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Knoxville Motor Vehicle Accidents Law Blog

Fall motorcycle hazards

The days are getting shorter, colder and the leaves are starting to change color. Although summer is coming to an end, there are still plenty of riding days left for motorcyclists in Knoxville. With the changing seasons comes new hazards and road conditions that bikers should be aware of. 

According to Consumer Reports, in 2015, the number of motorcycle fatalities on the roads across the country was more than 5,000. These accidents were caused by many factors, such as alcohol, reckless behavior, inexperience, driving errors, other motorists and seasonal road conditions. There is no perfect time of year for bikers to ride. However, any motorcyclists who plan to enjoy the fall scenery while they cruise the roads should heed the following safety suggestions. 

How can parents protect their kids from car accidents?

Many parents feel their children are safest when they are with them, especially when they are transporting them around the Knoxville area. However, car accidents kill more children each year than any other cause in the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014 alone, more than “121,350 kids were injured in vehicle collisions.” 

Some parents drive so much that it feels like second nature to them. They become so used to navigating the streets while distracted and driving recklessly alone, that when their children are with them, they forget to readjust their driving behaviors to protect them. There are many variables that create hazardous conditions that are ripe for car accidents. Alcohol, drugs, distractions, inexperience and recklessness are just a few factors that parents should keep in mind about other drivers. 

What are 2 main causes of motorcycle accidents?

One thing that motorcyclists should do before hitting the roads in Knoxville this season is to learn about two main causes of accidents. The number of motorcycle crashes that occur is increasing. According to the Insurance Information Institute, riders have a 29 percent higher chance of dying in collisions. They are also more likely to suffer serious injuries than other types of vehicle operators. 

When accidents happen, it is easy for uninvolved people to point the blame on rider behavior. However, some accident causing factors are beyond their control. Here is a brief overview of two major causes of motorcycle accidents. 

What kind of injuries can occur in car accidents?

Many people in Knoxville who have never been involved in car accidents before believe that the most important thing they should worry about is property damage. However, car accidents can be very serious and often end with someone becoming injured. It is not uncommon for some individuals to suffer serious injuries in car accidents where there is minimal impact. It is also very common for some people not to show signs of their injuries immediately after them. 

As brief as motor vehicle collisions are, many people end up with long-term pain and suffering. Their injuries are often so severe that there is little chance of them making full recoveries. Anyone who has never been in a car accident before should take some time to learn about two types of injuries they are at risk of sustaining. 

The details of drunk driving accidents

Every state contains its own set of drunk driving laws to protect all drivers on the road, and the details of each penalty can be complex and demanding. Tennessee's laws regarding driving while under the influence vary depending on the number of offenses, existence of injuries and fatalities. Even a first-time offense can come with incredibly damaging consequences.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides statistical data of accidents in the state, as well as the percentage of those accidents that occur as a result of alcohol impairment. According to the NHTSA's 2015 report, 31 percent of Tennessee's 958 fatal motor vehicle traffic accidents involved alcohol at the blood alcohol concentration level of .01 percent. 26 percent of Tennessee's fatal crashes were due to BAC levels of .08 percent. However, law enforcement considers drivers to be alcohol-impaired when their BAC levels .08 grams per deciliter or higher. This policy also applies to motorcyclists, and the term "alcohol-impaired" does not imply that a crash or a fatality was caused by alcohol impairment.

The breakdown of Tennessee's helmet law

Motorcycling in most parts of Tennessee can be a true thrill. With the state's beautiful valleys and scenic drives, it comes as no surprise that thousands of motorcyclists hit highways and interstates every day. Yet in addition to the undoubtedly carefree lifestyle that largely characterizes motorcycling, there also exists a significant number of motorcycle accidents each year. Yet many ask, who should call the verdict on helmet use, and should motorcyclists have the freedom to ride helmetless? 

The Times Free Press reported on an apparent rise in motorcycle accidents in Tennessee in recent years, but also provides state research findings that helmets are 37 percent effective at preventing fatal injuries to drivers. To spread information on motorcycle safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hands out grants to states for motorcyclist training and motorist awareness. According to Times Free Press, the Government Accountability Office stressed that the grant money could be better spent if Congress relaxed guidelines and allowed states to have more flexibility regarding motorcycling laws. Such flexibility could open doors for new ways to increase helmet use, educate police and increase motorcycle safety awareness.  

Common truck tire issues that lead to accidents

When it comes to truck accidents, many people in the Knoxville area believe that they are caused by distracted, fatigued and speeding truckers. Many of them do not realize that distractions and fatigue are not the only reasons commercial vehicle operators crash. Some accidents are the result of maintenance issues. In 2015, there were 3,852 truck accident fatalities, states the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 

Truckers are required to inspect their vehicles before and after each delivery. Their management companies must service their vehicles regularly to ensure they comply with the standards and regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration When they overlook or ignore faulty equipment and issues that can affect their vehicles’ normal operations, they make the roads more dangerous. Here are two common truck maintenance problems that motorists should learn about. 

A couple of motorcycle safety myths to ignore

Every day, there are motorcycle accidents on the roads of Knoxville. Many of them are the result of rider error and misinformation. Some bikers are not aware that some of the information they hear and believe about riding is false. Although these myths are meant to educate and inspire them to stay safe while they are out riding on the roads, they do the opposite. 

Motorcycle crashes make up 14 percent of all vehicle accidents, states the Insurance Information Institute. Riders who are not properly informed about what is truth and fiction may find themselves in danger of getting hurt. Motorcyclists should make themselves aware of the following biker myths and their truths so they can take measures to improve their safety. 

Accident near Fort Campbell kills motorcyclist

The many motorcyclists riding their bikes throughout Knox County may serve as a reminder to all those who drive on the area's roads of the need to share them with all vehicles. Motorists may often believe in a perceived heirarchy on the road, with themselves being at the top of it and motorcyclists needing to accomodate them. Yet that is not the case. Motorcycles are afforded the same freedoms as any other vehicle when it comes to the use of the roadway. Sadly, that fact may often not be realized, and when it is not, the results are often devastating for the motorcyclists involved. 

This point was sadly reaffirmed in an accident that recently occurred near Fort Campbell outside of Clarksville. A motorcycle driven by a young man was struck by an SUV attempting to make a turn. While the accident is still under investigation, preliminary reports state that the driver of the SUV failed to recognize that the motorcyclist had the right of way. The young man, who was serving at the base as a member of the Army, was pronounced dead at the scene. The occupants of the SUV were also injured and taken for treatment at a local hospital.

What are Tennessee's dram shop laws?

As frustrating has having to deal with the aftermath of a car accident in Knoxville can be, your ire is likely to increase even more if you find out that yours was caused by a drunk driver. While criminal penalties may await the driver in this scenario, that knowledge may do little to ease the suffering you have been forced to endure from the injuries you sustained along with the expenses you incurred. The cost of such an accident may even necessitate you pursuing compensation. The question is whether the drunk driver involed is the only one who is at fault. 

In many cases, a third party had to provide the alcohol to the driver in order for him or her to become intoxicated. The legal concept of dram shop liability assigns fault to third parties who sell or provide alcohol to people who, after consuming and becoming impaired from it, cause injuries or damages. The term hearkens back to times when taverns sold liquor using a dram as a unit of measurement. Many states do not have dram shop laws on their books; Tennessee, however, does have such a statute.

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