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Danville Personal Injury Law Blog

How the risk for car accidents increases in the summer

Summer is a time for people of all ages to venture outside of their daily routines and take advantage of the warmer weather. Virginia is a state that numerous tourists stop by at this time, as Virginia Beach is one of the top U.S. summer destinations.

However, more people in the area also means more chances for car accidents. It does not help that summer offers some of the riskiest road conditions and driver behavior in the state. Before you go out to enjoy the sun, be careful of these ill-prepared drivers that share the road with you.

Car crashes, fireworks make July 4th a deadly holiday

Independence Day is the deadliest day of the year when it comes to fatal car accidents, according to both Esurance and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. They also claim that 40 percent of all highway deaths between 2007 and 2011 were caused by drunk drivers between June 30 and July 4. This five-day period sees about 200 traffic deaths every year. Drivers in Virginia will want to be extra careful, then, if they plan on traveling during the holiday.

AAA estimates that 37.5 million Americans will be traveling 50 miles or more as part of their Fourth of July celebrations. As a result, more drivers will be on the road, and many of them will be taking routes that are different from their usual commute. This could mean distractions and risky driving behavior.

Safety violations can add up for companies

Workers in Virginia can face serious risks on the job, especially when companies fail to prioritize workplace safety. While many work sites proclaim their commitment to safety, this does not mean that all companies regularly place the health of workers above other concerns, such as saving money or increasing profits. Instead, they may consider the cost of paying for worker injuries to be just another cost of doing business.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fines corporate violators $129,336 when on-the-job accidents are caused by willful neglect. However, many workplace injuries don't meet that standard, at least at first glance. For example, some safety incidents are caused by preventable actions that are blatantly unsafe. Companies can also go beyond a lack of attention to worker safety and actually cover up the real extent of injuries on the job. One automaker is being investigated in California for characterizing workplace injuries as personal medical issues that took place off the job.

Turn down the beat: How music can impair driving

There have been plenty of warnings about what actions you should not do while driving. It's common to hear warnings not to drive while intoxicated, eating or texting on your phone. But there is something in nearly every car in the country has that can increase your chances of getting in a crash if used improperly: a radio.

Driving with the music playing in the background is an American pastime and some contest that it prevents drivers from falling asleep on the wheel. It's not that we should get rid of radios in cars, but knowing the risks of playing particular music in the car can go a long way to preventing dangerous driving and unnecessary accidents.

Reducing the odds of a fall at work

In 2014, 660 workers died after a fall from heights while another 138 died after a fall from the same level. Virginia residents may be prone to falling if they work in the same area for a long period of time. Workers can become complacent and not stay vigilant about potential hazards. Ideally, individuals will walk in a controlled manner and avoid using a cellphone.

Workers should wear shoes or other footwear that is appropriate for the conditions in which they work. Those who are working at heights should know that their ladders are securely on the ground, and they should also be sure to wear fall protection equipment. Ladders should never be used if it is windy or poor weather conditions are present. Guardrails should be available and used properly when working on raised platforms.

Things to keep in mind after a car accident

Individuals who are involved in car accidents in Virginia should keep a few things in mind. First, there is an obligation that the parties involved in a car accident stop at the scene. This is true even if the parties believe the accident didn't cause any damage. Regardless of the circumstances, a person who is in a car accident should not admit responsibility for the crash at the scene. Car insurance contracts often contain clauses prohibiting the insured from admitting liability or responsibility at this point.

One of the first things to be done after a crash is contact the police. The police will create an accident report that may be important for recovery from the insurance companies or the other driver. It's a good idea for each of the drivers to contact their insurance companies soon after the accident and to exchange information.

Silica rules still not being followed in construction

Construction workers in Virginia may have good reason to worry about the safety of the very air they breathe on the job. Silica dust can be a significant contaminant at construction sites, generated when cutting, sanding or grinding concrete, brick, drywall and other standard construction materials. While silica is very common at construction sites, it can also carry grave dangers. However, enforcement of federal regulation has only been in place for six months, and many sites report that compliance continues to be weak and limited.

Silica dust is such a concern because it can lead to a serious occupational disease, the lung disorder called silicosis. When construction workers breathe in particles of silica dust on the job, it can embed in the lungs, leaving scar tissue behind. As the scar tissue grows, it can make it difficult to breathe; when full-blown silicosis develops, the disease can be fatal. Because of the risks posed by silicosis, the federal government limited the acceptable exposure to silica by 80 percent in March 2016. Enforcement of the regulation went into effect as of September 2017.

Operation Safe Driver Week slated for July

Virginia truck drivers should be on the alert in mid-July. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has announced that Operation Safe Driver Week will take place July 15-21. During the initiative, participating law enforcement officers will be on the patrol for commercial and passenger vehicle drivers who are exhibiting unsafe driving behaviors.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 93 percent of passenger vehicle crashes in the United States are caused by driver error or negligence. Meanwhile, 88 percent of large truck crashes are also blamed on driver behavior. In response to this data, the CVSA created the Operation Safe Driver Program to reduce driver-related motor vehicle accidents, injuries and fatalities.

Training and safety strategies reduce risks for warehouse workers

Warehouses in Virginia have become busy workplaces as more retail shopping shifts to online outlets. Workers must store and move large amounts of inventory, often in close quarters. Boxes on high shelves, forklifts and slippery floors routinely create workplace hazards. Warehouse managers have the ability to reduce the chances of accidents by training workers and installing barriers and automation equipment designed to protect people from injury and potential death.

Awareness training represents an important first step so that employees will understand the dangers in the work environment and how to use equipment properly. Training programs include information about how to stack boxes to prevent them from falling on people. Those who work on platforms also need to understand how to use fall prevention gear and observe safety regulations.

Motorcycle crashes carry a very high risk of injury or death

We all understand that there is a risk inherent to traveling on motor vehicles. That risk level increases if the vehicle in question, like a motorcycle, does not offer any physical protection from impact. Even those who take great care to drive safely, maintain their motorcycle properly, and wear appropriate safety gear face a serious risk of injury or even death due to their choice in vehicle.

People enjoy motorcycles for all kinds of reasons. Perhaps you have an antique bike that you maintain with loving precision. Maybe you enjoy the rusk you get with the wind whipping around you as you drive. Some people even choose them to reduce their overall gas consumption. Whatever your motivation, you should take care to be as safe as possible. Your overall risk for injury is much higher than that of people in enclosed vehicles.

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