California Head On Collision Attorney
January 12, 2016
As a California head on collision attorney, I know that this particular accident scenario can cause more serious injury or death than just about any other type of motor vehicle accident. In fact, according to national and worldwide statistics, head-on collisions comprise only about two percent of all motor vehicle accidents but a full ten percent of fatal crashes. This is largely a matter of physics. If two vehicles are traveling toward each other at even a moderate speed, this speed of impact is doubled. For example, if a car and a truck are both going 50 miles per hour and collide front to front, the impact speed would be equivalent of 100 m.p.h.
Major Causes of Head On Collisions and California Vehicle Code Sections that Come Into Play
According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the following common characteristics come into play in causing front end crashes between two motor vehicles:
- 75 % of fatal head-on-collisions occur on rural roads that have no divider median separating opposite directions of travel
- While it is true that some percentage (about 4.3%) of these collisions occur as the result of a failed passing maneuver, the vast majority of vehicles that collide front end to front end are vehicles either going straight or attempting to negotiate a curve or turn
- The vast majority of direct front-end collisions occur as the result of an “unintentional” act on the part of the driver (for example, a driver who falls asleep, a driver who is distracted by a cell phone or some other type of activity or encounter that diverts the drivers attention, or the failure to properly slow down when negotiating a bend in the road). Sometimes the initial maneuver will cause the crash and sometimes the collision will occur when the driver attempts to overcompensate and regain control.
Given these findings, it is important to know which California statutes come into play in determining legal fault in these incidents. These provisions of law include the following:
California Vehicle Code 21751: States that on any two-lane highway, no vehicle should be driven to the left of the center dividing line, “unless the left side is clearly visible and free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit [passing or overtaking a slow moving vehicle] without interfering with the safe operation of any vehicle approaching in the opposite direction.”
California Vehicle Code 21752: Prohibits outright traveling on the left of center under the following conditions:
- When approaching the “crest of a grade or curve” that obstructs the driver’s view
- While approaching any “bridge, viaduct or tunnel” where views are obscured
- Within 100 feet of approaching any railroad crossing or intersection
California Vehicle Code Sections 23123, 23124, 23125: Provide various prohibitions on using non-wireless and wireless electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle.
California Vehicle Code 23152: Prohibition against driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
California Vehicle Code 22350: Requires all drivers in the Golden State to only travel at a speed appropriate and safe given the roadway conditions including road characteristics such as curves.The Need to Consult A California Auto Accident Law Firm In the Event of A Head-On Crash
Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents where two vehicles collide at any rate of speed head on can cause serious bodily injury or death of the driver or passengers. The above cited vehicle codes are but a few of the laws that may come into play in determining legal fault and whether either negligence or even gross recklessness may be the culprit. In these types of tragic incidents, it is important to promptly investigate the accident scene and any findings of law enforcement officials. California Highway Patrol reports, photographs, and physical evidence must be analyzed quickly in order to obtain full compensation in any personal injury or wrongful death claim arising from this type of wreck. The Law Offices of Steven M. Sweat, APC has represented victims of head on collisions all over the state of California and offers free initial consultations on these matters. We never charge a fee unless and until money is recovered for the victim or the victim’s family.