5 personal injury crash statistics YOU need to know before Memorial Day

               Avoid a personal injury crash!

Do you have travel plans for Memorial Day weekend? Let’s also plan to avoid a personal injury crash!

According to AAA news, Memorial Day weekend kicks off the “100 Deadliest Days” for newbie teen drivers — with a 15% increase in deadly car crashes in this age group between this holiday and Labor Day weekend.

In fact, the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Statistical Analysis Center tracks the 6 leading major car crash circumstances in Missouri.  Out of these 6 circumstances, 5 will most certainly be a large risk factor for all ages with the coming holiday weekend.  Knowledge is power, right? So let’s start with the aforementioned new teen drivers.

Yes! Inexperienced teen or young drivers rank in the top 6 circumstances for deadly car crashes.

Memorial Day weekend also coincides with high school graduation celebrations and end of school parties. Pools open. Summer fun begins for the young and the restless!

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol statistics, drivers under 21 caused 8,647 personal injury crashes in 2014. So, actually, driver inexperience ranked 2nd in the top 3 causes for personal injury crashes in Missouri for 2014. (Wait until the end of this article to find out number 1 — what a surprise to this researcher!)

While we’ve certainly addressed this topic on the blog before, the “100 Deadliest Days” epidemic helps nudge us to review driving safety tips with our teens. In fact, the AAA suggests that you talk to your teen frequently about safe driving and have them sign this agreement.  Talk specifically about the three major personal injury crash factors that most affect them:

  • Distracted driving. Driving with young, carefree friends in the car, singing, chatting, and having a great time don’t mix with safe and alert driving. When you’ve lived long enough, you understand the deadliness of a distracted moment on the road. Then add the temptation of a smart phone to this mix.  What’s a parent to do?  Try parental control apps on their cell phones, for starters. You will have to carefully discuss and decide for whom your teen may drive — when, and where.
  • Failure to buckle up. This one’s squarely in your laps, parents and guardians. If you don’t enforce this early and often and set the example — don’t be surprised if your teen won’t buckle up. Sadly, the AAA reports that a whopping 60% of teens killed in a car accident were not wearing their seat belt!
  • The Invincible Inner Speed demon.  Some people are just born with this gene, it seems! Combined with teen hormones and incomplete brain development, speeding is a significant risk factor for teen car crashes. It’s a gender-neutral gene, too. However, young males are still considered a higher risk factor for car insurance companies then females. Unfortunately, many adults fail to tame their Inner Speed Demon in their youth. Again, your example as a parent or relative of a teen matters more than you may realize.

Speed is a very significant contributing risk factor in personal injury crash accidents — across all age groups. Those who speed don’t “drive to survive”.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that speeding killed 10,111 people in 2016 nationwide. Missouri statistics for 2014 show that speed is the 3rd major circumstance, causing 6,911 personal injury car crashes in our state.

A holiday weekend means places to go and people to see. You may either have a long list of errands to run. Or you and your fellow drivers are just in a hurry to get to where you are going.

The “hurry up and get there” factor is a major reason most folks are tempted to speed. 

Many drivers don’t slow down and consider that speeding is considered a form of aggressive driving. NHTSA defines aggressive driving as, “The operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.”  Even though Missouri — unlike many states — doesn’t have aggressive driving laws on the books, you can still be charged with “careless and imprudent” driving.

Depending on the circumstances, “careless and imprudent driving” may land you in jail for 6 months. If you cause a car accident due to these charges, the jail time potential escalates to a year. You won’t be going anywhere in a hurry for a good while.  Once again, you also face the potential of a Class A or Class B misdemeanor on your record.

Motorcycle-related personal injury crashes weighed in at 1,734 in Missouri in 2014.

According to a researched article on our blog, these statistics have risen slightly in recent years. For the summer season,  expect more bikers out enjoying the roads!  Motorcyclists caused only 1,734 personal injury crashes in 2014 in Missouri as compared to speeding or inexperienced drivers.

Why do motorcycle accidents still rank in the top 6 category? Probably because alcohol causes more than 50% of motorcycle-related accidents. Those are undeniably preventable motorcycle crashes!

Most surprisingly, only 2,424 personal injury crashes in Missouri during 2014 were alcohol related — significantly less than the top three crash circumstances.

Still, don’t let this statistic make you less proactive in warning your young drivers. Memorial Day weekend is party time! Temptation for young drivers to drink and drive multiply.

Even more significant, other drivers on the road will be driving under the influence. Count on it. Be alert for signs of a drunk driver and pull over to call the police if you spot an impaired driver. What to look for? Here are a few possible signs.

  • Weaving quickly or dangerously in and out of traffic.
  • Driving left of the center line
  • Erratic speed and steering
  • Braking often for no apparent reason

Quite surprisingly, according to the statistics for 2014 collected by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, drivers aged 55 and older caused 10,903 personal injury car crashes.

This age group leads the pack by over 2,000 personal injury crashes — shocking!  It’s hard to imagine why the most experienced group of drivers on the road is also the most dangerous, at least in Missouri.

Logically, this could mean an abundance of older senior drivers per capita in Missouri. Or it could infer a large portion of folks over 55 are driving while taking their needed medications — driving impaired by pain medications!

Whatever the case, this statistic is cause for an entirely different article and some serious research.  Meanwhile, maybe you should volunteer to drive your elderly relative to the family gathering this Memorial Day weekend.

If you or a loved one have been injured in car accident, you need an experienced, aggressive personal injury crash attorney. You also need someone with a thorough knowledge of state and local laws. For prompt, personal attention, call Nathan A. Steimel at 636-244-3737!

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.


Class A misdemeanors that could change your life (and your teen’s life)

Which Class A Misdemeanor Might Your Teen {accidentally} Commit?

Are we ready for summer vacation yet? The last thing a parent wants to worry about over the break from school is having their teen face Class A misdemeanor charges.

After all, the list of these potentially life-changing crimes is literally longer than your arm (even written with normal-sized font.)

Potential outdoor crimes lurk behind every train track and tree.

If your teen loves the outdoors and will have extra time on their hands this summer, committing a misdemeanor is actually shockingly easy. Did you know that in Missouri, defacing a cave wall is a Class A misdemeanor?

While this might seem like a far-fetched crime, how many teens wouldn’t think twice about carving their name and “leave their mark” on the world? Think back a few years – did you ever carve your initials in a tree? It’s the same idea.

If your teen is already out exploring said cave, just suppose they decide to pollute the cave waters. That, too, is a Class A misdemeanor.

Then there’s the railroad tracks. How many of us have trespassed on railroad property (also a Class A misdemeanor), albeit very carefully? Placing those pennies on the railroad tracks? Highly illegal!

Who hasn’t seen a movie where a young person explores an abandoned building? Trespassing of the first degree is normally a Class B misdemeanor in Missouri (only six lonely potential months in jail, folks). Trespassing in school buses are the exception, meriting a Class A category instead. Just warn your teens, okay?

What if they’re out looking for that special gemstone or rock? Warning! Don’t surface mine if you don’t want a possible misdemeanor threat on your head.

Summer fireworks – a true Class A Misdemeanor

What about fireworks? A teen entrepreneur should just stay away from the fireworks business. Selling fireworks without adult supervision under the age of 16 is illegal. Never sell fireworks to child under age 14. As you can see, fireworks are a risky business altogether.

Discharging fireworks around the wrong building is also a Class A misdemeanor. Boating and fireworks don’t mix, either. In a spirit of summer fun, can you imagine your teen throwing a firework off of a boat? That’s illegal — bad news if the Natural Resource Police are nearby!

Let’s travel down memory lane for a moment. What crazy stunts did you pull as a teen? Surely we can all pull something out of our memory bank.

Summer parties and driving – a strict NO alcohol rule

The temptation is so real! Teen drinking and driving scares the pants off of parents. You simply must have this conversation with your child, even if drinking is not their thing. Riding in a vehicle with an intoxicated friend driving – well, that’s a recipe for disaster!

Remind your child that even one drink before driving is TOO much.

Teach your teen that all it takes is a BAC of .020 under the age of 21 in Missouri to land a DWI charge. You definitely will need a good criminal defense lawyer to keep your child out of jail with such a charge.

Your teen’s Class A misdemeanor risk will escalate dramatically if they are stopped by an officer as a prior DWI offender. Besides potential jail time and fines, and license suspension, certain rehab programs will be required, such as the Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program (SATOP). Check out this website for the latest on DWI charges.

Drugs – be aware and beware

This past winter, police spotted a Marshal Missouri teen sitting out in the freezing January weather. Sadly, he was in possession of more than 10g of marijuana. He was charged not only with possession but with alleged intent to sell – a Class E felony.

According to NOLO, first-time possession of less than 35g of marijuana but more than 10g is normally a Class A misdemeanor! (Unless you are inside a school zone – drug charges ramp way up there.)

Although not a Class A misdemeanor, getting caught driving with any trace of drugs in your system in Missouri for first-time offender is an automatic 30-day license suspension. Since teens may undergo surgeries (say a sports injury) and receive pain-killers, it pays to be aware of the risks of driving even after it seems the pain-killers have worn off.

Technology and teens – multiple risk factors

Distracted driving is a huge risk factor for bodily harm and death. No one under 21 is allowed to text and drive in the state of Missouri. While not a Class A misdemeanor, if a teen is caught texting and driving, he or she faces a fine of up to $200, 2 points on their license, and a loss of a Good Driver discount on car insurance. Consequences get much, much worse if one causes a distracted driving accident due to texting.

On the other hand, sexting is a serious crime involving potential child pornography charges. Because those laws are so complex, it’s hard to say what charges your teen would end up with – quite possibly a felony charge that would follow them for ages. Tell your teen sexting is not a joke unless they think a jumpsuit, prison food, and prison walls shared with the toughest of bullies is fun!

First, you and your teen should know that even a Class A misdemeanor has serious consequences. Possible fines and potential jail time of up to a year are no summer fun adventure!

If convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, your child will carry a criminal record that could literally haunt them for years. Certain Class A misdemeanors cannot be expunged. For example, renting an apartment in the future could be very difficult, depending on the criminal record.

Even more damaging, your teen is required to tell his employer if he has a Class A misdemeanor on his record. Since employers already struggle to find good, reliable help, a teen with a record is going to be on the bottom of their “hire list”.

Charged with a misdemeanor? Here are some ways an experienced, aggressive criminal defense lawyer will work to help you:

  • Know Missouri laws and legal procedures to fight for your best outcome.
  • Ensure your teen’s fair and respectful treatment.
  • Reduce or even eliminate fines.
  • Reduce jail time.
  • Work to get a criminal record expunged.