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Covington Personal Injury Law Blog

Understanding the impact of your truck accident

Chances are, if you are a driver, you are on the road with truckers. You likely understand that an impact with a vehicle of substantial size is likely to cause more severe and dangerous injuries than your typical car accident. If you have already experienced an accident involving a commercial truck, you may be wondering what steps to take next.

Informing yourself is usually a good start. By understanding some simple facts about trucking accidents, you can be prepared if you try for compensation for damages that occur as the result of another driver's negligence. In Kentucky, the knowledge about who might be responsible can also potentially help you win your case.

Heavy trucks and negligent drivers make for a deadly combination

You buckle your seatbelt and follow the posted speed limit. When changing lanes or turning, you are always sure to use your blinker. Phones are out of reach and there are limited to no distractions when you are behind the wheel. In short, you are a safe driver.

Sadly, even the world's safest driver is still at risk for serious injury. Large, commercial trucks are ever-present on Kentucky roadways, and many truck drivers engage in dangerous behavior behind the wheel.

Poor health may be factor in some truck crashes

According to research, trucking and health issues go hand in hand. The long, uninterrupted hours that truck drivers may spend behind the wheel without access to restful sleep accommodations and nutritious meals have previously been linked to a variety of medical issues, including lower back pain, diabetes and heart disease. Now findings suggest that commercial truck operators with three or more medical problems could pose a risk to others sharing the roads with them in Kentucky and around the country.

The study results were released in January 2017 by the University of Utah School of Medicine and published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. After evaluating both the accident and medical histories of nearly 50,000 commercial truck drivers, investigators concluded that the crash rate among truckers who have three or more health conditions was significantly higher than the crash rate among the study group as a whole.

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.

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