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Costa Mesa California Personal Injury Law Blog

Distracted driving is never acceptable behavior

Distracted driving doesn't have any place on the roads. Even when the weather is nice, a distracted driver can cause accidents that harm others. It is imperative that all drivers pay close attention to what's going on so they can make it to their destination on time and safely.

There are many ways that drivers might be distracted. These are all preventable, but around 9 people die and more than 1,000 people are injured daily in a crash attributed to a driver who is paying attention to something other than driving.

Reasons for car accidents

There are many different causes of California car accidents. Finding out why it happened is the job of the insurance claims adjuster and the police, both of whom use the cause to determine the at-fault party. The police needs the information to know to whom to issue a ticket. The insurance company uses the information to determine which party is to receive a claims payment and what the amount of the payment should be.

A very common cause of car accidents is human error. Negligent drivers have been causing accidents since the first car was placed on the road. The occurrence of car accidents caused by human errors can be a concern for many drivers who can only control their own actions and not the actions of the other drivers on the road.

GHSA says more progress needed to reduce speeding deaths

Researchers with the Governors Highway Safety Association say that nearly one-third of all automobile-related deaths in California and the rest of the U.S. are caused by speeding. The association released a report entitled, "Speeding Away from Zero: Rethinking a Forgotten Traffic Safety Challenge," which lays out some of the latest research and data on speeding as well as some ways to address the issue.

One way is through better education. Speeding does not come with a cultural stigma in the same way that, for instance, driving without a seat belt does. The fact remains that speeding can raise the risk of serious injuries and fatalities, especially among pedestrians and cyclists. On the other hand, reducing travel speed even slightly can reduce the severity of a potential impact and injury.

IIHS: operating phones makes drivers more distracted

California drivers who use their phones behind the wheel should know how distracting this activity can be. According to a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, it also turns out that operating a phone is more distracting than simply talking on it. Researchers looked at observational surveys from 2014 and 2018, both of which involved drivers at red lights in four Northern Virginia communities.

The drivers in the surveys were 57 percent more likely to engage in phone-related activities that excluded talking. Though distracted driving rates did not change considerably between the two years, more and more drivers are now engaging in these activities.

Nursing home abuse may be widespread

Making the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home can be very difficult for California families. The combination of the frailties of advanced age coupled with various physical and mental conditions render many elderly individuals beyond the care capabilities of the average family member. Additionally, without some form of long-term care insurance, costs can be daunting. However, another more serious concern looms large -- nursing home abuse.

A 2017 investigation reveals a bleak picture. In a recent three-year period, the federal government cited more than 1,000 facilities across the country for malfeasance in handling or failing to prevent some form of sexual assault on their residents. Most incidents alleged were patient-on-patient assault but many were perpetrated by a facility staff member on an often helpless resident. As disturbing as these statistics are, elder abuse experts contend that most assaults go unreported by the victims for a variety of reasons, and therefore the true number of victims is far higher.

What is emotional trauma after a car wreck?

After a car wreck, you are going to feel sore. You are likely going to wonder if you will be able to carry on with the daily tasks you need to do. This is a hard spot to be in, but there is another problem that you might face. This is the emotional trauma that comes with a serious motor vehicle accident.

The emotional impacts of car wrecks can be difficult to handle. You have to try to determine whether what you are going through is normal or if it there is something that needs to be addressed. The differences between these can be so minor that you might not have a clear answer.

AASM points to public safety risk of sleepy ridesharing drivers

The ridesharing industry has introduced a public safety risk in California and across the country through its drivers, who may work in a drowsy state of mind. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine made a position statement in April 2018 about this trend, and it calls for ridesharing companies, law enforcement officers, government officials and medical experts to collaborate on addressing it.

The fact is that many ridesharing drivers are deprived of sleep because they feel urged on by the low fares and the salary incentives to work more than is safe for them. Working early in the morning and late at night, when sleepiness normally reaches its peak, only compounds the problem. Though companies like Uber and Lyft have mandated six-hour breaks after 12 and 14 total work hours, respectively, these are not sufficient.

The differences between truck accidents and car accidents

Drivers in California know that truck accidents are generally more severe than car collisions. The occupants of a passenger vehicle involved in a truck accident may be left with catastrophic injuries and long-term medical conditions. This often means paying for more medical care. Furthermore, the vehicle itself may become undrivable due to the force of impact that the truck's weight brings with it.

These are just three ways that a truck accident differs from a car accident, but there are others. For example, the very severity of truck accidents means that they are more liable to lead to wrongful death lawsuits. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that truck crashes kill between 3,000 and 5,000 people every year. These lawsuits can be high cost and result in million-dollar settlements.

Truck driver fatigue remains a thorny problem

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has strict rules in place to ensure that truck drivers in California and around the country get adequate rest, but what are known as hours-of-service regulations do not seem to be enough to prevent commercial vehicle accidents caused by drowsiness. The commercial pressures of the logistics industry are often at odds with safety concerns, and this is especially true when it comes to combating fatigue.

The problem is a serious one for passenger vehicle occupants because fully laden semi-tractor trailers weigh up to 40 tons and are extremely dangerous when driven by a fatigued truck driver. More than 80 percent of the road users killed in truck accidents each year are cyclists, pedestrians or passenger vehicle occupants, and many of them fall victim to truck drivers who ignored hours-of-service regulations and remained behind the wheel and on duty despite being dangerously tired.

The danger posed by dump trucks and concrete delivery trucks

Many California drivers are aware of the dangers that interstate driving can present. According to recent statistics, dump truck accidents and collisions involving ready-mix concrete delivery trucks are on the rise. The trucking industry, the insurance industry and federal regulators have all taken steps designed to minimize serious accidents involving these large trucks. Based on the statistics, it seems that the measures are not producing the desired results.

Both federal regulators and industry safety experts have focused on minimizing driver fatigue, which has been connected to a number of serious accidents involving large vehicles. Technology is currently being used to monitor trucks and their drivers when they're on the road. Furthermore, insurance agencies have increased fleet and vehicle insurance premiums. All of this is done in an attempt to prevent poor driving habits that can potentially cause serious truck accidents.

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