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Truckers Want FMCSA to Stop Publishing CSA Scores to the Public

September 25th, 2014 by admin

Around three weeks ago, 10 different trucking organizations (e.g., groups like the American Trucking Association and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association) got together and sent a joint request in a formal letter to the Department of Transportation.’

You can read their letter here.

Why? What’s up with this meeting of the minds of the big trucking interests here in taking the time and energy to hammer out a united correspondence to the Federal Government? Well, it’s not a big surprise to learn that it’s about federal regulations of truck drivers.

Specifically, all these trucking groups are asking for the same thing: they want the federal government to stop sharing with the general public all the CSA scores. The CSA, as you’ll recall if you follow our blog, is the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (”CSA”) program overseen by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). It’s been changed a lot in the past few years, and the CSA scores are tallies of how carriers are assessed by the feds according to the program’s requirements.

The Trucking Letter Argues That the CSA Scores Aren’t Reliable Regarding How Safe a Carrier May Be

The letter argues that the public shouldn’t see these CSA scores. They are asking that the CSA public scores be made NON-PUBLIC.

So you and I cannot see them.

Why? They argue that the CSA scores don’t jive with how safe (or dangerous) a carrier may be, but the general public might assume that this is true.

They back up their argument with a report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which states FMCSA “… lacks sufficient safety performance information to reliably compare them with other carriers,” and that the current CSA system is biased against small carriers.

From the letter:

Though accurate safety measurement scores can have numerous positive impacts, as discussed above, inaccurate scores, like those assigned to carriers by the CSA SMS, have detrimental and counterproductive consequences. Naturally, scores that erroneously paint otherwise safe and responsible carriers as more likely to be involved in a crash are harmful to those operations.

But since scores are based on comparative performance, carriers that actually have a pattern of crash involvement or of committing violations that correlate to crash involvement may subsequently be portrayed as having better performance. Of course, suggesting that such carriers are actually safer, by comparison, will have the unintended effect of driving either passengers or freight to them and is poor public policy.

Given the many identified data sufficiency and reliability issues outlined by the Government Accountability Office, we urge you to direct FMCSA to remove carrier’s SMS scores from public view. Doing so will not only spare motor carriers harm from erroneous scores, but will also reduce the possibility that the marketplace will drive business to potentially risky carriers that are erroneously being painted as more safe.

What will the federal government do here? We’ll see.

Should the CSA scores NOT be available for you and I to see?

Motorcycle Accidents in Indiana: Consider Just This Month ….

September 23rd, 2014 by admin

 

Motorcycle accidents are usually accidents that result in serious injuries and sadly, it’s usually the motorcyclist who is severely hurt in the crash. It’s understandable: the realities of riding a motorcycle for its freedom of movement and access to the feel of sunshine and rushing wind also make the rider vulnerable to serious bodily injury even in a slow-speed accident.

Add to this the current Indiana laws regarding helmets (read our earlier posts on motorcycle accidents for details, see the right sidebar) and you can understand why our offices work hard for justice with clients and their families who have been the victims of a serious motorcycle accident here in Indiana.

One thing that many folk here may not realize is that motorcycle accidents aren’t that rare in our neck of the woods. Our winters may be severe enough to put convertibles and motorbikes into garages and protective storage but for much of the year, bikers are on our roads, enjoying our scenic roadways.

One Serious Motorcycle Accident Per Week So Far This Month in Indiana

Consider these three accidents, just in September 2014, with our sincere condolences to those hurt in these crashes and their loved ones. Indiana drivers as well as Indiana motorcyclists need to be aware that we’re at a bigger risk of accident and injury here than many of us realize.

1. Indianapolis Accident — September 11

Indianapolis saw another tragic traffic fatality on September 11, 2014, when a Chevy Tahoe collided with a motorcycle at the intersection of 38th and Richardt Avenue. The driver of the motorcycle and the passenger in the SUV both perished in the accident.

2. Brown County Accident — September 14

On Sunday, September 14, 2014, near to the entrance for the Brown County State Park Horseman’s Camp, two people perished when the motorcycle they were riding veered off the road, flipping as it crashed into a tree trunk lying alongside the side of the road, and throwing both the driver and his passenger off the bike. Neither accident victim had a helmet; both died immediately from head injuries sustained in the crash.

3. Fort Wayne Accident — September 19

A motorcyclist driving along west on Interstate 469 as it merges into I-69 near Dupont Road failed to keep to the roadway and left the highway itself, crashing into the ravine alongside the interstate. Miraculously, he survived the crash. He was not wearing a helmet.

Concussion Warning Symptoms — Watch Out for These Signs of Brain Injury

September 18th, 2014 by admin

Playing football or soccer or hockey, as well as baseball or basketball, where a player can suffer a sudden, strong hit to the head can mean a life-altering brain injury where the aftermath may not reveal itself for several years. This is especially true if there is not immediate treatment of the head injury (and there may not be if the student or player denies, ignores, or refuses to be treated at the time of the hit).

 

Heads Up Concussion in high school sports.

 

Accordingly, parents, teachers, coaches, and others need to recognize the symptoms of minor brain injuries and concussions in players and athletes.

These include:

1. From the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) comes the warning that mild brain injuries and concussions are most often determined by (1) how they happened and (2) the symptoms that manifest at the time.

The neurosurgeons look for 3 things which are signs of mental confusion:

  • Inability to maintain a coherent stream of thought
  • A disturbance of awareness with heightened distractibility
  • Inability to carry out a sequence of goal-directed movements

These doctors also warn everyone that if you see any of these symptoms in a player or athlete, then they need to be taken to a doctor for evaluation of brain injury:

  • Prolonged headache
  • Vision disturbances
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Impaired balance
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Ringing ears
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Loss of smell or taste

2. The Mayo Clinic points out that mild brain injuries and concussions may not have any immediate symptoms. Children and adults may suffer permanent injury but not realize it at the time of impact — and the brain may reveal its injuries in hours or days to come. These symptoms can last for a long time — weeks, even months.

At the time of the injury or within a day or two of it, look for:

  • Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
  • Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
  • Dizziness or “seeing stars”
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Delayed response to questions
  • Appearing dazed
  • Fatigue

Within several hours of the incident or even days after the injury, look for:

  • Concentration and memory complaints
  • Irritability and other personality changes
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Psychological adjustment problems and depression
  • Disorders of taste and smell
  • Symptoms in children

3. The CDC warns that brain injuries can cause death and this may not be immediate. Traumatic brain injuries and concussions can kill people hours or even days after they have been hurt.

From the CDC, seek emergency medical treatment for these symptoms:

  • Headache that gets worse and does not go away.
  • Weakness, numbness or decreased coordination.
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Look very drowsy or cannot be awakened.
  • Have one pupil (the black part in the middle of the eye) larger than the other.
  • Have convulsions or seizures.
  • Cannot recognize people or places.
  • Are getting more and more confused, restless, or agitated.
  • Have unusual behavior.
  • Lose consciousness (a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously and the person should be carefully monitored).

Football Causes Permanent Brain Injuries: More Proof from NFL Concussion Lawsuit

September 16th, 2014 by admin

Brain injuries and concussions resulting from playing football are hurting and permanently damaging not only professional athletes and their families but also college players and even school-age students playing high school football (or younger).

This isn’t really up for debate at this point (see our earlier posts), although many continue to argue that football is safe enough if you wear a helmet (it’s not) and that minor concussions aren’t dangerous (they are).

Maybe more people and players will take the dangers of permanent brain injury while playing football seriously now.

Why?

Last week the National Football League (NFL) released new information regarding pro football players that is shocking: around 25% of NFL athletes can expect to fight against serious brain injuries in their future years, involving things like dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and more.

These predictions are based upon research studies undertaken by a third party group hired by the NFL as part of the courtroom battle begun by ex-football players who have sued the NFL for damages they have sustained by playing football over the years. The Segal Group completed this study, and it was filed in the discovery of the lawsuit, as part of the federal lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania.

The report was done in order to advocate for the federal judge to approve the settlement agreement that the NFL has entered into with the plaintiffs; the deal cannot go through and be finalized until Judge Anita Brody approves its terms. In fact, the United States District Judge ordered studies to be done in order to help her make a decision on the fairness of the proposed settlement agreement.

NFL Football Players Have Very High Risk of Mental Illness and Disease

From the studies, we now know:

1. Around 6000 of the 19000 ex-NFL football players will develop some sort of mental illness in the future
2. 28% of the ex-pro NFL players will face some kind of dementia diagnosis
3. The risk of former players at ages 60 to 64 years old will be 35 times that of developing dementia as those their age who did not play pro football.
4. The risk of former players between 50 and 59 years old is 14 to 24 times higher of developing dementia as those their age who did not play football.

 

To read more about the NFL’s pending concussion litigation settlement, check out the details provided in the NFL’s July 2014 press release.

If you or a loved one may have suffered a brain injury while playing football (at any level of competition), then you may have a personal injury claim for damages to cover harm both now and in the victim’s long term future. Know your rights.

Current Indiana and Illinois Laws on Distracted Driving: Dangerous But Not Against the Law (yet)

September 11th, 2014 by admin

Distracting Driving Laws in Indiana and Illinois

Illinois

  1. All drivers are banned from using their cell phones as hand-held. Hands free is still allowed except for novice drivers.
  2. Learner’s permit holders and drivers under the age of 19 years (novice drivers) are not allowed to use their phones at all (hands held or hands free).
  3. School bus drivers are not allowed to use their cell phones at all.
  4. All drivers are not to text while driving.
  5. No use of cellphones by any driver in a school zone or a construction zone.
  6. Primary enforcement for all offenses.

Indiana

  1. There is no ban for hand-held cell phones or hands free phones for drivers unless they are new to driving.
  2. Drivers under the age of 18 years (novice drivers) are not to use phones at all (hand-held or hands free).
  3. No drivers are to text while driving.
  4. Primary enforcement for all offenses.

Police in Indiana Aren’t Ticketing for Distracted Driving?

This summer the Indiana State Police released data from 2013 and the news wasn’t good: it appears that law enforcement is not ticketing many with violations of the Indiana distracted driving laws. Reports are that police find the laws difficult to enforce as written.

Meanwhile, in Illinois, many more tickets have been issued for using phones while driving (over 6700 in Illinois compared to 186 tickets issued by Indiana during the same time period).

What’s going on? In Indiana, it’s illegal to TEXT while driving but it’s okay to use other kinds of apps — like Facebook or Google Maps — even though that is distracting to the driver as well.

 

Dangers of Distracted Driving

From Distraction.gov:

  • Drivers in their 20s make up 27 percent of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes. (NHTSA)
  • At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010. (NOPUS)
  • Engaging in visual-manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times. (VTTI)
  • Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. (2009, VTTI)
  • Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use. (VTTI)
  • A quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive. 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of parents admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving. (UMTRI)

Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving Are a Real Danger Here

The Facebook-related distracting driving case out of North Dakota (see our previous post) has resulted in a 20-year-old facing murder charges as a result of a fatal traffic accident where she was checking Facebook photos on her phone while driving at a high speed (85 mph).

In Indiana, it would not be illegal for a 20 year old to be driving along and checking Facebook photos on her phone.  (It is against the law in Illinois.)

This doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous and that distracted driving may well be the cause of serious accidents and traffic fatalities in our part of the country.

Please consider NOT using your phone while driving regardless of the legalities: it’s just too dangerous.

National Attention On Facebook Distracted Driving Homicide Case

September 9th, 2014 by admin

 

Perhaps you or your kids heard about the horrific crash in North Dakota where two lives were destroyed.  The case is making the national news now, because the driver is facing murder charges.

It all happened when a pretty 20-year-old woman was busy checking her Facebook page on her phone while she was driving. Maybe she didn’t notice she was speeding along at 85 mph while she was checking out her phone screen for Facebook photos.

Obviously, she didn’t see the car she rear-ended at high speed, where the 89-year-old woman who was innocently driving along was killed, having died at the scene.

Imagine the horror here. The young woman is now facing criminal homicide charges and will likely see jail time. She’s probably going to face civil claims too based upon wrongful death law. Her family is forever harmed.

And the accident victim’s family must deal with the loss of their loved one, family that includes 8 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. They must hope that their beloved relative didn’t suffer in the crash, they must deal with the sudden shocking pain of loss that these crashes bring.

This accident didn’t happen in Indiana, but it could have. Far too many people here and in Illinois are on their smartphones while they’re driving, thinking that it’s not that dangerous and they’re good drivers, things will be okay. It’s a dangerous mistake and anyone doing this is risking a major crash — where they may survive with minor injuries while others perish, like today’s example.

Homicide Charges for Using Phone While Driving

In the above case, the state prosecutors have decided to pursue homicide charges against the 20 year old driver, after they got a warrant to review her phone records and learned she was surfing Facebook at the time of the crash. That, coupled with evidence of no skid marks at the scene of the accident, which means she didn’t brake before the crash because she didn’t see the grandmother’s car before she hit it.

All across the nation, the seriousness of using your phone while you are driving is becoming more obvious and authorities are becoming less tolerant. We can expect more prosecutors to file criminal charges in crashes involving distracting driving.

Criminal charges, however, will not provide financial help for those innocent victims of a distracted driving crash. Civil cases must be pursued for these victims under wrongful death and personal injury laws, and if necessary, lawsuits must be filed and aggressively fought for justice in these situations.

Pedestrian Safety: Traffic Accidents Killing Pedestrians Every 2 Hours

September 4th, 2014 by admin

We’re all pedestrians at some point: from young children to elders, there are times when we’re walking near some kind of moving traffic whether it’s a school parking lot or mall parking garage to a doctor’s office parking area or walking along roadways. Pedestrian Safety is especially important now, as a new school year begins and kids of all ages are going back to school for the new fall term.

“On average, a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every seven minutes in traffic crashes. Fourteen percent of all traffic fatalities and an estimated 3 percent of those injured in traffic crashes were pedestrians.” (Traffic Safety Facts: Pedestrians, April 2014)

 

Pedestrian Deaths in the United States Are Rising

For the past few years, the number of people dying in this country after suffering injuries in a pedestrian accident has been steadily increasing, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Last year, the NHTSA joined with the Federal Highway Administration to finance grants to US cities with the biggest dangers for pedestrians, and they also began publishing the Everyone is a Pedestrian website, to educate about the dangers for pedestrians in the United States today.

“Whether you live in a city or a small town, and whether you drive a car, take the bus or ride a train, at some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian,” explained Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We all have a reason to support pedestrian safety, and now, everyone has new tools to help make a difference.”

It’s important for adults and children to be aware of the real dangers of traffic accidents causing serious injury or death to those that aren’t even in a vehicle at all, but are on foot.

Personal injury lawyers dealing with serious injuries in motor vehicle accidents recognize that those who are walking may not know the risks that they are facing in a traffic accident because they’re assuming that by walking, they are safer than someone in a vehicle. Sadly, that is sometimes not the case.

From the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) come the following statistics:

  • Pedestrians ages 65 and older accounted for 19% of all pedestrian deaths and an estimated 11% of all pedestrians injured in 2010.
  • In 2010, nearly one in every five children between the ages of 5 and 9 who were killed in traffic crashes was a pedestrian.
  • Alcohol-impairment—either for the driver or for the pedestrian—was reported in 47% of the traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian death.
  • Of the pedestrians involved, 33% had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of greater than or equal to .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL).
  • Higher vehicle speeds increase both the likelihood of a pedestrian being struck by a car and the severity of injury.
  • Most pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas, non-intersection locations, and at night.

Safety Tips:

Back to School Safety: Keeping Kids Safe

September 2nd, 2014 by admin

It’s time for the kids to go back to school and part of each new school year is getting settled into new routines for getting there and back.

Some parents may drive their kids to school. Other moms and dads will put their children on the school bus. Students may be going back to school by walking there, or riding their bicycles.

While Student Safety in getting to and from school is always important, it’s imperative that at the start of the new School Year, that kids and their parents make sure that everyone knows how important school transportation safety is for everyone.

School Transportation Safety Tips

Here are some School Transportation Safety Tips for children of all ages:

1. Kids should walk on the sidewalk, and if there’s no sidewalk then they need to know to walk on the side of the road where they are facing traffic.

2. Kids need to know to always look twice — left and right — before crossing the street.

3. Parents should do a practice walk with their younger children if they are going to be walking to the local elementary this year.

4. Children that ride their bicycle to school should wear a helmet.

5. If children are riding bikes to school, then they need to know the rules for riding on city streets.

6. When on a bicycle, each child should ride single file on the right side of the road, traveling the same way as the traffic is moving.

7. Parents who are entrusting their kids to the school bus driver should walk their kids to the bus stop their first few days, so they get adept at waiting for and getting on the school bus.

8. Kids need to know that school buses are to be respected; they should never cross right in front of a school bus and they need to make sure that the bus driver is able to see them from his driver’s seat.

9. Backpacks should be worn with both straps being used, so their weight is evenly distributed.

10. Backpacks should not weigh over 20% of your child’s body weight, or the child may be hampered in movement from the excessive weight.

Why is this important? Because school-aged children are vulnerable to accidents that cause serious injury or even death as they are on their way to school or return home after a day of classes.

From the Centers for Disease Control:

2014 Record Car Recalls: Here’s Why You Need to Check Your Car (and Any Crashes)

August 28th, 2014 by admin

In April, experts were already calling 2014 a record-breaking year in the number of car recalls that were being issued by car manufacturers.  Things have continued to escalate since this Spring.

Millions of Cars Recalled in 2014

Consider the following list of recalls covering a 30 day period, ending this Tuesday, as compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

* August 26: 120,426 GM vehicles from 2011-2013, including Buick Regal and Chevrolet Malibu models, Recalled for turn signal bulbs that may burn out.
* August 26: 106 GM vehicles from 2014, including Chevrolet Camaro and Buick Regal models, Recalled for potential loss of steering due to improperly torqued fasteners.
* August 26: Sutphen Minitower fire truck from 2013, Recalled for seat belts latches that may become partially engaged with the buckle, making the seat belt difficult to unlatch.
* August 21: 15,956 Chrysler vehicles from 2014-2015, including Jeep Cherokee and Chrysler 200 models, Recalled for insufficient welding that may cause the rear shocks to detach from the vehicle.
* August 21: 81 Jaguar XF vehicles from 2013-2014, Recalled for potential reduction of power steering assist.
* August 20: 144 Jaguar XK vehicles from 2013-2015, Recalled for incorrect information about proper inflation on the spare tire, which could lead to tire failure.
* August 19: 39,181 Recaro ProSport model 385 car seats, Recalled for failing to conform to Federal Safety Standard requirements, increasing the risk of injury.
* August 19: 2,990 GM vehicles from 2013-2014, including Buick Encore and Chevrolet Cruze models, Recalled for engine block heater cord wires that may become exposed.
* August 18: 9,371 GM vehicles from 2007-2011, including Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD models, Recalled for a potential risk of fire.
* August 15: 124,007 GM vehicles from 2013-2015, including Chevrolet Silverado and Cadillac CTS models, Recalled for an incomplete weld that may not keep the front seats secured in the event of a crash.
* August 15: 16,249 Toyota Tundra vehicles from 2013-2014 modified by Gulf Stream Toyota, Recalled for chrome-plated lug nuts which may fracture or give, causing the wheels to separate from the vehicle.
* August 14: 83,250 Ford vehicles from 2013-2014, including Ford Flex and Lincoln MKX models, Recalled for the halfshaft and the linkshaft which may become disengaged while driving.
* August 14: 57,242 Chevrolet Impala vehicles from 2014, Recalled for a potential loss of power steering assist during start up or while driving.
* August 13: 40,551 Land Rover vehicles from 2010-2015, including LR2 and Evoque models, Recalled for the air bags which may be disabled in the event of a crash.
* August 12: 455 Thor motorhomes from 2014-2015, including Axis and Vegas models, Recalled for the use of incorrect adhesive that may cause the treads on the entry stairs to come loose.
* August 11: 151,389 Volkswagen Tiguan vehicles from 2009-2014, Recalled for a potential vehicle stall due to bubbles that may form in the fuel system.
* August 11: 235 Morgan 3 Wheeler Limited 3W motorcycles from 2012-2014, Recalled for missing a warning lamp to inform the rider about low brake fluid levels.
* August 8: 18,526 Volkswagen Routan vehicles from 2009, Recalled for the ignition switch which may move out of the run position, turning off the engine or causing the air bags to not deploy in the event of a crash.
* August 6: 184,611 GM vehicles from 2005-2007, including GMC Envoy and Chevrolet Trailblazer models, Recalled for a potential short in the circuit board which may cause a fire.
* August 6: 263 Toyota Sienna vehicles from 2014, Recalled for the transmission shift control cable which may separate while the vehicle is being driven.
* August 5: Subaru vehicles from 2003-2005, In a limited regional recall for air bag inflators that may rupture upon deployment of the air bag.
* August 5: Mitsubishi Outlander vehicles from 2007-2013 with 6-speed automatic transmissions, Recalled for the power steering pressure tube that may leak.
* August 1: 225,000 Hyundai Santa Fe vehicles from 2001-2006, Recalled for the front coil spring which may fracture and potentially puncture a tire.
* August 1: 133,075 Hyundai Sonata vehicles from 2011, Recalled for a potential brake fluid line leak.
* August 1: 61,122 Hyundai Veracruz vehicles from 2007-2012, Recalled for a potential oil leak that may damage the alternator.
* August 1: 3,361 Harley-Davidson FXDL Dyna Low Rider motorcycles from 2014, Recalled for possible engine vibrations that may cause the ignition switch to move to accessory mode, causing the motorcycle to stall.
* August 1: 1,939 Chevrolet Corvette vehicles from 2014, Recalled for an improper welding that may cause the shock absorber tubes to separate, resulting in a sudden change in vehicle handling.
* August 1: 1,919 Chevrolet Spark vehicles from 2014, Recalled for lower control arm bolts that may not be tightened properly.
* July 31: 131,568 Brake Parts rear wheel brake shoes, Recalled for possible detachment from the brake lining.
* July 31: Certain Mitsubishi Outlander vehicles from 2007 and 2009, Recalled for replacement transfer case assemblies whose oil seal may come out of position.
* July 30: 883,000 Hyundai Sonata vehicles from 2011-2014, Recalled for the transmission shift cable which may detach.
* July 30: 4,794 GM vehicles from 2013-2014, including Chevrolet Caprice and SS models, Recalled for the windshield wipers which may become inoperative.
* July 29: 414,333 GM vehicles from 2010-2012, including Cadillac SRX and Buick LaCrosse models, Recalled for a seat bolt that may fall out, which could cause the seat to suddenly drop to the lowest vertical position.
* July 29: 25,899 Suzuki Verona vehicles from 2004-2006, Recalled for potential heat generation that could melt the DRL module, causing a vehicle fire.
* July 29: 2,473 Sunright Rodia RDH 500 motorcycle helmets, Recalled for potentially not protecting the user’s head adequately in the case of a crash.
* July 29: 305 Piaggio Vespa 946 Vespa scooters from 2013, Recalled for a fuel line that may leak.
* July 29: 9 Spartan Motor Gladiator emergency vehicles from 2013-2014, Recalled for a potential fuel leak, which could cause a vehicle fire.
* July 28: 643,618 Chrysler vehicles from 2005-2007, Recalled for the ignition switches that may be knocked out of the run position, turning off the engine or causing the air bags to not deploy in the event of a crash.
* July 28: 226,326 Nissan vehicles from 2002-2004, including Pathfinder and Maxima models, Recalled for air bag inflators that may rupture upon deployment of the air bag.
* July 28: 5,650 Hyundai Sonata vehicles from 2015, Recalled for a manufacturing error of the front brake calipers, which could reduce braking effectiveness.
* July 28: Mitsubishi Lancer vehicles from 2004-2005, In a limited regional recall for air bag inflators that may rupture upon deployment of the air bag.

 

Why Do You Need to Know About Car Recalls?

You need to know about car recalls because:

1.  your car may need to visit the dealer and get fixed before it causes a crash

2.  a friend or family member may be driving an unsafe vehicle

3.  you may have been in an accident or crash where blame or fault was assessed against you — but now, it may be that the car maker is responsible for what happened.

4.  you may have been hurt in an accident or crash where you received damages from the other driver – -but now, it may be that the car maker is responsible to you financially.

How Long Should You Look Back?

These dangers (e.g., the General Motors revelations) go back years and years.  If you were involved in an accident 10 years ago, you may still need to investigate the car maker’s responsibility for what happened in that wreck.

Go here to investigate past recalls.

What About Future Recalls?

NHTSA has made this easier for everyone.  Go here to access a database where you register your vehicles with NHTSA and if a future recall impacts your car, van, or truck, then NHTSA will let you know.

 

 

Road Debris: Driving Hazards That Cause Serious Accidents

August 26th, 2014 by admin

There are many kinds of road hazards that can contribute to a car crash or traffic accident here in Indiana or Illinois.   Weather conditions like snow, rain, or fog can form a hazard for us during the winter months, for example.

However, another kind of road hazard that is often underestimated as a cause of accidents here is road debris.

 

What is Road Debris?

In an accident case, “road debris” is a contributing factor in an accident or wreck. It can be many different things. It can be on the road itself, or off the road.

Technically, “road debris” in an injury case is any object or material that shouldn’t be on the roadway at the time of the accident.

Examples of road debris include:

  • Trash (fast food bags, food items, furniture, etc.)
  • Pebbles or rocks
  • Ice patches
  • Grease or oil patches leaked from car / truck traffic
  • Road salt from de-icers
  • Snow
  • Flooding waters
  • Tree branches
  • Tires or parts of a blown tire (especially dangerous, blown big rig tires)
  • Construction materials (bits of dirt from a dump truck, lumber that has fallen off a supply truck, etc.)
  • Dead Animals

Why is Road Debris Dangerous?

Road debris may not be big and may not seem that dangerous. A part of a tire on the roadway or an old grocery bag laying there in your path may not seem worthy of much concern. After all, you can just drive around it — or over it, as the case may be.

However, that is a dangerous assumption.

At certain speeds, road debris can cause you to lose control of your vehicle if you hit it or if you swerve to avoid hitting it. Some road debris can cause you to slam into other cars or into barricades, trees, etc., include patches of oil, grease, snow, or rain on the roadway.

Flooding can be considered a form of road debris. Too often, drivers underestimate the power of even slow moving water, or the depth of a road puddle, and end up in a serious accident.

Moreover, the type of vehicle you are driving may make you at a higher risk for injury than others.

Road debris is more risky for motorcyclists than someone driving a pickup truck, for example. The road debris can easily deflect the motorcycle’s wheel when struck, causing the motorcycle driver to lose control of his bike and crash.

According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, over 25,000 accidents each year are caused by road debris.

Claims Based Upon Road Debris

Who or what parties may be liable for these injuries depends upon the situation.  For instance, if a work crew left road debris in the form of overturned traffic cones and caused an accident, then that contractor (and others) might be legally responsible for the injuries sustained in a crash resulting from that cone (road debris).

If a major trucking company fails to monitor its trucks and the roadways outside its area are filled with grease and oil spots from the semi trucks, then an accident resulting from that road debris might be the legal responsibility of that trucking company.

If you or a loved one has been in an accident involving road debris, then you need to investigate your legal avenues under state and federal law for accident damages.