Charles Town And Martinsburg West Virginia Legal Blog

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.

Texting while driving is a roadway menace

Far too many drivers in West Virginia and across the United States continue to operate a vehicle while distracted, according to the results of a survey published by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Since 2013, the number of drivers who report holding cell phone conversations behind the wheel on a regular basis has risen 46 percent. At the same time, 88 percent of participants expressed serious concern about distracted driving, noting that it is a rising issue that is becoming more prominent.

The survey was conducted as part of the Traffic Safety Culture Index, which aims to identify popular attitudes and practices related to safety on the roads. It gathered data from 2,613 licensed drivers across the country aged 16 and older. The participants were asked about their own driving practices. Nearly 50 percent of the respondents said they had spoken on a handheld phone behind the wheel recently, and almost 45 percent of the participants said they had read text messages or emails while driving. Another 35 percent of the people who were surveyed said they had sent a text or email while operating a vehicle.

Uber's self-driving fleet taken off road after deadly accident

If you were to picture a world where self-driving cars were everywhere, would you see it as a world without accidents? That is certainly the goal of autonomous vehicles. Ultimately we want to be free to read a book, check our cellphone, or talk with friends in a car that drives itself, all while not having to worry if it will make it from point A to point B without getting into an accident.

Such a sci-fi utopia may be in the cards, but days like this past Monday put the potential problems of self-driving cars into focus. A crash in Arizona killed a 49-year-old woman, and left Uber and the police scrambling to figure out what exactly happened.

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Charles Town, WV 25414

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