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Fort Walton Beach Personal Injury Law Blog

What to do about the danger of drowsy driving

A AAA study from 2018 analyzed video footage of drivers just before they were in an accident, and based on that, researchers concluded that 9.5% of all accidents are caused by sleepy drivers. Residents of Florida should be aware of just how dangerous it is to be drowsy behind the wheel. They should also know how the dangers can be sidestepped.

It all begins with following the CDC's recommendation for at least seven hours of sleep each night. There is a sleep disorder, though, that can create issues even when one technically sleeps for the recommended time. It's called obstructive sleep apnea, and it leads to continual snoring and interrupted sleep. Those who suspect they have OSA may wish to consult their doctor.

Can your vehicle help keep you safe?

Vehicle safety is a primary concern, especially since car accidents remain a significant safety issue in Florida and throughout the United States. It will come as no surprise to you to learn that distraction is one of the leading causes of accidents. Distraction is often because of phones, but sometimes, the object of distraction is actually the infotainment system in the car. 

Car manufacturers are working for ways to keep people safe, and now they are including some features that may accomplish that. Through various types of crash avoidance systems, your car can actually help warn you of danger and help you avoid a collision. You may want to learn more about these systems and what they can mean for your personal safety.

Truck brakes inspected for Brake Safety Week starting 9/15

Truckers in Florida have a duty to maintain their vehicles, and that includes their brakes. Good brakes keep a truck's braking distance to a minimum, which lowers the risk for rear-end collisions, but unfortunately, many truckers are indifferent to this. Even fleet owners and mechanics do not emphasize it as much as they ought to, which is part of the reason why there is an annual inspection spree to ensure brake safety.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance holds this spree, called Brake Safety Week, once a year across North America, and it comprises random inspections of large trucks and other commercial motor vehicles. The 2019 Brake Safety Week has been scheduled to take place from September 15 to 21, and though it will cover every component, it will have a strong focus on brake hoses and tubing.

Preventing accidents caused by distracted driving

Unsafe driving due to the use of technology is most often associated with young drivers in Florida and other states, but research from the AAA shows that older drivers are more likely to be distracted by technology when driving. When performing actions like tuning the radio, adjusting navigation or making a phone call, drivers between the ages of 55 and 75 took their eyes off the road an average of eight seconds longer than drivers between 21 and 36.

Research shows that a driver taking their eyes off the road for two seconds doubles their chances of crashing. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,000 people died on American roadways in 2017 due to distracted driving. Even though in-vehicle technology is designed to provide a voice-command, hands-free experience for drivers, the complicated technology may make operation more difficult for older drivers.

Do not ignore signs of car accident injuries, even if delayed

Car accidents are frightening events. Immediately after the crash, your body may fill with adrenaline, your hands may shake and you could have a difficult time focusing on what is happening. As a result, when medical personnel come to the scene and ask if you are hurt, you may not think that you are.

Adrenaline can sometimes mask pain soon after a traumatic event, and some injuries may not present symptoms until some time has passed. As a result, you may not think you suffered injuries immediately after an accident, but you may later come to find that you actually suffered serious harm.

Trucking industry struggles to deal with sleep apnea

Commercial truck accidents have become increasingly common in Florida and other U.S. states over the last few years. According to safety advocates, one of the possible causes of the problem could be sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that repeatedly interrupts a person's breathing while they are asleep. The National Sleep Foundation reports that the condition can lead to a number of health issues, including heart disease, high blood pressure and cognitive problems. However, one of its biggest side effects is daytime sleepiness, which can lead to drowsy driving. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 17% and 28% of America's 1.87 million nonfarm commercial drivers are thought to have at least a mild form of disorder, meaning there are potentially thousands of sleepy truck drivers traveling on U.S. roads each day.

New bill proposes AEB mandate for commercial trucks

Automatic emergency braking systems can save lives in Florida and across the U.S., especially if they are installed on commercial trucks. This is the belief of the Truck Safety Coalition and of the three congresspeople who introduced a bill, H.R. 3773, in the House of Representatives on July 16. This bill is called the Safe Roads Act of 2019 and would mandate AEB installation and use on all new commercial vehicles.

One of those congresspeople had proposed a similar bill in 2015, which did not pass. Since an AEB system costs about $500, some trucking companies might struggle to afford it for their fleets. The matter is still under deliberation.

Car accident may lead to delayed pain: Fight back ASAP

As your car sits at a red light, your eyes shift to your rearview mirror. You see a car approaching you at a high speed, but you naturally expect the driver to come to a halt. Unfortunately, she does not. The next thing you know, her car has collided with your car.

Although you are a bit shaken up emotionally, you walk away from the accident feeling okay physically, so you refuse treatment at the scene. However, some weeks after the accident, you start to feel pain. Here is a look at how you should deal with delayed pain following a car crash in Florida.

Common reasons for car accidents in the United States

Some car accidents in Florida are nothing more than minor fender benders. Other times, however, crashes caused by human error result in serious injuries or fatalities. As for why such motor vehicle collisions occur, there are some common reasons and contributing factors.

Not surprisingly, distracted driving is one of the top reasons for car accidents in the U.S. While many people associate distracted driving with smartphones, drivers can also become preoccupied while eating, applying makeup or talking to passengers. Consuming alcohol before getting behind the wheel also increases the odds of being involved in an accident because of slower reaction times. Additionally, it's common for some drivers to ignore posted speed limits. Yet the faster a vehicle travels, the more likely it is that a serious collision will occur.

DOT to relax truck driver daily time limits

Truck drivers in Florida and across the U.S. may soon be able to drive for more hours during workdays. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is reportedly set to loosen federal limitations on how long a driver may drive before stopping for a rest break. The move is a victory for the trucking industry, which has long advocated for the change.

Currently, truck drivers are only allowed to drive 11 hours per day within a 14-hour work period. The DOT regulations also state that drivers must have at least 10 consecutive hours off driving duty before driving the truck again and that drivers who are going to be working more than eight hours take a 30-minute break within that time period. The trucking industry believes these rules are too strict. If a driver violates these rules, the driver is not allowed to drive for one day or more.

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Our legal team consists of attorney Wm. Dennis Brannon and his son C. Paul Brannon. We work together as a father and son team to provide our clients with exceptional service and solutions in motor vehicle accident claims and other personal injury matters.

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