NTSB Makes Several Trucking Safety Recommendations

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The National Transportation Safety Board has made several recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urging the federal agency to take more steps to increase tractor-trailer safety, and reduce the risk of truck accidents involving these vehicles.

The recommendations were triggered by a safety study that was conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board in 2013. One of the most important recommendations involves the mitigation of blind spots behind and around the tractor-trailer. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the blind spots around the tractor-trailer can easily cause accidents involving passenger vehicles simply because the truck driver cannot see these vehicles.

Every vehicle has its blind spots. Even your average passenger vehicle driver will have several blind spots in his field of vision, which prevent him from seeing motorcycles or bicycles that are in these areas. However, the blind spots that exist for a truck driver are much larger, and because of the sheer impact that a trucking accident can have, it is important to mitigate these hazards. Additionally, there are a number of factors including location, characteristics of the truck mirrors and windows, and the design of the vehicle that can affect the driver's ability to identify and locate passenger vehicles around the truck.

The National Transportation Safety Board in its recommendations especially focuses on the blind spots that exist on the right side of the truck, because it interferes with a large section of the truck driver’s field of view, and therefore, very often results in pedestrian, passenger vehicle, and bicycle accidents.

Motorists must educate themselves about the blind spots in a truck driver’s field of vision, and avoid being in the spot for too long when they're driving around the tractor-trailer.

As Trauma Centers Shut down, Injured Patients at Risk of Fatality

Sunday, March 16, 2014

As more and more trauma centers across the country are forced to shut down operations, severely injured patients who depend heavily on the kind of emergency treatment provided by a trauma care center may be at a heightened risk of fatality.

According to new research, the closure of these centers across the country is placing lives at risk, and is tied to an increased fatality risk for injured patients. A trauma care center is equipped with the kind of emergency medical equipment that is necessary to save the life of a critically injured patient. Typically, when a patient has been very severely injured as the result of a major auto, trucking or train accident, or sustains any other injury which places him at a severe risk of death, he needs to be rushed to a trauma care center where he can receive the treatment necessary to stabilize his condition.

The transfer to a trauma care center needs to happen immediately, and as soon as the patient has been injured. When a trauma care center is located far away from the site of the accident or injury, too much precious time passes before the patient can be transferred to the center. With every passing second, his risk of dying increases.

The researchers examined data involving more than 270,000 patients, and analyzed the effects of the closure of three centers in California between 1999 and 2009 to find out the association between the closure of the centers, and heightened patient fatality risk. They found that when one trauma center closed, patients who were now forced to travel much further to a trauma center were 21% more likely to succumb to their injuries in the hospital, compared to patients who did not have to travel that far to access trauma care. They also found that the risk of fatality seemed to be highest in the first two months after the trauma care center closed down.

Fear of Death Could Coax Teens to Put Away Cell Phone While Driving

Saturday, March 01, 2014

An overwhelming majority of teenagers are clearly aware of the risks of texting while driving, but continue to indulge in such practices because they believe they can control those risks. However, those tendencies can be curtailed if public service announcements targeting teenage drivers specifically include graphic images of death.

Washington State University researchers recently studied and analyzed texting while driving among teenage drivers, and also analyzed public service announcements that are currently being used to help reduce the risks of distracted driving or specifically texting while driving among teenagers. The Department of Transportation currently has a very strong focus on preventing texting while driving among teenagers, because this group of motorists has much higher rates of smart phone use while driving. When you introduce smart phone use at the wheel to a category of motorists that is already at a very high risk of crashes, the consequences can be severe.

The researchers found that most teenagers related very strongly to the skull and cross bones image as a symbol of death. When the researchers used those images in a series of public service announcements, and compared the effect of exposure to public service announcements that did not have such graphic images of death, they found that the teens responded more to the PSAs that had the skull and cross bones image. When the teenagers were exposed to these public service announcements, they reported lower levels of intention to text while driving.

The researchers recommend that makers of public service announcements up their game to include more images that connect teenagers to the very real risk of a serious accident when the user is texting at the wheel.

Increase in Spinal Cord Injuries Linked to Fall Accidents

Friday, February 21, 2014

More people are suffering spinal cord injuries in the United States, and most of them are suffering these injuries not in motor vehicle accidents, but fall accidents. According to new research by Johns Hopkins researchers, the incidence of traumatic spinal injuries is increasing the fastest among senior citizens.

The fact that senior citizens are now some of the biggest victims of traumatic spinal cord injuries is closely associated with the increase in the number of injuries in fall accidents. Senior citizens may be at a much higher risk of being involved in a slip and fall accident, and fall accidents can increase the risk of spinal injuries among seniors.

The study also seems to suggest an increase in the average age of a victim of traumatic spinal injury in the United States. Earlier research pegged that age at 41, based on data of traumatic spinal cord injuries between 2000 and 2005. According to the Johns Hopkins study however, the average age of a typical victim of spinal cord injury in the United States is now 51.

This increase in the number of seniors who suffer spinal cord injury is definitely something to take seriously, because such injuries may take a much longer time to heal in senior citizens above the age of 65. Traumatic spinal cord injuries are also linked to long-term disability, which translates into several financially and emotionally catastrophic consequences for senior citizens.

The researchers believe that the reason why more seniors are suffering traumatic spinal injuries in fall accidents, is the fact that seniors now tend to live not just many more years, but also more mobile and independent lives. That simply increases their risk of suffering a fall.

Federal Audit Finds Truck, Bus Carrier Safety Rating System is Ineffective

Monday, February 03, 2014

According to an audit of the federal administration’s motor carrier safety rating system, the system is based on inconsistencies and inaccurate data, rendering the results ineffective in helping reduce the risk of accidents.

The audit was conducted by the Government Accountability Office, which says that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s rating system needs to undergo a few changes for it to become much more subjective and effective.The rating system that was the subject of the audit is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Compliance, Safety, Accountability program. The program has been designed to compare bus and trucking companies, and rate them based on their performance in traffic safety compliance. The point is to rate these companies, and then identify those carriers that have a long history of violations, and therefore, need more oversight. The belief is that greater oversight of these companies could help reduce the risk of truck accidents involving these carriers.

Los Angeles trucking accident lawyers believe that this is a stellar goal, and a rating system that is designed to specifically identify problem carriers, could help reduce the risk of accidents. However, according to the audit, the problem is that very often, the rating system makes use of inaccurate data that is inconsistent, and may not result inaccurate results. Therefore, the rating system results in several motor carriers being given good ratings or safe ratings based on inaccurate data.

The Government Accountability Office wants the federal administration to make modifications to its rating system, specifically its Safety Measurement System rating tool, in order to ensure that the system accounts for limitations in comparing safety performances across motor carriers, even though this could result in fewer carriers receiving a safe rating.

Most People in Car Accidents Don't Attempt Litigation

Friday, January 24, 2014

Los Angeles car accident lawyers find that it is one of the biggest myths perpetrated by the tort reform lobby - that persons who are involved in car accidents can hardly wait till they are discharged from hospital, to sue for compensation. According to the results of a new study that focused on the incidence of musculoskeletal pain among people involved in car accidents, most people who suffer from pain even after being treated for their injuries, do not bother with litigation after the accident.

According to the results of the study which evaluated car accident victims and followed them for weeks after the injuries, only 17% of the patients had contacted an attorney about taking action for compensation approximately 6 weeks after the accident. This was even though these non-litigants continued to suffer from chronic and persistent pain. Approximately 28% had moderate or severe neck pain, while 30% suffered from pain in seven or more regions of the body, and 4% suffered fibromyalgia-like symptoms.

The study was conducted at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. According to the researchers, the study provides further evidence that litigation is not the first course of action that people who are injured after a car accident, take. The study found that very often, people who are involved in these accidents hesitate to take action, because they believe that they might not be taken seriously, or that their pain might not be considered serious enough. They do not want to take a chance that people will not believe their pain is real. This is especially so in the case of chronic musculoskeletal pain, in which there may be very few or no external signs of injury, although the person may be in pain most of the time.

$1,150,000 Grocery Store Construction Injury Case Settlement

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Construction Injury at Grocery StoreA 24 year old pharmacist suffered a construction injury while shopping at a local grocery store when a construction tool bar fell on her shoulder. After contacting the claims department for the store and construction firms, she received no apology and no assistance with her medical bills or treatment. She then contacted attorney John Nojima of the Los Angeles personal injury firm of Lederer & Nojima, LLP who immediately referred her to medical specialists to diagnose and treat her injuries. 

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Caused by Construction Injury

The client sustained shoulder injuries requiring two surgeries and was ultimately diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome. Thoracic outlet syndrome is a condition involving compression at the superior thoracic outlet which is usually caused by trauma, results in sharp pain, and often is the underlying cause of other conditions such as frozen shoulder or carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Grocery Store Responsible for Safety at Construction Site

Mr. Nojima was able to show that despite the fact the store and construction companies were renovating during store hours, they failed to put up adequate warning signs for customers or take steps to protect their customers from a potential construction injury. The grocery store attempted to argue that the client walked through caution tape to get to the aisle where she was injured; however Mr. Nojima was able to show that no such caution tape was placed. The client’s past medical bills totaled $170,000.00 and her doctors testified that she would require ongoing treatment for her thoracic outlet syndrome. The client also was forced to miss time from work for her injuries and during her recovery from surgery. On the eve of trial, Mr. Nojima argued at mediation that the client deserved an amount in damages far in excess of her medical bills. 

Ultimately, through careful investigation and perseverant advocacy, Mr. Nojima achieved a settlement of $1,150,000.00. The client was happy with her settlement and relieved that she would not have to go through a potentially long and risky trial.

Alcohol Use Can Increase Risk for Pedestrians

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Walking can be a dangerous activity in California even at the best of times, but if you are walking under the influence alcohol, then your chances of being involved in a fatal accident are much higher.

According to the results of a new analysis of data by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the rates of people who were killed while walking while under the influence of alcohol, has remained very steady over the past two decades. This is even though the number of people driving under the influence of alcohol, has shown a steady downward trend.

Los Angeles pedestrian accident lawyers find that many people seem oblivious to the dangers of walking while the under the influence of alcohol.The same holds true for people who are on their bicycles. Bicycling while intoxicated can be an exceedingly dangerous activity, substantially increasing your risk of being involved in an accident. In fact, according to the analysis, alcohol-impaired bicyclist fatalities increased by 45% between 1992 and 2011.

There are specific reasons why pedestrians or bicyclists may be at a much higher risk of being involved in a fatal accident. An intoxicated pedestrian or bicyclist is likely to behave in ways that increase the risk of being involved in an injurious or fatal accident. For instance, an intoxicated pedestrian may walk against a light, or may cross the road at a place where it is not safe to do so, like an intersection or away from a crosswalk. Bicyclists, while intoxicated, may not bother to wear a helmet while riding.

Keep in mind that just a small amount of alcohol is enough to give you a buzz, and impair your walking or bicycling abilities. Even with a small amount of alcohol in your system, your judgment abilities can be impaired enough to be unable to judge the movement of traffic around you.

High Risk of Drunk Driving Fatalities on New Year’s Eve

Thursday, December 12, 2013

According to a new infographic that was released recently, the New Year's Eve holiday ranks fourth on a list of holidays based on the numbers of alcohol-related accident fatalities that occur during these holidays. According to the infographic, the deadliest alcohol-related holiday is the Fourth of July Holiday, followed by Memorial Day, Labor Day, New Year's Eve, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The results were based on an analysis of traffic accident fatalities that occurred during the holiday period between 2007 and 2011. Although New Year's Eve is ranked fourth based on the actual number of traffic accident fatalities that occurred over the past four years during the holiday period, it also happens to be the holiday period with the highest average percentage of alcohol-related traffic fatalities with a rate of 42%.

The holiday period that resulted in the greatest number of accident fatalities was Thanksgiving, with an average of 444 fatalities during the entire holiday period. However, that holiday doesn't rank at the top of the list as far as alcohol-related accidents are concerned.

You’ve probably been in a position where you're driving after having had a few alcoholic beverages. There are a number of ways that you can prevent this from happening. If you are out in a group, designate a driver whose job is to remain sober for the duration of the evening, so that he can drive you home safely. Make sure that this is a trustworthy person, who can be trusted enough to stay away from the alcohol during the evening. If you are out alone, hitch a ride home. Try to make arrangements to stay the night over at your host’s place if possible.

Aggressive Driving is a Concern over the Holiday Season

Sunday, December 01, 2013

More than 64% of American motorists in a recent survey confirmed that they had experienced aggressive driving from other drivers at least six times in the past three months. Over the holiday season, destructive behavior by motorists is likely to increase due to the heavy traffic conditions and stressed driving environment.

Aggressive driving can be defined as any kind of behavior that increases the risk of an accident. Typically such behavior includes speeding, weaving between lanes, tailgating, showing hostility towards other drivers and, in extreme cases, outright road rage. When a person is in the throes of road rage, he may try to inflict bodily or physical harm on another motorist, try to run the driver off the road, and display other such dangerous driving.

Aggressive driving is a major factor in traffic accidents across California, but as a new survey by State Farm Insurance and KRC Research shows, such practices are widely prevalent in the motorist community. According to the survey, 44% of motorists admitted to driving aggressively over the past three months.

Drivers between the ages 18 and 29 and middle-aged drivers were much more likely to engage in aggressive driving. As many as 32% of younger drivers, and 20% of middle-aged drivers reported either engaging in aggressive driving or being provoked by motorists. Parents were also much more likely to drive aggressively with 30% admitting to such behavior around the winter holidays. Just about 9% of motorists above the age of 50 admitted to aggressive driving, and among non parents, the hostile driving rate was just 50%.

In order to avoid aggressive driving, leave from home with plenty of time to avoid frustration and road rage. Tune out all stresses in the car, and play soothing, calming music. Avoid fast-paced music that boosts adrenaline, and increases speeding risks.

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