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New Orleans Personal Injury Law Blog

CVSA's brake inspection spree to go from September 15 to 21

Every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance holds a week-long inspection spree to enforce brake safety among CMVs, especially big rigs. This spree, called Brake Safety Week, has been scheduled to take place from September 15 to 21, so truckers in Louisiana will want to make sure they are meeting the federal requirements for regular truck maintenance.

A functioning brake system is essential to truck safety. Brake hoses and tubing, which are the special focus of the 2019 Brake Safety Week, are just some of the more important components. These should not leak, and they should be properly attached and flexible. Otherwise, truckers may find that it takes longer than usual for their vehicle to come to a stop. These are the issues that often contribute to rear-end collisions.

FMCSA expected to relax hours-of-service rules

Truck drivers in Louisiana and around the country are generally paid based on the number of miles they cover and not the amount of time they spend on the road. This compensation arrangement could prompt drivers to remain behind the wheel even after fatigue has set in, which is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has put hours-of-service regulations into place that strictly limit the length of their shifts. Groups lobbying on behalf of the logistics industry have long urged regulators to relax the rules, and recent media reports suggest that the Trump administration plans to do just that.

The FMCSA is widely expected to issue what is known as an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that will allow comments to be submitted about the current hours-of-service regulations. This is often done before rules are strengthened or relaxed. Comments about a 30-minute break that truck drivers are required to take after eight hours on the road are likely to be numerous.

Some safety technology could distract older drivers

Louisiana residents concerned about road safety might like to know about a new study on distracted driving conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The report suggests that in-vehicle technology typically distracts older drivers more than their younger counterparts.

In-vehicle systems such as touch screens are meant to make driving easier and reduce the need to look away from the road. These consoles typically allow drivers to perform different tasks like calling and texting by using voice commands. However, these systems are sometimes too complex for older drivers who did not grow up with the technology.

Promising therapy for traumatic brain injury victims

An estimated 3 million people in Louisiana and across the United States experience a traumatic brain injury each year. The damage sustained during a traumatic brain injury can cause permanent side effects or death.

There are currently no treatment options available for traumatic brain injuries. A recent study by researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio developed a new therapy that shows promise for brain injury victims. The therapy helps stop cell death from occurring. When tested in mice, the mice who received the treatment had brains that looked similar to those who hadn't suffered a traumatic brain injury.

The top causes of car crashes in the U.S.

In 2018, there were around 40,000 traffic deaths throughout the United States, marking it the third straight year that crash-related fatalities reached that devastating number. By understanding the top causes of car accidents, Louisiana drivers could reduce their risk of getting in a crash and save lives.

According to federal crash data, drunk driving continues to be a leading cause of car crashes in the U.S. Alcohol reduces a driver's response times and alertness, which greatly increases the risk of getting into a wreck. To avoid drunk driving accidents, drivers who have been drinking should wait until they are sober before getting behind the wheel or arrange for alternate transportation. Distracted driving is also a major cause of traffic accidents. Smartphones and GPS devices are often blamed for distracting drivers, but things like eating, drinking or putting on makeup can also cause drivers to take their attention from the road and cause a collision. Safety experts say that drivers should keep their eyes on the road at all times to avoid crashes.

FMCSA reports 10% rise in truck accidents causing injury or death

Motorists who collide with large commercial trucks in Louisiana could suffer serious and sometimes fatal injuries. A new report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has recorded a 10% increase in accidents with large trucks that involved injuries or deaths from 2016 to 2017. In 2017, 4,237 fatal truck crashes occurred, and another 344,000 accidents injured people. Despite this data, the Department of Transportation is reportedly taking steps to ease restrictions on hours of service rules, which could worsen the problem of truck driver fatigue.

Truck driver fatigue contributes to a portion of these wrecks. The National Transportation Safety Board considers it a major problem. Among fatal truck crashes, 83% happened between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Fourth of July is the deadliest DUI holiday

Independence Day can be deadly on Louisiana highways. According to one survey of DUI fatality information, the Fourth of July is the most dangerous holiday when it comes to drunk driving deaths. There is a 23% increase in DUI fatalities on the Fourth in comparison to six other major holidays. Independence Day is generally full of outdoor activities, including fireworks, picnics and beach activities. Unfortunately, many people may still choose to drive after drinking at the festivities.

Between 2010 and 2017, 1,192 people lost their lives in car accidents linked to drunk driving on the Fourth of July, which is 87 more deaths than what occurred on Memorial Day weekend during the same years. Memorial Day, another summer weather holiday, was the second most deadly occasion for drunk driving. In addition, the Fourth of July is much more dangerous than other summer days; fatalities are 57% more likely during the holiday in comparison to average summer days. The most dangerous holidays are all summer occasions, including the Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Labor Day. The winter holidays of New Year's, Thanksgiving and Christmas round out the deadliest drunk driving dates.

IIHS on drivers' confusion of ADAS with self-driving cars

Self-driving cars are far from becoming a reality. Yet there are many drivers in Louisiana, as elsewhere, who think that advanced driver assistance systems are capable of autonomous operation. This is a mistake that could cost a driver their life.

Drivers are not entirely to blame, though. Part of the problem is deceptive marketing. For example, Tesla's Autopilot program has a name that seems to promise more than it can deliver. In a recent study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, over 2,000 drivers were asked what they thought would be allowable in a car with Autopilot. Nearly 50% erroneously believed that they could drive hands-free. Just over 5% thought they could even take a nap.

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.

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

Chip Forstall
320 North Carrollton Avenue
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New Orleans, LA 70119

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