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Santa Monica Personal Injury Law Blog

Fatal wreck kills 1, leaves 5 injured

A horrible crash on the southbound 5 freeway left one person dead, injured five people and left four cars damaged from the wreck. The circumstances are known, but there are still plenty of questions as to why one of the vehicles was stopped on the freeway.

But let's take a step back. A vehicle was stalled out in the carpool lane, leading to another vehicle striking it. This caused a chain reaction crash, as the vehicles went spiraling into the freeway. A police vehicle that was carrying multiple inmates got wrapped up in the collision, hitting one of the vehicles and setting it ablaze. The person inside of the car that caught fire was killed. A fourth vehicle ultimately got wrapped up in the crash.

Are you in need of legal help after a car accident?

Car accidents are devastating events in any person's life, even when they are minor in nature. A fender bender can cost hundreds of dollars and cause many headaches when the car owner presents his or her case to his or her insurer. But there are many accidents out there that cause literal headaches -- and brain injuries, and broken bones, and other serious injuries. To get into a minor car accident is to get off lucky in the world of motor vehicle accidents.

The circumstances of any car accident will be unique, and there are myriad ways that a motor vehicle accident can occur.

Waymo crash: another self-driving car accident

The theme of self-driving cars continues today. Our last two posts have been about the dangers presented by autonomous vehicles, and the issues that the Uber self-driving car fleet has had so far. Today, we want to talk about the company Waymo, which was formerly Google's self-driving car division. One of Waymo's self-driving vehicles was involved in a car accident recently for a reason that is similar to the problem outlined in our last post.

In a lot of the car accidents that involve self-driving cars, a human driver rear ends the self-driving car. But there are also some accidents where these circumstances aren't involved. In the Waymo crash, the human driver behind the wheel of the self-driving car (as required by law currently) turned off self-driving mode in an effort to avoid a crash -- but of course, an accident still occurred. It was minor in nature and no injuries were reported.

Problems with Uber's self-driving fleet reported

On the heels of our last post -- where we talked about the U.S. House of Representatives allowing car companies to accelerate their plans to widely release self-driving cars to the public -- we would like to detail some less than flattering news about Uber's self-driving vehicle fleet, and, more generally, some scary news for all autonomous vehicles.

A few weeks ago, Uber experienced it's first car accident with one of its self-driving vehicles in the city of San Francisco. The wreck occurred when the person in the driver's seat of the autonomous vehicle disengaged the self-driving feature, doing so to allow pedestrians to cross a street. A vehicle behind the self-driving Uber car crashed into it. No injuries were reported.

Self-driving cars could be more prominent very soon

The U.S. House of Representatives has taken a big step today by passing a massive measure that will greatly accelerate the availability of self-driving cars on U.S. roads. The bill allows automakers to receive exemptions that will allow them to release 25,000 self-driving cars in the first year the rule applies without meeting existing safety standards. That level will increase to 100,000 per year in the following years.

The bill now moves on to the Senate, where it will likely see some revisions as advocacy groups have called for more safety provisions. However, it would be surprising to see the bill fail at this point. One major factor that has driven this bill is the stunning increase in road deaths in 2015, which saw a 7.7 percent increase that year from 2014 -- the largest such increase since 1966.

How opioids are shaping the world of car accidents

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a massive problem on American roadways. People who engage in this behavior are knowingly putting themselves and others out on the road in danger. It is a reckless and negligent practice that no one should engage in, and yet, despite decades upon decades of ad campaigns and public service announcements, there are still plenty of people that drive drunk or under the influence of drugs.

Surprisingly, even in the middle of a national opioid epidemic, it isn't too often that you hear about opioids being brought up in relation to car accidents. That is, until today. A study performed by Columbia researchers looked at car accidents and how drivers who tested positive for opioids have increased over time.

Do seatbelt proponents need a new message?

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California struggles to reach seatbelt holdouts

It's common sense: wearing a seatbelt is one of the simplest, most effective ways to protect yourself in a motor vehicle. In the event of an accident, it's more likely to save your life. Yet, there are still motorists and passengers who don't buckle up.

5 ways parents can combat distracted driving by teens

A simple conversation with your child can save lives.

Virtually everyone knows that driving while distracted is dangerous. Yet, inattentive driving continues to claim lives throughout California and the rest of the country. According to the California Highway Patrol, more than 2,500 people in the state die each year in accidents involving distracted drivers.

Drunk driving alleged in fatal Anaheim crash

A 34-year-old father who was expecting a second child soon was killed in a car crash in Anaheim, California recently. The crash was caused by an 18-year-old man who was driving a Nissan Maxima at the time. He crashed into a Toyota Camry being driven by the 34-year-old father. Video from the scene shows a vehicle overturned and another severely damaged, with tons of debris strewn about the neighborhood where the crash occurred.

What is known so far is that the police arrested the 18-year-old for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The exact circumstances still aren't known, but numerous people interviewed for the news story claimed that the street where the accident occurred usually sees people street racing at night. There is a possible connection to the crash, but at this point it is unknown if the 18-year-old was street racing prior to the wreck.

Uber's Singapore expansion marred by faulty vehicles

As our world hurdles closer and closer to self-driving cars on a widely-available scale, the prospect of car accidents that involve one or multiple self-driving vehicles needs to be addressed. Laws and liability that give us the ability to grasp fault in a self-driving car accident are critical.

But self-driving cars are just one part of the evolving motor vehicle landscape. Ride sharing services have completely altered how our roads function. When Uber or Lyft vehicles get involved in a car accident, what are victims to do? And what about the company's role in the vehicles they endorse out on the road? Do they not share some culpability?

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