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Anaheim Personal Injury Law Blog

Most frequent errors that lead to car accidents

If drivers in California are careful and follow traffic laws, they can reduce their risk for an accident. In the U.S., car crashes kill thousands of people every year, and most of them are due to human error. The following are some of the most common errors that lead to accidents.

At the top is distracted driving. Smartphones, navigation systems and touchscreens are making drivers more distracted than ever, but in reality, any activity that takes one's eyes off the road is distracting. That includes eating, drinking and adjusting the air conditioning. A second common error is drunk driving. Alcohol intoxication impairs one's ability to focus and make good judgment calls, which endangers everyone on the road.

Secondary conditions are common with spinal cord injuries

For many people, thinking about a spinal cord injury will bring up only the thoughts related to the damage to the spinal cord. Some might not realize that there are many other impacts that this type of injury can have on your life.

Victims can suffer from mental health issues, including depression, when they are dealing with this. They might also have physical secondary conditions that can lead to serious health challenges or even death. It is imperative for anyone who is living with a spinal cord injury understand some of the conditions.

This is what causes a truck accident to occur

Truck accidents that occur in California or any other state tend to have a greater potential for injury or death. That's because tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds as opposed to passenger vehicles that weigh about 4,000 pounds. Poor weather conditions are among the common causes of large truck accidents. Roads that are covered in rain or snow can be harder to stop without skidding or sliding.

If a truck is not properly maintained, it can increase the chances of that vehicle being involved in an accident. Routine maintenance is critical because trucks may cover thousands of miles in a single day. This can lead to worn brake pads or other problems that drivers need to be aware of and check for prior to leaving for their next destination. However, some problems occur because of the negligence of an equipment manufacturer.

Motorcycle helmets should be chosen carefully

Helmets saved the lives of at least 1,870 motorcyclists around the country in 2017, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 750 riders who died would have survived if they had been wearing one. Virtually all media articles on motorcycle safety begin by urging riders to purchase a quality helmet and put it on every time they take to the roads, but finding head gear that is both comfortable and robust enough to provide protection in a crash can be difficult for some California riders.

While comfort is important, riders should avoid motorcycle helmets that are marketed as being lightweight and thin. Helmets that provide good protection are at least an inch thick and usually weigh about 3 pounds. Plastic buckles that can break in an accident are another sign of a poorly manufactured helmet. The NHTSA does not test or approve helmets sold in the United States, but it does maintain an online database of helmets that have been recalled due to safety concerns.

Lower extremities most at risk in motorcycle crashes

Motorcycle safety advocates say that riders in California should always wear all the necessary protective gear. However, research shows that certain areas of a rider's body are more vulnerable to injuries than others.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed medical records from 1,222,000 American motorcyclists who suffered non-fatal injuries between 2001 and 2008. They found that 30% of all injuries involved a rider's legs or feet and 22% involved a rider's head or neck. Meanwhile, injuries to the upper trunk region, meaning the chest, shoulders and back, and lower trunk region, meaning the hips and pelvis, were also common.

House bill proposes mandatory ignition interlock devices

A law went into effect in California on January 1, 2019, that requires that repeat drunk drivers and first-time DUI offenders who cause injuries have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. California is one of almost 30 states to have such a law on their books, but a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on January 11 proposed a far more sweeping regulation. If passed, the Abbas Stop Drunk Driving Act would require auto manufacturers to fit interlock devices on every new passenger vehicle sold in the United States.

The Michigan lawmaker who is championing the legislation believes that making ignition interlock devices mandatory safety equipment could save thousands of lives each year. When the devices are fitted, drivers must pass a breath test before starting their vehicles. The legislation is named after five members of a Michigan family who were killed in early January when the car in which they were traveling was struck head-on by an intoxicated truck driver who crossed the center line.

Categories of causes for semitruck crashes

Semitruck crashes can cause catastrophic injuries that might affect the victims forever. Some accidents are more likely to cause these serious injuries. Factors like high speeds and the location of the impact play a role in how the victim is affected.

There are many different reasons why these crashes occur. Determining the cause of the wreck is imperative for the individuals who are seeking compensation, so they know whom to name as a defendant.

Opioid use is becoming a thorny road safety issue

The ongoing opioid epidemic in California and around the country is having a profound effect on road safety according to a study published in the online journal JAMA Network Open. After analyzing National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports on 18,321 fatal two-vehicle accidents that took place over a period of more than 20 years, a pair of Columbia University researchers concluded that getting behind the wheel after taking drugs like fentanyl or hydrocodone doubles the chances of being involved in a deadly crash.

When the issue of opioid impairment among drivers was studied in the 1990s, researchers found that only about 1% of the motorists killed each year in motor vehicle accidents were under the influence of these addictive drugs. The latest study suggests that this figure has since risen dramatically. Lawmakers and road safety advocates do not expect the situation to improve in the near future as more than 200 million opioid prescriptions are written every year by doctors in the United States.

The serious impact of driving while distracted

California drivers may be surprised to learn the impact that driving while distracted is having on accident rates. Recently, an insurance company that focuses on providing discount insurance for customers who do not use their phone while driving highlighted the results of a distracted driver study. According to the study, upward of 47% of drivers believe that distracted driving is one of the top concerns they have while on the road and view it as something that can impact road safety.

The challenge is that for most people, using their mobile phone while they are driving is second nature. The distractions that drivers have are constantly increasing. This increases the need for insurance companies and others to find ways to focus drivers' attention on the road as opposed to their mobile devices.

Testing of self-driving cars is far from sufficient

Many California motorist are wary about self-driving cars, and for good reason, as several serious accidents have been linked to them. In May 2016, a driver who had his Tesla Model S on Autopilot died when the vehicle collided with a truck. In March 2018, a self-driving Uber vehicle in Arizona struck and killed a pedestrian.

Unfortunately, it appears that several automakers are rushing to introduce these vehicles to the public, neglecting safety in the process. This is the conclusion of a Rand Corporation report, which goes on to say that autonomous vehicles may need to be test driven for millions or billions of miles before they can be deemed reliable enough to prevent crashes.

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