Part of being a responsible driver is being aware of and following state mandated traffic rules and regulations. Particularly in a city the size of Portland and with the number of automobile drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians sharing the roads, it is important for drivers to be aware of basic traffic safety and how traffic laws can help to prevent dangerous car accidents and injuries. Below is basic information every driver needs to be aware of on how these laws help to avoid serious and potentially life threatening accidents.
How Traffic Laws Reduce Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that car accidents result in over 30,000 fatalities and more than two million injuries each year in the United States. In Portland alone, automobile, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents kill approximately 30 or more people each year, while hundreds more suffer serious injuries. Fortunately, safety reports from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) indicate that traffic-related deaths and injuries have been on a steady decrease over the past 20 years, dropping by almost half since 1996 in large part due to traffic education and enforcement. The PBOT and the NHTSA attribute traffic violations as playing a major role in the majority of roadway accidents and injuries, and common causes of these accidents include the following:
- Speeding: According to the NHTSA, speeding is responsible for more than a quarter of all fatal accidents, killing as many as 9,000 people each year;
- Aggressive driving: Tailgating, improper lane changes, disregarding traffic signals and other aggressive driving behaviors are responsible for roughly one out of every three accidents.
- Driving under the influence: Despite public awareness campaigns, driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs is responsible for more than 30 percent of all motor vehicle accidents each year.
- Distracted driving: Despite tougher laws banning cell phones and texting, distracted driving continues to result in over 400,000 injuries each year.
Oregon Traffic Laws
The PBOT credits tougher traffic laws and more rigorous enforcement for playing a large part in helping to reduce the overall number of accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Chapter 811 of the Oregon Revised Statutes lists traffic violations in the state, which are divided into four main categories. Class A violations, such as speeding and reckless driving, are the most serious and carry the highest penalties, while a class D violation is the most minor, with the least amount of fines to be paid. Any type of traffic violation has the potential to result in higher insurance premiums, while repeat violations could result in your license being suspended, as well as increase your chances of being involved in an accident. Drivers whose behavior behind the wheel results in injuries to others can be held liable for the damages they cause through a personal injury lawsuit.
Contact a Portland Traffic Accident Attorney for Help
If you or someone you know has been injured in an automobile accident, contact an experienced Portland personal injury attorney right away. At the Johnston Law Firm, we understand the serious injuries that can result from these accidents. We can advise you on how to hold responsible parties accountable and assist you in getting the compensation you need to recover. Contact our office today at 503-546-3167 for a free review of your case.
CC Image by – Ian Sane at Flickr