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Columbia, Missouri Personal Injury Law Blog

Brake Safety Week ends with nearly 5,000 trucks sidelined

Truckers and truck fleet owners in Missouri may remember that the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance held its 2018 Brake Safety Week from September 16 to 22. Inspectors stopped trucks and other commercial vehicles at random as a way to enforce compliance with brake safety guidelines. The CVSA has now come out with the results of this inspection spree.

A total of 35,080 commercial vehicles in the U.S. and Canada were inspected, and of those, 4,955 were placed out of service for brakes violations. The focus of the 2018 Brake Safety Week was on vehicles that require antilock braking systems and how well-maintained they are.

Halloween and driver safety

Many drivers in Missouri know to be careful on the roads due to drunk drivers on certain holidays, like Christmas and New Year's. AAA has issued a warning that drivers should also be careful on Halloween.

Most crashes on this holiday occur between 6 p.m. on October 31 and 6 a.m. on November 1. The age group for most car accident fatalities on Halloween in 2016 was 21 to 34. There were no pedestrians killed in car accidents on Halloween in 2016, which means that trick-or-treating was safer than driving that year.

Investigators find more irregualities in deadly limo's history

Missouri residents may be aware that a crash involving a stretch-limousine and a stationary vehicle in upstate New York claimed the lives of 20 people on Oct. 6. New details emerging from the investigation reveal that the license plates fitted to the Ford Excursion SUV when it failed a safety inspection on Sept. 4 do not match the plates it had on display when it was cited for a raft of potentially dangerous violations six months earlier.

Investigators say that the disclosure is another sign that the owner of the 2001 SUV paid scant attention to road safety regulations. Official records indicate that the vehicle was cited for several brake violations and ordered out of service in September, and the man who died while behind its wheel told his wife that he was often given limousines in extremely poor condition to drive according to media reports. Attorneys representing the owner of the limousine company deny these claims and say that the Excursion failed its inspection for a number of minor issues that were subsequently repaired.

AAA: drivers are unaware of the limits of car safety tech

Missouri residents who have advanced driver assistance systems in their cars should know that they can backfire on them if they don't understand their limitations. A recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety addresses how drivers are overestimating their car safety features, and it raises questions about what will happen when semiautonomous vehicles become more common.

For example, 80 percent of drivers with blind-spot monitoring are not aware that it has a limited ability to detect cars, bicyclists and pedestrians when they are approaching quickly. In fact, 25 percent of drivers with this feature are so confident in it that they don't ever look for oncoming vehicles when switching lanes.

Prepare for autumn and winter driving challenges

Fall and winter driving are often a bit more challenging than driving during the spring and summer months. There are some special hazards that you should watch for during these colder months. Even though the Columbia area doesn't have horrible winter weather often, it is still important to remember that there are a variety of things that make driving more difficult.

Many drivers will assume that they can continue to drive in the same manner as they have been for the past few months. Unfortunately, those drivers might cause crashes that impact innocent people. Even though these irresponsible drivers might do something that results in a wreck, here are some ways that you can improve your safety on the road.

Data from 2018 International Roadcheck now released

Truck, bus and other commercial vehicle drivers in Missouri may recall the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's International Roadcheck back in June. This three-day event consisted of random inspections at various levels to ensure both driver- and vehicle-related safety compliance. The CVSA has released the results of this Roadcheck and noted what the most common violations were.

Just over 67,500 roadside inspections were conducted in all, including 45,400 that were Level I inspections (the most comprehensive). Out of this, 11,897 vehicles were put out of service. Just over 21 percent of those trucks had undergone the Level I inspection. As for drivers, 2,664 were put out of service.

Don't risk your career with a criminal record

While some criminal offenses might be obvious acts that are difficult to defend -- for example, assault or burglary -- other criminal offenses are concerned with minute details of the law. When accused of a crime such as this, the person in question may not even know that they committed an offense. These white collar crimes are common in business law.

White collar criminal accusations can be defended against because many crimes within this category of the law require that intent was involved in order for a person to be successfully charged. If you face accusations of a white collar crime in Missouri, it is important that you take immediate action to defend yourself. These charges may be a felony. This could lead to jail time and could have serious implications on your career.

Car crash injuries reduced at traffic circles

Missouri drivers may be in a surprising amount of danger on rural roads. While these streets often have far less traffic than urban roads, the combination of high speed and poorly controlled intersections may lead to disaster. Many rural intersections are joined only by a stop sign while the speed limits on these roads may be as high as 55 miles per hour. As a result, when a crash occurs, the consequences can be catastrophic. Some intersections may even develop a reputation for danger. The hazards can increase at night, in poor weather or when visibility is hindered by trees, brush or other vegetation.

While many areas have looked into installing traffic lights to address the issue, it may not be a complete solution. Traffic lights are proven to reduce the number of car accidents that take place at a given location. However, they may not significantly reduce the number of injuries and other serious incidents. On the other hand, roundabouts, or traffic circles, present another alternative. While they are less likely to substantially lower the number of accidents at a particular intersection, they can play a major role in making injury crashes less likely. In fact, roundabout construction often pays for itself within a year due to reduced emergency expenses.

IIHS finds shortcomings in vehicle automatic safety systems

Consumers shopping for new vehicles in Missouri will discover that many new models offer crash avoidance systems. These are meant to prevent drifting out of lanes, maintain safe distances and apply brakes when a collision appears imminent. Although automakers might market these features with the term "autopilot," testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety detected problems that would require drivers to pay attention at all times.

The institute tested vehicles from Mercedes, BMW, Volvo and Tesla. According to the IIHS report, the safety systems created risk for drivers and passengers in certain situations. For example, Tesla Model S and Model 3 did not avoid a crash when automatic braking was on but adaptive cruise control was off. In the tests, the vehicles hit a stationary balloon meant to represent an immobile vehicle.

When your spouse gets injured, you suffer, too

It's never easy to care for an injured spouse. Not only will the healthy one feel sadness and empathy for the injured spouse's suffering, but the healthy spouse will also be tasked with caregiving activities while tending to every aspect of family affairs. Not only that, but due to the injured spouse's situation, he or she won't be able to continue working and contributing to the family income.

When considering the above, it's easy to understand how the injuries of one spouse can cause the healthy spouse to suffer as well. It's for this reason that the spouses of accident victims may choose to file a loss of consortium claim against the party that is responsible for the injured spouse's condition.

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