Cok Kinzler PLLP

Bozeman Personal Injury Blog

How negligence works in car accidents

Serious accidents can occur when drivers are negligent. Montana residents may be interested in learning how negligence applies in car accidents in order to stay safe while they are out on the road. This information may also be helpful after a person has been injured in a car accident and wants to know if they have a case against another driver.

In a legal setting, certain requirements need to be met in order to prove negligence in car accident cases. The first one is usually easy to meet since it involves an expectation for some degree of reasonable care. When a person gets a driver's license in the United States, they are expected to drive as safely as possible. Second, there must be evidence that shows that care was not exercised. Perhaps a person failed a breath test, or video footage shows them swerving. Third, evidence proving that a loss or injury occurred because of the accident will need to be presented.

Opioid use a possible factor in some fatal two-car crashes

Montana residents may have heard that there is an opioid crisis across the nation. Opioids cause psychomotor and cognitive impairment, especially in those who have not developed a tolerance for them, so they don't go well with driving. Unfortunately, 7.1% of all the drivers who caused a crash in 2016 tested positive for opioids. This marks a significant increase from 2% in 1993.

JAMA Network Open has recently published a study that looks at opioid-using drivers involved in fatal two-car crashes. After analyzing 18,321 such crashes in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, researchers set their sights on the 1,467 drivers who tested positive for opioids. It turns out that 918 initiated the crash they were in and 549 did not.

Drowsy driving, and how to avoid it

Most drivers in Montana are no stranger to drowsiness behind the wheel, but that hardly means that they should do nothing about it. Unfortunately, many continue to drive drowsy even when they know it's wrong. As a result, up to 6,000 fatal crashes occur every year that are related to drowsy driving. The following are a few tips for avoiding drowsiness.

It all starts with getting adequate sleep. The CDC recommends seven hours for adults and eight hours for teenagers. Drivers should stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Unfortunately, some professions prevent workers from getting the sleep they need. Shift workers and the drivers of buses, big rigs and tow trucks are especially vulnerable.

Technologies aim to reduce risk of distracted driving

People in Montana and across the country face serious risks because of distracted driving. Every day, around nine people lose their lives and 100 more are injured due to distractions behind the wheel. Cellphones and other electronic devices are the best-known cause of distracted driving collisions, but there are a wide range of items that can take a driver's eyes and mind away from the road ahead. Other distractions can divert attention from the road, including "rubbernecking" at other collisions on the road and attending to the built-in entertainment and touchscreen systems inside newer vehicles.

While technology has contributed to the rise in car accidents linked to distracted driving, some manufacturers are attempting to use artificial intelligence technology to make these crashes less likely. There are three major types of distracted driving: visual distractions that redirect a driver's eyes from the street, manual distractions that divert a driver's hands from the wheel and cognitive distractions that prevent a driver from focusing on the road. Drowsy driving is a serious threat to roadway safety.

Keeping kids safe in car accidents

Anytime a car accident results in a person's death, it is a terrible tragedy. However, when the victim is a child, it can be especially painful. The thought that a young person who should have had a whole life in front of him or her no longer does can be too much for some families to come to terms with.

The Centers for Disease Control says that one of the primary causes of death for children is a fatal car accident. The good news is that proper safety measures can prevent deaths like this. If you have children, you may be interested in just what research has to say about children and car accidents as well as how to stop a tragedy before it happens.

Winter driving 101: staying safe on icy, snowy roads

Montana residents will want to avoid going out as much as possible when the roads are icy, wet or snowy. For those times that they cannot avoid being out on the winter roads, though, the following tips should help in lowering the risk for collisions. The first tip is to simply slow down. Even following the speed limit can be too fast in snowy conditions; the tires will lose traction and the car will be more likely to lose control.

Accelerating and braking must not be sudden and harsh, or the car will, again, wind up losing control. Gently apply pressure to the accelerator with the heel. Brake sooner and try to keep some momentum when approaching a traffic light. Starting from a complete stop can lead to the wheels spinning.

AAA: drivers should beware of drowsiness after end of DST

The end of daylight saving time may give everyone an extra hour to sleep, but it still disrupts the body's internal clock. This means that one may need to contend with a little drowsiness the day of the change and even the day after. Drivers in Montana should keep in mind what sort of effect drowsiness can have on their ability to concentrate on the road.

Drowsy driving factors in approximately 328,000 car crashes every year in the U.S. It is linked to some 6,400 deaths and 50,000 debilitating injuries, according to the National Sleep Foundation. In AAA's 2018 Traffic Safety Culture Index, 96% of respondents acknowledged how unsafe drowsy driving is, but 27% engaged in it at least once in the 30 days prior to the survey.

Toyota announces second phase of airbag recall

More than 40 million vehicles have been recalled in Montana and around the country in recent years because of potentially deadly problems with airbags supplied by the Japanese parts manufacturer Takata. Toyota initially addressed the issue by replacing faulty Takata airbags in more than 900,000 Lexus, Scion and Toyota models with new Takata airbags. The carmaker has now announced that it is ready to implement the second phase of its airbag remedy by replacing the new Takata airbags with airbags supplied by a different vendor.

Toyota says that it will begin sending recall notices to about 928,000 vehicle owners in mid-December. Dealer personnel will inspect the vehicles and then replace either the airbag inflator or the entire airbag assembly at no charge. The carmaker says that it will complete the work ahead of a schedule laid down by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The recall covers the driver and front passenger airbags in vehicles manufactured between 2003 and 2016.

Mistakes by truckers lead to devastating injuries

If you travel on Montana's roads and highways, chances are good you will encounter a big rig. You may put out of your mind the danger of sharing the road with one of these behemoths, but you can't deny their intimidating presence. A tractor-trailer may weigh 20 times the weight of your vehicle. This means they take longer to stop and are more difficult to control in adverse conditions.

Injuries resulting from an accident with a commercial vehicle like a tractor-trailer can be devastating and life-changing. You may find yourself with injuries that require medical care for the rest of your life, or you may end up mourning the loss of a loved one who suffered fatal injuries in such an accident. You have every right to want justice in this situation, especially if the accident resulted from careless or reckless actions on the part of the truck driver.

Product testing is critical to protecting consumers

When creators of new products in Montana are preparing to release a new prototype to their consumers, there are many ways they could go about testing their product. In the most effective scenario, businesses will take adequate time and resources to identify potential problems and address them before releasing them to the public. Additionally, they will run multiple tests to guarantee that the product they are offering is safe, reliable and functional. 

According to, businesses can experience several notable and advantageous benefits from their decision to trialing a product before giving the entire public access to it. These benefits include the following:

  • The opportunity to collaborate with and negotiate with early adopters who can provide their feedback and reviews of the product for legitimate data regarding a product's effectiveness. 
  • The opportunity to identify errors that could cause injury or inconvenience to consumers or reputational damage to the company, its mission and its success. 
  • The opportunity to recognize defects that if addressed early enough, can provide direction for more effective ways of manufacturing the product. 
  • The opportunity to see how the product functions in relation to the market and the industry where it is being sold. 
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