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ELDs now mandated on all commercial trucks

A new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandate now requires that all commercial trucks be equipped with electronic logging devices. ELDs are already in use among large truck carriers like FedEx and UPS; however, many trucking companies in New York and across the U.S. are protesting the change.

The reasons for the change are manifold. The FMCSA claims that ELDs will more accurately log truckers' hours and monitor truckers' activities. They will also facilitate the sharing of driver records as well as prevent cheating, which was a perennial issue with paper logs. ELDs connect with a truck's engine and can record the times that the engine is running, when the truck is in motion, and the number of miles it goes.

Sleepy driving is seriously risky

It's a dark and stormy night, and driving conditions are already compromised. You get off of a long shift or decide to drive home for the weekend after staying up to study for a test. Despite being very tired, you decide to get behind the wheel and drive. Suddenly, a car in front of you stops short, but you are too sleepy to react correctly, causing you to crash into it.

Whether during a rainy night or the middle of the day, sleepy driving is a dangerous choice. Unfortunately, people choose to drive sleepy every year, leading to thousands of car accidents. Many of these accidents result in death or serious injuries for the victims, as well as thousands of dollars in damages.

Winter driving safety tips

During the dog days of winter, millions of U.S. drivers face treacherous weather-related road conditions. According to the Federal Highway Administration, 22 percent of all traffic accidents are the result of poor weather. However, there are several safety measures New York motorists can take to minimize risks and avoid car accidents during the winter months.

Two of the top causes of winter-related crashes are ice and black ice, which can both make it difficult for a vehicle's tires to grip the road. Black ice tends to form at night or very early in the morning, so drivers should use extra caution during those times. Drivers should also slow down, increase their stopping distance and give themselves more time to reach destinations when rain, snow or sleet is present.

Popular cellphone game linked to surge in car accidents

The augmented reality game 'Pokémon Go" may have caused as many as 145,000 traffic accidents in New York and around the country, according to a study released recently by Purdue University. Researchers studied accident data compiled in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, both before and after the game's July 2016 release. They found that the number of crashes near locations known as Pokéstops rose by an alarming 26.5 percent as the game grew in popularity.

Gamers visit Pokéstops, which are usually landmarks such as statues or monuments, to download items that they need to continue playing. According to the Purdue University study, 29,000 road users would have been injured and 250 killed if the rise in motor vehicle accidents near Pokéstops in Tippecanoe County occurred across the country. The researchers also noticed that the number of accidents blamed on distracted drivers increased sharply following the release of the game.

AAA finds truck safety technologies could prevent crashes

A study by AAA has analyzed the effect of four safety technologies: lane departure warning systems, automatic emergency braking, air disc brakes and video-based onboard safety monitoring systems. These devices are meant to reduce the crash risk of commercial trucks in New York and across the U.S., and their benefits may be more than safety related.

Authors of the study did not conduct original research but rather consulted the best published studies from government departments like the DoT, industry groups like the American Transportation Research Institute and academic journals like the Journal of Safety Research. They also reviewed the truck crash rates between 2010 and 2015 and formed an advisory panel.

Safety precautions could prevent holiday road-trip fatalities

With winter storms predicted along the coast over the holiday weekend, motorists in New York and other states may want to know more about roadway safety during Thanksgiving. In an alert that was issued in November 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advised drivers to check their windshield wipers, as well as the air in their tires, before heading out on the country's roadways. NHTSA officials also suggested that motorists allow themselves enough time to reach their destinations without rushing.

This advice is especially appropriate given the overall mortality rate in the U.S. during Thanksgiving. As medical professionals have long known, mortality rates spike about this time of year due to factors such as seasonal effects, coronary events and car accidents. According to the NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 764 deadly motor vehicle collisions and approximately 50,000 non-fatal accidents happened during Thanksgiving in 2012. These conclusions were drawn from the most recent data available.

Holiday risks: 3 scary facts about the holiday season

With the holidays just around the corner, you're busy making plans to see your family and friends. Many of those plans involve driving around the city and state, getting to the homes of those you care about.

Any time the holidays arrive, there's more traffic and a higher risk of getting into a crash. Here are a few things you should know about this busy time of year and the risk to you and your family on the roads.

Slips and falls may be preventable

Business owners throughout New York may be surprised at the results of a CNA study on slip and fall accidents. Researchers at the financial corporation have studied the slip and fall liability claims that the insurer received from Jan. 1, 2010, to Dec. 31, 2016, coming to several important conclusions.

Slip and fall accidents were high in frequency but low in severity, though some victims wound up with traumatic brain injuries. Filing a general liability claim rather than a workers' compensation claim was the norm for such victims. The most common cause of accidents was poor surface resistance, as 50 percent of floors on surveyed sites failed to produce the minimum dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF) level.

Hurdles involved in regulating driverless car safety

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has stated that there are some obstacles that it must clear up before it can develop permanent safety standards for self-driving cars. The agency plans to make the notice public by the end of November. Thus, New York motorists will have to wait a while before self-driving cars become readily available.

In early October, a Senate committee approved a bill giving the NHTSA power to grant waivers to automakers for up to 80,000 self-driving cars produced every year in the next three years. This means that automakers need not meet all safety guidelines; the result is a speeding up of the production and testing process. The NHTSA is also responsible for writing new safety regulations for such vehicles.

Drowsy driving a major concern for night shift workers

While night shift workers are known to develop conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, they may also be at risk for a car crash on the way home due to drowsiness. Night shift workers in New York and across the nation should consider the results of a study made by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Researchers conducted two driving sessions for 16 participants, both on a closed driving track. The first session took place after the participants had slept an average of 7.6 hours, and the second after they had completed their night shift at the place of their employment. Half of all sessions ended early with the drivers losing control of their vehicles. In the second session, researchers could detect signs of drowsiness within the first 15 minutes, on average. 37.5 percent of the drivers were involved in a near-crash event, and over a third had to use emergency braking maneuvers.

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