A man and his 22-year-old son were killed “in a most unthinkable way — they crashed into each other in a head-on collision.” The crash happened about 4:10 a.m. on a curving two-lane road lined with pine trees; the street only lit by headlights and the moonlight. According to family members, the Alabama father was on his way to work; his son was on his way home from a party. According to State Troopers, it appears the father lost control of his truck and hit his son’s pick-up head-on. The man was pronounced dead at the scene; his son died about five hours later at the hospital. Details about the accident are sparse, but the Alabama Highway Patrol said neither man was wearing a seat belt. They also believe alcohol was a factor. The crash remains under investigation. Every day, 28 people in the United States die in an alcohol-related vehicle crash—that’s one person every 53 minutes, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA). In a July 2016 report by the agency, an estimated 35,200 people died in auto accidents in 2015; an increase of about 7.7 percent as compared to 2014. It is the highest number of fatalities since 2008. “As the economy has improved and gas prices have fallen, more Americans are driving more miles,” said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind. “But that only explains part of the increase. Ninety-four percent of crashes can be tied back to a human choice or error, so we know we need to focus our efforts on improving human behavior while promoting vehicle technology that not only protects people in crashes, but helps prevent crashes in the first place. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has already taking a proactive approach to increasing safety by working with auto manufacturers to implement new safety devices. In March 2016, they announced an agreement with automakers that will result in 99 percent of new vehicles being equipped with automatic emergency braking—the type that applies the brakes to avoid a collision—as standard equipment by 2022. Also in the works is vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems on new cars, a technology which could help drivers avoid or mitigate 70 to 80 percent of crashes, as well as technology that would measure a driver’s blood alcohol level. If levels are too high, the car won’t start. A thorough investigation in this fatal crash may reveal other causes such as speed and driver fatigue. No matter the outcome of the investigation, Lawsuit Financial hopes that something positive will result from this terrible tragedy. We hope that it will not only serve notice to drivers about the dangers of driving while intoxicated, but also the dangers of driving while fatigued, speeding, and not wearing a seat belt. While technology may help reduce serious and fatal crashes, it is up to all of us to make sure we are doing everything possible to be safe and responsible on our roadways. Lawsuit Financial extends our condolences to the family of this tragic crash.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.