Douglas V. Stoehr, Attorney at Law
Free Case Evaluation
814-946-4100
No Recovery / No Fee
Super Lawyers

May Is Motorcycle Safety Month

The month of May is designated as Motorcycle Safety Month, which means that it's the time of year when motorcycles tend to increase on our state's roads.  It is important for both motorcycle and car drivers to be aware of each other and follow a few basic safety tips to keep everyone alert and safe on the road! Wear your helmet, give other cars and riders plenty of room, and share the road.  Motorcycle riders can also take free refresher classes through the PA Motorcycle Safety Program.


Unfortunately, not only do cars frequently hit motorcycles, but tour bus and commercial truck drivers are a significant cause of accidents as well, especially on our state's highways. Often, these commercial drivers are fatigued and are driving above the mandated allotment of hours. Additionally, many of them are driving large vehicles that are not up to federal and state safety standards. As a result, other vehicles and motorcycle riders often bear the brunt of their illegal activity and are often seriously injured or die from a collision with the tour bus or commercial truck. 


In addition, wearing a helmet is a common safety procedure that this law office feels should be followed at all times to protect yourself, whether you are on a bicycle or a motorcycle. However, we recognize that, at this time, mandatory helmet laws for those over 21 are not yet in effect in all areas of the country. We also strongly feel that motorcyclists, cars, and bicyclists should share the road in a responsible and respectful manner. If you are a motorcyclist who has been wrongfully injured in a motor vehicle accident and may suffer from a spinal cord, brain, or other serious injury, please contact our law office at 814-946-4100 for a consultation at no cost to you.

New Alert Keeps PA Drivers Informed During Road Closures

Unfortunately, it does seem like Pennsylvania has a high number of car accidents each year, which leaves other drivers stranded on the highways for a long period of time while waiting for crash sites to be cleared.  However, Pennsylvania officials have recognized how frustrating this can be and are trying to keep drivers more informed.

 
According to PennLive.com, a tool called 511PAConnect will soon be available to drivers to keep them updated in the event of a long-term road closure as the result of an accident on a state highway.  This system will be a location-based alert that uses the same technology that issues Amber Alerts for missing children.  People in areas impacted by the road closure will get a message on their cell phone, and will then have the option to register for either text message or phone call updates.  Features include updates every 15 minutes, as well as personalized messages that can be sent out to groups of people.  


Despite our best efforts, sometimes an accident is unavoidable.  If an accident does occur, it's important to know that Pennsylvania is a comparative negligence state.  Comparative negligence simply means that if your negligence contributed to the accident, your damages will then be reduced by the amount of your negligence.  So please take every precaution to decrease the chances of contributing to an accident, and properly prepare your vehicle and yourself for the conditions ahead. 


Some preventative maintenance and exercising a little caution can go a long way in preventing an accident from occurring in the first place, and protecting you from liability.  However, if you are injured in a vehicle accident this winter please allow Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr to review your claim by calling our Altoona, PA law firm at 814-946-4100.

Biking, Motorcycle, Pedestrian Deaths in PA Are Preventable

It's not so safe to be a pedestrian or bicyclist in our state sometimes.  A review of recent PennDOT statistics shed light into just how many accidents occur on our state's roads and byways per year.  Using statistics from 2014 accidents, our law office found the following information:

  • There were 166 pedestrian deaths and almost 4,000 pedestrian injuries
  • While out biking on our state's roads, almost 20 bicyclists were killed and about another 1,300 were injured
  • Motorcyclists suffered their share of injuries (3,207) and deaths (187), too 

The saddest part is that these statistics are completely preventable if we all take some care on our roads.  When you're out at night, whether walking or biking, always remember to wear bright and reflective clothing! Carry a flashlight or wear a headlamp to further increase your visibility.  Signal where you're going so nearby drivers have an idea of where you're headed.  

If you're driving, make sure to give these people their space! Don't follow them or drive near them at a high rate of speed, and share the road.  Obviously, don't do any of these activities drunk or under the influence of any type of drug.  

Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr works with clients who have been injured in pedestrian, motorcycle, and bicycle accidents. If you would like a consultation regarding your potential personal injury claim, please contact our law office at 814-946-4100.

New Red Traffic Light Laws Don't Mean You Get A Free Pass!

Did you hear about the new driving law in Pennsylvania?  New legislation that was signed into law recently allows Pennsylvania drivers to go through red lights under some circumstances.  The spirit of the law states that this is to address potentially malfunctioning red lights, especially if you are a motorcycle driver.  Sometimes, motorcyclists don't register under red light in-ground sensors and can be stuck at red lights for an extended period of time. 


However, this rule does not mean that you are given free rein to go through red lights any time you want!  Red lights are NOT stop signs, and treating them that way can potentially cause an accident that could ruin your life and the lives of others.  Careless and distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents in our country, and these incidences are 100% preventable.  Don't be foolish and try to save a few seconds by running a red light, and run the greater risk of causing a serious accident.


For your information, if you are involved in a car accident, Pennsylvania has at least one section on the incident report to address to distracted driving violations. Fines and charges may increase if you are cited with one of these violations. In addition to fines and charges for distracted driving, you also are putting yourself and others in serious danger. Think twice before texting, chatting, and eating while you drive! 


Attorney Stoehr represents those injured through no fault of their own, including automobile and pedestrian accidents. Call today for your free case evaluation 814-946-4100.

Staying Safe This Labor Day Weekend

Are you prepared for the road this Labor Day weekend?  An article in a recent edition of USA Today may give you a lot to think about.  According to their reports, car crash deaths are on the rise, even though cars are considered safer.  This Labor Day weekend may end up being the deadliest one since 2008, according to the National Safety Council.  They predict that fatal accidents on the road may result in over 400 deaths this coming weekend.   Across the country, around 20,000 people have been killed in road accidents since 2016 began.  Millions more people were injured.  

However, some sources say that these increases may be due to the fact that people are driving more in general in the past years, which will lead to a proportional increase in accidents.  Distracted driving is also becoming more of an issue than in past years.  

Either way, how can you reduce your chances of being in an accident this coming weekend?

  • Don't drive impaired, and don't get into a car with an impaired driver.  
  • Always wear your seatbelt, even for short drives.  
  • Avoid driving late at night
  • Pay extra care to other drivers and any swerving, sudden stops, or unusual movements.

Car accidents are frightening, expensive, and time-consuming. Car accidents may also result in injuries that are extensive, painful, and long-lasting.  If you suffered an injury due to a car accident caused by another, it might be time to consult with an attorney.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania. For more information on his Altoona, PA law firm, please visit his website athttp://www.stoehrlaw.com or call his office at814-946-4100.

Thanks to USA Today for the background information. 

Tractor-Trailers Can Cause Big Problems on Highways

Recently, a terrible accident occurred on I-81 in Pennsylvania that involved a motorcycle driver and a tractor-trailer.  The motorcycle driver crashed when a blanket got stuck into his back wheel, then was hit when multiple tractor-trailers consequently ran over him. The driver was thrown from his cycle, where he was hit by the large oncoming trucks.  According to reports, none of the tractor-trailers drivers stopped to help or investigate the accident. State police are still looking for the drivers. 


Tour bus and commercial truck drivers are a significant cause of motor vehicle accidents onAmerica's roads and highways. Often, these commercial drivers are fatigued and are driving above the mandated allotment of hours. Additionally, many of them are driving large vehicles that are not up to federal and state safety standards. As a result, other vehicles and motorcycle riders often bear the brunt of their illegal activity and are often seriously injured or die from a collision with the tour bus or commercial truck. If you have been injured or a loved one has died as a result of a commercial vehicle accident, please contact our law office for a consultation at no cost to you at the Law Offices of Attorney Doug Stoehr at 814-946-4100.


Original article can be found here:
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/blanket-causes-deadly-motorcycle-accident-in-pennsylvania-police-say/

Construction Season Safety Tips

Well, Pennsylvanians, "construction season" is unofficially here.  Need some tips as to how to keep your sanity and keep yourself/others safe on the road? Check out these tips below, courtesy of DrivingAmbitionInc.com.

  • The article from Driving Ambition notes that you should be aware that traffic delays in work zones aren't always confined to certain hours, and can occur late at night and early in the morning.  Be aware at all times. Also, be patient with construction workers.
  • Although obvious, always remember to slow down in work zones.  This will protect you, the other cars, and the construction workers!
  • Also, don't tailgate! Leave breathing room for other cars in case unexpected stopping/slowing down occurs.  
  • As always, DON'T text and drive.  You will need your attention focused on the road when going through work zones even more so than when driving regularly down the road.  Don't make a foolish mistake like texting and potentially cause long-lasting consequences for yourself and others. 
  • As noted in the article, "Expect delays and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination on time.  A great resource is the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse (http://www.workzonesafety.org/).  This website contains information on work zone delays throughout the country."

Car accidents are frightening, expensive, and time-consuming.  These accidents become more complicated and potentially lethal when they occur in a work zone.  Car accidents may also result in injuries that are extensive, painful, and long-lasting.  If you suffered an injury due to a car accident caused by another, it might be time to consult with an attorney.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania. For more information on his Altoona, PA law firm, please visit his website athttp://www.stoehrlaw.com or call his office at814-946-4100.

Please find the original article here:

http://www.drivingambitioninc.com/blog/bid/56989/Top-10-Work-Zone-Safety-Tips-for-CDL-Drivers

Being Aware Of Motorcycle "Trauma Season"

Recently, an article from Vanderbilt University highlighted the heightened dangers that motorcyclists face during the spring months.  According to the article, surgeons at Vanderbilt's medical center have noticed that there is a large increase in motorcycle accidents when the weather gets better.  Experts have coined the term "trauma season" from April through September and, at Vanderbilt, they typically see a 50% increase in patients injured by major trauma during this time period.  This year, the increase in trauma came early in proportion to the early onset of warmer weather.  

In an effort to avoid serious injuries, motorcyclists need to their part, too.  Motorcyclists and ATV riders should be especially careful to wear proper protective gear to avoid head injuries as a result of a traumatic brain injury.  According to the article's statistics, "motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of death by 37 percent, reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury by 65 percent, and save the U.S. approximately $3 billion each year in health care and societal costs." Vehicle drivers also need to be aware of motorcyclists on the road and be kind, careful, and alert drivers. 

Wearing a helmet is a common safety procedure that this law office feels should be followed at all times to protect yourself, whether you are on a bicycle or a motorcycle. However, we recognize that, at this time, mandatory helmet laws for those over 21 are not yet in effect. We also strongly feel that motorcyclists, cars, and bicyclists should share the road in a responsible and respectful manner. If you are a motorcyclist who has been wrongfully injured in a motor vehicle accident and may suffer from a spinal cord, brain, or other serious injury, please contact our law office at 814-946-4100 for a consultation at no cost to you.

To read the original article, please follow this link: 
http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2015/03/vanderbilt-trauma-surgeons-see-increase-in-motorcycle-crashes-with-springtime-weather-urge-proper-helmet-use/

Sharing the Road Safely: Semi Truck Drivers May Be A Risk

Cell phone use while driving is irresponsible, reckless, and a threat to the safety of the driver, their passengers, and other vehicles on the road.  Most drivers recognize these facts, however, many still choose to ignore safety laws and continue to text and talk on their cell phone while on the road.  Drivers of cars are not the only people who are guilty of not obeying the safety laws; semi-truck drivers have also been caught using their cell phones while driving.  As startling as this phenomenon seems, it is not uncommon on the highways.  As a result of this and in response to a semi-truck accident that was supposedly caused by a truck driver on his cell phone, the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended banning the use of cell phones for truckers nationwide (except for emergency purposes).   The accident, cited by the NTSB as a possible reason for cell phone bans for truckers, involved a truck driver who was talking on his phone while driving and caused an accident that killed 11 people.  Directly before the accident, the driver made a call and crossed a median on an interstate, crashing into a van carrying twelve people that were coming home from a wedding.


Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving the western and central Pennsylvania area.  One of his major areas of practice is injury or death due to motor vehicle accidents.  He has noticed a trend of accidents involving cell phone usage, either talking or texting, and urges you not to use your phone while driving and be wary of other drivers on the road who may be using their phones.  For more information on his law firm, please click here.

Stop, Slow Down, and Winterize! Tips and Tricks For Safe Winter Driving

Unfortunately, it's that time of year again when we should start thinking about winterizing our vehicles.  Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr would like to offer a few tips that will help with this process.   
  • Check your TIRES - You should always check to make sure your tires are fully inflated to manufacturer's specifications.  Usually this information is on the inside the driver's side door. 
  • Check your BRAKES - A mechanic should be able to do an evaluation of the brake pads and braking system to ensure that they are working properly.
  • Check your FLUID LEVELS - You should always check your oil, windshield washer fluid, and transmission fluid.  However, you should also be aware of your coolant levels.
  • Check your BATTERY - A battery that is not working properly may result in you being stranded this winter.
  • Check your WINDSHIELD WIPERS - If your windshield wipers are not properly clearing the windshield you may have an obstructed view of what's ahead.
  • Put together an EMERGENCY KIT containing a cell phone, a heavy blanket, gloves, salt/sand, a flashlight, water and non-perishable food.
However, despite our best efforts, sometimes an accident is unavoidable.  If an accident does occur it's important to know that Pennsylvania is a comparative negligence state.  Comparative negligence simply means that if your negligence contributed to the accident, your damages will then be reduced by the amount of your negligence.  So, please take every precaution to decrease the chances of contributing to an accident, and properly prepare your vehicle and yourself for the conditions ahead. 
Some preventative maintenance and exercising a little caution can go a long way in preventing an accident from occurring in the first place, and protecting you from liability.  However, if you are injured in a vehicle accident this winter please allow Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr to review your claim at our Altoona, PA law firm. 
BACK TO TOP