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Efforts to Curb Fatigued Truck Driving Are Halted

Efforts to Curb Fatigued Truck Driving Are Halted

In 2016, an investigation in the aftermath of a deadly train accident in New Jersey identified that the operator of the train had a medical condition called sleep apnea. When treated properly, the effects of sleep apnea can be controlled. However, when sleep apnea goes undiagnosed or untreated, it can result in severe fatigue throughout the day. Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) authorities believed that the operator fell asleep at the controls and warned of the necessity of testing all train operators for sleep apnea to ensure they received the required treatment. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) agreed that all commercial truck drivers should also be tested for sleep apnea. The FMCSA estimates that 13 percent of truck drivers who crashed were determined to have been overly fatigued and regular testing for sleep apnea is one way to curb fatigued driving for commercial drivers. Under the Obama Administration, these agencies set out to propose regulations that would require such testing for train and truck drivers as part of their license approval and renewal. However, on trend with the new administration’s cutback of federal regulatory action, the FRA and FMCSA have now announced they are no longer trying to enact new rules regarding sleep apnea testing. Many safety advocates and experts have spoken against this decision, stating it puts motorists at an unnecessary risk of fatigued driving accidents. How Sleep Apnea Can Affect Driving Ability Most people associate fatigued driving with truckers who violate hours of service rules and drive extended shifts. However, even if truck drivers stay within the limits of allowed driving shifts, there are other reasons...
Is There a Hidden Cause of Fatigued Driving in Truck Drivers?

Is There a Hidden Cause of Fatigued Driving in Truck Drivers?

Because they spend hours and days on end behind the wheel, a major concern regarding truck drivers is fatigued driving. When a driver becomes seriously fatigued, the effects can be similar to intoxication, as a driver will lose the ability to focus on the road, will have slower reflexes, and will have lessened decision-making skills. In addition, if a truck driver falls asleep behind the wheel, a massive vehicle that potentially weighs 80,000 pounds will be barreling out of control down the highway, possibly taking out anything in its path. A main culprit of fatigued driving is the long hours on the often monotonous highway. In response to this, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacted and enforces strict hours of service limitations, which restrict the number of consecutive hours or days a truck driver can be working without taking a certain period of rest. However, even with hours of service regulations, truck accidents continue to occur due to fatigued drivers. Recently, the FMCSA has been paying closer attention to a health condition that may be contributing to fatigued driving among commercial drivers – obstructive sleep apnea. What is Sleep Apnea? Sleep apnea is a condition that reportedly affects approximately 22 million people across the United States. The condition causes a pause in breathing during sleep and these pauses can happen hundreds of times in a single night. When the person stops breathing, they will wake up briefly to restart their breathing. This means that people with obstructive sleep apnea may involuntarily wake up as much as 30 times per hour during the night and such disruptive sleep can...
TBI 101: Traumatic Brain Injuries & Their Effects

TBI 101: Traumatic Brain Injuries & Their Effects

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that according to the most recent available data, as many as 1.7 million people sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) every year. The groups with the most common occurrence of TBI are very young children, older adolescents and elderly adults over 65 years old – three of the most common population demographics in the state of Florida. Given that TBIs can occur very abruptly, with minimal warning, it is generally a good idea to familiarize yourself with the symptoms and also with the potential liability for such injuries, especially if you or your loved ones fall into those age groups. Most TBIs Are Minor But Serious By far the most common type of TBI is a concussion, which as most people know can range from very mild to life-threatening in terms of the amount of damage done. The concerning aspect of concussions is that they can occur in a variety of different ways, engaged in a variety of different activities, including some that one would not imagine to be that dangerous. It can be possible to not even be aware of a mild concussion for quite some time if you are not aware of the risk of injury from whatever activity you are engaged in – for example, tripping over a crack in a sidewalk and landing in exactly the wrong way may lead to a mild concussion, but because such an injury is not very foreseeable, it may go some time without being reported. It is important to keep in mind, however, that even a minor TBI can lead to significant neurological...
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident in Florida

What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident in Florida

Florida is a fantastic place for motorcyclists to enjoy the scenery and the wind in their hair (or helmet). Unfortunately, statistics demonstrate that Florida also has the highest number of fatal motorcycle accidents than any other state in the U.S. Anyone who hits the road on a motorcycle is at risk of crashing and sustaining serious injuries, and it is important to know what to do in the aftermath of an accident to protect your rights. Get Medical Attention and Keep Up with Your Treatment Motorcycle accidents often cause severe traumatic injuries to motorcyclists, as they have little protection from another vehicle or the ground. In some cases, it may be immediately obvious that a motorcyclist is in serious condition and needs to be transported by an ambulance to the hospital. Even if you are uncertain of your condition, you should always allow medical personnel on the scene to decide whether such transportation is necessary for you. If you do not need an ambulance ride, it is still important that you go directly to the emergency department if you are feeling any signs of injury, such as soreness, stiffness, or even a headache. It is critical that any injuries – even relatively minor ones – be diagnosed right away so you can receive the treatment you need and minimize complications. Getting diagnosed as soon as possible can also make an insurance claim or lawsuit simpler as your medical records can clearly indicate the cause, nature, and severity of your injuries. When a doctor recommends a course of treatment, you should stick to it. Too many people fail to follow...
Rise in Car Crashes Over Labor Day Weekend

Rise in Car Crashes Over Labor Day Weekend

Summer brings three major national holiday weekends – as well as a significantly increased risk for serious car accidents over those weekends. Reports indicate that more traffic fatalities occur over Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Fourth of July weekends than almost any other time of year across the United States. With Labor Day weekend coming up, it is important to understand the risks of crashes and serious injuries and to know what to do if an accident disrupts your holiday weekend this year. The following are only some reasons why there is an increase in crashes over Labor Day weekend. Road Trips Many families pack up the car and take off on a road trip for what many consider to be the “last hurrah” of summer. After Labor Day, the focus for many households is likely on school and other obligations until the winter holidays present another distraction. Therefore, Labor Day is an optimal time for a quick road trip to visit family or friends, to camp, or to simply explore a new place. However, road trips also come with the risk of accidents due to the following: More traffic on the highways often means more crashes Drivers may be unfamiliar with the area and may make errors that cause collisions Some people may not adequately inspect or maintain their vehicles and a long trip can lead to malfunctions and loss of control Road trips with the family often bring many distractions in the car and distracted drivers can easily crash into your vehicle No matter how safe you are on your road trip, you cannot control the actions...
Accidents at School can Leave Children with Serious Injuries

Accidents at School can Leave Children with Serious Injuries

With the impending arrival of fall, many school-aged children will start a new school year, complete with new classes, new friends, and unfortunately, new risks of sustaining serious injuries. School administrators, faculty, and staff have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their students and protect them from an unreasonable risk of injury. Unfortunately, these parties do not always live up to their duty, sometimes with devastating consequences. Below is some information about some of the more common types of accidents that occur at school as well as some of the legal considerations that may arise when pursuing legal action against a school. Playground accidents Playgrounds are a common fixture at most preschools and elementary schools. These areas often have equipment that allows children to climb, jump, slide, crawl, and otherwise engage in physical activity and play that is essential to their personal and physical development. Unfortunately, playgrounds also expose children to a serious risk of injury. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates [1] that more than 200,000 children sustain injuries that require treatment in an emergency department each year. When these accidents are the result of the negligent act or omission of a school or school district, victims can often recover for their injuries through a personal injury [2]  lawsuit. Some of the kinds of hazardous conditions that may result in a playground accident are detailed below: • Improperly installed equipment • Improperly maintained equipment • Inadequate shock absorbing material • Defective playground fixtures • Playgrounds too close to structures • Exposed hardware • Inadequate premises maintenance • Inadequate supervision After a playground...
DUI In Florida

DUI In Florida

Drunk driving, or driving under the influence (DUI), is one of the single most dangerous actions one can be guilty of without malice being a factor. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports approximately 9,900 fatalities in alcohol-related crashes in 2014 (the most recent available data), and while this is a decrease from previous years, it is still far too high. Understandably, given that the cost in lives, time and money is so high, civil and criminal punishment for driving under the influence can be extremely high. If you have been injured by a drunk driver, there are multiple legal theories that you may be able to use to make your case and receive compensation that can help pay the bills. Negligence Law In a civil suit, perhaps the most common theory under which drunk drivers are sued is that of negligence law. If you want to try and prove that you were harmed due to a drunk driver’s negligence, there are four things you must be able to prove to the court: That a duty of care existed between you and the drunk driver (in other words, that the driver had an obligation to exercise reasonable care in interacting with others on the road, as did you); That the duty was breached; That the breach happened solely because of the drunk driver’s conduct, with no other intervening cause; and That you suffered tangible harm (not necessarily physical, but tangible; something more substantial than a mild shock or cuts and bruises). Florida common law does establish a duty of care between motorists, requiring that everyone exercise reasonable care...
TBI 101: Traumatic Brain Injuries & Their Effects

TBI 101: Traumatic Brain Injuries & Their Effects

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that according to the most recent available data, as many as 1.7 million people sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) every year. The groups with the most common occurrence of TBI are very young children, older adolescents and elderly adults over 65 years old – three of the most common population demographics in the state of Florida. Given that TBIs can occur very abruptly, with minimal warning, it is generally a good idea to familiarize yourself with the symptoms and also with the potential liability for such injuries, especially if you or your loved ones fall into those age groups. Most TBIs Are Minor But Serious By far the most common type of TBI is a concussion, which as most people know can range from very mild to life-threatening in terms of the amount of damage done. The concerning aspect of concussions is that they can occur in a variety of different ways, engaged in a variety of different activities, including some that one would not imagine to be that dangerous. It can be possible to not even be aware of a mild concussion for quite some time if you are not aware of the risk of injury from whatever activity you are engaged in – for example, tripping over a crack in a sidewalk and landing in exactly the wrong way may lead to a mild concussion, but because such an injury is not very foreseeable, it may go some time without being reported. It is important to keep in mind, however, that even a minor TBI can lead to significant neurological...
That’s No Myth: Distracted Driving in Florida

That’s No Myth: Distracted Driving in Florida

With all the talk about distracted driving on U.S. roads in recent years, some people have started to tune out the statistics and horror stories. Some people might even characterize the alleged epidemic of distracted drivers as a myth. However, statistics show that it is decidedly not a myth, and indeed, the tendency to drive while multitasking is actually increasing in frequency. It is one of the most common causes of automobile accidents across the country, and in Florida, the problem is exceptionally relevant for a variety of reasons. Patterns Are Clear While most people think of distracted driving as using a smartphone or other electronic device while driving, in reality, anything that takes your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road can qualify under Florida law. Texting qualifies, and it is perhaps the worst offender in terms of causing accidents – studies have shown that more than 50 percent of people have used a mobile app beyond GPS while operating a motor vehicle. For the last four years of available data, the overall crash rate in Florida has risen, with a significant rise between 2015 and 2016. The numbers of injuries have risen slowly but steadily – from 39,141 in 2013 to a record-setting 49,231 in 2016. In terms of texting or smartphone use specifically, the numbers give one pause for concern. A recent study conducted nationwide gave Florida the second-worst percentage of distracted drivers, second only to Louisiana. However, there are demonstrably fewer consequences for distracted drivers in Florida because it is one of only five states where texting while driving is not a...
Unique Issues in Florida Boating Accidents

Unique Issues in Florida Boating Accidents

Florida has the most miles of coastline in the continental United States, and as such, it is a veritable haven for swimmers and boaters, with the highest number of registered vessels in the country. However, accidents happen, especially when tourism season gets into full swing. If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, it can sometimes be difficult to get the information and support you need. A knowledgeable attorney can help. Multiple Different Possible Causes Boating accidents can be innocuous, or they can be severe, not unlike automobile accidents. However, there are factors at play that can make it more difficult to assess causation. Causation can be complex at the best of times, but certain unique factors are seen with boats that simply do not occur on land. For example, in recent years, boating laws have been seen almost as guidelines rather than laws that must be obeyed, and as a result, people do not slow down or observe caution as they perhaps ought to. Operating a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol is common, and studies show that approximately one-third of all boating fatalities involve either the victim or the boat operator being intoxicated. The fairly lax licensing requirements mean that inexperienced boaters are common. Vessels must be titled and registered unless they meet an exemption, but in Florida, only those born after January 1, 1988, must have a Boater Safety Education Card. People who are older than that do not require any kind of proof of education or training. It is, of course, possible to be inexperienced or reckless despite...

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