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New Haven Connecticut Personal Injury Law Blog

Concerns arise over livestock haulers' safety exemptions

Commercial truckers in Connecticut, as elsewhere in the U.S., were mandated back in December 2017 to install electronic logging devices on their trucks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration instituted this move as a way to reduce fatigue-related accidents and save money on paperwork. From that time to Sept. 30, 2018, livestock haulers had a temporary exemption from the ELD mandate.

This is just one of several exemptions that the FMCSA implemented for livestock haulers, largely through the influence of agricultural industry representatives like the National Pork Producers Council and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. These representatives have, for example, fought against certain mandatory breaks, pointing out what that can mean with livestock in the back of the truck.

Why drunk driving can lead to serious injuries

There are many ways in which a person in Connecticut can be killed in a drunk driving accident. In some cases, one can go into shock from losing too much blood in a short period of time. It is also possible for someone to bleed out from a massive cut or other open wound. Individuals who are struck by a vehicle could be killed because of blunt force trauma.

The same is true for those inside of a vehicle that causes a crash. A driver or passenger may collide with a solid object such as a steering wheel or any other hard surface in the car or truck itself. Glass can pierce the skin or a vital organ and lead to a person's death. In the United States, an individual is considered to be legally drunk if he or she has a blood alcohol content of .08 percent.

ZF makes the benefits of external airbags clear

The car parts manufacturer ZF Group has released some safety data that could get automakers to consider the benefits of external airbags. However, Connecticut residents should know that external airbags, like self-driving cars, are far from being perfected, much less implemented on vehicles.

ZF discovered that external airbags mitigate the severity of vehicle occupant injuries by up to 40 percent. The manufacturer has created a model that goes on both sides of a vehicle and acts as an extra crumple zone, absorbing the shock of a side-impact crash. The model is about 80 inches long, 21 inches high and 15 inches wide and weighs 13 pounds. The dimensions will vary with the vehicle.

Slip-and-fall accidents

Many claims are filed against businesses over slip-and-fall injuries in Connecticut every year. There are several important things that small business owners should know about their potential liability in slip-and-fall claims.

Slip-and-fall accidents arise after a person trips or slips and is injured as a result. Generally, a property owner has a duty to keep their business safe for customers by providing adequate lighting, cleaning up spills, removing obstacles and repairing broken flooring that could lead to a fall.

Accident risks jump for drivers with insufficient sleep

Chances are high that many drivers in Connecticut have not gotten a good night's sleep. Results from multiple surveys show that about one-third of people fail to sleep at least seven hours each night. Health experts recommend that adults sleep for seven to nine hours a night. Sleep deprivation impedes people's ability to operate a vehicle safely. Drowsy drivers contribute to about 7 percent of all motor vehicle accidents. Among fatal crashes, as many as 16 percent of them arise from sleep-deprived drivers.

To investigate the dangers of driver fatigue, a new study analyzed 5,470 accidents and interviewed many of the drivers involved. Compared to people who got the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep, drivers who only got six hours of sleep caused crashes 1.3 times more often. When sleep dipped to five hours, drivers experienced a crash risk 1.9 times higher than the properly rested group.

Distracted driving impacts road users in many ways

Motorists in Connecticut know that they need to stay alert while driving. However, many people operate motor vehicles while distracted. This is considered among the most dangerous actions that a motorist can take. To understand why, it's important to know that a person could be visually, cognitively or manually distracted while behind the wheel.

While manual distractions involve driving without both hands on the wheel, visual distractions involve not looking at the road while driving. Cognitive distraction is when a driver is not focused on the road even if he or she is looking at it. For example, drivers who are fatigued are experiencing a form of cognitive distraction as it can reduce their ability to focus on the road.

Why groups want crash avoidance tech required on large trucks

Semis and large trucks were behind 4,300 deaths in 2016, according to federal data. This represents a 28 percent increase from 2009, and as a result, more and more groups are pushing for new federal safety guidelines. Truckers in Connecticut should know that many are especially determined to make crash avoidance systems a requirement on all heavy trucks. The National Transportation Safety Board has been recommending this since in the late 1990s.

The NTSB has criticized the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, however, for ignoring these recommendations. An article from The Kansas City Star brought attention to these criticisms and has prompted some Congressional members to see if Congress cannot take decisive action to improve large truck safety.

Many drivers ill-informed about vehicle technologies

Car safety technologies can help Connecticut drivers to avoid accidents and injuries. However, in many cases, they may not understand how these advanced systems work and may tend to overestimate their capacities, according to a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Fetures like blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control can be great tools for drivers in staying safe on the roads, but many drivers expect too much from these systems.

According to researchers, survey respondents often seemed unaware of the limitations of these technologies. This kind of awareness is important, especially as autonomous driving technologies improve. When drivers use these systems correctly, they can improve safety significantly, but if people put too much trust in the systems, they could find themselves in serious car crashes. The survey noted that almost 80 percent of drivers don't understand how blind-spot monitoring technologies can be limited. Many expected the systems to be better at spotting bicycles or fast vehicles, and one-quarter noted that they no longer check visually for oncoming cars, relying instead on alerts from the system.

Inspection blitz reveals many unsafe commercial vehicles

Connecticut drivers may be interested in the results of this summer's three-day blitz of commercial vehicle inspections. Agencies from across North America joined forces in an inspection campaign that resulted in over 20 percent of inspected vehicles, which were primarily transport trucks, being taken out of service for safety violations.

Regulatory agencies and law enforcement authorities joined forces in June to complete the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's annual 72-hour International Roadcheck across North America. Over 67,000 commercial vehicles were given roadside inspections between June 5 and 7. The stated focus of this year's initiative was reducing hours of service violations. As a result, roughly 2 percent of drivers whose records and qualifications were subjected to inspection were sidelined, with the leading reason being a violation of hours-of-service regulations. Drivers were also commonly removed from the roadways for having improperly classified driver's licenses or maintaining false duty statues.

Safety tech lowers number of reverse crashes

A report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety concluded that rear automatic braking in newer vehicle models can reduce the number of backup crashes by 62 percent. Connecticut residents with a recent model will want to see if rear autobrakes are an option, though it is a fact that they are only available on 5 percent of new vehicle models.

Furthermore, the report states that combining rear autobrakes with rearview cameras and sensors can lower the number of backup crashes by 78 percent. The IIHS came to these conclusions after testing several vehicle models with and without the safety tech. It gave superior ratings to 2017 Subaru Outback and Cadillac XT5 SUV and advanced ratings to four other models. Yet one car failed to automatically brake when approaching a dummy car.


Mark H. Pearson, Attorney at Law
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