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

Pittsburgh Personal Injury Blog

How does drinking affect your ability to drive safely?

When you get into your vehicle, turn the ignition and prepare to drive, every possible distraction should be eliminated and your full focus should be on driving safely. Participating in risky behaviors while you are operating a vehicle can put you at a significantly higher chance of being involved in an accident that could have been preventable with more cautious behavior. One distraction, and one that can get you in serious legal trouble in Pennsylvania is the decision to drive while you are drunk. 

One fact that many people wrongfully discount is just how little alcohol consumption it takes for their body to become compromised. Your understanding of the direct correlation between your blood alcohol content and the way you are able to react while driving can help to illustrate just how dangerous drinking and driving is. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at only a .02 percent blood alcohol content level, your judgment can be impaired enough to delay your ability to make important decisions in an appropriate period of time. 

Protecting your body against common motorcycle injuries

There are many different reasons why you may choose to ride your motorcycle in Pennsylvania. Perhaps you are a thrill seeker who enjoys the adrenaline rush of cruising the open road. Maybe you have found that riding a motorcycle is the most efficient form of transportation for your lifestyle. You may even own a bike simply because you appreciate the timelessness of owning a classic motorbike. At Caroselli Beachler & Coleman we have been able to assist many victims of life-altering motorcycle accidents. 

Protecting yourself against the risks of riding a motorcycle is critical to your ability to enjoy a ride that is both memorable and safe. Motorcycle gear has been designed to provide your body with optimal protection in case you are involved in an accident. Wearing the proper safety gear can help reduce your chances of experiencing debilitating injuries like traumatic brain injuries. High-quality gear can also reduce the severity of road rash. 

Drive safe this football season

Football season in Pennsylvania is very popular, and watching the game or tailgating often includes drinking alcohol. For those watching numerous games, this can result in hours of drinking. Unfortunately, some choose to get behind the wheel after drinking too much, and this puts other people on the road in danger. Because drunk driving accidents tend to rise during this time, it is important to remember how alcohol affects driving and to always assign a designated driver.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 30 people each day are the victims of fatal accidents due to drunk driving, and operating a vehicle after drinking at a game increases the chances of a crash. It is illegal for anyone to drive if they have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, but even one drink can begin to affect one's ability to drive. Some of the early effects of alcohol include a lapse in judgment, less alertness, difficulty focusing eyes and reduced coordination. At illegal limits, more pronounced effects include a lowered ability to brake in a timely manner, loss of speed control and difficulty controlling the vehicle.

What are hours-of-service regulations for truck drivers?

There has likely been a time when you, while driving around Pittsburgh, have begun to feel slightly drowsy. In such an event, you know what you need to do: get off the road as soon as possible and ensure that you are well-rested before getting behind the wheel again. Should you fall asleep at the wheel, you become an extreme danger to not yourself, but also those around you. If you can cause severe damage while asleep in your vehicle, imagine how much more extensive it might be if a truck driver dozed off while driving. 

In order to prevent truck drivers from becoming fatigued while on the job, federal regulations have been established that dictate how long they can be behind the wheel throughout the course of a single work week. Per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the hours-of-service standards for truck drivers are as follows: 

  • A driver can only drive a maximum of 11 hours after first having taken 10 consecutive hours off duty
  • A driver cannot drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after a period of 10 consecutive hours off duty
  • A driver cannot drive for more than eight consecutive hours without taking a break of at least 30 minutes
  • A driver cannot drive for than 60 hours during a 7-day work week (70 hours during an 8-day work week)

What can we learn from traffic safety in other countries?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collect data concerning motor vehicle crash injuries and fatalities on our highways.

Among the studies undertaken by the CDC is a comparison between vehicle crash deaths and current safety measures in the U.S. and those in other countries in response to the question, “How is the U.S. doing?”

How does Pennsylvania's Graduated Driver Licensing work?

Vehicle crashes involving teen drivers are sadly frequent in Pennsylvania and are a leading cause of fatalities among young people. As a parent, you may help reduce the risk of your teen being in an accident by teaching and modeling safe driving techniques. The state's Graduated Driver Licensing program helps ensure your teen has adequate training and experience before he or she gets full legal driving privileges.

You may get information on each phase of the state's graduated licensing program for young drivers from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. According to PennDOT, the first stage is acquiring a learner's permit. Your teen may get his or her learner's permit at 16 years old after passing a written test, physical exam and vision screening. During this phase, you may help your teen learn how to drive responsibly. Your teen must accrue 65 hours of supervised driving before moving on to the next licensing phase. This number includes 10 required hours of night driving and five hours in poor weather conditions.

Auto accidents can linger with drivers

In the moment, auto accidents can be quite frightening, confusing and painful. Beyond any immediate physical injuries, there may be additional trauma that drivers and accident victims must deal with.

If you or a loved one have been in an accident, it is important to fully understand the possible side effects. You can review a few below.

Signs a driver may be drunk

Drivers in Pennsylvania have the right to feel safe when they are on the road. Unfortunately, some people get behind the wheel after having too much to drink, and this poses a danger to other motorists. If another driver suspects someone is driving under the influence, it is important to report it so the impaired driver does not cause any harm. To make it easier, it is good to know what some of the signs are that indicate drunk driving.

MADD outlines some of the signs of impaired driving. These include:

  • Weaving or drifting in and out of traffic lanes
  • Driving way slower than the speed limit
  • Coming close to hitting another vehicle or object
  • Lack of headlights at night
  • Slow start or sudden stop at traffic lights
  • Driving in between two lanes

What safety gear should motorcycle riders wear?

If you are a motorcycle rider, it is important to maintain your personal safety with adequate protective gear. Whether you are commuting to a downtown job or simply enjoying the scenery of Pennsylvania's back roads, you may reduce your risk of injury by wearing the right clothing. While Pennsylvania law requires you to wear a helmet in some circumstances, other types of safety gear are vital as well.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation provides information about the state's motorcycle helmet law and other safety concerns for riders. In Pennsylvania, you must wear a helmet if you are under 21 years old. If you are over 21 years old, you must wear a helmet unless you have at least two years of riding experience. An alternative to meeting the experience requirement is taking a motorcycle safety course approved by PennDOT or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

Labor Day concludes 100 deadliest days for teen drivers

Whether you spend it at the lake, an amusement park or in your own backyard, Labor Day is a wonderful time to celebrate the end of summer before the chill of autumn arrives. If you have a teenage driver in your family, you may also breathe a sigh of relief when Labor Day passes. 

According to AAA, the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the deadliest for young motorists. Even though the roads around Pittsburg are safer statistically after Labor Day, the risks do not cease altogether. As such, there is never a bad time to coach your teen driver on road safety. Here are some topics you should think about covering. 

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

Toll Free: 866-466-5789
Phone: 412-567-1232
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