Archive for June, 2019

Our lawyers offer the best ideas on how drivers can share the road

Portland auto accident attorneyDrivers have a legal and moral responsibility to safely share the road with bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists, and failure to do so can be deadly.

Here is how the death toll broke down in 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  • 783 bicyclists
  • 5,977 pedestrians
  • 5,172 motorcyclists

While bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians have legal rights to the road, they also are at greater risk because they are smaller, less visible and less protected in the event of an accident.

Sharing the blame

Bicyclists and motorcyclists have responsibilities, too. They must obey signs and signals. They should always ride defensively, assuming drivers cannot see them. In the case of bicyclists, they should use bike lanes when they are available and avoid riding on sidewalks.

In addition to following the rules of the road, pedestrians need to employ common sense. This means, in the absence of a sidewalk, walking while facing traffic and as far from cars as possible. They should always cross at crosswalks when they are available, and at well-lit places when crosswalks are not available.

The Oregon Department of Transportation offers the following top driver errors:

  • Failing to avoid a stopped or parked car
  • Running off the road
  • Failing to maintain lane
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way
  • Following too closely
  • Driving too fast for conditions (not exceeding posted speed)
  • Inattention
  • Left turn in front of on-coming traffic
  • Failing to decrease speed for a slower vehicle
  • Careless driving

The department did not offer a breakdown for motorcyclists.

Share the burden of your case

If you’ve been the victim of a personal injury accident as a pedestrian, bicyclist or motorcyclist, you almost certainly are suffering from major injuries. You may be unable to work for an extended period, meaning you cannot provide for your family or pay your bills, which now include major medical expenses. An insurance company, aware of your desperation, may be pressuring you into accepting a financial settlement that is tempting yet fails to meet either your needs or what you deserve.

Don’t tackle your problems alone. The personal injury lawyers at Zbinden & Curtis have more than 30 years of combined experience handling cases just like yours in Oregon and Washington. Based in Portland, Oregon, they will thoroughly investigate your accident, interview witnesses, review police and medical reports, and take whatever other steps are necessary to secure justice for you and your family. Just as importantly, they will treat you with respect and compassion. Contact them today for a free case consultation.

Study: Speed limit boost could mean more Portland traffic deaths

Portland auto accident attorneyFewer people would die if states stopped raising highway speed limits, according to Consumer Reports.

Oregon legislators are considering a bill that would let transportation officials in Portland, instead of the Oregon Department of Transportation, set speed limits for the city.

Nearly 37,000 more people died on highways in the past quarter century after speed limits rose, than would have been the case had the 55 mph limit been maintained nationwide.

The Consumer Reports story cited a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an insurance-industry funded group.

The study examined annual traffic deaths from 1993-2017. The study accounted for such factors as the percentage of young drivers on the road, seat belt use and unemployment.

Among findings in the study was that an additional 36,760 people were killed on highways in that 25-year period than would have been expected if speed limits had stayed at 55 mph nationwide.

States increase speed limits

The 55-mph speed limit ceased being the nationwide standard in 1995. Since then, 41 states have increased highway speed limits to least 70 mph and seven states have upped the limit to 80 mph.

Speed remains a significant reason for increased highway traffic deaths, despite vehicle safety advances, like automatic emergency braking.

Road deaths are lower overall than in 1993, which is two years before the federal government abolished the nationwide 55 mph speed limit. The study concluded, however, that highway fatalities would have been lower over the past 25 years had speed limits stayed the same.

Supporters say permission to drive faster saves time. Opponents say time gained by higher speeds is nullified by additional highway deaths.

In Oregon, House Bill 2702 would authorize the city of Portland to designate speed on highways over which the city has jurisdiction. The bill is in the Joint Committee on Transportation.

Oregon’s state transportation department said it is not taking a position on the legislation, but it is comfortable with the proposal, according to oregonlive.com.

Increasing highway speed limits continues to be the plan in other states, as well, according to online trucking resource CDL Life News:

  • Indiana lawmakers are considering a bill to eliminate the lower speed limit for trucks of over 26,000 pounds. The bill would let trucks go 70 mph, the current peak allowed for cars, instead of the current 65 mph.
  • Minnesota has increased speed limits from 55 mph to 60 mph on over 5,000 miles of state highways.
  • In Iowa the state legislature is considering a bill to increase interstate speed limits to 75 mph from 70 mph.
  • California legislators are considering a bill that would increase the speed limit for trucks in rural areas to 65 mph. Currently, passenger vehicles are permitted a speed limit of 65 mph or 70 mph on roads where the speed limit for trucks is 55 mph.
  • In Missouri, the speed limit would increase to 75 mph from 70 mph on rural interstates and freeways under a bill that legislators are considering.
  • North Dakota lawmakers are discussing a proposal to increase speed limits to 80 mph or 75 mph on some highways compared to the current 75 mph and 70 mph.
  • Oklahoma has increased the speed limit on the Oklahoma Turnpike to 80 mph from 75 mph.

Contact Zbinden & Curtis Attorneys At Law today for help with cases where an accident may have been caused by speeding, or any other type of car accidents, truck accident or personal injury cases.