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Kent Washington Personal Injury Law Blog

Drowsy driving is common among commercial truckers

Commercial truckers have a difficult job. Not only are they staffed with safely navigating a large vehicle on cramped roadways, but there are also times when they have to do so when they're not feeling their best.

The more time a trucker spends behind the wheel, the more likely it is that they'll become drowsy. If this happens, they put themselves and everyone else on the road at risk of an accident.

Damages you may be able to claim for car accident injuries

In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, there's nothing more important than receiving medical treatment and working with your doctor to make a full recovery.

As time allows, you should also learn more about the cause of the accident, which includes who was at fault. This will put you in a position to seek compensation from the negligent party.

Washington State drunk driving deaths exceed U.S. average

If you are like a lot of people in Washington State, you might assume that all of the awareness campaigns and strong laws concerning drunk driving have made significant and positive impacts in the community. That may be true, but the fact of the matter is that drunk drivers continue to plague the region and cause ongoing and unnecessary tragedies for innocent people and families.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Washington State's rate of drunk driving deaths in 2017 exceeded that of the national average. That year, the country saw 29% of all traffic fatalities attributed to alcohol. In Washington, 32% of all accident fatalities were due to drunk drivers. That was a higher percentage than the state saw in the previous three years.

Can a trucker’s stressful lifestyle be dangerous to others?

The trucking life is often romanticized in songs and movies. There can be no doubt that the trucking industry is vital for residents of Washington and across the country, and it is an idyllic life for many free-spirited truck drivers. However, you should also understand that trucking can be a stressful and often unhealthy lifestyle, which may contribute to motor vehicle accidents in ways you might not have expected.

According to Smart Trucking, driving a big rig can be a rewarding and satisfying job, but it is also a fast-paced, high-pressure industry. You may know that truckers are often sleep-deprived as they attempt to make it to their next destination on time. Even if they get enough rest, a truck driver’s health may be compromised in the following ways:

  • Sitting for long periods without being able to stretch their legs or exercise
  • Eating fast food or convenience store meals, instead of healthy foods
  • Being isolated from family and friends for lengthy stretches
  • Being stressed out and anxious about following sleep regulations and delivering their loads on time

Restrictions for military wrongful death suits

Every day, brave men and women from Washington to Florida put their lives at risk to preserve American freedoms. However, when active military personnels die from instances related to wrongful death, family members may find their own freedoms restricted. This is due to the Feres ruling or Fores Doctrine in 1950 when the United States decided that it can not be held liable for the death or injury of active members of the military.

In 2018, NBC News reported that the surviving spouse of a Navy veteran attempted to get this ruling overturned. The woman who died worked as a labor and delivery nurse. However, when she went into delivery herself, she bled to death at the naval hospital where she served. Her baby girl lived.

State sees increase in auto deaths

Residents in Washington State have for years heard about the dangers of drunk driving. Numerous public awareness and education campaigns have been launched to reiterate the need for people to make responsible decisions and to make safety a priority. However, many drivers simply refuse to think this way when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Instead, they choose to drive in ways that put others at risk. Drunk driving, speeding and more are just some of the problems this results in.

According to records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Washington State saw an increase in the number of vehicular fatalities it experienced in 2017 versus 2016. In looking at the various factors contributing to the 565 statewide deaths in 2017, increases are seen in categories including pedestrians, excessive speed and alcohol. 

How to spot the signs of road rage

If you have ever found yourself getting irritated or becoming enraged while attempting to navigate the Washington roadways, you are not alone. According to AAA, at least 80% of drivers say they have angry while driving at some point within the last year. The problem comes when feelings of frustration and anger turn into road rage and lead to dangerous driving behaviors. Aggressive driving not only puts the driver at risk of becoming involved in a deadly car accident, it endangers the lives of everyone else on the road. Knowing how to spot the signs of road rage may help you minimize your risk of getting into a deadly car accident. 

Aggressive driving includes a wide-range of hazardous driving behaviors, from speeding to ramming other vehicles and initiating physical altercations with other motorists. Other dangerous driving behaviors include the following:

How to drive safely around tractor trailers

If you navigate Washington roadways on a regular basis, you may be used to sharing the street with tractor trailers. These massive vehicles may seem like commonplace on the freeways and city streets. Yet, they can be extremely dangerous, especially in certain conditions, such as bad weather, stop-and-go traffic and driving at high speeds. It is important to understand how to drive around tractor trailers so that you can minimize your chances of being involved in a catastrophic truck accident

First you must realize that due to their length, height and weight, large trucks take a longer distance to stop when compared to a normal-sized vehicle. Therefore, it is extremely hard for them to come to an abrupt stop if a vehicle should pull out in front of them and put on the brakes. Be sure to never cut in front of a large truck and give them plenty of space to slow down if approaching slowing traffic. 

Study: Hands-free cellphones not safe for drivers

In Washington, and in many other states in the nation, it is illegal for drivers to use a hand-held cellphone while behind the wheel. The dangers behind this practice can be seen through the many people who are injured and killed in drunk driving accidents every year. In an attempt to use a cellphone while behind the wheel and stay in compliance with the law, many drivers have started using hands-free cellphones. Although these devices are marketed as safe alternative to hand-held cellphones, studies show that this may not always be the case.

The study, published by AAA, showed that using a hands-free cellphone while driving caused a significant amount of cognitive distraction and that this distraction may lead to a car accident. During the study, researchers measured participants heart rate, eye movement, response time and brain activity while they operated a simulator vehicle and a car set up with monitoring equipment. The participants were given various tasks to complete during the study, including the following:

  •      Talking on a hand-held cellphone
  •      Talking on a hands-free cellphone
  •      Listening to the radio
  •      Listening to an audio book
  •      Composing a text and/or email using voice-activated technology
  •      Talking to a passenger in the vehicle

Why driving at night is riskier than daytime driving

The presence of cars, trucks and buses on Washington roadways does not stop once the sun sets for the day. The streets are still full of cars traveling home from work, or going out for a night of fun. While driving at night may not seem much different than daytime driving, the risk of losing your life is higher when you drive during nighttime hours. According to the National Safety Council, you are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident while driving at night. As a nighttime driver, it is critical that you understand what these factors are so that you can minimize your chances of becoming involved in an accident. 

One of the most prominent changes you experience while driving at night is a lack of natural light. The reduced amount of light can affect your ability to see objects in the road, pedestrians, bicyclists, traffic signs and other drivers. Your eyes may also have limited capabilities at night, as your depth perception, peripheral vision and focus may all be affected by reduced light levels. This can make it hard to judge the distance and speed of an oncoming car as you turn into traffic. 

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Greaney Scudder Law Firm
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