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FMCSA proposed relaxed hours-of-service rules

Truck drivers in Virginia and around the country will be subject to less stringent hours-of-service regulations if revisions to the rules announced on Aug. 14 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are implemented. Organizations representing truck drivers and logistics companies have long called for more flexible regulations and claim that relaxing the rules could actually make the roads safer, but groups like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety oppose the changes and say that they will lead to more accidents and more deaths.

The proposed hours-of-service revisions would allow truck drivers to take a mandatory 30-minute break at any time during their shifts. This would allow them to meet the requirement while waiting for cargo to be loaded or unloaded. The revised rules would also extend the shifts worked by short-haul truck drivers from 12 to 14 hours and allow them to work within a 150-mile radius instead of a 100-mile radius.

Avoiding the danger of distracted driving

Distracted driving leads to car crashes in West Virginia, many of them fatal. In 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 3,166 people who died in distracted driving crashes around the country. Avoiding distractions behind the wheel, then, is imperative for every driver, and there are a few steps to aid in doing this.

The first is to avoid phone use since calling and texting are among the most distracting activities. Drivers should also refrain from using hands-free devices because these can still take their attention from important signals. Next, drivers should have a no-eating policy so that there is no danger of spills or other distracting events in the car.

Brake hoses, tubing the focus of 2019 Brake Safety Week

Commercial truck drivers in West Virginia are likely familiar with Brake Safety Week, the annual inspection spree held by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. Across North America, enforcement officials stop CMVs at random to check for brake-related violations, putting any drivers who violate brake regulations out of service. For 2019, Brake Safety Week will take place from September 15 to 21.

Drivers must make sure they are performing regular truck maintenance, addressing issues like missing or loose parts, worn linings and pads, defective rotors and air leaks. They will especially want to check the brake hoses and tubing because these are the special focus of the 2019 Brake Safety Week. Hoses and tubing must be free of leaks and damage and should be properly attached as well as flexible to a certain point.

An insurance settlement offer may not be in your best interests

You will more than likely focus your concerns on your recovery in the days following a serious car accident. You may spend days in the hospital, followed by days at home, more medical appointments, physical therapy and more.

During all of this, and perhaps before you even leave the hospital, an insurance adjuster may come see you or contact you by phone. You received an offer to settle your claim for a certain amount of money. You may consider taking it right away because, now that you think about it, your financial situation just took a major hit. That may be true, but more likely than not, that offer is far lower than the amount you actually need and deserve.

AAA: Older drivers distracted more by in-vehicle tech

The presence of in-vehicle technology can be distracting to drivers in West Virginia and across the U.S., and this is especially true for older motorists. A study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah shows that drivers between the ages of 55 and 75 take their eyes off the street for eight seconds more on average than drivers aged 21 to 36 when using in-vehicle tech.

This technology includes touchscreens and voice commands that allow drivers to do things like dial phone numbers, send texts, plot navigation and change the radio station. For the study, a total of 128 drivers used in-vehicle tech in these and other ways while driving in six vehicles. These vehicles were Audi, Cadillac, Lincoln, Mazda, Nissan and Volvo models. It took the older adults between 4.7 and 8.6 seconds longer to perform these actions.

Eight most common factors in large truck accidents

There are more than 3.5 million truckers employed in West Virginia and across the U.S., making commercial trucking one of the nation's most common professions. This means, unfortunately, that truck accidents are also common. Below are eight of the most frequently reported causes of truck accidents.

Speeding is at the top, and it makes sense because many CMV drivers are paid by the load rather than by the hour. After that comes equipment failure. Truckers travel hundreds of miles each day, so they have a responsibility to inspect their vehicles on a regular basis. Equipment failure usually arises from the neglecting of this duty.

Study shows women are more likely to suffer car crash injuries

The journal Traffic Injury Prevention has published a study, the results of which should interest women drivers in West Virginia. It turns out that, despite the use of three-point seatbelts and the more excellent protection afforded by newer model vehicles, women are at a higher risk for car crash injuries than men are. In front-end collisions, the most common car crash, women are 73% more likely to be injured.

In addition, women-run double the risk that men do for lower-body injuries, particularly injuries to the abdomen, spine and legs. This holds for newer model vehicles. Researchers studied over 22,000 front-end crashes and divided the vehicles between those manufactured before 2009 and those made during or after 2009. The more modern cars saw 55% fewer injuries and gave greater protection to the abdomen and lower extremities.

Report lists best, worst cities for drivers in U.S.

In 2017, over 6,452,000 drivers throughout West Virginia and across the United States were involved in motor vehicle accidents. The data, which comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, also details which cities in the country are the best and worst for car accidents.

Some of the driving statistics for the cities can be attributed to the city layout. Western states with less populated cities and towns have the least amount of accidents. In Brownsville, Texas, for example, drivers go an average of 15 years between car crashes. Older, densely populated cities on the east coast, where drivers must contend with ancient infrastructure, have a higher rate of traffic accidents. This is evident in Baltimore, which is the worst city for car accidents in the country.

Is insurance giving you the runaround after your accident?

One of your worst fears came true. You were in a car accident that left you with some significant injuries. You expected the responsible party's insurance provider to take care of you, or at least your own, but in your attempts to seek compensation for your losses, all you've been getting is the runaround or a complete denial of your claims. What can you do?

The laws of West Virginia allow you to seek compensation for your losses through legal means. To do this, though, there has to be evidence that another person's negligence contributed to your injuries. Before you can take an issue like this to court, working with insurance providers first is a must. If that proves ineffective, then litigation may be the only way for you to seek relief.

July 4: the holiday with the most DUI fatalities

According to ValuePenguin, the Fourth of July is the deadliest of six major holidays when it comes to DUI fatalities. West Virginia residents will want to think twice about going on a long road trip during this holiday. A total of 1,192 people died in DUI-related crashes on this day between 2010 and 2017. Memorial Day came in second with 1,105 fatalities. This was followed by Labor Day, New Year's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Independence Day is also a bad day for DUI fatalities when compared to other summer days. In fact, the risk for a DUI fatality spiked 57% for that day in 2017 when compared to the average summer day. On the Fourth of July weekend, 2017, a total of 184 people in DUI crashes. In an equivalent four-to-five-day span in the summer, the average number of DUI fatalities was 117.

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