Charles Town And Martinsburg West Virginia Legal Blog

Roundabouts can help reduce serious and fatal accidents

Dangerous intersections in West Virginia could be made safer if roundabouts are installed instead of stop signs or traffic lights. According to studies by the United States Department of Transportation, roundabouts reduce serious and fatal accidents by 78 to 82 percent. A serious motor vehicle accident, also known as an "A" accident, is defined as an accident that causes broken bones, massive loss of blood or unconsciousness to occur.

Though traffic lights have been found to reduce the number of vehicle crashes overall, the accidents that do occur at traffic lights are often more serious. This is especially true when there are intersections on roads with high speed limits. Roundabouts force drivers to slow down, which reduces the severity of the collisions.

Study says women are more prone to distracted driving

In a recent study regarding distracted driving, 68 percent of respondents were not easily convinced of the hazards of texting while behind the wheel. This could be of major concern for West Virginia motorists. Overall, the researchers found that certain groups are more prone to distracted driving. These include females as well as those who are less concerned about safety and individuals who frequently use tech devices.

Many states across the nation and even other countries around the world have put laws into place that require drivers to remain hands-free of mobile phone devices while driving. The need for these laws has occurred because people who talk on the phone while driving are twice as likely to cause an accident. Furthermore, the probability for crashing increases sixfold for those who text and drive.

Drowsy CMV drivers more likely to crash when far from rest areas

Researchers have come out with a study showing that fatigued commercial vehicle drivers are more likely to get in accidents the farther they are from rest areas, truck stops and weigh stations with rest havens. Truckers and other work vehicle drivers in West Virginia will want to take note of the findings.

The study considered crash data in Kentucky from 2005 to 2014. Out of the 7,538 incidents where the trucker was at fault, 284 were fatigue-related. Researchers found that these crashes were 2.5 times more likely to occur in areas that were between 20 and 40 miles away from the nearest rest option. When these options were more than 40 miles away, the risk for a crash rose seven times.

Study shows distracted driving more common in summer

Residents of West Virginia who are thinking of taking a road trip during the summer should know this season is an especially risky one for drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that the summer sees 20 percent more miles driven than the winter; the months of June, July and August also see 29 percent more road deaths than December, January and February.

With more people on the road, there is more chance for distracted driving. TrueMotion, a smartphone telematics platform, studied the behavior of more than 20,000 drivers during the 8.4 million trips they took between January 2017 and May 2018. By considering sensor data from the company's mobile app, TrueMotion Family, researchers were able to conclude that drivers spent more time distracted by their phones in June, July and August than other months.

CVSA schedules Brake Safety Week for commercial truckers

Once a year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducts a week-long brake inspection spree for commercial trucks. Brake Safety Week will take place this year from September 16 to 22, so truckers in West Virginia and across the rest of the U.S. will want to take note.

The CVSA stresses the importance of routinely inspecting brakes and maintaining them according to manufacturers' specifications. Inspectors will be randomly stopping trucks to ensure compliance with safety guidelines, and they will be putting out of service all trucks with defective or out-of-adjustment brakes. The inspections will mostly be Level I inspections, which are the most thorough.

Getting fatigued drivers off the road

Officers in Iowa and other states across the country are investigating transfer trucks and their drivers under more scrutiny during road checks to determine if driver fatigue could be the cause of accidents. When officers check trucks, they look at the log that the driver keeps to ensure that proper rest breaks are taken and to ensure that the proper safety and mechanical inspections of the truck have been performed. These inspections take place at weigh stations along interstates.

A Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance event is held once a year and takes place over three days. During this time, officers perform a 37-point inspection. After checking the vehicle, officers will talk to the truck driver. The goal of the event is to make drivers aware of being fatigued while on the road or staying off the road if the driver is sick. Drivers who don't obey the rules are the ones who officers are trying to get off the road while making sure the drivers who are abiding by the rules continue driving.

More deaths in 2016 from trucking accidents

Truck accidents that cause injuries and even deaths are on the rise in West Virginia and across the country, according to statistics released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. While the number of trucks involved in deadly accidents increased by 3 percent from the year before, the total number of deaths saw an even larger increase, 6 percent. These figures reflect the fact that several of the most serious accidents took multiple lives.

In 2016, 4,317 people were killed in truck accidents on American roadways, an increase of over 220 from the 4,094 people killed the previous year in crashes that involved large trucks or buses. This increase is not new; on the contrary, it reflects the continuation of a documented rise in the number and the severity of deadly truck collisions. While deaths due to trucking accidents decreased by 34 percent between 2005 and 2009, most of that significant improvement has been wiped away in recent years. Between 2009 and 2016, fatalities increased by 28 percent, a trend that has continued to rise year over year.

Seatbelt use linked with lower risk of severe liver injury

While many drivers in West Virginia think that wearing a seatbelt is unnecessary, the proof of its effectiveness is stacked against them. A recent study from NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn adds to that list, as researchers have found that seatbelt use lowers the risk for severe liver injuries in a car accident.

Injuries to the liver, along with the spine, are the frequent result of internal abdominal trauma. Mild symptoms include shallow lacerations and blood clots, and these usually don't require surgery. Severe symptoms require immediate treatment. Liver injuries are more likely to be fatal because, unlike spleens, livers cannot be surgically removed as a last resort. When drivers remember that every year in America, accidents lead to 2 million emergency room visits, they might rethink their current habits.

Safety coalition hopes to reach zero traffic deaths by 2050

Safety initiatives by the Road to Zero Coalition may make roads in West Virginia and throughout the country less dangerous in the decades ahead as the coalition has set a goal to end all traffic fatalities by 2050. The CEO of the National Safety Council says that although autonomous cars are likely still some way off, safety technology can still play a significant part in reducing fatal traffic accidents. The coalition has identified other focuses as well to bring down the numbers of deadly motor vehicle crashes.

The numbers rose in 2016 after several years of decline, with a 5.6 percent climb compared to 2015 resulting in the deaths of 37,461 people. Large trucks were involved in accidents that claimed 4,317 of those lives. Several of the initiatives proposed apply to trucks as well such as getting seat belt compliance to 100 percent from 90 percent. The coalition also plans to push toward a culture more focused on safety and away from behaviors such as driving under the influence, distracted driving and speeding.

Product aims to reduce truck driver fatigue

West Virginia truck drivers often deal with fatigue while operating their vehicles. It is not uncommon for a commercial trucker to drive 70 hours or more each week. This is partially why the turnover rate can exceed 90 percent. In addition to high turnover rates, drowsy driving is thought to cause at least 100,000 accidents per year involving commercial vehicles.

However, the roads could safer thanks to a company called BlyncSync. It aims to use smart glasses to capture data regarding how often a driver blinks. The company says that it can be a sign of whether a driver is drowsy. Other signs that indicate a driver could be drowsy include a tilting head or yawning. The glasses are designed to be less intrusive than cameras mounted in the truck's cab.


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