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How drivers in West Virginia can avoid truck accidents

Large truck crashes are some of the most serious on America's roads. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, there were 3,986 truck crash fatalities in 2016: a 27 percent jump from 2009. Of those fatalities, 66 percent were occupants of passenger vehicles and 17 percent were truck occupants. Since drivers of passenger vehicles are to blame for the majority of truck crashes, it's essential to know how to stay safe.

Tailgating is a major factor in truck accidents, so drivers are encouraged to keep at least 500 feet behind a truck. They should avoid all distractions, especially those coming from their smartphone and other electrical devices, and be aware of other drivers' movements. Something is wrong if, for example, a trucker is drifting in and out of the lane.

Motorcycle stunt riders cause road hazards

Stunt riding, one of the latest trends in motorcycle sports, appeals to a new generation of motorcycle enthusiasts. Riders use dirt bikes, or they buy sports bikes designed with enhanced power to weight ratios.

Automobile design has increased power while decreasing weight. Sports bike manufacturers are now adopting the technology to entice stunt riders. These bikes also provide manufacturers a big profit in aftermarket modification equipment.

Ridesharing drivers at high risk for fatigue, sleepiness

Back in April 2018, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued a position statement in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine regarding the safety risks of the ridesharing industry. Ridesharing drivers in West Virginia, as elsewhere in the U.S., typically work during extended periods of wakefulness like the late nights and early mornings. This can be due to low fare and salary incentives combined with a feeling that sleep is unimportant.

The result of this trend is sleep deprivation and drowsy driving. Moreover, most ridesharing drivers are independent contractors who are not screened for medical conditions that could reduce their alertness behind the wheel, such as obstructive sleep apnea, so the risk goes undetected.

Universal Orlando sued for lack of warning signs in Spanish

Property owners in West Virginia may occasionally wonder how far they must go to prevent accidents. Near the close of the year 2018, a case was brought against Universal Orlando Resort that illustrates how premises liability law can have its gray areas. The plaintiff's contention is that the theme park should have had warning signs posted in Spanish.

The plaintiff is the family of a 38-year-old Guatemalan man with previous heart problems who suffered a fatal heart attack after going on the ride "Skull Island: Reign of Kong." Outside, a sign in English warned that the sudden movements during the virtual truck ride could harm those with heart conditions, abnormal blood pressure and back or neck conditions as well as expectant mothers. Drawings accompanied the warnings.

Infotainment systems increase risk of distracted driving

A recent study sponsored by AAA focused on increasing levels of driver distraction tied to newer motor vehicle infotainment systems. These systems are more and more common on West Virginia roadways. Researchers examined 30 systems installed in 2017 model cars and found that none of them required only low levels of demand on the drivers. Rather, seven systems made moderate demands, eleven made high demands and twelve made very high demands of drivers.

According to a co-author of the study, motor vehicle manufacturers are not prioritizing safety. They are including technologies that are not relevant to driving and function poorly. New technologies should be safer than the ones they replace, said the co-author. Drivers in the study ranged in age between 21 and 36 years old. They were told to use touch screens, make calls, send texts, use voice commands, program GPS or change the radio station while driving.

What does the circadian rhythm have to do with truckers?

Safety is a major concern for everyone who operates a vehicle, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration keeps up with issues that affect commercial truck drivers. Fatigue is one of those issues, and the circadian rhythm has a part to play in it.

The wake/sleep cycle

How to plan for a winter motorcycle ride

Taking a motorcycle ride through West Virginia during the winter months can be both exciting and dangerous at the same time. With proper planning, however, it may be possible to mitigate some of the dangers. It is generally not a good idea to ride a motorcycle on roads that are covered with snow. This is because there are only two wheels, which provide less road grip than the four that a passenger vehicle has.

Ice and black ice are other hazards that a rider should be prepared for. Riders should be especially careful of black ice if temperatures have dropped below freezing overnight or are below freezing while riding. Bridges and overpasses are among the most likely spots for ice to form. In addition to cold temperatures, riders will need to be prepared for wind chill. Wind chill refers to the temperature when the wind is taken into account.

Seat belts could help prevent severe crash injuries

Drivers and passengers in West Virginia may be concerned with how they can reduce the risk of severe injury in case of a car accident. While wearing a seat belt may not prevent people from experiencing dangerous injuries to internal organs like the liver, it can help to lessen the severity of injury and the risk of a fatal outcome. Every year, around 2 million people across the country are taken to the emergency room as a result of injuries sustained in a car crash. The personal trauma of these accidents is significant as are the financial and social costs: Treatment for these injuries costs the healthcare system almost $1 trillion every year.

One of the most common and dangerous forms of injury in many car accidents is blunt abdominal trauma, often leading to organ damage. The spleen and liver are the most frequently affected organs, but the spleen can be removed if it is too heavily damaged. On the other hand, the liver is critical for a patient's life. In a study of over 50,000 accident victims with liver damage, 15 percent had severe liver injuries. Of those, 15 percent lost their lives as a result. On the other hand, 8 percent of the larger group of patients with only mild or moderate liver injuries died because of the crash damage.

A slight increase in serious accidents involving large trucks

Most West Virginians exercise caution when driving, especially if they are traveling near large trucks. Statistics support the need for this caution. Over the last few years, there has been an uptick in the number of accidents involving ready-mix concrete trucks and dump trucks.

Industry safety experts as well as federal agencies have worked together to minimize the number of accidents. Over the years, they have put forth initiatives designed to minimize driver fatigue. In addition, regulators have employed technology designed to provide a clearer picture of what happens with the drivers on the road. The insurance industry has also increased fleet vehicle insurance premiums. All of this has been done with the goal of curbing dangerous or poor driver habits. However, the expected response has not taken place.

How soft tissue injuries in car accidents occur

Injuries impacting ligaments, tendons or muscles are usually referred to as soft tissue injuries. They can have a significant impact on accident victims in West Virginia and throughout the country. In many cases, individuals won't feel the impact of such an injury for hours or days after the crash occurs. Symptoms may include bleeding, swelling and pain where the injury occurred. If a person experiences whiplash, he or she may feel soreness or stiffness in the head and neck.

Whiplash occurs when the head and neck are forced to move in an unnatural manner. In many cases, it happens in accidents in which a vehicle is hit from behind. In addition to sore or still neck muscles, a whiplash victim can become depressed or have gaps in his or her memory. Shoulder or back pain is common with this injury, and it also possible to have herniated discs in the spine. Pain from whiplash or other injuries may prolong the healing process.

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