Southeast Oklahoma Personal Injury Law Blog

The dangers of a bus crash: How safe are school buses?

Bus crashes are fairly common, and when they happen, it's possible that dozens of people could be hurt or killed. Many people don't understand why they're not wearing seat belts when on a bus, and they don't know what would happen with debris in the case of a collision.

To understand how a bus crash can cause injuries to you or your children, you need to know why buses have the rules they do and why they are designed in the way they are. For instance, you know that children riding on a school bus usually don't have to wear seat belts. Why? The buses are designed in a way that may keep children safe without needing seat belts.

Truck crashes put spotlight on driver fatigue

Truck driver fatigue can result in serious crashes on Oklahoma roadways. Under current regulations, truck drivers are allowed to work for 14 hours per day and spend 11 of those hours driving. Truckers are required to record the hours that they work in an electronic log. While driver safety is a top priority for trucking companies, it is not always possible to prevent accidents from occurring.

This may be true even when communities build roads aimed at easing traffic in a given area. In North Dakota, the Highway 23 bypass, a $25 million construction project, was built in New Town to make it safer to drive on Main Street. However, on Oct. 5, 2018, a commercial truck drove over the center line of the road and ran into another vehicle. A similar accident occurred in 2017 on the same bypass involving two commercial vehicles that ran into each other and caused a fiery blaze.

Three-day CVSA inspection spree set for June

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will be holding its annual International Roadcheck from June 4 to 6, 2019. The inspection spree will consist of mostly Level I inspections, which are the most comprehensive, so CMV drivers in Oklahoma should make sure they are compliant with all federal vehicle and driver regulations.

Brake, tire/wheel and brake adjustment violations were behind many of the nearly 12,000 vehicle out-of-service orders that were issued during the 2018 road check. About 2,600 drivers were put out of service for various violations. The most common were violating hours-of-service regulations, carrying the wrong class license and falsifying logs.

Ford's 'Sleep Suit' simulates experience of drowsy driving

March 15 was designated as World Sleep Day. To remind drivers of the connection between proper rest and road safety, Ford unveiled a "Sleep Suit" that can simulate the experience of drowsy driving. Oklahoma residents should know that this suit is being integrated into Ford Driving Skills for Life, a free driver training program for 17- to 24-year-olds.

The Sleep Suit consists of goggles, which are connected to a smartphone app, and a cap, a vest and arm and ankle bands, which are weighted. The app allows anyone who puts on the goggles to experience what are called microsleep episodes -- brief moments where the brain shuts down involuntary due to fatigue.

Tesla crashes raise safety concerns

Tesla cars are becoming increasingly popular in Oklahoma and across the United States. However, a series of deadly crashes involving the electric-powered vehicles has some people questioning the safety of the "Autopilot" system and engine battery.

On Feb. 24, a 2016 Tesla Model S was traveling between 75 and 90 mph on a Florida highway when it careened off the road, struck a median and hit some trees. The force of the collision killed the driver and caused the car's powerful lithium-ion battery to burst into flames. When the car's wreckage was transported to a local impound lot, the battery caught fire three more times over the course of several hours. Apparently, crashes can cause the batteries to overheat and ignite repeatedly. Tesla is aware of the issue and has posted an emergency response guide for rescuers on its website.

How a car accident could cause major financial issues

You're a responsible adult. You pay your bills on time. You work a good job. You take care of your family. Unfortunately, no matter how fastidious you are at handling your personal life and finances, you can't control everything that happens to you.

All it takes is another driver making a bad decision, such as reading a text message or sending an email, to leave you with serious injuries and financial problems. You might assume that because you have a good motor vehicle insurance policy that you won't have to worry about the financial consequences of a crash clearly caused by another driver. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case.

What truckers can do about the rise in large truck crash deaths

Truckers and their employers in Oklahoma should know that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released some disturbing data during the 2019 Transportation Research Board's annual meeting. The organization found that the percentage of fatal crashes involving at least one large truck increased each year from 2015 to 2017. The percentage of large truck occupant fatalities rose during that same period.

In particular, the percentage of fatal large truck crashes that took place in work zones went up each of those three years. From 2016 to 2017, there also was an increase in the percentage and number of deadly large truck and/or bus crashes. Yet truckers can stem the tide of deaths through safe driving practices.

How speed limiters could reduce large truck crash deaths

According to federal data, large truck crash fatalities went up between 2009 and 2017. This came despite a corresponding decrease in miles traveled by commercial truckers. Oklahoma drivers have good reason to be wary around big rigs because many are not equipped with the safety technology that can help them prevent crashes.

The non-profit Road Safe America points out how most of the states that saw the highest increases in truck crash deaths have 70 mph speed limits. This is too fast for commercial trucks, according to safety advocates. If speed limiters are set at 65 mph, they can give truckers more time to avoid crashes and can reduce the severity of crashes.

Recalls of dangerous meat products up sharply

The number of recalls of poultry and food products has significantly increased since the Food Safety Modernization Act was passed in 2011. High-profile recalls of food items like eggs, romaine lettuce and beef have impacted consumers in Connecticut and all over the country. A report by the Public Interest Research Groups indicated that flaws in the food safety system may have contributed to a spike in the number of recalls.

The PIRG reported that the number of recalls overall has risen by 10 percent since 2013, and the number of recalls of the most dangerous poultry and meat products has jumped by 83 percent in that time. This increase in recalls of poultry and meat that could cause health problems includes those for E. coli in beef and salmonella in poultry. The report noted that is legal to sell meat that has tested positive for certain strains of salmonella. Some recalls could be avoided, according to the report, if the law was changed.

How ADHD could be a safety risk

Drivers in Oklahoma and throughout the country who have ADHD are less likely to get into a car accident if they are medicated. This is the main takeaway from a study published in JAMA Psychiatry that involved 2.3 million people. The study's lead author said that those with ADHD tend to have trouble paying attention, which could make them more likely to get into an accident. Previous studies have backed that assertion.

The study used insurance claims from 2005 to 2014 to identify 2.3 million American drivers who had ADHD. All of the drivers were over the age of 18 and had an average age of 32. Of these individuals, roughly 84 percent were given at least one prescription medication for the condition. Researchers found that males who were medicated were 38 percent less likely to get into a crash compared to those who had ADHD but were not medicated.

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