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Milwaukee Motor Vehicle Accident Law Blog

The effects of alcohol on a driver

Most Wisconsin drivers know that drinking and driving is incredibly dangerous. However, what they may not know is that it is estimated that 32 percent of car accidents involve drivers or pedestrians who have consumed alcohol. Across the nation, it is estimated that 13,000 people lose their lives to drunk driving accidents each year while hundreds of thousands of others suffer injuries.

It is well-known that alcohol consumption affects the brain and makes it much more difficult to safely operate a vehicle. When a driver has consumed enough alcohol to surpass the .08 percent BAC limit, they often have poor muscle coordination, which affects their reaction time, hearing and vision. Additionally, their judgement, decision-making and reasoning are often affected.

Wisconsin texting and driving dangers

Most teenagers are constantly connected to their friends through social messaging, the Internet and their cellphones. While technological innovation is not necessarily bad, the need to connect at all times can pose special risks to people when teens cannot refrain from connecting with others by texting while they are driving, even though it is against the law in Wisconsin and in many other states.

Despite news reports and warnings about the dangers of texting and driving, teens and adults continue to engage in the risky behavior. When people look down at their cellphones to read a text message or respond to one, their eyes are no longer on the road. They thus run the risk of causing an accident due to the resulting distraction.

Large truck accident statistics

When large trucks are involved in accidents in Wisconsin and across the United States, their sheer size and weight often results in serious personal injuries or fatalities. Truck drivers often drive long hours and can become fatigued by driving. Some truckers ingest substances in an effort to stay awake while driving, placing both themselves and others on the highways at serious risk.

In 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 104,000 people were injured and 3,921 people died in collisions with large trucks. For the year, 333,000 large trucks were involved in motor vehicle accidents across the United States.

Pedestrian accident facts and figures

Wisconsin residents are likely aware that pedestrians are extremely vulnerable on the nation's roads, but they may not be aware that more than 12 pedestrians are killed every day in traffic accidents. While the number of pedestrian fatalities has fallen slightly in recent years, those on foot are still more likely than other road users to lose their lives in an accident. Pedestrian account for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities while making less than 11 percent of road trips.

According to figures released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,743 lives were lost and over 76,000 injuries were suffered in pedestrian accidents in 2012. The number of pedestrian fatalities fell by 3.2 percent between 2001 and 2012 due to a number of factors. Experts credit improved driver education, more efficient traffic planning and increased law enforcement efforts among the reasons for the reduction.

Impaired driving statistics: facts you should know

Impaired driving continues to be a significant problem across the U.S. Every day, approximately 30 people die nationwide in alcohol-related car accidents. About 30 percent of all traffic accidents in the U.S. involve alcohol. Wisconsin has the highest drunk driving rates of any state, and about 36 percent of all accidents are alcohol-related. More than 10,000 deaths occurred nationwide in 2012; 223 of those were Wisconsin residents. An additional 3,000 people were injured in Wisconsin due to impaired driving.

Young people are at the highest risk for getting behind the wheel after drinking. Of the fatal alcohol-related crashes in the U.S. in 2012, about 30 percent were drivers between the ages of 21 and 24. Motorcyclists are the next-highest group of at-risk drivers. Almost a third of motorcycle fatalities involved alcohol, and in Wisconsin, 33 percent of motorcycle fatalities were drivers who had a blood alcohol level of more than .08 percent. About seven percent of fatalities were of drivers with a prior conviction of DUI.

Roundabouts may be safer for Wisconsin residents

It is estimated that there are 300,000 signalized intersections in the United States. Of all traffic fatalities that occur each year in America, 2,300 occur at these intersections. That is equal to roughly one-third of all traffic fatalities that occur each year. While a signalized intersection is considered be useful for controlling who has the right-of-way at a given time at an intersection, roundabouts may be safer overall.

A roundabout is designed in a manner that results in lower speeds and less conflict between drivers. Research has indicated that there is a 44 percent reduction in accidents at roundabouts and an 82 percent reduction is severe and fatal crashes compared to two-way stop intersection. Statistics indicate that switching from a signalized intersection to a roundabout reduces crashes by 48 percent and severe crashes by 78 percent.

Understanding the likelihood of a bike accident in Wisconsin

In 2012, pedalcyclists accounted for 2 percent of all traffic injuries and 2 percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States. This translates to 726 pedalcyclist deaths, which was an increase of 6 percent from the previous year. It is estimated that 61 percent of fatalities took place between the hours of noon and 11:59 p.m.

The average age of those killed in such accidents was 43, and males made up 88 percent of those killed. The average age of those injured was 32, and the vast majority of those injured were also males. Overall, younger males between the ages of 10 and 15 were more likely to suffer injuries in such a crash while middle-aged males between the ages of 45 and 54 were most likely to die in a traffic accident.

The role of fatigue in Wisconsin truck accidents

Large trucks are much more likely to be involved in multiple car collisions resulting in death than are passenger vehicles, and truck driver fatigue can substantially increase the likelihood of a resulting fatal truck accident. Driver fatigue is a serious problem for travelers on the nation's roadways.

Each year, truck accidents result in the deaths of more than 5,000 people. Another 150,000 are seriously injured in truck-involved accidents. Truck driver fatigue, which results from driving long hours or long workweeks, substantially increases the incidence of fatal and injury accidents. Each year, 750 or more people lose their lives, and 20,000 suffer serious injury as a direct result of accidents caused by fatigued truck drivers.

Increasing pedestrian safety by using crossing islands

In collisions between vehicles and pedestrians, an estimated 80 percent of the pedestrians will die if the vehicle is traveling at speeds 40 mph or greater. In contrast, if the vehicle is traveling at 20 mph or less, fewer than 10 percent of the pedestrians receive fatal injuries. By strategically placing raised islands to separate pedestrians from traffic, their safety and vehicle safety increase.

Wisconsin drivers are familiar with medians, either marked by surface lines or medians that are elevated above the roadway surface. Raised islands for pedestrians follow the same purpose as the elevated medians to separate vehicle traffic in opposing lanes. Pedestrian islands provide people with a buffer from the moving vehicles. They are also known as refuge islands, center islands and median slow points.

Bike accidents in Wisconsin

Many Wisconsin residents may use their bicycle as a form of transportation or just enjoy cycling as an outdoor activity. While bicycles are a great way to get around, bicyclists are always at risk for suffering serious injuries if they are struck by a vehicle.

Certain individuals are more at risk for suffering injuries than others. For example, children between the age of 4 and 15 and adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 account for approximately 60 percent of bicycle-related injuries. Additionally, males are more likely to suffer injuries than females. Finally, it should be known that most accidents occur in busy, urban areas and along roadways, not at intersections.

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