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Pomona Personal Injury Law Blog

Opioid use may be behind many fatal 2-car crashes

California drivers should know about a study published in JAMA Network Open because it concerns the role of prescription opioid use in many fatal two-car crashes. Analysts found that in these crashes, the drivers who were deemed at fault were twice as likely as the other driver involved to test positive for opioids. This shows that the nationwide opioid epidemic is starting to impact the roads.

The study involved 18,321 fatal two-car crashes, all of which were recorded in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System that is maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A total of 918 at-fault drivers were found to be using opioids whereas 549 tested positive for it who were not at fault. Also, 5,258 at-fault drivers tested positive for alcohol, compared to 1,815 who were not at fault.

Five major causes of truck collisions

There are five common causes of large truck crashes that California drivers should be aware of. The first cause is connected to everyone: driver error. In fact, 81% of truck crashes that involve driver error are the fault of passenger vehicle drivers, not truckers. Still, truckers are just as liable as other drivers to get behind the wheel drunk, drugged or drowsy. Speeding and distracted driving are other forms of negligence.

The second frequent cause is bad weather. Since 18-wheelers are heavy and take longer than other vehicles to come to a stop, truckers receive special training on how to brake on wet and icy roads. Inexperienced truckers, though, may cause their rig to hydroplane or even jackknife in such inclement weather.

Artificial intelligence may help keep drivers from distractions

Everything from smartphones and dashboard touchscreens to billboards and radio controls can distract drivers in California. That's why it's no surprise that distracted driving is a major cause of car accidents. Every day in the U.S., these accidents result in some nine deaths and 100 injuries, according to the National Safety Council.

Yet current attempts to prevent distracted driving have largely failed. Most drivers become distracted even though they know it's wrong. If their car has an alert system that lets them know they are distracted, they can easily ignore it. Automakers and researchers are now looking to improve the cameras and sensors on these systems with the help of deep learning and various advances in computer vision technology and algorithms.

Limits and regulations that truck drivers must follow

Trucks play a crucial role in the American economy. They are responsible for the transportation of goods across the country, and they can move a lot of product at one time. While these vehicles are important, they can also be dangerous for others on the road due to their large size and heavy weight.

Trucks are significantly bigger than other vehicles on the road, and they are heavier as well. In a collision, a normal passenger vehicle, van or pickup truck will sustain the majority of the damage no matter the speed of the collision. For this reason, it is especially important for truck drivers to remain vigilant and stay focused. There are  specific safety regulations they must follow as well.

Uber safety precautions criticized by the NTSB

The California-based ride-sharing company Uber has been harshly criticized for not having an adequate safety plan in place during autonomous vehicle testing in a series of documents from the National Transportation Safety Board. A 49-year-old woman was struck and killed in March 2018 by an Uber SUV that was being used to evaluate self-driving technology in Arizona. The documents were released by the NTSB on Nov. 5.

According to the NTSB, Uber was aware of the safety risks when the woman was killed because their self-driving vehicles had already been involved in dozens of crashes. An investigation into the accident revealed that the equipment being tested by Uber was not able to react and take evasive action when pedestrians stepped into the roadway. Uber stopped evaluating its autonomous technology shortly after the accident, but testing resumed in December 2018.

Switch to standard time could lead to drowsy driving

Every year in California and across the U.S., an average of 328,000 car crashes occur because of drowsy driving. The National Sleep Foundation reports that these incidents annually result in some 50,000 debilitating injuries and 6,400 fatalities. The problem is not that people are unaware of the danger: In AAA's 2018 Traffic Safety Culture Index, 96% of respondents said driving drowsy is dangerous, but 27% admitted to doing it in the previous 30 days.

The risk for drowsy driving increases with the end of daylight saving time according to AAA and other experts. While it is good to gain one hour for sleeping, the change disrupts people's sleep/wake cycle and circadian rhythm. This will naturally affect people in different ways, but drivers will most likely experience a lack of alertness behind the wheel. This may last for several days.

Crash deaths down, pedestrian deaths up in 2018

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released statistics indicating that the number traffic accident fatalities in California and across the country declined slightly from 2017 to 2018. The same statistics, though, show that the number of cyclists and pedestrians killed increased nationwide. According to the NHTSA, there were 36,560 traffic fatalities in 2018, 2% less than in 2017. The number of traffic deaths per 100 million miles driven dropped by 3%.

Motor vehicle travel continues to get safer. During the year 1975, when significantly fewer cars were on the roadways and considerably fewer people lived in the United States, there was an average of 3.4 fatalities per 100 million miles driven. That figure in 2018 was 1.1 fatalities per 100 million miles driven. The number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths, though, rose during 2018 to figures last seen in 1990. According to the NHTSA, there were 857 cyclist fatalities in 2018, a 6% increase over 2017, and 6,283 pedestrian fatalities, a 3% increase over 2017.

4 common factors that may have contributed to your truck accident

Getting behind or near a tractor-trailer when driving on the California highways is not an unusual occurrence. You may be trying to get to your destination and find yourself around one or more of these big rigs, and could understandably feel a little nervous. After all, you may be unsure whether the driver of the truck sees you, or whether he or she might make a sudden move that puts you in danger.

While most truck drivers are safety-conscious and want to make sure that everyone on the road stays safe, truck accidents are not unusual. Any number of factors could contribute to a serious crash, but some factors show themselves more often than others.

Study shows that distracted teens cause vehicle crashes

California residents may have heard that Teen Driver Safety Week is set to occur from Oct. 20 to Oct. 26, and MSU researchers have already released information about teen drivers from a study conducted between 2011 and 2013. Researchers tracked the driving habits of 3,400 drivers with the help of monitoring instruments. The study offered researchers a surprising amount of information regarding events occurring inside and outside vehicles. In comparison with traditional studies, this study offered previously undiscovered information about what causes vehicle crashes.

It is not surprising to learn that many crashes were caused by distractions related to cellphone usage. Researchers studied how often drivers became distracted. Results led to recording 60 types of coded categories related to distracted driving. These categories included texting, browsing the web, talking on cellphones and listening on cellphones. Even though using cellphones while driving is linked to many automobile accidents and truck accidents, drivers also become distracted for many other reasons.

How some states rank in teenage drunk driving

Many California residents are aware of the National Minimum Legal Drinking Act. This act mandates that a person needs to be over 21 years of age in order to consume alcohol in the US. Violating this act can bring about different forms of punishment. Despite having us act in place, there are still a large number of teenagers who consume alcohol.

It seems that more teenagers drive after drinking than adults. Data from the CDC shows that 5.5 percent of teenagers have operated a motor vehicle after drinking any alcohol while 3.1 percent of adults have been behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol. Unfortunately, the results are often disastrous. In the year 2017, just over 10,000 drunk driving fatalities were reported in the US.

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Pomona, CA 91766

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