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Warning system aims to prevent driver fatigue

Truck driver fatigue can be a menace on West Virginia roads. Since commercial big rigs can cause catastrophic damage, various companies are working to develop technology that can minimize the risk posed by fatigue behind the wheel.

Two companies, Trimble Transportation and Pulsar Informatics, recently came together to develop a warning system against truck driver fatigue. Pulsar, which was founded in 2001, has engaged in research about fatigue in industries like aviation and aerospace. The company has examined risks for pilots and astronauts in the past, two professions in which avoiding exhaustion is also critical. The system developed by the company to measure fatigue among trunk drivers includes a number of factors, such as the hours of service that a driver has already racked up.

Bright sunlight can pose a driving hazard

Most West Virginia drivers think of hazardous driving conditions as those involving inclement weather such as slick road conditions caused by rain, snow or ice or lack of visibility due to precipitation or fog. Bright sunlight, however, is seldom thought to pose a risk of hazard, but statistics tell another story. The period of time during the day when a motorist drives directly into the rising or setting sun creates visibility problems and consequently a higher risk of a vehicle crash.

In fact, the potential for a life-threatening accident is 16 percent higher in bright sunlight than under normal weather conditions, according to studies reporting accident statistics. One of the problems with driving into bright sunlight is that drivers don't prepare for it because it is not typically thought of as a risk factor. Nonetheless, there are several tips to employ to make driving under these conditions safer for all on the roadways.

Safety strategies for winter driving could reduce car accidents

Winter brings rain, freezing rain and snow to West Virginia, and the slick roads increase the chances of motor vehicle accidents. When people have to travel on wet, icy or snowy roads, they can adopt strategies that could help them maintain control of their vehicles and avoid crashes.

Slippery roads require drivers to give themselves more time to accelerate and brake. Drivers should press the gas pedal with gentle, steady pressure when they need to accelerate. Slow acceleration promotes traction. As for braking, every vehicle needs more braking distance than usual on wet roads. Drivers need to give themselves more space and time to stop their vehicles safely.

AAA gives safety tips for drivers and parents on Halloween

AAA Northeast has some safety tips to give for those who plan to party or have their children trick-or-treat for Halloween. West Virginia residents can benefit from the tips as well. After all, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, most Halloween drunk driving deaths occur between 6 p.m. on Oct. 31 and 6 a.m. on Nov. 1.

In fact, from 2012 to 2016, 44 percent of all fatal traffic crashes that occurred during this "witching hour" involved at least one drunk driver. Halloween night of 2016 saw nearly half of its fatal drunk-driving crashes caused by drivers aged 21 to 34.

New York crash raises concerns about limo safety

West Virginia residents may have heard about the deadly limo crash in New York that was widely covered in October. All 18 passengers in the limousine, the driver and two pedestrians were killed in the crash. The group was heading to a surprise birthday party from a brewery when the crash occurred.

The limo had failed a safety inspection, and it did not have the appropriate federal certification. The group riding in the limo had rented a bus, but it broke down. In New York, every limo designed to carry 10 or more passengers must be inspected twice a year by the state Department of Transportation.

Clubhouse collapse injures several partygoers

When college students in West Virginia gather to relax and unwind, small gatherings sometimes turn into larger parties. Situations like this can quickly become potentially dangerous if an abundance of people are crammed into a limited space not designed for such purposes. This is exactly what happened when the floor of a clubhouse located near a university in South Carolina collapsed. During a large, private party, the structure's floor gave way and sent dozens of individuals into the basement below.

Law enforcement officials said none of the injuries that sent about 30 people to area hospitals were life-threatening. Social media video of the incident shows several attendees dancing moments before the first-level floor buckled under the pressure and hurled people down into the basement. One of the partygoers reported that the room was packed at the time and people were listening to a popular, upbeat song, which resulted in a lot of jumping.

Road safety depends on truckers following regulations

Commercial truckers are responsible for getting merchandise and goods to locations throughout the country 24 hours a day. Large 18-wheelers are ubiquitous on the nation's freeways, and while these trucks serve a vital function in the economy, they also present risks to other drivers.

Truckers must follow specific regulations to ensure their safety and the safety of other drivers on the road. If commercial vehicle drivers fail to adhere to regulations that govern their work, they may cause accidents that result in very serious injuries, usually for those in smaller motor vehicles.

What to know about motorcycle tires

When done safely, riding a motorcycle on West Virginia roads can be an enjoyable experience. To ensure that a person rides safely, it is important to check the tires prior to using a motorcycle. The safety check should look for any objects in the tire as well as verification that the tires are properly inflated. If there is wear or bulging of the tire's sidewall, no one should ride it unless a professional says it is alright to do so.

Ideally, tire pressure will be checked with an electronic gauge and while the tires are cool. This generally means waiting an hour after riding, and the tire stems should be on the bottom of the wheel when the gauge is inserted. Under no circumstances should a rider use a car tire on a motorcycle as they are built to do different things. For example, doing so may make it harder to handle properly on wet roads.

Out-of-control truck kills 2 in West Virginia

A horrific accident in West Virginia involving an out-of-control tractor-trailer killed two people and left a third critically injured on the morning of Oct. 11. The crash took place on the southbound lanes of Interstate 77 near Camp Creek State Park in Mercer County at approximately 10:41 a.m. Police have filed no charges in connection with the accident, but reports indicate that their investigation is ongoing.

According to a West Virginia State Patrol report, the sequence of events began when the driver of a northbound semi-tractor trailer lost control of his vehicle and crossed the median into the path of oncoming traffic. The big rig then stuck a southbound Subaru wagon head on. Rescue workers dispatched to the scene say that they arrived to find the Subaru pinned under the wheels of the truck.

Seven ways to improve mine safety

Mine operators and miners in West Virginia already know that the industry they work in sees its share of fatalities. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor reported 15 coal mine fatalities and 13 fatalities in metal and non-metal operations. With the following seven tips, though, operators will be able to make their facilities safer for everyone.

First, they should go wireless, turning in their hard-wired pagers for leaky feeder communication systems. With these, workers can quickly locate other workers and equipment. A second step is to use those leaky feeders to monitor the atmosphere; that way, operators can identify areas of poor airflow and ensure proper ventilation. Third, it is a good idea to consider automation so that employees can oversee machine operations remotely.

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