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By anderson-law2, Jun 8 2016 09:50PM

Photo Courtesy of Oregon State Police

The Oregon State Police reported that on June 5, 2016 at about 9PM a 2015 Freightliner towing a flatbed trailer was traveling westbound on Highway 20 east of Burns when it attempted to pass a slower moving motorhome in a no passing area (double yellow line). While in the eastbound lane of travel, it encountered an oncoming 2005 Ford Focus. The driver of the focus swerved her vehicle towards the ditch to avoid striking the truck head-on. At the same time, the driver of the truck swerved towards the ditch. The vehicles collided head-on near the fog line of the highway.

The Oregon State Police reported that the driver of the Ford, Sara E ALLISON, age 30, of Boise was pronounced deceased at the scene by emergency personnel. A passenger in the vehicle, Matthew T ALLISON, age 27, also of Boise, was taken by air ambulance to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland for life threatening injuries. The driver of the Freightliner, James W DECOU, age 32, of Roy, Utah, was transported to Harney County Hospital where he was treated and released for minor injuries.

Highway 20 was closed for several hours for investigation of the crash. The Oregon State Police reports that his is an ongoing investigation with potential criminal charges being considered.

In the case of a tragic crash like this the facts indicate that there also is civil liability on the part of the semi-driver and his employer. That is, the truck driver and his employer are liable for damages suffered by the Sara Allison and by her family for this tragic loss and by Matthew Allison for his injuries.

No passing zones may be established on Oregon roads where the road authority has determined that overtaking or passing or driving to the left to the center of the road way would be especially hazardous and that passing in that zone should be prohibited. The road authority then marks the road by a yellow unbroken line on the pavement to indicate that passing is not allowed.

Passing in a no passing zone is a violation of Oregon law which provides in ORS 811.420 that a person commits the offense of passing in a no passing zone if the person drives a vehicle on the left side of a roadway in a no passing zone that has been established and designated to prohibit such movements by appropriate signs or markings posted on the roadway.

Even if there is not a “no passing zone” established on a certain section of roadway, there is another Oregon statute that limits passing. ORS 811.410 provides that (1) A person commits the offense of unsafe passing on the left if the person violates any of the following requirements concerning the overtaking and passing of vehicles:

(a) The driver of a vehicle that is overtaking any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left of the other vehicle at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.

* * *

(c) The driver of a vehicle shall not drive to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing a vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless the left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit the overtaking and passing to be completed without interfering with the operation of a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or a vehicle overtaken.

When Oregon statutes like these are violated, as they clearly appear to be in this tragic crash, the driver of the semi-truck is not only liable for his negligence, he is strictly liable, meaning that he and his employer are responsible and liable to the injured parties because his conduct in driving was not only negligent, it was negligence per se. That is negligence due to the violation of a law meant to protect the public, such as these no passing laws. Negligence per se differs from ordinary negligence in that a plaintiff alleging negligence per se need not prove that a reasonable person should have acted differently. The conduct (in this case unsafe passing) is automatically considered negligent, and the focus of the claim will be over whether that conduct caused damage to the plaintiff. In this case, the conduct of the semi-truck driver put the truck in the oncoming lane where it was not allowed to be, causing the collision with the Allisons’ vehicle, and all their tragic damages and losses.

At Anderson Law Center, we have over 35 years of experience helping individuals and families navigate the complexities of legal issues involving auto accidents, semi-truck accidents, and wrongful death claims in Oregon. We are licensed in Oregon and Idaho, with our main office in Boise, Idaho. If you need advice or help with a car, truck, semi-truck, commercial vehicle, motorcycle, or bicycle accident, give us a call for a free consultation.

By anderson-law2, Apr 18 2016 10:14PM

If you are in an accident, either you, someone else in your car, or someone else that could help you should do the following:

1. Write down the other driver’s name, phone number, email address, home address, insurance company, and policy number.

2. Write down the name, phone number, email address, and home address of any and all witnesses.

3. Take pictures of:

a. Damage to both vehicles

b. Any visible injuries

c. The scene of the accident

By anderson-law2, Mar 8 2016 11:00PM

If you live in Boise and have been driving or riding around lately, you may have noticed the detours around the Broadway Bridge, which has been removed and is being replaced with a new bridge. When complete, the new Broadway Bridge will include more lanes for traffic, wider sidewalks, bicycle lanes and improved access to the Greenbelt.

With the addition of these bike lanes, we thought we would address a couple uncommonly known bike laws here in the state of Idaho.

1. In Idaho, when a cyclist approaches a stop sign, he or she needs to slow down and look for traffic. If there's already a car or another bike there, then the other vehicle has the right of way and the cyclist must yield the right-of-way or stop. If there's no traffic, however, the cyclist can slowly proceed. Basically, for bikers, a stop sign is a yield sign.

2. Red lights are considered stop signs and should be treated as such. Bicyclists need to stop and check for traffic before proceeding. If the way is clear of traffic, the cyclist does not have to wait for the light to turn green to proceed.

These laws may seem dangerous and risky-- to some it may even seem as though these laws allow for bicyclists to just blow through intersections but public health researcher, Jason Meggs, begs to differ. He found that after Idaho started allowing bikers to do this in 1982, injuries resulting from bicycle accidents dropped and when compared to other cities of similar size, Boise had 30.5 percent fewer accidents per bike commuter. However, the Broadway detours may be confusing and unsafe for kids, especially on the south side of the river, so the Idaho Transportation Deartment encourages users to cross Broadway on the north side of the river. While this comes as great news, Anderson Law Center encourages everyone to wear helmets, be cautious and aware of surrounding vehicles, and to contact our team if you or someone you know has been wrongfully injured in bicycle accident.

By anderson-law2, Feb 23 2016 10:36PM

Every year, Allstate Insurance Company releases a list of the top 200 cities with the safest and some may argue, best, drivers. The ranking is based on accident frequency, or how often the average driver gets in an accident. Readers don’t have to scroll very far to find Boise, Idaho ranked at number 2. Upon further research, we discovered that the likelihood of collisions in Boise is 28% lower than the national average. Even more impressive, the average person in Boise only gets into a wreck every 13.1 years. Boise would be ranked number one in the nation if the survey was done based on population density.

Here are some of the major contributing factors creating safe drivers in smaller towns and cities such as Boise.

Behavior:

• It’s proven that people in smaller towns are less stressed than people in more urban larger towns. Stress causes people to become aggravated and emotional behind the wheel, leading to less focus and of course, more accidents.

Traffic Congestion:

• There is a direct correlation between automobile accidents and the amount of traffic congestion in any given city. Because smaller cities have less congestion, there are fewer accidents.

Road Design:

• The road design in smaller cities is usually more efficient as its main goal is to get the driver from Point A to Point B. This goal, coupled with a standard small city grid system, makes navigating these towns easier and thus accident free.

Weather:

• Snow removal crews in smaller cities have fewer miles of snow to clear, which means they are typically cleared more quickly and thus drivers can expect to drive on safer roads in the winter time.

Despite Boise being one of the safest places to be on the road, accidents do happen. Getting on the road puts everyone at risk despite stellar city ranking. When that unexpected accident does happen, contact the team at Anderson Law Center to receive the professional legal representation you need to handle your claim. Our team will help you get medical bills paid and get fair compensation for you for lost wages and your overall pain and suffering.

By anderson-law2, Feb 18 2016 11:23PM

While most everyone knows about the dangers of using their cell phone while driving and driving under the influence, a recent accident just east of Boise brings to light another serious source of impaired driving. Earlier this month, Idaho State Police released details regarding an injury crash in which the driver fell asleep behind the wheel, resulting in the vehicle exiting the roadway and eventually overturning. Although commonly disregarded, drowsy driving can be just as dangers as other forms of impaired and distracted driving; in fact, studies show that being awake for 18 hours or more produced impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration of .05, and .10 after 24 hours.

According to a poll taken by the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of adult drivers say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy and 37% have actually fallen asleep at the wheel. These kinds of statistics result in over 100,000 police-reported crashes as the direct result of driver fatigue every year!

With numbers like these, it’s important to know the potential people at risk, warning signs, and possible solutions. Unsurprisingly, sleep related crashes most commonly involve young people, adults with children and shift workers. However, anyone deprived of sleep or driving very late at night also runs a larger risk of being involved in an accident. Many people often don’t realize they’ve fallen asleep until it’s too late. Some of the warning signs include:

• Yawning or blinking frequently.

• Difficulty remembering the past few miles driven.

• Missing your exit.

• Drifting from your lane.

• Hitting a rumble strip on the side of the road.

If you notice the warning signs of drowsy driving, pull over to a safe place and take a 15-20 minute nap, stretch, or change drivers. Falling asleep behind the wheel, even for a second, can result in very serious accidents and if you or a loved one has suffered at the hands of an impaired driver, the legal team at Anderson Law Center are here to help you get justice.

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Since 1981, Anderson Law Center has aided families, businesses and individuals. We serve clients throughout Idaho and Eastern Oregon with all types of legal matters. When you hire our legal team, your needs become our priorities.

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