Impaired driving leaves a community in mourning

community in mourning holding lit candlesticks

Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs are a danger on the roads. Far too often, it is others who suffer the consequences of their decision to get behind the wheel in that condition. There is an accident that causes fatal injuries. Lives are cut short. Families and friends are left to grieve.

That’s the situation many people in Estacada are now struggling with after a recent fatal car accident.

On Memorial Day, a car was traveling on South Springwater Road when the driver appeared to lose control. The car went into a spin, crossing the center line and crashing into a white Ford pickup truck traveling in the opposite direction.

Three of the car’s five occupants were killed in the crash – Zackary Brian, 18; Jordan Stores, 17; and Reagan Alves, 14.

The 18-year-old driver was arrested and is facing multiple charges, including driving under the influence of intoxicants.

Remembering the victims

Residents of the rural community of about 3,500 in Clackamas County were left in shock by the deadly crash. In June, more than 400 people attended a candlelight vigil for the three teens who lost their lives. Friends shared their memories – “a confident, energetic middle-schooler,” “a goofball and class clown,” a friend who “gave the best hugs in the world.”

The driver made his first court appearance earlier that day.

Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs is against the law in Oregon, and for good reason. It is not safe for anyone on the road when a driver is under the influence. Different drugs can affect driving ability in different ways.

For example:

  • Alcohol and marijuana can slow reaction time and impair judgment of time and distance.
  • Methamphetamine and cocaine can lead to aggressive and reckless driving behaviors.
  • Opioids can cause drowsiness and impair memory and thinking skills.
  • Sedatives, such as benzodiazepines and barbiturates, can cause dizziness and drowsiness.

Impaired drivers can easily cause car accidents that result in serious or fatal injuries. Despite widespread knowledge about the dangers of impaired driving, it remains a serious problem. According to the CDC, 1,176 people were killed in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers in Oregon from 2009 to 2018.

That doesn’t even take into account accidents caused by drivers who were impaired by other drugs.

Our car accident lawyers help Oregon families seek justice

The Oregon Department of Transportation’s Impaired Driving Program continues its effort to reduce drunk and drugged driving on many fronts – including education, law enforcement, and public outreach.

Kya Bentley, 17, was the only surviving passenger in the Estacada crash. She suffered serious injuries, but she doesn’t remember any details about the accident.

“All of a sudden everybody was dead,” she said.

Generally, families of loved ones can take civil action to hold impaired drivers financially accountable for their reckless actions. Nothing will ever replace their loss, however, and the process is far from straightforward or easy.

That’s why it’s important to get experienced legal representation. The attorneys at Zbinden & Curtis have been fighting for the rights of crash victims in the Portland area for decades. If you were injured in a car accident or a loved one died in an accident caused by an impaired driver, contact us for a free case evaluation.

Portland taking steps to improve deadly intersection, but is it enough?

A Portland roadway known for pedestrian and bicycle accidents is getting an upgrade that city officials say will make the area a lot safer for people on foot.

This has a Hawthorne Boulevard neighborhood feeling left out and vulnerable.

A grieving father recently reached out to the city’s commissioner to see if changes could be made to the plans that would address risks to cyclists.

Seth Smart, the father of Fallon Smart, a 15-year-old girl who was killed while crossing Hawthorne legally about 5 years ago, said the street needs more effective improvements. Smart said he was excited when he heard about the city’s plans to pave and paint Hawthorne, but as the plans developed, he lost hope.

No bike lanes will be added to the street.

“As this process has developed and the redesign solidified, it has become clear that the changes do not address the safety needs for a street like Hawthorne,” Smart wrote. “A redesign plan that does not include clearly marked protected bike lanes is doomed to repeat the mistakes and the hazards of the past.”

Cyclist safety? Not this time

In response to his letter, the commissioner said that the city’s funds are limited and that the work they have planned is geared toward pedestrian safety. If bike lanes were added to the street, she argued, pedestrians would have to cross them as well as lanes of vehicle traffic. Pedestrian islands would also have to be made smaller.

In a city that has more bicycle commuters than any other major U.S. city, this seems short-sighted, not only to Seth Smart, but other members of the biking community.

Among the upgrades planned for Hawthorne this summer are:

  • The addition of a center turn lane.
  • Pedestrian islands, better lighting, and more crosswalks to be installed at 10 key intersections.
  • The reduction of traffic lanes from four (two for each direction) down to two and a center turn lane.

In the future, updates to Hawthorne may include wider sidewalks and curb extensions — two more features that don’t specifically address bicycle safety.

Is Portland good for bicycles?

Portland is a bicycle-riding paradise — mostly. As of the last count, more than 6% of commuters — or 22,600 people — ride bikes to work. Nationally, the rate of bicycle commuters is 0.5%.

The busiest place for bike traffic in Portland is in the city’s center along SW Naito Parkway.

The city features at least 94 miles of neighborhood greenways, 162 miles of bike lanes, 85 miles of paths, and another 9 miles of marked, shared roadways.

Out of Portland’s nearly 400 designated miles of bikeways, less than 40 miles provide protection between motor vehicles and bicyclists.

To be fair, the City of Portland does put a lot of work into improving infrastructure for the bicycling community. The city features more than 30 intersections with bike-specific traffic signals and 42 “bike boxes” that raise a cyclist’s visibility at intersections.

Bicycle accidents in Portland

On any given day in the summer, Portland can see nearly 49,000 people on bikes getting around the city. For the most part, riders enjoy the trip and have no issues, but accidents do happen.

Every year, about two people die in Portland bicycle accidents. The most recent happened in December when a 64-year-old man was killed in a car vs. bicycle accident on North Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard and North Union Court.

When a bicyclist is involved in an accident, it’s almost always the rider that pays the highest price. Injuries caused when a car hits a person on a bike are often severe and include brain injuries, facial fractures, scars, deep cuts, internal bleeding, spinal column injuries, and broken bones.

Injured cyclists have legal rights

If you or a loved one was injured in a bicycle accident that was not your fault, do not rely on an insurance company to look out for your best interests. Yes, you can file a claim with an insurance provider to request compensation for your injuries and other damages. Often, these requests are denied.

The problem is insurance companies are profit-driven and aren’t interested in paying you appropriate compensation for your losses. That’s why you need a savvy, experienced bicycle accident lawyer who understands how to fight for the money you deserve.

At Zbinden & Curtis, LLC, we know how to deal with insurance companies and advocate for maximum compensation. Our firm also offers legal representation on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless you win.

See how our attorneys can help you. Take the first step and contact us today for a free consultation.

How to stay safe when driving in a work zone

Lane closure on a busy road due to road maintenance

Whether it’s paving and bridgework or sidewalk curb ramps and safety improvements, road construction is typically a good sign that warmer weather has arrived in Oregon.

While maintaining and upgrading our roads is clearly important, motorists approaching, going through, and departing work zones should be aware of the increased risk of car accidents.

Construction zones require motorists to immediately adjust their driving; they may need to slow down, stop, merge, change lanes, drive over rough surfaces, and maneuver around obstacles such as road construction workers, traffic cops, heavy machinery, materials, tools, and debris. When drivers aren’t paying attention or otherwise being reckless, serious and sometimes fatal accidents can occur.

Due to the chaotic nature of work zones, it’s even more important to practice safe driving habits so you can avoid causing a crash that results in injury — or worse.

Work zone safety tips

If you avoid recklessness when you’re behind the wheel, you shouldn’t have any problems safely navigating through a work zone. For drivers who already engage in negligent behavior (e.g., speeding, distracted driving, road rage, driving under the influence, etc.), the risk of a crash is heightened around a road construction site.

To avoid dangerous driving behaviors when traveling through a work zone, the Federal Highway Administration offers these tips:

  • Plan ahead. If you don’t want to deal with road construction, check the latest traffic conditions and alter your route as needed.
  • Keep your focus. You shouldn’t be distracted (e.g., texting, eating, self-grooming, using an electronic device, rubbernecking) while you’re driving anyway, but this is even more important in work zones. Pay attention to what other motorists are doing, obey flaggers, and be prepared to maneuver around signs, cones, barrels, raised road structures, and other obstacles.
  • Be mindful of workers. In highway work zones specifically where getting hit by a car likely means a higher-speed collision, watch out for workers. According to the latest crash data from 2019, 135 highway road construction workers died in fatal accidents that year.
  • Be prepared to stop. Traffic patterns change in work zones frequently, which can cause traffic jams and other delays. When you’re approaching a work zone, give yourself plenty of room to slow down and stop to avoid crashing into the rear-end of another motorist. Rear-end car accidents resulted in about 25% of all fatal work zone crashes in 2019.
  • Watch your speed. Speeding is one of the primary causes of all motor vehicle accidents and is even more dangerous around work zones. Always obey the posted speed limit and do not follow the vehicle that’s in front of you too closely. Remember, getting rear-ended by another driver is one of the top ways people die in work zone crashes. From 2018 to 2019, the number of fatal work zone crashes where speeding was a contributing factor increased by almost 40%.
  • Be careful around large vehicles. An 18-wheeler, semi-truck, tanker, dump truck, tractor-trailer, bus, or any other type of big rig needs more time to slow down and can’t maneuver through a work zone as easily as a standard-size passenger vehicle. Large vehicles also have large blind spots, so you should avoid making sudden lane changes and cutting in front of truckers and bus drivers.

Including drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists, work zone crashes in 2019 resulted in 842 deaths (up 11% over 2018). Simply put, every motorist needs to put safety first when driving in or approaching a work zone. That means you should be respectful of all road workers, your fellow drivers, and everyone else you encounter on the road.

Demand justice after a crash

If you were seriously injured or a loved one died in a fatal work zone crash in Portland or anywhere in Oregon, you have the right to pursue financial compensation for your damages from the at-fault driver. The problem is you aren’t actually seeking money from the driver that’s responsible for your crash, but rather, that driver’s auto insurance company — an entity that has a financial incentive to close your claim as quickly and cheaply as possible.

Don’t let an insurance company downplay the severity of your work zone crash. Let an experienced car accident lawyer handle your claim and fight for maximum compensation.

Find out what a personal injury attorney from Zbinden & Curtis can do for you and contact us right away to schedule a free consultation.

How small increases in speed can make serious accident-related injures more likely

Portland auto accident attorney

Across the country, posted speed limits are going up. Although most people would be happy to arrive at their destination just a little sooner, the consequences of higher speed limits for drivers involved in an accident can prove fatal.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and Humanetics recently conducted a study published in January to test three different impact speeds at 40, 50 and 56 miles per hour. The study revealed that even slightly higher speeds increased the risk of a severe injury — or even death.

Injuries increase with speed

At 40 mph, the driver’s space was minimally impacted by the crash. Increasing the speed by 10 mph resulted in the driver’s side door opening, and the dashboard and foot area becoming deformed by the force of the impact. At 56 mph, the interior of the vehicle was significantly damaged, with the crash dummy’s sensors registering severe neck injuries and likely fractures to the bones in the lower leg.

The dummy also showed a high risk of facial fractures and severe brain injury when the steering wheel’s upward movement resulted in its face smashing into the steering wheel. Both of these injuries occurred at 50 and 56 mph.

“Higher speed limits cancel out the benefits of vehicle safety improvements like airbags and improved structural designs. The faster a driver is going before a crash, the less likely it is that they’ll be able to get down to a survivable speed even if they have a chance to brake before impact,” said Dr. David Harkey, IIHS president.

A 2019 IIHS study also found that raising speed limits has resulted in the loss of 37,000 lives during the past 25 years. A total of 41 states allow 70 mph or higher speeds on roadways, eight of which have maximum speeds of 80 mph or more.

Contact our Portland attorneys if you’ve been hurt in an accident

Should you find yourself dealing with crash-related injuries, the burden of costly medical expenses or lost wages due to another driver’s negligence, the attorneys at Zbinden & Curtis, Attorneys at Law in Portland, Oregon will be there to build a strong case. We offer a free case evaluation for potential clients.

With decades of experience dealing with speeding-related car accidents, Zbinden & Curtis will launch an investigation to obtain pictures, speak to witnesses and utilize details from the police report to find justice for crash victims.

High-speed crashes typically include:

  • Rear-end accidents ⁠— A speeding vehicle crashing into the back of another car. Rear-end accidents often result in whiplash or spinal injuries to the victim.
  • Head-on collisions — When two cars traveling in opposite directions collide, causing catastrophic damage.
  • T-bone accidents — A speeding driver who is unable to stop at a traffic light or stop sign may end up driving into the side of another vehicle. These accidents are called “T-bone” crashes because when one vehicle crashes into the side of another it forms the appearance of the letter T.
  • Crashing into stationary objects — When drivers lose control of their cars or are unable to slow down, they might end up driving off the road or crashing into parked cars, poles or buildings.
  • Winter weather accidents — With roads in slippery conditions, a speeding motorist is often unable to come to a stop, which results in a car wreck.

In these types of high-speed crashes, victims can suffer a range of injuries from cuts and bruises to whiplash, broken bones, or head or spinal injuries, as well as paralysis or death.

If a speeding motorist caused your accident, don’t let insurance companies put the blame on you — the victim. The attorneys at Zbinden & Curtis know how to deal with insurance companies and hold them accountable. Contact us online or call us to get started on your claim. Our case evaluations are free and confidential.

Do distracted drivers listen to passengers?

Distracted Drivers

Distracted driving continues to be a growing threat to public safety, despite the known risks. Within the last year alone, around 57 percent of all crashes in the United States involved the use of a cellphone in the moments leading to impact. The majority of these distracted driving crashes involved a driver using a cellphone within five seconds before the crash. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the frequency of cellphone use has grown exponentially over the last year.

Far too many drivers are willing to take the risk of causing a crash just to check cellphone notifications, send text messages or browse the internet. This is unlawful in Oregon, yet the law only penalizes distracted drivers. It does very little to stop them. According to a survey conducted by online car dealership LeithCars.com, even complaints from passengers do very little to stop distracted drivers.

Which distracted drivers did passengers confront?

According to the survey, which involved more than 1,000 passengers, more than 97 percent of participants said they confronted a distracted driver. That includes:

  • Friends – 67%
  • Family members – 60.8%
  • A significant other – 54.1%
  • Co-workers – 15.2%
  • Rideshare or cab drivers – 9.4%

Rideshare and cab drivers were the most likely to get defensive when called out for distracted driving. Family members and friends were the most likely to listen to passenger complaints, according to the survey.

What types of distractions were drivers confronted for?

The most common distractions involving cellphones included:

  • Texting and driving – 52%
  • Browsing the internet – 33%
  • Taking pictures and videos – 17%

Not all distractions involved cellphones, however. For example, drivers were confronted by passengers for the following distractions:

  • Turning around or reaching for items – 28.8%
  • Daydreaming or looking out the window – 22.9%
  • Adjusting a car stereo – 15.1%
  • Steering with knees or legs – 14.7%
  • Helping children/pets – 14.2%
  • Taking care of personal hygiene – 13.6%

Other distractions that received fewer complaints included drinking and driving, falling asleep, smoking marijuana, eating, reading, changing clothes and crying.

What makes distracted driving so dangerous?

The reported number of distracted driving deaths in the U.S. (2,841 in 2018) is alarming enough. But these numbers don’t account for all distracted driving deaths. Moreover, roughly 400,000 injuries are estimated each year due to distracted driving. The true numbers are likely higher. That’s because not all distracted drivers leave behind physical evidence or admit to being distracted when they cause a crash. What’s even more shocking, distracted driving is such a widespread problem that you could be sharing the road with multiple distracted drivers at any given time.

When drivers are distracted, they often have very little time to stop or react to an impending crash. This is usually due to:

  • Visual distractions – Eyes off the road
  • Manual distractions – Hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive distractions – Attention away from driving

Drivers have a duty to themselves and others on the road. If they don’t pay attention, and someone is injured as a result, they should be held accountable.

Were you or a loved one injured in a crash involving a distracted driver? If so, it’s critical that you speak to an experienced car accident lawyer who will uphold your rights and fight for fair compensation. Contact Zbinden & Curtis, Attorneys At Law in Portland online or call our law office to set up your free and confidential case evaluation.

Why you should obtain your Oregon car accident report after a crash

Portland auto accident attorney

The official police report is created when a police officer responds to the crash scene. Police are often dispatched to the scene of a crash when someone has been injured, there was significant damage, the crash is blocking traffic, or the crash involved a drunk driver. The first thing police do is determine if anyone needs medical attention and ensure that both cars are moved out of the line of traffic. Then, they begin assessing the crash and its causes.

The official police report isn’t created at the crash scene. Police usually collect the information and evidence they need then put together the official report at the police station. Police are trained to evaluate crashes while evidence is fresh at the scene. The report they put together is supposed to be unbiased, but sometimes the information can be inaccurate.

An official police report will have a significant impact on your car accident claim. If any information is incorrect, the other driver’s insurance company can use it to its advantage. When pursuing a claim, it’s critical that you get a copy of the official Oregon car accident report and review it for errors. If any information on your crash report is inaccurate, an experienced attorney at Zbinden & Curtis, Attorneys At Law can help get it corrected.

What will I find on my Oregon car accident report?

Your 3-page Oregon car accident report will contain the following information:

Page 1 – Basic information:

  • Crash date, time, location and road.
  • Property damage, injuries or deaths.
  • Driver’s information – Name, driver’s license number, address and contact information.
  • Vehicle information – Vehicle identification number, license plate number, year, make and model.
  • Whether drivers or passengers were injured in the crash.
  • Contact information for all witnesses and passengers.
  • If other parties (besides drivers and passengers) sustained injuries.
  • The responding officer’s name and badge number.

Page 2 – Causes and contributors

  • The weather and road conditions at the time of the crash.
  • Traffic control devices and locations.
  • Driver license violations.
  • Factors and other contributors that led to the crash.
  • Driver impairment.
  • A visual diagram showing how the crash occurred.

Page 3 – Truck and bus information (only applies if a truck or bus was involved): 

  • If the crash involved an injury, death or towaway.
  • Information on the truck driver and their employer.
  • Type of commercial vehicle involved in the crash.
  • The sequence of events that led to the crash.

How will my Oregon car accident report benefit my claim?

If you sustained significant injuries and damage to your car in a crash, you need all the evidence you can find to build a strong case. That’s because the other driver’s insurance company can easily argue that nobody was at fault, you were at fault, or you were exaggerating your injuries. An experienced car accident attorney at Zbinden & Curtis, Attorneys At Law can cross-reference your official Oregon car accident report with other pieces of evidence including:

  • Physical evidence from the crash scene.
  • Statements from witnesses.
  • Surveillance camera or dash-cam footage.
  • Cellphone records from the at-fault driver.

Our legal team will use this information to help you recover damages pertaining to medical costs, wage loss, property damage, pain and suffering, and other damages accrued from your crash. To get started on your claim, contact our Portland law firm online and set up your free case evaluation.

Can I afford to hire an attorney if I was injured in a crash?

Contingency fee

If you were injured in a traffic collision due to someone else’s reckless or negligent behavior, you may be looking to pursue a claim. A common mistake people make is assuming that they can’t afford to hire an attorney. They attempt to handle their claims alone and risk being denied the compensation they deserve.

Handling a car accident claim without an attorney is risky because the insurance company that represents the at-fault driver will do everything in its power to pay you as little as possible. If you speak to the other driver’s insurance company, you could unknowingly admit to fault. Your statements will be recorded and anything you say can be used against your claim.

That’s why it’s critical that you hire an attorney to handle your case. While some law firms charge upfront legal fees, Zbinden & Curtis, Attorneys At Law in Portland, OR do not. We operate on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay unless we win your case.

Contingency fees explained

Contingency fees are designed to allow clients access to legal representation without having to pay any upfront costs. Our attorneys pay for the cost of launching an investigation, obtaining documents, and litigating your case.

In order to be reimbursed for our expenses and services, we take a percentage of your compensation while ensuring that all of your losses are recovered. Your recovery pays for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.

Contingency fees only apply to expenses paid by your attorney, as well as the time and labor put into your case. You may still have to pay for other expenses not directly related to the services provided by your attorney. This often includes court fees and filing fees.

Do I have to pay for a case evaluation?

Our law firm offers free and confidential case evaluations. The purpose of your case evaluation is to determine if you have a solid claim. During this time, we’ll ask you about the details of your crash, the injuries you sustained, and the treatment you’re receiving from your doctor. A link between the at-fault driver’s negligence and your injuries must be established.

If we decide to take your case, it can take some time to resolve it. We’ll need to launch an in-depth investigation into the cause of your crash and tally up the total damages accrued.

Zbinden & Curtis, Attorneys At Law know how financially devastating the aftermath of a crash can be. You’re facing costly medical bills while you’re out of work and unable to collect a paycheck. That’s why we want to ensure that getting the right legal representation is affordable.

To get started on your claim, simply contact us online and our attorneys will get back to you promptly.

What are the best ways to take legal action if you were injured in a Portland parking lot?

Parking lot injuries

Anything can happen in a busy parking lot. You may encounter a distracted or speeding driver or a hazard that should have been addressed by the property or business owner. Parking lot injuries can happen anywhere: grocery stores, shopping malls, college campuses, bars and restaurants, hospitals and government buildings.

If you were injured in a parking lot, it’s important to understand whose negligent or reckless actions were involved. It’s also important to understand how to take legal action and pursue a successful claim. Speak to the Portland, Oregon attorneys at Zbinden & Curtis to learn about your legal rights.

What are common ways parking lot injuries occur?

The most common incidents that lead to parking lot injuries include:

  • Car accidents. Car accidents may not happen at high speeds in parking lots, but that doesn’t mean that injuries can’t occur. Parking lot car accidents are usually caused by distracted driving or speeding and often involve rear-end collisions or side-impact crashes.
  • Pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians can easily be hit in parking lots. Since they are the most vulnerable road users, they can sustain serious injuries, even when being hit at a low speed. Pedestrian accidents in parking lots often occur when drivers are inattentive or when backing out of parking spaces.
  • Falls. It only takes an uneven surface, large crack, hidden curb, piece of debris, or unaddressed snow or ice to cause a slip and fall accident. People who fall in parking lots often sustain serious injuries after hitting the hard pavement.
  • Violent encounters. Violence can happen anywhere at any time. It tends to happen more at night or in areas where security is lacking. Violent encounters often include muggings, sexual assault, fights and random assaults.

Who is responsible if I sustained an injury in a parking lot?

If you were hurt in a parking lot, determining who is responsible depends on the type of accident that led to your injuries. In most cases, the responsible parties include:

  • The motorist who hit you. If you were injured in a car or pedestrian accident in a parking lot, the driver who hit you is responsible for causing your injuries. In this case, you would be able to pursue damages from the driver’s insurance company.
  • The owner of a business or property. If you were injured in a slip and fall, the owner of the business or property that you were visiting at the time of your accident may be found responsible for failing to maintain safe premises. If you were injured in a violent assault, the same party can be found responsible for failing to provide adequate security personnel, security cameras and lighting.

A lawyer can handle your claim

Proving fault after a parking lot accident can be difficult. Often times, it’s your word against the responsible party’s. The Portland attorneys at Zbinden & Curtis know how to gather evidence and present the facts. We can gather surveillance camera footage (if available), statements from witnesses, medical records, incident reports, crash reports and other pieces of evidence that can support your claim.

Our attorneys will also ensure that a fair value is placed on your claim and we’ll fight to help you recover every penny of your losses. Contact us online today to schedule your free case evaluation.

Sleep disorders may lead to drowsy driving accidents

Portland auto accident attorney

Many car accidents in Portland and throughout Oregon are caused by drowsy driving. When drivers don’t get enough sleep, their judgment is impacted and they have slower reaction times. As a result, they are at increased risk of causing an accident that leaves people seriously hurt.

Why are drivers so drowsy? There are many types of sleep disorders – often undiagnosed and untreated – that prevent people from getting enough sleep and interferes with their ability to properly function during the day.

Insomnia

There are different types of insomnia. People with sleep-onset insomnia have difficulty falling asleep. Those with sleep maintenance insomnia have difficulty staying asleep. Others have a mixture of both. Short-term insomnia lasts less than three months, while people who suffer symptoms at least three times a week for more than three months have chronic insomnia.

Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders

People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have physiological factors that block the airway during sleep, causing them to wake up multiple times during the night. In people with central sleep apnea (CSA), they wake because the brain stops sending signal to muscles that regulate breathing. People with a sleep-related hyperventilation disorder have factors that interfere with ventilation, causing carbon dioxide levels in their blood to increase. Those with a sleep-related hypoxemia disorder have a condition that causes their blood oxygen levels to decrease.

Hypersomnolence Disorders

These disorders result in feelings of sleepiness and fatigue during the day. People with narcolepsy may involuntarily lapse into sleep during the day despite healthy sleeping schedules. Those with idiopathic hypersomnia also have these symptoms despite no known sleep disorders or preexisting conditions. Some people have a rare disorder called Kleine-Levin Syndrome, which leads to excessive sleep.

Sleep-Wake Disorders

People with sleep-wake phase disorder are unable to fall asleep and wake up at scheduled times. In irregular rhythm sleep-wake disorder, people have irregular episodes of sleeping and waking during the day. People with non-24 sleep-wake disorder have cycles of sleeping and waking that don’t follow a 24-hour schedule. People who work evening or nights may experience shift work sleep disorder. Others who pass through multiple time zones during a flight may experience jet lag.

Parasomnias

These are unusual behaviors that occur before sleep, during sleep or just before waking. They include confusional arousals in which people can’t completely wake up, sleepwalking, night terrors and sleep-related sexual abnormal behaviors.

Sleep-Related Movement Disorders

These involve abnormal movements during sleep that can result in sleepiness and fatigue during the day. These disorders include restless legs syndrome, periodic limb movements disorder and sleep-related bruxism (teeth grinding).

Having a sleep-related disorder does not excuse drowsy drivers when they cause an accident. They have a responsibility to realize they are in no condition to get behind the wheel. Drowsy drivers often don’t admit to a lack of sleep when they cause an accident, however. That’s why it’s important to get trusted legal advice.

If you were injured in a drowsy driving car accident in Portland or anywhere in Oregon, call the experienced attorneys at Zbinden & Curtis. We can review your legal options during a free consultation. Contact us today to learn more.

States with strict distracted driving laws have fewer teen crash fatalities

Portland auto accident attorney

Distracted driving is everywhere on Portland roads. With the advent of handheld technology, it has become a growing danger to the lives of everyone on the road. In fact, 2,841 traffic fatalities and about 400,000 injuries occurred throughout the United States during 2018 because of distracted driving.

Since teen drivers don’t have years of driving experience, they are the most at risk of being involved in serious and fatal crashes. In fact, the CDC reports that crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers. According to the NHTSA, teen drivers are more likely than any other age group to use cellphones or text while driving.

Do distracted driving laws work?

Recently, a study was conducted by Michael R.  Flaherty from the Mass General Hospital for Children in Boston, Massachusetts. The study, which is titled Distracted Driving Laws and Motor Vehicle Crash Fatalities, was published in the Pediatrics journal in June of this year.

The study found that from 2007-2017, fewer fatal crashes involving teen drivers were reported in states that enforced strict distracted driving laws. In 2007, only 15 states had any kind of distracted driving law in place. That number grew to 47 by 2017.

Researchers first analyzed 38,215 crashes involving teens ages 16-19 during that 10-year period. The states that enacted primary distracted driving laws saw the largest decreases in the teen crash fatality rate. These states allow police officers to pull over drivers solely for texting and driving or using cellphones while driving.

The states that enacted secondary distracted driving laws saw only slight decreases in the teen crash fatality rate, but did better than states without any distracted driving laws. In these states, police are not allowed to pull over drivers for texting and driving or using cellphones. They can cite drivers for using cellphones only after pulling them over for other infractions.

Oregon is one of many states that has a handheld ban for all drivers (except school bus drivers) and enforces it as a primary law.

What should I do if I was injured in a distracted driving crash?

If you were injured in a crash involving a distracted driver, don’t hesitate to get an experienced Portland car accident attorney on your side who can help you get the justice you deserve.

The attorneys at Zbinden & Curtis can investigate your distracted driving crash by obtaining a police report, speaking to witnesses, obtaining any available surveillance or dash cam footage, or getting a subpoena for cellphone records.

We can also help you recover all economic and non-economic damages that you’re entitled to. To schedule your free case evaluation, simply fill out our contact form.