From the first day of October, there are very few things that young children are focused on other than Halloween. With costumes, jack-o-lanterns, and, of course, candy — this night is often a crowd favorite. However, Halloween carries many potential dangers for pedestrians.

Fortunately, both drivers and pedestrians can do their part and make a commitment to improving Halloween roadway safety. Here’s what you should know:

Safety Tips for Trick-or-Treaters

No matter how big your trick-or-treating group is, each person can use these tips to have a safer experience:

  • Increase visibility to drivers by wearing bright colored or reflective costumes and using a flashlight when walking between houses.
  • Plan your route ahead of time, and if you’re in an unfamiliar neighborhood, stay in the more well-lit areas.
  • If you need to cross the street, look in each direction for cars and try to make eye contact with any drivers that may be slowing down to let you cross.
Safety Tips for Drivers

Whether you partake in Halloween activities or not, being on the road during this holiday may come with potential hazards. As a driver, remember to:

  • Eliminate the distractions you can control behind the wheel, such as silencing electronic devices or quieting rowdy passengers.
  • Drive even slower than you think necessary in areas where pedestrian traffic may be higher during certain times of the day.
  • Get to know your neighborhood: is trick-or-treating usually wrapped up by 6 pm or later in the night? Adjust your plans accordingly so you know when to leave or come back home.

This Halloween, make a plan to practice safer behaviors and help all individuals enjoy the holiday in the way they choose.

When another driver hits your vehicle, you probably expect that they will have the decency to pull over so that you can exchange information with them, call emergency medical responders, and wait for the police to show up. After all, Colorado drivers are legally required to remain at the scene of a car accident if there is property damage or bodily injury.

Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are all too common in Colorado. In fact, a 2018 research study done by AAA found that about 20% of all auto accidents in Colorado are hit and runs. In 2016 alone, 31 hit-and-run accidents resulted in at least one fatality.

Colorado Hit-and-Run Laws

An accident is considered a hit and run when a driver collides with another vehicle and flees the scene of the crash without providing contact information or helping any victims who need medical attention. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, a person found guilty of a run may face a misdemeanor or felony charge and penalties of:

  • Fines and court costs
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Victim restitution
  • Probation
  • Court-ordered drug/alcohol counseling or rehab
  • County jail time
  • State prison time

There are several reasons that a driver may attempt to flee the scene of an accident. For instance, the driver may:

  • Be intoxicated or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Be driving without a license or a suspended license
  • Have several unpaid tickets
  • Not have permission to drive the vehicle or it may be stolen
  • Not have car insurance
  • Have an outstanding warrant out for their arrest
  • Be driving for a car company and doesn’t want to get in trouble
Collecting as Much Evidence as Possible

If you are a victim of a hit-and-run accident, it’s important that you remain calm and call the police immediately so that officers can be dispatched to your location. Don’t try to chase the driver. Instead, give your statement to police when they arrive so that all the information can be recorded in an official police report. You will want to include:

  • How the crash occurred
  • Whether any traffic violations were made
  • If anyone witnessed the accident
  • The vehicle color, make, and model
  • The license plate number, even if you were only able to remember parts of it
  • Any distinguishing physical characteristics of the driver

Afterward, you’ll want to contact your insurance company and an attorney immediately. In Colorado, insurers must provide their insured with an option to add uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to their auto insurance policy. If you have this coverage, it may be utilized in the event of a hit-and-run accident.

How Our Firm Can Help

Hit and runs can be complex. Don’t settle or even start your claim without first speaking with a seasoned car accident attorney who can gather all the evidence necessary to build a solid case on your behalf.

The Denver car accident attorneys at Larson Larimer Schneider, P.C. have decades of combined legal experience and understand the ins and outs of hit and run laws in Denver Colorado. We will work hard to ensure that justice is served on your behalf and you obtain the compensation you need to recover.

The most impactful way is to learn how to eliminate distractions behind the wheel and teach others how to do so. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines three types of driving distractions:

  • Visual. Anything that takes your eyes off of the road.
  • Manual. Anything that takes your hands off of the wheel.
  • Cognitive. Anything that takes your mind off of the task of driving.

With that said, here are some effective techniques that you can implement to ensure that you are always a safe driver:

  • Put your phone away and on silent so you aren’t tempted to use it.
  • Only use your phone for emergency purposes.
  • Ensure that your children are properly secured in car seats or booster seats.
  • If you’re using GPS, put the directions in before you get on the road.
  • Adjust your mirrors, seat, and music prior to driving.
  • Limit the number of passengers in your vehicle.
  • Avoid eating while driving; if you need, pack a food item that is easy to eat with one hand and not very messy.
  • Pull over if you need to make any adjustments or send a text while driving.
Injured in a Distracted Driving Accident?

At Larson Larimer Schneider, P.C., we recognize that even the most focused drivers can still be injured due to other distracted or negligent drivers. If you are ever in this situation, our Denver car accident attorneys are here to help. We will review your case for free, determine your legal options, and guide you seamlessly through the claims process.

An Uber self-driving car hit and killed a woman crossing the street in Arizona, police said on Monday, marking the first fatality caused by an autonomous vehicle and a potential blow to the technology expected to transform transportation.

The ride services company said it was suspending North American tests of its self-driving vehicles, which are currently going on in Arizona, Pittsburgh, and Toronto.

So-called robot cars, when fully developed by companies including Uber, Alphabet Inc, and General Motors Co, are expected to drastically cut down on motor vehicle fatalities and create billion-dollar businesses. But Monday’s accident underscored the possible challenges ahead for the promising technology as the cars confront real-world situations involving real people.

U.S. lawmakers have been debating legislation that would speed the introduction of self-driving cars.

“This tragic accident underscores why we need to be exceptionally cautious when testing and deploying autonomous vehicle technologies on public roads,” said Democratic Senator Edward Markey, a member of the transportation committee, in a statement.

Elaine Herzberg, 49, was walking her bicycle outside the crosswalk on a four-lane road in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe about 10 p.m. MST Sunday (0400 GMT Monday) when she was struck by the Uber vehicle traveling at about 40 miles per hour (65 km per hour), police said. The car was in autonomous mode with an operator behind the wheel.

Herzberg later died from her injuries in a hospital, police said.

Local television footage of the scene showed a crumpled bike and a Volvo XC90 SUV with a smashed-in front. It was unknown whether Herzberg was on foot or on a bike.

Volvo, the Swedish car brand owned by China’s Geely, confirmed its vehicle was involved in the crash but said the software controlling the SUV was not its own.

U.S. federal safety regulators were sending teams to investigate the crash. Canada’s transportation ministry in Ontario, where Uber conducts testing, also said it was reviewing the accident.

WILD WEST

Uber and Waymo on Friday urged Congress to pass sweeping legislation to speed the introduction of self-driving cars into the United States. Some congressional Democrats have blocked the legislation over safety concerns, and Monday’s fatality could hamper passage of the bill, congressional aides said Monday.

Safety advocates called for a national moratorium on all robot car testing on public roads.

“Arizona has been the wild west of robot car testing with virtually no regulations in place,” said Consumer Watchdog, a non-profit consumer advocacy group, in a statement. “That’s why Uber and Waymo test there. When there’s no sheriff in town, people get killed.”

Arizona has opened its arms to companies testing self-driving vehicles as a means of economic growth and jobs. Republican Governor Doug Ducey reached out to Uber in 2016 after California regulators cracked down on the company over its failure to obtain testing permits.

Self-driving cars being tested routinely get into fender-benders with other vehicles. Last week, a self-driving Uber crashed with another vehicle in Pittsburgh, local news reported. There were no injuries.

A year ago, Uber temporarily grounded its self-driving cars for a few days following a crash with another car in Tempe. The company has been the subject of a number of complaints about its autonomous vehicles, but the company has said the cars were being driven by a human driver at the time of the incidents.

ESSENTIAL TO UBER’S SUCCESS

Uber has said its ability to build autonomous cars is essential to its success in the rapidly changing transportation industry. The company envisions a network of autonomous cars that would be summoned through the Uber app that would supplement – and eventually replace – human-driven cars.

Uber has logged 2 million self-driving miles (3.2 million km) through December. The company has more than 100 autonomous cars testing on the roads of the greater Phoenix area, the company’s prime testing ground due to the state’s loose regulations and hospitable weather. Rain, snow and ice are particularly challenging for autonomous cars. The company also tests in Pittsburgh and Toronto.

Concerns over the safety of autonomous vehicles flared after a July 2016 fatality involving a Tesla Inc automobile with a partially autonomous system that required human supervision. Safety regulators later determined Tesla was not at fault.

Uber has weathered a series of crises, including sexual harassment claims, using a tracking tool to avoid government officials, and a lawsuit brought by competitor Waymo alleging theft of self-driving trade secrets. Uber settled that lawsuit last month for $245 million.

That settlement was largely seen as a means for Uber to resume work on autonomous cars without the distraction of litigation, as it hustles to catch up with Waymo, widely seen as having the most advanced cars in the industry.

(Reporting by Sydney Maki and Alexandria Sage; Additional reporting by Dave Shepardson in Washington, Tina Bellon in New York, Heather Somerville in San Francisco, David Schwartz and Andres Guerra Luz in Phoenix, and Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Lisa Shumaker)

Last fall in Aurora, Colorado, Capetillo Vega, forty three years old, made the not-uncommon decision to drink and drive. He later told Aurora police that he had been drinking for almost six hours and he was pretty drunk when he got behind the wheel, as evidenced by his blood alcohol content of 0.191. As he drove through the intersection at East Montview Boulevard and Dayton Street on September fourth 2016, he struck Madeline Robinson, who was only twenty nine years old. Adams County prosecutors, in a statement, said that she was crossing the street when he struck her.

Vega drove off after hitting Robinson. He was leaving a bar and the police later arrested him. Vega had one DUI conviction in Texas in 1988 but nothing else on his record. In this case, neither Vega nor Robinson were as lucky. After she was hit by his car, Robinson died. On January 13th of 2017, Vega was brought before a judge and pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in addition to the DUI. The judge sentenced Vega to prison on Friday.

The Deputy District Attorney in Adams County, Todd Bluth, said that the sentence the court imposes will never be as harsh as the sentence Vega passed down to Robinson—Vega will be able to positively affect those around him some day. Robinson, however, will never have that option again. Vega was sentenced to 7 years’ imprisonment for the Robinson’s death.

The criminal suit brought by the Adams County Deputy District Attorney is meant to bring Vega to justice but Robinson’s family may have a civil lawsuit against Vega’s insurance company. When someone dies due to another person’s negligence, there may be a suit available to help the victim’s family recover for the final expenses of the victim’s death. Drunk driving specifically yields a number of possible lawsuits in the world of civil litigation, including a suit against the driver’s car insurance and a possible suit against the bar where the driver was drinking.

Often, cases go to criminal trials before they go into civil because the burden of proof is higher in criminal cases than it is in civil. Therefore, if attorneys prove something at the higher level, it is almost guaranteed that they will be able to prove the same thing at the lower burden of proof in a civil case. This tendency gained widespread publicity during the OJ Simpson trials, where the evidence was insufficient to convict Mr. Simpson at the criminal level but overwhelmingly clear at the civil.

When people die as a result of the negligence of others, their tragic deaths are sometimes brought before the criminal justice system to help keep society safe. However, their grieving families sometimes also have actionable cases against the insurance companies of the people responsible. If you have a loved one who was injured or killed as a result of the negligence of others, you may have legal recourse against the responsible party.