Happy 4th of July weekend! For the holiday, I am posting some random facts interspersed with a few opinions from the perspective of one Maryland lawyer. I am blithely stealing this format from several authors, most notably John Eisenberg, who writes for the Baltimore Sun sports section.
Fact: There are more fatal car and truck accidents on July 4th than any other day of the year. An average of 161 people die in car and truck crashes nationally. The second worst day for crash deaths is July 3.
Opinion: If you need not be driving around this weekend, don’t. If you are out on the road, drive defensively and be extra vigilant for careless and drunk drivers.
Fact: On average, there are over 6 million car accidents on the roads of the United States annually.
Opinion: Poor drivers get into more car accidents where they are not at fault because they are less able to avoid a collision that a skillful driver might avoid.
Fact: About 40% of car accident fatalities occur because of a drunken driver.
Opinion: More severe penalties for drunk driving–particularly for habitual offenders–would reduce this number considerably.
Fact: According to the World Health Organization, 1.2 million people die from traffic injuries around the world each year.
Fact: Approximately 700,000 American soldiers have died during foreign wars in American history.
Fact: The car and truck accident death toll has historically been the highest in Southeast Asia, comprising around 30 percent of all global motor vehicle accident fatalities.
Fact: Massachusetts and New York have the lowest motor vehicle accident death rates with 8.8 per 100,000 people
Fact: Wyoming, with 34 people killed in traffic accidents per 100,000 residents, more than twice the national average, is the most dangerous state in the nation.
Fact: In contrast, there are 6 deaths per 100,000 people in England.
Opinion: If people in Wyoming drove more fuel-efficient cars, the death rate in Wyoming from car accidents would be a great deal higher.
Opinion: As we all correctly fret over our energy consumption and our dependency on foreign oil, making cars more fuel-efficient will invariably lead to more car accident and truck accident deaths in the United States.
Fact: Twenty-six out of 31 “red” states had a higher than the national average death rate from vehicle accidents. In contrast, 2 out of 20 “blue” states had a higher than average rate of death because of motor vehicle accidents.
Opinion: I think the red/blue state disparity is because of the higher number of miles logged in red states. If you remember those blue/red maps from Bush-Gore in 2000 or Bush-Kerry, the map of the country was overwhelmingly red even though both elections were close.
Fact: The Washington Post reports today that laws that set strict conditions before teenagers can get a license to reduce fatal car crashes involving 16-year-old drivers by up to 21%.
Fact: Sixteen-year-old drivers were involved in 957 fatal car accidents that killed 1,111 people in 2004.
Fact: There are approximately 1 million lawyers in the United States
Fact: The pass rate for new lawyers taking the bar in Maryland is 72%.
Fact: The pass rate for the Japanese bar exam is 2%.
Fact: Maryland plaintiffs prevailed in 83% of auto accident personal injury cases.
Fact: The average jury award in Maryland car accident personal injury cases was $11,277.
Opinion: Maryland’s jury verdicts are distorted by the defense lawyers from State Farm and Allstate, the two largest auto insurance providers in Maryland, who routinely “bump up” District Court claims to Circuit Court.
Opinion: Allowing defense lawyers in Maryland to bump up what are small claims cases slows down the civil justice system, particularly in Baltimore City.
Fact:: There are 32 Baltimore City judges.
Opinion: Most Baltimore City judges would prefer a higher amount in controversy in Baltimore City auto accident cases.
Fact: The plaintiffs prevailed in only 8% of medical malpractice cases in Maryland.
Fact: The average jury award in medical malpractice cases was $808,772.
Fact: T. Michael Preston, executive director of MedChi, the Maryland state doctors’ association, reports that the average paid medical malpractice claim in Maryland was $387,077 in 2003.
Fact: The tort system cost about $260 billion in 2004 in direct costs, which translates into $886 per person.
Fact: I wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July weekend!