Pandemic Speeding & Risky Driving Continue to Plague Our Roads

25 mph speed limit sign above a police trailer that shows "your speed" as 40 mph. It's on the side of the road in a residential neighborhood.

People are being injured and killed in car accidents at an alarming rate.

A lot of people thought the lockdown and travel restrictions in 2020 would decrease overall traffic, car accidents, and injuries from crashes. But unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Instead, the opposite occurred with increased traffic fatalities nationwide—many the result of speeding. In 2020, more drivers ignored the speed limits on empty roads, and more high-speed accidents happened. Since then, the problem has only gotten worse.

Federal data shows that speeding has continued to increase through 2021. In addition, fatal crashes involving speeding spiked to some of their highest all-time numbers last year. As a result, researchers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently analyzed data from the Virginia Department of Transportation to learn more.

What the data found was a significant increase in speeding by at least 10 mph during peak rush hour times (6 a.m. to 8:59 a.m., and 3 p.m. and 5:59 p.m.), suggesting people may have developed poor driving habits during the pandemic and continue to drive that way today.

Speeding in Portland

Speeding is and has been a nationwide problem. For example, the AAA Foundation for Traffic and Safety found that it was very likely that if a driver was on the road during the pandemic, they were engaging in speeding. Speeding is an aggressive driving behavior and a common cause of traffic accidents.

In Oregon, Portland police officers reported people driving at more than 100 mph, according to OregonLive.com.

Efforts to stop speeding

Vision Zero is an action plan to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries while increasing safety for our roadways. In 2015, Portland adopted the action plan and has been making changes for safer streets ever since. According to the city of Portland website:

  • There were no traffic deaths among cyclists in 2021, whereas in the previous five years, there was an average of 2.6 traffic deaths among cyclists.
  • A project on NE Glisan Street resulted in an 80 percent decrease in drivers speeding 10 mph or more over the speed limit.
  • Similar changes on NE 102nd Avenue caused speeding to decrease by 73 percent.
  • The Portland Bureau of Transportation installed left-turn yellow-and-black plastic dividers at intersections with a high crash rate. Since then, no pedestrians have been killed at those intersections.

Accountability is critical to keeping our roads safe.

At the end of the day, there is only so much each state can do to prevent serious car accidents. Remember, it only takes one negligent driver to cause a crash that leaves you or someone you love with severe injuries. That’s why holding reckless drivers accountable through the civil justice system is so important. Unfortunately, claims involving negligence can quickly become complicated legal cases. As such, it’s in your interest to seek experienced legal representation from an attorney who can protect your rights and advocate for the compensation you are entitled to under the law.

If you were hit by a negligent driver, our attorneys can fight for the compensation you deserve. We know how to build strong cases, deal with insurance companies, and get real results for our clients. To learn more about how we can help with your potential claim, contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Portland car accident lawyer from our law firm.

Oregon Traffic Deaths Spike While Fatal Car Accidents Surge Nationwide

highway traffic car accident

There have not been this many Portland traffic deaths in a single year since 1990.

Top transportation and safety advocates say that the skyrocketing fatal car accident rate in Oregon and across the U.S. has turned into a “crisis.”

In 2021, almost 43,000 people died on U.S. roadways. This is the most people killed by traffic accidents in a single year since 2006, according to the National Traffic and Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Locally, this deadly roadway trend plays out in Oregon cities, towns, and rural communities. Portland, for one, had a traumatic 2021. More than 60 people were killed in city auto accidents that year, the most roadway fatalities in over 30 years.

A crisis on the road

The high death toll – 42,915 U.S. roadway fatalities – set an NHTSA record for the highest year-to-year percentage increase in deadly crashes since the government started tracking fatal crashes in 1975.

From 2020 to 2021, roadway deaths shot by more than 10 percent.

Responding to the dire situation, the U.S. will use a part of the $1.3 trillion infrastructure spending package to improve roadway safety for all users, among other initiatives.

“Our country has taken a dangerous and deadly step backwards,” MADD National President Alex Otte told the Associated Press. “More families and more communities are feeling the crushing magnitude of this crisis on our roads.”

Why are there more fatal car accidents now?

Fatal accidents jumped up during the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies suggest that with fewer vehicles on the road, negligent drivers let their good driving habits slip. For example, police departments across the country have reported increased speeding incidents and less seatbelt use.

In Portland, there was a sharp rise in fatal pedestrian accidents. Last year, there were 27 pedestrian deaths. The year before that, 18 pedestrians died in traffic accidents.

The city also experienced a rise in highway accidents. More than half of 2021’s traffic deaths were on state highways compared to the typical 36 percent, KGW8 reports.

Portland’s High Crash Network

Most Portland fatal car accidents – 60 percent – occurred on streets in the “High Crash Network.” The network uses crash data to identify the most dangerous roads in Portland. Roadways in the network include:

  • Killingsworth.
  • Fremont.
  • Marine Drive.
  • Burnside.
  • Foster.
  • 82nd.

The report also identifies the city’s top 30 high crash-risk intersections. These include 122nd at Powell, Division, Stark, Burnside, Glisan; Columbia Boulevard at Killingsworth; and Ceasar E Chavez at Powell.

What causes fatal car accidents?

Many factors cause car accidents, but some arise more often than others. Some of the most common factors behind accidents like head-on, rear-end, angle, sideswipe, or backed into include:

  • Speeding.
  • Disregarded signs or signals.
  • Failure to yield right of way.
  • Distracted driving.
  • Following too closely (tailgating).
  • Failure to yield to a pedestrian.
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road.
  • Rear-ending a car stopped in traffic.
  • Drunk or impaired driving.

Car accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. Even the most careful drivers can wind up as seriously injured crash victims. Sometimes, you can’t avoid a driver who is being reckless and end up suffering injuries caused by a crash that was not your fault.

We stand up for crash victims and their families.

If you were injured or a loved one died in a car accident, contact our law firm for a free case evaluation. At no cost to you, we can explain how the law applies to your situation and help weigh your legal options.

In addition, you should know that we represent our clients on a contingency fee basis. That means there is no upfront money or retainer required, you aren’t billed hourly, and you pay no fees unless we win your case.

A member of our team is ready to hear from you now. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with an experienced Portland car accident lawyer.

Shoulder Injuries Are Common in Car Accidents

Car accidents have the potential to cause painful shoulder injuries. The shoulder is one of the largest and most complex joints in the body, and when you’re in a crash, the violent nature of the collision can cause a significant amount of stress and trauma that your shoulders are not made to withstand.

Shoulder pain after an accident can be a sign of a serious injury, which is why you should never self-diagnose and always seek immediate medical attention after a crash. The cost to treat a shoulder injury can be significant, and if you wait too long to get checked out, you could end up missing out on the compensation you’re entitled to.

Some of the most common shoulder injuries you can sustain in a crash include:

  • Soft tissue damage – The shoulder’s muscles, ligaments, and tendons can overly stretch and then tear due to the force of an accident, leading to a painful muscle strain or ligament sprain.
  • Torn rotator cuff – This injury occurs when the rotator cuff tendons in your shoulder are damaged. A torn rotator cuff is a painful injury that can limit your shoulder mobility.
  • Broken bones and fractures – It’s possible to fracture any one of the three major bones in the shoulder: the humerus, shoulder blade, or collarbone.
  • Dislocation – The rotator cuff keeps the bones of the shoulder in their socket. The impact of an accident can cause the bones to shift or completely pop out of the socket.

Symptoms of a shoulder injury

When suffering from a shoulder injury, it’s common to feel pain in that area. Sometimes, you may feel nothing at all. Pain can occur directly after a car accident or develop days or weeks later.

Some symptoms of a shoulder injury are:

  • Tingling or numbness in the shoulder or arms
  • Shooting pain
  • Feeling a burning sensation in the shoulder
  • Shoulder weakness or tenderness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Loss of motion or limited range of motion in the shoulder

Treatment

Depending on the severity of your shoulder injury, treatment may include rest, prescription medication, arthroscopic surgery, and physical therapy. If the injury is more extreme, you may need shoulder reconstruction surgery or joint replacement surgery.

Again, the important thing is to take your shoulder pain seriously and get checked out by a doctor. You need an official diagnosis, and a doctor will be able to order an X-ray, MRI, CT scan, or another type of imaging test to find out what’s causing your pain.

Contact a car accident lawyer

If you’re suffering from shoulder pain after a car accident, you need to seek medical attention right away. If not treated in a timely manner, the injury and pain may worsen. Seeing a doctor promptly after a crash also creates an immediate record of your injury, which can be critical to the outcome of your claim.

After that, you need to contact an experienced car accident attorney to go over your legal rights and options. The cost of a shoulder injury sustained in a car accident can be significant, and the insurance company has a financial incentive to pay you as little money as possible. That’s why you need a car accident lawyer to look out for your best interests and advocate for the compensation you deserve.

At Zbinden & Curtis, we know how to build winning cases. When you call us, we will listen to your story, answer your questions, and break down all your legal options so you can decide how you want to move forward.

To find out more about how we can help you, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Oregon Focuses On Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Driving is a task that requires focus and our full attention in order to be done safely. Distracted driving is a serious problem that leads to collisions every year. But despite laws to address the issue, there are still far too many car accidents involving distracted drivers that leave people severely injured or killed.

This April is once again “Distracted Driving Awareness Month,” which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) dedicates to bringing attention to this dangerous driving behavior and ways that it can be reduced.

There are three main types of distractions, notes EndDD.org. Manual distractions move a driver’s hand off the steering wheel. Visual distractions move a driver’s eyes away from the road. And cognitive distractions move a driver’s mind away from the task of driving.

The dangers of cell phone use while driving

Texting behind the wheel is an example of all three types of distractions, and cell phone use is one of the most common types of distracted driving. Studies have shown:

  • People who drive while talking on the phone are as impaired as driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08%.
  • Drivers using cell phones were 5.36 times more likely to be in a crash than drivers who were not distracted.
  • When commercial drivers text behind the wheel, they are 23 times more likely to be in a crash or a near-crash.

The Oregon Department of Transportation has been actively taking part in Distracted Driving Awareness Month. It is running its “Park Your Phone” media campaign throughout the entire month. Law enforcement agencies are also pursuing high visibility enforcement of distracted driving laws for all of April.

The state hopes to reduce the incidence of distracted driving. In Oregon, from 2015 to 2019, there were:

  • 23,783 crashes, 158 fatalities, and 23,403 injuries involving a distracted driver
  • 1,920 fatal and injury accidents involving a driver reported to have been using a cell phone, resulting in 20 fatalities and 1,880 people injuries
  • 151 crashes involving a driver age 16-18 using a cell phone, with no fatalities and 191 injuries.

It is illegal in the state to drive while holding and using any mobile electronic device. Violators can be fined or given the option of attending a Distracted Driving Avoidance course.

If you’ve been injured, talk to an experienced attorney

Any type of distracted driving is dangerous. Other examples include using a navigation system, adjusting controls on the dashboard, eating, drinking, and talking to passengers.

When a distracted driver causes a crash, people can be left with serious injuries. They need treatment, and medical expenses can add up very quickly. This can lead to financial stress, especially if they are unable to work because of their injuries.

Insurance companies are supposed to help but are mostly concerned about keeping payments low. The distracted driver who caused a crash may deny doing anything wrong. That’s why you need an experienced car accident lawyer on your side if you were hit by a distracted driver.

At Zbinden & Curtis, our attorneys build strong cases and fight aggressively for our clients to help them recover the financial compensation they deserve. If you’ve been hurt in Portland, learn more about how we can help. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

Study: Oregon Has Some of the Worst Drivers

Car accident on road

Car accident death rate and speeding were cited as reasons

A recent national study conducted by Car Insurance Comparison ranked Oregon among the top 10 states with the worst drivers in the country due to the large number of car accidents caused by drivers statewide and several other factors.

“You know them when you see them — swerving in and out of lanes, flying down the highway at 100 miles-per-hour, unaware of cyclists and pedestrians, driving erratically down the road,” the Car Insurance Comparison study states. “They are the worst drivers, and they pose a hazard to everyone on the road.”

What makes Oregon’s roads so dangerous? Why do so many car accidents happen statewide? And is the problem getting better or worse in Oregon? The short answer? Car accidents continue to be a serious problem in Oregon.

Which states have the ‘worst drivers’ in the country?

The Car Insurance Comparison study compared car accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for every state based on five different criteria:

  • Car accident death rate
  • Failure to obey traffic laws (including fatal crashes involving drivers not wearing seatbelts, fatal crashes involving unlicensed drivers)
  • Careless driving accidents (based on pedestrian and bicycle accident death rates)
  • Crashes caused by drunk driving
  • Accidents caused by speeding

Using those five categories, Oregon’s drivers were ranked the 9th worst in the country. According to the study, New Mexico and Texas tied for the worst drivers in the nation.

Why do so many car accidents happen in Oregon?

Oregon ranked among the worst nationwide in two categories – the overall car accident death rate and speeding-related fatalities.

According to the Car Insurance Comparison study, 1.36 people die in motor vehicle incidents in Oregon for every 100 million miles traveled. In addition, 28 percent of fatal accidents in Oregon involved speeding drivers.

As for some of the other categories in the Car Insurance Comparison study, 13.86 percent of fatal accidents in Oregon involved drivers or passengers not wearing a seatbelt. In addition, 17.61 percent of fatal car accidents in Oregon involved drivers without a valid driver’s license.

As for pedestrian fatalities, the fatality rate for Oregon was 1.92 deaths per 100,000 people, which was the 9th worst nationwide. Oregon’s per capita bicycle accident fatality rate was also the 9th worst nationwide with 0.28 deaths per 100,000 people.

Meanwhile, 76.07 percent of fatal car accidents in Oregon involved drivers with alcohol in them at the time of the crash. This includes 167 car accident fatalities involving drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, which is considered legally drunk. An additional 205 fatalities in Oregon involved drivers with a BAC of 0.07 or lower.

Are Oregon’s roads still as dangerous now?

The Car Insurance Comparison study was based on NHTSA car accident statistics from 2019. Since then, recent crash data shows things in Oregon have only gotten worse.

In 2019, a total of 493 people died in motor vehicle accidents in Oregon. The next year, 508 people died in Oregon car accidents even though there were fewer drivers on the road due to the pandemic.

And in 2021, car accident fatalities in Oregon skyrocketed during the first six months of the year compared to the first six months of 2020. In the first half of 2021, there were 261 car accident deaths in Oregon, an increase of 88 deaths or 51 percent more compared to the first six months of 2020. In 2020, 173 people died in motor vehicle accidents statewide, according to the National Safety Council.

Injured in Portland, Oregon? Talk to a car accident attorney today

If you were injured in a crash, you have the right to pursue compensation for your losses, and a car accident lawyer can help in many different ways. From conducting an independent investigation into your crash to negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf, an attorney can aggressively advocate for your best interests and fight for the financial compensation you deserve.

At Zbinden & Curtis, our car accident lawyers can help you every step of the way. We know the law and understand how the legal system works in Oregon. That’s why we have such a strong track record of success.

Discover what we can do for you. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Portland car accident lawyer. We handle accident claims throughout Oregon and Washington.

Study: Roadway Deaths Involving Cannabis Have More Than Doubled Since 2000

Close up of hand on car steering wheel holding a marijuana joint

Oregon Car Accident Attorneys Discuss the Problem

Authorities are discovering more and more that at least one person involved in a fatal car accident has cannabis in their system.

Nationwide, the number of fatal crashes involving cannabis more than doubled – going from 9 percent in 2000 to 21.5 percent in 2018, according to recent Boston Medical Center research.

Crashes where alcohol and cannabis were present also went up from 4.8 percent to 10.8 percent over the same time period.

Marijuana’s contributions to the crash rate may be undercutting the anti-drunk driving effort and making roadways more dangerous, researchers say.

Oregon’s crash rate is up as well

Oregon voted to legalize marijuana in 2014 and, for the most part, has maintained a higher fatal impaired car accident crash rate than the nation.

In 2019, about 0.5 people were killed in impaired driving crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in Oregon, according to federal estimates. The national rate was about 0.3 that same year. This rate includes crashes where at least one of the drivers was impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Some communities experience more impaired driving crashes than others. Among the Oregon cities and towns that have encountered multiple fatal car accidents over the past five years or so are:

  • Albany
  • Bend
  • Eugene
  • Grants Pass
  • Gresham
  • Medford
  • Portland
  • Salem
  • Springfield

Measuring marijuana impairment

Since California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana, the U.S. has struggled to determine how marijuana affects driving abilities and then also develop a body fluid or breath test to quantify marijuana impairment. This lack of testing and agreed-upon standards has made it difficult to explicitly connect marijuana use to a higher risk for serious and fatal car accidents.

Still, we know that cannabis dulls many of the skills needed for driving, which almost certainly raises the risk of an accident. When people are high on weed, various research has shown that the following skills degrade:

  • Field of vision
  • Distance and time estimation
  • Hand/body steadiness and coordination
  • Traffic signal detection
  • Attention to detail
  • Information processing speed
  • Judging risk

Impaired-accident injuries

Car accidents caused by impaired drivers tend to be violent due to the extra risky driving behavior of high and drunk people. Some of the crash types most frequently associated with impaired driving are head-on collisions, which are often are fatal, and rear-end hits (tailgating, following too closely). Unsafe passing and distracted driving are also factors in impaired crashes.

Crashes caused by drivers under the influence of cannabis often cause severe and sometimes fatal injuries. The severity of the injuries is significantly increased by speeding. Among the most serious injuries related to impaired driving are:

  • Spinal Cord Injuries (SCIs)
  • Leg and knee tears or damage
  • Neck injuries, whiplash
  • Chest pain, cracked ribs, muscle pain, broken clavicle
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs), concussion, paralysis, nerve damage, decreased brain function

Don’t let an insurance company bully you into a lowball settlement

As marijuana becomes more common, it is important that Oregon crash victims fully understand their legal rights and options when they’ve been injured in an accident.

It is illegal to drive high in Oregon, but it is not necessary for crash victims to prove the at-fault driver was high at the time of the crash in order to obtain compensation for their losses.

The problem is at-fault drivers often deny responsibility, and insurance companies care more about protecting profits than paying you fair compensation for your losses. That’s why you need a car accident attorney to protect your rights and fight for the compensation you’re entitled to.

If you were injured in an accident that was not your fault or a loved one died in a fatal crash caused by someone else, you need to put yourself in the best possible position to recover the compensation you deserve.

Contact Zbinden & Curtis, Attorneys At Law to schedule a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer. At no cost, a member of our team will listen to the details of your case, explain how the law applies to you, and break down your legal options. We have offices in Portland and Woodburn and we proudly serve clients in Oregon and Washington.

Report Outlines Approach States Can Take To Make Roads Safer

A car accident can happen at any time. It only takes one negligent driver to cause a crash that leaves people seriously injured – or killed. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), U.S. traffic fatalities for 2021 exceeded 40,000 deaths, the highest total in more than ten years. Many others sustained serious, life-changing injuries.

Last month, the GHSA released a report outlining the approach they will take to help make roads safer. The report, titled “Putting the Pieces Together: Addressing the Role of Behavioral Safety in the Safe System Approach,” argues that reducing traffic crashes, injuries and deaths on highways will require a comprehensive solution.

The GHSA’s “Safe System Approach” involves infrastructure improvements, road design changes, equitable enforcement of traffic laws, education and public outreach, and emergency response.

A goal to eliminate fatal and serious crashes

The Safe System framework includes five elements – or “layers” – that state highway offices can focus on:

  • Safe Road Users – States can provide further education about dangerous driving behaviors such as driving impaired, distracted driving and drowsy driving. They can also focus on more equitable enforcement of the law to catch drivers engaging in dangerous behaviors.
  • Safe Vehicles – This involves reducing injuries and death by educating drivers about restraint use, vehicle safety recalls and vehicle safety technologies.
  • Safe Speeds – States can take further steps to enforce speed limits, identify problem areas and take steps to develop speed management programs.
  • Safe Roads – This involves providing support for enforcement and engineering, encouraging the completion of road safety audits and educating the public about road safety features such as roundabouts, Rapid Flashing Beacons/HAWK signals and bike boxes.
  • Post-Crash Care – This involves investing in National Emergency Medical Services Information System (NEMSIS) reporting for underserved areas.

Many of these layers overlap. That’s intentional. The Safe System approach is based on the idea that if one layer fails, the others will “provide a protective effect and lessen the likelihood of a serious or fatal injury in the event of a crash.”

This year, the U.S. Department of Transportation plans to release a National Roadway Safety Strategy that uses the Safe System approach.

An experienced car accident lawyer can help

A car crash can disrupt your life in seconds. Suddenly, you can sustain a serious injury. You might have to be rushed to a hospital. There, doctors might have to perform emergency surgery and other medical procedures. And that might be just the start. You might need imaging tests, follow-up surgery, medication, physical therapy and multiple follow-up appointments with doctors. You might not be able to work because of your injuries. Suddenly, less money might be coming in. And bills can add up fast.

If you were hit by a negligent driver, you deserve financial compensation. Whether they were speeding, texting, driving under the influence or falling asleep at the wheel, reckless drivers need to be held accountable for their actions. But that can get complicated.

Negligent drivers often deny doing anything wrong. They may even blame you for what happened. Insurance companies may question the seriousness of your injuries or argue that they were pre-existing medical conditions. Other times, they may offer you a settlement that falls far short of covering the damages you suffered.

That’s why you need an experienced car accident lawyer on your side. At Zbinden & Curtis, our attorneys know how to build strong cases and fight back against insurance company attempts to pay you less. We are determined to help you recover maximum compensation.

If you’ve been injured in Portland, contact us to schedule a free consultation.

Poll Suggests Link Between Distracted Driving & Parking Lot Crashes

Rows of cars in a packed parking lot with snow on the ground.

A Portland Car Accident Lawyer Explains What to Know

Life can get very busy this time of year as everyone gets ready for the holidays. Many people get in their cars and head out to the mall, to supermarkets, and to shopping plazas. Unfortunately, the rise in traffic also means a rise in car accidents that happen in parking lots and parking garages.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), there are tens of thousands of crashes in parking lots and garages across the country every year, resulting in thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths. Insurance companies report the number of claims goes up on Black Friday and stays above normal through the rest of the holiday shopping season.

The Dangers of Distracted Driving in Parking Lots

What’s causing all these accidents? According to an NSC public opinion poll, distraction is a big factor.

The poll suggests distraction goes beyond rushing from store to store and thinking about to-do lists. Respondents were asked if they would engage in certain behaviors while behind the wheel in a parking lot. Many said they would:

  • Make or answer phone calls – 66%
  • Use a GPS/navigation system – 63%
  • Adjust settings on a digital music device – 58%
  • Review or send text messages – 56%
  • Glance at or read alerts or notifications – 56%
  • Groom (fix appearance) – 53%
  • Use social media – 52%
  • Review or send emails – 50%
  • Look at, take or post photos or videos – 49%

Distractions are dangerous because they take the driver’s attention away from driving. The driver’s attention may only be diverted for seconds, but a lot can happen during that time. A car can drive around the corner looking for a spot. Or a pedestrian can walk in front of a car, or behind one that is backing out. According to the NSC, 9% of pedestrian deaths in parking lots happened in collisions involving drivers backing up.

People can be seriously injured in parking lot accidents. They may need extensive treatment, and medical expenses can add up quickly. If they can’t work because of their injuries, there is less money coming in, which results in financial stress. Many people wonder how they will pay the bills.

Getting Legal Advice Is Important

If another driver was responsible for the crash, you shouldn’t have to pay for their recklessness. But negligent drivers often deny doing anything wrong. Insurance companies may question the seriousness of a victim’s injuries or argue they were pre-existing. Sometimes they’ll make a settlement offer, but it will fall far short of covering all of the damages suffered.

The experienced car accident attorneys at Zbinden & Curtis fight for the injured. We know how to investigate crashes to get the facts and build strong cases that insurance companies have to take seriously. Our lawyers fight for maximum compensation, whether that’s through a negotiated settlement or a jury verdict.

We hold negligent drivers accountable. If you were hurt in a Portland parking lot accident, learn more about how we can help. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our attorneys can review the details of your crash, go over your legal options and answer any questions you have so you can decide what to do next.

Oregon Sees Major Increase in Young Driver Fatal Crashes

There is a higher risk of car accidents among young drivers compared to other age groups. Negligent driving can easily lead to a crash that leaves drivers, passengers, and pedestrians seriously hurt. And the risk of a fatal crash among teen drivers ages 16 to 19 is nearly three times higher than among drivers ages 20 or older.

Young woman driving

Fatal crashes involving young drivers are a problem in Oregon. In fact, according to an analysis of federal traffic data, the problem is getting much worse.

ValuePenguin analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reports System (FARS) for all states. It found that from 2010 to 2019, the annual number of fatal crashes involving a young driver rose by 58%. That’s the largest increase in the nation during that time period.

Examining risk factors

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified certain factors that put teens at risk. These factors include:

  • Inexperience – Because teens have spent much less time on the road, they are more likely to fail to recognize dangerous situations or misjudge them. They are also more likely to make decision errors.
  • Nighttime and Weekend Driving – Statistically, driving during these time periods has been particularly dangerous for teen drivers.
  • Failing to Use Seat Belts – Teens and young adults have lower seat belt use rates than older drivers.
  • Distracted Driving – For example, the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that among high school students who drove, 39% texted or emailed while driving at least once in the previous 30 days.
  • Alcohol Use – The 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that 5.4% of high school students who drive got behind the wheel after drinking alcohol at least once in the previous 30 days. And 16.9% said they rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol at least once during the previous 30 days.
  • Drug Use – In the 2017 survey, 13% of high school students said they drove after using marijuana.

Oregon puts restrictions on young drivers. For example, it is against the law to drive while using any type of mobile device. After drivers turn 18, they are not allowed to have passengers under 20 for the first 6 months, aside from immediate family. They are not allowed to drive between midnight and 5 a.m.

An experienced car accident lawyer can help

Fatal crashes can leave family members emotionally devastated and searching for answers. There is also a financial impact, as families may be responsible for final medical expenses and funeral costs.

When a loved one dies in an accident caused by a negligent driver, the victim’s family deserves financial compensation. Depending on the situation, this may include compensation for damages such as medical bills, vehicle repair or replacement costs, burial expenses, lost future income, and pain and suffering.

If you lost a loved one in a Portland crash, Zbinden & Curtis wants to help. Our car accident attorneys understand the impact a fatal collision can have on families. That’s why we build strong cases and fight to recover maximum compensation.

Learn more about how we can help with your potential legal case. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

Car Accident Deaths Increase by 51% in Oregon

Autumn drives in Portland, Oregon - stock photo

A Portland car accident lawyer explains the spike

Fatal car accidents nationwide have increased dramatically so far this year. And the state with the largest increase in motor vehicle fatalities is Oregon, where deaths are up 51% this year compared to the same time in 2020, according to a recent study conducted by the National Safety Council (NSC).

“These figures are not only alarming but devastating as we see once again too many lives lost on the roads,” said Lorraine Martin, NSC president and CEO, in a statement. “It is up to each and every one of us to do everything we can to be safe and keep each other safe.”

In addition, car accident fatalities in Portland are significantly higher this year as well, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). Specifically, traffic fatalities in Portland for the first half of 2021 were 55% higher when compared to last year, according to ODOT figures provided to Oregon Live.

How bad is the problem in Portland and Oregon?

Nationwide, car accident fatalities for the first six months of this year are 16% higher compared to the first six months of 2020, according to the National Safety Council. In the first half of this year, there were 21,450 fatalities nationwide compared to 18,480 fatalities during the same time period last year.

As for Oregon, there were 261 deaths due to car accidents for the first half of this year, an increase of 88 deaths or 51% more compared to the same time period last year, when 173 people died in motor vehicle accidents statewide, according to the National Safety Council.

In Portland, the death toll due to motor vehicle accidents is 28 fatalities for the first half of this year compared to 18 fatalities for the first half of last year, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).

Common causes of car accidents in Oregon

The National Safety Council cited several reasons why there were more car accident fatalities this year compared to last year. In many cases, the reasons why fatalities are higher nationwide are the same reasons why there are more car accidents in Oregon and Portland, according to officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) interviewed by Oregon Live.

In particular, speeding and drunk driving have been responsible for some of the largest increases in motor vehicle fatalities in Oregon in recent years. In the past 5 years, car accident fatalities in Oregon involving speeding drivers have increased by 16.8%, according to the NHTSA. As for drunk driving, car accident fatalities statewide involving drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher have increased by 8.4% during the same time period.

Crash victims have rights

You might think you don’t need an attorney if another driver clearly caused your car accident in Portland or another part of Oregon. All you have to do is call the police and file a claim with your car insurance company, right?

Don’t be so sure. In many cases, injury claims turn out to be complicated legal cases. Sometimes, it’s because the driver who caused your crash denies doing anything wrong and tries to pin the blame on you. Other times, it’s because the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company does everything they can to reduce or deny your claim so they can protect their bottom line. This is because you may be entitled to receive compensation for your current and future medical expenses, your lost wages, vehicle repairs, your pain and suffering, and other losses that you suffered as a result of the crash.

We know what’s at stake at Zbinden & Curtis. That’s because our attorneys have years of experience representing accident victims in Multnomah County and throughout Oregon. As your law firm, we can be your advocates for justice. We can investigate your accident and deal directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance company on your behalf. Many agree to negotiate in good faith and make a fair settlement offer once they see we’re serious about your case. If not, we’re not afraid to file a lawsuit for you and fight for your rights in court.

Learn more about how we can help you. Contact our law firm and schedule your free case evaluation with an experienced Portland car accident attorney. We handle injury claims throughout Oregon and Washington.