Today, Attorney Michael Bell appeared on Alabama ABC 33/40's Talk of Alabama
Attorney Bell discussed various ways that families can make highway travel safer during the summer months.
Q1: Michael, with the 4th of July holiday this coming weekend, what makes the summer months such a dangerous time for travel?
A1: With so many people getting back on the highways for summer road trips and holiday travel, the summer months are undoubtedly the most dangerous times for vehicle travel. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have said that the months of July and August have the highest fatality rates with an average of 116 auto accidents per day. Several factors that make the summer months so dangerous for travel are an increase in number of cars on the road, highway congestion due to increased road construction, and a higher number of drivers attempting to navigate unfamiliar routes.
Q2: How big of issue do weather conditions and night-time driving pose to summer travel?
A2: Weather conditions and night-time driving significantly increase the potential for accidents and injuries to occur. Driving during rainy and wet conditions reduces your overall control of your car and increases the distance that it takes for your car to reach a complete stop. Often, people apply brakes when they hit a slick spot. Unfortunately, this causes hydroplaning. Likewise, driving at night decreases road visibility and is major issue for drivers who are tired and fatigued. Statistics show that 37% of adults or 103 million people have fallen asleep behind the wheel.
Q3: What are some ways that people can minimize the risk of injury while traveling during the summer months?
A3: The risk of serious injury and loss of life can be decreased significantly with proper vehicle preparation and maintenance and learning how to properly react in dangerous driving situations. Drivers should always ensure that their tires are in good condition and properly inflated. Always check tread depth and tire pressure. Always perform a pre-trip check of your battery, spare tire, and fluid levels. Most importantly, remember that rushed travel is dangerous travel. Always allow adequate time to travel to your destination. Safety experts recommend that no one drive more that 9 hours per day.
Q4: What should someone do if they're injured in an accident while traveling in another state?
A4: That's not uncommon and is a very real possibility for everyone. I would suggest to contact a local law firm to inquire if they are able to assist with a injury that occurred in the state where the accident happened. In many instances, that law firm may have an attorney licensed in that state or can at the very least refer you to law firm or attorney in that state. Many local firms have referral relationships with firms in the surrounding states and across the country.
Q5: Would a person have to pay both the local firm and the out-of-state firm?
A5: As these cases are normally contingency fee based, the client would only pay one fee if the case is successful. The attorneys fee split or referral fee between law firms is worked out between the two firms and not at the added expenses of the client.
NOTE: Click the link above or below to view the entire broadcast interview.