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Staten Island Personal Injury Law Blog

Bendix unveils new products to improve truck safety

At the first annual North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta, brake manufacturing company Bendix unveiled a range of products and updates that could drastically decrease truck accidents. Many trucking companies in New York and elsewhere in the U.S. are taking note.

The first product introduced was the Intellipark system, an electronic parking brake that automatically engages the air brakes if the driver forgets to. Interlocks, installed either on the seat, safety belt or cab door, are used to activate the system. With its ergonomic switches replacing the standard push-and-pull switches, Intellipark will also facilitate manual engagement of the air brakes.

Congress files bills asking for FMSCA rule

In the summer of 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that it would table a rule related to sleep apnea testing. However, there were bills filed in both the House and the Senate that would direct the FMCSA to adopt such a rule anyway. Sponsors include Chuck Schumer from New York and Cory Booker from New Jersey. Throughout 2016, the agency had taken suggestions from its own Medical Advisory Board as well as from truckers and others impacted by the rule.

Some drivers believe that current sleep apnea rules are just a way for doctors and testing companies to make money. Currently, there are several different standards that are used to refer a driver for testing. If a rule was passed, it would result in a uniform standard as to when testing should occur for sleep apnea. It would also create a set standard for how workers would be treated for the condition if diagnosed with it.

Study demonstrates dangers to young football players

Blows to the head, even if they are relatively minor, can cause greater brain damage than you might realize — especially in a young child. Mild brain trauma is often more severe than it seems, and many of the effects can last up to a year if a fully grown, healthy adult receives a brain injury.

However, for children, mild brain injuries from a blow to the head can cause more long-lasting issues, only some of which are now coming to light. Recently, a study concluded that children who play tackle football before the age of 12 and continue to play until they finish high school often experience lasting effects well into adulthood.

Impatience and anxiety are often factors in truck accidents

Sharing the road with large commercial vehicles that can weigh up to 40 tons can be a nerve-wracking experience for New York drivers. Passenger vehicle occupants made up 68 percent of truck accident fatalities in 2014 according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and a study conducted in 2013 revealed that the federally-mandated underride bars fitted to the rear of most trailers are only really effective when vehicles strike them in the center.

Sobering studies such as these serve to remind motorists about the hazards of driving in close proximity to semi-tractor trailers, but these risks can be mitigated. Tractor-trailers have large blind spots that allow much smaller passenger vehicles to disappear into what are known as no-zones, and researchers from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that about a third of the accidents involving passenger vehicles and commercial trucks occurred when cars, SUVs or pickup trucks entered these zones.

Conflicting attitudes about distracted driving

Most New York drivers would probably agree with the view that distracted driving should be illegal since it is often a factor in accidents that result in injuries and death. Interestingly, however, they might also be part of the large percentage of drivers who admit that they are sometimes distracted while driving but believe they can handle it.

According to a study by Progressive Insurance, over 90 percent of drivers believe distracted driving should be illegal, and a large majority of drivers believe that distracted driving is the major factor in car accidents. In contrast, about a third of all drivers also admit to driving while distracted but defend the action because they believe they are able to engage in the behavior and still drive well.

Be careful when driving close to home

Many New York motorists feel comfortable driving on familiar roads close to home. Many of them, however, are not as alert because these are roads that they travel every day, and thus this can be a dangerous act. In fact, many car accidents take place within 25 miles of their homes.

Since drivers repeat daily trips through their neighborhood, they are at ease multi-tasking at the wheel. Auto accidents can happen even near home because of the driver's lack of attention. Negligent drivers cause wrecks by doing distractive things such as texting, making calls, and listening to music.

Using headlights during the day reduces car accidents

New York drivers know that it is crucial to drive with the headlights on at night or during inclement weather. However, multiple studies have shown that headlights can also be beneficial when used during the day. In fact, studies have shown that headlight use during the daylight hours reduces the number of car collisions.

Using headlights during the day can make vehicles more visible to other drivers, especially when there are multiple distractions in the road or the glinting sun makes it more difficult to see the road. Although the results of the studies vary, some have shown that daylight headlight use can reduce the number of two-vehicle accidents by up to 5.7 percent. Headlight use during the day also reduces the number of pedestrian accidents by up to 12 percent and the number of motorcycle accidents by up to 23 percent.

Insane driving distractions people have seen on the road

Driving distractions often don't seem like a big deal. You lean over to pick up your phone after it falls on the floor. You take a sip of your hot coffee during an early morning commute. You look away from the road for just a second to see who texted you and how important it is.

Little things. Yes, they often cause accidents, but they feel little.

Facilities managers overlook many slip and fall hazards

The Walk Zone Safety Report prepared by a safety equipment supplier should act as a wake-up call to facilities managers throughout New York. The company surveyed professionals in risk assessment, safety and building maintenance throughout many industries to calculate their awareness of floor safety risks. Survey responses revealed widespread underestimation of slip-and-fall risks throughout commercial and public buildings. Although the data documented 10 different types of locations as fall risks, 46 percent of respondents expressed their belief that their facilities presented three or fewer fall risk areas.

The vast majority of same-level fall risk areas went unaddressed by organizations. Although 92 percent of places put floor mats at entrances, nine other dangerous zones received no attention by most companies. Floor mats meant to prevent workers or customers from falling sometimes create hazards when they shift or get bunched up. The survey showed that 15 percent of organizations reported that floor mats had caused falls.

Collision avoidance systems can greatly reduce accidents

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently conducted a study and found that collision avoidance systems have had a tremendous impact on reducing car accidents and injuries in New York and around the country. Researchers studied more than 5,000 accidents that would fit the criteria of what lane change and blind spot warning software are designed to prevent.

The study found the rate of single-car accidents, side-swipe accidents and head-on collisions was actually 11 percent lower for vehicles that had this software installed. Researchers also discovered the rate of injury in accidents of the same nature was 21 percent lower with cars that utilized this technology. Taking these statistics into the broader spectrum, estimates are that if all vehicles were equipped with this technology in 2015, over 55,000 injuries could have been avoided.

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