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Checklist of Actions Following a Vehicular Collision

California, per capita, leads the nation in fatal car accidents per year. Car accidents are the fifth leading cause of death in California. Given the size of California’s population, and the high prevalence of car usage, it is not surprising that California has a high number of car accident death.

Preventative measures, many of which have been implemented or proposed, could help reduce deaths caused by car accidents in California. For instance, in Utah, lawmakers lowered their state’s legal blood alcohol levels from 0.08 to 0.05 in an attempt to reduce drunk driving related injuries. This proactive step will hopefully reduce drunk driving deaths. Driving under the influence accounted for 13 percent of the state’s traffic death last year. Imposing stricter and lower alcohol limits to legally drive would likely reduce car accident deaths in California.

Speed is the leading cause of death in California. Slowing down would significantly help reduce fatal car accidents. This is an issue each driver should take to heart. Similarly, putting away the cell phone, and not texting and driving, is incredibly important to car driving safety. This is also an important safety measure each driver needs to strictly adhere to, and the laws in California and elsewhere have begun to reflect that.

Failing to wear a seatbelt significantly increases the risk of death from a car accident. To address this, the California legislature enacted the Motor Vehicle Safety Act which states “a person shall not operate a motor vehicle on a highway unless that person and all passengers sixteen years of age or over are properly restrained by a safety belt.” CA Veh. Code, § 27315. This is an important law for the overall safety of the California roadways, and an issue anyone who travels in a car should take to heart.

Car accidents are a risk we assume every time we drive, and fatalities from car accidents are common. The goal is to reduce fatal vehicular collisions and prevent collision in general. While we hope you never have the need for it, the following is a checklist of actions we recommend following a vehicular collision:

• Get medical help for anyone injured.
• If the accident is significant or if there are any injuries, call the police so there is a police report.
• Exchange information with all drivers.
• Get contact information for passengers and witnesses.
• Take photos of the scene with a camera/phone
• ONLY discuss the accident with police, NOT others involved.
• Talk to a qualified auto accident lawyer in your area.

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