Utah Considers Bill to Allow Cameras To Help Catch School Bus Stop Sign Violators

Among the bills being considered for the 2017 legislative session in Utah is a bill that will allow cameras to be mounted on school busses to help catch motorists who blow by the extended stop arm mounted on most school busses. According to KSL News, the safety problem of motorists ignoring the extended stop-sign arm has become epidemic. The bill’s sponsor, Representative Mike McKell of Spanish Fork expressed that his primary desire is that school kids getting on or off the bus be kept safe.

Thus started sponsorship and evolution of House Bill 235 which: “Authorizes the use of a photograph or video image obtained by an automated traffic enforcement safety device as evidence of certain traffic violations.”

Ben Horsley, spokesperson for the Granite School District, weighed in on this issue, calling the problem the “number one safety issue” in his district, saying that this happens there at least a dozen times a day. “It just takes once for that driver not to stop, a kid to step out when they’re expecting to be given the right-of-way, and a child to be killed,” he said.

As for the cameras, the technology exists to implement the program right away. Supporters of the program stress that the bill is not designed as a revenue source, but rather as a school safety program to help keep kids safe. The fines that are generated will be used to offset the cost of the program so the school districts won’t have to pick up the tab.

I agree that motorists passing school buses that have their red lights flashing or have extended a stop-sign arm is a serious safety problem. Recently, KSL published  that these violations happen over 1500 times a day! Yet I worry about big brother expanding his surveillance on the citizenry. We already have the NSA that monitors our phone calls and internet usage and cities have patrol cars loaded to the gills with cameras that help track the comings and goings of its local residents. Cameras abound everywhere and video saturation will only continue. In this instance, however, I would endorse using cameras on school busses provided that the public was advised of it. Maybe the best place would be on back of the bus, where approaching motorist are told that a school bus-stop sign violation will likely be recorded. This will help motorists who are thinking of breaking the law to think twice – and maybe save a life.

Texting Driver Strikes Three Girls in Crosswalk

Three young girls were injured in Midvale, one critically, when a 28-year old driver who was allegedly texting, failed to yield and drove his Mazda Protégé into the group as they were crossing the street at 700 West Wasatch Street (8000 South). According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the auto-pedestrian crosswalk crash happened about 3:40 p.m. on May 14, 2013. The three girls, aged 9, 10 and 14, were walking home from school when they were struck. The 9-year old was taken to IMC for treatment of a traumatic brain injury. The others was also taken to IMC for other, less serious injuries.

According to Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal, the crosswalk was clearly marked. Nonetheless, the driver, who Hoyal says was texting, failed to recognize the hazard in time. According to officer Hoyal: “It’s a very sad reminder that texting while driving is extremely dangerous.

Texting while driving is also illegal in Utah and drivers can expect serious consequences when they injure someone while texting and driving. The driver is obvious responsible for all the injuries stemming from this easily-preventable accident.

Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah pedestrian accident attorney.

Utah Pedestrian Accidents Up in 2011

Utah pedestrian accidents were up in 2011 according to a report released by the Utah Dept. of Public Safety. According to this study, fatal Utah pedestrian accidents were up by 15 percent, surpassing a spike seen in 2002.  The report says that 866 pedestrians were struck by a car in 2011, with 770 of those struck reporting injuries. Of this number, there were 32 fatalities. Because of the vulnerability that a pedestrian is exposed to when they are hit, they are 11 times more likely to die versus all other types of automobile collisions. And even though pedestrian accidents only account for 1% of the total vehicle accidents, they account for 13% of the deaths. Pedestrians therefore need to take note and use extra precaution when they are walking down the road, especially when they are crossing the street.

According to the report, the top five contributing circumstances to a pedestrian getting hit by a car are:

  • Failure to yield (33%)
  • Hit and run (14%)
  • Driver distraction (8%)
  • Vision obscured (4%)
  • Improper backing (4%)

Most pedestrian accidents happen around 5pm and were most likely to happen between noon and 9 pm. The demographic most likely to get in a pedestrian accident are those persons between 10-19 years old. Of the drivers involved in striking a pedestrian, most were in the 20-29 age group, followed by 15-19 years old. In total, 57 percent of the drivers hitting pedestrians were under 40 years old, with 56 percent of the pedestrian victims being under 25 years of age.

Most pedestrian accident happen around 5pm and were most likely to happen between noon and 9 pm. The demographic most likely to get in a pedestrian accident are those persons between 10-19 years old. Of the drivers involved in striking a pedestrian, most were in the 20-29 age group, followed by 15-19 years old. In total, 57 percent of the drivers hitting pedestrians were under 40 years old, with 56 percent of the pedestrian victims being under 25 years of age.

Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you’ve been in a similar situation in Utah.

Salt Lake Hit-and-Run Driver Arrested

Eugene Nelson, 51 years-old, lost his life in a Salt Lake City, 500 S. Main St., crosswalk on Wednesday, April 25, 2012. According to KSL News, Nelson was struck by William Ryan Fullmer, 21, from Tooele, who subsequently fled the scene after he collided with the pedestrian in the crosswalk. Fullmer was later located and taken to the Salt Lake County Jail, preliminary charged with leaving the scene of an accident and automobile homocide. Investigators say that Fullmer and his date were driving through Salt Lake City when Eugene Nelson, 51, was in a crosswalk at the intersection of 500 S. Main. Police say that Nelson was thrown approximately 60 feet into the intersection after Fullmer’s car struck him. Police say he died on impact.

According to reports, after the pedestrian was hit, Fullmer pulled over and went to the victim. He alleges that when he saw the deceased victim, he panicked and fled the scene, driving back to his home in Tooele, Utah. And he might have gotten away with it if Fullmer’s girlfriend didn’t step forward and report what happened to the police. She told police that they had consumed alcohol prior to and during the Jazz game they had attended. Police then dr0ve out to Tooele to confront Fullmer about this fatal accident where they found the damaged vehicle.

I offer my sincere condolences to the family of Mr. Nelson for this needless death.

Although the pedestrian was said to have been crossing against a signal, motorists are still required to be aware and look for pedestrians as they approach crosswalks and are required at all times to yield to them — even when their light is green. This story is similar to the sad Salt Lake pedestrian accident in November 2011 when a pedestrian was similarly hit as he was allegedly crossing against a signal. In that case, however, the motorist was not arrested or even charged. Why? He didn’t flee the scene. Even if the motorist in this case had alcohol in his system, which may have been the reason why he fled, he still should have morally stopped to render aid to the victim. While it’s not clear that this motorist’s aid would have helped, it could have, and would have been the right thing to do after he inflicted massive injures on this pedestrian.

Legally speaking, the family of Eugene Nelson, including, if applicable, his wife, children and parents, have a wrongful death claim against the motorist. And even though the deceased may have been crossing against a signal, a careful and prudent driver would have likely spotted the pedestrian and yielded to him. At a minimum, they would have slowed down significantly so that this story would be about an injured pedestrian, not a fatally-injured one.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah pedestrian accident attorney.

16 Year Old Fatal Victim in Pedestrian Accident

16-year-old Andrew Tolman of Farmington, Utah was hit while walking at a crosswalk on Tuesday, March 27, 2012. According to KSL News,  Tolman was hit by a 29-year-old woman in a SUV near 400 West and State Street while walking his bike at a crosswalk. The teenager was transported by helicopter to the University Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. At this point, no citations have been issued to the driver. The case will be turned over to the Davis County Attorney’s Office after proper investigation. The woman was not reported to be distracted or impaired, though the glare from the sun may have been a factor.

I offer my heartfelt condolences to Andrews’s family.

This is such a terrible pedestrian accident. It is always hard to hear about an accident like this. As a Utah wrongful death attorney I would recommend that this family contact an attorney to find out what remedies may be available.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah pedestrian accident attorney.

Salt Lake Pedestrian Accident in Same Area Where Girl Was Killed

Another Salt Lake City pedestrian accident happened right where 6 year-old Ambrosia Amalatitoda and her mother, Natalie Randall, were hit by a Utah motorist last week. Ambrosia sadly died from her injuries just a day or so later, while Natalie is still said to be in critical condition following a recent surgery. According to KSL News, this Salt Lake pedestrian accident happened this morning, March 18, 2012, as a 20 year-old was crossing the street at 1491 S. State St. around 2 a.m. in the morning. An SUV driven by an intoxicated male hit the male in the crosswalk, causing major injuries that he is expected to recover from.

 

There is still no signal at this Salt Lake intersection, but a plan is in place to install one in the coming months. As for the 46 year-old woman that struck Ambrosia and her mother, she has still not been charged and city attorneys are still completing their investigation.

I offer my best wishes for a full and complete recovery to those that have been recently injured at this intersection.

Although motorists certainly have the obligation to give the right away to pedestrians in the crosswalk, unfortunately, because of distraction, text messaging, or otherwise, they fail to pay attention and pedestrian accidents happen. While the person driving has the greater responsibility since they are driving the means of sending someone out of this life, the pedestrians, in an era of unprecedented driver distraction, need to keep an eye on those who drive while distracted so they don’t end up becoming another statistic.

As a Salt Lake City wrongful death attorney, I think it’s high time Salt Lake City installs a traffic signal here, at least one that pedestrians and school children can activate so that they can safely cross this busy road.

As for legal claims the pedestrian accident victims have against the careless drivers at this intersection, certainly all those hurt have a claim against these motorist as well as on their own auto under-insured policy (if applicable). I would recommend that they contact a Utah injury attorney to make sure they get the full remedy they may be entitled to.

I also wonder though about a possible claim against Salt Lake City for their role in this crash. If they are planning to install a signal here, it’s probably because of the frequency of injuries that have occurred at this crosswalk. If this is the case, then I wonder if a signal, especially one that would keep school children and other pedestrians safer, shouldn’t have been installed much sooner. Claims against Salt Lake City, however, have to be made no later than a year after the pedestrian accident happened and would be initiated by filing a “Notice of Claim” with the city and possibly the Utah Dept. of Transportation.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah pedestrian accident attorney.

Pedestrian is Fatally Wounded While on a Sidewalk in Provo

49 year-old Madeline Charrington of Provo, Utah was hit by a Ford Truck while on the corner of a sidewalk Monday, March 05, 2012. KSL News reported that Charrington was standing on the corner of 900 West and Center Street with three other friends when a pick-up truck smashed into her. The accident occurred when the truck attempted to make a left-hand turn in front of a Grand Cherokee Jeep that was traveling west on Center Street. The Jeep t-boned the truck and sent it towards the sidewalk that was occupied by these three individuals. The three friends were able to move and avoid injury while Charrington was fatally wounded by the truck. After paramedics performed CPR, she was rushed to the Utah Valley Medical Hospital where her injuries eventually took her life. The drivers of both vehicles were taken to the hospital as well with unknown injuries.

I offer my deep condolences to the family and friends of Madeline.

An accident like this is deeply heart wrenching. Often times drivers are in too much of a hurry and don’t realize the potential threat they are to those around them. Many drivers also misjudge the distance and speed of oncoming vehicles when making a left-hand turn. It is always best to be sure of a turn before taking it. It is especially hard when a vulnerable pedestrian is involved in a vehicle accident.

I would recommend that the family of Madeline consult with a Utah wrongful death attorney to find out what legal remedies may be available. In this case, it sounds like the driver of the truck failed to yield to oncoming traffic, putting the fatal chain of events into play. A claim should be made against this person’s insurance company. Additional coverage may come from the victim’s personal or household auto insurance policy.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah pedestrian accident attorney.

Salt Lake Pedestrian Accident Critically Injures Man

A man was reported to have been hit in a crosswalk at 600 South and 200 West on January 25, 2012 in the early morning. According to KSL News, a motorist turning left from 600 South onto 200 West struck the man while he was crossing the street. The pedestrian was said to have been wearing dark clothing at the time. Reported injuries include broken bones and a head injury. He is said to be in critical condition.

I send my best wishes to this man for the best possible recovery.

As a Salt Lake City accident attorney, my first question after reading the story was whether the pedestrian had a walk symbol or not. Regardless, however, left-hand-turning motorists in Utah have an obligation to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. According to Utah Code section 41-6a-1006(a): “The operator of a vehicle shall … exercise care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian.” The fact that the pedestrian was hit suggests that the motorist was not paying attention. To me, the crosswalk is a safety zone where pedestrians can have a higher degree of confidence while crossing the street and where motorists need to vigilantly scour the crosswalk to make sure no pedestrians are crossing.

In terms of a remedy, a claim should be investigated against the motorist for his role in causing this pedestrian accident to occur. I would suggest that the injured man and/or his family contact a Salt Lake pedestrian accident attorney who could advise them as to what insurance or other remedies might be available. One such remedy is a given: that the motorist’s insurance will pay at least $3,000 towards the medical bills when that motorist hits a pedestrian. Other amounts are probably additionally available, so its important that the pedestrian or his family discuss the case with an accident attorney to find out what is available in this particular case.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah pedestrian accident attorney.

West Valley Auto Pedestrian Accident Injures Child

A 7-year old child was injured in an auto-pedestrian knock over in West Valley City, Utah, today, December 30, 2011. According to KSL News, this pedestrian accident happened around 4 p.m. at 3855 South and Redwood Road in West Valley City. The child was life flighted to Primary Children’s Hospital in critical condition. No other details are available.

Best wishes and prayers are in order for this young child as she begins what could be a long recovery.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah pedestrian accident attorney.