Jump to Navigation

Nitro Legal Blog

Reducing accidents with daytime running headlights

In West Virginia and throughout the United States, headlights are usually used only during inclement weather and at night. However, researchers have found that that even during the day turning on headlights makes automobiles more visible, resulting in a reduction of automobile accidents. Many drivers have not been educated on the benefits of using their headlights during the day, and so they may not turn them on.

Only slightly more than a quarter of new vehicles come equipped with daytime running headlights. Still, it will take years to phase out automobiles without this feature. This has led some to consider laws requiring drivers to turn their headlights on at all times.

Survey shows businesses underestimate slip and fall risks

Businesses in West Virginia and across the U.S. are underestimating slips, trips and fall risks in their facilities, according to a report. The miscalculation puts companies at risk for medical expenses, productivity losses and reputation damage.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, same-level slip and fall accidents are the top cause of workplace injuries in the U.S. There were close to 200,000 such incidents in 2015. Earlier this year, New Pig, a company that specializes in the cleanup of spills and leaks, conducted a survey of safety, health risk and maintenance professionals from several industries in order to analyze workplace slips and falls.

Collision avoidance systems save lives

Collision avoidance systems are helping to make roads in West Virginia and across the United States safer. A study, which was conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, examined the effectiveness of lane departure warning systems and blind spot warning systems.

IIHS researchers gathered crash data from 5,000 accidents that took place in 2015 and that were caused by lane departures and blind spots. It was found that cars with collision avoidance technology were involved in 11 percent fewer one-vehicle, head-on and sideswipe accidents than vehicles without the systems. When crashes did occur, the technology reduced injuries by 21 percent. The study estimates that 55,000 injuries would have been prevented in 2015 if all vehicles had lane departure technology installed.

MSHA advises use of NDT to prevent mining injuries

A safety alert issued by the Mining Safety and Health Administration suggests the agency will be placing emphasis on testing methods as part of inspections of West Virginia sites. The safety issue concerned testing specifically performed on wire rope. MSHA called for use of both nondestructive testing (NDT) and visual checks after inspections that returned different results than earlier ones that did not utilize nondestructive testing methods. The safety warning provided guidance on best practices for use of NDT and visual inspection on wire and hoisting rope.

Wire ropes are used extensively in mining transportation and emergency safety systems. A failure of hoisting ropes could easily result in anything from one miner's injuries to multiple fatalities. For these reasons, the safety warning included a six-month minimum time between testing wire rope. Nondestructive tests were mentioned to spot sections of wire rope experiencing distortion, loss of metallic area, corrosion and more general wear and tear issues.

Bad medicine is bad for your health. You can fight back

When you take a drug prescribed by your West Virginia doctor, it is with the expectation that it will improve your medical condition, not make things worse or place you at significant risk for injury. However, defective or dangerous drugs do sometimes cause harm to consumers, and sometimes, the consequences of bad medication can result in serious complications or death.

If you believe that you are the victim of a dangerous drug, you may have grounds to move forward with a civil claim. However, it is not prudent to take these matters into your own hands, but it is most beneficial to seek professional guidance first.

Coal mining deaths on the rise

Coal miners are particularly vulnerable to fatal workplace accidents. There have already been more deaths in the nation's coal mines in 2017 than there were in 2016,with five so far taking place in West Virginia. Even so, the coal miner's union has claimed that the Mine Safety and Health Administration was not working on a viable solution to reduce the number of deaths.

By August 2017, 10 miners had died in accidents. In 2016, there was a record low number of eight mining fatalities. As a response to the increase in fatalities, the MSHA sent officials to different mines to train miners on safer working habits. However, the United Mine Workers of America said that this response fell short as the federal inspectors responsible for the training are not allowed to punish the mine if safety violations are discovered.

Truck accidents can be caused by many factors

West Virginia motorists may be surprised to learn that number of annual truck accidents is on an upward trend. Public perception often rests of the aggressive behavior of truck drivers, who many assume drive recklessly and cause these accidents. However, there are a variety of factors that result in truck accidents, including human error on the parts of both truck drivers and car drivers.

Every year, there is an estimated 475,000 accidents involving large trucks. As a result, there are also 5,000 fatalities and 140,000 injuries. Interestingly, 70 percent of these accidents seem to be caused by the other vehicles involved in the collision. The contributing factors involve speeding, distracted driving and human error such as driving in the truck's blind spot. In the fatal incidents, about 29 percent were a result of head-on collisions and another 29 percent were the result of a vehicle rear-ending the big truck.

Wearable device targets drowsy car accident risk

A new device could be good news for West Virginia motorists embarking on a long-distance trip. The wearable unit uses biometric measurements in order to determine when a person is close to falling asleep. It then issues an electric impulse with just enough strength to rouse the drowsy driver. The inventors of the device hope that it can help prevent car accidents and injuries by alerting drivers to when they have reached the limits of exhaustion.

The wearable device, named Steer, was being financed through a crowdfunding campaign. The idea of shocking drivers to wakefulness has the potential to stir controversy, even if the goal is to prevent a car crash. However, as one inventor explained, the shock has such a low amperage that it causes no pain and only stimulates production of alertness hormones similar to coffee.

Tractor-trailer accidents might wreck more than just your car

Trucks are just like cars, only bigger, right? Of course not. While less than 10 percent of fatal accidents involve commercial trucks, trucking accidents nearly always have the potential to be more catastrophic than regular automobile accidents. The vast difference in size between a car or motorcycle and a semi or tractor-trailer means that any injuries suffered in an accident involving trucks tend to be far more serious, if not fatal.

Why and how do these accidents occur, and just how at risk are you and your loved ones? Is there anything you or anyone else can do to help prevent these devastating wrecks?

DOT decides not to pursue proposed rule changes

Freight companies in West Virginia and throughout the country are unlikely to be required to use speed limiters on their trucks in the near future. This is because the Department of Transportation announced that it would not seek rules to make them mandatory. The proposed rule had lost support under the Trump administration, which has been reluctant to impose new regulations. It had also lost support within the trucking industry over the past year.

Rules related to sleep apnea were also withdrawn, according to a recent update to the DOT's regulatory calendar. It is not clear when the department would try again to pursue rules requiring some truck drivers to get screened for obstructive sleep apnea as part of medical screening. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there was insufficient data to pursue such a rule.

Office Location

2801 First Avenue . PO Box 216 . Nitro, WV 25143-1602 . Map & Directions