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New York City Personal Injury Blog

Truck accident precautions

New York residents might like to know about the latest efforts to make the roads safer when it comes to motor vehicle accidents involving large trucks. When cars crash into tractor-trailers or semis, the vehicles can slide underneath the larger trucks. This is very dangerous and often results in fatalities. A bill proposed on Dec. 9 would require trucks to be equipped with front and side guards to prevent cars from sliding underneath the trucks.

Side underride crashes kill more than 200 people annually, and the National Transportation Safety Board had recommended the guard features. The bill has bipartisan support and is intended to save lives. Currently, only rear guards are mandated for large trucks. The need for more protection was first called to attention almost 50 years ago when actress Jayne Mansfield was killed in a highway crash. Rear guards became a requirement in 1998.

Traumatic brain injuries are a common result of accidents

Traumatic brain injuries often happen due to car crashes, falls and other situations where the head sustains an impact. Thus, if you suffered an accident, TBI may number among the consequences.

While severe TBI symptoms tend to show up faster and are harder to mistake for something else, signs of mild or moderate TBI can be easier to overlook at first. However, they too can seriously affect your life in the long term, so it is important to get the right care as soon as possible.

Recovering from a spinal cord injury

A spinal cord injury is a serious form of trauma that requires prompt medical care and ongoing treatment. If you get a spinal cord injury, you may have a lot of concerns about your prognosis.

While the quickness and completeness of your recovery depend on the extent of the damage to your spinal cord, there are some things you and your doctor can do to get better. After your initial emergency treatment, which may include medications, surgery or immobilization, here is what ongoing care for your spinal cord injury may look like.

Motorists should give big rigs plenty of road space

"Wide open spaces" is a term that usually refers to the American West. In New York, however, it might aptly apply to rules of the road. Motorists should remember to leave plenty of space between them and big rigs when it comes to sharing the state's highways.

For motorists who drive next to big rigs, space can mean the difference between life and death. Semi-trucks require more room to brake, turn and pass. If they don't get the necessary room, a truck accident could occur. For example, it takes a truck twice as long to stop as a car. Therefore, savvy drivers should never stop suddenly if they're in front of a truck. If a truck has to stop suddenly, it could plow into the vehicle in front, ending up on top of the car. Nearly 70 percent of fatalities in car-truck accidents are to occupants of the car.

Possible CTE diagnosis may give concussion patients hope

If you are a football fan or played the game in high school or college, you may be familiar with the medical term CTE, meaning chronic traumatic encephalopathy. This is a brain disease that results from repeated strikes to the head. Not surprisingly, former professional football players have shown to be susceptible to the condition, as well as members of the military, boxers and professional fighters. However, there may be cause for anyone in New York and elsewhere who has suffered multiple concussions or minor head blows over a lifetime to be concerned that they may develop this destructive disease, especially since it cannot be positively diagnosed when you are alive.

CTE can be devastating for sufferers and their families. Some of the symptoms you or a loved one might experience include memory loss, confusion, aggression and depression. The disease may be difficult to treat because there is no way to know for certain whether you have it.

What to do around aggressive drivers

In New York, it's common for drivers to come in contact with aggressive drivers. Oftentimes, these same drivers become aggressive themselves. Rather than honking horns, flashing headlights, and making hand gestures, motorists should consider what many experts recommend they do.

For example, when they notice a car coming up close behind them, they should let the car pass as soon as possible. Signal for a right turn so that the aggressive driver does not decide to pass on the right. Slowing down or accelerating could block a passing lane, further aggravating the driver. To begin with, drivers should keep some breathing room between cars. This room may allow them to make quick escapes when necessary.

Agency to study excessive commuting by truckers

Commercial truck drivers in New York may want to lend their voices to the comments about a proposed survey by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The survey will pertain to excessive commuting and truck drivers. According to the agency, an excessive commute is one that is longer than 150 minutes.

There are multiple topics related to excessive commuting that could be addressed by the survey. For example, the agency wants to study the proportion and number of commercial motor vehicle drivers who commute and the distances that they generally travel. The survey will also focus on which time zones are crossed, how fatigue and safety are affected by commuting and the type of commuting policies that have been enacted by motor carriers.

Improved safety technologies reduce driver death rates

Improved vehicle safety technologies are making roads safer in New York and across the U.S., according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The organization found that death rates involving late-model vehicles fell by more than a third between 2009 and 2012.

IIHS researchers calculated the death rates for 2011 car models with at least 100,000 vehicle registration years. They determined that 2011 models had 28 driver fatalities per 1 million registered vehicle years, compared to 48 fatalities for 2008 and 2009 models. A representative for the organization said that newer model cars have consistently outperformed older cars in crash tests over the years, and the death rates confirm that newer cars also perform better in the real world.

Car accident fatalities rise, have common causes

New York drivers may be more likely to be involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident since they are on the rise. In 2015, fatalities from traffic accidents nationwide increased 8 percent after years of being on the decline. In 2016, they topped 40,000.

There are several common reasons for traffic accidents. Around 6 percent of pedestrian deaths, about one-fifth of who are children, happen because of a driver using a rolling stop to turn right on red. Because of the multitasking involved in this maneuver, drivers often fail to see pedestrians. Like a rolling stop, tailgating does not save much time but can result in an accident. Up to 30 percent of motor vehicle accidents happen when one car rear-ends another.

Trucking companies are often unaware of drivers' drug arrests

Illegal drugs are found in more than 40 percent of truck drivers for whom test results are available, according to a 2015 report by the Governors Highway Safety Association. However, several factors prevent many trucking companies in New York and across the U.S. from receiving any notification that a driver has previously been arrested on drug charges.

One of the issues is a lack of communication between federal and state agencies. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates drug testing in the commercial trucking industry. CDL drivers undergo drug testing before they receive their licenses, when they are involved in an accident or get a traffic citation, when someone reports them under a reasonable suspicion and at random. However, there is no federal stipulation that state agencies inform trucking companies of truckers' drug or alcohol arrests.

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