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Columbia, Missouri Personal Injury Law Blog

GPS use, texting among the most distracting activities to drivers

Whereas some new technology has improved vehicle safety, other features are only serving to endanger drivers in Missouri and across the U.S. Infotainment systems come with various features, many of which are irrelevant to driving and include functionalities for calling, texting, updating social media and so on. Researchers at the University of Utah have completed a study for AAA that reveals how distracting these systems are.

For their study, the researchers asked a group of drivers aged 21 to 36 to use the features of 30 infotainment systems on new 2017 vehicles while on the road. Participants failed to halt at stop signs, swerved out of their lanes and drove well below the posted speed limit. Even listening to the radio proved to be distracting.

Common causes of commercial truck accidents

Missouri readers depend on commercial trucks to transport goods in and out of the state. In fact, there are over 15 million commercial trucks operating in the U.S., and they deliver around 70 percent of all food and products used by Americans. However, the downside of this delivery system is that there has been a 20 percent increase in the number of truck accidents over the last decade.

A major study on the causes of truck accidents was conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The study analyzed data from 120,000 fatal truck accidents that occurred over a period of 33 months and found that 56 percent of them were caused by truck driver errors.

What kind of therapists will a brain injury victim need to see?

If you or a loved one suffered from a serious traumatic brain injury (TBI), you're probably desperate to find treatments and therapies that can help you recover and heal. Unfortunately, even though certain types of therapies, experimental treatments, medications and surgeries can help some victims of TBI, most doctors agree that the best medicine for TBI is time and rest.

That said, there are a wide variety of therapies that can benefit TBI victims in certain situations. You might want to review a complete list of therapies to see if one of them could be good for you or your loved one's situation.

ZF external airbags could reduce the risks of side collisions

Drivers in Missouri may be familiar with the predictive systems that come with certain vehicles. They sense an impending crash and can, for example, tighten the seatbelts or adjust the suspension to protect the occupants. However, there is an emerging technology that provides a more drastic, but also much safer, solution, and it's the external airbag.

The ZF group has data showing that external airbags can reduce occupants' injuries by up to 40 percent in the case of a side-impact crash. The external airbags, linked to cameras and sensors, deploy a split second before the crash, acting as an added crumple zone and absorbing some of the shock.

Truck driver training is thorough for good reason

Truck drivers in Missouri and around the country work grueling shifts that can last as long as 14 hours, and remaining vigilant becomes increasingly difficult for them as the hours pass. This should be a concern for all road users as semi-tractor trailers weigh up to 80,000 pounds and require the length of two football fields to come to a complete stop when fully laden even when road and weather conditions are ideal.

The training truck drivers receive is thorough, and those hoping to earn a commercial vehicle driver's license must be able to show that they can safely control a semi-tractor trailer in all kinds of weather. They are also taught how to deal with a variety of emergency situations. However, keeping track of far smaller vehicles that disappear into and then emerge from large blind spots is their biggest challenge. This can be especially difficult in heavy traffic or when visibility is hampered by rain or fog.

How to improve your safety during rush hour

Rush hour rolls around twice a day, lasting for several hours each time. Even if you do your best to stay off the road during this time, it's not always possible. For example, if you work in downtown Columbia, there's a good chance you'll find yourself stuck in traffic at least once a day.

In addition to the way it slows you down, there's another reason rush hour driving is so stressful: It increases the risk of an accident.

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.

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