Have you been in a traffic accident? The first thing you should probably do is check to see if another vehicle was involved. If yes, you’ve probably still got some kind of a shot. If not, you probably just screwed up big time.
A traffic accident with only one vehicle tends to be a problem. These are known as Single-Vehicle Accidents or SVAs. In such an accident the implication is that, short of other evidence, the accident was caused by operator error. Insurance companies typically assign fault to the driver in SVAs, short of acts of God, flying objects, etc.
Blinded by the sun? Too bad. You’re still operating a motor vehicle with great capacity to kill. Hit a pothole and cause $5,000 damage to your ride? Yeah, the city sucks but it’s still on you. Like it or not, in most cases, an SVA is usually the driver’s fault.
When I hear about an SVA it always makes me think.
Earlier this year an 18-year-old woman was driving alone and not far from her home. The woman had recently graduated high school with honors and presumably had a bright future ahead of her. While driving on a curvy road on a clear day and in good weather, her car (for reasons unknown) left the road and collided with a tree, instantly killing the driver. The story in the news did not provide a lot of details such as a theory for the crash. As is often the case the news media never saw fit to publish a follow-up story with more information.
It made me wonder. Were alcohol or drugs a factor? Excessive speed? An improper reaction to some kind of mechanical failure? Distracted driving? Extreme driver inexperience? Did a creature dart in front causing the driver to dangerously swerve? The case remains a mystery, at least to me.
In a different case earlier this year, an 18-year-old woman was driving on a highway when her car veered off the road, struck an embankment and rolled several times. The accident happened late at night. The driver was wearing her seat belt and survived. An 18-year-old man who was a passenger in the car was also wearing a seat belt and suffered injuries that were not life-threatening. Another passenger in the car was not so lucky. A 19-year-old man who was not wearing a seat belt was thrown from the car and died at the scene. The driver of the vehicle, not legally old enough to drink, was arrested (upon her release from the hospital) and jailed on charges of DUII and second degree manslaughter.
Her blood alcohol level was later reported to be .41 percent or about five times the legal limit. She pled not guilty to the charges and the case is pending.
This case is not so mysterious. A night of partying leads to one life lost and the life of an 18-year-old woman forever changed.
Yesterday I heard about an accident on the Southern State Parkway in Long Island. Police reported that a car involved in an SVA had been “sliced in half.”
It happened at approx. 4:00 a.m.
The driver was a 17-year-old male with a learner’s permit who was not legally permitted to be driving at night. He survived the accident and was seen by a witness walking around the scene following the accident.
Four 18-year-old passengers in his car were not so lucky. Information is still sketchy but police said the accident happened after the driver failed to negotiate a turn and crashed into the woods.
I’m watching to see if additional details regarding the accident will be made available. As always I can’t help but wonder what happened.