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Saint Louis Missouri Personal Injury Blog

Prepare yourself to start a personal injury claim

Immediately following an accident, it's natural to turn your attention to your health, treatment and impact of your injuries on your personal and professional lives. At the same time, you should consider your ability to start a personal injury claim.

If another person's negligence was responsible for your accident, such as an aggressive trucker who caused a highway crash, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries, damage to your vehicle and other losses.

Opioid abuse may be behind some fatal two-vehicle crashes

Missouri residents should know about a study published by JAMA Network Open that deals with the role of opioids in fatal two-vehicle crashes. While researchers do not say for certain if opioids are the cause of these crashes, they do show a clear connection between the two. Analyzing 1,467 opioid-using drivers in fatal two-car crashes, researchers found that 918 were the crash initiators.

For their data, researchers turned to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System run by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Out of 18,321 fatal two-car crashes, 7,533 were due to drivers who drifted out of their lane, making this driving error the most widespread cause of crashes. It is, incidentally, an error often made by opioid users.

How to avoid drowsy driving

Drivers in Missouri who don't get sufficient sleep before operating a motor vehicle may be at a higher risk for causing an accident. Statistics suggest that up to 6,000 fatal crashes occur each year because of drowsy drivers, and there are many reasons why a person may drive while tired or fatigued. These reasons may include engaging in shift work, taking medication or drinking alcohol before driving.

Those who have sleep disorders may not get quality rest at night. Of course, this increases the risk of drowsy driving. In some cases, individuals may have a sleep disorder but don't know about it. Ideally, adults will get about seven to eight hours of sleep per night, and it may be best to fall asleep and wake up at roughly the same time each day. Drivers who find themselves struggling to stay awake are encouraged to pull over and take a quick nap.

Distracted driving kills nine people every day

Distracted drivers in Missouri and around the country kill approximately nine people every day according to the National Safety Council, but many road safety experts say that the problem is underreported, and the true daily death toll could be much higher. Economists believe that distracted driving drains the economy of about $40 billion each year, but laws banning cellphone use behind the wheel have done little to curb the practice.

The ineffectiveness of these laws was highlighted by a 2016 Harvard Medical School survey. Six out of 10 of the motorists polled said that they regularly use their cellphones while driving, and more than half of them admitted to using the devices to read or type text messages, check social media websites or watch videos. This kind of behavior is considered especially dangerous as it causes the eyes as well as the mind to wander.

Can you hold a business responsible for serving a drunk driver?

Accidents caused by drunk drivers often cause a number of issues for the people in the other vehicle. First and foremost, there is the physical and emotional trauma that results from a major car crash. Injuries can leave people unable to work for weeks, and financial hardship can result from missed work, vehicle repairs and medical expenses.

Many people experience secondary stress and consequences from a drunk driving crash when they realize their costs stemming from the crash have already exceeded the liability coverage that the other driver had on their vehicle. In some cases, a driver with inadequate insurance may also have inadequate assets to justify taking legal action against the driver directly. While you could pursue a lawsuit, the chances of recovering anything for those efforts may be minimal.

What steps to take to ensure safer winter driving

During the Missouri winters, the roads can become icy and wet, putting drivers and others at risk for a collision. With the following tips in mind, though, drivers can be safer behind the wheel and reduce that risk for a crash. It all begins with slowing down, even below the posted speed limit, because the tires lose traction the faster one goes.

Drivers should never tailgate but should instead create a greater distance from the vehicle in front. The distance should be a minimum of five to six seconds. When about to stop, drivers should apply the brakes early and do so gradually and gently. If approaching a traffic light, they should try to keep the car rolling because accelerating from a complete stop can lead to wheel spin.

Drowsiness spreads when daylight saving time ends

With the end of daylight saving time, everyone gains one hour of sleep. However, it should be noted that the change causes a disruption to the body's internal clock. As the body readjusts, one must expect to feel sleepy for a day or two afterward. Unfortunately, residents of Missouri who must head out on the road after the end of DST run a higher risk for a crash. Drowsiness, after all, dulls one's ability to judge and react to dangers.

Drowsy driving is behind roughly 328,000 car accidents every year in the U.S. The National Sleep Foundation links it to some 50,000 cases of debilitating injuries and 6,400 fatalities. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows how widespread the problem is in its 2018 Traffic Safety Culture Index. 27% of respondents said that at least once in the past 30 days, they found it hard to keep their eyes open while driving.

Highway deaths decrease in 2018, pedestrian deaths rise

For the second year in a row, highways deaths in Missouri and across the country fell. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, highway deaths decreased by 2.4% in 2018. In 2017, the numbers fell 2% from the previous year. The decline comes after years of steady increases in motorist fatalities. Experts blamed the booming economy, which resulted in more drivers on the road than ever before, on the increase.

Unfortunately, the NHTSA data also reveals that pedestrian deaths rose 3.4% in 2018. Pedestrian deaths have risen 53% since 2009 and are now at an all-time high. The majority of pedestrian fatalities occur outside of intersections. Some experts believe that increased usage of SUVs may be to blame. When driving an SUV, the driver sits higher than smaller cars and trucks. The angle may make it difficult for drivers to see cyclists and pedestrians who are on the road.

Teens make up the most distracted drivers, study shows

The week of October 20 to 26, 2019, is designated as Teen Driver Safety Week. Corresponding with this event, researchers at Michigan State University have revealed the results of a study analyzing teen drivers and distractions. Parents of teen drivers in Missouri should know that the study offers insights into what happens both inside and outside the vehicle when teens drive distracted. By contrast, other studies have to rely on the limited data in police crash reports.

From 2011 to 2013, a total of 3,400 teen drivers were monitored using cameras and other instruments so that researchers could determine how often the drivers were distracted. Many of the crashes that happened in those three years were due to cellphone use. In fact, researchers separated the crashes into 60 different categories. These included talking on the phone, listening, texting and surfing the web.

Study ranks teen drunk driving rates by state

Missouri residents should know that underage drinking has been a continual problem throughout the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3.1% of adults report driving after having too much to drink whereas 5.5.% of teens report driving after having any amount of alcohol. In 2015, some 623,000 teens between the ages of 12 and 17 were found to have an alcohol-related disorder. That's 2.5% of all teens in that age group.

Besides the harm they are doing themselves, teens are putting those on the road at risk. Of the 37,133 fatal accidents that were reported in 2017, 10,874 involved drivers with a BAC of .08 or more. Drunk driving is behind one third of all driving deaths. Every state differs, of course, in terms of how prevalent drunk driving is. Researchers at CheapCarInsuranceQuotes.com have, in fact, made a ranking of the states based on this.

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