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North Georgia Personal Injury Law Blog

Federal agency to investigate trucking accidents

Truck accidents can pose a real threat to others on the road in Georgia. Because of the size and weight of these large vehicles, those involved in a crash with a semi-truck are far more likely to suffer serious injuries or even fatalities. Some statistics have indicated that large truck crashes are on the rise, prompting concerns. Now, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced that it is planning its first major study of tractor-trailer collisions in 15 years. The FMCSA study will look at the problems involved in large truck collisions, including the potential influence of mobile devices and distracted driving on trucking accidents.

The FMCSA announced that it is looking into more information on designing and carrying out a large study of all serious truck crashes, particularly those involving injuries, fatalities or towed-away vehicles. The agency announced that it wants to analyze information from the on-board electronics contained in many large trucks that gather information about braking, lane departure and speed of travel. In the FMCSA's last study of large truck crashes in 2003, it found that when the truck was the cause of the crash, most were due to some kind of driver error.

Support wanes as red light cameras prove a double-edged sword

Red light running is behind many auto, bicyclist and pedestrian accidents in Georgia, some of which are fatal. In a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey, 92.9% of drivers said they know that running a red light is wrong, yet 42.7% admitted to doing it at least once in the previous 30 days.

To fight this trend, many communities started installing traffic-enforcement cameras, or red light cameras, at certain intersections. These cameras take photographs of drivers who run red lights and allow police to issue traffic tickets to them. The positive effect of these cameras has been analyzed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

IIDs can be a source of distraction for many drivers

Ignition interlock devices provide an effective way to curb drunk driving. They are so effective that Georgia and 33 other states have a law requiring DUI offenders to install an IID in their vehicle. This device is nothing more than an in-car Breathalyzer, and it prevents a car from starting if the driver fails the test.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supports the IID, saying it can reduce repeat DUI offenses by 70% when installed. States with an IID law see 15% fewer alcohol-related crash fatalities than those that do not. If proposed legislation is passed, IID technology may become mandatory on all new vehicles by 2024. Despite all of the attention that IIDs are getting, though, little notice has been made of the car crashes that involve them.

OSHA refines how agency collects data about amputation injuries

The machinery within manufacturing facilities in Georgia frequently has the potential to injure workers seriously. Inadequate machine guards and poor maintenance heighten the risk that workers could suffer injuries that cause amputations or death. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration takes amputations seriously, and the agency has announced updates to how its inspectors collect data about amputations.

The agency's National Emphasis Program addresses amputations, and the updates will expand methodology that covers amputation reporting and coding for inspection reports after amputations occur. The OSHA database will add appendices to aid inspectors who must follow the updated methodology and North American Industry Classification Codes.

Falls are not just embarrassing; they can cause serious injuries

From a young age, most Georgia residents experience numerous falls. Whether the falls took place while climbing trees as a kid or while going about a daily activity as an adult, falls can cause serious injuries. Unfortunately, older individuals may be more susceptible to such injuries.

While a person's health, age and abilities could affect their chances of a fall, the conditions of an area can also contribute. You may work to maintain a relatively hazard-free home, such as keeping your yard clean from trip hazards and ensuring that steps leading to your porch have a rail. However, owners of public places or even friends at their own homes may not be as conscious about slip-and-fall hazards as they should be.

Speeding, poor maintenance factors in truck crashes

Georgia motorists are often nervous or worried about sharing the road with large trucks. In some ways, their fears are often justified. A crash involving a tractor-trailer is far more likely to injure or kill occupants of other vehicles, simply due to the size and weight of a semi. There are a number of factors that can contribute to truck accidents. While truck drivers are often highly skilled and well-trained, they are vulnerable to the same types of distractions and poor decisions as others on the road. In addition, the consequences of these types of bad decisions can be much more severe.

One study of 120,000 truck accidents that caused fatalities or serious injuries found that excessive speed was a common factor where the truck driver was at fault. In some cases, the truck driver was violating the speed limit. In other cases, the trucker was driving far too quickly for surrounding conditions. Large trucks already have much longer stopping distances than passenger cars. When rain, sleet, snow or ice come on the scene, that long stopping distance multiplies, making trucks far more likely to crash into surrounding vehicles.

AASM provides tips to prevent drowsy driving

Georgia residents should know that drowsy driving is a fast-growing public health concern. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine conducted a Sleep Prioritization Survey asking 2,003 U.S. adults whether they have had trouble keeping their eyes open while driving. Forty-five percent replied that they have.

Drowsy drivers make poorer decisions and react more slowly than others. This is why drowsy driving is behind so many car crashes. In fact, it causes some 6,400 fatal crashes every year in the U.S., according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Drivers can avoid drowsiness, though, with the following tips given by the AASM.

Negligence: how it works in car accidents

Car accident victims in Georgia may be eligible for compensation under personal injury law, but they must prove that negligence on the other side caused their injuries, property damage or other losses. Negligence is anything that goes against the reasonable care that one should exercise toward others, such as the lawful entrants of a business property or for drivers and pedestrians.

One common way that drivers are negligent is by breaking traffic laws. They may fail to signal a lane change, run red lights or exceed the speed limit. In bad weather, they may be negligent even in following the speed limit if it is still too fast for road conditions. Tailgating is another negligent action as drivers must keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front.

Media investigation exposes Amazon warehouse accident cover-up

Online retailer Amazon has been harshly criticized in recent years for providing its warehouse workers in Georgia and around the country with unsafe conditions. The Seattle-based company has repeatedly denied allegations that it concealed workplace injuries and manipulated warehouse accident reports, but a recent media investigation claims that the organization either refused to share injury logs with its employees or provided them with redacted records on at least a dozen occasions.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has rules requiring employers to provide workers with complete safety records and prohibits them from placing restrictions on how the records are shared. The media investigation contains interviews with Amazon workers who say they were only given records covering the hours they actually worked and were told that the documents had to be kept confidential. One worker says that they feared being sued or terminated if they shared the information.

Slip-and-fall injuries are a risk during holiday shopping

With the holiday season underway, you will likely be trying to get some shopping done in the next few weeks along with many other Georgia residents. You may have some items you can purchase online from the comfort of your couch, but for others, you may need to head to the stores to look over some gift ideas.

Whether you dread shopping or feel as if it is a relaxing activity, you need to stay focused on a vital aspect of your outing: safety. You may not consider shopping an inherently dangerous activity, but there is always a chance that you could be involved in an injury-causing accident at a retail location.

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