Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Pittsburgh Personal Injury Blog

Road traffic injuries are the top killer of young people

In 2018, ABC27 News reported that Pennsylvania adopted Act 153 to tackle drunk driving problems within the state. The bill allowed the state to charge drunk drivers with a felony under the following conditions:

  •          It was the fourth arrest or higher.
  •          It was the third DUI offense or higher.
  •          Blood-alcohol content was 0.16% or higher.

The bill also increased incarceration time for intoxicated drivers if it resulted in the unintentional death of someone else. The minimum sentence was originally three years, but it was raised to five. Repeat offenders who were caught driving on a suspended or revoked license could also face prison time of up to six months and fines up to $2,500.

The importance of a trucking log

Commercial truck drivers in Pennsylvania can be under a lot of pressure to deliver goods on time. This sometimes results in long working hours which, in turn, can lead to exhaustion. One of the causes of truck accidents is fatigue, and the trucking industry has certain rules that regulate the number of hours a truck driver can be on the road. To keep track of this, all drivers must also fill in a trucking log on a regular basis.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration outlines the regulations for hours of service for trucks that carry passengers or property. Truck drivers that have passengers can drive a maximum of 10 hours a day, and they must have at least eight hours off before the shift. Drivers that carry cargo can drive for an 11-hour shift as long as they have 10 hours off beforehand. If working seven consecutive days, the driving limit is 60 hours, and the driver must take off a minimum of 34 hours before the next shift. If drivers use the sleeper berth, they must be in it a minimum of eight consecutive hours.

What are the penalties for distracted driving?

As a Pennsylvania resident, you likely know the potential charges and penalties you may face for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. However, distracted driving is becoming a frequent problem as more smartphones and other personal electronic devices become essential for daily life. It is important to understand that there are state regulations that prohibit you from using a cellphone or tablet while you are behind the wheel. The penalties also change slightly if you are a truck driver.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation provides information on the state's distracted driving laws. According to the DOT, using an Interactive Wireless Communication Device while driving is a primary offense. The DOT specifically lists several actions: sending, reading and writing texts, emails and instant messages. Essentially, if you use your device to engage in written communication while your vehicle is moving, you may face a $50 fine. You may also have to pay additional expenses for court costs.

Third-party liability is common in personal injury cases

When accidents happen in Pennsylvania and recovery from injuring is already underway, many accident victims find themselves wondering how they will manage the unexpected medical expenses and financial aftermath of their ordeals. One common action is to sue the alleged negligent party for damages. In many personal injury accidents, liability falls on multiple parties. There are even circumstances where the victims share some of the blame. 

When the need for financial damages for physical and mental pain and suffering exceed what work, motor vehicle and other accident victims can recover directly from negligent parties, plaintiffs can seek compensation through third-party liability claims from individuals and companies they believe had a contributory role. 

Drowsy driving is as dangerous as driving under the influence

Drowsy driving is a serious problem in Pennsylvania and the rest of the United States. According to CNN, drowsy driving accounts for 20% of motor vehicle accidents, 25% of fatal crashes, 1,500 deaths and 40,000 injuries. In fact, staying awake for 20 hours or more may cause impairment similar to having a blood alcohol content level of 0.08%. One doctor explained that at this point, data processing and reflex speeds slow tremendously, just as when a person becomes drunk.

Drivers tend to become drowsy at the wheel if they get less than six hours of sleep per night, or if they snore. People who unintentionally doze off at their desk or during other activities during the day are also more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel. One of the common misconceptions is that truck drivers tend to be sleepier at the wheel than anyone else, but CNN says this is false. Still, truck accidents tend to cause the most damage to property and person when they drive drowsy.

Don't let this summer chore turn gruesome

It may not be convenient to have the children home all day during the summer, but it does have its perks; from greater schedule flexibility to vacation time. Another is the kids being available to help more with chores, especially yard work. Perhaps one of their duties mowing the lawn.

However, before you send them outside, you may want to reconsider if they are ready for the job. U.S. News & World Report reveals just how dangerous lawn mowers are to children.

New therapy approved for malignant pleural mesothelioma

The NovoTTF-100L System, combined with pemetrexed and platinum-based chemotherapy had recently been approved by the FDA for a front-line treatment option for patients who have unresectable, metastatic or locally advance malignant pleural mesothelioma. This marks the first treatment in 15 years for those who suffer from this condition. The FDA made its decision based on the findings from the single-arm STELLAR trial, which increased the median survival rate to just over 18 months when the treatment was combined with physical therapy.

What are the risks of riding a motorcycle instead of driving?

Motorcycle accidents are one of the most dangerous types of traffic accidents in America. Even when wearing a full bodysuit and helmet, you will not have the same level of protection as occupants of passenger vehicles. Because of this, broken bones, head injuries, neck injuries and other serious conditions are risks to consider.

According to a Forbes article, one way to reduce motorcycle accidents starts with crash warning and prevention systems. The writer believes that these systems could better prepare bikers and your bikes to either avoid or survive an accident. However, crash warning systems are rarely included on motorcycles, though some companies are trying to change this.

Factors that affect alcohol levels

Most drivers in Pennsylvania know that driving under the influence of alcohol is a no-no, but many underestimate the amount of alcohol it takes to reach the legal limits. There are numerous factors that affect how alcohol metabolizes in the body, and a drink can affect one person way different than another one. This can result in people getting behind the wheel when they should not be driving. 

According to the Stanford Office of Alcohol Policy and Education, gender plays a major role in how one metabolizes alcohol. In general, men have more of the enzymes needed to metabolize alcohol, and they are often larger in size and have more water composition than women. This allows men to drink more before they are legally drunk. The amount of food in the stomach also makes a big difference. Alcohol reaches the blood stream much faster when food is not present. 

Strong winds and high-profile vehicles

There are many dangers associated with driving, and some vehicles are especially dangerous. For example, someone riding a motorcycle may be especially likely to sustain an injury or pass away if they are involved in a motor vehicle accident. Moreover, certain types of vehicles, such as high-profile vehicles, carry different risks that drivers should be aware of. In fact, it can be especially dangerous to drive a high-profile vehicle during strong winds since the vehicle may be more likely to be pushed or flip over as a result of wind.

High-profile vehicles, such as SUVs, vans and trucks, can be particularly dangerous at certain times. If you operate one of these vehicles, you should watch out for high winds and other risks (such as snow or ice) which could make an accident more likely. Moreover, if you were hit by one of these vehicles, it is important to do everything in your power to recover from the accident. Depending on what occurred on the road, it may even be necessary to move ahead with a lawsuit.

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
20 Stanwix Street, Seventh Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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