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Nitro Legal Blog

Newly licensed teens may be risky drivers

Teen drivers in West Virginia and across the country may be at their most dangerous to themselves and others on the road in the first months after obtaining their driver's licenses, according to one study. When teens have a learner's permit, they are required to be accompanied in the car by a parent or other adult. However, once they receive their licenses, they are able to drive alone. This shift from accompanied to solo driving can be more difficult than anticipated.

The study found that teens were eight times more likely to have a car accident or a near-collision in the first three months after getting their driver's licenses, when compared to the last three months with their learner's permits. The problems were largely caused by a number of driving errors, including excessively speedy acceleration, abrupt braking and sharp turns. The researchers, who tracked the subjects' driving using dash cams installed in the teens' vehicles as well as software that recorded acceleration and braking, concluded that driving alone can often pose difficulties for teens who are new drivers.

How data can reduce distracted driving

Drivers in West Virginia and throughout the country can get distracted by a number of things while operating a car or truck. In some cases, the features of the car itself can prove to be distracting. In others, a tired or bored driver could let his or her mind wander while on the open road. By analyzing data, fleet managers can see how and why actions such as hard braking or acceleration occur.

This data can be combined with proactive training to help reduce the odds of a distracted driving incident occurring. Data can also be used to determine if a driver is more likely to be tired while behind the wheel. A tool from Omnitracs can use several data points to determine if this is likely to be the case. For instance, it can take into account whether a driver started a shift earlier than normal or is driving during a time of day when people are generally less energetic.

Advocates want more rest areas to reduce truck driver fatigue

Truckers in West Virginia often count the miles until they can reach a rest area or truck stop when they feel tired. A new study from university researchers has identified a higher rate of trucking crashes caused by driver fatigue when rest areas are 20 or more miles away from accident sites.

The researchers looked at commercial vehicle crashes on interstates and parkways in Kentucky from 2005 to 2014. When rest areas or truck stops were between 20 and 40 miles away, fatigue-related accidents were 2.5 times more likely. When truckers had nowhere to rest for over 40 miles, the crash risk jumped by nearly 700 percent.

Seeking appropriate compensation for your car accident injuries

After a car accident, you may find yourself dealing with much more than a few injuries. Serious collisions can leave West Virginia victims with serious physical damage, as well as medical bills, the inability to work and even temporary or permanent disabilities. Depending on the nature of your specific injuries, you may need extensive support and compensation to recover.

Victims of accidents caused by the negligent or reckless actions of another person have the right to seek appropriate compensation through a personal injury claim. The amount that could be available to you depends on your specific injuries, your needs and what types of support you may need going forward. It may be beneficial for you to understand common car accident injuries and their impact.

Study shows injuries more common in small vehicle accidents

Since the last recession, the rise in the number of vehicles on West Virginia roads has climbed along with the economy. The higher number of drivers has also lead to a higher number of injury claims made to insurance carriers. Researchers have used recent data to determine which makes and models are most frequently involved in car crashes with injuries.

According to data from 2014 through 2016 model years, the conventional wisdom that smaller vehicles are more likely to lead to injury holds true. The data bears out that injury claims are more common in smaller vehicles. This is not surprising given that physics suggests a smaller vehicle is more likely to absorb damage.

How insurance may fare in an age of driverless cars

Experts have made predictions already about how the auto insurance industry will fare in an age of fully autonomous cars. Drivers in West Virginia may be interested to know that newer research differs from older in suggesting a less dire future for the industry. Bloomberg New Energy Finance has issued a report stating that the industry will likely evolve rather than disappear.

Part of the reason is that while coverage may become obsolete for individual drivers, that probably will not be the case for technology companies and manufacturers. The parts that are unique to driverless cars, such as cameras and sensors, are expensive. Even minor fender benders will raise the average cost of accidents, and the fact that there have already been fatal crashes involving driverless cars shows that the need for insurance will not go away.

Slip and falls: what business owners should know

Premises liability law in West Virginia states that business owners have a "duty of care" to the lawful entrants of their property, including both customers and employees. When that duty of care is breached and an entrant is injured on the property, he or she could file a claim. Small business owners should know, then, how to prevent such claims from being filed against them.

Slip and falls are the most frequent cause for premises liability claims. Entrants may slip on a wet floor or an icy sidewalk, trip over debris or a crack in the pavement or fall down the stairs after the railing comes loose. If the owner knew about these hazards and did nothing to mitigate them, that would be a breach of the duty of care. If the owner just learned of a hazard, though, he or she must be given a reasonable amount of time to mitigate it.

Brake safety week combats negligent truck maintenance

West Virginians can face a major safety threat on the roadways from trucks with poorly or negligently maintained brake systems. The size, mass and weight of commercial trucks mean that when these vehicles have brakes that don't function properly, the consequences for truck drivers and all others on the road can be severe. Failing truck brakes can be the cause of severe motor vehicle accidents that lead to injuries and even fatalities. Because of the severe risk posed by this problem, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) organizes an annual Brake Safety Week to highlight the risk of truck brake violations.

During the week, which will take place in September 2018, truck inspectors will escalate inspections of commercial trucks operating on the roadways. These comprehensive Level I inspections will pay particular attention to issues involving negligently maintained truck brakes. For example, inspectors will be on the lookout for worn parts like pads, drums and rotors, missing or loose brake pieces, damaged air containers and reservoirs, mismatched air reservoirs, leaks of hydraulic fluid or air, defective or damaged rotors, missing brake-system warning devices and other hazardous components.

Does approaching a roundabout make you feel dizzy?

When two or more roads come to a meeting point, there are commonly traffic lights or stop signs to mark the intersection. These signals and signs work to ensure that you understand to stop your vehicle and check for oncoming traffic or other vehicles with the right of way before proceeding into the intersection. Of course, not everyone heeds the directions, and crashes are common at these crossings.

Some studies indicate that roundabouts actually offer a safer alternative to standard intersections. While this method of road construction is becoming more common in West Virginia and other parts of the country, it can still be nerve wracking to use a roundabout when you may not have used one before or if you have only rarely used them.

Program aims to reduce truck driver fatigue

Truck driver fatigue can be a major public safety concern for drivers in West Virginia and across the country. Given the size, weight and mass of the large trucks that commercial drivers control, keeping fatigued drivers off the road can be critical to preventing dangerous accidents and even saving lives. This is one reason why the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance promotes an annual International Roadcheck across the country, focusing on compliance issues for truck drivers that could pose a risk to themselves and others sharing the road.

These inspections include a 37-step overview of commercial trucks and also their drivers. The 2017 program focused on compliance with hours of service regulations. These rules limit the number of hours a truck driver can work, in order to prevent dangerously fatigued truck drivers from taking the wheel and causing severe truck accidents. The program aims to put a stop to unsafe truck driving and promote a greater sense of compliance with safety rules. In 2017, 33,000 violations were issued across the country for excessive hours of service, including driving the truck outside the allowable 14-hour period.

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