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Safety accolades elude some large cars in IIHS testing

West Virginia motorists who are concerned about their safety when behind the wheel may be interested in knowing the part that auto insurers play in determining the crashworthiness of cars, trucks, and SUVs. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a non-profit organization that is funded by the industry, puts vehicles of all sizes and categories through a series of crash tests and then ranks them according to the results. Although large cars are generally thought to be safer, not all of the large cars examined through early July 2017 have earned the IIHS's top accolade.

Five tests are conducted as part of the ranking process. One of them, the small overlap front test, is designed to measure a vehicle's response to a crash that impacts its front driver-side corner. This test simulates a collision with a stationary object such as a telephone pole. First used in 2012, the Tesla Model S, Chevrolet Impala and Ford Taurus all experienced problems with this test in 2017.

Mines and safety inspections

West Virginia and other Appalachian states that have been the most adversely impacted by the coal industry slump want to lower the number of mine safety inspections that are required each year. The state of Kentucky's action of conducting advisory visits in lieu of some inspections have been met with approval by coal companies. Surviving loved ones of coal miners who have died as a result of workplace accidents disagree with the policy, however.

Kentucky officials assert that they are not lessening enforcement measures and that the law, which was passed by a majority-Republican legislature, will actually place officials in the mines on a more frequent basis to assist miners with cultivating safe working habits. If a safety problem is identified, the law will allow for the number of inspections to increase. The reduction in mandatory inspection visits is taking place the at same time as cuts to the Department of Labor, the administrating body for the federal mine safety program, are being proposed. According to federal law, federal inspectors have to perform four annual inspections on underground mines.

Immediate steps to take following a car crash

Car accidents can occur at any time on any West Virginia road. Because they do happen so quickly, it can be difficult for a driver who was not at fault to know what steps to take. This can can depend on whether or not there were serious injuries caused by the crash.

If a person did not suffer severe injuries, he or she should check on any others who were involved and assist if able. If no one is seriously injured, all of those involved should move the vehicles out of traffic to prevent further potential damage. If a person is seriously injured, he or she should not be moved and an ambulance should be called. Law enforcement should also be called if there are serious injuries or serious damage to one or more vehicles.

Rightful compensation after the wrongful death of a loved one

If you lost a loved one in an accident, you are not only dealing with significant emotional trauma, but you are also likely dealing with financial losses and other hardships as well. An unexpected death never affects just one area of life, but it can impact various areas in multiple ways.

When another person or party causes a fatality through negligent or harmful actions, the surviving loved ones may have a rightful claim to financial compensation. A wrongful death civil claim cannot reverse what happened, but it can help your West Virginia family recoup financial losses and begin to move forward after a tragedy.

An overview of potential ankle injuries

The ankle is made up of three bones, a tendon and a joint capsule called the synovium. The tibia is what makes the inside of the ankle portion of the anklebone whereas the fibia makes up the outer part of that bone. The ligaments and tendons in the ankle hold the joint together. When a West Virginia resident slips and falls, it is possible to injure the bones, joint or tendons.

If a person experiences a sprain or strain, the ligaments in the ankle have been stretched or otherwise injured. However, the bones are usually spared of any damage. Regardless, a person who suffers an ankle sprain or strain can experience severe pain and limited movement. It may take several months to recover from such an injury. Torn tendons or ligaments may also result in significant pain and difficulty walking on the injured ankle.

Training standards set for new truck drivers

Many West Virginia motorists have likely come across accidents involving large trucks. In an attempt to improve overall safety on the road, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established standards for new truck driver training. The rule setting the standards was finally enacted later than expected due to delays resulting from the Trump administration's regulatory review.

The rule, which provides a compliance window of nearly three years, will apply to all drivers who receive their CDL on or after Feb. 7, 2020. The standards include a core curriculum that must be taught to all driver trainees and CDL applicants by certified trainers. These trainers must receive their certification from the FMCSA after meeting the agency's criteria and be listed on a national registry.

Cargo safety is the focus of International Roadcheck

Trucking companies and semi-tractor trailer drivers in West Virginia and around the country may be wise to check that their vehicles are properly loaded before setting out between June 6 and June 8 as the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has announced that cargo safety will be the focus of this year's International Roadcheck safety blitz. The nonprofit group organizes the annual initiative to protect road users from unsafe trucks and buses, and the results of previous efforts indicate that federal inspectors will order thousands of dangerous commercial vehicles off the road during the 72-hour-long event.

During the International Roadcheck campaign in 2016, inspectors ordered more than 20 percent of the trucks and buses they inspected and 3.4 percent of the drivers they encountered off the road. According to the CVSA, about 15 commercial vehicles are pulled over for inspections every minute during the three-day campaign. Inspectors paid close attention to commercial vehicle braking systems a year ago, and 45.7 percent of the vehicles pulled out of service in 2016 were ordered off the roads because of brake-related violations.

Safety belts important in saving children's lives

A recent study that examined statistics on auto accident fatalities for children 15 and younger found that West Virginia had the fifth-highest child mortality rate per 100,000 children at 2.16. The study, which was conducted by researchers at Harvard and UT Southwestern Medical Center, identified the South as the region with the highest number of child traffic fatalities. From 2010 to 2014, the years of the study, 1,550 children in the South died. The Northeast had the lowest death rate with 189 fatalities.

The study identified restraints as a major factor in whether a child might survive an accident. In one out of five of the fatal accidents, children were unrestrained or improperly restrained. Over 230 children's lives could be saved every year if proper use of seat belts increased by just 10 percent. According to one of the researchers, examining the statistics by state revealed the importance of consistently enforced regulations.

Common car accident injuries can leave you with serious neck pain

It only takes a few seconds for a car accident to change your life forever. Even some of the most common types of accident injuries can have a painful and long-term impact on your life, and it can take months or even longer to fully recover from the consequences of your accident.

Some of the most common car accident injuries include those that affect the neck, such as whiplash. Whiplash can be quite painful, actually affecting your ability to participate in daily activities and enjoy a certain quality of life. These injuries are even more frustrating if the accident that originally caused you harm is the result of the negligent or reckless actions of another West Virginia driver.

Lawmakers call on DHSS to issue drug testing guidelines

Five U.S. senators including West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin have called on the Department of Health and Human Services to issue guidelines for conducting drug tests on hair samples. The lawmakers say that the Department of Transportation cannot introduce new drug testing protocols for the nation's truck drivers until the guidelines are in place. Congress is growing impatient because the DHSS was given one year to finalize hair testing guidelines in December 2015 when President Obama signed the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act into law.

That deadline has now passed, and the senators' letter, which was sent on May 18, demands swift action. The letter reminds DHSS Secretary Tom Price of the importance of the guidelines and points out that his agency's foot-dragging is preventing potentially life-saving federal trucking regulations from being implemented. Hair tests are seen as the gold standard of drug testing protocols, and most experts agree that their widespread use would make it easier for employers to identify truck drivers who could pose a danger to themselves and other road users.

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