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Danville Personal Injury Law Blog

Safety tips for driving around large trucks

Staying safe around large trucks is essential. Virginia residents should know that in 2016, there were 3,986 large truck crash fatalities and that 66 percent of these were occupants of passenger vehicles. One expert from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance says that 70 percent of all collisions between trucks and cars are caused by the latter.

The following are some tips on how to avoid truck accidents. Drivers should not tailgate but should keep a distance of at least 500 feet from the truck; that way, they have time to react to dangers. If they can look beyond the truck in front, they should do so and take preemptive action when they notice any brake lights or emergency flashers.

You must understand the common causes of truck accidents

As a driver, you should live by the mantra of "knowledge is power." The more you understand about truck accidents, including why they happen, the easier it is for you to prevent trouble on the roadway.

There are two general types of car-truck accidents:

  • Those that are caused by the driver of a passenger vehicle
  • Those that are caused by a trucker

What to know about common workplace accidents

Workers in Virginia and throughout the country could be hurt in workplace accidents. Slips, trips and falls are the most common reason why individuals get hurt on the job. In many cases, individuals slip on wet or oily floors or trip because they couldn't clearly see an obstacle in front of them. This type of accident tends to result in broken bones, back injuries and pulled muscles.

Motor vehicle accidents are another common cause of workplace injuries. Individuals could be injured either while traveling for work or while driving around a warehouse or construction site. Transportation accidents most often happen in the agricultural sector, but they can also occur in manufacturing plants or other workplaces. An explosion in the workplace could cause a variety of different injuries. Those who are in close proximity to a blast could experience injuries to their ears or lungs.

Avoiding scaffolding accidents among employees

In 2016, OSHA gave 3,900 citations to employers for improper scaffolding practices. They ranked third among OSHA violations that year, and the situation has not changed all that much since then. Scaffolding accidents continue to be a common source of injury among construction workers in Virginia and across the U.S. Of the 2.3 million construction workers who use scaffolding regularly, about 4,500 are injured every year. About 60 are killed.

Deficient platforms and falling are to blame for 72 percent of all scaffolding injuries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, so it's important to maintain safe scaffolding. This means, for instance, erecting scaffolding on solid footing and not supporting them with concrete blocks, barrels, boxes or other unstable objects. It must carry its own weight plus four times the maximum intended load without the risk for displacement.

Drunk driving crash fatalities and their causes

Drunk driving crashes are to blame for approximately a third of all deaths relating to traffic injuries. In Virginia, as elsewhere, the motorists who are most susceptible to drunk driving crashes are drivers under 24, motorcyclists, those with prior DUI convictions and those who combine alcohol consumption with drugs or medications.

Young drivers are always at a greater risk than older adults, even when both have the same blood alcohol concentration. The reasons for this are several. Youths are more inexperienced behind the wheel, and they tend to travel in groups. Interacting with these groups makes it easier for drivers to become distracted.

Underride guards could save lives of car occupants

Virginia residents should be aware of a push to get lawmakers to pass legislation protecting car occupants from underride crashes. The legislation is aimed at requiring all trucks to have guards on their sides and fronts to prevent vehicles from sliding under them. Currently, underride guards are only required on the backs of trucks. The bill being discussed by federal lawmakers would also require that annual truck inspection include these guards to ensure they are properly attached and in good condition. However, the legislation has not moved forward since it was introduced and is not expected to be discussed again until early 2019.

Underride crashes are often fatal. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released figures in 2011 that showed 260 car occupants were killed as a result of underride collisions that year. Also in 2011, the Truck Safety Coalition found that 19 percent of fatal two-vehicle collisions involving passenger vehicles and large trucks involved rear impacts.

ZF reveals benefits of external airbag tech

Some Virginia drivers may have heard about external airbags. While the technology is a long way from being perfected, much less implemented on new vehicles, its benefits are clear and may encourage more car parts manufacturers to consider it. One of these manufacturers, the ZF Group, has found that in the event of a side impact crash, external airbags could reduce occupants' injury severity by as much as 40 percent.

ZF has its own strategy for developing the safety tech, one that will take into account the rapid advances in lidar, radar, ultrasonics and camera technology. There are, after all, several challenges that need to be addressed; namely, ensuring that the sensors recognize the vital aspects of an impending crash. The airbags must inflate when necessary, but they shouldn't deploy at unnecessary times.

Keep your eyes open for these forms of distracted driving

As the driver of a motor vehicle, it's your responsibility to keep your eyes and attention on the road at all times. If you neglect to do this, even for a second, it can result in a serious accident.

Since there are so many forms of distracted driving, it's not always easy to avoid each and every one. Fortunately, with the appropriate knowledge, you can get into the right frame of mind every time you get behind the wheel.

Tips for safe winter driving

During the holidays, thousands of Virginia drivers take road trips to see family and friends over a few weeks. Here are some important winter driving tips to help ensure a safe journey.

First, drivers should take the time to learn about the new advanced safety technologies on their vehicles. The National Safety Council and the University of Iowa have joined together to help educate drivers on the way these systems work and encourage their proper use. For example, traction control helps vehicles maintain traction on icy, snowy or wet roadways. This can prevent drivers from spinning out when they accelerate from a stop or sliding when they go up slippery hills or inclines. This technology is now standard on most new vehicles.

Winter weather can lead to workplace hazards

Workers in Virginia may face particular hazards when heading to the job in winter weather. The chill in the air isn't the only danger that comes with the winter season: Snow and ice can pose a major threat to workplace safety. There are a number of common hazards that workers may face, especially in outdoor conditions. Employers have a responsibility to address dangers on the job and ensure that workers have suitable protective gear to avoid falls and other dangerous accidents. Cold weather, ice, snow and wind are hazardous conditions from which employers have a legal duty to protect workers.

One of the most common occupational hazards during winter weather is snow removal from heights, especially rooftops. Workers are severely injured or even killed annually while removing snow and ice from decks, rooftops and other high structures. While there is no specific federal safety standard for rooftop snow removal, regulations do require the use of fall protection systems when working on heights, and there are guidelines for the use of ladders, scaffolds and lifts.

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