Southeast Oklahoma Personal Injury Law Blog

Car accident victims should stay calm and take photographs

Being involved in an automobile accident can be an extremely traumatic experience for an Oklahoma driver. The actions a car accident victim takes in the seconds and minutes after a collision can be crucial. This is especially true if negligence played a role and they plan to pursue civil remedies to hold the at-fault party financially responsible.

The most important thing to do following a car accident is to remain calm and call 911. Nothing can be gained by getting into a verbal or physical confrontation with the other driver, and emotional outbursts could prove embarrassing when they are described by eyewitnesses in court. Instead, a car accident victim should take photographs of their car and the other car involved. Vehicles should be left in place until the police arrive unless they pose a danger to other road users.

Common causes of car-truck accidents and tips for staying safe

When driving in close proximity to a commercial vehicle, such as a tractor-trailer, it's a must to take additional care as a means of preventing an accident.

There are many common causes of car-truck accidents, including the following:

  • Drowsy driving: Commercial truckers are known for pushing their mind and body to the limit, which often leads to drowsy driving. Even if a trucker doesn't fall asleep at the wheel, driving drowsy impairs their ability to make sound decisions.
  • Drunk driving: This includes driving under the influence of illegal drugs, prescription drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Distracted driving: Anything that takes a driver's attention away from the road is a distraction. Common examples include texting, talking on the phone, reading a map, eating or drinking.
  • Reckless driving: This takes on many forms, such as excessive speeding, changing lanes without signaling and aggressive driving.
  • Unrealistic schedule: With this, the trucking company is part to blame. An unrealistic schedule may cause a trucker to drive too fast and/or avoid taking the necessary breaks.
  • Lack of training: Commercial truckers have a challenging job. The right training can be the difference between causing an accident and remaining safe at all times.

Tips for avoiding driving while distracted

Distracted drivers in Oklahoma may be less safe than those who give the road their full attention. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2017, more than 3,000 people died in car accidents involving distracted drivers. While texting or talking on a cellphone is a major distraction, it is not the only one.

Driver should limit the number of passengers in their car and the distractions caused by those passengers. They can encourage passengers to be quiet and helpful in choosing a radio station or watching traffic. Drivers should also avoid eating and driving. This extends to passengers as well, particularly if they are children. Dealing with children who may be arguing over or spilling food can mean that a driver's attention is not on the road.

CMVs may soon be required to install automatic emergency braking

Truck fleet owners in Oklahoma may soon have to install automatic emergency braking on all new commercial vehicles. It depends on whether a bill that was introduced on July 16 in the House of Representatives will be passed or not. The bill is H.R. 3773, the Safe Roads Act of 2019, and it would require AEB systems on new CMVs and their use during vehicle operation.

Three congresspeople proposed the bill just as members of the Truck Safety Coalition descended on the nation's capital to push for more truck safety regulations. The non-profit safety organization, which includes members who have lost family members in truck accidents, has long been pushing for an AEB mandate. It also continues to advocate for mandatory speed limiter use as well as front and side under-ride guards.

Feds set to approve changes to trucker driving time rules

The federal government is planning to ease hours-of-service regulations for truckers working in Oklahoma and across the U.S., according to media reports. If the regulations are changed, it would mark a major victory for trucking industry lobbyists, who believe the rules are too restrictive.

Current regulations limit commercial truck drivers from driving more than 11 hours per 14-hour shift. Drivers are also required to take a 30-minute break within a specified amount of time on the road and to be off duty for a minimum of 10 straight hours before beginning their next shift. Drivers who fail to follow these rules could be pulled off the road for one day or more, which cuts into their wages.

IIHS study shows drivers confuse ADAS with autonomous cars

Advanced driver assistance systems, as their name implies, are not meant to replace drivers altogether. However, a combination of deceptive marketing, faulty technology and the ignorance of so many drivers has contributed to widespread confusion. This can be seen in Oklahoma, as elsewhere in the U.S., and it is reflected in a small way in a recent study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The IIHS asked more than 2,000 drivers what they think would be allowed behind the wheel when these five ADAS are engaged: Autopilot, Traffic Jam Assist, Super Cruise, Driving Assistant Plus and ProPilot Assist. The developers' names being withheld, participants could only form their opinion based on the name. Nearly 50% said that the Autopilot would allow hands-free driving, and over 30% said it would allow talking on the phone.

Is it time to consult with a personal injury attorney?

If you suffer any type of injury, such as broken bones in a motor vehicle accident, your health is your top priority. However, you shouldn't wait too long to learn more about your legal rights in Oklahoma for seeking compensation from the negligent party.

Many people shy away from contacting a personal injury attorney because they're concerned about the expense associated with doing so. Fortunately, personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee, meaning they don't receive any money unless they win your case.

Possible complications associated with hernia mesh products

It's not unusual for hernia patients in Oklahoma to have surgical mesh inserted. While hernia mesh products have been in use since the 1950s, different materials, coatings, and other features have been used in some of the subsequent products manufactured since this time. Some of these products have been defective, which has contributed to instances of life-changing injuries.

The problem with some types of hernia mesh is that materials weren't thoroughly tested prior to manufacturing them. If mesh of this nature is defective, an affected patient may need to undergo another procedure to remove the mesh and repair the hernia again. One product involved in lawsuits contained polyester instead of polypropylene, but the substitute material wasn't properly tested. Another product has been associated with bowel obstruction and adhesions, and there was one with a defective base layer.

How Oklahoma residents can prove a driver was negligent

Like the rest of the United States, Oklahoma is home to hundreds of car accidents every year. Oklahoma residents who have suffered a personal injury in a car accident may be wondering how they can pursue compensation for lost wages, medical bills and other damages. While it might seem straightforward to prove the other driver was negligent, in reality, it can be a complicated process. After all, the definition of negligent driving in casual conversation is very different from the legal definition.

For example, in order for a driver to be considered negligent in a court of law, it must be proven that his or her negligence was the major factor in the car accident. Simply being negligent does not necessarily mean the driver was at fault. For instance, perhaps the driver was texting on his or her mobile phone when the accident occurred, but if the driver was parked, he or she would not be found at fault even though using a mobile phone generally counts as negligent driving.

Operation Safe Driver Week in July will focus on speeding

Both passenger vehicle and CMV drivers in Oklahoma should be aware that the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will be holding its annual Operation Safe Driver Week from July 14 to 20. During this week, police will be boosting up the enforcement of traffic laws. Police will especially look for signs of distracted, impaired and aggressive driving as well as violations like seat belt neglect, failure to obey traffic signals and failure to keep a safe distance from vehicles.

The overall focus this year is on speeding. Speeding drivers contribute to 94% of all traffic crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Highway Loss Data Institute states that speeding has been behind more than one-quarter of all car crash deaths since 2008.

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