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Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in California

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Motorists in California are required under the law to maintain minimum auto insurance coverage. Broadly, these are the types of auto insurance that you must maintain as a motorist in the state.

You must possess bodily injury liability coverage, which will pay for any injury or death caused to any other person in an accident involving your car. Additionally, bodily injury liability coverage will also take kick in if you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit filed by a person injured in an accident involving your car.

Under California law, you must maintain minimum bodily injury liability coverage of $15,000 for one death or injury in an accident, or $30,000 for death or injury of more than one individual in one accident.

You must also maintain minimum property damage liability coverage. Property damage liability coverage will kick in if someone sues you after an accident for property damage. You must maintain a minimum of $5,000 in property damage liability coverage for any one accident.

Meeting the minimum insurance requirement in California is a legal obligation for motorists in the state. If you're caught driving without minimum insurance, then you are in violation of the law, and you could have your license suspended. If you're pulled over by a police officer, and are unable to furnish car insurance documentation, you could be either ticketed or fined for driving without insurance.

It's important to go through the fine print of your insurance policy documents, and make sure that you know exactly what type of insurance coverage must kick in when you are involved in an accident. All too often, motorists are unaware about the kind of insurance that they have signed up for, and may be at risk of having their rights compromised. Speak to an attorney if you do not know what kind of insurance benefits you're eligible for after an accident.

NHTSA: Drop in Traffic Accident Fatalities in 2013

Friday, December 26, 2014

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System for 2013. The data clearly indicates a significant decrease of 3.1% in the number of people killed in traffic accidents in 2013, compared to the previous year. Since 2004, there has been an almost 25% drop in the number of people killed in accidents across the country.

There was also a drop in the number of people injured in accidents. Those numbers dropped by 2.1% in 2013, compared to the previous year. Overall, 32,790 people died in traffic accidents in 2013. 34 states recorded a drop in traffic accident fatalities, and the highest decreases were reported by Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Arkansas.

There was also a drop of 2.5% in the number of people killed in alcohol-related car accidents in 2013. However, in 2013, drunk driving accidents were still responsible for more than 10,000 fatalities.

Sadly however, California did not mirror that nationwide trend. In this state, there was actually an increase in traffic accident fatalities in 2013, compared to the previous year. Last year, California reported 3,000 traffic accident fatalities, compared to 2,966 the previous year. That is an increase of 34 fatalities.

Out of those 3,000 fatalities, 857 involved drunk driving accidents. That was an increase from the number of drunk driving accident fatalities recorded in 2012. In California, drunk driving accident fatalities accounted for approximately 29% of the total number of accident fatalities.

The upward trend in drunk driving accident fatalities in California is of great concern to any San Jose car accident lawyer. California transportation authorities need to increase implementation of sobriety checkpoints, and focus on stringent anti-drunk driving measures to help prevent these fatalities.

Middle-Aged Motorists Much Worse at Texting While Driving

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Middle-aged drivers have problems with multitasking, and therefore, may find it more difficult to text while driving. That increases their risk of an accident if they are using a cell phone at the wheel.

Texting while driving is a dangerous practice that motorists must avoid at all costs. Distracted driving contributes to thousands of accidents every year, and kills an average of 3,000 people every year. Those numbers are steadily increasing, and distracted driving has rightly been described as the “new drunk driving.”

Younger drivers are much more likely to text while driving. Younger and teen drivers are more likely to be addicted to their smartphones, and may be much more likely to use these phones while driving, compared to older drivers. However, younger drivers in the study were found to be much less likely to make the kind of driving errors that contribute to accidents, compared to older drivers.

The researchers tested a number of drivers between the age of 18 and 59, and divided them into 4 categories. They found that in the 18-to-24 group, approximately 25% of the motorists made a lane excursion, or moved out of their lane and into oncoming traffic. However, among the 45- to- 59 age group, as many as hundred percent of the drivers made these dangerous lane excursions.

San José car accident lawyers warn that this doesn't mean that teen drivers can safely text while driving. It only means that texting may be much more dangerous for older drivers, who must avoid texting at the wheel.

The good news is that texting while driving, is much less popular among older drivers. The risk of texting while driving actually decreases with an increase in the person's age, and senior drivers above the age of 65 are least likely to text at the wheel.


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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.