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New Orleans Personal Injury Law Blog

Safe Driver Week set for July

Each year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance spearheads Operation Safe Driver Week. The goal of the traffic safety enforcement crackdown is to limit unsafe driving habits and the accidents they cause. This year, the event is scheduled for July 15 - 21 throughout Louisiana and the rest of the nation.

The goal of Operation Safe Driver Week is noble given that most vehicle crashes are caused by driver behavior. In fact, 88 percent of all truck crashes and 93 percent of all passenger vehicle crashes are caused by human error. By heavily enforcing traffic laws, the CVSA hopes to correct many of the drive errors that lead to these accidents.

Stricter seat belt laws could save lives

The seat belt laws in Louisiana are among the strictest in the nation as even rear seat passengers in the Pelican State can be ticketed for not buckling up. Road safety advocates have long urged lawmakers in other states to pass similar legislation, and the findings of a study published by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health on March 29 could make these arguments more persuasive. A team of researchers studied liver injuries suffered by car accident victims between 2010 and 2015, and they found that seat belt use greatly increased the chances of surviving such an injury.

The study, which was based on information taken from the National Trauma Data Bank, revealed that seat belt use made severe liver injuries far less likely. They also discovered that car accident victims who suffered serious liver injuries died almost twice as often as crash survivors who suffered moderate or minor liver damage. It's important to note that the liver performs vital life functions and is one of the human organs most often injured in motor vehicle accidents.

Scientists to conduct research on brain injuries in women

Many women in Louisiana suffer traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, from playing sports, serving in the military or getting in a car accident. However, since the vast majority of TBI research has been conducted on male brains, there is little information available about the ways female brains react to concussions.

To address the issue, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Brain Bank has teamed with PINK Concussions, a nonprofit organization, to carry out further research on brain injuries in women. To do that, they need more brains. The most effective brain injury research is conducted after a patient has died. However, the world's largest brain bank, the National Brain Bank, possesses fewer than 10 female brains.

National safety group hopes to end fatal accidents by 2050

Despite recent efforts to curb the epidemic, an average of around 100 people die on American highways every day. A transportation safety group is seeking to reduce the number of traffic fatalities in Louisiana and across the country to zero by 2050.

Known as Road to Zero, the 675-member safety coalition is headed by the National Safety Council. On April 22, 2018, the group released a written report outlining their plan for reducing traffic fatalities to zero by 2050. The report, written by Rand Corp, highlights three major goals over the coming years.

Settlements for commercial truck accidents

Louisiana victims of commercial truck accidents caused by truck driver or trucking company negligence have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit. Rather than going through litigation, though, they may be able to have their case resolved out of court through a settlement. This could save both time and money.

Settlements are usually achieved through mediation, negotiations, or arbitration. These are all examples of alternative dispute resolution methods. Because of its confidentiality, ADR allows both sides to be less defensive and more candid with each other about who was at fault and how much the settlement should be. In addition, it does not force either side to make any admissions of fault. ADR can be conducted even while the case is being litigated.

Software could prevent accidents involving self-driving cars

As self-driving technology becomes available to more drivers in Louisiana and elsewhere, many are becoming complacent by trusting the software to operate their cars without them. Some motorists allow the self-driving technology to take over while they watch movies, play games or even take a nap.

However, drivers should never take their eyes off the road. In fact, self-driving cars have already become involved in fatal accidents when their drivers failed to pay attention to the road in front of them. The most notable accident involved a self-driving car owned by Uber. The car struck and killed a pedestrian who was not in a crosswalk. It was found that the driver had been distracted just moments prior to the accident.

Portable scanners can help diagnose brain injuries

For people in Louisiana who have suffered a head injury, it is important to obtain a quick and accurate diagnosis of the trauma. Brain injuries can be traumatic or acquired. In general, traumatic brain injury is caused by a force or similar impact. Examples include falls, car accidents or physical assaults. Acquired brain injury is something that happens to the brain after birth that does not involve external physical force. For example, it could describe damage due to a tumor, stroke or hypoxic brain injury.

Every year, about 2,685 people die due to brain injuries. There are a number of specific types of traumatic brain injury, including concussions, contusions, penetrating injuries and second-impact syndrome.

New study analyzes driver behavior

According to a recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 88 percent of respondents said that distracted driving is becoming increasingly common. The study included 2,613 licensed drivers 16 or older in Louisiana and elsewhere who had operated a vehicle in the past 30 days. The number of respondents who said that they used a cellphone regularly while driving increased by 46 percent since 2013.

Despite this, 78 percent of respondents said that texting is a significant danger, and 58 percent said that using a phone while driving is a danger to their safety. According to earlier data from the AAA foundation, a driver who uses a cellphone increases his or her risk of crashing by 400 percent.

CVSA schedules 2018 International Roadcheck for June

Every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducts a 72-hour International Roadcheck across the country, where inspectors stop commercial truck drivers and bus drivers at random and check for compliance with safety guidelines. Truckers in Louisiana should know that this year's inspection spree will be conducted from June 5 to June 7 and that the CVSA will be conducting the most thorough inspections possible, Level I inspections.

This means that the inspections will cover both driver compliance and vehicle-related compliance. A special point of focus for the CVSA this year is hours-of-service violations. With the U.S. Department of Transportation now requiring all commercial trucks to have electronic logging devices, hours-of-service regulations can be more strictly enforced. Truckers cannot falsify the number of hours they drove with an ELD like they can with paper logs.

Helmets can help protect motorcyclists' spines

Motorcycle drivers in Louisiana may be concerned about how to face the risks they deal with every time they take the roadways. Because motorcyclists and their bodies are open to the elements, when they suffer an accident, they are at particular risk of serious injuries, lifelong disabilities and even fatalities. Motorcyclists can use equipment in order to reduce their risk; federal statistics indicate that in 2016, 1,859 people's lives were saved due to wearing helmets while driving their motorcycles. In addition, researchers indicated that another 802 lives could have been saved that year if all motorcyclists wore helmets when taking to the roads.

Using a motorcycle helmet is known to reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury in a motorcycle accident. However, there have been concerns that the weight of the helmet could potentially increase torque on the cervical spine, therefore not preventing spine injuries or even making them more likely. However, a study conducted by the University of Wisconsin recently showed that wearing a helmet in a motorcycle accident does actually lower the likelihood of a fracture to the cervical spine.