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Personal Injury And Criminal Defense Law Blog

When truck driver fatigue goes deeper than sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation isn't exclusive to long-haul truck drivers. With the fast pace of life, you more than likely know what it feels like to want more sleep and not have the chance to get it. Even so, you still have to work, run errands and otherwise live your life, which often means driving. How many times have you forgotten the last few miles of your trip or found yourself yawning uncontrollably?

You may know that is dangerous enough, but when the person driving is supposed to be in control of a large and heavy vehicle that could weigh up to 80,000 pounds, lives are at risk. Sleep deprivation is one thing, but there could be a larger issue at work for around one-third of the truck drivers on the road with you - sleep apnea.

Road rage incidents are becoming alarmingly common

Government crash data and the results of several studies suggest that drivers in Wyoming and around the country are becoming increasingly angry and aggressive. The number of deadly motor vehicle accidents caused by enraged motorists has increased exponentially according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and researchers from the nonprofit advocacy group Trace found that incidents involving drivers brandishing guns or firing into other vehicles increased by 373 to a worrying 620 between 2014 and 2016.

A poll of Americans conducted by the American Automobile Association reveals that the surge in road rage cannot be blamed on a small group of unstable drivers. Almost eight out of 10 of the motorists polled told the AAA that they had succumbed to extreme behind-the-wheel anger at least once during the preceding 12 months, and more than half admitted to driving aggressively to encourage other road users to speed up. Other common forms of dangerous behavior included cutting vehicles off intentionally and aggressively preventing other drivers from changing lanes or merging onto highways.

Jailhouse informants and the Brady rule

Prosecutors in Wyoming and around the country are required to turn potentially exculpatory evidence and information over to criminal defendants and their attorneys, but may civil rights advocacy groups say that new laws are required to clarify the protections provided by the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brady v. Maryland. One of the most contentious Brady issues is the value and admissibility of testimony provided by jailhouse informants who often lie to secure reduced sentences or preferential treatment.

The Innocence Project says that almost 20% of the 365 prisoners they have exonerated were incarcerated at least in part due to the false testimony of a jailhouse informant. The false convictions of two men who spent decades behind bars prompted lawmakers in Connecticut to pass a law recently that allows defense attorneys to call for a pretrial hearing to assess the reliability of jailhouse informants. The law also establishes a database to keep track of this kind of evidence and the benefits that were offered in exchange for it.

How cameras can help reduce red-light running crashes

The year 2017 saw a 10-year high in the number of people killed in red-light running crashes. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety states that more than two people die every day in the U.S. in such crashes. Drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists in Wyoming will want to be on their guard because most drivers who run red lights do so not because they're distracted but because they're reckless and impatient.

Eighty-five percent of drivers in AAA's recent Traffic Safety Culture Index admit that running red lights is wrong, yet nearly one in three said they did it at least once in the previous 30 days. Furthermore, over two in five drivers expressed their opinion that getting pulled over for it would be unlikely.

Subaru Crosstrek in more at-fault crashes than any other car

Insurify, an auto insurance comparison site, has analyzed more than 1.6 million insurance quotes in order to find out which vehicle models are involved in the most at-fault crashes in Wyoming and across the U.S. It compiled a list of 10 vehicles, nine of which are imports: seven from Japan and two from Korea. At the top of the list was the Subaru Crosstrek.

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety has given the 2019 Crosstrek the highest possible rating for crash avoidance and crashworthiness, so the finding is a startling one. Analysts stated that accidents have affected 25.81% of all Crosstreks on the road. Overall, they have affected 13.64% of the 10 vehicles listed. Still, analysts point out that other notable cars in the past have had a far worse crash record.

Wyoming travel: Are you sharing the road with distracted drivers?

During the course of a typical day, you might have reason to get behind the wheel of a car to drive, numerous times. Perhaps you're one of many daily commuters who navigate Wyoming traffic to get to and home from work. Maybe you are part of the unspoken busy-parents club who often feel like they spend more time in their cars than at home.

No matter what particular circumstances prompt a need for traveling by motor vehicle, you'd be a lot safer while doing so if there weren't so many distracted drivers on the road. Distracted driving is a causal factor in many roadway fatalities. If you're involved in a collision that someone caused because he or she was negligent, you shouldn't have to bear the full financial burden associated with the incident.

Brake Safety Week for 2019 to focus on brake hoses and tubing

Commercial truckers in Wyoming and the rest of the U.S. are required to keep well-maintained vehicles. Federal regulations exist to ensure that truck components do not malfunction and become the indirect cause of an accident. As part of Operation Airbrake Program, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance holds a brake inspection spree every year called Brake Safety Week. The goal is to enforce regulations and reduce accident numbers.

During Brake Safety Week, inspectors in both the U.S. and Canada stop commercial trucks at random to check for any brake-related violations. Truckers who are guilty of such violations may be placed out of service. The rest receive a CVSA decal on their vehicle to show that they passed.

Women more likely than men to be injured in car crashes

Wyoming readers may be surprised to learn that women are much more likely to be injured in car accidents than men are. Research has shown the phenomenon is related to the fact that auto manufacturers design their safety technologies to protect male bodies while largely ignoring their performance on female bodies.

A study by City Lab found that women are 73% more likely to be injured or killed in a car wreck than men are. A little over 10 years ago, media outlets began investigating the causes of the problem and found that women who are "relatively short" and sat in particular ways inside a vehicle received less protection from standard seat belts in the event of a crash. This is because seat belts were created to fit the male form.

Human error the most common reason for crashes

Many Wyoming residents have been involved in car accidents. While most crashes can be considered minor with little damage and few injuries, some major accidents can even be fatal. With car crashes, human error is the most common cause, which means that many of these incidents are also preventable if drivers are vigilant and follow traffic rules.

Human error as a cause in a car accident can be divided into a variety of subcategories. However, all can result in crashes and injuries. Of these, distracted driving is by far the most common type of error. When drivers look away for even a few seconds, the possibility of an accident greatly increases. Distracted driving is seen often on the road as people do other things such as using smartphones, applying makeup, eating or drinking as they drive.

DUI fatalities peak on the Fourth of July

All too often on the roads of Wyoming, drunk drivers are causing crashes and sometimes killing themselves or others. The average summer day sees an average of 26 people die in DUI crashes across the U.S. However, that risk for a fatal DUI crash goes up nearly 60% on the Fourth of July. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Independence Day is the deadliest of the major U.S. holidays.

From 2010 to 2017, for example, there were 1,192 DUI fatalities on the Fourth of July. The fatality rate was calculated as 42.4 per day. Memorial Day came in second with 1,105 deaths in those eight years and a fatality rate of 39.5. Then came Labor Day (38.1), New Year's (31.7), Thanksgiving (27.9) and Christmas (27.7).

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