The Reason NHTSA Released 2016 Traffic Fatality Data but Not 2016 Injury Data

In past years, the NHTSA has released annually an overview of motor vehicle crashes for the prior calendar year which includes both injury and fatality data. However, the NHTSA recently released its overview of 2016 fatality data without including the 2016 non-fatal injury data. I contacted the NHTSA to find out whether the 2016 non-fatal injury data is currently available and if not when it will become available. The response from NHTSA was as follows:

In a nut shell, there is no 2016 injury data at this time. NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) redesigned the nationally representative sample of police-reported traffic crashes, which estimates the number of police-reported injury and property–damage-only crashes in the United States. The new system, called the Crash Report Sampling System (CRSS), replaced the National Automotive Sampling System (NASS) General Estimates System (GES) in 2016. However, the 2016 estimates are not currently available. NHTSA is currently processing the file to ensure the data is accurate and complete and is finalizing the new weighting and calibration procedures to produce national estimates. Once completed, NHTSA will release the data and publish the estimated number of police-reported injury and property-damage-only crashes that occurred during 2016.

 

 

Our law firm is Presenting Sponsor of Bike East Bay’s Biketopia 2017

We are proud to once again be the Presenting Sponsor of Biketopia, Bike East Bay’s member party and fundraiser.  This year’s event will be held November 9, 2017 from 6:30 – 10:30 p.m. at the same location as last year, The Impact Hub at 2323 Broadway in Oakland (a short walk from BART station).  Don’t miss this always exciting well-attended party.

Noteworthy Items from NHTSA’s 2016 Fatal Motor Vehicle Crash Data

The NHTSA recently released its 2016 fatal motor vehicle crash data.  Noteworthy among the data are the following:

Nationally, there were 37,461 fatalities during 2016, a 5.6 increase from 2015. Pedestrian fatalities increased by 492, a 9.0% increase from 2015 and the highest number since 1990. The fatality rate per 100 million Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) increased by 2.6% from 1.15 in 2015 to 1.18 in 2016. Fatalities in distraction related crashes were 9.2% of total fatalities in 2016. Approximately 28% of all fatalities were in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes (29% in California). There were 11.5 times as many un-helmeted motorcyclist fatalities in States without universal helmet laws (1,923 un-helmeted fatalities) as in States with universal helmet laws (166 un-helmeted fatalities).

Bicycle vs Pedestrian Injury Accidents – Insurance Coverage

Sometimes there are collisions between bicyclists and pedestrians which result in injuries, such as a recently reported collision between a bicyclist and teen pedestrian at Market and Third Streets in San Francisco.  I am often asked whether there is any liability insurance which may cover the bicyclist or pedestrian in such circumstances.  While motor vehicle liability or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage applies when a pedestrian or bicyclist is injured by a motorist, such insurance does not apply to a bicycle vs. pedestrian accident.  However, the bicyclist’s or pedestrian’s Homeowner’s or Renter’s liability insurance may cover the at-fault party in a bicycle vs. pedestrian accident.

We Mourn Pedestrian Konstaninos “Gus” Vardakastanis killed by Hit-And-Run Driver

Our office mourns the death of Konstaninos “Gus” Vardakastanis, the owner of a number of San Francisco markets, who was killed this morning by a speeding hit-and-run driver as he walked across Jerrold Ave near the SF Produce Market.  As one of his numerous admiring customers, I knew Gus as extremely hard working, family-loving, and forever wanting to please his customers in any way he could.  Our family and entire neighborhood are saddened.  He will be missed very much.

Pedestrians and Bicyclists Injured in Hit And Run – Insurance Coverage And Reporting Requirements

Preventing Brain Injury in Children

According to an analysis of data from more than 40,000 cases of brain trauma in children, as published in the New England Journal of Medicine (11/13/15), the most common cause of brain injury in children under 12 is falling, most often from a bicycle, scooter or other wheeled device. These findings highlight the importance of educating parents regarding the importance of having their children where helmets.

Two Bicyclists Severely Injured in Corte Madera by Left-Turning SUV – Marin County

Two bicyclists were severely injured while riding along Paradise Drive in Corte Madera during the morning of April 21, 2017, when an SUV traveling in the opposite direction made a left turn and collided with them. The driver of the SUV was reportedly a 16-year-old girl driving on a provisional license.

As I have described in a past blog post, left-turning vehicles are a common way in which bicyclists are injured in the Bay Area, almost always due to the inattention of the motorist. As a bicycle accident lawyer representing Bay Area victims, I have represented numerous cyclists injured in this manner, fending off the tendency of many motorists and their insurers to blame the cyclists.

The California Vehicle Code Section 21801(a) provides, and common sense dictates, that vehicles intending to make a left turn “shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety.”  Bicycles riding on the roadway are considered “vehicles” under the Code and thus have the right-of-way.

In cases involving severe injuries to bicyclists, the amount of liability insurance applicable to the vehicle and driver may be insufficient, especially where there are multiple victims making claims under the same policy. Bicyclists should be aware that in such circumstances the uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage provided by the bicyclists’ automobile insurance policies may provide them with an additional source of compensation.