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Lake Charles Personal Injury Law Blog

Simple ways to avoid car accidents

Louisiana drivers will want to consider the following tips so that they can avoid car accidents in the future. After all, many accidents can arise out of one's own negligence. The first tip is to always concentrate on driving. Cell phone use of any kind, whether for calling, texting or surfing the web, is to be avoided while behind the wheel. Drivers should also refrain from eating, applying makeup, fiddling with their audio system and reaching into the backseat. Even letting one's mind wander is a form of distracted driving.

A driver is also advised to know their vehicle's limitations. Old tires and brakes will increase stopping distance, and poor maintenance can affect a vehicle's steering, handling, acceleration and stopping power. Vehicles that sit higher up are less capable of handling turns at high speeds. Furthermore, drivers should be aware of their disposition before driving. They should not drive after drinking. If they are drowsy, they should pull over for a nap. Additionally, drivers should be extra cautious at night and in bad weather.

Summer leads to more car crashes and brain injuries

There are more car crashes in Louisiana and elsewhere during the summer than during any other time of the year. This is because school breaks and warm weather encourage more people to hit the road, which can lead to more collisions. Unfortunately, more car accidents mean more traumatic brain injuries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car and motorcycle accidents are the top cause of brain injuries severe enough to require hospitalization. As a result, medical experts say that it is essential for victims to go to the emergency room after a crash. This is true even if they believe they are uninjured. The symptoms of brain injuries don't always show up right away. They could take hours, or even days, to appear. These symptoms may include mood changes, a loss of cognitive function, slurred speech and balance issues.

Combating distracted driving with data analysis and new tech

Smartphones and other technology are making drivers in Louisiana and elsewhere more prone to distraction. Distracted driving accidents are some of the costliest, and they especially burden trucking fleets with personal injury claims and delays. Some people have recognized that to fight technology, one has to use technology.

Omnitracs, a fleet management systems provider, has been using data analysis in the transportation industry since 2004. With its web-based Driving Center tool now enhanced with a module that detects fatigue and inattention, the company is helping to predict when drivers are in risky situations. Zendirve, a data analytics firm, is studying smartphone records to predict driver risk for the benefit of fleets and insurers.

FMCSA releases design of new trucking safety scoring system

After years of complaints from trucking carriers and drivers about the complexity and design of its safety scoring system, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has released a report outlining its plans to reform its Compliance, Safety, Accountability program. The goal of the report is to design a new system that will better identify unsafe trucking companies on roads in Louisiana and across the United States.

The report from the FMCSA was 10 pages in length, and it dealt primarily with re-writing the CSA Safety Measurement System. This is a scoring system designed to use trucking industry data to identify the least safe trucking companies. The primary change the report makes is building the scoring system around easily calculated data that is measured by an absolute system instead of relative scores that are tied to peer carriers.

Truck crashes: common causes and injuries

On average, there are over 500,000 truck accidents every year in America. In 2015, 4,300 trucks were involved in fatal accidents. One thing to remember about these accidents is that it is usually the occupants of the smaller passenger vehicles who incur the fatalities. Louisiana drivers should be aware of the most common causes of truck crashes are and what types of injuries they lead to.

Commercial truckers transport over 70 percent of all shipped goods in the U.S., and sometimes they are pressured into breaking hours-of-service regulations in order to meet deadlines. This often results in driver fatigue and drowsiness, an all too common factor in accidents. Sleep apnea, heart conditions and other signs of ill health also contribute. Truckers can become distracted by their smartphones or by something outside. Adverse weather, debris on the road and poor truck maintenance round out the list of causes.

Pedestrian fatalities have dramatically increased

Pedestrian deaths in traffic accidents have increased in Louisiana and in the rest of the U.S. The increase in deaths has happened even as car manufacturers have added many new safety features to their vehicles. Experts believe that the increase in pedestrian fatalities can be attributed to driver distraction rather than to the vehicles.

According to the chair of the Detroit College of Creative Studies' transportation design program, car manufacturers have made a number of changes to cars to make them safer. These changes include adding additional space under the hood for more cushioning and lowering bumpers. These changes help in accidents because the bumpers strike lower on people's bodies and propel them upward instead of striking them in the chest area or knocking them down under the vehicles.

CVSA to inspect truck brakes during Brake Safety Week

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will be holding its annual Brake Safety Week from September 16 to 22, so truckers and drivers of other commercial motor vehicles in Louisiana will want to make sure their brakes were installed correctly and are properly maintained. Defective or out-of-adjustment brakes can endanger other drivers by increasing stopping distance.

Most of the inspections will be Level I inspections: these 37-step inspections cover both mechanical fitness and driver operating requirements. Various issues, from missing parts to worn rotors to mismatched air chamber sizes, will be checked for. The CVSA will be placing out of service any vehicles that violate one or the other requirements. In those jurisdictions where performance-based brake testing equipment is used, inspectors will measure braking efficiency.

July Fourth is among the deadliest holidays

Louisiana residents who are planning to do something special for the Fourth of July weekend should be careful on the road. According to Esurance and the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, this holiday is the deadliest for American motorists. There are more fatal car crashes on Independence Day than on any other day; roughly 40 percent of all highway fatalities between 2007 and 2011 were caused by drunk drivers over the July Fourth weekend.

Intoxicated driving is not the only problem that drivers have to face. Simply traveling to a friend's home or some other location for a party could involve taking unfamiliar routes, which can affect driving behavior. AAA estimates that between June 30 and July 4 of this year, 37.5 million Americans will be traveling at least 50 miles as part of the festivities.

CVSA roadcheck addresses truck driver fatigue

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has wrapped up its annual International Roadcheck, a three-day inspection spree of buses and commercial trucks. From June 5 to 7, safety organizations and law enforcement personnel across Louisiana, as in all other states, stopped drivers and conducted 37-step inspections that covered both driver- and vehicle-related issues.

While information on the 2018 Roadcheck has yet to be released, previous roadchecks reveal certain trends that the CVSA has been combating for several years. One of them is the violation of hours-of-service guidelines. Truckers might exceed the 14 duty hours allotted to them each day or violate the requirement that they rest 8 hours before beginning a shift.

How new tech may reduce distractions for drivers

So many drivers in Louisiana are addicted to their smartphones that it may sound ironic to say new tech could provide a solution to distracted driving; however, there are several new devices that claim to do just that. It depends on whether individual drivers will use the technology. In a National Safety Council survey of 2,400 drivers across the U.S., 55 percent said they could keep safety devices engaged if they came pre-set on their vehicles.

The Colorado-based company Katasi has developed a device called Groove, which plugs in underneath the steering wheel and links the driver's phone to its provider via a cloud platform. The phone provider can block messages and social media updates and prevent the user from sending communications the moment it is notified that the user is driving. All messages appear on the phone after the car is turned off.