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Should you give a recorded statement soon after a crash?

After a car accident, you may feel immensely stressed for days. If you suffered serious injuries in that accident, your stress may last much longer as likely will your pain. Though you may feel traumatized after the event, you may still have a considerable number of obligations to address, especially when it comes to handling the aftermath of the accident.

In particular, if another driver caused the accident that resulted in your injuries, you will likely want to pursue compensation for damages. Hopefully, the other driver had insurance coverage, which may cover your expenses. However, the insurance company may want you to provide a recorded statement about the event and its results, and you may wonder whether you should.

New safety measures recommended by the NTSB

In an effort to improve the safety of the nation's highways, the government commission on highway safety recently put out of list of ways to reduce large truck accidents. Though tractor-trailer crashes are a lower percentage of all highway accidents, the fatality rate per crash is usually higher. Drivers in West Virginia may experience safer roads if the measures are implemented.

The National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, issued a "wish list" for 10 areas of improvement that the organization feels will be beneficial to highway travel. The NTSB acts as a form of advisory board to a number of regulatory agencies in the transportation field.

Road Safe America recommends AEB, speed limiters for truck safety

West Virginia residents should know that large truck crash deaths continue to be a nationwide issue. Federal data shows that 35,882 people died in such crashes between the years 2009 and 2017. All but six states saw an increase in these deaths. According to the highway safety non-profit Road Safe America, many of these deaths could have been avoided through the use of vehicle technology.

Specifically, it recommends the use of automatic emergency braking, which can alert truck drivers to slow-moving or stationary objects and apply the brakes for the drivers if they fail to react in time. It also urges truck fleet owners to limit the speeds on their heavy-duty vehicles to 65 mph.

More risky phone use leads to more distracted driving

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released a study linking distracted driving with the increased use of handheld phones for other activities than talking. West Virginia residents should be aware that these other activities are far riskier than talking on the phone because they tend to take a driver's eyes off the road.

After comparing observational surveys made in 2014 and 2018 of drivers in four Northern Virginia communities, researchers found that drivers were 57 percent more likely to be texting, surfing the web or doing something else with their phones than talking on them. The drivers in the survey were observed while moving or stopped at red lights.

What West Virginia drivers can do to avoid drowsiness

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends seven hours of sleep every night. Going with less will only make one drowsy throughout the day, affecting behavior behind the wheel of a car. Yet in a AAA survey, nearly a third of the respondents said that they had been so tired behind the wheel at least one in the preceding 30 days that they were at the point of having drooping eyelids.

For some, the use of prescription sleep aids contributes to their drowsiness. One in five Americans who take them say that they drive within seven hours of taking them, according to a 2018 Consumer Reports survey. Most of these drugs come with the instruction that users sleep at least seven to eight hours afterwards.

Trucker may be behind deadly pile-up in Florida

West Virginia drivers have good reason to be cautious when sharing the road with commercial truckers. At the start of 2019, there was a chain-reaction crash on I-75 near Gainesville, Florida, that police believe was caused when a semi-truck driver moved left out of the right lane and collided with a passenger vehicle, a 2007 Honda sedan.

The two vehicles then broke through the median guardrail, causing accidents on both sides of the highway. On the southbound lane, the truck crashed into a 2006 Chevrolet passenger van on the driver's side, flipping it and causing some of its 12 occupants to be ejected. The exact number of those who were ejected is unknown, and highway patrol are unsure if any were wearing seat belts.

Truck accidents place extra burdens on victims

The statistics about commercial truck accidents paint a clear picture of heightened risk. Due to the size and weight of large trucks and 18-wheelers in West Virginia, the consequences of a crash can be immense. A collision with a commercial truck typically leaves a car unusable, and the crash victims often experience injuries that require long recovery times and sometimes result in permanent disability.

These facts leave accident victims facing high medical bills. Death is also a distinct possibility. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration calculates that approximately 3,000 to 5,000 people die in trucking accidents each year. Sometimes, these fatalities prompt survivors to file wrongful death lawsuits.

Dump and ready-mix concrete truck crashes are rising

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a report out that should be of interest to truck drivers in West Virginia. The trucking industry is plagued with rising accident rates, and it's especially apparent among dump trucks and ready-mix concrete trucks. The report states that serious accidents among these two types of trucks rose 9 and 9.6 percent, respectively, from 2015 to 2016.

By serious accidents, the report means accidents where the truck must be towed away. In 2016 (the latest year with statistics), there were a total of 8,206 dump truck tow-away accidents and 838 similar crashes among concrete delivery trucks. Dump trucks were involved in 5,483 crashes that resulted in injuries. Injury crashes rose 2.7 and 3.8 percent among dump trucks and concrete delivery trucks, respectively.

Distracted drivers, marijuana play role in rising car accidents

Car accidents have been increasing over the past several years in West Virginia and across the country. Since 2011, there has been a 30 percent increase in motor vehicle accidents. Analysts attribute the rise in vehicular crashes to the increased use of phones while driving, an increase in employment rates, the legalization of marijuana in many states and an increase in the average number of miles driven by drivers.

According to a survey done by State Farm Insurance, in 2011, only 52 percent of drivers owned smartphones. By 2016, an estimated 91 percent of drivers used the devices. An estimated 29 percent of these drivers access the internet while driving their vehicles. Experts believe that approximately 20 percent of the rise in accidents is due to this increased use of smartphones, which distracts drivers. Another contributing factor, marijuana use, is estimated to play a role in 5 percent of accidents in the states with legalized marijuana, according to a survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Rights miners in West Virginia have under the Mine Act

The 1977 Mine Act was intended to give miners in West Virginia and other states certain rights. Amended in 2006, it's still a piece of legislation that gives miners important job-related rights. The legislation also encourages both employers and miners to work together to develop and implement effective safety and health programs that reduce instances of workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths.

Legally, miners have several rights, one of which is the right to file or make a complaint if there are possible safety violations that could result in cave-in accidents or other serious incidents. Such complaints may be filed with a state or federal agency, the operator of a mine, a miner's representative or an operator's agent. Additionally, miners have a right to participate in various proceedings related to complaints, alleged safety violations or filings with the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.

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