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New Orleans Personal Injury Law Blog

Defective motorcycles can be dangerous

Motorcycle accidents in Louisiana can take lives, especially as motorcyclists are relatively unprotected as they drive. When these crashes are caused by a mechanical defect, bikers could have escaped death or serious injury if their motorcycles had been manufactured correctly. When defects in motor vehicles come to light, the manufacturer may initiate a recall, or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may require it to do so. At this time, the manufacturer must file a public safety report that contains details about the defects, including how they depart from federal standards for motorcycle safety.

The report must identify the vehicle involved, the event that led to the determination of the defect, a schedule for the recall and a description of how the problem will be fixed. Manufacturers are also responsible for informing consumers about the defects both through their own dealership purchase records and state vehicle registration details. Unfortunately, many serious recalls are only prompted by catastrophic motorcycle accidents that bring dangerous vehicle defects to light. The manufacturer is required to repair the defective motorcycle at no cost to the consumer, even if the owner of the vehicle is not notified directly about the recall.

The safety benefits of replacing intersections with roundabouts

Thousands of road users are killed or catastrophically injured in Louisiana and around the country each year in motor vehicle accidents that take place at intersections. The vast majority of intersections in the United States are controlled by stop signs or traffic lights, but research suggests that roundabouts would provide a far more effective way to prevent collisions that result in serious injury or death.

Roundabouts do not reduce the number of car accidents, but they do prevent what are known as T-bone collisions. These occur when the front of one vehicle strikes the side or another. T-bone accidents at intersections are usually caused by drivers who run through red lights or stop signs and often take place at high speeds. Roundabout force drivers to reduce speed, which leads to slower collisions and less severe injuries.

Common complications in truck accidents

For some people in Louisiana, truck accidents may be more serious than motor vehicle accidents involving cars. The weight of trucks means that they can cause more damage to both property and individuals. Furthermore, the process of determining who is at fault can be more complicated. However, there are steps a person can take after a truck accident to help clarify the situation.

First, people involved in an accident should try to ensure that everyone is safe and contact emergency services. Next, if possible, they should take photos and collect eyewitness information. They should also try to get copies of the police report. All of this information can be useful in determining liability.

Holding negligent drivers accountable for car crashes

Car accidents can cause serious harm to people in Louisiana. Unfortunately, many of those crashes are caused by negligent drivers. Negligence has a specific legal definition that can be particularly important when pursuing compensation for damages caused in a car crash. In order for a driver to be found negligent, they must have violated their required duty of care for another driver. In general, motorists have a responsibility to drive safely and to protect other drivers and pedestrians.

It is important to show that the other driver was responsible for violating that duty. This can include video evidence of poor driving, breathalyzer test results, cell phone records or less objective methods like witness testimony or examination of skid marks. In addition, it must be shown that this dangerous behavior was the actual cause of the car crash. Drivers would not be held at fault if there was another cause that led to the collision.

Failing to understand autonomy could make cars less safe

Many new cars sold in Louisiana boast futuristic safety technology that can supposedly eliminate many traffic hazards. While these semi-autonomous systems do reduce the risk of fatal accidents, many drivers have trouble understanding the technology. This lack of understanding can actually lead to new roadway dangers.

It is becoming increasingly common to find new vehicles with some sort of automated assistance technology. These systems can monitor blind spots, prevent lane drifting or even assist with braking. However, different automakers have their own systems that all work differently. This can make it difficult for drivers who need to rent a car or switch to another vehicle.

NIH: teen drivers more dangerous with a license than with permit

A study from the National Institutes for Health shows that teen drivers become more dangerous in the first three months of being licensed when compared to the last three months of having a learner's permit. In fact, the risk for a crash or near-miss increases eight times from one period to the other. Louisiana motorists and parents may want to know why this is the case.

NIH researchers, together with those from Virginia Tech, analyzed the driving behaviors of 90 teen participants from the time they obtained their permit to the end of their first year as licensed drivers. Software in each vehicle recorded speed and braking, and dash cams monitored both the driver and the road.

Opioid use means higher risk of fatal car crashes

Louisiana residents should be aware that, according to the CDC, every year in the US, 214 million prescriptions for opioids are issued. However, the rate at which opioids are being prescribed per 100 people has gone down from 72.4% in 2006 to 66.5% in 2016. Most opioids warn users on their labels that they should not drive or operate machinery while taking the medication, yet opioid use among drivers is growing.

A study that appeared in JAMA Network Open has linked opioid use with a higher risk for fatal car crashes. Researchers studied 18,321 pairs of drivers who died in two-vehicle crashes between 1993 and 2016 and found that nearly 55% of the drivers who died and tested positive for opioids crashed because they couldn't remain in their lane.

U.S. drivers distracted by group chats, internet memes

Drivers in Louisiana and elsewhere know that they're not supposed to use their cellphones while behind the wheel, but that doesn't stop many of them from doing it. In fact, a new study finds that group chats and internet memes are some of the top cellphone distractions for drivers.

Early in 2019, Wakefield Research and Root Insurance teamed up to survey almost 2,000 U.S. drivers about their views on distracted driving. They found that a whopping 99 percent of drivers say that cellphones are among the top three driving distractions in the United States. Of the drivers who say they personally find cellphones distracting, 52 percent say that cellphone group chats are the most distracting for them, 33 percent say memes and other forms of social media are the most distracting and 18 percent say streaming videos are the most distracting.

Root Insurance analyzes distracted driving behaviors

Many drivers in Louisiana and across the US engage in distracting behaviors even though they know they shouldn't. Root Insurance's second-annual distracted driving study confirms this fact in addition to other issues. Respondents were found to spend an average of 13 minutes a day using their phones while driving. Even when seeing police around, 38% didn't bother to put down their mobile devices.

Of the drivers who were surveyed, 52% said that group chats were most likely to take their attention away from the road to their phones while 33% said the same for social media and 18% for video streaming. Root Insurance discovered other unsafe practices among drivers, including grooming (18%), playing with a pet (13%) and changing clothes (12%). It was also revealed that 29% of those surveyed drive without their hands, using their knees or chins instead.

New Volvo technology will monitor for drunk, distracted driving

Volvo Cars is making plans to install onboard vehicle cameras and sensors that will detect when Louisiana drivers are distracted or impaired. The Swedish automaker will begin installing the technology in the early 2020s.

According to Volvo, its new technology will monitor drivers for signs they are intoxicated or not paying attention and send warning signals. If the driver does not respond to the warnings, the technology will intervene by slowing down the vehicle and parking it in a safe location.

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The Law Offices of W.A. “Chip” Forstall, Jr.

Chip Forstall
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