident: Maryland Families File Lawsuit Over Traffic Deaths

Settlement Reached in Bay Bridge Crash
WJZ.com Sept. 24, 2010

Bay Bridge wreck lawsuit close to settlement
HometownAnnapolis.com Sept. 23, 2010

Related Web Resource

Wikipedia: Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Posted On: September 29, 2010

Cecil County Pedestrian Traffic Accident Fatality : Driver Gets 2 Years Jail in Fatal Hit and Run DUI Case

A judge has sentenced a local man to two years in jail for a fatal Cecil County, Maryland pedestrian traffic accident.

This fatal pedestrian and truck accident occurred in the Elkton area of Cecil County, Maryland on the evening of June 14, 2009.

According to local news reports, a 57-year-old Cecil County man was driving his truck when he struck a pedestrian, age 44, who was on the roadside helping another man load a moped onto a parked truck. The victim was crushed between the driver's truck and the parked vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver fled the scene of the Cecil County, Md. auto accident and was later apprehended walking a short distance away, having abandoned his disabled vehicle. The driver's blood alcohol concentration level tested at twice the legal limit in Maryland. He was not taken into immediate custody and fled authorities as a fugitive, but was later apprehended by U.S. Customs at the Canadian border. A judge sentenced the driver to five years in prison for vehicular homicide before suspending three of those years.

Cecil County auto accident injury lawyers may be consulted by families who have lost loved ones or suffered injuries in Maryland motor vehicle crashes. In 2008, 152 people lost their lives on Maryland roads and highways in drunk-driving traffic accidents. (Source: Traffic Safety Facts Maryland 2004 - 2008, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.)

Drunk driver gets two years in jail for killing pedestrian
CecilWhig.com Sept. 27, 2010

Elkton-area man crushed to death in hit-and-run
CecilWhig.com June 14, 2009

Posted On: September 21, 2010

Maryland Traffic Safety: DOT Study Shows U.S. Distracted Driving Accident Deaths Not Going Down

Though nationally and in Maryland, overall traffic accident deaths have declined -- distracted driving death rates remain unchanged. So says a new study released by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood describes the problem of distracted driving as a national "epidemic." Some alarming numbers:

  • One in 8 roadway deaths is blamed on distracted driving.

  • Last year, distracted driving was blamed for 5,474 motor vehicle accident deaths and nearly half a million people injured on U.S. roads and highways.

  • The main forms of distracted driving are texting and cell phone use. In Maryland, adults are as guilty as young people of texting while driving (see link to related blog article below).

  • Reading the newspaper behind the wheel has been replaced with reading e-books on handheld devices.

This serious driving hazard remains unchanged despite numerous laws and safety awareness campaigns aimed at reducing distracted driving auto accidents and truck accidents.

An experienced Harford County car accident injury lawyer sees the results of what can happen when Maryland drivers don't pay attention to the road.

DOT Sec. LaHood says busy people think they can safely talk on their cell phones and text while driving. U.S. traffic accident death rates and injury statistics show otherwise.

Related blog post:
Maryland Texting Ban and Car Accident Prevention: New Report Says Adults as Guilty as Youth of Texting while Driving

Sources:

Number of Distracted Driving Deaths Unchanged (video)
ABCNews.com Sept. 20, 2010

Summit Calls For Reduction In Distracted Driving
Associated Press on NPR.org Sept. 21, 2010

Related Web Resource

Distraction.gov

Posted On: September 8, 2010

Dubious Distinction: Baltimore Maryland Drivers Among Worst in the Nation, Allstate Report Finds

Anyone who drives to or from the city of Baltimore, Maryland at rush hour will tell you -- it's not for the faint of heart. Like most older American cities, Baltimore has problems with traffic congestion. There are simply too many drivers jockeying to get someplace at the same time on roads not built to handle the volume. Throw in Baltimore County road and bridge construction delays, bad weather, and car accidents, and it's not a pretty sight.

And now, apparently, Baltimore drivers' bad habits have made the traffic situation in Maryland uglier -- and the chance of getting in a Baltimore traffic accident more likely.

According to the Baltimore Business Journal, insurance company Allstate has published a report that finds Baltimore drivers to be some of the most dangerous in the country. The study, which looked at 200 American cities, found that...

  • Baltimore drivers experience an accident every 5.6 years on average.

  • Compared to the national average, Baltimore drivers are 79.4 % more likely to get into a traffic accident.

  • Baltimore, Md ranks 192nd in the U.S. for safety -- that's second-to-last. Our neighbor, Washington, D.C., slammed in to last place or 193rd worst in the county. (Some cities tied for their slots, so the survey only goes up to 193rd place.)

Allstate cites "human error" as the number-one cause of auto accidents. That includes distracted driving, road rage, not paying attention to weather conditions and other traffic, and poorly maintained vehicles.

Baltimore Drivers: Charming and Dangerous?
Allstate's report is in contrast to a 2009 survey conducted by auto club AutoVantage, which, ironically, found Baltimore drivers to be the third-most courteous in the country -- with news headlines describing Baltimore drivers as downright "charming." Maybe now that means they pleasantly wave at their fellow motorists before cutting them off on the Baltimore Beltway ...while texting.

Surveys aside -- an experienced Baltimore car accident injury lawyer knows that things can and do go terribly wrong on Baltimore City and County roads and highways. Aggressive driving incidents are statistically on the rise in Maryland -- in part due to police changing the way they code traffic accidents. Allstate's report suggests that Baltimore drivers are indeed more dangerous than others in the country.

Allstate: Baltimore drivers among most dangerous
Baltimore Business Journal Sept. 2, 2010

Sixth Annual "Allstate America's Best Drivers Report" Reveals New Safest Driving City
Allstate Press Release Sept. 2, 1010

Related Maryland Injury Attorney Blog Entries:

Baltimore Drivers Ranked Among the Most Courteous in the Nation

Maryland Traffic Crash Data : Auto Accidents and Fatalities Down, but Aggressive Driving Stats Up