Four cars collided killing one and seriously injuring another Friday evening, March 22, 2019. The accident happened on SR 17 a few miles north of Moses Lake when the driver of a 2004 Kia Optima went to pass cars in front of him on the two-lane road.
According to the Washington State Patrol, the driver of the Optima didn’t notice the oncoming traffic, and as he moved out to pass, he sideswiped a Chevrolet Silverado that was coming toward him causing the truck to veer off the road. He then struck a PT Cruiser head-on before sideswiping a Plymouth Neon. The driver of the Optima died at the scene, and the driver of the PT Cruiser was airlifted to Central Washington Hospital in serious condition.
Rural Highway Passing Accidents
Rural highway crashes account for 56 percent of all fatalities in the U.S. outstripping urban crashes by 12 percent, according to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Of those, a significant majority are from head-on collisions on strait stretches of roadway. Out of these, around 10 percent come from passing a slower car by moving into an on-coming lane.
While statistically small, this represents around 2,500 people who die each year on rural highways from drivers crossing the center lane to pass cars in front of them and end up colliding with another vehicle.
Head-On Collision and Passing
Almost all of the deaths come from head-on collisions caused by improper passing. In Washington, it’s against the law to pass on a rural highway if the yellow line is a double, unbroken line. If both lines (or a single line) are intermittent, then drivers going both directions can pass. It’s also OK to pass if there is a solid yellow line with an intermittent line on the side of that driver. In all passing situations, the passing driver can only pass if it’s safe to do so.
Also, when passing, it’s allowed to go over the speed limit for just enough to pass quickly, but only if the car in front of you is going slower than the speed limit. Cars that don’t follow these rules are violating the law and are creating a risk of injury for others on the road.
Head-On Collision Injuries
According to the NHTSA, the head-on collision is the deadliest type of crash making up only 2 percent of all collisions but accounting for over 10 percent of all fatalities. What makes them so deadly is because of the dynamics of the impact which is compounded by the weight and speed of both vehicles.
This violent collision demolishes the vehicles involved and often severely injures the occupants of the vehicles. Those who survive, share injuries that are common to this type of crash.
- Blunt Force Trauma: The vast majority of fatalities come from the impact of the person into whatever is in front of them.
- Traumatic Brain Injury: Not always fatal and happens with the impact of the body at the time of collision.
- Thoracic Spine Injury: (Whiplash) This injury is not necessarily fatal, but it often results in paralysis. It comes from the body being thrown forward where the spine in the neck is stretched and then violently compressed when thrown back into the seat.
- Broken Bones:Skull fractures, facial bones, ribs and extremities such as wrists, ankles legs.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured because someone attempted to pass another car, you need to speak to an attorney who can advise you on your rights under the law. Those injured by another’s negligence are entitled to compensation for many types of financial losses.
Don’t leave it up to the negligent driver’s insurance company to decide how much you are awarded, rather get someone on your side who will fight for you. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney can give you good advice and evaluate your case, and at Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., you don’t pay anything until you get paid for the insurance company.
We serve clients in Spokane, WA, Coeur d’Alene, ID, and surrounding communities and can go toe-to-toe with the insurance companies and their lawyers to get you fair compensation for your injuries. Call us at (509) 926 4900, or send us a message by clicking here.