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Lake Charles Personal Injury Law Blog

The dangers of using hands-free cellphones while driving

In many states, drivers are prohibited from using hand-held cell phones while navigating the roadways. Distracted driving is involved in thousands of car accidents every year. Although it is not against the law for drivers in Louisiana to use a hand-held cellphone while behind the wheel, it certainly is not a good idea. Many drivers have started using hands-free cellphones to minimize distraction. Yet, even hands-free cellphones can cause catastrophic car accidents that can injure and kill innocent people. 

A study published by AAA looked at just how distracting hands-free cellphones are when compared to hand-held cell phones and other destructive activities. Researchers asked participants to perform a number of tasks while driving a simulator vehicle as well as a car set up with monitors. The tasks included the following:

3 specific injuries that can impact those on seafaring vessels

People who work on ships are often faced with some very serious hazards. These can produce grave injuries that can lead to needing time off work and could even be career ending.

As you head in for your time on the vessel, remember that you are in control of what you do. This, however, doesn't mean that you are responsible for all of the safety components on the ship. Instead, your employer is the one who has the duty of making sure that you have a safe place to work on the vessel.

What to do if you spot an aggressive driver

Aggressive driving can cause dangerous situations on Louisiana roadways. Despite this well-known fact, more than 80% of people across the country admit to having been enraged while driving, according to AAA. Whether you are stuck in traffic enroute to an important meeting or you are stuck behind a slow driver in the passing lane, you may have also been angry while behind the wheel at some point within the last year. Road rage can be troubling, however, because of the dangerous driving behaviors that often accompany it. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that over a five-year period, 56% of fatal car accidents involved aggressive driving behaviors, such as speeding. 

You should be aware of the signs of aggressive drivers, as you may be able to minimize your risk of becoming involved in a car accident. The Insurance Information Institute lists the following aggressive driving behaviors:

Truck driver shortage may lead to accidents

Many people drive alongside tractor trailers on a daily basis. People rely on these massive vehicles, as they are a vital part of the American economy. Tractor trailers transport products throughout Louisiana and across the nation. Qualified truck drivers are needed to operate these large vehicles and ensure loads arrive at their destination safely and on time. The problem lies in the fact that a shortage of qualified truck drivers has not only led to a disruption of distribution schedules but an increase in commercial truck accidents as well. 

According to the American Trucking Association, the trucker shortage currently lies at 60,000 drivers and that number could climb to 100,000 before long. The lack of qualified drivers has forced some trucking companies to put unqualified truckers on the road in an attempt to get the backload of goods delivered. Some truck drivers may have previous driving violations or may have their commercial drivers license suspended. Others may stay behind the wheel for extended periods of time in order to meet tight deadlines despite hours of service regulations that require them to take routine breaks.  

What are the most common cruise ship mishaps?

Most people who go on vacation look forward to a relaxing and fun time and do not expect to be injured or get seriously ill. Unfortunately for some residents of Louisiana and elsewhere, nobody is immune to experiencing mishaps on vacation. This is also true if you are going on a cruise.

The staff and crew of your cruise ship are trained in safety procedures and are usually willing to ensure your safety and happiness during the cruise. However, accidents can happen, some of which are not always possible to prevent. Despite the vast majority of cruises going on without incident, numerous people are injured on cruise ships or during onshore excursions. In fact, explains MarketWatch, an average of 60 people are injured and 10 die during cruises every year. The following mishaps are the most common on cruise ships, which can result in injuries or worse:

  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Fires and explosions
  • Collisions with submerged reefs or rocks
  • The ship becoming stranded or sinking
  • Technical failures
  • Falling or jumping overboard

How many people are hurt and killed in drowsy driving crashes?

Drowsy driving is a serious problem, and drivers may become drowsy for a number of reasons. Some people may be tired because they are trying to adjust to a new work schedule, while others may struggle with fatigue because of an unusually long day at work. Certain medications can make drivers drowsy, and there are other reasons why drowsy driving occurs. Unfortunately, this behavior can result in a fatal crash, and many people have been hurt in drowsy driving wrecks as well. It is imperative to understand just how many lives have been lost due to drowsy driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it is estimated that almost 800 lives were lost due to drowsy driving during 2017, and that crashes caused by drowsy drivers resulted in around 50,000 people becoming hurt. Moreover, NHTSA estimates suggest that 91,000 of these crashes were reported to authorities during 2017. The NHTSA also states that drowsy driving can be difficult for crash detectors to identify following a crash. Therefore, the actual number of deaths and injuries due to drowsy driving may be even higher.

Construction sites, ladders and the potential for serious injury

For many people, working on a construction site every day in Louisiana is a dream come true. They're able to work with their hands in a fast-paced environment, while avoiding the dreaded cubicle.

Even if you have many years of experience as a construction worker, it's still possible you could be involved in an accident. For example, ladder accidents are all too common on construction sites.

Facing big trucking companies

If you find yourself the victim of an injury due to a crash with a commercial vehicle, you would probably feel powerless. At Hale Law firm, we understand that the huge forces involved with these crashes can leave psychological and physical scars that may take a lifetime to recover from. We know that the last thing our clients need is to feel powerless again when they make their injury claims in Louisiana courts.

Unfortunately, we find that many commercial trucking companies seem to do just that as they negotiate with accident victims. If representatives from an insurance company, logistics provider or truck company have told you that you do not have options, or that their offer is the best you could get, we are here to let you know that you should never feel powerless during your accident claim. You have rights just as these companies do.

Does state law penalize drivers without auto insurance?

Louisiana law is clear that anyone who is a registered owner of an automobile is required to carry liability insurance. This allows the driver to cover injuries or property damages that the driver may cause up to the limits set forth in the policy. Drivers who do not carry liability coverage could end up on the receiving end of a number of penalties and may lose out even if they get injured in an automobile accident.

According to the Louisiana Department of Insurance, a vehicle owner found without liability coverage could be subjected to fines ranging from $500 to $1,000. The offenses include operating an automobile without possessing insurance or misrepresenting that you do have the insurance. Getting into an accident without insurance also makes you eligible for penalties.

Does blind spot detection always work?

Thanks to advances in detection technology, an increasing number of large commercial vehicles are equipped with driver assistance devices like blind spot monitoring (BSM) systems. BSM sensors can alert a Lake Charles commercial truck driver that there is a vehicle in the truck’s blind spot so that the driver does not turn and collide with the vehicle. But BSMs, as helpful as they are, are not always effective.

As Carfax explains, a BSM system, like any technology intended to assist a driver, is no substitute for a person’s own driving skills. A driver who does not signal a lane change can foil a BSM. Switching on a turn signal is important because a BSM scans the lane the driver intends to turn into and will alert the driver if the blind spot is occupied. However, a driver that does not use a turn signal may not receive a proper alert. Speeding can also reduce the effectiveness of a BSM.

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