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Exhausted Driving is Reckless Driving

If you, or a family member, are, or employee, truck drivers, you need to be aware of hours of service regulations. The point of these regulations is to keep trucks drivers, and the passengers of surrounding vehicles, safe. They apply to a driver of any commercial motor vehicle, a vehicle that is used as part of a business.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the regulations state that truck drivers must have 10 consecutive hours off-duty before coming back on-duty. Additionally drivers must not drive beyond the 14th hour consecutive hour after coming on duty. Within those 14 hours, a driver can only drive a total of 11 hours, the other three being used for lunch breaks, nap, etc. Drivers may not drive over 8 consecutive hours without a break of at least 30 minutes. To help illustrate these regulations, consider this example: You have had 10 consecutive hours off. You come to work at 6:00 a.m. and drive from 7:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. (7 hours driving). You take a 30-minute break as required, and then can drive for another 4 hours until 6:30 p.m. You must not drive again until you have at least 10 consecutive hours off duty. You may do other work after 6:30 p.m., but you cannot do any more driving of a commercial motor vehicle on a public road.

If drivers do not follow these regulations, they will suffer from exhaustion and become dangerous to themselves and anyone driving around them. This is considered reckless driving. According to Charleston trucking accident lawyers of Clawson & Staubes, LLC: Injury Group, reckless driving is a major traffic violation, a misdemeanor punishable by fines, license suspension and even incarceration. So not only are exhausted drivers dangerous to anyone around them, they are also liable to get in a lot of trouble for being so. Make sure the truck driver you know is aware of these regulations and follows them thoroughly, to ensure safety for everyone involved.

Motorcycle Accident

From 2010 to 2012, fatal motorcycle accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) were 4,502, 4,612; and, 4,957 respectively. In the event of an accident, whether single or multiple vehicle accident, a motorcycle rider is always vulnerable to serious or fatal injuries due to the lack of protection which would cushion him or her from the force of impact.

Single vehicle accidents refer to crashes that involve only the motorcycle (that figured in the accident). It may be a motorcyclist crashing on the pavement (due usually to uneven road surface, potholes, or roads made slippery by ice, sand or oil) or into a solid fixture (such as a lamp post, a telephone pole or booth, or a concrete support structure). Multiple vehicle accidents, on the other hand, involve other vehicles, most often cars.

While it is easy to assume that a motorcycle accident, especially if no other vehicle is involved, could only be the fault of the rider, who may be riding too fast for road conditions or from allowing him or her to make timely reaction, especially when entering a corner, this is not always the case. In many more occasions, motorcycle accidents happen because of someone else’s act of negligence. This is especially true in multiple vehicle accidents, wherein drivers of other vehicles are usually the ones at fault – verified true through a study conducted by the NHTSA.

From this NHTSA study, it appeared that many drivers are guilty of denying motorcyclists their right of way; many also fail to check possible approaching motorcycles before making a turn or when entering an intersection (while attempting to run or beat a red light).

In 2012, there were about 9 million registered motorcycles all across the US (except for light scooters or mopeds, which are low-powered motorized bicycles, all other two-wheeled and three-wheeled powered vehicles need to be registered or licensed, as well as comply with state and federal certification standards, if these are to be used on public roads). Some of these motorcycles were new purchases, while others were old, dusty bikes that have stayed kept in garages for too long until their owners decided to get them on the road again. With regard to the major reason for the increase in the number of bikes on the road, however, majority of the responses were the same: gas price.

Unquestionably much more economical (in terms of expenses on gas) compared to cars, many decide to ride a bike instead to various destinations. Recreational riders have also been a very common weekend sight in many parts of the US. But one most likely consequence of having more motorcycles on the road is increase in the number of those getting involved in an accident.

Professional riders advise all other motorcycle riders to always wear protective gears, especially a DOT helmet standard which may be able to save them from sustaining a severe or fatal head injury during an accident. But while it may be true that protective gears may lessen the force of impact, though at a very minimal percentage, these do not lessen the number of accidents that continue to put motorcyclists’ lives in danger.

As stated on the website of the Abel Law Firm, accidents involving motorcycle riders will always be the fault of someone – could be the rider himself or herself, or someone else who has been negligent in his or her duties. And, if it can be proven that the accident was actually a result of somebody else’s negligent act, then the victim has the legal option to file a lawsuit against the liable party, for the compensation that the court may order to be paid to him/her.

Bad Drivers on the Road

Kentucky had the dubious honor of being one of the states with the worst drivers in 2009. In that year, 730 people died in vehicular accidents. It is admittedly not as bad as Texas with 2,776 fatalities. However, considering that Kentucky had only 2,932,659 registered drivers for that year while Texas had 15,374,063, Kentucky is actually worse.

Statistics aside, the numbers are still too high. Thirty-four out of 50 failed to signal or obey traffic lights, and three out of 50 were distracted while driving. These are driver errors, so about 74% of these accidents were preventable.

According to The Sampson Law Firm website, driver error is the top cause of car accidents in the US, and as it turns out, in Kentucky in particular. This poses a significant threat to innocent people who share the road with these bad drivers. The most dangerous drivers in Kentucky are 18-years-olds, a pattern that is consistent among the other states with high rates of traffic accidents.

Perhaps it is understandable. These are new drivers and liable to make mistakes. However, it does not mitigate their liability when someone gets hurt. This is especially true if it happens because the at-fault driver was impaired. Nine drivers out of 50 involved in car accidents were under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the state.

Car accidents are not intentional acts. However, accidents caused by driver error i.e. texting while driving, are foreseeable consequences of a conscious act. This failure to act with reasonable care is the basis for liability. Drivers that exercise reasonable care while operating a vehicle will not cause accidents, and will therefore not be liable.

If you were seriously injured in a Kentucky car accident caused by driver error, you have a right to expect compensation from the at-fault driver. Consult with a car accident lawyer in Kentucky for a rundown on your legal rights and options.

Defective Tires and Conicity

A typical driver seldom gives their tires a second thought. A good vehicle owner will perform regular tire-related maintenance by rotating and replacing it at the recommended time but other than that, it’s just a piece of rubber with air in it. There are no moving parts so what could go wrong, right?

Well, a lot, actually.

The tires carry all the weight so it is a crucial part of the vehicle, but because it is such a simple part, people tend to presume that it is okay to use as long as it is within the manufacturer’s warranty. However, tires are just as prone to manufacturing defects as the most complicated piece of machinery. Because tires operate under continual stresses, it is important that it is properly manufactured to avoid problems during use. One of the most common tire manufacturing defect is that of conicity.

Conicity is the tendency of a tire to roll in a conical manner. Actually, conicity is not precisely a defect when it is there by design. It can improve the smoothness of the ride if tires of equal conicity are placed on the left and right side of the vehicle. However, when conicity is there by mistake such as resulting from an error in placement or a misalignment in production then when it is placed on a vehicle it results in wobbling or steering issues.

Conicity cannot be diagnosed from just looking at it. It requires careful testing and measurement to do this off-car. However, once it is mounted, the effects become immediately apparent to a reasonably attentive driver although perhaps not as bad as it will be with more use.

Unfortunately, most drivers are not as attentive of these signs as they should be, and conicity can cause the driver to lose control of a vehicle at high speeds which, as pointed out on the website of Ronald J. Resmini LTD., can lead to serious injuries and even death. If the conicity is due to a manufacturing defect, then the manufacturer may be held liable for any resulting injuries and damages.

If you bought a defective tire that led to a serious accident, you may have grounds to sue the manufacturer, and in some instances the distributor and seller as well. Find out more by consulting with a tire defects lawyer in your area.

When Pedestrians Cause Car Accidents

When pedestrians are involved in a car accident, usually it is understood that the pedestrians are the victims and the car driver is the one who is at fault for the accident. This is generally the case, but not always what occurs. There are instances where pedestrians are to blame for the accident, either completely or only partially. As in any type of injury claim or lawsuit, it is important to determine who is at fault for the accident in order to see the legal responsibilities or each party.

In order to help determine who is at fault for the accident between a car driver and a pedestrian, there are many factors that the jury or judge will look into. Among the most important ones are the testimonies from witnesses, police report, gathered and presented evidence, and applicable laws for the case. When the car driver is the one determined to have caused the accident, awards may be given to the pedestrian in form of compensation for the injuries and damages brought about by the accident. However, in instances where the pedestrians caused the accident, the driver will have legal right to sue the pedestrian for the damages and injuries.

There are many ways in which a pedestrian can be the one responsible for the car accident, such as instances where they consciously commit jaywalking or crossing outside the crosswalk, crossing against the traffic signal, walking in areas where pedestrians are restricted, and even entering the street or highway while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Unfortunately though, as noted on the website of Pohl & Berk, LLP, even when the pedestrians caused the accident there are still some fault that is shared by the car driver. When shared has been determined by the court, two basic legal concepts are considered, depending on the state in which the accident occurred. States that follow pure comparative negligence rule would award compensation to the injured victim but the award will be reduced by the amount equivalent to the percent of fault the victim contributed to the accident. Another form of comparative negligence is the modified comparative negligence, where the injured person can be awarded compensation provided that they bear less than 50 percent of the blame for the accident.

Contributory negligence is the second type of rule used by several states. States that follow this implements the rule that if a person involved in the accident contributed in the accident, no matter how small the blame, they will not have legal right for compensation. In car-pedestrian accident cases where both parties contributed to the accident, they will be the one responsible for their injuries and damages caused by the accident. Although both parties do not have legal right to sue each other, though, they are still given the right to file for a claim from their own insurance provider.

Stricter Laws and a Lower BAC Limit in the Hope to Eliminate Drunk Driving

A fun, relaxing night with colleagues, friends or family, over good food and drinks would be a perfect way to end a tiring work week filled with stress and deadlines to beat. This is one activity that may be worth spending; but never drink more than what is lawfully allowed if you intend to drive afterwards. This is because the more alcohol a person consumes, the greater his/her impairment would be.

There is an actual line where a person is drunk in the eyes of the law. According to the website of Denton criminal lawyer Karen Alexander, the present blood alcohol content (BAC) limit set by the law is 0.08% in all 50 states; those caught violating this legal limit are charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI). However, based on a new chart released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a 0.05% BAC level is enough to reduce one’s coordination, and full ability to steer, respond to emergency situations, and track moving objects (0.05% BAC would mean about two or three bottles of beer).

Though more extensive advocacy and tougher enforcement of state and federal laws, such as sobriety checkpoints, harsher punishment and higher fines, have helped reduce the annual number of alcohol-related car accidents over the past years, the number of lives lost due to drunk driving still climbed above 9,000 in 2011.

To further lower this number and with the hope to do away with drunk driving, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) made a recommendation in 2013 to lower BAC level to 0.05%; the Board is confident that this recommendation will be made into a law. Presently, 0.05% BAC is the legal limit imposed on drivers in many countries around the globe.

Though the U.S. government has no intent of prohibiting adults from enjoying drinks in social gatherings; it directs everyone to observe care by making sure that they do not drive afterwards. This can be done by delegating the driving duty to one of their friends who does not or wouldn’t drink; if alone, however, they can call a family member or a friend to pick them up, or take a cab, otherwise. Party hosts (who serve alcoholic drinks) are also given the duty to make sure that their guests entrust the driving to sober drivers. This is especially true for bars and clubs, where dram shop laws come into effect.

Rick Coleman+