Timothy J. Casey Attorney at Law
Representing Clients In Phoenix And Communities Throughout Arizona

Arizona Personal Injury Blog

Faulty brakes? Several people could be liable for your injuries

Imagine driving off from the mechanic thinking you did everything right. You got your brakes replaced, and you know that your vehicle is in the best condition for the drive ahead of you.

Now, imagine that you're driving and your brakes go out. You have space in front of you, but with no ability to slow down, the distance between you and others is closing fast. You don't have much room to maneuver, and as a result, you end up in a collision.

Ford sleep suit simulates fatigued driving

Lack of sleep wreaks havoc on a person's system, causing mood swings, affecting concentration and making skin age faster. It can also make people worse and more dangerous drivers, as fatigue is a major contributor in as many as 20 percent of car accidents. Arizona motorists should be aware of the effects of fatigue on their ability to drive, and they should be wary of fatigued drivers on the road. Ford is making use of a specially-designed sleep suit to help spread the word about this problem.

The sleep suit gives people the experience of fatigued driving in a controlled environment. According to the developer of the suit, sleep is the only cure for fatigue, in much the same way as the passage of time is the only way for a person to sober up. He said the suit includes goggles that are designed to replicate microsleep, during which drivers may continue down the road for 10 or more seconds but not see what is in front of them.

Avoiding drowsy driving due to daylight saving time

Drowsy driving becomes a problem every year in Arizona after residents "spring forward" for daylight saving time. Losing one hour of sleep may not seem like much, but it can have a large effect. The usual recommendation is that drivers get a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, getting one or two fewer hours than that in a 24-hour period can double one's chances of being involved in a car crash.

In a AAA survey, 95 percent of the people recognized that drowsy driving is unacceptable and unsafe behavior. Yet 3 in 10 respondents admitted to driving drowsily at least once in the month prior. This presents some cause for concern. AAA has even stated that getting only five hours of sleep in the previous 24 hours will make one act behind the wheel like a drunk driver.

Safety coalition formed to press Congress for speed limiters

Both the Truck Safety Coalition and Road Safe American have joined forces to reduce trucking accidents in Arizona and across the United States. The safety groups sent a letter to Congress to encourage lawmakers to pass legislation that would require automatic emergency braking systems and speed limiters to be installed and used on all heavy-duty trucks. The groups say that they have been trying for 12 years to get the measures passed.

The coalition used recent data from a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration study to support their case. The study showed that trucks that didn't use speed limiters increased their risk getting into an accident by 200 percent. Additionally, data has also shown that automatic emergency braking systems could prevent an estimated 2,500 accidents annually.

A broken part can cause a big truck accident

When truck accidents occur, the victims often feel overwhelmed and may not know how to recover their losses. If you recently experienced a truck accident, you probably have a long road to recovery ahead of you, and you may need a lot of help along the way.

First, it is always important to receive a full medical examination from a doctor. Even if you don't believe that the accident caused any serious injuries, you may have injuries that you can't feel. Sometimes, these injuries are dangerous and if you don't get proper treatment, you may experience lasting pain or other side effects.

Defensive driving may help prevent drunk driving accidents

In 2017, there were over 127,000 motor vehicle accidents in Arizona. Almost 5,000 of these accidents were caused by a driver impaired by alcohol. According to a report by the Arizona Department of Transportation, these accidents resulted in the deaths of 320 people. Being aware of drunk drivers and driving defensively can help motorists avoid accidents and protect themselves.

While driving, pay close attention to other vehicles on the road. Some signs that a motorist is under the influence of alcohol include weaving through traffic, making wide turns, driving too slowly, driving on the opposite side of the road and erratic braking. Additionally, drunk drivers may drive places other than designated roadways, such as on a sidewalk. They also tend to make sudden and/or illegal turns without the use of a blinker.

NSC wants to reverse rising rate of traffic injuries and deaths

Compared to a few years ago, driving in Arizona and around the country has become more dangerous. According to a report from the National Safety Council, traffic fatalities have gone up nationwide by 14 percent since 2014. In 2018, approximately 4.5 million people suffered serious injuries in motor vehicle crashes. Automotive safety technology that detects other vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists could reduce accidents, but the council's interim president and CEO said that the United States needs to adopt a culture of safe driving as well.

Distracted driving and drowsiness persist as preventable problems that are causing accidents. More vehicles include built-in infotainment systems that draw drivers' eyes away from the road. Pervasive use of smartphones has also worsened distracted driving as people talk and text behind the wheel. These negative behaviors translate into distractions that contributed to 8 percent of accidents in 2017. For the same year, 2 percent of crashes were attributed to drowsy drivers.

NTSB issues recommendations to reduce accidents

In an effort to reduce motor vehicle accidents and fatalities, the National Transportation Safety Board has released a list of suggested improvements. The list, which is termed "Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements," offered suggestions of what could reduce incidents for all modes of transportation. Six of the 10 items on the list are related to the trucking industry.

Topping the list is a recommendation to decrease distracted driving. The NTSB report says that adding distraction codes to all traffic incident reports and passing laws to ban all mobile devices would help reduce car accidents that occur due to distracted driving. One option that the NTSB recommends is a feature that disables mobile phones when a vehicle is in motion. Another concern was the use of alcohol, cannabis and other drugs while driving. The NTSB report encourages giving the board access to all drug and alcohol reports in order to formulate a plan to reduce accidents that are caused while driving under the influence.

Woman falls down steps, dies in subway without elevator

Some people in Arizona may have heard about a woman who fell down a set of subway steps and died in New York City while carrying her baby's stroller. The station did not have an elevator. The child was conscious when police arrived, but the woman was not.

The accident highlighted the problem of accessibility in New York subways for parents, people with luggage or other items and disabled people. Only about 25 percent of the 472 subway stations throughout the city are accessible. Often, in stations that do have elevators, they are broken. The MTA has said that it will increase its rate of elevator installation so that by 2025, no one will have to travel more than two stops without reaching a station that has an elevator.

Tips for handling emergencies on the road

Many things can happen when you are on the road. Being prepared in advance can make a big difference in how you handle unexpected troubles. Ultimately, the goal is to get to your destination safety. This is, obviously, never a guarantee. You have to rely on other drivers to help keep you safe as well as trust that no vehicles -- or roadway infrastructure -- have defects that lead to horrible accidents.

Some of the more common emergencies that you will face while you are driving can put you and others in danger. For example, a tire blowout can make you lose control of your vehicle. Regardless of what happens, following these steps might help you to avoid being struck by another car while you address the problem.

  • Try to get off the roadway if possible. This might be a challenge, especially if you aren't in the right lane or if your vehicle is disabled. Ideally, you will be able to make it to off-street parking, such as in a gas station parking lot.
  • Turn on your emergency flashers if you are still on the road or shoulder. This alerts other drivers that there is something wrong so they can take evasive action. You might also place flares or safety triangles behind your car if you are able to get out of the vehicle safely.
  • Stay in your vehicle until it is safe to leave. If you are near traffic, try to cross to the passenger seat so you don't have to get out near the flow of other vehicles. Stay as close to your car as you can if you have to get out on the driver's side or if you need to work on that side.
  • Consider calling a tow truck to take your vehicle to a mechanic or somewhere safer than the side of the road. This might cost a bit, but your safety is the priority. In some cases, your insurance might cover all or part of the expense.

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