Phoenix car accident attorney Kyle A. Israel says a National Safety Council report showing a spike in car wrecks during the first half of 2015 compared to a year prior should serve as a reminder to all drivers about the grave risk of dangerous driving habits.
A personal injury lawyer based in Phoenix who has represented people seriously injured in accidents, Israel provided insight into common accidents and offered tips to keep Arizona roads safe for all users.
Israel, a founding attorney at Israel & Gerity, offered comments in response to a report from the National Safety Council ("U.S. on pace for deadliest driving year since 2007, says National Safety Council"). According to the NSC, traffic deaths between January and June 2015 were 14 percent higher than during the same time period in 2014. Serious injuries, meanwhile, jumped by 30 percent. The report states almost 19,000 people lost their lives in the United States in road accidents, and over 2.2 million were seriously injured. If the trend continues, 2015 will be the deadliest year for traffic accidents in the United States since 2007.
"The findings of this report are so disheartening. When you represent individuals and families who have faced injuries and fatalities as a result of car wrecks, including pedestrian accidents, you find out first-hand just how frustrating these accidents can be," Israel said. "What makes these accidents particularly tragic is the fact that they can be prevented. Most accidents are caused by poor choices made by drivers. They choose to drink and drive, or text behind the wheel. They decide to drive too fast or blow through a stop sign. Without question, these poor choices can have grave consequences."
Israel offered the following tips for drivers throughout Phoenix and Arizona to follow:
- Designate sober driver if you plan to drink alcoholic beverages.
- Avoid all cell phone usage while driving, including talking and texting. Even hands-free devices can be a distraction.
- Avoid driving while tired. Studies have found that lack of sleep can create impairments similar to those associated with drinking and driving.
- Be aware of medications you might be taking, which can cause drowsiness.
- Use caution when changing lanes. Use your signals and make sure to check blind spots.
- Watch out for motorcyclists, pedestrians and people riding bicycles. They tend to be harder to spot on the road and also are extremely vulnerable to injury if struck.
- Observe the speed limit and use caution during inclement weather.
While the NSC report reveals a disturbing trend, Israel noted that a separate report shows that Arizona drivers tend to be safer than drivers in many other states. An Allstate Insurance Company study found that drivers in urban areas of Arizona are good at avoiding accidents. The findings of the report, published in AZCentral.com, reveal that Mesa, Chandler, Peoria, Gilbert, Tucson and Scottsdale were locations where accidents happened less frequently than the national average. However, traffic accidents were slightly higher than average in Phoenix, Tempe and Glendale. When adjusting for population density, Allstate found that all nine Arizona cities were found to be less accident-prone than average. And Phoenix had the best driver safety record of cities with more than 1 million residents, according to the report.
Israel said, "Whether you live in a 'safe' driving city or a city that has a reputation for accidents, it's critical to practice good driving behavior at all times. By driving defensively and observing the rules of the road, drivers can do their part toward making Phoenix and all of Arizona an even safer place to live."