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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.