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Raleigh Personal Injury Law Blog

Regulation aims to cut fatigued truck driving

Roadway dangers for drivers and passengers in North Carolina can come from an array of sources, including drunk or distracted drivers. The dangers of the roadway can be even more disturbing when they involve large trucks and buses due to these vehicles' size, weight, mass and speed. Any impact with a semi-truck or similar large vehicle could cause devastating personal injuries, and this danger only escalates when a truck driver is fatigued due to exceeding their safe hours on the roadway.

Federal regulators are concerned about truck driver fatigue on the roadway. A federal regulation requiring the use of electronic devices to track driver time on the road has been created to cover the trucking industry. A regulation issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires the use of electronic logging devices beginning in December 2017. These devices will record, track, share and manage the time that truck drivers are on the road once installed in long-haul semi-trucks.

Public views texting and driving as greatest accident threat

Seeing someone using their smartphone behind the wheel of a vehicle has become a common sight in North Carolina. The National Safety Council documented a 6 percent rise in traffic fatalities between 2015 and 2016, and smartphones are suspected as a source of driver distraction.

A survey sponsored by the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America discovered that the majority of Americans viewed smartphone use by drivers as their top traffic safety concern. A full 99 percent of respondents considered interacting with social media while driving to be a hazard. Texting came in with 98 percent disapproval. These activities edged out marijuana use as a danger, which 91 percent of survey takers labeled as a problem.

Ikea recalls 29 million dressers after children's deaths

North Carolina residents, especially those with young children, will want to know about the recall campaign that Ikea has launched concerning some 29 million of its chests and dressers. In fact, this is a relaunch of the campaign that the furniture retailer began in June 2016.

Ikea states that several types of its chests and dressers are known to tip over when not anchored to the wall. Together with federal safety regulators, they're asking customers to either secure the products or return them. This recall applies to products not in compliance with U.S. voluntary industry standards. Children's dressers that are over 23.5 inches as well as adult dressers over 29.5 inches fall under the recall.

3 causes of slip, trip and fall injuries in grocery stores

If you fall and sustain an injury in a grocery store, you may be able to bring a legal claim against the business. Whether it is a grocery chain or a local retailer, any company that welcomes you onto its property has an obligation to make sure it is safe and free of hazards. 

So how do slip, trip and fall injuries happen in grocery stores? What should you do if this happens to you? Read below for some tips on this topic. 

Driving tips to prevent accidents in the winter

In North Carolina, winter generally tends to be mild. However, this puts many drivers at risk when the temperatures do drop and cause ice to form on the roads. When the winter season does arrive, drivers can reduce their chances of becoming involved in an accident by following certain winter driving safety tips.

Drivers should winterize their vehicle so that it is ready to take on colder weather. Depending on where the driver lives, this may include ensuring that the brakes, heater, exhaust system and lights are all working and that the wiper blades and tires are ready to go. Drivers should check their tire pressure often during the winter because the pressure may fluctuate as the temperatures change. When on the road, drivers should always keep their lights on to make their vehicle more visible.

U.S. traffic fatalities increase over Thanksgiving

North Carolina motorists should be especially careful when driving around Thanksgiving. Studies show that U.S. traffic deaths increase in the days surrounding the annual feast, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that no other holiday leads to more fatal car accidents.

Federal statistics show that there were more than 50,000 car crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2012. Of those, 764 involved a fatality. Meanwhile, there were 654 fatal accidents reported around Christmas the same year. According to the NHTSA, many of those deaths were linked to human error and could have been prevented. For example, 60 percent of the people killed during Thanksgiving 2012 were not wearing seat belts. Meanwhile, 40 percent of those killed were involved in collisions with impaired drivers.

BMW recalls 1 million vehicles over fire concerns

About 1 million BMW owners around the country can expect to receive recall notices in the coming weeks. Two recalls involving vehicles produced by German carmaker between 2006 and 2011 were announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Nov. 2. The cars and SUVs are being recalled to remedy issues that have been linked to a series of fires. BMW says that its dealers in North Carolina and throughout the U.S. will begin performing the needed repairs at no charge on Dec. 18.

Media outlets began reporting in May about a series of mysterious fires involving parked BMW vehicles. More than 40 cases were discovered, and some of the vehicles involved had been standing idle for several days before catching fire. BMW initially denied that any manufacturing or product defect was responsible, and the company blamed the fires on arson, nesting rodents and owners who failed to adequately maintain their vehicles or used mechanics who lacked the training necessary to work on complex luxury automobiles.

Traffic crashes in North Carolina on the rise

North Carolina drivers face the same safety hazards and risks as drivers in other states. However, recent statistics show that traffic crashes have increased. Although the state has implemented traffic safety programs, the chance of being seriously injured in a car crash is still a very real possibility.

The statistics surrounding motor vehicle crashes and road safety in North Carolina reveal a mixed picture of risks and safety precautions. Here is some relevant information regarding the risks of traffic accidents in the state.

Study links poor surface friction to slip and falls

CNA Financial Corporation has released a Slip and Fall Study Report, which should be of interest to business owners across North Carolina. After analyzing all of the slip and fall liability claims filed against CNA from January 2010 to December 2016, researchers found that while slip and fall incidents were more frequent than they were deadly, they were often the result of poor surface friction.

In fact, 50 percent of the floors on surveyed sites did not meet the minimum for dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF) levels set by the American National Standards Institute. In addition, many of the accidents took place in retail establishments and realty offices, with 40 percent on walking and working surfaces, 33 percent in parking lots, and 27 percent on sidewalks leading to the entrance. Interior office floors contributed to less than 1 percent of slip and falls.

NHTSA to develop safety guidelines for self-driving cars

In early October, a Senate committee approved a bill that could speed up the manufacturing and testing of self-driving cars. It allows the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to exempt automakers from meeting certain safety standards and allow them to deploy up to 80,000 self-driving cars annually for the next three years. In September, the House of Representatives passed a similar measure. The bill has been called a landmark in legislation, with the support of corporations like General Motors and Ford Motor Company, but North Carolina motorists should know that there are some hurdles involved.

The NHTSA said that it will need to conduct research before deciding whether to rewrite some regulations and eliminate others. There are currently close to 75 safety regulations, many of which are incompatible with the new reality of driverless cars, so research may take several years before decisions are finalized. Under the Senate bill, the agency will be writing up the rules within a decade.

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