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Safety group suggests side underride guards for trucks

West Virginia motorists might be safer if large trucks have both rear and side underride guards according to crash tests done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the spring of 2017. In two crash tests, the IIHS had a passenger car collide with a 53-foot dry van trailer in the center. In the first test, the trailer had a side underride guard. In the second test, it had a fiberglass side skirt. The intended function of this skirt was improved aerodynamics and not to protect against an underride.

In the first test, the side underride guard was damaged, but the car did not go under the trailer. In the second test, the top of the car was partly cut off and the car became stuck under the larger vehicle. Had there been people in the car, the accident probably would have been fatal.

West Virginia man killed in chain-reaction crash

A woman who allegedly caused a deadly car accident in Wayne County on April 7 has turned herself in more than a month after the incident. The chain-reaction accident, which occurred on Interstate 64 at the bridge on Spring Valley Drive, resulted in the death a 70-year-old man.

According to authorities, the car crash took place at about 10:50 a.m. on the westbound lane. As a result of the crash, the 70-year-old man's car fell about 100 feet into a creek. The man suffered critical injuries, including two broken legs, five fractured vertebrae, a broken clavicle and two punctured lungs from four broken ribs. He was taken to Cabell Huntington Hospital, where he died 21 days later from the injuries suffered in the incident.

The lost art of falling down

Did you know there is a science to falling? Physical therapists say small children demonstrate some of the best ways to fall, just allowing themselves to drop without worrying about injury. Eventually, people do become afraid of hurting themselves and exercise caution as they walk. Of course, if someone's negligence creates a dangerous situation, you may end up falling anyway.

Your first thought may have been embarrassment as you tripped or slipped and went crashing to the ground. However, it may have taken only a second for the pain to set in. You may barely recall reaching out to catch yourself, falling forward onto your hands or backward onto your elbows. In the worst-case scenario, you struck your head on the ground or some other object as you fell. If you lost consciousness, your doctor might be concerned about a brain injury.

Detecting cellphone use in car accidents

West Virginia drivers who cause an accident because they were using a cellphone may be easier to identify if law enforcement adopts a device called the textalyzer. Fatal motor vehicle accidents are on the rise, and in 2016, around 40,000 people died in traffic accidents. Experts believe that phone distractions are partly to blame, but it can be difficult to identify this as the cause of an accident. Drivers may not be forthcoming about the reason for the accident, and law enforcement might not be permitted to examine phones without a warrant.

This was the case for the founder of an advocacy group that has helped develop the textalyzer. His 19-year-old son died in an accident in which the driver was texting, but the driver told police afterward that he had dozed off at the wheel. It was six months later that the father was able to get a subpoena for the driver's phone records and found he had been texting at the time of the accident.

Who is liable for your slip-and-fall accident?

In West Virginia, is a property owner responsible for injuries suffered in a slip-and-fall accident that occurred on his or her property? It is reasonable to suggest that you may hold the owner liable for your pain and suffering, but determining liability and proving fault can be a complicated process.

Slip-and-fall cases can be quite complex, and you may find great benefit in securing legal help as soon as possible after your accident. With the right legal support, it is possible to pursue compensation from all available sources, securing the full and fair recovery you deserve.

The dangers of distracted driving in West Virginia

Many people eat while on the road. In particular, individuals who are rushing to work or to get kids to school on time will grab something and eat while behind the wheel. While this may be a time-saving move, the reality is that anything that takes someone's attention from the road can be dangerous.

A car will travel the length of a football field in just five seconds if a person is going 55 miles per hour. This means that even taking eyes or attention from the road for a few seconds can greatly increase someone's risk of being involved in a crash.

Reducing mining deaths with the MSHA

The Mine Safety and Health Administration is the part of the United States Department of Labor whose purpose is to examine every mine in West Virginia and the rest of the nation four times each year. The MSHA has been working to eliminate illnesses, injuries and death from mining and has been supporting healthy and safe workplaces for American miners since 1978.

Laws regarding the health and safety of miners can be traced back to 1910 with the development of the United States Bureau of Mines. The organization's purpose was to research how to stop the excessive number of deaths in the mining industry, which, at the time, totaled almost 3,000 per year.

Fatal trucking crashes in West Virginia

Each year the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration releases a Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts report. The 2015 report indicates that the number of accidents that involve large trucks and result in fatalities rose by 8 percent. Large trucks are trucks that weigh at least 10,000 pounds.

According to the report, there were just shy of 3,600 crashes that resulted in fatalities. The rate of accidents per 100 million vehicle miles driven rose from 1.34 to 1.45 in 2015, and the report also indicates that there was a 2 percent rise in the rate of truck occupant fatalities. Of the 415,000 crashes that were reported to police, 20 percent resulted in some sort of harm to a person, and 1 percent result in the death of an individual.

NSC will draw attention to distracted driving in April

Drivers staring at cellphone screens are becoming a worryingly familiar sight in West Virginia and around the country. Distracted driving accidents have increased alarmingly in recent years, and studies by AT&T and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggest that mobile electronic devices like smartphones are likely responsible. The studies not only indicate that a disturbing number of American drivers routinely send text messages or use the internet, but they also reveal that many of these reckless motorists feel they are doing nothing wrong.

The National Safety Council will be observing Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, and an AAA study of American drivers suggests that this type of campaign is warranted. A concerning number of drivers admitted to AAA researchers that they had engaged in risky behavior while behind the wheel during the previous month, and older drivers were almost as reckless as their younger counterparts according to the study.

When a driver fails to brake

West Virginia drivers may wonder who will be held responsible for an accident if their brakes fail. While failing to brake can be considered to be driver error, there are other circumstances where it may not be.

Drivers who fail to brake because they are not paying attention are likely to be held liable if they cause an accident. If the other driver also contributed to the accident in some way, such as if they run a red light or were driving dangerously, the driver who failed to brake could still be held at least partially liable for the damages. Investigators can potentially determine if the driver at least attempted to brake by looking at the data on the vehicle's black box, which will also tell them how fast the car was driving when the accident took place.

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