Entries in Car Accidents (9)


Car Plunges Into Calif. Family’s Swimming Pool

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- A mother in California awoke on Mother’s Day to find more than just breakfast in bed or roses on the table. She found, instead, a silver Lexus at the bottom of her family’s swimming pool.  The car was not a strangely placed gift for her, however, but the unfortunate landing spot of a suspected drunken driver.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports that the suspect, 40-year-old Modesto Cabral, was driving through the Los Angeles suburb of La Peunte, Calif., early Sunday morning when he plowed through a cinder block wall surrounding the home of the Diaz family and ended up directly in the family’s swimming pool.

California Highway Patrol officials say that Cabral allowed his 2006 Lexus GS430 to drive through an intersection, over a sidewalk and into the family’s backyard.

Cabral pulled himself to safety by squeezing through his car’s passenger side front window, authorities said.  He was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence and is being held in the county jail until a scheduled court appearance this Tuesday.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Wis. Mother and Son Killed in Different Auto Accidents

Thinkstock/Getty Images(WEST ALLIS, Wis.) -- Two unrelated car accidents claimed the lives of a mother and her son early Sunday morning in West Allis, Wis.

Mary Moore, 45, was struck by a car, while lying in the street at approximately 1 a.m. Sunday morning. According to a report by the medical examiner, a witness behind the car that struck Moore initially thought the first car had gone over a speed bump.   But when the witness got closer, they realized that a woman was lying in the roadway. Moore was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, authorities said. The driver who struck her was arrested a few hours later, according to police. The driver had left the scene.

Approximately four hours after Moore was struck, her son, Thomas Olson, 22, was killed as he was being driven to the hospital. Olson was riding as a passenger in his girlfriend’s SUV, when the driver lost control of the vehicle, hit three parked cars and flipped over, according to a report by the medical examiner.  Olsen was ejected from the vehicle and later succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. His fellow passengers suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Police say alcohol may have been a factor in both of the fatal crashes. The person driving Olson to the hospital was arrested for a DUI after the accident.

West Allis Police Department Deputy Chief Charles Padgett told ABC News that although Moore had been drinking, it was unclear how much alcohol she had consumed. The driver who allegedly struck her was also seen at a local tavern prior to the accident, but Padgett said police are not pursuing alcohol-related charges in that case at this time, he said.

The two fatal accidents happened within just two miles of each other under circumstances Padgett called “unusual and rare.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Soldiers More Apt to Get into Car Accidents at Home After Deployments

Creatas/Thinkstock(SAN ANTONIO, Texas) -- Overseas duty appears to affect the driving behavior of returning military personnel, making these motorists more careless on the roads, according to a survey by a major insurer of the armed forces and their families.

The USAA survey reveals that war veterans have gotten into 13 percent more accidents at which they’re at fault during their first six months back home compared to the six months prior to their deployment.

By and large, U.S. Army and Marine members who learned to drive aggressively in Iraq and Afghanistan to avoid roadside bombs known as improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were more prone to drive similarly once they returned to the states, experiencing higher accidents rates of 23 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively.

In contrast, the traffic accident rates of Navy members only rose three percent while accidents went up two percent for Air Force vets.

USAA also discovered that higher accident rates were directly related to a higher number of deployments.  Service members with three or more overseas tours were involved in 36 percent more accidents.  That number shrunk to 27 percent for two deployments and fell to 12 percent when a soldier was deployed only once.

Meanwhile, soldiers 22-years-old or younger were more prone to get into car accidents than those 29 or older.  Also, the higher the rank of the soldier, the lower the incidence of mishaps on the road.

USAA made its findings based on 158,000 members covering 171,000 deployments from February 2007 until February 2010.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Teen Driver Deaths Increase in First Half of 2011: New Report

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The number of 16 and 17-year-old drivers killed in automobile-related incidents increased 11 percent during the first six months of the year 2011, according to a new report.

Data released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) on Thursday shows a 16 percent jump in the deaths of 16-year-old drivers during the first half of last year, while the number of 17-year-old drivers who died edged up 7 percent. Of the 23 states that reported increased fatalities, Florida, Texas and North Carolina were among the states with the most significant increases, the report revealed.

The findings could spell the end of years of progress on the issue.

“If the trend continued for the second half of 2011, it will mark the end of eight straight years of cumulative declines in deaths for this age group,” the group said in announcing its findings.

The data was compiled by Dr. Allan Williams, formerly of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

“Dr. Williams attributes much of the increase to the fact that the benefit of state Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws may be leveling off, as most of these laws have been in place for some time,” the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit said. “Additionally, Dr. Williams speculates that improving economic conditions are contributing to an increase in teen driving, thus increasing their exposure to risk.”

The GHSA notes that its report, “comes as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released a statistical projection suggesting that total motor vehicle deaths for the first six months of 2011 declined 0.9 percent.”

Meanwhile, transportation officials issued new guidelines Thursday aimed at limiting driver distractions.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood worries that drivers pay too much attention to their dashboards and too little attention to the road. In 2010, LaHood said, more than 3,000 people were killed in crashes involving distracted driving.

"While it is good news that overall deaths appear to have declined during the first six months of 2011, we are concerned that the trend with teens is going in the opposite direction," GHSA chairman Troy E. Costales said in a statement.

"As parents, we must set and enforce strict rules for our new drivers, making sure risks are minimized,” Costales said. “This includes limiting other teens in the car, limiting nighttime driving and absolutely prohibiting any type of cell phone or electronic device use while driving."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Massive Pileup in Texas Blamed on Fog

Comstock/Thinkstock(PORT ARTHUR, Texas) -- Dozens were injured, some of them critically, following a huge pileup Thursday on a southeast Texas highway that involved as many as 60 cars.

“We just had a chain reaction,” Jefferson County Sherriff’s Department Deputy Rod Carroll told ABC News.

“Fifty-four people we transported off the scene with injuries,” Carroll said, “four of them critical.”

Foggy conditions and low visibility along Highway 73 are being blamed for the morning pileup.

“In 23 years, I've never seen an accident this extensive.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Most Parents Use Seatbelts Improperly, Study Shows

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Parents are making mistakes when they install car seats, and new research by the non-profit group Safe Kids USA found "frequent opportunities" to improve the safety of young occupants.  

The instructions are there, but Safe Kids says too many children are riding in car seats that are improperly installed.  The biggest problem is the top tether, the strap at the top of the car seat that protects the child's head.

According to research by Safe Kids USA, only 30 percent are actually using the tether straps. Safe Kids says among those that do, 40 percent use it incorrectly.  

The study also says that many parents are not using the most appropriate seats for their children’s ages.

Safe Kids reviewed 79,000 car seat checklists collected at inspection events held by the group in 2009 and 2010. They found 70 percent of parents drive off with improperly secured children.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, car crashes remain the leading cause of death for children ages three to 14 and that proper installation and use of child safety seats would decrease the risk of death by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers.

One of the recommendations made by Safe Kids and other safety organizations is that children stay rear-facing in vehicles until they are two years of age. However, the low rate of tether strap usage remains the biggest concern.

Child Safety advocates say that lack of public awareness is one of the biggest factors contributing to the disappointing numbers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Motorcyclist Pulled from Under Car Cried Over Bike

ABC News (MURRAY, Utah) -- Brandon Wright, the biker who was pulled from beneath a car lifted by bystanders, told a news conference Thursday that he was glad to be alive but that he cried over his mangled bike.

The scene of students and construction workers rushing over to lift the BMW Monday while flames shot out of the burning motorcycle jammed under the car's front fender captured the country's attention. Wright's unconscious body was dragged from under the vehicle.

Wright, 21, held a news conference at the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, Thursday thanking his rescuers, who he called heroes.

Wright suffered injuries to his right leg and burns on his left leg, but no damage to his head despite his lack of a helmet. Doctors said a head injury would make it harder for him to survive.

His eye was visibly swollen and blood shot during the press conference. He thanked his family, and said his mother and girlfriend had not left his hospital room since the accident.

A habitual adventure-seeker, Wright said he would not give up motorcycle riding, but would be more careful, including wearing a helmet. He even intended to promote motorycycle safety.

Wright said it "wasn't a particularly good bike," but it had been his first bike, hanging on to it even as he bought and sold other motorcycles.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Man Pulled from Beneath Burning Car Expected to Recover

ABC News(LOGAN, Utah) -- A 21-year-old Utah man pulled from beneath a burning car  by bystanders is out of surgery and expected to fully recover, his family confirmed.

Brandon Wright was driving his motorcycle just outside the Utah State University campus in Logan, Utah, around noon on Monday when a black BMW pulled out in front of him, forcing him to lay down his bike to avoid a crash, according to Logan Police.

Wright’s bike slammed into the car and caught fire while he slid under the vehicle and became trapped.

Flames shot in the air as bystanders flooded 911 with calls.

Despite the dangers posed by the fire, a dozen construction workers working at a nearby site on the Utah State campus and other students and bystanders rushed to the burning car to help.

In dramatic video, a nearby camera captured the bystanders lifting the burning sedan off the ground and pulling Wright’s limp body to safety, all before firefighters arrived.

Meanwhile, police officers and bystanders grabbed fire extinguishers from nearby buildings to help extinguish the flames.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames, while Wright was flown by helicopter to nearby Intermountain Medical Center in critical condition.

Wright’s mother and stepfather told ABC News on Tuesday he is alert and aware of everything that happened.

Doctors placed rods in Wright’s legs during surgery Monday night.  He is expected to remain in the hospital for at least another three to four days to recover from a broken femur, broken tibia, broken pelvis and burns on both his feet.

The driver of the BMW suffered minor injuries.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


IIHS Study: Many Tractor-Trailers Unsafe

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- More than 350 people are killed each year when their car strikes the back of a tractor-trailer and -- because of the height difference -- the car slides underneath, literally crushing the vehicle and often the passengers inside. There are safety standards in place to prevent these accidents -- many trucks have been equipped with impact guards designed to prevent such accidents -- but new tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety find those barriers often give way.

"Our tests show how easily some of these guards are failing at relatively moderate speeds," said Adrian Lund with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. He says the group wants the government to require tougher standards.

"You're buying a new car which has really state of the art frontal crash protection, but when you hit a truck, all those goes by the wayside," Lund said.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is calling on the government and the trucking industry to beef up the barriers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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