Do Ride-Sharing Apps Make the Streets Safer?

Ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft have completely transformed the way people get around town. It’s no longer as inconvenient or expensive to call for a ride home, which has led many people to conclude that the presence of these services may lead to fewer drunk drivers on the road. But is there any proof that ride-sharing services actually do make the roads safer?

In 2014, Uber issued a press release that declared DUI rates were on the decline in cities that offered Uber services. The company studied Seattle to determine whether DUI arrests decreased after they began offering rides in the city. Looking at arrest rates before and after Uber entered the city, the company concluded they were responsible for a 10% reduction in DUI arrests.

The press release was met with a lot of criticism from people who did not believe ride-sharing apps could be responsible for that much of a difference in DUI rates. In 2016, another study on the same topic was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. These researchers looked at data from the 100 most populated areas in the U.S. and found no connection between Uber’s entry into a market and a decline in DUI arrests.

Some critics have argued that these studies should focus more on smaller markets instead of those that are densely populated. Why? There are a number of transportation options for people in larger cities, but Uber may be the only option for people in smaller markets. This means the ride-sharing service could have a more meaningful impact in these areas.

If the American Journal of Epidemiology study is accurate, why aren’t more drunk drivers choosing to use Uber instead of putting every driver on the road at risk? Researchers believe Uber is used as an alternative to other forms of public transportation such as a bus or taxi. Therefore, it is not used by intoxicated drivers as an alternative to driving their own car home. These drivers are much less likely to think rationally, so the thought of paying for a ride home to avoid putting others in danger may seem ludicrous to those who have consumed alcohol.

It is estimated that over 4 million people get behind the wheel while intoxicated every month, yet there are only around 160,000 Uber drivers. Therefore, even if ride-sharing apps do make the streets slightly safer, the risk of getting into an accident with a drunk driver will not be eliminated by a long shot.

If you have been injured by a negligent driver, don’t wait to seek legal representation from Frank Harris. Mr. Harris will give your case the undivided attention it deserves, and provide you with the aggressive legal representation you need to recover compensation. Contact Frank Harris by email at info@FrankHarrisLaw.com or by calling 678-483-8655 today. You can also learn more about the firm by visiting our website, www.FrankHarrisLaw.com.

Safe Driving Tips For Super Bowl Sunday

Where will you watch this year’s Super Bowl? Whether you’re going to watch the game from your friend’s house or a barstool at your favorite restaurant, it’s important to stay safe while out on the roads. Many people drink alcohol as they watch the game and then make the mistake of getting behind the wheel to drive home. These drivers put everyone on the roads—including you—at risk. To stay safe this Super Bowl Sunday, follow these safe driving tips:

Buckle up.

A seatbelt can be the difference between life and death for people who are involved in high-impact car accidents, so buckle up this Super Bowl Sunday. If you plan on driving other people to or from the event, don’t start the car until you have ensured everyone has fastened their seatbelts. You should never transport more people than your car is designed to carry. If you do, some of your passengers will not have a seatbelt and will be injured if you get into an accident.

Learn how to spot a drunk driver.

Keep your eyes peeled for drivers who could be intoxicated. Look for cars that are swerving in and out of a lane, stopping suddenly for no reason, quickly speeding up and then slowing back down, making wide turns, and striking curbs. These are all signs that the driver behind the wheel is under the influence. Stay as far away from these drivers as possible and contact the authorities to report your suspicions.

Always play it safe.

If you had a few beers at your friend’s Super Bowl party, you may think you’re still sober enough to make the drive home. Don’t do it. It’s always best to find another way home if you’ve had anything to drink. Call an Uber or taxi or ask a sober friend for a ride home. It may be a pain having to arrange to pick up your car the next morning, but the inconvenience is a small price to pay for your safety.

Check your lights.

Before you head out for the night, do a quick test to ensure your headlights, taillights, turning signals, and brake lights are functioning. Remember, there will be a lot of drunk drivers on the road who may not be able to see your car if one of your lights is out. Protect yourself by ensuring you will be fully visible to other drivers on the road.

Regardless of the final score, as long as you stay safe on the roads, everyone’s a winner!

If you are injured by a drunk or reckless driver on Super Bowl Sunday, you will need an experienced personal injury attorney to fight on your behalf. Frank Harris is the right attorney to handle this job. Contact him today by sending an email to info@FrankHarrisLaw.com or filling out the online form on his website www.FrankHarrisLaw.com. You can also call our offices at 678-483-8655 to speak with a member of our team about your case today.

Wearing a Seatbelt During Pregnancy

Pregnant women have to take certain precautions during the nine months that they are carrying a child. This can include avoiding certain foods, modifying their exercise routines, and closely monitoring their health, but should pregnant women also skip wearing a seatbelt to protect their bellies? The short answer is “No”. It’s perfectly safe for pregnant women to wear a seatbelt during pregnancy as long as they follow these important tips:

Wear the lap belt and shoulder strap.

It’s important to buckle yourself into the seat using both the lap belt and shoulder strap of the seatbelt. Using one without the other will put you at a greater risk of suffering injuries in the event of a car accident. It may feel slightly uncomfortable at first, but don’t loosen the straps to make it more comfortable. Both the lap belt and shoulder strap should fit snugly against your body to offer you the most protection.

Check the placement.

As your belly continues to grow, the seatbelt will fit you a bit differently than it did before you were pregnant. Make sure the lap belt is positioned underneath your belly pressed against your hip bones. If you place the lap belt across your belly, your unborn baby could be injured if you are involved in a car accident. The shoulder belt should come across your body and fall between your breasts. If you find that the shoulder belt is digging into your neck, do not pull on it to loosen it. Instead, focus on readjusting your seat so you are in a better position to wear the seatbelt properly.

Take your coat off.

If you’re wearing a thick coat or jacket, take it off prior to fastening your seatbelt. Outerwear can cause the seatbelt to ride up across your belly as you drive so it’s recommended that you remove it prior to getting into the car.

Some pregnant women also fear what will happen to their unborn baby if the airbags are deployed during an accident. But studies have shown that airbags do not put your baby in harm’s way if they are deployed when you are also wearing your seatbelt.

Even if you are wearing your seatbelt, it’s possible you could suffer serious injuries if you are involved in a car accident. If you are injured as a result of a negligent driver, speak with Frank Harris, an experienced personal injury attorney in Georgia. Contact him today by sending an email to info@FrankHarrisLaw.com or calling his offices at 678-483-8655. You can also learn more about his law firm by visiting www.FrankHarrisLaw.com.

What if You’re Injured in a Hit and Run Accident?

Being injured in a car accident is every driver’s nightmare, but it’s a reality that many people will eventually have to face. What makes matters worse is if the driver who caused the accident flees the scene before you have time to exchange information or contact the authorities. Leaving the scene of a car accident is a criminal offense known as a hit and run. If you are ever injured by a driver who decides to commit this crime instead of taking responsibility for his negligence, make sure you follow these tips:

Do not chase after him.

When you see the at fault driver begin to drive away from the scene of the accident, it can be tempting to put the pedal to the metal and chase him down. But getting into a high speed car chase with someone who is willing to commit a crime is better left to law enforcement officers. Whatever you do, do not chase after the car. Remain in your vehicle and contact the authorities to report the crime and the accident.

File a police report.

It can be difficult to jot down the driver’s license plate information if you are still reeling from being involved in a car accident. Some drivers assume they shouldn’t file a police report if they don’t have any information on who the driver was or what his car looked like. Don’t make this mistake. You will always need to file a police report so you have official documentation that the accident did happen.

Contact an attorney.

It’s entirely possible the police will never track down the person who hit your vehicle and caused your injuries. How will you pay for your medical expenses and property damages if you can’t file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company? In Georgia, drivers who have uninsured motorist coverage are protected in hit and run accidents. If you have this coverage, you will need to file a claim with your insurance company immediately following the accident.

But you should never deal with an insurance company—even your own—without first contacting an attorney. Before you talk to your insurance company about the accident, get in touch with a personal injury attorney who can provide you with legal advice and representation every step of the way.

Regardless of what type of traffic accident you were in, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries if a negligent driver was to blame. You will need the help of a skilled attorney if you want to ensure you receive a fair settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company. Don’t wait another minute to contact the best attorney for the job—Frank Harris. Get in touch with Frank Harris today by sending an email to info@FrankHarrisLaw.com or visiting his law firm’s website at www.FrankHarrisLaw.com. You can also call our offices at 678-483-8655.

What Evidence Should You Document After An Accident?

Ask any personal injury attorney what you should do after a car accident, and you will likely be advised to contact authorities, seek medical treatment, and, of course, gather evidence. But what evidence do you need to collect at the accident scene?

Property Damage

You may be entitled to compensation for property damage, but you have to be able to prove it exists with documentation. Take photos of the damage to your vehicle and any other vehicles involved in the crash. Not only will this help you recover compensation for your damages, but it can also help an attorney reconstruct the accident to prove liability if necessary.

Injuries

Do you have any visible injuries? Make sure they are documented by taking pictures at the scene of the accident. It would also be helpful if you took more pictures in the days following the accident to show how your injuries have healed or worsened. This can be especially important with respect to bruises and swelling, which may not become visible until hours or even days after the accident. The next step is to keep an injury diary that details how your injuries are progressing and how you feel on a daily basis. Documenting your injuries in this way may be able to help you recover compensation for the pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of the accident.

Medical Records

If you had to seek medical attention because of the injuries you sustained in a car accident, make sure to hold on to all of your medical records. Documents such as bills, lab results, and X-rays will strengthen your personal injury claim and should be handed over to your attorney as soon as possible following the accident.

Traffic Signs and Lights

Many accidents occur when a negligent driver fails to pay attention to a traffic sign or light. For example, a driver who does not stop at a red light could collide with another vehicle that is crossing the intersection. Try to take pictures of any traffic signs or lights that could have played a role in your accident. This will help paint a picture of the scene for your attorney, the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and the jury if your case ends up going to trial.

Car accidents can happen in the blink of an eye and catch you completely off-guard. You may be in shock immediately after a collision, but try to regain your composure and gather as much evidence as possible to ensure you have a fair chance at recovering the compensation you deserve.

If you have been injured in a car accident, contact Georgia personal injury attorney Frank Harris as soon as possible. Frank Harris is committed to helping clients recover the compensation they deserve to cover medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact his office today by calling 678-483-8655 or sending an email to info@FrankHarrisLaw.com. You can also visit us online at www.FrankHarrisLaw.com.

Georgia Traffic Laws You May Not Know About

Drivers know to stop at a stop sign, go when the light turns green, and carefully follow the speed limits posted throughout the state of Georgia. But, there are a number of traffic laws that many drivers are completely unaware of—which means they could cause a car accident or be pulled over for breaking a law they didn’t know existed. Here are some of the traffic laws many Georgia drivers aren’t familiar with:

1) The “Slowpoke Law”

If you’re traveling in the left lane of a highway or interstate in Georgia, you must get out of the way by switching lanes if a faster car comes up behind you. This law applies to all drivers—even though who are going the speed limit while in the left lane.

2) It’s illegal to drive with headphones in both ears.

Drivers must be able to hear sirens and honks from police cars, ambulances, and other drivers on the road. Because of this, it is illegal to wear headphones (including earbuds) in both ears, as this will severely limit your ability to hear these sounds. However, it’s only illegal if you are wearing both headphones, so drivers are free to put one headphone on and keep the other ear open.

3) Your headlights must be turned on in the rain.

Many of the vehicles on the road today are designed with lights that automatically turn on. However, you can’t rely on these lights when it’s raining because they only activate your front lights– you are not visible to drivers behind you. Drivers must manually turn on their headlights in the rain to avoid a traffic ticket from Georgia law enforcement officers.

4) You can’t text while behind the wheel.

In Georgia, all texting while driving is illegal. The state law does not specifically say that the vehicle has to be in motion, which means drivers can be issued a ticket if they are caught texting at any time behind the wheel, even if the car is at a complete stop.

5) Law enforcement officers must be able to clearly read your tag.

Drivers are allowed to put frames around their license plates, but only if they do not interfere with a law enforcement officer’s ability to clearly read the tag. If a police officer cannot view your entire tag, you may be issued a citation in the state of Georgia.

Drivers who aren’t aware of these laws put others on the road at risk, which is why it’s important to make sure you are familiar with all of the state’s traffic laws before getting behind the wheel.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, you will need the legal expertise of Georgia personal injury attorney Frank Harris. Mr. Harris previously worked as an attorney for insurance companies, so he knows how to negotiate and reach a settlement with these companies. Contact Frank Harris today by visiting www.FrankHarrisLaw.com or calling 678-483-8655 to schedule a consultation regarding your case. You can also send an email regarding your case to info@FrankHarrisLaw.com.

What to Do if an Uninsured Driver is at Fault

Drivers in the state of Georgia are required to have car insurance. Each motorist is required to have liability insurance that covers both bodily injury and property damage up to the amount of $25,000 per person. This is the minimum insurance coverage required by law, though you should consider having higher limits. In addition, there are other types of insurance you should consider adding to your policy, including Uninsured Motorist coverage (“UM coverage”).

Studies indicate that up to 25% of cars on the road have no liability insurance in place. If you are ever involved in an accident and the at-fault driver is uninsured, you have the option of filing an uninsured motorist claim if you chose to have this coverage added to your insurance policy. The process of filing an uninsured motorist claim is very similar to filing a claim after any car accident, with one exception. If the at-fault driver has insurance, you would file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company; but if the at-fault party is uninsured, the claim would be filed with your own insurance company, which essentially then acts as if it insured the at-fault driver.

As soon as the claim has been filed, an adjuster will be assigned to your case and you will be asked to make a statement regarding the accident. BUT YOU MUST REMEMBER: at this point your own insurer is just as much your adversary as if he works directly for the at-fault driver. You may be asked to prove negligence by providing the adjuster with as much information as possible, including photographs of the scene, statements from witnesses, and a police report if you have it. If you suffered injuries as a result of the accident, you will likely be asked to provide proof of your medical expenses and lost wages. Remember, the adjuster’s goal in all this is to pay you as little as possible. For all these reasons, if you have suffered any sort of physical injury, it is safer to hire a personal injury attorney, and let him handle the communications with the UM insurance adjuster.

If you cannot reach a settlement with the adjuster, your only option then will be to file suit against the uninsured driver, and have your suit served on both that driver and your insurance company.

Keep in mind you can only file a claim with your insurance company if you have already elected to add UM coverage to your policy. If you do not have this coverage, you can theoretically sue the uninsured driver to recover compensation for your medical expenses, property damages, and lost wages. However, many victims find uninsured drivers do not have any assets or cash, which makes it difficult to collect the judgment if you do win the lawsuit.

Because of the difficulty of recovering compensation directly from an uninsured driver, it’s always recommended you add UM coverage to your insurance plan to protect yourself and your property. Georgia law requires that you be offered the opportunity to purchase UM coverage in the same amount as your liability coverage. At Frank Harris Law, we always recommend that you purchase UM coverage. It is actually quite inexpensive, and with all the uninsured drivers on the road, you never know when you may need the extra protection that UM coverage provides.

Remember, insurance companies cannot be relied on to look out for your best interests. If you have been involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver, you will need a tough personal injury attorney to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Contact Frank Harris, a personal injury attorney in Georgia, on the web at www.FrankHarrisLaw.com for the legal help you need to recover the compensation you deserve. Call 678-483-8655 or email info@FrankHarrisLaw.com to schedule a consultation today.

Who is Liable When a Self-Driving Car Crashes?

On May 7, 2016, a tractor trailer made a left turn in front of a self-driving Tesla car that failed to brake in time to avoid a collision. The incident marked the first time in history that a vehicle operated completely by computers, radar equipment, and sensors was involved in a fatal accident. It also raised a lot of questions about the future of liability on the roads. If self-driving cars increase in popularity as expected, who will be responsible when they are involved in car accidents?

Although these cars are designed to eliminate the need for a human driver, manufacturers have made it clear in their terms and conditions that the human driver must stay focused while behind the wheel even though the they are not technically driving the car. For example, Tesla customers must sign a release agreeing to keep both hands on the steering wheel while using a self-driving car. General Motors will require drivers of their future self-operating car to remain focused on the road and ready to begin driving in certain situations, such as bad weather. These contracts are intended to protect manufacturers from liability in the event of an accident, but will they be enough?

It’s predicted lawmakers will hold manufacturers accountable because they are choosing to market these cars as a replacement for human drivers. Lawmakers will likely argue if the cars are designed to replace human drivers, liability should be transferred from the driver to the manufacturers of the car.

You would think manufacturers would be resistant to take on this burden, but the opposite may be true. Some industry experts believe manufacturers will gladly accept liability in accidents involving self-driving cars. Why? For starters, there is reason to believe accident rates will be much lower than they are now, so the costs will not be astronomical.

Car manufacturers may also conclude that accepting liability will go a long way in winning customers over. From a marketing perspective, taking the blame for accidents shows customers the confidence these manufacturers have in their self-driving cars. A survey done in 2016 showed 55% of consumers are not willing to ride in a self-driving vehicle. Based on these results, building consumer confidence by accepting liability may be the marketing strategy that manufacturers need to win over those who are still reluctant to try this new technology.

Shifting the liability from the human driver to the car manufacturer would also mean major changes to the car insurance industry. Consumers would no longer have to shop for the best car insurance rate or deal with the hassle of negotiating with insurance companies following an accident. Instead, drivers would simply purchase coverage when they buy a self-driving car.

No decisions have officially been made regarding liability in these accidents. However, the family of a driver who was killed in a self-driving car accident in China is suing car manufacturer Tesla for damages. It’s possible the outcome of this case could affect how the United States handles similar issues moving forward.

If you were involved in a car accident, it can be difficult to determine who was at fault. Georgia personal injury attorney Frank Harris can investigate the details of your case to identify the liable party. Then he will fight to recover the compensation you deserve for your medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and lost wages. But first you have to make the call. Contact Frank Harris by phone at 678-483-8655 or email info@frankharrislaw.com to schedule a consultation today. You may also visit our website, www.FrankHarrisLaw.com, to learn more about our services.

Tips for Staying Safe on the Road

Did you take a road trip to see friends or family members over the holidays? If so, you weren’t alone. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports about 91% of long-distance holiday travel is made by car as opposed to in a plane or train. But because there is an increase in cars on the road during the holidays, more accidents tend to occur. If you were involved in a car accident, it has probably left you shaken up—especially if you were injured in the crash. To avoid getting into another car accident, follow these tips next time you hit the road:

1) Have your car inspected prior to leaving.

Take your vehicle in for an inspection before leaving on your trip. A mechanic can check for low tire pressure, issues with the brakes, or a dying battery so you don’t run into any issues once you head out.

2) Check the weather.

Weather can be unpredictable, so it’s recommended you frequently check the forecast before and during your trip. If your route has you headed towards a patch of bad weather, pull off of the road and find a safe place to stay until it passes.

3) Let your friends and family know you’re driving.

If you’re on your way to meet friends or family, you may start to receive a number of text messages and phone calls from people who are excited to see you. But, using a smartphone can distract you from the road and put you in danger—plus, it’s illegal in the state of Georgia. Prevent distracted driving by letting friends and family members know you will be unavailable because you are driving.

4) Take your time.

You may feel pressure to make it to your destination quickly so you can maximize your time with loved ones, but it’s important to slow down and relax. Don’t try to speed to make up for time you lost sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Not only is speeding illegal, but it’s dangerous too.

5) Plan ahead.

If you are going out with friends and plan on drinking, make arrangements to stay with a friend or find a designated driver who can bring you to the event. If you don’t plan ahead but find yourself drinking anyway, call a taxi or Uber. Paying for a ride home may be an unexpected expense, but that shouldn’t stop you from making a responsible decision

Even careful drivers can be involved in car accidents caused by negligent drivers. If you are injured in a car accident, don’t wait any longer to get legal assistance from Georgia personal injury attorney Frank Harris. Mr. Harris has over three decades of experience representing victims in personal injury cases. To schedule a consultation, contact him today by visiting www.FrankHarrisLaw.com or sending an email to info@FrankHarrisLaw.com. You can also call 678-483-8655 to speak with someone in our office right away.