Will Traffic Collisions Keep Going Down With Deaths Rising?
I am Michael Ehline, lead counsel for Ehline Law Firm. I predict car accident speeding deaths will increase through 2021, and here's why. In 2020, Los Angeles car accident attorneys saw phone calls and website contact form visits for motor vehicle fender benders down, correlating with less peak hour vehicle and traffic congestion. Because of COVID-19, the number of vehicle miles driven in 2020 decreased by 13.2% compared to 2019. (Source)
The entire state's negligence law profession has remained stagnant for most law firms and solo legal practitioners [Citation needed]. California injury lawyers are signing a few car accidents (Months of pandemic teleworking have left some missing their commutes), except for some notorious wrongful death attorneys. Remarkably, since COVID-19, consumers here saw fatal auto collisions way up. Whether traffic collisions will keep going down with deaths rising depends upon the following factors?
Understanding The Coronavirus Effect - Minor Wrecks Down, Cost Savings, Serious Injuries, And Fatalities Up
Emptier roads and possibly lax law enforcement gave some motorists the green light to put the pedal to the metal. Anecdotal evidence suggests drivers are also more aggressive. The spike in deaths coupled with the huge decrease in total miles driven has resulted in a monthly death per miles driven increase of 20.2% compared to December 2019. The National Safety Council asserts the "mileage death rate per 100 million vehicle miles driven for December 2020 is 1.43, compared to 1.19 in 2019." We will begin our comprehensive Coronavirus traffic accident study with densely packed California. The golden state is a car crash hot spot, with its crowded cities and counties of San Francisco, Fresno, and Greater Los Angeles. There is no reason for me to believe monthly deaths per mile driving will decrease until the restoration of pre-COVID-19 roadway traffic streams.
As of August 2020, the Coronavirus stay-at-home order indirectly saved taxpayers $1 billion from its 60% plus motoring accident reduction. - Los Angeles Times (April 20, 2020)
UC Davis' Fraser Shilling, the Road Ecology Center co-director, claims California is saving $40 million per day in property damage, bodily injury treatment, and lost work productivity. Our emergency response system (ERS) is also under less stress, especially in Southern California. A UC Davis Survey Estimates $15 billion a year will be saved from fewer car accidents. - LA Times (supra)
While California regularly ranks high in the number of crashes, 2020's sparse vehicle traffic presented an unexpected "blind-spot." Before the pandemic, traffic accidents were already gradually falling, especially with the advent of work from home. But then traffic experts saw a sharp COVID-19 pandemic decline in private passenger vehicles on roads. As attorneys, we will try and answer questions the lapdog media won't.
Our answers may appear obvious to many, but more remains at play here in understanding Coronivrus' effects. Experts with the California Highway Patrol (sometimes CHP) also reported a sheer reduction in motorist crashes as traffic accidents fell across the nation. However, Uber, Lyft, and Amazon Prime saw more vehicles driving our near-empty roads, giving those drivers and other motorists room to step on it! CHP findings corresponded perfectly with a Road Ecology Center report at the University of California, Davis.
Below, our Los Angeles, California Car Accident Attorney, Michael Ehline, will discuss:
For example, according to Curbed, New. York City drivers saw a significant drop in travel and 93% fewer collisions in April 2020 than January 2020. NY saw June traffic volume back around 70 to 80% of normal. We also saw the number of traffic death for NYC fall 2% in 2020. It was an admirable stat, all things considered. Then we saw something weird happen during the first two quarters of 2020. Some agency experts reported the fatality rate seemed to fall nationwide - by about 2%.
But that wasn't the end of the COVID-19 vehicle accident story for several other states, including California. The LA Times and AP recently reported that California spiked in fatal 2020 traffic accident carnage, linked with increased vehicle speeds during this same coronavirus pandemic period. Now our expert Los Angeles personal injury attorneys will examine everything through the eyes of top-notch legal professionals.
1. What Are The Effects Of The Coronavirus Pandemic On U.S. Traffic Accidents Overall?
The reason minor traffic collisions remain down, but severe and deadly wrecks are up to is simple for a traffic cop or moderately experienced motor vehicle accident attorney to grasp. At the beginning of the pandemic, much of this decline was directly tied to stay-at-home orders and lockdowns. But fact check sites and evening news aren't telling us everything.
Less Jobs = Less Driving
The sharp increase in the unemployment rate accompanied a dramatic decline number of people using roadways. The losers were everyday workers, personal injury attorneys, and entrepreneurs. So if you worked at a deli next to an office building, you might be on unemployment insurance.
Work From Home = Less Driving
As with all economic disasters, a small minority benefits as wealth redistributes away from the middle class with tax increases and regulations during the pandemic. For those lucky few public school teachers and government employees working for the SBA, for example, the ability to work online sharply reduced their commuting hours to and from small towns and big cities.
- No Work = Repossessed Cars
When stimulus checks don't cut the mustard, sometimes walking, skateboarding or bicycles remain the last affordable ways to travel.
"Experts who pay attention to auto loans see trouble on the horizon and think repo men and women will be busy..." - Car and Driver.
- No Work = Few New Car Sales
From 2020-2021, we see gas energy prices skyrocket, as president Joe Biden dismantles U.S. energy independence and pushes windmill technology exactly as worldwide auto sales sputter into bankruptcy. - Manufacturing Global
2. What Is the Wider Economic Impact With Coronavirus?
We must consider wider, economic effects beyond no money for your car payments. The pandemic has so far caused the sharpest decline in American GDP growth in U.S. history, with unemployment rates shooting higher than the highest recorded clip. [IMAGE] Sharp decline All of this resulted in a dramatic slowdown in economic activity, affecting several sectors.
As a result, the cascading effect led to a much greater economic contraction than originally expected. Fewer people went out for non-necessities, causing increased restaurant unemployment and service companies, including the offices of negligence lawyers across California.
The newly unemployed workers could not utilize their paychecks, typically pulling back on everyday purchases. The pandemic's economic destruction has become a self-feeding cycle, with profound effects leading from Wall Street to Main Street-- to streets without cars.
3. Excessive Speed/Reckless Driving And COVID-19 Road Deaths
Our Los Angeles, California roads were more lethal in 2020 than experts could have imagined during the pandemic's genesis. Today, however, our transportation officials, including local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, now confirm Coronavirus pandemic statistical data that road safety was turned on its head.
Lately, you already know factors fueling speeders riding motorcycles, and driving cars have taken over the freeways if you have been out driving. Residents in exclusive areas, including Hawthorne Blvd, near Rolling Hills Estates, have noticed the uptick as well.
We know from anecdotal and first-hand evidence that Torrance police, CHP, and LAPD make fewer traffic stops in more rural locations. But police union officials have confirmed they are enforcing fewer traffic laws across the board. Even then, speeding tickets are way up. So that tells us people are speeding far more than is being reported. Their reasons for lax enforcement may be historical fear of race riots, BLM-related lawsuits, political executions by mayors, and unaccountable supervisors.
Some officers report a lack of civilian respect for LEO or fears of contracting Coronavirus as excuses. Either way, California residents in places like Rancho Palos Verdes, California, are complaining that local police are no longer performing their proven historical traffic safety deterrent functions.
"We walk and do tai chi near Silver Spur across Hawthorne Blvd often," said Kathryn Yun Sim of Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
She claims that: "Even after Tiger Woods crashed his truck over there, I see no motorcycle police here still. Maybe Tiger drives too fast, and Sheriff knows he should have radar police there? No way Tiger was paid [sic.] attention to Hawthorne road's winding curves, I think. He obviously doesn't live here. That road is dangerous, and trucks lose brakes all the time. We even got two big truck turnouts. It's a problem. I could have been run over," said Sim.
But we will leave the investigation to the Sheriff. I am reasonably sure nothing will happen to Woods legally, and the Sheriff handily wins his re-election bid. To donate money to the L.A. County Sheriff's re-election bid, go here.
COVID-19 Or Not, You Can Be Sued For Wrongful Death After Negligent Driving
Wrongful Death: A wrongful death is an intentional or accidental killing of an individual by a person or persons. A close family member may seek money damages as compensation. We already know that most car accidents involve human error.
So we understand that most deaths involving car wrecks during COVID, statistically, were wrongful death actions.
4. 2020 California State University, Fresno Speeding Survey
Our analysts relied heavily upon an earlier Fresno State traffic survey commissioned by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), styled 2020 California Survey of Speeding Attitudes and Behaviors. This official OTS study data was gathered at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The university study was prompted by 2019 NHTSA teen driver and adult seat belt use reporting requirements in surveys. Fresno State researchers developed the online survey.
The OTS study gathered information using:
"Using Qualtrics panel data, survey responses were collected from 3,150 individuals with a valid California driver’s license, providing a broad representation of the state’s population. Respondents were e-mailed the survey link, and the survey was completed between July 10th and July 30th, 2020."
In the OTS study:
Test subjects received some questions regarding their feeling towards "speeding laws."
("Respondents were asked about the speeding laws and if drivers should obey these laws.") (Id. p.8)
- Speeding Laws? In most states, including California, the vehicle codes require drivers o go safely for weather and traffic conditions. In other words, there is no such thing as "speeding" per se.
For example, California Vehicle Code § 22350 provides:
"No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property."
Hence, the study's premise is reasonable for conditions presented to a prudent person when interpreting their survey data into our analysis and findings.
In addition to surveyors asking motorists about speeding habits, their survey elicited responses about dangerous or distracted driving behaviors, including:
- Failure to buckle up,
- Impaired vehicle driving.
Our legal researchers have provided pertinent responses to some of their questions, some legal analyses about speed-related collisions, and more.
5. Did The CHP See A 93% 2020 COVID-19 Speeding Citation Increase?
Yes! Despite complaints in suburbia about lax traffic enforcement, the CHP seems to be busy writing speeding tickets lately. When traffic volumes started declining with the March 2020 stay-at-home orders, law enforcement agencies began seeing unsafe, excessive vehicle speed with severe injury cases rise.
From September 1 through October 31, 2020:
- CHP officers issued traffic violation suspects a whopping 4,851 tickets to appear in court for operating vehicles more than 100 miles per hour.
- This represents a 93% gargantuan increase over 2019, perfectly coinciding with increased speed-related traffic fatalities.
More About COVID-19 Speeding Escalation, Its Causes, And Outcomes
For you citizens to better understand the astonishing causes of speeding while driving, we turn to the above 2020 OTS survey research. Researchers asked survey participants to select from a list of possible reasons they would drive faster than the posted vehicle speeds.
Question: "People sometimes go faster than the speed limit for different reasons. On those occasions when you do, what do you think are the main reasons you drive faster than the speed limit?"
Answer: Here are the top three common reasons people drive too fast.
- Being late: (55%),
- Safe road conditions: (35%),
- Impatience: (29%).
- [INSERT SPEEDING CHART HERE.]
Experts cited dramatically falling traffic volumes connected with a rise in speeding, aggressive, distracted, and impaired driving as the primary causes for increased lethal COVID-19 related road collisions. Ancillary factors increasing death included failing to wear a seatbelt safety device.
During last April's stay-at-home orders through late March, federal and state agencies found average speeds remained far above posted limits. Some cities, including Los Angeles, saw speeds over twice the posted safe speed.
From the year 2020 to now, California remains top among several states experiencing notable roadway traffic increases causing death or near-death collisions. California has seen an 8% increase in the number of people killed despite the eduction of roughly one-third of daily vehicle trips. Although traffic citations, like car accidents themselves, are down, the CHP claims law enforcement issued 87% more tickets to drivers traveling 100 mph or faster during California's COVID-19 shutdown.
Personal injury attorneys, the California Highway Patrol, and other agencies reasoned that speed-related crashes are significant factors explaining higher numbers of severe injuries and deaths than the fender benders. Reports from other state police, state troopers, and federal agencies show increased speeding ticket issuance percentages. (Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Washington D.C., and Minnesota, in particular).
Fun Fact: Since 1999, Florida had seen a decrease in the number of motorcyclists killed and injured.
Residents have found this particularly worrisome in suburban California areas like Palos Verdes Estates, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Malibu Beach, Santa Monica, and Pacific Palisades, and intersecting highway arteries.
- What Do Local California Residents Say?
"We are constantly seeing car racing at high beltway speeds during our normal traffic or rush-hour congestion times," said Sandy Herera of El Segundo, near LAX.
- What Do Local California Lawyers Say?
"You don't have to be a genius to know that lower traffic volume leads to people driving faster. Higher vehicle acceleration and higher velocity mean higher incidences of speed-related collisions. And you already know a high-speed impact will kill greater rates than lower speed impacts." - Los Angeles car crash lawyer Michael Ehline.
What Are The Los Angeles Coronovirus Traffic Accident Fatality Statistics?
We don't have accurate court filings for motor vehicle collision lawsuits filed in LA courts or nationwide motor vehicle claims.
- According to UDOT, there were 276 traffic fatalities in 2020. (An 11% increase, despite 13% fewer cars traveling roads during COVID-19.
- This is compared with 38,370 people killed in highway crashes from January through November 2020 nationwide. (Up 7% compared with the same period in 2019). Preliminary federal data analyzed by the National Safety Council does not include December numbers.
Other experts agree that steady, serious collision frequency since the pandemic remains related to increased vehicle speeds. In larger cities, transportation agencies have moved full steam ahead to conduct road improvement for better bicycle rider, motorcyclist, and bicyclist protection. But anyone who shares the road with motorized vehicles must beware of the post-COVID-19 traffic collision dangers they face.
6. Post COVID-19 Speeding Vehicle Accidents In the News:
Fresno, California Fatal Crash Example:
March 21, 2021: Three collision victims died in a 100 mile per hour plus fiery crash. The facts relate that a sheriff’s deputy pursuit was called off midpoint after a reckless driving suspect, 20-year-old Francisco Portillo, caused a multiple car crash. These other cars were struck due to Portillo's black Chevy Camaro's alleged reckless driving, authorities said.
Chief Paco Balderrama is fed up, stating: “This isn’t a video game; this isn’t Grand Theft Auto or Need for Speed where there are no consequences . . . people die, and we’ve seen a lot of people die in the last six months.”
See The Youtube Video Of The Crash And Burn High-Speed Police Chase
Suspect Portillo remains in hospital, facing felony DUI charges, including three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter and evading arrest with gross bodily injury charging enhancements. (Read more)
March 25, 2021: 35-Year-Old Daniel Ventura was killed, and three were injured in a crash on Fowler Avenue in Fresno, California, near Elkhorn Avenue. Police relate that a Chevy SUV veered off the road and rolled down an embankment down into an orchard, ejecting at least some vehicle passengers from the car. Emergency crews found the totaled-out SUV near a section of the high-speed rail under construction.
Mr. Ventura was pronounced dead at the accident scene. We found no information about the three other injured victims or their identities. (Unknown till next of kin notifications). Police are seeking a fifth person, possibly the driver who fled the crash scene. Fresno police believe alcohol was a likely crash factor.
Jan 6, 2021 - Investigators responded to a deadly crash involving a Porsche driver in downtown Los Angeles, reported about 12:30 a.m. by the First Street intersection and North Beaudry Avenue. LAPD spokesman Lt. Jake Bushey said the newer model Porsche hit a street light while apparently traveling eastbound on First Street before paramedics responded. Still, the approximately 30-year-old unidentified driver was DOA in this single-vehicle collision.
“I would say that speed probably was a factor in this collision,” according to Lt. Bushey - KTLA News.
Jan 8, 2021 -Authorities seek public help locating a reckless, speeding driver connected with a fatal Carson-based street-racing crash on Christmas Day. - KTLA News
7. 2021 Traffic Fatality Problems Faced By California And Larger Populations
For the most part, yes. Even the exceptions prove the rule that depression, hopelessness, anger, and emptier roads equal faster speeds, equal deadlier traffic collisions.
- Car Accident Wrongful Death Claims Across The Board Way Up Despite Government Projections?
According to National Safety Council (NSC) analysis, while Americans drove less because of stay-at-home orders and increased telecommuting, the fatality rate per mile driven rose 24% last year. Even though total miles driven nationwide saw a 15% fatality rate decrease per miles driven, commuter deaths still rose 14% overall nationwide when compared to 2019.
The NSC was confident the 18.6% fewer miles driven in March over the same month last year would correlate with an 8% net total roadway death number decrease.
“We should be able to show a significant safety benefit from having less traffic,” ...
Boy, were they wrong.
“Instead, in the midst of the worst health crisis in more than a century, we are experiencing even deadlier roadways.” - National Safety Council.
Connecticut: Connecticut saw a 42% increase in severe traffic-related personal injury and death despite an overall reduction in smaller collisions.
Hawaii: A Hawaii 2020 report indicated "fewer year-to-date traffic fatalities counterweighed by fewer vehicles on the road." In other words, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) gathered evidence of 27 fewer road fatalities than the same period in 2019 on Hawaii roads. However, it almost appears to be a wash, falling in line with typical past overall percentages of roadway driving accidents. Since Nov. 24, 2020, Hawaii numbers show 73 traffic fatalities, coupled with many nearly fatal crashes. One thing native to Hawaii in victims is the Aloha state's non-car occupants, including horses, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcycle riders getting run over walking or riding near jungle roads.
“We know we need to continue pursuing safety measures, including education and support of enforcement, for the safety of everyone, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, motorists, and their passengers.”
“At HDOT, we are thankful that there have been fewer traffic deaths in 2020, but we also have to be mindful that we had fewer cars out on our roads.” - Ed Sniffen, Deputy Director for Highways, Hawaii Department of Transportation.
Top contributing traffic accident factors for 2020 Hawaii traffic fatalities included:
- Impaired driving,
- Speed (47%, which tracks with 46% for 2012), and
- Distracted driving (Note: a traffic crash may have more than one contributing factor).
Maryland: Local political decisions are the main reason for disparities by jurisdiction and police precinct. Take Maryland, for example. According to the Baltimore Sun Editorial Board, since October 5, 2020, their officers have written 4,936 speeding citations for the year. Their lack of traffic citation issuance represents a one-third drop from 2019 (7,390 for the same date). Experts assert this drop was not tied to lower speeds, but because elected officials ordered officers to cease eventually conducting routine traffic stops over virus transmission spread fears in Baltimore County. (Only 92 tickets were filed with Baltimore courts in April compared to 5,555 during April 2019). - Baltimore Sun
Minnesota: According to Paul Walsh at the Star Tribune, the number of Minnesota traffic fatalities during the first 11 months of 2020 made it their deadliest year since 2015.
“With fewer vehicles on the road during the 2020 pandemic, the loss of life on Minnesota roads is beyond disappointing; it is tragic and completely preventable,” “While most Minnesotans are driving smart, there are several people who have used the lighter traffic as a license to disobey laws.” - Mike Hanson, director of Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety, in a statement accompanying their latest traffic data.
According to DPS:
• Speeding in the first 11 months has outstripped every other contributing factor, with 107 deaths, compared to 68 at this time last year.
• Lack of seat belt use accompanied 92 road deaths the first 11 months in 2020 vs. 66 through 2019’s first 11 months.
• People riding motorcycles accounted for 63 roadway deaths in 2020. (Compared to 2019's 11-month tally of 44).
As COVID-19 societal restrictions kicked in around mid-March of 2019, so did their penchant for speeding. This past spring of 2020, State Patrol reported a 150% increase in drivers caught driving cars 100 mph or faster.
“The rising number of speed violations and the decline in seat belt usage from 2019 to 2020 cannot be ignored,” Hanson said. “We grieve with all of those experiencing an empty chair at the table for the holidays, and we beg each one of you to start understanding the consequences of dangerous driving behaviors.” (Source, "Minnesota's traffic fatality count so far in 2020 now equal to all of last year," - Minnesota Star Tribune.")
Missouri: This state's January 1, 2020-May 15, 2020 COVID-19 Traffic Data Study indicated that mandated societal lockdown policies reduced non-serious and no injury traffic accidents, but not serious or fatal injury crashes. (Source). In many locations throughout Missouri, the auto accident fatality rate shot way up.
New York State: Paul Berger and Coulter Jones' December 2020 WSJ piece points to reckless behavior on emptier roads, spurring a 69% increase in road deaths among drivers and passengers. (In 2019, NY reported the highest number of road deaths since 2006).
Julia Kite-Laidlaw, head of policy for New York City's Vision Zero, claims speeding is up, and fewer vehicle occupants in accidents wear their seatbelts. “These are the kind of things where choices as drivers and motorcyclists really matter,” Ms. Kite-Laidlaw quipped. (As of mid-December 2020, New York City reported 234 total road deaths, including those involving pedestrians and cyclists. (115 car drivers, motorcyclists, and passengers died, representing a 69% increase from the same period last year 2019).
Utah: Already in 2021, at least 47 people have died on Utah roads. Utah state officials said they’d seen an increase in fatal crashes despite fewer drivers navigating Utah’s roads during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today we’re calling on all Utahns to stop justifying bad behaviors and to start making just one small change to save lives.” - Carlos Braceras, Executive Director, Utah Department of Transportation.
Virginia: Like most states, Virginia Commonwealth's total crash numbers were down during the pandemic's first few months, but an uptick presented itself in unbelted and speed-related crashes, as well as crash fatalities, according to VDOT. - WUSA 9
Although fewer vehicles on the road during the #COVID19 crisis has contributed to a ⬇️ in overall crashes, there has been an ⬆️ in the percentage of crashes involving #speed and not wearing seat belts, & of deaths resulting from those crashes https://t.co/cRF6ZcKjIQ pic.twitter.com/Zg7k1NA0Xe— VDOT (@VaDOT) June 22, 2020
Washington State: Cities in some states, including Seattle (Pushing the defund the police initiative), have either stopped enforcing traffic regulations or curtailed vehicle stops since the 2020 democrat party riots.
“Our 100 mph citations last year in 2020 were up 45% over the previous two years. Wrong-way crashes, meaning wrong-way drivers, were up 15%. DUI arrests, nearly a 10% increase.” - Jess Anderson, Commissioner, Washington State Department of Public Safety. A few Washington state drivers were cited for speeds above 130 mph.
Washington District of Columbia: D.C. vehicle traffic dwindled to 41% of April 2019 pre-pandemic volumes in April 2019 last year. But towards the end of 2020, it was had fallen 25% below normal conditions. (Source, Inrix). Traffic deaths last year were up from 2019 when 249 people were killed in the District and its closer suburbs. The number of pedestrians and bicyclists killed on the D.C. region’s roadways declined, however, accounting for about one-third of the 258 traffic deaths in the area last year, according to preliminary data compiled by The Washington Post.
8. Other Factors Increasing Bodily Injury And Death Risks To Speeders During COVID-19
In the "2020 California Survey of Speeding Attitudes and Behaviors compiled by Fresno State, experts can glean a good indicator of what most major U.S. cities experience on roads, post-pandemic. In this recent research, 24% of test subjects admitted to operating automobiles at unsafe speeds. Of course, as with any study, some participants are holding back. But drivers admitted to many unsavory behaviors since COVID-19, commonly found to make motoring less safe.
Reasons for people speeding are many. But experts agree that freely flowing roads remain ancillary reasons for increased death risks caused by excessive speed as follows:
- Lack of seat belt use: Virtually every state we researched indicated more severe injuries with higher travel speeds, coupled with fewer occupants strapped properly into vehicle seats.
- Road rage: One thing angry drivers had in common is their penchant for driving too fast. An astounding 30% of vehicle operators admitted to engaging in road rage driving behavior. And 8% of motorists admitted exhibiting road rage regularly or intermittently tailgating, honking, erratic passing/braking, threatening motions, etc. one contributing factor for the increasing rise of road rage is anger over losing a job. A driver exhibiting road rage is in complete control of his or her emotions and actions unless they are a complete lunatic.
- Night-time driving: Discussed here. [Citation needed]
Emptier Roads: Discussed above.
9. Distracted Driving Makes Serious Car Accident Injuries And Wrongful Death Actions More Likely
Being distracted and crashing your car into a person or object is a form of negligence in most U.S. states. Although many call a negligent killing an accident, it can be punished criminally and sued over civilly as a wrongful death action. According to the Fresno University/OTS 2020 traffic survey, some distracted drivers a small percentage admit to certain bad driving behavior. These bad driving behaviors remain known causes of traffic deaths during COVID-19.
- Consuming food/beverages while driving: The Fresno study had 31% of test subjects admitting to eating while driving.
- Legal and illegal narcotics: The above survey indicates that drivers admitted to driving while using intoxicants in the following percentages:
- Alcohol 8.6%
- Cannabis 5.8%
- Prescription meds 5.3% (e.g., anti-depressant SSRIs and pain-pills).
- Non-prescription and illicit narcotics 2.8% (Drugs including Fentanyl, cocaine, crystal meth, Mollys, and hi-jacked Norcos).
- Pets in cars: The Fresno 2020 study showed 4.7% of subjects allowed a pet on their lap during driving.
- Smartphone use: An alarming 63% of motor vehicle drivers admitted to using phones while driving in varying degrees. More shocking here is that 29% of autoists reported using their phones to talk some, most, or all the time. (Texting while driving was admitted by 20% of test subjects!).
10. Could Ghosting Or Suicide Drivers Be Playing A Role In DEADLY COVID-Related Car Accidents?
One Not meaningfully covered by the mainstream press (So far, mainly academics acting as cheerleaders for political lockdowns) is the connection between erratic driving, depression, rage, and suicide. We turned to Germany to look for reasons for this recent head-on crash phenomenon we see spiking in local news.
Do we see a spike in ghosting traffic collisions since the pandemic? Ghost driving or Geister Fahrer collisions happen in Germany when a suicidal driver, often influenced under psychotic medicine, including Xanax, Prozac, or some other serotonin reuptake inhibitor tries to take out other drivers and bystanders by driving cars the wrong way onto roads. (Typically, the Autobahn). These geister fahrer do this to take out other drivers in head-on malicious collisions, committing suicide in the process.
We know that around 2,000 ghost driver radio warnings get broadcasted over German radio yearly. - TME News
In Germany, we also know that deaths and auto accidents are down, unlike their Yankee counterpart across the sea in California. Since German reunification and during COVID-19, we also know that deaths on German roads have plunged to pre 1990 levels from reduced traffic during the coronavirus lockdown. Ghost riding accidents have also fallen significantly. - Deutsche Welle
Job Loss And Depression Likely Evidence Of U.S. Ghost Riding?
In law, we look for motives as to why people do or fail to do certain things. From suicide by cop to ghost driving, human depression and negative emotions fueled by alcohol or drugs are almost always tied at the hip. As of now, no official answers exist to the above question. Below we will explore job loss and depression as reasons indicating at least some wrong-way accidents are psychologically triggered events. No doubt, if this theory holds, COVID-19 traffic fatalities will keep rising through 2021.
- North USA Wrong-way driving accidents were moving up before COVID-19, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study data indicates that wrong-way highway driving collisions caused 2,008 deaths. These were death cases involving roads divided by highways, occurring between 2015 and 2018. Their mean crash study period average showed 500 people dying per year. (An increase over the previous 2010-2014 period of 34%, or 375 annual deaths) Sadly, no reliable wrong-way driving
statistics are covering the COVID-19 lockdown period of 2019-2021.
But we did glean from recent news reports and other data that wrong-way driving appears to have increased per capita. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) recently collaborated with Construction Technology (AHMCT) Research Center to produce a pair of reports focusing on wrong-way driver accident prevention. The genius authoring one such study asserted: “We hypothesized that some of the causes of wrong-way driving start before a driver enters the ramp,” - Ty Lasky, Co-Director AHMCT.
All experts agree, and North American news stories corroborate a strong connection between these wrecks, drug and alcohol impairment, older age drivers, younger passengers causing distractions, or pets jumping around in moving cars.
11. Lockdown Wrong-Way Automobile Reports In The U.S. News?
January 1, 2021. [Los Angeles, California] According to the CHP, Fresno County, California, saw nine people killed in a flaming 33 Fresno County Highway head-on crash. The CHP reports that a 2007 Ford carrying seven children, including two adults, and a 2013 Dodge operated by a 28-year-old man traveling southbound on Highway 33 crashed head-on. Officers relayed the Dodge veered onto the westernmost dirt shoulder out of the blue just south of Sutter Avenue.
By the time officers arrived around 8 p.m., the Ford transporting the kids was “fully engulfed in flames,” with all passengers in both cars DOA, according to CHP spokesman Rory Marks. In line with increased speed crash severity factors, this rural stretch of highway is known by our burn injury lawyers for higher speed collisions, especially during New Year’s Day, raising questions of alcohol as a factor. - LA Times
March 25, 2021: [Los Angeles, California] L.A.-area officials responded to at least two fatal wrong-way crashes early Sunday, one on the 405 Freeway near the Getty Center, Bel-Aire, and another on the 210 Freeway in Monrovia. "It was a horrific night on Los Angeles area streets and freeways, with multiple violent and deadly crashes, including those involving at least four wrong-way drivers and/or head-on collisions," Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey wrote in a Reddit post on Sunday morning. "While cause investigations continue, driver impairment is strongly suspect."
- Humphrey explained his police agency responded to 730 traffic calls during the hours of sunset and sunrise on Sunday (We already discussed increased speeds at night above). In the instant story, a driver crashed head-on into another motorist after merging the wrong way onto the I-405 North Freeway by Getty Center Drive around 2:30 a.m. Official CHP Traffic Collision Reports (See CHP 190, Rev. 11-03, OPI 008) indicate the other motorist died.
- A southbound SUV driver drove head-on into the northbound I-405 HOV lane; according to the CHP's Twitter feed here, it also set off a SigAlert. During the incident, the SUV driver slammed into another vehicle, according to KTLA News. The crash killed the other motorist, Joey Trianders Allen, 43, of Lancaster, according to the CHP and later corroborated by Rudy Molano, Coroner/Investigator, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner. In that case, although the woman driving the Chevy Cruz was pronounced dead at the scene, the 19 your old man driving the Toyota Tacoma she plowed into remained hospitalized, suffering major injuries, including a broken pelvis and busted legs.
"It is still unknown if drugs or alcohol were a factor in this collision," Contreras said in a written statement. "The cause of this collision is still under investigation."
Officer Humphrey's Reddit post begged vehicle operators to exercise more caution. He went so far as to explain the devastating next of kin notification process after a motor vehicle crash claim. "If you or a loved one is prone to drive impaired, you need to take action now... to prevent a knock on someone's door," Humphrey wrote. - MSN News.
March 1, 2020: [Columbus, Ohio, 3:15 am] A wrong-way driver collision closed down the southbound Highway 85 after two victims passed away during a wrong-way driver crash on Interstate 71 by South Linden. The facts relate to the driver of a 2010 Honda CRV, 53-year-old Curtis Thompson died after he struck traffic head-on.
Hughes made it alive to Ohio Health Grant Medical Center, but he passed away at 7:40 a.m. His passenger, 51-year-old Sandra Towns-Thompson, survived and was classified as stable by doctors at Ohio Health Grant Medical Center. - Dispatch News
March 21, 2021: [San Jose, California, 8:00 a.m.] CHP closed a section of the I-85 after issuing a SigAlert due to a multi-car crash caused by a wrong-way driver. Witnesses reported seeing debris across all traffic lanes near the Union Avenue on-ramp. - Yahoo News
Sept. 15, 2020: [Long Island, New York] Four people were killed when after 9-1-1 reports revealed a 33-year-old man, Marvin Balcaseres, drove his Toyota Camry in the wrong direction, west on the eastbound side of the road, causing a head-on collision with an oncoming S.U.V. and a third vehicle. There was also a fourth vehicle, a motorcycle, injured after riding into the crash debris field. The crash killed Balcaseres and three Nissan Rogue, S.U.V. occupants.
One person in the S.U.V. survived with critical injuries. Police think the sedan entered into a highway exit, the wrong way around a mile or so from the crash site—a 33-year-old man from Farmingdale, N.Y. The S.U.V. 67-year-old driver, Ruben Sanchez-Flores, was identified with two females, including 34-year-old Ivis Sanchez-Cordova 56-year-old Edith Magana, who was DOA.
However, one passenger, 44-year-old Nadia Sanchez-Cordova, was transported to Nassau University Medical Center with severe bodily injuries. The driver in the third vehicle was left uninjured, and the motorcyclist sustained non-life-threatening injuries according to law enforcement at the “chaotic scene” consisting of smoke, flames, car parts. Engine oil spread across traffic lanes, affectionately known as “Blood Alley” by more than a few residents.
12. Severe Injury And Death Celebrity/Star Vehicle Crashes During COVID-19
February 23, 2021: [Rolling Hills Estates/Rancho Palos Verdes, California, 7:00 am] A man found Tiger Woods unconscious inside his SUV after crashing in Palos Verdes.
The witness heard a crash and walked to where the SUV came to rest, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Johann Schloegl's affidavit. The first deputy on scene, Carlos Gonzalez, was there in minutes, saying Woods suffered severe right leg injuries, including facial lacerations. Woods told deputies he has no memory of the event, leading many brain injury attorneys to believe he suffered a traumatic brain injury. - KTLA Local
Did Drugs Play A Role In Tiger's Steep, Downhill Crash? Our research shows as late as 2017; Tiger Woods drove while using at least five types of drugs, alcohol, pain killers, marijuana chemicals. Tiger Woods also has a history of speeding/reckless driving. "The report says the five different drugs that were traced in his system were: Hydrocodone, an opioid pain medication; Hydromorphone, another type of painkiller; Alprazolam, an anxiety drug also under the brand name Xanax; Zolpidem, a sleep drug also under the brand name Ambien; and Delta-9 carboxy THC, which is found in marijuana." (Source). Whether Tiger's toxicology report ruling drugs or alcohol out will be made public remains unknown.
March 21, 2021: [Hollywood, California, 3:05 p.m.] Local Los Angeles news reporter Hal Eisner, and world-famous action news photographer, Joab Perez were covering the El Capitan Theatre's re-opening. The theatre, located at 6838 Hollywood Blvd., had been locked down almost a year because of COVID-19. All of a sudden, a suspected DUI driver veered the wrong way onto Hollywood's Walk of Fame, where many tourists congregate. Four out of five pedestrians, including Eisner, were transported to a trauma center. Eisner said:
“I have a gash on my right hand, a knee fracture, and pretty serious and painful back spasms. I have a leg brace, my hand is wrapped, and the spasms are excruciating. . . " The DUI suspect was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence but remains publicly unidentified as of this research. - NBC Los Angeles News
Do you have an example of a famous Coronavirus pandemic celebrity car crash? Let us know by contacting us here.
13. Prevalence of Mental Illness And Substance Use Disorder In-Vehicle Drivers During the Pandemic
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many health experts have expressed concerns over mental health and substance use. Behavioral specialists are anxious about "suicidal ideation." In a nutshell, suicide risks will increase as anxiety, depression, and hopelessness give way to drug and alcohol use, further causing manic states.
Experts reported in January 2021 that 41% of adults had reported anxiety and/or depressive disorder symptoms. Another June 2020 survey showed 13% of adults reported new or increased substance use due to coronavirus-related stress, with 11% of adults reporting suicidal thoughts the last 30 days. So it should come as no surprise that already rising suicide rates would worsen, and recent data shows this to be correct.
14. POST COVID-19 Drug And Alcohol Deaths Way Up?
Legal Illegal drug use is way up, especially in states where churches are closed/curtailed, but Marijuana collectives and liquor stores remain open. Since COVID-19, the nation’s opioid epidemic has grown into a much more complicated and deadly drug overdose epidemic than Coronavirus itself. (See "Issue brief: Reports of increases in opioid- and other drug-related overdose and other concerns during COVID pandemic," American Medical Association (AMA)).
In October 2020, the U.S. NHTSA released its interim research report examining drugs and alcohol present in the bodies of vehicle operators who suffered serious or fatal injuries during vehicle crashes. The NHTSA report verified an increased drug and alcohol BAC prevalence among many tested individuals/bodies.
15. Mental Illness: Causes For Suicidal/Dangerous Driving Concern?
The top concerns leading to suicidal driving are:
- Anxiety and stress,
- Health issues,
- Loneliness and isolation.
One in five COVID-19-related emergency calls included “suicidal desire.” Although we've only seen a slight uptick in overall suicide hotline call volume, Dr. Didi Hirsch expects a massive coming influx. - Los Angeles Times. As of yet, our acclaimed personal injury law firm's research arm has seen no official data that is suicidal driving specific.
16. Young Adult Suicide Drivers Post COVID-19
Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) research over the Household Pulse Survey noted that a larger portion of young adults (18-24 years old) reported anxiety or depression (56% since December 2020) when compared to more mature adults during the pandemic. Across the board, young people are experiencing more anxiety, depression, sleep disruptions, and increased suicidal thoughts.
Young people can find themselves isolated, especially since many universities have shut down, transitioning to remote Zooms for classwork. Furthermore, we have seen many younger people lose their only form of full or part-time work. The poor mental health these youngsters experience can all lead to a negligent or intentional post-COVID vehicle crash.
Gig Economy And Less Driving Experience
With great freedom comes great responsibility. Younger riders participating in taxi services and breaking into commercial trucking are seeing wide, open roads nearly emptied. Our Los Angeles truck accident attorneys have seen a correlation between the exodus of experienced big rig truckers and new trucker wrecks. So we know from that industry and the rise of the Uber/Lyft economy, we no longer have older, commercially licensed cabbies taking us places. Now we have that very same kid who probably lost his or her job, dealing with unforeseen problems they remained ill-prepared to handle.
Lost Faith In Politicians?
Allegedly, COVID-19 has killed nearly 500,000 Americans. Some experts assert that hospitals (huge political donors) receive additional funds to characterize a death (terminal cancer, lung cancer, chronic illnesses) as COVID-related. We have seen both sides of the argument. Based upon our findings, the government invited medical fraud by offering hospitals more money to classify a death as "Coronavirus related." Our law firm has received multiple reports about dead parents receiving Medi-Cal/Medicaid treatment statements for the care they claim their parents never received.
17. Fact Check: Are Covid-19 Lockdown Traffic Fatalities Included in U.S. Covid Death Stats?
Yes, Florida's governor publicly proved at least one COVID-19 billing discrepancy misattributing a COVID-19 period motorcycle-related death reported as COD related. “People have had questions about it,” said Governor DeSantis. “I think they were in their 20’s and they were in a motorcycle accident, and that was counted as a coronavirus death. A lot of people are like, how is that possible? You know, you get hit by a car, and then you were attributing it to coronavirus?”
"Many family members of those who have passed away in recent months have claimed that doctors have falsely listed the cause of death as COVID-19." (Source 1). But are car accident numbers regularly counted as a COVID death? Unfortunately, as noted above, we know that lawyers are not supposed to lie, and neither are doctors. Yet each year, hundreds of these licensed professionals are punished for ripping off consumers.
The regular press, the government's modern propaganda wing, assert it's illegal to count a non-COVID-19 death as COVID-19 related, so move along. How dare you criticize "science?" The government asserts it polices itself and hospitals using a two-level death count accuracy system. Even though we found at least one case to be falsely attributed to COVID-19, news reporters assert it was fixed. Again, nothing to see here, according to Snopes and its allies at the Tides Foundation.
Unfortunately, consumer reports or irregularities are regularly "fact-checked," shadowbanned (aka censored), and buried by social media employees, many of whom worked on the political campaigns of prominent politicians pushing for more shutdowns. But the Florida governor and non-political consumers want to know how often this happens.
“It just needs to be, OK, here’s what the CDC is requiring, here’s what this means, and then here are some instances in which clearly it was someone who died with rather than died because of,” DeSantis said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instruct hospital medical examiner to list COVID-19 when it’s a "cause" or "underlying factor" in the person’s death, so it should come as no surprise that COVID-19 could be listed as the trauma primarily causing the death. But of course, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci claims there is nothing to see here. The governor wants to know why a motorcycle case from Orange County, FL, was listed as COVID-19. - WTSP
At least one medical examiner countered that:
“We try to set up a cause-and-effect kind of relationship. If they didn’t have COVID, would they be dead right now? Did COVID lead to his heart disease getting worse, or his congestive heart failure getting worse?” Klaeser said. (Source).
Besides, the government's own Medicare system asserts:
"Claims with inaccurate diagnosis or DRG would be subject to recoupment and/or other potential civil or criminal charges for false claims." (Source).
Whether or not hospitals are falsely inflating COVID deaths to receive more tax subsidies en masse remains unconfirmed. But it has happened, and where there is smoke, there's fire. Our research found no additional cases of fraud other than that found by non-government employees. However, we know that any program incentivizing a business, including corrupt doctors, won't decrease fraud.
Political Fraud? [Mario Cuomo Example]
Setting that aside, we will still don't know the true COVID-19 fatality numbers, with government officials, such as the embattled NY Mayor Mario Cuomo hiding or skewing them. What we do know is our public servants have used a campaign of fear to quarantine their citizens and the U.S. economy, effectuating a mass mail-in ballot system, and re-opening our southern border to foreigners, and releasing them into our streets without requiring federal COVID-19 vaccinations. Let alone COVID-19 tests for thousands of undocumented aliens being released into Texas streets daily. (Source).
Do As I Say Not As I Do? [Gavin Newsom]
All This social engineering, especially when our own politicians refuse to honor their own edicts forced upon us, has significantly altered road safety dynamics. (See Newsom violates executive mask-wearing and restaurant orders; Pelosi regularly violates COVID rules) Some motorists have used open vehicle lanes as an excuse to vent anger, speed, and drive recklessly.
Had public servants like Gavin Newsom and others abided by their own executive orders, perhaps it would have been more believable to the movers and shakers providing the jobs. While our road traffic is way way down, our gas prices are up, our jobs are destroyed, depression cases have risen, suicide is up, and our elected officials' confidence is way down. What could go wrong here?
Did Government Itself Prove A Potential Cause Of Wrong Way Suicide Accidents? Reports indicate that male teen Caucasians, particularly those freethinkers accused of being "race oppressors" during mandatory Critical Race Theory education classes, may be Ghost Riding to their deaths. ("White Male Suicide: The Exception to Privilege"). At least one expert says judging people based upon skin color is a surefire way to cause emotion-driven killings and riots. Could this be a potential reason for the apparent spike in white murder/suicide while driving cases?
18. Depressed Parents
Also, with most schools still not in session, parents are going broke, with at least one caretaker required to stay home using Zoom meetings for school. True, soccer moms see fewer fender benders during school drop-off and pick-up. And of course, SEIU organized teachers are freed up to take online classes or their own and make money doing side jobs (or just lounging around their homes while receiving full pay), leaving parents holding the bag.
In their defense, the all-powerful teachers union members assert:
"They [parents] want their babysitters back," - Lisa Brizendine, Oakley Union.
Many parents complain the federal government raising taxes on the few people left with steady income will only raise prices, further increasing suicide and depression. From the perspective of people playing by the rules, things in America couldn't get much worse.
19. Adults Experiencing Job Loss Or Income Insecurity
Throughout the recent pandemic, adults across the country are suffering job or income losses, generally harming mental health. Adults who lost jobs have consistently reported higher than normal sickness symptom rates, including anxiety and/or depressive disorder when compared to adults who didn't lose their household job at a rate of 53% vs. 32%). The December KFF Health Tracking Poll shows that household members suffering income or job loss remain far more likely to report coronavirus to outbreak worry or stress negatively impacting their overall mental health.
20. No Work Means More Theft Related Crimes?
Of course, it does. Homicides, shootings, and car thefts spiked, while robberies, rapes, and lesser property crimes dropped off. The swings were dramatic, too, with killings hitting a decade high after years of sustained reductions and shootings increasing nearly 40%. Meanwhile, robberies declined by 17% and reported rapes fell 25%.
21. Post COVID-19 State And Local Efforts To Reduce Speeding, Reckless, Alcohol and Drug-Impaired Driving/Crimes
Although Vision Zero has seemingly failed in larger metropolitans like Greater Los Angeles, large cities have done other things to ease COVID-19 traffic dangers. Hit and runs and head-on collisions are up. Here are some programs and policy changes we found.
Preventing Wrong-Way Drivers
California And Caltrans
Caltrans acknowledges our state's wrong-way driver epidemic, installing reflectors alerting drivers they are now entering the roadway in the wrong direction. Caltrans has successfully seen reflectors reduce other wrecks, so they want to use them here.
“Adding the two-way reflective markers proved to be so effective that Caltrans updated its statewide design standards,” Toks Omishakin, Caltrans director, said. “It’s a low-cost measure we can use throughout the state to deter wrong-way drivers and potentially save lives on California’s highway system.”
Ohio Efforts At Reducing Wrong-Way Drivers?
In Ohio, ODOT is working to prevent these wrong-way crashes by:
- Placing wrong-way signs lower on the power poles, because research has shown that impaired drivers tend to look down instead of up,
- Installing directional arrows on the ramp pavement to indicate the traveled direction,
- Testing wrong-way driver detection systems. Authorities claim these devices have prevented wrong-way driver cases.
Other states federal agencies: [Citation needed]
If you are a legal researcher, news reporter, agency representative, feel free to use our online contact form today, or telephone our charismatic car crash lawyers in Los Angeles 24/7. We want to know about your state's efforts to reduce wrong-way driving. We also want to know what percentage you think was COVID-19 suicide-related.
22. WRONG WAY TIPS FOR LEGISLATURES And LEO
- Learn how to make a proper U-Turn.
- Improve alcohol ignition interlock devices to prevent false/fraudulent blows,
- Bring back high-visibility traffic law enforcement,
- Create a national standard for traffic warning devices and signs. (AAA and the NTSB are lobbying for "more-visible traffic signs" and "signals that follow national standards and at proper locations.")
- Identify medically, cognitively, and physically at-risk drivers. Older vehicle operators are at a greater risk for driving the wrong way into oncoming traffic. Because of this, AAA and the NTSB want sweeping legislation to get them off the road as soon as possible.
23. Public Post COVID-19 DUI Driver Prevention Efforts
California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC)
California's ABC adopted a new Minor Decoy to Delivery Decoy strategy to prevent underage people from buying or accessing alcohol through online purchases or deliveries. These regulations significantly dropped youth alcohol access violations from around 75% down to about 20%.
Orange County, California
Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) California Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor (TSRP) Training Network
The OCDA continued its OTS partnership, developing subject matter experts to manage impaired driving cases. The TSRP provides statewide law enforcement personnel and prosecutors training on alcohol and drug-impaired driving case management using a virtual traffic college.
Their four-day TSRP course zeros in on how to:
- Write decent police reports,
- Courtroom testimony prep, including at least one mock trial (moot court.) Training videos were also developed and distributed to personnel throughout California, and training topics and presenters were best suited for a virtual environment.
Los Angeles County, California
24. Los Angeles County MTA's "Traffic Ambassador Program."
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) board of directors wants intoxicated people who can pay a ticket to ride buses and trains instead of giving them a DUI. But the smell of urine and fear from certain riders (especially smaller females) trying to get to work or home is palpable.
Another tax-funded program that critics say focuses on making criminals ("community members representative of the agency's ridership.") feel safe.
Anyone riding on the LA Metro knows that most "ridership" is no longer run-of-the-mill citizens participating in traffic reduction and the green economy.
"Transient Wanted In Beating, Rape Of Woman At Metro Red Line Station" - Los Angeles CBS Local
No, the people these systems were built for freely admit they have been accosted by drunken homeless people, perverts, ruffians, and outright ruthless lawbreakers. Were you injured at a train station, seeking a train accident lawyer in Los Angeles? If so, keep reading.
"How about the homeless people that have peed and pooped all over the seats or themselves, and then we are to sit in a seat they sat on.....LA's public transportation is horrible and incredibly UNSAFE!!!" - Cindy DiGiampaolo - LA Mag
Observers say L.A.'s mismanaged Metro, like its parent L.A. City, in general, is a homeless encampment for the mentally ill, a "new kid row." Clearly, if car drivers felt safe riding the metro, DUI driving cases would go down. But how can riders feel safe when the City seeks to protect criminals and lawbreakers over the rights of taxpayers? The answer is simple, and they can't. Each one of those criminals is a potential vote, with LA voting rights.
- Metro Being Used As a Homeless Shelter To Get Votes In Exchange For Free Services and Money?
"The pandemic requires Metro to thoroughly clean buses and trains to keep riders safe from COVID-19, but that can be difficult when many of Los Angeles' homeless population are finding shelter on those same modes of transportation." - ABC 7
"Los Angeles County initiative to increase voter accessibility by . . . placing polling locations at various homeless shelters throughout the city." [Emphasis]. "On most Tuesdays, you can usually find . . . Santa Monica . . . bustling crowd of the area's homeless population picking up free groceries." - CNN.
"2 admit to giving homeless in L.A. money, cigarettes to sign voter registration forms, ballot petitions." - KTLA Los Angeles News.
Although the Democrat prosecutor reduced felonies to misdemeanors and no homeless people were charged ("Arrests in May were bumped down to misdemeanor violations. The district attorney is still deciding how to charge the recent cases.”), there is a media lockout over who these fraudsters worked for. (All 9, apparent Democrat party activists).
Like most criminals with voting rights, newly released felons, including homeless people, will vote in favor of more free stuff, laxed laws, and vote against the business owner or worker paying for it. Rather than working to earn votes, LA City and County has turned its attention to using our tax dollars to gain a constituency 100% reliant on your taxes to cover everything!
We already know Los Angeles politicians want to make it legal for felons to vote and receive COVID-19 stimulus checks while jailed. Pandering is a great way to get votes. "For years, Metro has heard that its system of policing was making huge segments of its passengers [lawbreakers, criminals, etc.] feel less safe and feel threatened," ... "This is our moment to change that." [Emphasis] - L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin
Many experts say this concept, like defunding the police, will likely see criminals take even more free reign of the rail cars and buses still in use by taxpayers brave enough to ride them (Our injury lawyers know many riders who can afford the tickets now refuse to ride these "dangerous, rolling, mental institutions on train tracks").
- Citizen Rider Outrage?
"Wasn't the idea behind the Metrorail to reduce road congestion, not house and pay for bums to pee on their new bedroom floor, rape and scare ladies away?" said "Park," who wished to keep his last name anonymous for fear of retaliation. Whatever the traffic ambassador program's goal, it will rely upon social workers to decide whether or not a person is violent or not, rather than trained law enforcement personnel.
- A Social Worker Will Decide What Is Violent As Victims Riding the Bus Seek Physical Protection?
The City Council has decided that certain crimes are not violent, like drug dealing. Los Angeles also believes in enforcing federal immigration law by handing captured MS-13 gang members to ICE is somehow unfair to those illegal alien criminals.
"Los Angeles ... had the next highest number of releases, with 16 ... gang members released." - (See "Dozens of Gang Members Released By Sanctuary Policies," Center For Immigration Studies (2018)).
"This may indicate either the spread of MS-13 cliques from California or the resurgence of local MS-13 branches, perhaps fueled by the resettlement of newly arrived illegal alien youths and families from Central America." (id.)
No, those good undocumented aliens get set free by the LAPD, or Sheriff, awaiting mass amnesty and voting rights, rarely reapplying in court. Pablo Escobar would have thrived in Los Angeles with its push for no bail release and releasing criminals right away! That'll keep us safe during COVID-19! In the meantime, you may be able to hire a Los Angeles bus accident attorney to file a government claim if you were raped or attacked by one of the LA City or County Council's new voter constituencies.
You should not expect the DA to do much. "The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office will no longer prosecute a range of misdemeanor crimes, from resisting arrest to drug possession to making criminal threats, according to a memo issued this week by new DA George Gascon." - ABC 7
After all, those people who harmed you are voting for his lax law enforcement. And you don't get free food and a get-out-of-jail-free card either. That is reserved for his professional voter base seeking handouts from you! All you can do now is sue after risking life or limb.
Long Beach City
Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services Greenlight LB Cannabis and Drug-Impaired Driving Education Program
Safe Streets Long Beach is appealing directly to its geography segment into that ooh sticky icky, woo wee. The City of Long Beach, home of Snoop-Dogg, is cracking down on stoned driving with education. The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services went public with its first annual Safe Streets Awareness Week. Their week-long media campaign has encouraged residents to take the “safe streets” pledge.
The program's idea is to get the hood to pay less attention to smoking chronic and look out for pedestrians, bicycle riders, and other cars while cruising the hood. LBC even developed an e-toolkit, developed for and shared with at least 20 local organizations. The goal here is to eliminate traffic-related fatalities and severe bodily injuries by the year 2026.
Santa Cruz County
Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency Cannabis Retailer and Responsible Alcohol Merchant (RAMA) Education Programs
Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency partnered with eight local cannabis dispensaries as part of its effort to reduce post-pandemic car crashes. Its program's core concept is drug dealers providing "postcards" to "customers" with an educational message.
For example, it's bad to combine "alcohol, cannabis, and prescription drugs." They even had enough tax dollars left over to buy digital versions of the postcards and create a social media presence on dispensary websites. Bravo, this is almost as good as letting people know it's bad not to sleep because you might get tired!
San Diego County, California
San Diego City
The San Diego Police Department and Circulate San Diego “Crash Not Accident” Campaign
The idea behind this educational effort is to teach people that words matter. #CrashNotAccident distinguishes your choice to drink and drive as more than human error or some mistake. No, this campaign targets systemic decisions made by drivers to get behind the wheel after consuming intoxicants. Public servants launched this effort due to the 2020's San Diego 44 person DUI driver death toll, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicle and motorcycle riders.
The AP reasoned why #CrashNotAccident is important for governments and their propaganda arm. New media should stop calling it a DUI accident, asserting that "accident" “can be read as exonerating the person responsible.”
The program focuses on traffic crashes as preventable errors, so they are not accidents.
Stanislaus County, California CARES ACT and Justice Dept Grants
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the City of Modesto has received a total of $30 million in COVID-19 grant relief funds from the CARES Act and a US Department of Justice grant. The Modesto Police Department (MPD) received $500,000 in grant funds from the US Department of Justice (DOJ). MDP uses some funds to compact criminal upticks surrounding the Coronavirus stay-at-home order of March 2020, including traffic-related offenses like DUI.
MPD bought two kiosks for their police station's main lobby, including equipment for new staff to operate their "Telephone Reporting Unit/Real-Time Crime Center." The lobby kiosks will provide free internet access to file reports and surf online. Police hope this cuts down on exposing officers to COVID-19.
MPD is also hosting citywide pop-up booths and inviting families to see their safety presentations. To spur attendance, MPD gave free bicycle helmets for disadvantaged youth, including wear and used instructions for a good fit. Police even sought out children riding bikes, scooters, or skateboards without helmets.
But instead of reporting their parent to CPS or writing tickets, they handed lawbreakers over a dozen helmets, brochures, reflective arm, and leg bands. MPD also handed out community, neighborhood awards, including “Contributor of the Year” sponsored by Safe Kids Stanislaus. MPD also awarded itself awards for “Most Spirited” cop and “Rookie of the Year.”
25. Distracted Driving
California Highway Patrol’s (CHP) Start Smart Program
The CHP’s “Start Smart” program helps teens with a learner’s permit and newly licensed drivers understand the road rules and duties towards others while operating a motorized vehicle.
The CHP created video presentations for online viewing, holding 154 online classes from July through September 2020. The CHP also enhanced their Start Smartphone app, downloaded today using the App Store or Google Play.
CHP And "Impact Teen Drivers" Distracted Driving Education Program
The CHP and Impact Teen Drivers went digital with e-toolkits shared directly with California schools.
"The educational e-kit included lesson plans, fliers, brochures, posters, and pledge cards in both English and Spanish. A dedicated educational material resources page was created on the Impact Teen Drivers website, with Education Modules that focused on the dangers of distracted driving and graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws." - OTS 2020 Grant Program Highlights.
26. Unsafe Scooter, Bicycle Accidents, And Pedestrian Traffic Prevention
Long Beach City
Long Beach has many tourist and resident attractions. It remains a haven for pedestrians run over by cars, bikes, and electric scooters. As riders and bicycle accident lawyers ourselves, we know this problem won't go away anytime soon.
Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services "E-Scooter Sidewalk Decal Program"
Although Los Angeles County began 2020 with 316 pedestrian-vehicle collisions in January, by February 2020, that was halved to 140 collisions, As soon as county health officials announced March 19, 2020, “safer at home” edict, monthly pedestrian-vehicle collisions plummeted to under 100, where they remain.
- Long Beach has a problem with people tripping and falling over the electric-powered rental scooters across the city,
- Now we see people riding on sidewalks and running people over in droves (Packed COVID-19 restricted diners with lines of people on sidewalks hundreds of yards long waiting their turn to reserve a seat),
- At least one criminal in Long Beach found scooters to make excellent weapons with which to beat women like this news story:
"At that point, police say, the suspect grabbed a Bird electric scooter from a nearby yard and continued beating Hernandez. He later fled, and Hernandez was pronounced dead at the scene. The attack happened Monday around 12:30 p.m. in the area of Obispo Avenue and 64th Street." - ABC 7
We have all see the Razor, Lime, or Bird electric scooters laying all over the sidewalks on their sides or tossed halfway into planters in Long Beach ever since July 2018, when it launched its e-scooter pilot program. Victims of Long Beach scooter crashes include cruise ship passengers, on a shore excursion, tourists and locals walking around near PF Changs and the Long Beach Aquarium.
- Solution: Enter Sidewalk Decals?
The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services developed sidewalk decals that promote the safe riding of e-scooters. The decals include messages encouraging e-scooter riders not to travel on the sidewalk and safely park scooters away from pedestrian traffic.
A total of 800 decals were produced, with 250 already installed throughout Long Beach, including two Business Improvement Districts. Our e-scooters accident attorneys in Long Beach have seen an uptick in these calls since late 2019, and calls are still rising. Our Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorneys think scooters all over the ground won't be helped with stickers.
San Mateo County
San Mateo County Office of Education Bicycle Training Program
The San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) presented socially distanced bicycle “rodeos” in September 2020 in association with Safe Routes to Schools and a childcare provider.
Officials attempted to:
"...develop fun, safe activities for children during the COVID-19 pandemic. SMCOE conducted five rodeos for approximately 75 students. Each student received a helmet, instructions on how to wear the helmet properly, and important lessons on bicycle safety in a hands-on environment." - Safe Routes to School, San Mateo County Office of Education.
HDOT has sought to install raised pedestrian crosswalks on the engineering side, also known as speed tables. Their goal here is elevating pedestrians and requiring drivers to slow down upon approaching the crosswalk.
These street improvements are designed to alter driving behavior by:
"... requiring vehicles to travel at a responsible speed at the crossing every time." - Hawaii DOT
Some legal advocates and public officials say the measures are somewhat effective, conceding more measures must be taken. Countermeasures must address loopholes involving alcohol ignition interlocks. Experts say strengthened deterrence strategies. Officials say we need driver refresher courses for older adults and more visible traffic signs and signals.
Vision Zero Program, Etc.
D.C. is using speed cameras and reducing posted speed limits in some corridors. D.C. Before this, Alexandria, Arlington, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties adopted Vision Zero (failed in Los Angeles - Source), a traffic-safety program seeking to reduce traffic injuries and deaths. The expensive, unrealistic program offers enforcement strategies, public education, street engineering concepts, and data collection to improve driving conditions. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) also cut the city’s default speed limit from 25 mph to 20 mph last year. D.C. is also taking steps to protect pedestrians and cyclists from keeping them safe, even though many say D.C. politicians say walls won't keep us safe on our Southern border?
The other States?
- Maryland lawmakers may allow counties to cut speed limits on state highways and make it illegal for cars to block the intersection box. (Still legal in some of the states).
- Virginia's new law banning smartphones and driving is expected to further highway safety.
27. Post COVID-19 Motorcycle Safety Measures
Anaheim Police Department “Coppers and Cycles” Motorcycle Training Program
The Anaheim Police Department recently launched its “Coppers and Cycles” program. New riders learn from experts and receive "hands-on motorcycle training."
The course covers safe maneuvering, road debris avoidance, and making safe U-turns. Also taught are safe braking and proper clutch control. Riders learn techniques for picking downed motorcycles up from the ground.
Also included in the course are riding pattern recognition and proper riding gear, equipment, and clothing.
28. Campaigns For Better Vehicle Occupant Protection
Butte & San Luis Obispo County Public Health Departments
The Butte and San Luis Obispo (SLO) County Public Health Department’s Child Passenger Safety Programs are very similar.
- Butte County prefers one on one parent classes over large classes. They are setting appointments for sessions protected by "personal protective equipment and following safety protocols."
- SLO County preferred using virtual car seat checks and "partnering with local hospital providers to offer services to patients and families in need." (The program met or exceeded its grant child safety seat distribution and inspection goals!
As we saw above, each state will have differing needs at the local level when considering traffic-related injuries and death. However, one common these are increased vehicle speeds accompanied by poor mental health during COVID-19 remains a topic worthy of additional study. Even other countries like Nepal have their own sets of problems.
Despite their entire country being locked down, road traffic injuries are a major cause of death, continuously killing people on the roads. In Nepal, we saw frequent media reports of road crashes, severe injuries, and horrific deaths. It's happening everywhere.
As traffic volumes begin approaching near-normal levels, statistical reports and calculations will look different. But one thing remains constant, “If we can get folks to slow down, put their seat belt on and don’t drive distracted, we can really drive the crash rates and the fatal crash rates way down,” - Lt. Col. Matthew D. Hanley (Director of the Bureau of Field Operations, Virginia State Police)
29. Post COVID-19 Transportation For Elder And Poor
MPDs $12.9 Million "Free Fares Program."
Modesto city is also using The CARES Act's grant of $12,927,978 to provide transit services to residents, particularly elders, despite its traffic revenue gap created by Modesto Area Express (MAX) Modesto Area Dial-A-Ride (MADAR), offering free fares for six months. They also used this money to buy more "masks, driver barriers, and hand sanitizer for all local buses. It also paid for supplies and labor for enhancing the cleaning of each bus."
Los Angeles City
LADOT Cityride is making the “Express Lane” service available to "three COVID-19 vaccination sites in the Los Angeles area starting today."
This program is open to:
"65-and-over and qualified persons with disabilities who reside in Los Angeles and select areas of L.A. County."
The Express Lane service will pick up Cityride members with a pre-scheduled vaccination appointment on request. This member will be transported directly to the front of the line and immediately returned in their waiting car after their vaccination. You can check out the Cityride website to discover more information. Cityride is run under the auspices of LA City's Department of Transportation. You can find your online application to join the service in these English and Spanish links, or you can install the CityRide mobile app using the App Store or Google Play.
30. Shipping Industry At Risk?
Apparently, big rig truckers, especially long-haul truckers, remain at greater risk for contracting COVID-19 than other population subsets. Professional, commercial truckers are licensed to transport items and goods across the U.S. Because they traverse great distances, cross-country, potentially spreading newer Coronavirus strains state and countrywide, and they can also become stranded COVID-19 victims.
- Truck Driver Quarantine Problems?
For example, an infected driver could become locked down in state A, with their cargo impounded, but reside in state C, with a load of goods or things incurring storage fees and contractual penalties, now late for delivery to state B. Here is everything long-haul truck drivers must know to stay safe during COVID-19.
- Face Masks and Distancing Makes Loading and Unloading Trucks More Dangerous?
Of course, it does. I used to work in a Home Depot. I remember how vital facial expression was to moving heavy loads on forklifts. As a Los Angeles forklift accident attorney, I have used my expertise to help in these types of severe injury claims. Once things remain clear, a muffled voice covered by a facemask, a mouth, and a chin hidden away from view, will make being in accidents more likely.
Social distancing makes docking bay communication between forklift operators, workers, spotters, and truck drivers harder.
- Risks Of Covid Contraction Is Increased
Strapping downloads, using public restrooms, and conducting safety checks will almost always involve touching a surface, or breathing air nearby hordes of shippers and receivers, often multiple trips daily. No matter what study data you use, long-haul truckers are a high-risk category. Rendering them vulnerable to acquiring and transmitting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19).
31. Who Are COVID-19's Big Winners?
- Automotive Insurance Companies: Besides social media, Silicon Valley, warehousing, and delivery companies, auto insurers are scoring HUGE, receiving at least $100 Billion in Profits Due to COVID-19.
"This is money owed consumers now driving far fewer miles and presenting a far lower risk to their carriers. These consumers should demand refunds to improve their cash flow during these difficult economic times,” asserted Dan Karr, ValChoice CEO. (Source).
- Authoritarian Government Agencies: We see constant complaints about social media and the fourth branch of government, government agencies. Civil liberties critics are being accused of spreading "junk science" by the pro-government "fact-checkers," resulting in mass shadow account banning and censorship for any complaints critical of agency "scientists" or lockdown directives. (Source).
Making Sense of Everything?
So, we have two different sets of stats. In California, the number of auto crashes fell by about half. Fewer people on the road definitely had a major role in this. On the other hand, the fatality rate shot up dramatically after years of decline. This is largely due to speeding.
Depression caused by the pandemic combined with job loss and fewer people on the road. Add it all together, and there is a severe risk of death on much emptier roads. It doesn’t seem to make sense, does it? This is where our years of legal expertise comes into play. We’ve seen hundreds of accidents of all types on California’s roads. Ehline Law’s team saw the reasons for the crashes and how to prevent them. We’ve never lived through a pandemic before last year-- but we do understand some of the key features.
Drivers on the road without other motorists feel in control and often speed. Besides, police were taking care of pandemic-related issues and a large spate of rioting. You stood less chance of being pulled over in the middle of last year (2020) than in most other times in recent history. However, fewer people were on the road, so the number of crashes declined by a lot, reducing health care costs.
The overall lockdown order result was the decline in overall crashes but an increase in road fatality rates. Thanks, Sacramento. In all of the weird things to happen this past year, perhaps this ranks up there. Our experienced Los Angeles car accident law firm predicts things will only get worse and more lost jobs, depression, drinking, and speeding occur on our less busy roads. Moreover, if you are a family member of any of the victims involved in this accident, they may be able to help you obtain the police report. (Click here to request a police officer report). If your or your loved one suffered a COVID-19 related collision and need a free consultation or legal advice, contact Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC today at (213) 596-9642. We use our convenient online contact form to speak to an attentive car crash lawyer today for faster service.
Qureshi AI, Huang W, Khan S, Lobanova I, Siddiq F, Gomez CR, Suri MFK. Mandated societal lockdown and road traffic accidents. Accid Anal Prev. 2020 Oct;146:105747. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2020.105747. Epub 2020 Sep 7. PMID: 32911131; PMCID: PMC7475733.
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