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Drowsy driving auto accidents a major risk on the road

Virginia residents and drivers across the nation should be aware of the danger of drowsy driving. It is so prevalent that regulatory agencies are dedicating entire weeks of the year to preventing it. Drowsy driving can lead to car accidents that cause injuries and fatalities.

The first week in November will be Drowsy Driving Week. The National Sleep Foundation states that approximately 50% of adult drivers across the nation say they have regularly gotten behind the wheel while they were drowsy. An estimated 20% said that in the previous year, they fell asleep while driving. More than 40% said they had fallen asleep while driving at least once during their time behind the wheel.

Magnet once recalled is back on market and causing injury risk

In Virginia and across the nation, there is an expectation that products sold to the public will be safe to use. This is true with any item whether it is for everyday needs or for entertainment. Some products were previously released and were recalled due to a history of injuries and possible risk, but were subsequently re-released. One specific type of magnet falls into this category and has led to life-threatening injuries.

This rare-earth magnet is marketed to children and has the potential for injury and death. While they were once pulled from the shelves due to the risk, they are again being sold and children are being harmed. Children are swallowing these small, powerful magnets. This can cause internal injuries that result in long-term damage and even death.

Fracking causes increases in trucking accidents, fatalities

Lawmakers and environmentalists in Virginia and across the country frequently talk about the concerns behind hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing, which is commonly referred to as fracking, removes oil and gas from rock by injecting water and chemicals into the ground with extremely high pressure. In addition to the dangers fracking poses to the environment and wildlife, fracking may cause harm to truck drivers.

An expert at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently looked into the dangers that fracking poses for drivers. The excess wastewater that fracking creates must be transported to a disposal site. Many roads don't have the necessary infrastructure to accommodate the heavy traffic from these trucks.

Alleged drunk driving accident causes serious injuries

A Virginia couple are recovering after suffering serious injuries in a car accident reportedly caused by a drunk driver. The pair were driving home from an event on the night of Feb. 7 when they stopped at a red light behind another vehicle. However, they soon saw another vehicle rapidly approaching in the rear-view mirror, pursued by police lights. Before they knew it, that vehicle had crashed into the back of their car at 60 mph, causing severe damage.

The victims' car spun several times after the initial collision before stopping. The pair were rushed to the hospital; while the man suffered a broken leg and arm, the woman suffered internal injuries requiring immediate surgery as well as a broken leg as a result of the motor vehicle accident. The woman's diaphragm had been torn in the crash, moving her organs into her chest cavity. Local police said that the crash followed their attempt to stop the speeding driver, a 72-year-old man who was arrested after the collision on allegations of drunk driving. In an interview, the man accused of causing the accident said that he was not intoxicated and that he could not explain why he had driven at a high speed into a car waiting at a red light.

Disputed bill may allow interstate travel to truckers under 21

CDL holders between the ages of 18 and 20 can only travel intrastate, according to Virginia law. This holds for all other states except Hawaii. However, a bill called the DRIVE-Safe Act and introduced in February 2019 proposes a change. If passed, it would allow truckers under 21 to travel interstate after a probationary period of 400 hours of driving time, at least 240 of which would be accompanied by a trucker 21 or older.

The Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety held a hearing on this bill, as well as on hours-of-service regulations and other trucking-related issues, in February 2020. Numerous panelists, which included spokespeople for groups like the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and Truck Safety Coalition, raised objections against the bill.

Distracted driving car accidents can be avoided with these steps

Distracted driving is a growing concern on the road in Virginia and across the United States. Because of the dangers of distracted driving, law enforcement and legislators are seeking strategies to reduce its frequency. Still, a study from The Zebra says that in a survey, 38% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 confessed to texting and driving. Preventing this and other distractions can improve safety.

Taking certain steps can be effective at avoiding distracted driving and the accompanying auto collisions. Drivers are advised to make the necessary adjustments prior to driving. That includes GPS, the mirrors and the radio. Research indicates that more passengers in the vehicle can increase distraction. Like using a device, interacting with passengers combines manual, cognitive and visual aspects. Keeping passengers at a minimum can help with safety.

Report: NHTSA must update crash tests and safety rating system

Virginia residents may not want to rely solely on crash test results when choosing a vehicle to buy. The issue is that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may not be performing the most comprehensive crash tests that it can. At least, this is the contention of a report published in October 2019. The author was herself a leader in the formation of the federal agency's New Car Assessment Program in the 1970s.

It was from the New Car Assessment Program that the NHTSA developed a 5-star safety rating system based on crash tests conducted in a laboratory with crash dummies. The system has provided many benefits since the 1990s. However, new vehicle technologies have emerged, which the system is not taking into account. For its part, the agency promised that it would add test procedures and provide ratings for new technologies like pedestrian detection. It even promised that it would improve the design of its crash test dummies. Yet these changes have not materialized.

Traumatic brain injuries: an overview

Virginia resident probably know what a concussion is, but this is just one of the many types of traumatic brain injuries. TBIs, as defined by the CDC, are brain injuries that disrupt the normal function of the brain. A person whose head is bumped, cracked, jolted or penetrated can incur a TBI.

Concussions are mild TBIs, but even then, victims may wind up losing consciousness. Moderate and severe TBIs can lead to long-term changes in the way victims think, act, move and feel. For instance, victims may suffer seizures, slur their speech, become disoriented and have impaired short-term memory. They may become lethargic, and their mind may wander excessively.

2020 International Roadcheck inspection spree set for May 5

Every year for three days, inspectors certified by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, together with local law enforcement officers, conduct an inspection spree of commercial motor vehicles, especially big rigs, with the goal of encouraging compliance with federal safety regulations. Truckers in Virginia are probably familiar with this spree; it is called the International Roadcheck.

The CVSA has announced that 2020's International Roadcheck will take place from May 5 to 7. As with previous roadchecks, the majority of inspections will be Level I inspections. These 37-point inspections, the most comprehensive there are, cover virtually every truck component and driver requirement. Inspectors will check the truck's braking system, fuel system, tires, suspension, steering, lights and much more.

FMCSA to conduct updated big rig causation study

Virginia residents should know that fatal large-truck crashes have been on the rise for over a decade. Between 2009 and 2018, their number went up 52.6% with 2018 seeing a total of 4,415 such incidents. This is largely due to several changes both in and out of the trucking industry: changes that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will be analyzing in a new study.

In January 2020, the FMCSA made its formal proposal of such a new study, the first one in over a decade. It sent Congress the results of its previous large-truck causation study back in 2006. The focus of this new study will be on distracted driving and how smartphones, navigation systems, fleet management systems and even safety features like automatic emergency braking are contributing to it.

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