Columbus Personal Injury Law Blog

AAA links infotainment systems with distracted driving

It may seem obvious to drivers in Ohio that doing anything that takes their attention off the road will put them at risk for accidents. Previous research has even measured that risk, saying it can double when one's eyes are off the road for 2 seconds. However, many are drawn to new vehicle tech like infotainment systems and thus find themselves being distracted on the road. A recent study released by AAA shows just how distracting their features can be.

For the study, researchers at the University of Utah had drivers aged 21 to 36 drive in 30 new 2017 vehicles and use the infotainment systems at the same time. These vehicles are from automakers like Ford, Dodge, Toyota, Hyundai, Tesla and Audi. Drivers began to act negligently, sometimes swerving out of their lanes and sometimes ignoring stop signs or driving far below the speed limit.

Fatal wrecks can lead to wrongful death claims

Traffic fatality statistics from the recent New Year's holiday have been released by the Ohio State Patrol (OSP). From midnight on Friday, Dec. 28, 2018, to 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 1, 2019, 11 individuals died on Ohio roads.

Although the data released is considered still to be a provisional assessment, it appears as though four of the deaths were linked to impaired drivers and six were related to failure to use seat belts. Perhaps because the number this year reflected a five-day total, there were nearly twice as many deaths than the six fatalities from the corresponding four-day holiday one year ago.

Why trucking accidents happen

Over the past decade, truck accidents on Ohio highways and throughout the nation have increased by 20 percent. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) was conducted to see what the root causes of these crashes were. Researchers analyzed 120,000 fatal commercial truck crashes and found that 68,000 were caused by truck driver error. These errors included drivers falling asleep or traveling too fast for road conditions.

Other common causes include following too closely or distracted driving. Accidents related to poor decisions were cited as causing 38 percent of the 68,000 crashes related to driver error. Crashes related to the performance of the driver, such as panicking or not exercising sufficient control over the truck, resulted in 9 percent of these accidents. Drivers who were medically or otherwise impaired while behind the wheel caused 12 percent ofthe accidents.

Ohio police say driver who caused fatal crash may have been drunk

Police in Ohio say that the 31-year-old man who caused a fatal accident in Franklin County during the early morning hours of Dec. 2 may be charged with vehicular homicide. Officers from the Columbus Division of Police who responded to the scene say that he smelled of alcohol when paramedics pulled him from his badly damaged Pontiac sedan. Media outlets have reported that the man has never held an Ohio driver's license and was convicted of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in both 2013 and 2015.

The accident took place on the northbound lanes of Interstate 71 near East 11th Avenue at approximately 1:30 a.m. According to a CDP report, the sequence of events unfolded after the man lost control of his vehicle and struck a concrete median. The resulting chain-reaction crash involved four vehicles. The two occupants of the second vehicle and the driver of the fourth vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene by first responders.

Truck driver training increases focus on safety

Ohio motorists rely on everyone driving safely, including those behind the wheel of commercial trucks. When accidents include big rigs that weigh 80,000 pounds, the damage and injuries can be severe. For this reason, truck driver training programs have made safe driving a higher priority than the past. A community college instructor with over 10 years of truck driving experience said that a typical tractor-trailer needs the length of two football fields to stop in dry road conditions. He said that truck driver training failed to focus on safety in the past.

Now, the eight-week program that he teaches exposes future drivers to many road conditions and scenarios. Students use simulation technology just like airline pilots to feel what it is like to drive in rain and snow or during the day or night. Their 320 hours of classroom work includes map training, log book exercises and testing on government regulations. They are taught to constantly scan ahead for threats like a car that might cut them off in traffic.

Study shows how fewer hours of sleep raise crash risks

According to surveys from the U.S. Department of Transportation and other agencies, one in three adult drivers in Ohio and the rest of the nation sleep less than the minimum seven hours that are recommended each night. This poses a problem since drowsy driving accounts for an estimated 7 percent of all motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. and 16 percent of all fatal crashes.

A study recently published in the SLEEP journal has measured the risk that drivers run based on how little sleep they get. Researchers analyzed a previous study from the U.S. DoT that looked at 5,470 crashes and provided in-depth investigations for many of them. One advantage of this study is that it also takes into account interviews with the drivers themselves.

Dog bites can lead to catastrophic or disfiguring injuries

Many people enjoy the company of a dog as a companion animal. Other people have dogs for security purposes, and, in some cases, dogs can even serve to help people with medical needs. However, while dogs are useful, they are also a source of risk for anyone who encounters them.

Even the best trained animal can have a momentary lapse in judgment and bite and injure a human. Dogs specifically trained to be aggressive, such as guard dogs, are an even greater risk.

AAA provides tips for a safe Halloween

In Ohio, as elsewhere, Halloween is a day that gives rise to drunk and reckless driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the hours between 6 p.m. on October 31 and 6 a.m. on November 1 are the most dangerous for drunk driving crashes. Nearly half of the fatal drunk driving accidents that took place during that 12-hour period from 2012 to 2016 were attributed to 21- to 34-year-old drivers.

Referring to this data, the Northeast chapter of AAA has seen fit to provide some safety tips to both parents of trick-or-treaters and those who intend to party on Halloween. The latter group should, first of all, plan ahead by designating a sober driver to take them home or making use of public transportation or a ride-hailing service. Partygoers should also ensure that their friends do not drive drunk either. While behind the wheel, people must slow down.

As truck crashes rise, some push for mandatory safety tech

Truckers and truck fleet owners in Ohio should know that more than 4,300 people died in large truck accidents in 2016. This was a 28 percent increase from 2009, according to federal data. These findings have even caught the attention of several members of Congress, who may prompt action to improve truck safety.

Crash avoidance systems, according to the trucking companies that have implemented them, can prevent more than seven out of 10 rear-end collisions as well as mitigate injuries and vehicle damage. However, only a small percentage of truckers have implemented them. Lobbying groups like the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association believe that implementing this technology should remain a voluntary decision.

Smart intersections: The future of traffic safety?

Intersections see a lot of activity. Unfortunately, this comes with dangers. A fair portion of motor vehicle accidents happen at intersections. Intersections can see many types of crashes, such as T-bone collisions and vehicles striking pedestrians or bicyclists. Such accidents can lead to many different types of injuries (such as head injuries, back/spinal injuries, internal injuries, severe cuts and broken bones) and raise a range of compensation-related legal issues for victims.

Might technology be able to make intersections safer? Among the technologies being developed on this front are smart intersections.

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