According to data compiled by the Nevada Department of Transportation, almost 52,000 car crashes occurred on the state’s roads in 2010 (most recent data available). Clark County accounted for almost 79 percent of the accident total and 57 percent of fatalities. Although the total number of car accidents has gone down statewide between 2000 and 2010, personal injury attorney Adam Kutner believes more needs to be done to prevent the most common causes of car accidents.
Driver Error and Distraction
Speeding and disregarding traffic lights and stop signs are common errors that lead to serious accidents. Drivers who follow too closely or fail to yield the right of way also contribute to the number of collisions on the state’s roads.
The department of transportation reports distracted driving as the cause of approximately 3,500 traffic accidents each year in Nevada, but the actual figure is probably higher. Police at the accident scene can’t always determine whether distracted driving caused or contributed to the accident. Anything from applying makeup to handling a cup of hot coffee can distract a driver long enough to cause a collision.
Nevada banned handheld cell phone use as of January 1, 2012, in an effort to eliminate a source of driver distraction. The law allows a police officer to ticket anyone seen operating a motor vehicle while using a handheld cell phone to talk, read or type. A conviction brings with it a fine of up to $250. This ban includes using the phone’s GPS feature if it’s not set up for voice operation.
Police can arrest a motorist with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more. Driving under the influence is a misdemeanor. If the DUI caused a fatal accident, the charge increases to a felony. In 2011, 246 people died in alcohol-related accidents in Nevada.
Attorney Adam Kutner knows from his legal experience that road design can be a factor in accidents. Roads, intersections and traffic-control devices that have been poorly designed, constructed or maintained, can contribute to a car accident. Establishing government liability for the accident location typically requires a thorough investigation and a lawyer experienced in handling claims against government entities.
Mechanical failures can cause a driver to lose control of a vehicle. A brake failure, blown tire or other mechanical malfunction that causes a car to crash might be the fault of the manufacturer. A defective vehicle design could cause a rollover when a driver attempts to swerve to avoid a collision.
Experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyers know that car crashes can happen for any number of reasons. A thorough investigation of the facts surrounding an accident might be necessary before the cause can be determined.