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.

Two Drivers Die in Portland Head-On Crash

Driver POV (point of view) looking over the windshield wipers through the wet, blurry, partially opaque, partially transparent, spot speckled windshield of a car traveling on a rural highway during an autumn rain storm. Hazy, blurred headlights of approaching vehicle traffic are just blobs of light through the streaking and splattered raindrop water.

A car accident attorney in Oregon explains what to know

A second driver recently died as a result of a head-on collision in Portland, according to the Portland Police Bureau. The police department noted this latest traffic fatality was the 42nd one in Portland so far this year, putting the city on track to surpass the number of traffic fatalities it had from last year when there were 54 deaths. That number was the highest figure in the past 5 years, according to crash data from the City of Portland.

So how common are head-on collisions? Why do they happen? Below, you can learn more about these types of accidents, courtesy of an experienced head-on car accident lawyer who routinely represents crash victims in Portland and throughout Oregon.

Head-on collision statistics

Head-on collisions account for only 2 percent of all motor vehicle accidents. However, deaths due to head-on crashes make up more than 10 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Specifically, there were 3,613 fatal head-on collisions nationwide in 2019, according to the III.

As for Oregon, head-on collisions are common here as well. In 2019, there were 651 head-on car accidents statewide, resulting in 64 fatalities and 431 injuries, according to statistics compiled by the Oregon Department of Transportation. That year, head-on collision fatalities in Oregon accounted for 13 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities statewide, when there were 489 deaths in 2019.

Common causes of head-on car accidents

For two vehicles to collide head-on, a driver must have gone the wrong way or crossed over into another driver’s lane.

Some of the most common causes of head-on car accidents include:

  • Distracted driving, especially texting while driving, even though it’s against the law in Oregon.
  • Going the wrong way on divided highways, especially at night.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
  • Speeding.
  • Falling asleep at the wheel.
  • Driving too fast for hazardous weather conditions, especially in the winter when snow and ice can create slippery road conditions.

The common theme with each of these is negligence, but even if you aren’t sure of the exact cause, you can talk to an attorney to learn more about the legal options available to you.

Contact a head-on car accident lawyer today

If you were injured or a loved one died in a head-on crash, having an attorney on your side can make a dramatic difference in the outcome of your case. Instead of insurance companies downplaying the severity of your injuries or denying your claim, a lawyer can protect your rights and advocate for the money you’re entitled to, including compensation for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other appropriate damages.

The dedicated legal team at Zbinden & Curtis can help you every step of the way—we’ve successfully represented injury victims and their families for years in Multnomah County and throughout Oregon.

Discover what we can do for you and contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a Portland head-on car accident attorney. We proudly serve injury victims and their families throughout Oregon and Washington State.

Speeding to Blame for Portland’s ‘Epidemic of Pedestrian Deaths’

A button downtown to help pedestrians get going

Speeding drivers frequently cause serious pedestrian accidents in Portland, according to a recent in-depth article published by Willamette Week. But that’s only part of the problem. There are many other reasons why drivers cause pedestrian accidents in Oregon’s largest city.

Portland pedestrian accidents

Pedestrian accidents have become a serious problem nationwide in the past decade. Between 2010 and 2019, pedestrian fatalities have increased by 46% across the country during this 10-year period, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), which also noted that pedestrian fatalities were higher in the first half of 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019, even though there were fewer drivers on the road last year.

Pedestrian fatalities in Portland and Oregon as a whole have increasingly become a serious problem in recent years as well. In 2019, a record number of pedestrians (81) were killed in accidents statewide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

As for Portland, the problem has been just as bad. In 2019, a near-record number of pedestrian fatalities (21) occurred in Multnomah County, where Portland is located, according to the NHTSA. And while pedestrian accidents happen in many places in Portland, certain intersections are more dangerous than others, according to Willamette Week. The most dangerous intersections for pedestrians in Portland include Southeast 122nd Avenue and Stark Street, and several intersections east of 82nd Avenue in East Portland.

‘Speed is the root of all evil’

Pedestrian accidents happen for many different reasons. But the most common cause cited by officials in Portland was speeding drivers.

“Speed is the root of all evil and PBOT (Portland Bureau of Transportation) knows that,” Scott Kocher, an Oregon Walks board member, said in an interview with Willamette Week. “But they’ve taken an incremental approach—you could even say glacial.”

Other causes of pedestrian accidents in Portland cited by city officials, pedestrian safety advocates, and residents include:

  • Distracted drivers, including drivers who text while driving, even though it’s against the law in Oregon
  • Aggressive drivers who tailgate or change lanes without looking, often resulting in pedestrian accidents in crosswalks or accidents involving people walking alongside the road
  • Drunk drivers who don’t stop for people in crosswalks or hit pedestrians along a road
  • Drivers who fall asleep at the wheel and hit pedestrians alongside a road or in a crosswalk

These are just some of the reasons why pedestrian accidents happen in Portland and other Oregon communities. Whatever the circumstances of your pedestrian accident, make sure you talk to an attorney as soon as possible to learn more about the legal options available to you.

Making our streets safer

Traffic and safety officials interviewed by Willamette Week had several suggestions for making Portland’s streets safer and reducing the number of pedestrian accidents, such as:

  • Lowering the speed limit on certain streets
  • Installing more streetlights on certain streets
  • Building more visible crosswalks
  • Installing barriers that prevent drivers from turning left at certain intersections
  •  Installing traffic calming devices

Legal help is available

You might think you don’t need an attorney if you were hit by a car and the driver was clearly to blame. Unfortunately, many clear-cut cases turn out to be very complicated. The driver who hit you might deny doing anything wrong or claim the collision was somehow your fault. The at-fault driver’s insurance company might purposefully delay, downplay, or flat-out deny your claim. That’s because the injuries associated with pedestrian accident claims are often severe and pose a threat to the insurance company’s bottom line.

We know what’s at stake at Zbinden & Curtis in Portland. That’s because we have years of experience fighting for the rights of injured pedestrians in Multnomah County and throughout Oregon. When you have our dedicated legal team on your side, you can focus on healing while we aggressively advocate for your best interests and fight for every dollar you’re entitled to under the law.

Learn more about how we can help you. Contact our law firm and schedule a free case evaluation today. We have two offices conveniently located in Portland and Woodburn, Oregon, and proudly serve injury victims and their families throughout Oregon and Washington State.

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.