Traffic accidents in the Memphis area rose during the past year at an alarming rate, according to recently released figures.
Records from the Memphis Police Department show that an estimated 130 fatal car accidents occurred in 2016 within the city limits, marking a jump of nearly 20 percent from the previous year.
Unfortunately, as our law firm has observed, many traffic accidents are preventable events. They result from drivers’ careless and dangerous behaviors.
MEMPHIS CAR ACCIDENT STATISTICS
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS) reports that more than 200,000 accidents occurred in the state in 2016 alone. As a result of these accidents, nearly 1,000 people died, while more than 50,000 others suffered serious injuries.
Car accident statistics for the Memphis area should especially raise concern. Crash reports from DSHS show that:
- Shelby County ranks second in the state for the total number of traffic accidents and injuries.
- The county ranks third for the number of drivers killed in accidents that were under the age of 24 and fifth for those ages 65 and older.
- With close to 10,000 injuries and 135 deaths reported in 2016 in Shelby County, these numbers have steadily increased by 10 percent or more over the last 10 years.
COMMON CAUSES OF MEMPHIS CAR ACCIDENTS
It is important to examine factors that may be causing the rise in fatal auto accidents in the Memphis area.
While driving under the influence remains a major issue on U.S. roads, including those in Memphis, a USA Today report indicates that other types of reckless and aggressive driving behaviors have become an increasing concern as well.
Surveys cited by the report state that these types of behaviors appear to be more common now. They contribute substantially to overall increases in the number of fatal traffic accidents throughout the country.
The report states that nearly eight million drivers admit to regularly experiencing angry outbursts or episodes of road rage behind the wheel, which in turn causes them to engage in risky behaviors such as tailgating or cutting off other drivers.
Even among those who generally do not lose their cool, nearly eight in 10 drivers admit to experiencing such an episode over the previous year.
In addition to aggressive driving, driver inattention, distracted driving, and other types of reckless driving behaviors put motorists at risk.
Tennessee DSHS and the State Highway Patrol accident reports list the following as the leading causes of traffic accidents, injuries and fatalities in Shelby County during 2016:
- Not paying attention behind the wheel
- Careless and erratic driving
- Failing to obey traffic signals
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Following too closely
- Improper lane changing, turns and passing
- Reckless and negligent driving
- Going too fast for conditions.
PROTECTING YOURSELF AGAINST AGGRESSIVE AND RECKLESS DRIVERS
You can prevent accidents by keeping your cool when you are behind the wheel. You should be considerate of others and avoid taking actions that could lead to problems such as tailgating, cutting off other drivers or suddenly driving slowly in the fast lane.
Additionally, laying on your horn, making gestures or yelling at other drivers are all behaviors that can be seen as aggressive. They may escalate a situation and make accidents more likely.
While you cannot always prevent an accident, you can take steps to protect yourself if you encounter an aggressive driver. The American Automobile Association (AAA) recommends that you:
- Steer clear. If you notice someone driving erratically, give the driver plenty of space – even if it means having to pull over safely or take an exit ramp.
- Avoid confrontations. Just because someone challenges you on the road does not mean that you have to respond. If another driver honks the horn, races past you or makes a gesture, realize that it is not worth putting your life in danger to respond.
- Do not take it personally. Realize that the other driver’s actions say more about them than they do about your own abilities as a driver.
- Get help if necessary. If someone starts following you or tailgates your vehicle, you can use your cell phone to notify law enforcement.
WHAT TO DO IF AN ACCIDENT OCCURS
If an accident occurs involving an aggressive driver, you should notify law enforcement, get treatment for your injuries and report it to your insurance company right away.
At the same time, you should realize that insurance companies have a financial motive in undervaluing and denying claims. So, speak with an auto accident attorney in Memphis before you give any statements or sign any documents.
David E. Gordon is available to help. He is one of fewer than two percent of lawyers in the state who is board certified. He has a proven reputation for providing personalized service and top notch legal representation that gets clients results.
He can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and, if an appropriate settlement amount cannot be reached, he can aggressively pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver involved in the crash.
The damages you could pursue in an auto accident claim include:
- Past and future medical expenses, including hospital bills, medications, and rehabilitative costs
- Lost wages and future losses in earning due to your diminished earning capacity
- Compensation for your pain and suffering
- Punitive damages if the at-fault driver engaged in conduct that was particularly reckless or negligent.
GET HELP FROM AN EXPERIENCED MEMPHIS CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY TODAY
If you or a family member is injured in an accident, contact the Law Office of David E. Gordon today. We can advise you on how to seek the compensation you are due. We serve Memphis and surrounding areas in Tennessee and Mississippi area. Our initial consultations are always free.