Articles Posted in Automobile Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that despite people driving less during the COVID-19 pandemic, motor vehicle accident fatalities have actually increased.

NHTSA estimates for 2020 show that 38,680 people died in U.S. motor vehicle traffic crashes — the largest projected number of fatalities since 2007. This figure represents an increase of about 7.2 percent over the 36,096 crash fatalities reported in 2019.

This rise in traffic accident deaths is in contrast to the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) report that overall vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 2020 decreased by about 13.2 percent, compared to miles traveled in 2019. The decrease in driving during the 2020 coronavirus crisis can be attributed to a number of factors, including…

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In late May, we reported on how the Maryland courts have continued to move through their phased reopening plan. The good news is during Phase V, the courts have resumed full operations (with some social distancing and public health safety measures still in place), including jury trials — many of which had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The not-so-great news is despite the Maryland courts’ efforts to get back to business as usual (which can move at a glacial pace), insurance claims continue to be backlogged. This can be a source of great frustration for Marylanders with auto accident injury claims. Being injured due to another driver’s negligence or recklessness is bad enough. Waiting for insurance claims to be processed and badly needed compensation payments to be made just adds insult to injury.

This is one more reason why we urge anyone with a motor vehicle accident claim to consult with an experienced Maryland injury attorney who knows how to deal with the insurance companies. The current backlog of insurance claims is due to a number of factors….

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Several new Maryland motor vehicle laws went into effect on October 1, 2020 — on issues ranging from motor vehicle insurance coverage to license plate border violations, to electronic sales of motor vehicles, and emissions law exceptions for active duty military personnel.

The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) reports of the 300 bills it monitored in the 2020 Maryland General Assembly session, 35 have a direct impact on the department, its customers, transportation-related issues, and potentially—your driving. Here are a few of the new Maryland traffic laws now in effect.

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Maryland road warriors… If you’re heading out of town or state for Thanksgiving, expect plenty of company. AAA reports that nationally, motor vehicle travel for Thanksgiving week 2019 is expected to increase by 3 percent compared to last year – with some 49.3 million cars hitting the road in the U.S.

Sounds inviting? AAA Mid-Atlantic reports that the majority of Marylanders traveling for Thanksgiving will be hitting the road – with 1,042,500 residents (91 percent of state travelers) getting to their destination by auto. To avoid a motor vehicle accident or other problems on the road this Thanksgiving, AAA and the Travel Channel offer some good-sense travel advice…

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If you’ve heard about the Real ID but aren’t sure what it is and whether you have one, you’re not alone. However, this directly affects your Maryland Driver’s License, and if you haven’t filed the required documentation, you may be at risk for having your license recalled. Here’s some information about what the Real ID is and what you’ll need to do to be compliant.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. Congress passed the Real ID Act establishing federal standards for drivers’ licenses and ID cards. Tragically, 18 of the terrorists responsible for this heinous act were able to board the airplanes they hijacked using state IDs obtained fraudulently. Now, everyone will need a Real ID license or ID card for certain federal activities, such as entering a federal building or boarding a domestic commercial flight.

According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) website, “Enforcement of the REAL ID Act at the card level begins on October 1, 2020. Maryland has been Real ID compliant since 2011.” However, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notified the MVA that nearly a million Maryland drivers have not filed the required documentation for their Real ID driver’s licenses to be compliant.

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School’s out for summer! And that means more novice teenage drivers out on our Maryland back roads, city streets and highways. For parents and all Maryland motorists, this should be cause for concern.

The AAA reports that novice drivers are at greater risk for serious motor vehicle accidents, with an average of nearly 700 deaths in the U.S. each year from traffic crashes involving teen drivers. According to AAA, the school summer vacation period between Memorial Day and Labor Day represents the “100 deadliest days” on our roadways. In the last five years—during this deadly time frame—nearly 3,500 people have been killed on our nation’s roadways as a result of auto accidents involving teenage drivers.

AAA lists some of the risk factors that can lead to teenage drivers being involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents:

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has expanded its investigation of potentially defective air bag systems to include 12 million vehicles going back a decade. The investigation began after air bags failed to deploy during two serious front-end crashes involving 2018 and 2019 Toyota Corollas. Now, the investigation has expanded to look into air bag control units in vehicles made by several manufacturers. NHTSA reports the units could fail during a motor vehicle accident, resulting in the air bags failing to deploy.

Maryland drivers may want to consider whether their vehicles are among those whose airbag control units are being investigated by NHTSA.

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It’s a common site on Maryland’s busy roadways: A police officer approaches a vehicle he or she has pulled over in the highway breakdown lane. Or a tow truck driver assists a motorist broken down on the side of the road. Or an ambulance responds to the scene of a traffic accident. These hard-working first responders take their lives in their hands every day while doing their jobs to assist the public and keep our Maryland roadways safe.

This is why Maryland passed a “Move Over Law” requiring motorists travelling in the same direction to change lanes to avoid emergency vehicles and personnel in the roadway. If changing lanes is not safe or possible, then motorists are required to slow down to a speed that is safe for weather, road, and traffic conditions — to make sure they can safely pass the first responders and avoid causing a tragic motor vehicle accident.

Now, Maryland has expanded its Move Over law to include other types of motor vehicles.

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Most Maryland motorists would most likely admit that reading over their auto insurance policy isn’t high on their to-do lists. However, as experienced Baltimore car accident attorneys, we know too well from our clients’ traffic mishaps that not knowing what your auto insurance covers can turn out to be very costly. Now, a new auto insurance offering for Maryland drivers may improve their chances of collecting more compensation in the event of a traffic accident with an at-fault motorist who is underinsured.

Last year, the General Assembly of Maryland passed a bill into law called the Private Passenger Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance – Enhanced Underinsured Motorist Coverage (“EUIM”). The EUIM law went into effect on October 1, 2017 and applies to private passenger automobile policies purchased on or after July 1, 2018. Now, all property and casualty insurers and producers must offer EUIM coverage to private passenger motor vehicle liability policies.

So what does this mean for you as a motorist in Maryland?

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Did you know…? If you’re inclined to drive an ATV or snowmobile on authorized portions of a Maryland highway, you’ll need a driver’s license? Or that hanging fuzzy dice and other doodads from the vehicle’s rear-view mirror may now be cited as a secondary traffic offense? Those and several other new Maryland vehicle laws went into effect last year — but you might not be aware of them.

For our Maryland drivers who want to do their best to avoid motor vehicle accidents and abide by state transportation laws…here is a brief rundown of the new Maryland Vehicle Laws. As of October 1, 2017, The Maryland General Assembly, Department of Legislative Services, put the following vehicle laws into effect:

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