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New Haven Connecticut Personal Injury Law Blog

Study finds higher rates of injury for women in car crashes

Women in Connecticut are more likely to be injured in a motor vehicle accident than men. In 2001, a piece in USA Today suggested that seat belts that were not designed with women in mind were to blame along with how women tended to sit and several other factors.

However, the problem does not seem to have been addressed. A University of Virginia study has found that there is still a discrepancy in injuries. Women have a 73% higher chance of death or serious injuries compared to men.

Driving hours rule for truckers to change

Commercial truck drivers in Connecticut and the rest of the United States may soon be able to drive longer without having to stop to rest, as the Department of Transportation intends to relax its regulations. This change is something that has been pursued by the trucking industry for some time. However, safety advocates advise that such a move will result in weakened regulations and the occurrences of safety hazards from sleep-deprived truck drivers.

Long-haul truck drivers are currently restricted to driving no more than 11 hours during a 14-hour on-duty work period. The drivers are required to have 10 uninterrupted off-duty hours before their on-duty time period starts again. Drivers who will be driving for over eight hours must have a 30-minute break before the end of the eight hours.

MADD president: focus on making drunk driving prevention tech

Drunk driving is an epidemic as most drivers in Connecticut know. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it is behind 29% of all roadway fatalities. Drunk driving crashes accounted for 11,000 fatalities and over 200,000 cases of injury in 2017 alone. With automakers focusing so much on semi-autonomous vehicle technology, it may be a good time to start developing drunk driving prevention systems.

This is the belief that the national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving expressed in a congressional hearing in May of 2019. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, such a prevention system, if fully implemented, could save 7,000 lives annually. There are various ways to go about developing a system.

Distracted driving is becoming a larger problem

The urge to be as productive as possible has contributed to the problem of distracted driving on roads in Connecticut and other states. According to a AAA study, 88% of respondents said that they felt that distracted driving was becoming an increasing problem. In many cases, drivers feel as if they won't become a victim of distracted driving. Therefore, it is important for employers to use science in an effort to help limit distracted driving and its negative consequences.

Texting while driving may be the most dangerous kind of distraction a driver can face. This is because it involves cognitive, visual and manual distraction. In other words, the operator of the truck is taking his or her hands off the wheel, eyes off of the road and attention from the road to focus on the message. Fatigue can also be dangerous as it can increase the potential for an error.

Proving driver negligence in Connecticut

Car accidents are a leading cause of death in the United States, and Connecticut is no exception. Connecticut residents who have been injured as a result of a car accident may want to take the other driver to court in hopes of getting compensation for damages such as medical bills and lost wages. However, the court will first have to determine that the driver was indeed negligent. Even if it seems like a clear-cut case to the injured party, negligent driving has a specific legal definition.

First, it is important to remember that in order for a driver to be found negligent, the car collision must have resulted in a loss or personal injury. If no one was hurt and the victim's car was not damaged, the court will not be interested in charging the driver with negligent driving.

CVSA: Operation Safe Driver Week scheduled for July

Passenger vehicle and truck drivers in Connecticut should know about Operation Safe Driver Week, an annual event held by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. It is a period of increased enforcement of traffic laws, and it affects all drivers in North America. Drivers caught engaging in dangerous behaviors will be issued a warning or citation.

This year, the event will be held from July 14 to 20, and its special focus will be on speeding. Speeding is a factor in 94% of traffic crashes, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found back in 2015. NHTSA also found that in 2017, speeding contributed to 26% of traffic fatalities, or a total of 9,717 deaths.

Drivers distracted by phones even when they know it is wrong

Connecticut residents may have heard that the way to reduce distracted driving is to better educate people about the risks and better enforce the laws surrounding it. However, an online study from Wakefield Research, a market research firm, involving nearly 2,000 drivers across the nation shows that ignorance is not really the issue.

Almost half of the survey respondents said that distracted driving was what they worried about the most while on the road, and 99% even named phone use as among the main three driver distractions. However, individuals admitted to using their phones behind the wheel for about 13 minutes each day. Even after spotting law enforcement in the area, approximately two out of every five respondents said they didn't put down their phones.

Volvo hopes new safety technology will reduce drunk driving

Connecticut drivers may be able to purchase Volvos with additional safety features starting in the early 2020s. The company says it hopes to focus its safety efforts on avoiding accidents instead of mitigating the effects of a crash after it happens.

Volvo's new in-car safety technology will monitor drivers with cameras and sensors to detect signs of drunk or distracted driving. The system will note whether drivers are weaving from one lane to another or if they close their eyes. It will also monitor whether the driver has a very slow reaction time or has not touched the steering wheel for a long period.

Why Americans drive while distracted

The 2019 Travelers Risk Index asked over 2,000 people about their driving habits. Among the takeaways from the survey were that nearly 80 percent of consumers who responded said that they talk on the phone while driving. Furthermore, 30 percent admitted that they had nearly been in an accident because they were distracted. While distracted driving can be dangerous in Connecticut and across the U.S., many respondents said that they would have a hard time putting the phone down while driving.

In some cases, individuals didn't feel like they had a choice in the matter. For instance, some said that their bosses would be upset if they missed a call or weren't available after work. Others said that they didn't want to miss a call if an emergency happened after they left for the day. Another common reason for using a phone while driving is that it offered a chance to be productive.

NHTSA still hasn't taken action to prevent truck crashes

Connecticut motorists may be concerned to learn that more than 4,100 people were killed in large truck accidents on U.S. roads in 2017, which represents a 28 percent increase over 2009. Of those deaths, 68 percent were the occupants of passenger vehicles, 14 percent were motorcyclists, bicyclists or pedestrians and 17 percent were truck occupants.

According to truck safety advocates, many large truck crashes are rear-end collisions that could be prevented if certain federal regulations were enacted. Instead, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is accused of ignoring repeated recommendations by the National Transportation Safety Board to enact such regulations.At least 10 times over the last three decades, the NTSB has asked the NHTSA to mandate forward crash avoidance and mitigation systems on all large trucks, but the agency has failed to take any action.


Mark H. Pearson, Attorney at Law
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New Haven, CT 06510

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