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Kansas City Personal Injury Blog

Brake violations lead truck safety issues

Poorly maintained truck brakes can pose a serious risk to the lives and well-being of others on the roads in Missouri. When a large truck crashes into smaller vehicles, the results can be catastrophic. That's why some safety advocates may bemoan the fact that over 14 percent of all inspected trucks were pulled off the road due to brake violations during an inspection spree in September 2018. The spree took place as part of Brake Safety Week, an annual initiative of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

During the week, inspectors examined 35,080 commercial trucks, placing 4,955 out of service as a result of their findings. There are a number of braking issues that could have serious safety repercussions and lead to catastrophic trucking accidents. Among the most common problems found by inspectors were ill-maintained antilock braking systems (ABS). ABS violations were found in 8.3 percent of power units that require the system while 12.5 percent of trailers requiring ABS were found to be in violation of maintenance standards.

Driver fatigue a factor in many truck crashes

According to statistics published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, up to 100,000 of the crashes reported annually nationwide are due at least in part to driver fatigue. Fatigue can contribute to accidents on Missouri highways; drivers should be aware of the risks. The National Safety Council has reported that 28 percent of single-vehicle commercial crashes and 13 percent of large truck crash deaths involve driver fatigue.

Those who are on the road in commercial capacities are more vulnerable to the effects of fatigue because they may be required to drive for long periods on boring routes. When fatigue becomes too much, some drivers fall asleep involuntarily and can remain sleeping for up to 15 seconds. The phenomenon is referred to as micro-sleep. Technology companies have developed systems to help combat micro-sleep.

New study shows how TBI doubles risk for suicide

Traumatic brain injuries are a type of head injury that affects the normal functioning of the brain. They account for about 2.2 million emergency room visits, 280,000 hospitalizations and 50,000 deaths every year throughout Missouri and the rest of the U.S. By affecting one's behavior, emotions and motor functions, they lead to memory, attention, cognitive and coordination impairments.

Up to now recently, more attention has been paid to the immediate physical impact of TBIs and less paid to the long-term consequences of mood disorders and post-traumatic epilepsy. These conditions increase one's risk for dementia as well as suicide.

AAA study reveals how drivers overestimate car safety features

Missouri drivers who rely on collision avoidance systems and other safety features will want to know about a recent survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The study shows that many drivers are overestimating the capabilities of car safety tech and relying too much on it, even to the point of becoming negligent behind the wheel.

For example, 29 percent of respondents with adaptive cruise control are comfortable using their phones and engaging in other activities when the feature is activated. One in five drivers with blind-spot monitoring never look for oncoming vehicles when changing lanes, and 80 percent overestimate in this system's ability to detect fast-approaching cars, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Which of these back injuries did you suffer in an auto accident?

Motorists in and around Kansas City, Missouri have to deal with the typical hazards of busy highways. Although many safety advancements have been made in recent years, crash injuries continue to occur. The impact of most collisions causes occupants of vehicles to move in a thrashing motion, often resulting in neck and back injuries.

If you are a victim of a car accident, it is crucial to see your doctor for a thorough evaluation because back injuries could produce delayed symptoms. Prompt identification and diagnoses of back injuries can prevent long-term health problems that might include chronic pain.

Inspection spree takes almost 12,000 trucks out of service

Regulatory standards strive to keep commercial vehicles operating safely in Missouri and around the country. To promote compliance, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance organizes national inspection events like the International Roadcheck, a 3-day inspection spree that took place in June. The event resulted in 67,502 roadside inspections and citations that removed 11,897 vehicles from service for noncompliance.

The top three reasons that forced commercial vehicles out of service arose from problems that could impede braking. At number one, failing braking systems formed 28.4 percent of out-of-service violations. Next came problems with tires and wheels at 19.1 percent. Improperly adjusted brakes accounted for the third most common violation at 16.3 percent of citations.

Roundabouts may reduce car accident injuries

When people in Missouri head out for a drive in rural areas, they may encounter unexpectedly dangerous roads. Rural intersections are often joined only by a stop sign, yet the two roads coming together may have speed limits of up to 55 miles per hour. The danger of these intersections can be exacerbated when visibility is lowered due to poor weather conditions, little visible light at night or obstructive vegetation. As a result, some of these rural roads may see a disproportionate number of serious traffic accidents.

In order to address these concerns, many localities have installed traffic lights at the site of frequent car crashes. However, while lights are proven to reduce the number of accidents, they may do little to lessen the severity of those that do occur. For this reason, traffic engineers are considering the possibilities of roundabouts for rural intersections. Roundabouts are less effective than traffic lights at reducing the number of accidents at a specific location, but they are strongly associated with a sharp reduction in fatalities and severe injury crashes.

IIHS testing finds flaws with driver-assist car safety systems

Anyone in Missouri opting for a vehicle with one of the latest electronic car safety systems may have some added peace of mind while behind the wheel. Even so, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS, has issued a warning after testing such systems on vehicles produced by four top manufacturers. The organization discovered situations where certain vehicles with electronic car safety systems behave in ways that may put both drivers and passengers at increased risk.

According to a paper issued by the IIHS, some cars and trucks with electronic driver assist systems may contribute to motor vehicle accidents by steering drivers who are not paying attention into a collision. In other instances, vehicles could overlook stopped vehicles directly in front of them. The insurance industry group notes that safety systems still have the potential to save lives, but they can also fail in certain situations.

Teen motorist study identifies trends in risky driving behavior

Receiving a driver's license marks an exciting time for a teenager in Missouri. However, teens are eight times more likely to be involved in crashes and near misses during their first three months of having a license, according to a recent study conducted by university researchers and the National Institutes of Health.

The study was based on info from dashcams that monitored driver behavior and traffic. Researchers collected data from the time teenagers drove with adults while only holding learners' permits until a year after they received their full licenses. Once adult supervision ceased, teenage drivers exhibited an increased tendency to accelerate too fast, brake suddenly or turn too hard. These actions led to many more incidents of crashes or almost accidents.

Attention Missouri motorists: Summer is high-risk road time

When you think about possible roadway dangers, your mind might automatically imagine a cold, dark, winter night where the roads are icy and slick and sleet mixed with snow is falling fast. That sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn't it? However, there's another, perhaps surprising time when Missouri roads are at their peak for potential danger. It's summertime.  

You might wonder what could possibly be so dangerous about driving on a highway in the bright Missouri sunshine, with dry roads and no call for inclement weather. In fact, there are many summertime risks when you get behind the wheel. The more aware of them you are, the safer you're likelier to be although even safe drivers come into harm's way if a reckless driver is nearby. If someone hits you and you suffer injury, it's important to know how to determine if driver negligence was a factor.  

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