Portland, Oregon Injury Attorney Blog

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  • Photo Radar and Red Light Cameras:  Revenue-Enhancing Technology or Safety Devices
    March 23 2015

    Everything, these days, seem to be automated.  A Bluetooth thermostat regulates the temperature in my home, my iPhone controls the radio station I listen to, and my car can practically drive itself with driver assisted technology.  So why shouldn’t the government use technology to enforce traffic laws? 


    There has been a long-standing debate whether the Photo Radar and Red Light Cameras are used to improve safety on the roads or whether their primarily used to boost the government’s bottom line.  As reported on Oregon Live, The Oregon Legislature is considering a bill, pushed by the City of Portland, which would authorize the use of unmanned radar cameras.  Ostensibly, the bill is designed to “reduce the number of fatal and injury collisions on its high-crash corridors by use of fixed-location “photo-enhanced radar enforcement” to go after speeders on designated roadways. 


    Are these technologies simply speed traps or part of the greater good—safety enhancement?  Certainly slowing down prevents injuries to pedestrians, passengers and other drivers.  But there is evidence automated technologies do not work and are simply designed to fill the government coffers and boost the bottom line of the companies who make the equipment. 


    While automation is helpful, we, as humans, should be its master.  It should not be the other way around.   

  • How to Prevent Pedestrian Injuries
    March 17 2015

    In my last post I pointed out that a recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) noted that pedestrian fatalities continue to remain high.  Here in Portland, Oregon there are many pedestrian accidents in the city due to a high volume of vehicle traffic and pedestrian traffic.  There are things you can do, both as a driver and as a pedestrian, to help prevent personal injury and even death.  These suggestions are from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) : 


    DRIVERS


    • Look out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times. Safety is a shared responsibility.
    • Use extra caution when driving in hard-to-see conditions, such as nighttime or in bad weather.
    • Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.
    • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the crosswalk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop too.
    • Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing that you can’t see.
    • Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
    • Follow the speed limit, especially around people on the street.
    • Follow slower speed limits in school zones and in neighborhoods where there are children present.
    • Be extra cautious when backing up – pedestrians can move into your path.


    PEDESTRIANS


    • Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
    • Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
    • If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
    • Keep alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
    • Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections whenever possible. This is where drivers expect pedestrians.
    • Look for cars in all directions – including those turning left or right.
    • If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows you enough time to cross safely, and continue to watch for traffic as you cross.
    • Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach you to make sure you are seen.
    • Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.
    • Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots.
    • Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your abilities and judgment too.


    The City of Portland has a number of suggestions as well along with the State of Oregon.

  • Pedestrian Deaths Remain High in the United States
    March 12 2015

    A report dated February 26, 2015, shows that Pedestrian Fatalities remain high in the United States and subsequently, in the Portland area. The Governors Highway Safety Association, or GHSA,  is a Washington DC based organization that provides leadership and advocacy to improve traffic safety.  Based in Washington DC, the organization is geared to assist States in the implementation of best practices and promote programs to address highway safety issues such as occupant protection, impaired driving and speeding. 


    I won’t go over the statistics here.  If you are interested in reading the report, you can find it here.  Essentially the best way for drivers to prevent pedestrian fatalities is for drivers to slow down.  Statistics show that fatalities increase dramatically with speed. 


    At the same time, pedestrians can and should take to protect themselves when they are on the road by obeying traffic laws and wearing highly visible clothing. 


    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) points out that everyone has different preferences when it comes to transportation, but there’s one mode of transportation we all share— everyone is a pedestrian.  NHTSA is working hard to raise awareness of the dangers to pedestrians, and to provide leadership, expertise, and resources to communities across America to combat these crashes


    In my next post, I’ll provide additional suggestions that both Drivers and Pedestrians can implement to prevent needless personal injuries or death

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