On Tuesday, February 5, 2019, an Oceanside family suffered a terrible tragedy when their Mazda was struck by a Toyota Tacoma. Around 1:00 p.m., the family members were driving together on the S. Coast Highway. The driver of the Toyota Tacoma ran a red light, smashing into the Mazda. The horrific car accident resulted in the wrongful deaths of Rufina Rodriguez, 74, Petra Arango, 40, and 56-year-old Eloina Arango—a mother and her two daughters.

The other family members in the Mazda included the family father and son-in-law who were sitting in the front seat and sustained serious injuries in the accident. The last passenger, a 13-year-old granddaughter, was ejected from the vehicle and seriously injured. These surviving passengers were rushed to the hospital for their injuries.

Perhaps the most tragic part of this story, is that this accident could have totally been avoided. The driver of the Tacoma, identified as 19-year-old Mason Fish, was driving under the influence of a controlled substance at the time of the accident. Additionally, ABC 10 News reported that “according to DMV records, Fish’s driver’s license was listed as suspended or revoked on Jan. 26, 2019. Records also showed Fish had been involved in three prior crashes on Dec. 23, 2017; Jan. 25, 2018; and Sept. 5, 2018.”

In the last month, several videos have surfaced on the internet showing Telsa drivers sleeping while their car continues driving in its semi-autonomous Autopilot mode. According to a Fox News report, just this week a video was posted showing a driver near Las Vegas with his head rested back and eyes closed—his Tesla speeds up and slows down apparently on its own.

A video from a few days earlier shows a driver on a Southern California highway, also with his eyes closed. The person who filmed this Tesla and driver said he “observed the car riding along by itself for miles.” Although no one was harmed in these incidents, misuse of Autopilot systems continues to be a safety concern.

After an incident in December, Telsa actually responded—a driver was cited for drunk driving when police officers spotted his car driving while he was passed out in the driver’s seat. The officers followed his car, pulled in front of it, and slowed down to trigger the Autopilot to slow down and stop to avoid a collision. Although this worked, police officers wondered why the Autopilot did not deactivate on its own when sensors in the steering wheel detected the driver removed his hands from the wheel. Typically, the system is supposed to flash and sound a warning when a driver removes their hands. Tesla responded to the situation and said they were going to be “looking into what happened.”

Far too often car accidents are caused by a careless (negligent) driver who was speeding or driving recklessly on the road. This was the case in a recent Los Angeles car accident that resulted in the deaths of two people and left four others seriously injured.

According to ABC 7 News, the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to an accident scene in Northridge around 2:00 in the afternoon, after a local resident reported the crash. Two adult men were driving in a custom-built kit car, when the driver lost control. The kit car veered into oncoming traffic and hit a sedan carrying four passengers.

Photos of the scene show both cars completely mangled by the collision. Both the driver and the passenger in the kit car were killed—the passenger died at the scene and the driver later died from his serious injuries sustained in the crash. The driver and three passengers in the sedan were trapped in their car. Emergency personnel pried open the car and rushed all four to the hospital in critical condition.

A study done by YourMechanic, a startup in Mountain View, California, recently revealed an interesting fact about California drivers—according to the study, California drivers rank first place for the “Most Aggressive Drivers” in the country.

The startup specializes in serving car owners with car problems. Their study also analyzed other categories including “Which is the Most Dangerous State to Drive in?” and “Average Driver Speed.” Surprisingly, New Mexico took first place for “Most Dangerous State to Drive in” and Wyoming took first place for “Average Driver Speed.”

In determining the state with the most aggressive drivers, the study looked at the rate of aggressive driving events per minute of travel. These events included things like speeding, hard braking, and accelerating. California has the most frequent rate “with an average of 6.6 minutes per journey” involving these aggressive driving events. On YourMechanic’s rubric, in terms of aggressive driving, California earned a 10—a perfect score.

The Redondo Beach intersection of Aviation Boulevard and Grant Avenue was the scene of a tragic hit-and-run accident this past weekend. According to Fox 11 News, the accident occurred Saturday night just after 9:00 p.m. A 21-year-old woman, Angelina Pinedo, was crossing the street with her sister when she was struck by a black Audi Q5, which then failed to stop and fled the scene.

Tragically Pinedo was pronounced dead at the scene. The sisters were crossing a crosswalk at the time the incident occurred, but the black Audi drove through the intersection without stopping. Pinedo was visiting her sister while on break from school at San Francisco State University. Police immediately began an investigation to find the driver behind the incident.

By Monday morning, the police reported they had located an Audi SUV with damage to the front end, the windshield, and hood. This led the police to further investigate the car owner and Leila Gonzalez, also 21-years-old, was arrested. “Detectives say she admitted she was driving the vehicle involved in the collision.” She was booked at the Redondo Beach jail on felony hit-and-run resulting in death/injury and is being held on $50,000 bail. Redondo Beach Police have asked for anyone who witnessed the accident, or anyone with more information about the incident, to contact them right away.

2018 marked the 10-year anniversary of the enactment of hands-free cell phone and no-texting laws in California. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) this milestone showed a decrease in the number of citations issued for distracted driving and a decrease in the number of collisions caused by distracted driving. However, even with this decrease, the problem of cell-phone use and texting while driving still persists.

Texting While Driving is Distracted Driving

Texting while driving falls under the umbrella of “Distracted Driving.” There are many ways a driver can be distracted while driving—anything from eating or looking down to change the music station to looking at a passenger can dangerously take a driver’s attention from the road. However, cell phones continue to be a top cause of distracted driving accidents.

Recently, Electric Scooters have popped up all over Southern California cities as an easy means of transportation and a way to avoid getting stuck in heavy traffic. Many cities, including Los Angeles, have been engaged in “scooter wars” with the largest scooter companies over the idea of having thousands of scooters dropped along on city streets and sidewalks. Many cities have limited the number of scooters, but only a few have ban them entirely.

Last year, The Washington Post reported, that as scooter use increased in major cities across the United States, so did trips to the emergency room for scooter-related injuries, many of these injuries being very serious. Injuries from scooter accidents can include “broken noses, wrists and shoulders, facial lacerations and fractures, as well as the kind of blunt head trauma that can leave brains permanently damaged.” In addition to injury risks, if a scooter rider is hit by a car, death can be a risk.

Recently, a man riding an electric scooter was killed after he was hit by a car in Chula Vista. According to KRON 4 News, the driver of the car stayed at the scene to cooperate with police and investigators have not yet determined who was at fault in the accident. If it is determined that the driver was at fault in hitting the scooter rider, family members of the scooter driver can bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of the victim against the driver.

A couple from North Dakota, Jessica and Troy Nelson, was killed week while vacationing in San Diego when a large tree collapsed onto the house they were renting during their stay. The couple was staying on the top floor of a two-story home in Point Loma Heights when heavy wind sent the tree crashing into the home.

Fox 5 San Diego reported that the incident occurred around 6 a.m. and the couple was upstairs sleeping. A third person was in the home on the first story—he was rescued by firefighters and was not seriously hurt.

According to neighbors, the owner of the home rents out the house as a short-term or vacation rental. When the crash occurred, many neighbors were woken up by the noise and hurried outside to see the tree toppled onto the home. One neighbor said the tree had been pruned and re-pruned, calling it “an accident waiting to happen.” Another neighbor reported the tree had been at the center of a dispute between the property owners on either side of the tree, with one owner “reluctant to have it removed.”

Over the past few weeks the Southern California mountains have been hit by several winter storms. According to CBS 8, “The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory above 5,000 feet for the San Diego mountains.” While this is good news for ski resorts, the advisory states that drivers should expect slick road conditions.

From Mount Laguna to the San Bernardino and Riverside County mountains, the latest storms have brought 4-12 inches of snow. With all this snow, the National Weather Service is concerned about the impact it could have on Interstate 5. While traveling to the snow can be fun for recreational activities, it can be particularly dangerous for drivers, especially if you are unprepared. Because snow isn’t a typical part of Southern California life, if you plan to travel to or through snowy areas, make sure to use caution to avoid a Southern California car accident.

Although driving in snow can be dangerous, there are certain tips you can follow to stay safer even in icy and snowy conditions. To avoid a snow-related car collision be sure to:

A multi-vehicle car crash that involved a large Big Rig truck, left each of the driver’s with minor injuries, and one driver in critical condition. The crash occurred on Olympic Boulevard in the Boyle Heights neighborhood. From the photos of the incident, provided by ABC 7 News, the Big Rig over turned blocking the entire street. The photos show the truck completely on its side with two cars smashed into the trailer and one other car hit by the front of the truck.

Two of the people involved in the accident were trapped inside their cars. The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to the scene and set to work extracting the victims. One of the extracted victims was in critical condition and was rushed to a nearby hospital. The other drivers were evaluated at the scene for minor injuries.

As of right now, no other information about the crash has been released. Investigators are looking into what caused the crash and what, specifically, caused the semi-truck to tip completely on its side.

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