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Columbia, Missouri Personal Injury Law Blog

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.

How to avoid drowsy driving

According to a poll from the National Sleep Foundation, 60 percent of adults said that they had operated a motor vehicle while drowsy. Another 37 percent said that they had fallen asleep behind the wheel. Missouri drivers and others should know that driving after being awake for 18 hours is similar to driving with a blood alcohol content of .05 percent.

That number increases to .10 percent for drivers who have been awake for 24 hours. Those who drive while tired will likely have poor reaction time and poor decision-making abilities. To help drivers better understand what it's like to drive while tired, a representative from Chevrolet brought a simulator to several cities across the country. In the simulation, drivers wear a suit weighing 23 pounds and special goggles. The goggles cause the eyes to close for one second for every 10 seconds in the simulation.

Study finds bias in how bail is determined

Black defendants in Missouri and throughout the country are more likely to be detained while their legal cases play out. They also tend to receive higher bail amounts than white defendants. Research has shown this to be true regardless of whether the judge is white or black. However, research has also shown that experience can play a role in overcoming racial bias in the justice system.

According to a study of cases from Philadelphia County and Miami-Dade County, racial bias was worse in South Florida. However, experienced judges were less likely to let racial stereotypes factor into their bail decisions. An experienced judge is one who has 9.5 years of experience. In addition to more training for judges with less time on the bench, other reforms could make the bail system more equitable for all defendants.

Driverless cars not expected to ruin insurance industry

Missouri residents may be familiar with the various predictions as to what will happen when driverless cars become the norm. Some experts have focused on the fate of the auto insurance industry and made dire predictions: A 2016 Morgan Stanley report estimates that the industry will shrink by 80 percent by the year 2040.

However, two things suggest a different outcome: newer research and the recent spate of fatal accidents involving autonomous vehicles. A report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that the insurance industry will simply evolve rather than go away. The nature of policies may change, and who pays for them may change, creating opportunities for companies that are quickest to adapt.

Poorly maintained brakes are a roadway danger

People on the roads in Missouri may be troubled to learn that poorly maintained brakes are one of the top reasons that trucks are pulled out of service following inspections. Due to the size, mass and weight of large commercial trucks, an accident that involves these vehicles can easily lead to catastrophic injuries, permanent disabilities and even fatalities. Negligent maintenance of brakes can mean that a trucker is unable to stop his or her vehicle, especially in slippery, wet or emergency conditions, causing it to slam into other cars, properties or even pedestrians.

In response to this danger, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducts an annual Brake Safety Week for enhanced inspection of trucks on the road in an attempt to cut down on the number of truck crashes caused by negligent equipment maintenance. During 2018, the event will take place from September 16 to 22. While the brake initiative was reduced to a one-day event in 2017, it was expanded once more to a week after 14 percent of all of the trucks inspected on that day had to be removed from the roads due to violations of brake safety regulations.

Defending yourself against drug paraphernalia charges

It is possible to be charged with a drug crime without actually being found with any drugs in your possession. In an effort to control drug trafficking in Missouri, equipment known to be used in drug manufacturing processes or use is illegal to sell or have on your possession.

If enough evidence is found in regard to drug paraphernalia possession, you may be accused of drug trafficking or drug manufacturing, even if no drugs were found. If you have been found with drug paraphernalia on your person, it is important to understand how the law works in Missouri and how you should defend yourself on the charges.

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