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Covington Personal Injury Law Blog

Device can detect last few phone actions of drivers

It may be easier to identify Kentucky drivers who cause accidents due to phone distractions if state authorities decide to use a new device known as the "textalyzer". The device can be attached to a phone to check a driver's last few actions. It can also tell whether the driver was using the phone in hands-free mode. Although privacy advocates have expressed concern about it, those who have worked on developing the device say it does not download content.

An advocacy group started by a man whose son was killed while riding in a car with a driver who was texting worked with a technology company to develop the device. Lawmakers in several cities and states have expressed interest in it. Drivers do not always admit that they have been using their phone when an accident happens, and it can be difficult for police to check their stories. In the accident that killed the man's son, the driver claimed to have fallen asleep. It took six months for the father to obtain a copy of the phone records through a civil lawsuit.

Compensation for PSTD related to car accidents

When Kentucky residents are involved in a severe car accident, they may suffer post-traumatic stress disorder. These accidents usually involve the death of someone or severe physical trauma, and in some cases, people may be able to collect compensation for pain and suffering related to the crash as well as compensation for medical bills or vehicle repairs.

If victims are interested in seeking compensation for a mental health issue like PSTD, they should be aware that proving these issues is not easy. Although physical damage is easy to prove with diagnostics, photos and X-rays, damage to someone's mental health is not as easily demonstrated.

More deaths caused by distracted driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, of the traffic fatalities caused by human choice, the rate of fatal accidents caused by distracted driving increased faster in 2015 than by speeding or drunk driving. Distracted driving can involve any action that takes a motorist's attention away from the road, but one very common source is smart phones.

Many believe that an increase in distracted driving may be a contributing factor in the rise in the number of traffic fatalities. Between 2008 and 2014, there was a general decrease in fatal crashes. However, between 2014 and 2015, the number of fatal crashes rose, and the trend continued in 2016.

Cargo securement emphasized in 2017 Roadcheck campaign

When the 2017 International Roadcheck inspection event begins on June 6, safety inspectors in Kentucky and around the country will be placing special emphasis on cargo securement. Although all violation categories are checked for compliance during each annual inspection blitz, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance chooses a different area of focus every year as a reminder to those who are involved in the industry of that category's importance in commercial trucking safety.

Both trucks and their drivers are examined for violations during a North American Standard Level I inspection, which is the type of inspection that will most often be conducted during the 72-hour Roadcheck campaign. Truckers who want to prepare for the event in advance can review recommended tips online in a flyer that has been made available to the public by CVSA officials.

Automated trucking technology may complicate claims

Kentucky truckers may be interested in learning about a new technology company that is pioneering revolutionary changes in the industry. By placing remote controls in trucks, the firm hopes to make a semi-autonomous fleet that drivers can control remotely from offices.

The push toward semi-autonomous trucks is likely to have a major impact on laws and accident claims related to the trucking industry. The software uses sensors and radar to direct the vehicles and enables truckers to remotely control their rigs from offices. During the initial phases, these trucks still have drivers inside the vehicle ready to take control in case of a failure or problem. The ultimate goal of this company and the industry in general is to remove the need for an operator in the truck entirely.

The number of traffic deaths is rising

According to the recently released estimates from the National Safety Council, automobile deaths in Kentucky and the rest of the nation totaled 40,200 in 2016. That high figure, which was a 6 percent increase from the previous year, can be partially attributed to an increase in driving spurred by a thriving economy and inexpensive gas.

NSC officials say that traffic fatality rates have increased in consecutive years. The increase trend is supported by findings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which reported that the number of fatal crashes for the first nine months of 2016 was 8 percent more than that reported for the same period in 2015.

Poor health increases crash risk for truck drivers

Truck drivers with multiple health conditions are much more likely to be involved in traffic accidents, according to a study. Researchers found that many truck drivers in Kentucky and around the nation have trouble maintaining their health because their job requires that they sit behind the wheel for long stretches. Many also tend to have poor eating and sleeping habits.

The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine, examined the medical records of almost 50,000 commercial truck drivers and found that 34 percent of them showed signs of one or more health conditions linked to driving performance problems. These conditions included heart disease, diabetes and low back pain. The researchers also scrutinized the crash histories of the drivers and discovered that those with three or more "flagged conditions" were up to four times more likely to be involved in truck crashes.

Distracted driving accident victims sue Apple over safety feature

The number of Kentucky residents killed or injured in distracted driving accidents has been on the rise, and a federal road safety agency has asked electronics manufacturers to develop smartphone features that would make their devices more difficult for drivers to use. A lawsuit filed by a group of California road users against Apple Inc. has revealed that such a feature already exists but that the company has not chosen to make it available to the public.

According to the lawsuit, Apple developed a feature that prevents drivers from using the iPhone's texting capabilities in 2008 and received a patent for the technology in 2014. The plaintiffs are asking Apple to make the texting lockout feature available to those who already own an iPhone and include it in its latest models. A similar lawsuit was filed against Apple by the parents of an infant girl who was killed in a distracted driving crash.

Wrongful death cases

It is unfortunate that some people die in accidents in Kentucky every year. Others are killed by parties who are acting intentionally. If your loved one died as a result of another person's or business's careless or reckless acts, you might wonder what your rights to recovery might be.

Under Kentucky law, the family members or representatives of people who are killed by the negligence or wrongful conduct of others are allowed to file wrongful death civil lawsuits against the people who caused their loved ones' deaths. These lawsuits may be filed even if there are simultaneous criminal cases pending against the defendants for the same incidents.

Driver phone use dangerous enough to prompt lock proposal

Kentucky motorists may be interested in learning that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that people could use extra help with not using their phones while operating vehicles. In December, the agency published a recommendation that called for the creation of a driver mode in cellphones in order to curb hazardous device usage.

The driver mode would potentially stop the phone from letting motorists do things like read, scroll or enter text, look at non-map videos or photos and go online to use websites and social media. For the safety feature to work, drivers may also have to pair their phones to their vehicles.

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