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Raleigh Personal Injury Law Blog

Truck accidents and the holiday season

The holidays can be a wonderful time to connect with family and spend time with those you hold dear, but the holiday season is also a dangerous time to be on the road. An influx of drivers takes to the roadway around Thanksgiving and Christmas to travel, shop and attend special events, and commercial truckers, too, take to the roadway in droves around this time every year.

Many truckers employed by some of the nation’s largest delivery companies work long hours during the holiday season, and some trucking companies also employ new drivers to keep up with customer demand that always climbs toward the end of the year. This influx of new, and to some degree, less-experienced drivers working long hours means motorists like you are at an enhanced risk of an accident with a commercial truck around the holidays, and here are some of the reasons why.

Traffic accident fatalities up again in 2016

Venturing out onto the action's roads is becoming increasingly hazardous for motorists in North Carolina and around the country. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's latest traffic accident fatality report, which was released on Oct. 6, reveals that fatalities have increased in two consecutive years. The 37,461 road users killed in 2016 represents a 5.6 percent year-over-year increase and is the highest highway death total since 41,259 died in 2007.

The NHTSA report will likely make sobering reading for road safety experts who blamed the 2015 surge in accident deaths on cellphone use and distracted driving. The federal safety agency reports that distracted driving deaths actually fell slightly in 2016, but fatal accidents involving pedestrians and motorcyclists rose sharply. The biggest increase was an alarming 9 percent rise in pedestrian deaths, and the evidence suggests that most of these fatalities were caused by negligent or reckless drivers.

Where do slip, trip and fall accidents happen in public?

When you hear of a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident, you may think it only happens to seniors on the wet or cluttered floors of retail stores. Although the risk of falling does increase with age, the risk still exists for everyone regardless of age or health.

Becoming aware of common places where these slip, trip and fall accidents happen is the first step in preventing them. They may not seem like a big deal, but they can lead to severe physical harm. Even a minor injury, such as a sprain, can still affect your ability to work and care for yourself, so do not underestimate these hazards.

All age groups liable to injuries on stairs

In North Carolina and the rest of the U.S., injuries incurred on stairs seem to be common across all ages. Researchers in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System that spanned the from 1990 to 2012 and examined the details of ER visits arising from a stair injury. Over 26 million Americans were treated in that period, and over two-thirds were between the ages of 11 and 60.

However, the highest injury rates were among adults aged 85 and older, children 3 and under and young adults in their 20s. More than 60% of stair accidents occurred at home. A lower building standard for home stairways could be partly to blame.

Congress raises issue of sleep apnea among truckers

Trucking companies and drivers in North Carolina continue to face uncertainty about testing and treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. As things stand now, multiple screening protocols present the trucking industry with inconsistent standards that govern which drivers get sent for medical tests. Truckers sometimes claim that they are unfairly targeted for medical tests and that the process is just meant to benefit sleep apnea testing companies and makers of treatment devices. Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have filed bills meant to compel the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to administer consistent rules across the industry.

During 2016, the agency had been developing standards for screening truckers for the condition and treatment protocols. The agency's Medical Advisory Board had gathered information from the trucking industry and the public.

Educate your children about approaching and training dogs

Dogs are said to be our best friend. They are known for their loyalty. Children tend to get excited by dogs and want to pet them. The American Veterinary Medical Association conducted research regarding dog bites. They report that over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the U.S. each year. Of these dog bite victims, children are the most common.

You can help minimize the number of dog bites by properly training your own dog. You can also help by educating your child about how to properly approach dogs.

3 common causes of disability

The odds of your getting disabled might surprise you. According to WebMD, you have a one in three chance of having a disability before you retire. If you get into a devastating accident or develop a debilitating condition, you might worry about what you should do.

Depending on the type and severity of your disability, you might qualify for Social Security benefits. Here are the most common conditions and injuries that result in disability. 

Avoiding truck accidents

Many North Carolina motorists do not enjoy driving next to or near large 18-wheel trucks. This is understandable, as there are a few reasons why this can be risky.

One main reason is the weight difference between trucks and passenger vehicles. In some cases, 18-wheelers can weigh around 40 tons while a passenger vehicles weighs around 2 tons or so. If the truck loses control or cannot stop in time, the smaller passenger vehicle and the occupants inside will sustain more damage if a truck collision occurs. The weight of the truck also means that these vehicles need more distance to come to a full stop. This puts drivers who like to weave in and out of traffic at risk for becoming involved in a crash.

Dealerships selling vehicles with active recalls

North Carolina residents who are looking to buy a used car from major dealerships should be aware of the large-scale Takata airbag and other vehicle safety recalls. Safety advocates reportedly found that 25 percent of vehicles at eight different CarMax locations had safety recalls that had not been taken care of.

The review showed that a total of 461 vehicles had at least one outstanding auto safety recall, 45 of which included defective airbag inflators that have been linked to fatalities. It was also noted that 41 of the vehicles had recalls that were repairable. Other defects that some of the vehicles had included fire risks.

Driving too slowly represents moving violation and traffic hazard

Most people would recognize speeding drivers as a threat to safety on the roads of North Carolina, but someone driving below the minimum limit could be just as dangerous. A slow vehicle on a multilane highway often forces other motorists to pass on the right. That maneuver could cause confusion among drivers and promote crashes. Even on residential streets, a slow driver might require someone to hit their brakes unexpectedly and launch a chain reaction that causes an accident.

People looking at their smartphones or texting behind the wheel become so distracted that they do not realize their vehicles have decelerated. Research from Carnegie Mellon University indicated that drivers using phones shifted 37 percent of their focus away from driving. With reduced abilities to process traffic, distracted drivers often fail to notice their surroundings. In 2009, distracted drivers caused 20 percent of injuries from car crashes.

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