Distracted Driving and Its Effect on Car Accident Rates


April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, so spring is the perfect time to talk about the new epidemic of distracted driving and how it is having a profound effect on the rate of car accidents in Missouri and around the nation.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as many as ten people die in a motor accident every day due to someone driving while distracted. Although there are anti-texting laws and a lot of public awareness has been allocated to the discussion of not texting while driving, it is still happening on roadways around the country.

Statistics show that as many as one thousand people are injured due to distracted driving crashes every day. The total fatality count for accidents caused by distracted driving is more than four thousand annually. Unlike drunk driving, distracted driving has no confirmation test. There is no way to test if someone was driving while distracted, which probably means that it is the cause for far more fatalities than recorded.

Only confounding the problem is that often when someone is engaged in distracted driving, they are doing more than just looking at their phone. In a lot of fatal accidents, drivers are also speeding, not wearing their seatbelt or even drinking while driving. On the road, the combination of all three of those things is tantamount to riding in a time bomb.

Many smartphone companies have taken steps to limit distracted driving by installing hands-free technology for use while a person is driving. There are studies that show that even talking to someone on the phone when you are driving is a distraction that increases your risk of an accident. Not to mention that you still usually need to dial a number or find your phone when it is ringing, which means that you are taking your eyes off of the road.

If a person either reads or sends a text message while they are driving, they take their eyes off the road for an average of five seconds each time. In that five-second timeframe, it is highly likely that they are going to miss something on the road that will lead to a crash.

Many of the people who wouldn’t think to drink and drive or to drive recklessly have no problem picking up their cell phone to check notifications or sending a quick text message, but using a phone while driving is just as risky as driving while intoxicated.

If you are in a car accident where you are either being accused of distracted driving, or you suspect that the other driver was engaged in distracted driving, it is critical that you speak with a St. Louis car accident lawyer to protect you and help you recover your losses and damages. Call us 24/7 at (314) 361-4242 for a free case evaluation.



Car Accident Lawyer St. Louis – The Hazards of Drugged Driving


Drug abuse has become a serious menace that has time and again proved to be hazardous for drivers, passengers, and other motorists and pedestrians on the roads. The use of any mind-altering drug – prescribed, legal or illegal – while driving, is extremely dangerous.

The number of deaths caused by driving under influence of drugs, often paired with alcohol is alarmingly high. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) reports that common drugs like marijuana and cocaine, coupled with alcohol can cause significant driver impairment and cause serious car accidents.

A study conducted on drivers who tested positive for drugs by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, revealed that:

  • 18% of all drivers involved in fatal car accidents tested positive for drugs.
  • Out of these, 57% were single vehicle accidents.
  • 48% of these drivers who tested positive for drug abuse also tested positive for alcohol.
  • Cannabinoids (a marijuana compound) and narcotics were found in almost half of all drug-positive drivers.
  • 47% of drugged-driving fatalities were below the age of 24
  • Those over the age of 45, were usually tested positive for narcotics and anti-depressants.

Drug Impairment

Each drug has a different effect on the brain. Nevertheless, they all impair the faculties and senses that are required to function while driving. A driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol can have compromised attention, perception, reaction time, judgement, motor skills, balance and coordination. Drugged driving can hinder all, or some of these vital faculties, leading to car accidents.

16 drugs – prescription, over-the-counter and illegal recreational drugs – were evaluated, in a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The results revealed that apart from LSD, (where the frequency of Driving under Influence (DUI) cases has been rare), all drugs were responsible for impairment, in varying amounts. However, the following commonly used recreational drugs were found to cause substantial impairment –

  • Marijuana.
  • Cocaine.
  • Methadone.
  • Morphine and heroin.
  • Methamphetamine and amphetamine.
  • Ecstasy (MDMA).
  • PCP

Over-the-counter prescription drugs and legally purchased drugs were also studied as part of this list. It was found that similar DUI charges and driver impairment could be applied to these drugs as well. Some of the drugs include antidepressants, decongestants, valium and other anti-anxiety medications, antihistamines, hydrocodone (Vicodin) and sleeping pills.

You Legal Rights If You Have Been Involved in a St. Louis Car Accident with an Impaired Driver

Drugs, prescribed or illegal, consumed alone or with alcohol, can result in a fatal St .Louis car accident. As a driver, it is important to be aware of the fatal risks of indulging in driving under influence of any kind of drug.

On the other hand, if you have been injured or a loved one has been killed due to a decision made by another person to indulge in the illegal act of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you can initiate legal action, and claim compensation for your loss. Seek the advice of an experienced accident injury attorney at The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C.

Call (314) 361-4242 to schedule a free case evaluation with a qualified attorney today!

Who is Liable for Automobile Accidents Involving Pot Holes?

Damaged areas on the road, including large potholes, become a risk for traffic accidents.

During bad weather, you will often see a lot of potholes on the roadway. Once the top layer of the asphalt is worn away, it exposes the base below it, creating a pothole. While a pothole can begin very small, rainwater can accelerate the damage and the pothole can quickly increase in size. Bad weather is the main reason that leads to the formation of potholes, crates, and pits on roadways, parking lots, private roads, and sidewalks, often leading to deadly car accidents.

Even the smallest pit or crack formed in the surface can absorb water over time and expand, allowing more water to be absorbed and thus expanding the hole even more. The damaged area on the road becomes a huge risk for traffic and requires immediate attention.

Vehicle Damage Due to Potholes

No pothole should ever be neglected, regardless of its size. The Department of Transportation has the responsibility to track and repair any pothole that appears on the road.  Even a small pothole can lead to serious damage to a vehicle, damaging the suspension and shock absorbers of the vehicle. A large pothole can be even more dangerous and may cause the same extent of damage as would occur in a car accident at 35 miles per hour.

Potholes Accidents Leading to Severe Injuries

A large pothole on the road can lead to a car accident because of the vehicle’s inability to handle the strong impact. Often times, a driver encounters a pothole unexpectedly and may lose control over the vehicle. The risk is even greater when traveling at a high speed, because hitting a pothole at a high speed can throw the vehicle in the way of another vehicle traveling either in the same lane or in the opposite lane. Such an accident can cause severe injuries and even death.

Liability for Pothole Accidents

It may be difficult to determine liability in case of a car accident that occurs due to road potholes. Although it is the municipalities’ responsibility to detect and repair potholes, they sometimes fail to do so. However, in a situation when the accident happens because of a driver who tries to avoid the pothole and causes a collision, you may be able to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver for negligence.

St. Louis Car Accident Attorney

If you have been involved in a car accident caused by a pothole on the road, contact an experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer from The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can help you file a claim against the municipality or the driver responsible for the accident and receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call us at (314) 361-4300 today.

Traffic Intersections and Red Light Car Accidents

Traffic intersections are a common site for car accidents, and when a driver decides to run a red light, the probability of an accident drastically increases.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there are over 2 million accidents occurring annually in the United States which are caused by drivers running a red light. These red light accidents result in over 165,000 people getting injured. These injuries are completely avoidable if we practice safe driving and abide by the traffic rules.

Red Light Car Accidents

Traffic signals are installed to direct traffic in a safe manner. When a driver runs a red light, he or she is putting their own life and the lives of many others on the road in harm’s way. It has been reported that in 50 percent of red light accidents, the drivers and occupants of both the cars involved in a collision get serious injuries.

Recently a poll was conducted by NHTSA which concluded that 97 percent of drivers believe that drivers who run a red light are a safety hazard to themselves and other people using the roads. The poll also found that almost one third of the people who participated knew at least one person who was injured or died in a red light accident. There are various factors which contribute to a driver running a red light. The most common factors are when a driver is aggressive, texting and driving, drunk driving, fatigued, inexperienced, reckless, repeat offenders, road rages, trying to make it through the green light, and failure to notice the traffic light changes.

Cameras Installed at Intersections

The traffic administrations in various states have started enforcing their regulations strictly and have been cracking down on red light offenders. Some states have installed cameras on the intersections which are triggered when a driver runs a red light. The camera takes a photo of the car license plate along with the photo of the offender. A photo traffic ticket will be issued to the offending driver which will contain the details of the offense and the fine to be paid.

Apart from monitoring drivers running a red light, these cameras also monitor speeding drivers and those who stop over crosswalks. These cameras act as deterrents; however, they cannot stop a driver from running a red light.
The injuries sustained by the drivers and occupants of cars involved in a red light accident can vary from minor to severe and may require expensive and long-term medical treatment. Broken bones, cuts and lacerations, sprains and strains, neck and back injuries, head injuries, facial and dental injuries, spinal cord injuries, airbag and seatbelt injuries, and whiplash are some of the common injuries sustained in a red light accident. The trauma of the accident can affect a person psychologically and may result in PTSD.

St. Louis Car Wreck Attorney

If you or a loved one have sustained injuries in a red light accident due to another driver’s fault, contact an experienced St. Louis car wreck attorney to explain your legal rights. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation.

Avoid Being a Distracted Driver

Over 400,000 people are injured each year because of distracted driving car accidents.

Distracted driving car accidents have reached an epidemic proprotion. If you have been the victim of a car accident where the driver was clearly not paying attention to the road, speak with a St. Louis car accident attorney today.

The Scary Story of Distracted Driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently announced that the incidence of death in distracted driving car accidents has reached over 3,000 per year, and injuries are over 400,000. This is an increase from prior years and shows that the message is not getting across that distracted driving can be deadly.
It is estimated that 660,000 drivers around the country are using technical devices while they are driving. Texting and cell phone use top the list of offending activities, but GPS and iPods are also a problem. There are also the non-tech related distractions, such as eating, drinking, and even smoking.

How to Avoid Being a Distracted Driver

The last thing you want is to be the cause of an accident simply because you responded to a text message. Distractions do one of three things – they make you take your eyes off of the road, your hands off of the steering wheel, or your attention away from driving. Not surprisingly, reading and responding to texts involves all three, which is why there is such a focus on trying to convince St. Louis drivers to refrain from texting and driving at all times.

Take care of your calls before you start the ignition. Once in drive, put away your cell phone and focus on the road in front of you. Use a hands free option to help you navigate your GPS or radio, but use these sparingly as these activities may keep your hands on the wheel, but your mind is still not on the road.

Set a Good Example

If you drive with young people, set a good example by keeping your cell phone out of sight while driving. Missouri drivers between the ages of 17 to 25 are the most likely to be involved in a distracted driver car accident. Practice what you preach to young drivers in order to help prevent them from getting into a car accident.

Just because you have learned how to not let distractions interfere with your driving, doesn’t mean that everyone else on the road has. If you are injured by a driver who was on their cell phone,  contact a St. Louis auto accident attorney from The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. immediately. We will investigate your claim and help you recover compensation for the damages you have incurred.

The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C.

(314) 361-4242

Car Accidents Caused by Rubbernecking

Driving through a construction zone can be challenging, but a driver needs to be fully focused on the road.

construction zone accident

Motorists are often distracted while driving through a construction zone. This type of rubbernecking can lead to car crashes at both high and low speeds. There is a lot of emphasis placed on distracted driving these days, mainly with text messaging and cell phones, but construction site gawking is just as dangerous. If you were hit in a construction zone because of a distracted driver, a St. Louis car accident attorney may be able to help.

What is Rubbernecking?

Drivers and police use the term rubbernecking to describe a road situation where traffic is slowing or stopped due to drivers slowing down to watch unrelated road side activity. Usually used to describe a scene where a car accident is causing a lot of attention from other drivers, rubbernecking is also common when there is police activity on a roadway and even construction. As drivers naturally slow to observe a construction area, cars coming up from behind may be unaware until it is too late. This type of scenario is a major cause of accidents in the St. Louis area. A victim of such an accident should speak with a St. Louis car accident attorney about their rights for compensation. This is a form of distracted driving, and a negligent driver may be held liable for the crash and the injuries you sustained as a result.

Injuries Sustained in a Car Accident

The extent of physical harm you have suffered is dependent on a number of factors including the speed at which the accident took place and whether or not you were wearing a seat belt. Another thing to consider is the involvement of other cars. In these types of highly congested roadways, it is quite common to see a ripple effect of car accidents as vehicles are being forced towards each other.

Head trauma can occur if you collide with the windshield, along with whiplash injuries from your body being thrust forwards and back. You may also suffer from a spinal injury, broken legs and knee injuries or external bleeding from the force of the impact. In many of these cases multiple surgeries and extensive therapy is needed to repair the injuries.

Determining Who is At Fault

A major component of a car accident claim is figuring out who is liable for the crash. If you are able to prove that the other driver was distracted by road construction and not paying sufficient attention to the road and traffic patterns, your St. Louis car accident attorney will be able to assist you in recovering damages. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242.  We will assist you in ensuring that your medical bills are taken care of along with any other damages the accident may have caused you.

Do You Text and Drive?

Approximately 660,000 American drivers use their cell phones every day for answering a phone call, texting, or sending emails.

texting accident

The use of cell phones while driving is linked to the increased risk of fatal car accidents. Although car accidents associated with the use of cell phones while driving are preventable, a large number of drivers disregard laws against distracted driving and put their lives and the lives of others. Here are some statistics made available from our St. Louis car accident attorney.

Statistics Associated with Cell Phone Use and Driving

  • The risk of vehicular crashes increase by 23 times when a driver texts while driving.
  • Vehicular accidents are four times more likely to occur when drivers talk on their phones while driving.
  • The reaction time of young drivers is similar to the reaction time of a 70-year-old when they talk on their cell phone.
  • Drivers are distracted for around five seconds when they answer a text message. This is enough time for a vehicle to travel the length of an entire football field.
  • A ban against texting while driving is supported by 94 percent of drivers.
  • A ban against the use of hand held cellular phones is supported by 74 percent of drivers.

2012 Statistics Associated With Driving While Using a Cell Phone

  • Distracted driving led to 3,328 deaths in 2012.
  • Distracted driving caused injuries to around 421,000 individuals.
  • Distracted driving was behind 11 percent of deaths of drivers under the age of 20 in 2012.
  • Twenty-five percent of teenage drivers respond to at least one text message while driving. Around 10 percent of parents and 20 percent of teenagers revealed they had a text conversation while they were driving.

2012 National Survey on Distracted Driving Behaviors and Attitudes

  • Around 48 percent of drivers acknowledged that they answer their cellular phones while driving.
  • Around 58 percent of drivers who answer their cell phones while driving revealed they continue to drive while answering a phone call.
  • The survey also revealed that 24 percent of drivers are willing to use their cell phones to make a call even though they are driving.
  • Ten percent of the survey respondents acknowledged that they send emails or text messages while driving.
  • Around 14 percent of the respondents revealed they read emails or text messages while driving.
  • Most of the survey respondents are supportive of laws that ban the use of cell phones while driving.

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, you may feel traumatized and frustrated. However, it is important for you to understand that laws are in place to protect your rights and to penalize negligent drivers. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation.