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mnmlst's Journal: Automotive blackboxes and The Accident

Journal by mnmlst

In 1997, my wife and our two year old son were approaching a large, busy intersection at the speed limit. There were three lanes going in each direction, east and west, two more lanes southbound only. Needless to say (you would think), there was a traffic light above the intersection of the eastbound and southbound lanes. A driver turned from the westbound lanes into the southbound lanes and just kept right on going through the red light. She told the police she didn't realize there was a light there! She struck our 1991 Honda Accord in the left rear wheel area with the wheel absorbing most of the impact. The Accord was spun at least 180 degrees by the impact and my son's carseat was tipped over, but he was unhurt. My wife suffered a spinal injury that still impinges on her spinal cord and caused the doctors to recommend she refrain from lifting anything over 15 pounds. This pretty much ended her career as an RN. Now she is having trouble with chest and hand pain related to the nerve impingement. She has had extensive physical therapy and chiropractic care for 7 years now. Thanks to listening to my idiot brother-in-law, I had reduced our underinsured motorist coverage a few months before this accident and we ended up with about 35,000 USD cash for a lifetime of reduced mobility and pain. Nationwide Insurance deliberately dragged their feet trying to get us to accept a reduced settlement. We finally sued them near the lawsuit deadline and they settled within two months thereafter. The mitigating factor was their idiot driver had blabbed about being "100 percent responsible" for the accident. Thank God! Even with that, Nationwide jerked us around for an extra year and a half beyond what they should have. I loathe them. They sent their adjusters here to Southern California in the wake of our wildfires last fall and my coworkers overheard them laughing about underpaying claims and dragging things out.

My point here is that when a driver royally screws up, blackbox evidence can help settle the matter clearly and quickly allowing everyone to get on with their post-accident lives. If the driver who rammed my wife had not blabbed, the blackbox could have blabbed for her. Everyone, please be safe out there. When we are approaching an intersection that has been green for 10 seconds or more, but are the only car approaching at that point, my wife and I both slow down and look around carefully now since another fool may "not realize there is a traffic light over that intersection". That was how my wife was hurt. We don't drive smaller cars anymore either. She has an airbagged minivan and I have an airbagged half-ton pickup. Our next vehicle will be a 3/4 ton Suburban. It tows our big trailer well and protects my wife and three children. We'll buy more energy-efficient vehicles when they get safer and can tow 8,000 pounds over the Rockies.

Our policy is, when in doubt, do the right thing. -- Roy L. Ash, ex-president, Litton Industries

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