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For many parents, handing over the car keys to their teenage children leads to feelings of apprehension, especially those first few times. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that motor vehicle crashes are the main cause for teen deaths in this country; the teen fatality rates are three times more than for older drivers.
Once school lets out, the summer months present more driving opportunities, and teens must be experienced and prepared for unforeseen circumstances that can occur while they are driving. With teens driving to their summer jobs, weekends away, and driving at night, the roads can become quite dangerous for these young drivers. Though every new driver is required to pass written and road tests, extra support and practice can be helpful.
In order to instill safe driving habits in their teenage children, parents should be closely involved throughout the driver education process. This is key to decreasing the risk of accidents during the summer and throughout the year. Even though they are at the age when they relish their freedom, teenagers are still influenced by their parents and will absorb this useful knowledge.
Each state has its own set of teenage driving laws. Many have a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program, which eases them into full driving privileges. They start with a learner stage, which entails supervised driving before their driver’s test; intermediate, where some unsupervised driving permitted; and full privileges with a standard driving license. Parents should familiarize themselves with these stages. GDL laws also include restrictions such as limited driving hours, number of passengers in the vehicle, and cell phone usage.
Parents should also consider the type of vehicle their teen will be driving. A large truck or powerful sports car may not be the right choice; something smaller and closer to the ground is more manageable. Drivers should also understand the basics of vehicle maintenance, such as checking tire pressure and fluids. Cars can overheat in high summer temperatures or break down, which can be problematic if the teenager is far from home.
The importance of wearing a seat belt cannot be stressed enough. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drivers wearing seat belts reduce their chances of getting seriously injured in an auto crash by half. There are also new technologies that parents can use to monitor their teen’s driving behaviors, including driving speeds and locations.
Teenagers are faced with endless distractions when driving, especially in the summer. The necessity of keeping cell phones turned off, music turned down, and having other passengers stay calm should be reinforced. Reducing the amount of night driving is also important, since that is when a large percentage of teenage driving accidents occur.
Parents should also remember to strongly discourage driving under the influence and speeding, while encouraging a respect for other drivers who share the road. Naturally, parents should also set a good example by exhibiting these safe behaviors themselves.
Parents need to be especially vigilant when their teenagers start to drive, and we can help if you or anyone in your family needs a qualified Wilmington car accident lawyer. Call Rhoades & Morrow at 302-427-9500 or complete an online form today for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Milford, and Bear, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including the areas of Elsmere and Seaford.
Memorial Day weekend marks the start of warm weather, barbecues, and pool days. Although exciting, this Memorial Day Weekend brings with it some unwanted dangers. If you are traveling, spending the day by the pool, or barbecuing, there are ways to stay safe while celebrating this holiday weekend.
It can be easy to get carried away while celebrating the start of summer but drinking and driving is never a good idea. If you plan to have a few drinks while barbecuing, be sure to have a designated driver or call a cab. Whatever you decide, be sure that you are completely sober before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.
If you plan to use a grill on Memorial Day weekend, be sure there are no children or animals around. Avoid wearing baggy clothes to prevent them from catching fire. Never leave a hot grill unattended and before using it, make sure that it is in proper working condition. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby just in case something goes wrong.
Keep an eye out for swimmers, especially weak and young swimmers. Also, avoid consuming alcohol before going for a swim. If possible, take turns appointing designated lifeguards.
If you plan to use fireworks, keep in mind that although they are a great form of entertainment, they are also extremely dangerous. Make sure you know what you are doing and keep children and animals at a far distance away from the area where the fireworks will go off.
Use sunscreen if you plan on spending time in the sun, especially if you plan to swim or engage in activities that will cause you to sweat your sunscreen off.
Memorial Day weekend is the most dangerous holiday for motor vehicle accidents. The National Safety Council estimates that over 400 fatalities will occur during the holiday weekend due to car accidents. If you are driving during Memorial Day weekend, make sure that your car is prepared for the drive. Fill your gas tank and have your tire pressure checked. Planning your trip ahead of time will give you the opportunity to choose the safest and most direct routes to your destination. You should also keep an eye on the weather to avoid driving in dangerous conditions.
If you or someone you know sustained an injury over Memorial Day weekend, the Wilmington personal injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow will help you through the process step-by-step. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 302-427-9500 today. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including the areas of Elsmere and Seaford.
The Delaware Office of Highway Safety and the Delaware State Police joined forces and came up with an innovative plan to cut back on distracted driving and seat belt violations in Delaware. A Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) truck was stationed at a roadside and was used to report incidents of these violations. Information about drivers, vehicles, and types of violations were sent to law enforcement officers who then went to stop the vehicles. The 19 citations included marijuana possession, child restraint and seat belt violations, and cell phone use while driving.
Since 2011, Delaware has followed a hands-free cell phone law, which prohibits drivers from using hand-held devices while driving. If caught, drivers receive a $100 fine for first offenses, and subsequent offenses can cost up to $300. The Delaware State Police and Office of Highway Safety’s Public Information Officer emphasized the state’s zero-tolerance distracted driving policy. She added that non-traditional operations, like the DelDOT vehicle, are being used to ramp up education as well as enforcement for those breaking the law.
A 2016 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that distracted drivers caused 3,450 deaths nationwide. These numbers have been steadily increasing in Delaware and throughout the country since 2012. Studies also show that drivers between 16 and 24-years old show more cell phone usage than other age groups. Other causes of distraction include eating and drinking, grooming, turning to look at an accident, talking with another passenger, and not paying attention.
It is important to stay focused when behind the wheel. One of the best ways to do this is to click on a seat belt, and either put away or use the Do Not Disturb feature for electronic devices before turning on the ignition. Any passenger that sees their driver using an electronic device should ask them not to use it while driving. If you must take a phone call, pull over to the side of the road.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a distracted driving accident, contact the Bear car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow today. We will hold the negligent party responsible for your injuries so that you can focus on your recovery. For a free case evaluation, contact us online or call us at 302-834-8484. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including the areas of Elsmere and Seaford.
Car accidents can be confusing and complicated between those who are involved. More questions can arise following a car accident if you were required to drive for work. If you find yourself injured in a car accident while working, liability will come into question. It is always best to know the proper actions to take and who to contact after such situations.
The first concern following a car accident is safety; make sure everyone involved is okay, if possible. After contacting the proper first responders and filing a police report, the next best step is to contact your employer and the employer’s insurance company. You should also contact your own auto insurance company for documentation purposes. Your employer should inform all employees prior to an incident on what to do and who to contact.
Normally, the insurance companies will determine liability. The employer would most likely be held liable for any injuries or damages if their employee is found negligent in a car accident. If the other party is found to be completely responsible, then that person’s auto insurance will take care of the injuries to the employee.
Workers’ Compensation insurance will most likely cover your medical bills and other damages if you were injured in a work-related car accident. Workers’ Compensation does not cover you during your commute to and from work, only if you stopped during your drive to run a quick work-related errand or other uncommon scenarios. The employee’s own car insurance will normally be used as well, and in more extreme cases, Workers’ Compensation and the employer’s insurance will take over if the employee’s insurance does not cover the amount of damages and injuries.
Determining if the negligent party was working at the time of the car accident is vital. The victim in a work-related car accident can sue the employer, if that person was working at the time, which is called vicarious liability. Normally, the employer and their insurance company will have deeper pockets than the individual employee. Also, certain insurance companies do not recognize Workers’ Compensation. Because there are so many questions in these scenarios, it is recommended to contact a Workers’ Compensation lawyer for guidance.
If you were involved in a car accident while working for your employer, contact the Milford work injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow to receive the benefits you deserve. Call us at 302-422-6705 or fill out our online form for a free consultation today. Located in Milford, Wilmington, and Bear, Delaware, we proudly serve clients throughout the state, including Elsmere and Seaford.
A car accident can be a life-altering experience, wrought with physical pain and emotional trauma, and can leave you with many questions and decisions you may not be prepared to face. Regardless of severity, proper medical attention is essential following a car accident. Immediate medical attention is most important; not only for one’s health but for insurance purposes as well.
There are pros and cons to receiving medical attention at an urgent care or an emergency room. Money and insurance policies, or lack thereof, can certainly influence one’s decision on where to receive medical care after a car accident. Convenience and severity of the injuries also play into this decision. The following can help you decide whether to go to an urgent care facility or emergency room should you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.
After a car accident, you may think that you do not need medical attention. Often, the adrenaline following a traumatic event takes over, numbing you from feeling an injury. However, injuries can appear days or weeks after an accident, so it is always best to visit a doctor. This is where one would consider using an urgent care facility over an emergency room. Urgent cares are normally very quick, with shorter wait times, and have the same equipment and systems to care for you. Urgent cares are also cheaper for you and your insurance company and are generally more convenient.
However, if your injury is apparent or severe enough, an urgent care doctor may recommend you go to an emergency room. Emergency rooms have their advantages as well. They are just as thorough, if not more, regarding your healthcare than urgent care facilities. Specialty equipment is readily available, as well as advanced surgeons, technicians, and their appropriate facilities. If your injury is severe enough, an emergency room visit has certain advantages that urgent care facilities cannot provide.
The aftermath following a car accident can be overwhelming, regardless of its severity. The important thing to do is to seek medical treatment immediately following a car accident, whether you choose your primary care physician, an urgent care facility, or an emergency room. If you have been injured in a car accident, the Wilmington personal injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help you receive the compensation you are entitled. We will hold the negligent party responsible for your injuries. Please call us at 302-427-9500 or fill out an online form for a free consultation today. With offices in Bear, Milford, and Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients across the state, including Elsmere and Seaford.
Prom night is a rite of passage that will hopefully be filled with fun times that make lasting good memories. There can be many mixed emotions around this time, particularly among concerned parents. While the teens excitedly choose attire, their parents dwell in angst.
One of the reasons parents are so anxious about the night is concern for their child’s safety. On one hand, parents are proud to see their children grow into adults and celebrate graduation with their peers. On the other hand, they are concerned about drug and alcohol use and worry that their child might succumb to peer pressure.
Parents have good reason to be concerned. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approximates that over the past few years, about 300 teens have died in alcohol-related traffic accidents during prom weekend. A recent survey by Students Against Drunk Drivers found that an astounding 85 percent of teens said they were more likely to drive impaired than call their parents to pick them up over fear of getting in trouble with their parents.
Unfortunately, appointing a designated driver and assuming they will not drink is a bit of a gamble. The best intentions can be overtaken by the excitement of the moment. Putting the pressure on one child to provide protection to the others is not necessarily going to work.
The vicious cycle of worry and fear must be replaced with a practical approach. Parents and teens should agree on how transportation back and forth to prom (and any after parties) will happen in advance. Some parents may chip in to pay for a group to be transported by limo. This is not an option for most people. It may not be the most popular choice, but in the end, arranging for an adult to transport the kids back and forth to the prom and any after parties – judgment free – no question asked – is probably the plan that will best minimize risk of a car accident on prom night.
Calling for a taxi is also an option. A pilot program for establishing “teen accounts” was tested but recently discontinued by Uber. At this time ride-share programs such as Lyft and Uber require account holders be 18 or older.
If advanced plans for experienced adult drivers are not in the cards, then parents need to have a healthy dialogue with their teen before prom about the adult behavior they will need to exhibit in order to remain safe. Warn against drinking and driving and get a verbal commitment from the teen that they will neither drive drunk nor get in a car with a driver who has been drinking. Let them know you will arrange for a ride if necessary. Additionally, get them to agree they will not text while driving or get in a car with someone who does. Before prom night might be a good time to start cultivating this behavior.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, contact an experienced Bear car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. Arrange for a free consultation by completing our online form or calling 302-834-8484 today. We serve clients throughout the state of Delaware, including those in Elsmere and Seaford, from our offices in Bear, Milford, and Wilmington.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been reviewing safety standards for autonomous vehicles (AV), and it was reported that they plan to streamline permit approvals. As such, the NHTSA plans to speed up how they decide if automakers can use self-driving cars, including those without steering wheels, pedals, and other human interaction devices.
As part of this, the Senate re-opened discussions on the previously stalled AV START Act. A resurrected bill could be turned into federal legislation that could govern these vehicles.
The current AV safety standards number 75, a large number of which assume that a licensed driver will be in the vehicle. With the numbers of self-driving cars in use steadily increasing, many feel that Congress needs to take more definitive regulatory action.
Back in late 2016, the Obama administration proposed regulations to require that all new vehicles be equipped with wireless technology that would allow them to communicate with each other, as well as smart traffic signals. This upgrade could potentially prevent thousands of car accidents each year, but no laws have been passed.
Under current laws, the companies can request safety standard exemptions for 2,500 AV vehicles each year, if they conform to existing vehicles’ safety standards. General Motors Company filed a petition for another exemption in January, and this would allow them to use fully automated AV in their planned 2019 ride-sharing fleet. This is still under review.
Other manufacturers, like Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, employs cars that also have human interaction controls.
Many have expressed concerns that the auto companies are pushing for profits at the expense of safety; in 2018, an Arizona woman was struck and killed by an automated vehicle while she was walking her bike across a street. Further, concerns are often raised about the line between the impact of AV on personal injury claims and product liability matters.
Several organizations are studying this issue, and have made recommendations to promote AV safety and sustainability. A paper published by the 3 Revolutions Future Mobility Program and the Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy includes a set of guidelines. These focus on making safety a priority.
The paper calls for specifically outlined local, state and federal government policies and responsibilities. It also points out that AV data must be properly recorded and managed.
Advocates are pushing for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Congress to update regulations as the technology evolves. Some current legislation may not apply to completely autonomous self-driving vehicles, so it may help to make the laws more flexible.
It has also been pointed out that cybersecurity problems and software issues should be reasons to recall these vehicles, since these can contribute to accidents.
New legislation in the Senate may be a stepping stone towards keeping the public safe with self-driving vehicles, but it is a work in progress. Allowing automakers the freedom to perfect the technology without increasing the numbers of traffic accidents is an important but fine line to negotiate.
This evolving legislation will require cooperation from many parties, including government agencies, car companies, and the public.
Automotive safety deficiencies can cause car accidents, resulting in manufacturer liability and personal injury claims. If you need knowledgeable legal guidance with any type of car accident, contact a Wilmington car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. For a free consultation, contact us online or call our Wilmington office at 302-427-9500, our Bear office at 302-834-8484, or our Milford office at 302-422-6705. We proudly represent clients across Delaware, including Elsmere and Seaford.
Distracted driving kills thousands of people every year. In fact, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), every day 100 are injured and at least nine people are killed in motor vehicle accidents due to distracted driving.
The NSC has declared that April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and a great time to remind everyone about the dangers of driving while not paying attention to the road.
Distracted driving car accidents happen when drivers are trying to multitask. Many things can cause distractions while driving, and everyone has probably been guilty of engaging in at least some form of distracted driving at one time or another.
Examples of distracted driving include:
Distracted driving accidents, although common, are 100 percent preventable. Practicing a few of these safety measures can help reduce your chances of being involved in a car crash:
If you were injured due to a distracted driver, you need a lawyer that will fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. The Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow represent victims injured in distracted driving accidents. For a free consultation, contact us online or contact us by phone at our Wilmington office at 302-427-9500, our Bear office at 302-834-8484, or our Milford office at 302-422-6705. We proudly represent clients in Elsmere, Seaford, and across Delaware.
The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) is overseeing the installation of a new cable guardrail on Delaware Route 1. The 11.5-mile rail will be placed from Smyrna to Odessa, and is a portion of a larger, $8.5 million project to place high-tension cable on the highway.
The cable project started on December 17. According to the DelDOT’s Director of Community Relations, it is all part of a renovation to 17 miles along Delaware Route 1. It includes high-tension cable barriers and end treatments, plus new guardrail and end treatments.
The 11.5-mile guardrail will be placed at the scene of an accident last summer that killed five members of the same family.
On July 6 of 2018, a family was driving north on Delaware Route 1 in a minivan near Noxontown Road, and a pickup truck was driving on the southbound side. The truck drifted over and hopped the grass-covered median.
After the pickup crashed into a car, the minivan hit the truck. The minivan and pickup careened into a ditch. Though the father and mother were wearing seatbelts, the daughters were not. The father and all four daughters died.
The pickup truck driver survived the accident and was indicted in November. The charges include inattentive driving, vehicular assault, and second-degree vehicular homicide.
Plans to install a cable guardrail on Delaware Route 1, including where the crash occurred, had been approved three months before.
Over the past years, installations of cable guardrails on the nation’s highways have increased. The cables are able to absorb the impact from auto collisions better than other kinds of barriers, including metal and concrete. The cable is less rigid than the other materials, making it more flexible when hit. These guardrails can help lessen crash impacts on motorists.
Delaware Route 1 was constructed in the 1990s. Back then, the safety regulations were more lax, and did not call for a barrier to be installed near the Noxontown Road area. The new guardrail will function as an extra safety measure; DelDOT has been installing these cable barriers for years in areas that they have identified as being high-risk.
According to the DelDOT Director of Community Relations, these barriers can effectively decrease the number of fatal crashes when vehicles cross over medians into traffic.
From 2015 to 2017, the number of traffic fatalities on Delaware roads decreased slightly, from 133 to 118.
DelDOT has other plans in the works to upgrade the safety of their highways. The cable barrier systems are being placed in areas that present higher-risk, like narrow medians, curves, and high-traffic and high-crash areas.
Additional projects include installing rumble strips, safety edges, high-friction surfaces, and better warning signs. They also plan to install median barriers on U.S. 9 by the Pennsylvania state border.
DelDOT’s 2020 Strategic Highway Safety Program will review accident data, and will continue to focus on reducing the number of Delaware traffic fatalities.
If you or a family member sustained injuries in a car accident, we can help get you the compensation you deserve. Contact the Bear car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow today for a free case evaluation. We serve clients throughout Delaware, including Elsmere and Seaford. Call our Bear office at 302-834-8484, our Milford office at 302-422-6705, our Wilmington office at 302-427-9500 or fill out an online contact form.
Anyone who has experienced a motor vehicle accident probably remembers feeling “out of it” immediately afterwards. This lightheadedness is partly due to the human body’s physiological response to the shock and strain; it produces more adrenaline, which can temporarily lessen the physical pain.
The trauma of a car crash can make it hard for victims to grasp what actually happened. Later on, the body stabilizes and the adrenaline levels decrease. This is when people can better understand the extent of any injuries they may not have immediately noticed.
For some it can take hours; in other cases, it could be days or weeks. These issues can range from mild to life-threatening.
Common injuries that tend to go unnoticed include:
A nagging headache that presents itself the day after a car crash may not be immediately associated with the accident. However, it could be a sign of a concussion, back and neck injuries, or other bodily damage. Concussion symptoms include difficulties keeping awake or sleeping, trouble concentrating, blurred vision, nausea, and dizziness.
Whiplash may occur when a person’s neck and head are moved suddenly; this is commonly seen in rear-end collisions. This trauma may lead to neck pain, swelling, and vocal cord, ligament, and muscle damage.
Whenever the spinal cord is affected in a car accident, there is a risk for nerve damage. A car wreck can affect a person’s joints and also cause herniated discs. These can definitely worsen with the passage of time, especially if not treated.
Symptoms can include numbness, tingling, and ongoing back pain that can extend to the legs, arms, and other extremities.
Soft tissue injuries to ligaments, tendons, and muscles can also take a long time to show up. Diagnosing them can be complicated since they do not show up on X-rays. These injuries can cause decreased mobility, consistent pain, and swelling.
Car accident victims may also experience latent injuries to other body parts, including arms, legs, and their extremities.
Even if there are no physical injuries, psychological scars can destroy the lives of accident victims and those who have witnessed shocking motor vehicle crashes. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other forms of emotional trauma can be difficult to diagnose and can also worsen with time.
Although it may be hard to think clearly after a crash, it is essential to seek medical care. Even if a car accident victim is not experiencing symptoms, a physician may be able to diagnose underlying injuries. Further, a doctor can alert a patient as to what signs to look for in the coming days that could be indicative of an injury.
Contacting law enforcement at the accident scene is also important, since documentation, photographs, and other evidence can show responsibility for previously unnoticed injuries.
Car accident victims should also know that settling a claim offered by the at-fault driver’s insurance company too soon could be a mistake. In many cases, injuries can appear after a release form is signed and settlement has been made. If the victim has already settled, they have waived their legal right to seek additional benefits from that insurance company.
If you were involved in an automobile crash and are experiencing post-accident injuries, we can help. Contact an experienced Bear car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow by calling our Bear office at 302-834-8484, our Wilmington office at 302-427-9500, our Milford office at 302-422-6705, or fill out an online contact form. We serve clients in Elsmere, Seaford, and across Delaware.
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The situation regarding the COVID-19 virus changes daily. During this uncertain time, we can assure you that the team at Rhoades & Morrow continues to focus on helping our current clients as well as assisting new clients.
We know that legal questions still arise, and we are here to answer your questions and provide the trusted guidance that you have come to expect from us over the years. To ensure the health and safety of our staff and our clients, we are conducting virtual consultations via Zoom and by telephone. We also have the ability to exchange documents via secure e-mail.
We look forward to hearing from you. Stay safe and healthy.