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Grand Rapids Personal Injury Blog

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.

Truck driver dies in collision with passenger vehicle

At about 6:36 a.m. on Jan. 14, Michigan authorities were alerted to a crash involving a pickup truck and a commercial vehicle. The crash took place near the junction of South Custer and Herr roads in Monroe Township. Police said that the pickup truck made a lane change after the vehicle in front of it stopped at a red light. This resulted in the semi colliding with the rear of the pickup.

The collision caused the load that the driver was carrying to enter the cab, which resulted in the commercial truck driver's death. Although the pickup's driver was transported to Beaumont Hospital for treatment, his injuries were not considered to be serious. Authorities closed South Custer road while they investigated the crash, and they asked anyone with information regarding the incident to contact them.

Injuries to the lumbar spinal cord

Of the three major portions of the spine (cervical, thoracic and lumbar), the lumbar is the lowest. Since it carries the greatest weight, its vertebrae are the largest in the spine. The vertebrae and nerves are designated, from top to bottom, as L-1 to L-5. Lumbar spinal cord injuries will vary in severity based on which nerve is damaged, so Michigan residents will want to be knowledgeable about the differences.

Generally, lumbar spinal cord injuries will result in a loss of function in the legs and hips and little to no control over bowel or bladder movements. Injuries to the L-1 and L-2 nerves result in the inability to bend and flex the hips. With L-3 injuries come the compromised ability to straighten the knee. One cannot bend the foot upward with an L-4 injury. An injured L-5 nerve will keep patients from extending their toes.

Deadly trucking accidents have parents upset with U.S. lawmakers

Michigan parents should know that attempts to get a federal bill passed to require better and more underride guards on big rigs in this country have been delayed by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. It has been a year since the Stop Underrides Act 2017 was introduced, and parents who have lost children in an underride crash are still waiting for a hearing on the bill to be scheduled. They are hoping it comes about when the new Congress convenes in January.

Current federal requirements for the underride guards on the back end of big trucks are not adequate to protect the occupants in a multi-vehicle crash even at a low speed. At the urging of citizens, U.S. Senator Todd Young, R-Indiana, is giving the bill his attention, and he could attend underride crash tests planned to be performed in Washington D.C. in early spring 2019. The bill would require new standards to improve existing rear guards and add side and front guards on trucks. Trucking manufacturers are making progress now toward strengthening the underride guards on their trucks.

Woman killed in two-car collision

On Nov. 30, a 24-year-old Michigan woman was killed in a two-vehicle collision in Bertrand Township. The victim had recently completed an internship with the Grand Rapids Symphony.

According to the Berrien County Sheriff's Office, the woman was driving her Chrysler Sebring off the southbound US-31 bypass at around 11:39 a.m. when she was struck in the driver's door by a pickup truck traveling west on US-12. The collision forced both vehicles into the median and killed the woman, who was a native of Korea and a student at Andrews University in Berrien Springs.

Fatal truck crashes rise 9 percent, HOS rules may be to blame

Commercial truckers in Michigan should know that more and more drivers in their industry are getting involved in fatal crashes. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that 4,761 people (including about 1,300 truckers) were killed in large-truck crashes in 2017. This was a 9 percent increase from the previous year and the highest level in 29 years.

Representatives of the trucking industry have spoken up about the results and what they believe is behind it all. First, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been singled out for mandating that commercial truckers take a 30-minute break after eight consecutive work hours. Many believe that the break creates unnecessary delays and makes truckers drowsy before their shifts are even done. A further concern is that delays lead to speeding.

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