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Personal Injury Law Blog

Sleep apnea rule officially withdrawn

A proposed rule that would standardize sleep apnea screening requirements was to be withdrawn on Aug. 7. This was according to an announcement issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Aug. 4. It would provide objective criteria as to when truck drivers in Georgia and around the country should be subject to lab tests for the condition. It would also provide objective rules for how testing was to be conducted.

If that rule had been passed, as many as 40 percent of drivers could have been subject to testing. Tests may be expensive for both drivers and those who own their own truck or fleet of trucks. As of right now, there are several different procedures used to determine if a driver should be tested for the condition. This has some drivers complaining that referrals for testing are nothing more than an attempt by those in the medical field to make money.

Factors in large truck accidents

Georgia truck accidents can be the result of many factors. Some of the commonly known factors can include negligent behavior, such as driving while impaired or distracted. However, there are several lesser-known factors of which motorists should be aware.

The United States Department of Labor reports that approximately 475,000 large trucks are in accidents each year that are responsible for more than 140,000 injuries and 5,000 deaths annually . Every year, the statistics may change, but the incidences of fatal large truck accidents are steadily rising.

Wearable device aims to reduce car accident risk

The use of biometric devices by the general public is nothing new, but most have been centered on person fitness and security. Georgia motorists and their passengers might benefit from the latest application of biometric technology designed to reduce the risk of car accidents. It is called Steer, and it rouses drowsy drivers by delivering a small electric shock.

The makers of the device explained that they were looking for a way to reduce the risk of car accident by waking up a drowsy driver, and their first thought was to use a vibration. They turned to an electric impulse after realizing a vibration could go unnoticed by someone drifting off. Steer determines when to deliver the shock by calibrating itself to the individual and delivering an electric impulse when sweat secretion and heart rate drop in intervals known to signal drowsiness.

Lower unemployment means higher death rate on the road

Georgia residents may be interested to learn about a potential higher risk of dying while driving thanks to the latest economic recovery. According to the IIHS, there were 30 deaths for every million registered vehicles from the 2014 model year. There were only 28 deaths for every million registered vehicles from the 2011 model year. The increase is partially attributable to the fact that people drive more during better economic times and that they may take more risks while on the road.

The IIHS study found that when the unemployment rate drops from 6 to 5 percent, there is a 2 percent increase in miles traveled. This also causes a 2 percent increase in the number of driver deaths. While the number of driver deaths each year had been declining since the 1970s, there was a 7 percent increase in 2015. It is also expected that the number would increase in 2016 as well.

Air bag manufacturer recalls defective inflators

Georgia drivers who own vehicles that were not affected by past Takata air bag recalls should be aware that the company has widened the recall. This recall now includes a particular type of air bag inflator that was previously thought to be safe.

The devices, which cause the air bags to inflate when a collision occurs, can explode with too much force, causing shrapnel to be thrown at passengers and drivers during a collision. It was reported that at least 17 people have died as a result of injuries caused by faulty air bag inflators, with another 180 suffering injuries. Essentially, the problem with the inflators is caused by a chemical called ammonium nitrate. While this is the chemical that causes the air bags to quickly inflate, it can deteriorate if it is exposed to certain conditions.

IIHS top safety rating given to 3 cars

Georgia residents who are looking to purchase a new carmay be interested to learn that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave three vehicles the highest rating for crash worthiness. These vehicles were the Lincoln Continental, the Toyota Avalon and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan. However, three other vehicles that were also tested did not make the cut.

One of them was the Tesla Model S, which has been touted as one of the safest cars. However, the Model S failed to pass the small overlap front test, which determines the car's ability to handle an impact coming from the front driver-side corner, such as would happen if a driver crashed into a telephone pole. This test particularly looks at the structural integrity of the vehicle's safety cage, which is what the driver and passengers actually sit in.

Self-driving cars face resistance on safety grounds

Although many Georgia motorists might be interested in the prospect of owning vehicles that operate themselves, advocates say that the technology isn't ready from a safety standpoint. As one government representative noted, around 2 million injuries occurred on American roads in 2016 along with more than 40,000 fatalities. While companies are working to advance driver-free technology, many lawmakers continue to be wary of the risks of turning vehicle control over to machines.

Safety advocates are also worried. Some want driverless vehicles to complete safety exams before they're allowed to travel on the open road. These groups also note that there isn't currently a federal safety evaluation framework in place. As it stands, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration can provide vehicle manufacturers with exemptions that let them safety test their vehicles.

AAA study suggests that road rage is a common problem

Georgia residents may be shocked to learn that close to 80 percent of the motorists surveyed about road rage in 2016 admitted to expressing severe anger or aggression while behind the wheel during the previous 12 months. Researchers from the AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety say that their findings indicate that about 8 million American drivers are involved in serious road rage incidents each year. Examples of serious road rage incidents include ramming vehicles and exiting vehicles to confront other motorists.

The poll of 2,705 licensed drivers reveals that intentional tailgating is the most common type of road rage behavior with more than half of the respondents saying that they had behaved in this way in the prior 12 months. Many also admitted to yelling, aggressively using their horns and making angry gestures, and almost a quarter said that they had cut another vehicle off deliberately. However, less than 5 percent of those polled confessed to deliberately striking another car or exiting their vehicle to initiate a confrontation.

Exploding whipped cream cans and dangers of defective products

A sad ending to a defective product story hit the worldwide news media last week. A fashion blogger and model died when a defective whipped cream dispenser exploded, hitting her in the chest with such force that her heart stopped.

An avoidable accident?

Many parties could be liable in a tour bus accident

A tour bus can be a fun and exciting way to bring together large groups for travel and tourism in Georgia. However, tour bus crashes can also cause devastating injuries impacting large numbers of people. When a tour bus crashes, it's important to be aware of the various parties involved.

A tour bus is considered a "common carrier". This means that it must exercise a great deal of care for the safety of its passengers. Violations of this duty of care can result from negligent acts or willful acts on the part of the bus or tour operator. If an accident is caused by a third party's actions, however, that party is likely to bear responsibility.

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