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Covington Personal Injury Law Blog

Legs, feet most often injured in motorcycle accidents

Kentucky motorcycle drivers are required by state law to wear a helmet when they get on their two-wheeled vehicles. They may be wondering, however, what other protective gear they need to wear. Savvy riders, perhaps including some who learned the hard way, know that more gear is better when it comes to protection against injuries.

From 2001 to 2008, more than 1.2 million people nationwide were treated in emergency rooms for injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thirty-one percent of the injuries occurred to the feet and legs. Head and neck injuries were the next most common, with 22 percent of the injuries. They were followed by injuries to the upper body, hands and arms, and lower body.

Pedestrian fatalities on the rise

Motor vehicle accidents where pedestrians are involved are much more likely to result in serious injuries or fatalities than those in which two vehicles collide with one another. Pedestrians are more vulnerable by virtue of their lack of protection from the forces of impact. According to an estimate reported by the Governors Highway Safety Association, 6,000 pedestrians were killed during 2016 in motor vehicle crashes in Kentucky and across the U.S.

That statistic represents a 22 percent increase in the number of pedestrian fatalities over the course of just two years. Among the reasons for the increase in pedestrian deaths are large, high-volume city streets, high levels of traffic congestion and overall road design. According to a study by the University of California Transportation Center, pedestrian accidents are demonstrably more likely with each additional lane of traffic beyond two.

Texting and driving in Kentucky

According to a survey, about a third of drivers in Kentucky and across the U.S. feel confident in their ability to safely text and drive, but over 90 percent believe the activity should be illegal. The online survey was conducted by Progressive Insurance in August.

Federal statistics show that distracted driving is a major problem on U.S. roads. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 3,477 people were killed and nearly 400,000 were injured in accidents that involved distracted drivers in 2015. The Progressive study found that most participants recognized the dangers of distracted driving, with 65 percent saying that they believe that texting or looking at smartphones is the top cause of car crashes in the U.S. However, 34 percent of participants also claimed to be somewhat to very confident in their ability to safely text and drive.

Collision avoidance systems save lives in Kentucky

Many car manufacturers boast about various technological safety features that their vehicles offer, including different types of collision avoidance systems. In order to determine how effective these systems are in saving lives, researchers completed a study in which they compared vehicles with these safety features with vehicles that did not have them.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reviewed data from 5,000 accidents that happened in 2015. The accidents that were reviewed were the kinds that collision avoidance systems are meant to prevent, including sideswipes and head-on crashes. Technology features such as blind-spot warning and lane-departure warning systems are meant to reduce the numbers of these types of accidents.

Why large trucks and small vehicles collide

Kentucky residents may believe that accidents involving large trucks take place overnight, on the interstate or that they are caused by aggressive drivers. However, these are not assumptions that are borne out by the facts. In about 70 percent of accidents between large trucks and smaller vehicles, the driver of the smaller vehicle was responsible. This may be because drivers of those vehicles drive too fast or are in a truck driver's blind spot at the time of a crash.

Data shows that there are more fatal accidents between the hours of 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. than at any other point in the day. This suggests that human error may be playing a role in these accidents as it would seem more likely that drivers would be awake and alert during this time.

Defective fuel pump results in truck recall

Kentucky truck drivers should be aware that over 1,700 tractor-trailers will be recalled because of a potential defect in the fuel pump in some Cummins engines. An estimated 1,737 Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks that were built with Cummins ISX15 engines are included in the recall.

The recall targets the 2017-2018 Peterbilt trucks built between Dec. 20, 2016 and April 17, 2017, which includes the 857, 579, 567, 389 and the 367 models. The Kenworth trucks included in the recall are the 2018 model year trucks manufactured between Jan. 9, 2017 and May 5, 2017 and include the W900, T880, T800, T680 and C500 trucks.

FMCSA report reveals alarming rise in fatal truck crashes

Fatal commercial truck and bus accidents are becoming worryingly common in Kentucky and other U.S. states according to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The agency reports that the number of large buses and semi-tractor trailers involved in deadly collisions increased by 8 percent in 2015 to 4,311, and a similar surge was observed in the number of fatal accidents tractor-trailers are involved in per 100 million miles traveled.

The FMCSA figures follow a disturbing road safety trend. The National Safety Council reported that road fatalities had increased by 7 percent in 2015 over the prior year after years of steady improvement, and an increase in traffic levels caused by inexpensive fuel and plentiful jobs was thought to be largely responsible. However, the FMCSA report suggests that it is passenger vehicles and not trucks and buses that are making the nation's highways more crowded and dangerous.

Lawmakers seek to rein in autonomous vehicle testing

Leading figures in the technology sector and many road safety advocates say that car accidents in Kentucky and around the country could eventually be a thing of the past thanks to self-driving cars, but the speed at which autonomous vehicle technology is being developed and deployed has alarmed some lawmakers. Measures being considered by the House Energy and Commerce Committee would require car manufacturers to certify their autonomous systems before testing them on public roads, and it would also place limits on the number of self-driving cars that can be tested at any given time.

Bills dealing with autonomous vehicle technology are being considered in both the Senate and House, and road safety groups like Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety are concerned about systems that have not been properly tested being made available to the public. There are currently no federal guidelines in place for self-driving cars, and manufacturers like Google, Apple and Ford tend to test their autonomous vehicles in states like California and Florida that allow self-driving cars to be on public roads.

Supreme Court declines to hear truck driver disclosure case

Road safety advocates in Kentucky and around the country may have welcomed news that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear arguments in a case filed against the Department of Transportation over the information it shares with employers about truck drivers. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association backed the six truck drivers who filed the lawsuit. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit ruled in favor of the DOT in December, and the nation's highest court announced on June 19 that it would not be revisiting the decision.

The truck drivers behind the litigation claim that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is part of the Department of Transportation, violated the 1974 Privacy Act by revealing information about minor violations such as parking infractions and hours of service irregularities. According to the plaintiffs, the DOT should only disclose information about accidents and serious safety-related violations to employers.

Study highlights the importance of child seat belt laws

Kentucky law requires the operators of motor vehicles to ensure that all child passengers are properly secured by seat belts or appropriate restraints or buckled into approved child safety seats, but the data suggests that these laws are routinely ignored. The Kentucky State Police says that only 67 percent of the state's motorists regularly fasten their seat belts, and research from Harvard University and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center indicates that this is a pervasive problem in southern states.

The researchers studied fatal car accidents involving children using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and they found that one in five of the 2,885 children under the age of 15 killed on the nation's roads between 2010 and 2014 were not properly restrained or were not restrained at all. The roads of Southern states were especially hazardous for children during the period studied, and Mississippi was found to have the deadliest roads of all when population sizes were taken into account.

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