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Grand Rapids Personal Injury Blog

How to avoid drowsy driving

Drowsy driving continues to be a major hazard in Michigan and across the U.S., according to a survey by AAA. In fact, the auto club found that nearly one-third of drivers admit that they've been so sleepy they had difficulty keeping their eyes open behind the wheel in the previous 30 days.

Part of the problem is that many drivers don't understand how dangerous drowsy driving is. A study by the National Sleep Foundation found that drivers who stay awake for 24 straight hours are as impaired as drivers who have a blood alcohol content level of .10, which is higher than the legal limit. Meanwhile, prescription sleep aids aren't helping. While most sleep medications advise that users get a minimum of seven or eight hours of sleep after taking them, a Consumer Reports survey found that one in five users drive within seven hours of consuming the drugs.

Improving truck safety with speed limiter use, other safety tech

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says that in collisions between trucks and passenger vehicles, 72% of the fatalities are occupants of the latter. It is imperative, then, that trucking companies in Michigan and across the U.S. do all they can to prevent crashes. Unfortunately, truck crashes continue to rise in many states.

Florida is one example: in 2014, it saw 23,515 truck crashes, but that number was 32,513 in 2018. The Florida Department of Transportation states that the number one driver-related factor in these crashes was speeding.

Survey examines distracted driving on U.S. roads

Michigan residents might like to know about a distracted driving study regarding the use of mobile devices while driving. According to the researchers, who worked on behalf of Root Insurance, 47% of those surveyed reported that distracted driving was their biggest safety concern while on the road. However, many respondents also admitted to driving while distracted despite their reservations about the risks.

This is the second year Root Insurance conducted the study. The collected behavioral data indicated that drivers between the ages of 18-24-years-old used their cellphones an average of 20 times for every 100 miles driven. Incentivizing motorists to avoid distracted driving is one way to turn around this dangerous trend, according to Root Insurance.

Weather Channel faces lawsuit over fatal crash with storm chasers

Michigan residents may know that the two stars of the Weather Channel's "Storm Wranglers" were killed in a car crash back in March 2017. In addition, another life was taken in that crash, that of a 25-year-old storm spotter employed by the National Weather Service. Now, the mother of the victim has filed a wrongful death suit against the Weather Channel. She is seeking $125 million in damages.

The show's two stars were speeding down a highway near the city of Spur, Texas, in pursuit of a tornado when they ran a stop sign and collided with the jeep driven by the 25-year-old. All three were killed on impact. The chase had been live streamed on the Weather Channel's Facebook page right up until the crash put an end to the broadcast.

Fatal semi-truck accidents still rising

In 2017, more than 4,000 people died in fatal large truck accidents on America's roadways. Truck occupants made up 17 percent of these fatalities, and car drivers and passengers made up 68 percent; pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists made up the rest. Unfortunately, these rates of fatalities are 28 percent higher than they were in 2009. Despite this problem in Michigan and other states, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has yet to implement changes that might improve safety on the road.

Highway safety advocates as well as representatives from the National Transportation Safety Board have urged the NHTSA to do something about the increase in fatal semi-truck accidents. Specifically, the have requested that some type of mitigation features be required in large trucks to prevent rear-end accidents. These types of incidents account for an alarming amount of fatalities.

Michigan truck accident kills 1 and injures 4

The Michigan State Police have reported that a tractor-trailer accident on the westbound lanes of Interstate 94 in Macomb County on the afternoon of March 6 claimed the life of a 55-year-old woman and left four other road users injured. The Detroit resident was killed when a large truck struck the rear of her Ford Taurus sedan. Emergency services workers pronounced her dead at the scene.

Police at the accident scene near the 10 Mile Road exit say that the truck driver may have failed to reduce his speed sufficiently when the traffic around him began to slow down at about 1:30 p.m. After striking the Ford Taurus, the tractor-trailer toppled onto its side and came to a rest on top of a Chrysler sedan and Chevrolet SUV. First responders say that they were surprised and pleased to discover that the 19-year-old woman behind the wheel of the Chrysler suffered only minor injuries. Photographs taken at the scene reveal that her car was crushed almost beyond recognition. The drivers of the tractor trailer and Cadillac also suffered minor injuries in the crash.

Substance abuse in the trucking industry

The semi-trucks that carry the freight we need to live our daily lives are huge, massively powerful machines. Even a minor accident with a commercial truck can easily result in serious injury, a totaled vehicle and much worse. It is an unfortunate reality that alcohol and substance abuse by the trucks’ drivers is increasingly the cause of these accidents.

This is evidenced in a report released by USA Mobile Drug Test (USAMDT). In their recent statistical breakdown of substance abuse in the trucking industry, half of the drivers interviewed admitted to drinking and driving. A shocking 30 percent confessed to using amphetamines while on the road.

Drivers who cause fatal accidents more likely to use opioids

As the opioid epidemic continues to affect communities in Michigan, evidence now suggests that increased opioid use within the population contributes to fatal car accidents. An analysis of 18,321 deadly two-car crashes by a research team revealed that the drivers identified as the crash initiators were nearly twice as likely to have prescription opioids in their systems than the other drivers within the data sample.

After narrowing down the drivers with opiate drugs in their systems, the researchers compared crash initiators to drivers whose actions did not cause accidents. Out of a group of 1,467 opioid-positive drivers, 918 of them were responsible for fatalities.

Quality rehabilitation vital after spinal cord injuries

Serious car crashes or workplace accidents sometimes leave people in Michigan with back injuries. Damage to the spinal cord usually produces lifelong disability. Although medical science cannot cure spinal cord injuries, modern advances have improved life expectancy and quality of life for survivors. The severity of spinal cord damage influences long-term survival, but rehabilitation at facilities specializing in spinal cord injury also promotes longer lives.

Living through the first 24 hours following an accident is critical. For people who do make it through the first day, 85 percent of them are still living a decade later. Death from respiratory illnesses like pneumonia represent the greatest danger for injured people. It is the leading cause of death for all people who have suffered serious spinal cord damage. People who weather the initial difficulties have a good chance of living a life of average length. At 25 years post-accident, the survival rate reaches 60 percent.

Michigan police say fatal accident investigation is ongoing.

Police in Michigan say that a 35-year-old man swerved into the path of oncoming traffic before being killed in an accident in Genesee Township on the evening of Jan. 18. A representative from the Genesee Township Police Department said that the investigation into the crash was ongoing and a sample of the man's blood had been collected for toxicology testing. The accident, which took place on North Genesee Road at approximately 8:00 p.m., also injured a woman and her 17-year-old son.

According to a GTPD report, the man's Saturn Aura sedan was proceeding southbound on North Genesee Road when it swerved across the center line and struck two northbound SUVs in the vicinity of Roberts Drive. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The woman and boy, who were on their way home from an Eagle Scout meeting at the time of the crash, suffered non-life-threatening injuries and are expected to recover.

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