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Lake Charles Personal Injury Law Blog

Operation Safe Driver Week begins July 15

Drivers throughout Louisiana will want to be more conscious about any behavior they engage in behind the wheel that could be considered unsafe. From July 15 to 21, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will be hosting its annual Operation Safe Driver Week across the nation. Enforcement personnel will be cracking down on all instances of unsafe driving, from speeding to following too closely on other vehicles to making improper lane changes.

The Operation Safe Driver Program was created by the CVSA as a way to prevent highway injuries and deaths through increased enforcement. A study from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows that unsafe driving is the leading cause of all highway crashes. It contributes to 93 percent of crashes involving passenger vehicles and 88 percent of crashes with large trucks.

New tech could counteract distracted driving among truckers

Every day across the nation, an estimated 69 million drivers use their cellphones at least once while behind the wheel. Drivers in Louisiana should also know that commercial truck drivers are prone to using phones and other devices while on the road. However, there are several companies that have been producing new tech that could combat this and other forms of distracted driving.

Several companies have been using specific kinds of data to predict when distractions will put truckers into a risky situation. For example, Omnitracs is able to use hours-of-service data. On the other hand, Zendrive has long been using smartphone data to gauge trucker risk for the sake of fleets and insurers. For over a decade, fleets have been using vehicle data to determine hazardous events like hard braking, speeding and aggressive driving.

Unique marital challenges entrepreneurs face

A common statistic is that upward of 50 percent of marriages end up failing. A lot of research has been done on the correlation between divorce rates and a person's choice of employment. One area where no hard figures have been compiled is divorce rates for entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs have a unique challenge. Unlike a regular employee, the success or failure of their businesses likely sits on their shoulders. This has led to some individuals feeling that work has interfered with their marriages. There has been some speculation that a higher number of entrepreneurs get divorced than people in other professions.

Texting and driving peaks at rush hour, study shows

Drivers distracted by text messages are always a threat on Louisiana highways. According to recently collected data, it appears that peak driving times are typically when there is the highest number of distracted drivers on the road.

According to data collected by the mobile app Drivermode, the volume of texting and driving is at its peak between 5 and 6 p.m. Analysts came to this conclusion by reviewing data collected from over 177,000 drivers over the course of one year. During that time the researchers collected 6.5 million instances of a driving sending or receiving a text message. The busiest times of the day include hours between 4 and 6 p.m. In fact, 22% of all text messages are sent in that two-hour window.

Driving in bright sunlight

Drivers in Louisiana are frequently affected by weather conditions. Drivers may make poor decisions while operating a vehicle during snowstorms and rainstorms. However, sunny weather also poses safety hazards to drivers because the sun's glare can blind a driver. A driver experiencing temporary vision impairment caused by bright sunlight can easily cause a car crash. In 2017, a study revealed that early morning sunlight causes more car accidents than during other times of the day.

A driver can literally become blinded by the sun's glare; bright sunlight can make it impossible to see through the windshield. The danger is even more apparent during periods when heavy traffic prevails on major highways. Even though it is impossible to prevent glare, a driver can take precautions to ensure safer driving conditions.

Maritime protections provided by the Jones Act

Louisiana residents who work as Merchant Marines should be familiar with the Merchant Marines Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act. The legislation provides various protections for mariners who sustain injuries while at sea as maritime law does not allow them to qualify for workers' compensation.

Merchant Marines are typically a fleet of commercial ships whose function is to transport goods to and from nations during times of peace. These fleets of ships can be conscripted by the United States government during times of war to transport soldiers and military supplies.

Autonomous vehicles and human behavior

Louisiana drivers concerned about road safety when they are sharing the roads with autonomous vehicles should be aware that the cars may not be very safe due to their programming that compels them to drive as humans would. These findings come from a computer science professor who conducts research that is sponsored by both the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology that addresses cyber-physical systems designs created to ensure how the systems will behave.

According to the professor, complications arise with autonomous vehicles because the companies that are manufacturing them use humans to instruct how the cars should self-drive. Because humans are prone to mistakes, the autonomous vehicles are likely to make the very same mistakes humans do when they drive.

Traffic survey suggests a sharp increase in distracted driving

A recent survey suggests that the number of drivers who talk on the phone while behind the wheel is skyrocketing. Ironically, the survey also says nearly all of the respondents recognize distracted driving as a significant road hazard. An increase in distracted drivers on the road can have grave consequences across Louisiana.

According to the study published by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the number of commuters who admitted to cell phone use while driving increased an enormous 46 percent since 2013. What's more, 88 percent of those surveyed believe that distracted driving is increasing and has become a significant road safety issue. The survey sampled nearly 3,000 recent drivers and discussed their views and habits related to driving.

International Roadcheck slated for June

Commercial truck drivers in Louisiana probably know about the International Roadcheck, an annual inspection spree conducted nationwide over the course of three days in order to enforce commercial truck and bus safety guidelines. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has scheduled the 2018 International Roadcheck for June 5 to June 7 and has stated that its special focus this year will be on hours-of-service compliance.

This comes in the wake of the electronic logging device mandate that the U.S. Department of Transportation instituted in December 2017. Though the ELD mandate has not changed hours-of-service regulations, it has put special attention on them. In particular, ELDs prevent truckers from falsifying their logs, so violations are more easily detected.

Drunk driving can be fatal

For people on the roads in Louisiana, coming into contact with a drunk driver can lead to devastating consequences. Drunk driving accidents can cause severe personal injuries or even death. In fact, fatalities caused by drunk driving account for one-third of all traffic deaths in the United States. The effect of a crash can be accentuated by the type of injury that an accident victim suffers because serious injuries, like brain trauma, severe bleeding or damage to internal organs, can cause fatalities or long-term disabilities.

The people at the highest risk for traffic fatalities in a drunk driving accident include people younger than 24, motorcycle drivers and individuals who have been previously convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol. Traumatic brain injuries can be caused by hitting the steering wheel or flying debris as can less intensive injuries to the head. Direct impact to the body with blunt force, such as by hitting the steering column or from a sharp force, like being impaled on glass or metal, can also lead to severe personal injuries or even death.