Posted On: April 30, 2013

New Study Could Suggest That Caffeine May Prevent Some Truck Accidents in Miami Springs and Other Communities

An Australian study published recently in the British Medical Journal found that truck drivers who consumed caffeine were less likely than other motorists to be involved in crashes, even when lack of sleep and other factors were accounted for. The study looked at 530 long distance commercial truck drivers who were involved in a crash between 2008 and 2011 and an additional 517 truck drivers who had not had an accident in the past twelve months. The researchers at The George Institute at the University of Sydney conducted interviews to determine how much caffeine each truck driver consumed as well as the health and demographics of each driver.

According to researchers, 85% of truck drivers who were involved in accidents didn’t consume energy drinks regularly. 78% of truck drivers involved in accidents did not drink any caffeine. However, 51% of truck drivers who did not have an accident in the past year didn’t drink caffeine.

The research is compelling, but could caffeine really help prevent truck accidents in Miami Springs and across Florida? The researchers from the study agree that more research needs to be done about the effects of caffeine on fatigued driving and truck accidents. Most experts also agree that fatigued driving is a leading cause of truck accidents and car accidents in Miami Springs and across the country. Fatigued driving causes many dangerous situations for drivers:

1) Fatigued driving slows response times. According to some research studies, response times of heavily fatigued drivers are similar to those of drunk drivers. However, while there is a great deal of education and a great deal of social pressure not to drink and drive, fatigued driving is just seen as a reality caused by hectic lifestyles. Not all drivers are aware of the risks of driving when sleepy.

2) Fatigued driving increases the risk of driver errors. We are all more likely to make errors when we are tired, but making errors behind the wheel can lead to a serious pedestrian accident in Miami Springs or your community. Drivers who are tired may make obvious errors such as failing to signal, changing lanes without checking for oncoming traffic, ignoring traffic lights, and other major mistakes.

3) Fatigued drivers may fall into micro sleeps. According to sleep disorder experts, when the human body is very tired, it shuts down for very small increments of time – often just seconds or fractions of a second – as it struggles to cope with extreme fatigue. Unfortunately, when this happens behind the wheel of a car, it can cause a serious traffic accident.

4) Fatigued drivers may fall asleep at the wheel. Each year, traffic accidents in Miami Springs and across the country occur because a driver falls asleep behind the wheel of their truck or car and heads into oncoming traffic or another vehicle.

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Posted On: April 25, 2013

Should Motorists be Subject to the Same Laws as Truck Drivers to Prevent Truck Accidents in Miami Lakes?

Many experts believe that one of the reasons why car and truck accidents in Miami Lakes and other Florida communities are so prevalent is because car drivers are not subject to the same strict rules as commercial truck drivers. Car drivers are in fact allowed to text and drive in Florida, are allowed to drive fatigued, and can engage in a number of driver behaviors that put them – and others on the road -- at risk. There are many laws that could potentially help reduce the instances of truck and car accidents in Miami Lakes and other Florida communities if they were applied both to commercial truck drivers and passenger car drivers:

1) No texting. Florida has been trying to pass a texting ban for regular drivers for years. There is currently legislation working its way through the system to potentially ban texting for drivers, but similar legislation has failed in the past. In contrast, government employees and commercial truck drivers, by federal law, are not allowed to text and drive. Numerous studies have shown that drivers who text and drive remove their eyes from the road for long enough to potentially cause a serious pedestrian accident or another type of collision. Many experts believe that instituting a texting ban could help prevent many types of traffic accidents in Miami Lakes and across Florida.

2) Screening and added education. Currently, in order to get a driver’s license in Florida, drivers must only get minimal training and spend some time in a car with a driving instructor. There is no requirement for refresher courses or additional training once a driver is licensed. In contrast, commercial drivers need to undertake very thorough testing and extensive education in order to drive a commercial truck. Most drivers also must take refresher courses and take part in continuing education in order to maintain their commercial driver’s license. Some experts feel that additional mandatory driver training for passenger drivers as well as refresher courses would help drivers stay safe on the road. After all, driving conditions, traffic, car designs, and driving ability change over a lifetime. Refresher courses would help address some of these changes and would help keep drivers safer.

3) Rules regarding fatigue. Commercial truck drivers are subject to federal rules concerning how long they can drive before taking a break and are subject to rules concerning the number of breaks and the length of breaks they must take before starting to drive again. In contrast, there are no set rules available for passenger car drivers, even though fatigued driving causes multiple pedestrian accidents in Miami Lakes and other communities as well as other types of traffic accidents. Experts agree that laws regarding fatigued driving would be difficult to enforce, but reducing the number of fatigued drivers on the road would also help make the roadways safer for everyone.

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Posted On: April 23, 2013

The Laws that Protect You and the Laws that Can Prevent Truck Accidents in Miami Gardens

There are many federal and state laws that are designed to protect you after a truck accident in Miami Gardens or anywhere in Florida. There are also a number of laws are designed to help prevent traffic accidents caused by commercial trucks. These laws include:

1) Laws regarding safe loading of trucks. Laws require truck carriers and those responsible for loading to carefully load and secure cargo onto trucks in a way that reduces the risk of rollovers and other types of truck accidents. Drivers, loaders, and motor carriers are responsible for ensuring that cargo is securely tied to the truck and is properly loaded. There are also strict laws concerning how much a cargo truck can carry. Weight scales on highways are designed to ensure that truck drivers do not overload their trucks, which can increase the risk of rollovers, brake failure, tire blowouts, and other types of traffic accidents.

2) Laws regarding screening of truck drivers. Laws require truck drivers to be carefully screened. Commercial truck drivers must pass extensive written test as well as road tests and must receive proper training in order to drive commercial vehicles. In addition, truck drivers are subject to health checks and drug and alcohol screening. This can make them safer than passenger car drivers, who are not subject to these types of laws. Statistics bear this out – drivers of passengers cars are more likely to be charged with DUI than commercial drivers. Motor carriers have a financial incentive for ensuring that they hire safe drivers with excellent records – riskier drivers are more likely to result in expensive lawsuits and increased insurance rates for motor carriers.

3) Laws regarding how long truck drivers can drive. Truck drivers are subject to many federal rules regarding how long they can drive before taking rests as well as the length of their rest periods. In contrast, passenger car drivers have no laws regarding fatigued driving or even distracted driving. In Florida, passenger car drivers are even allowed to text and drive, while federal laws prevent commercial truck drivers from engaging in this sort of risky activity. If a passenger car driver causes a car accident in Miami Gardens because they're distracted or are fatigued, they may be charged with reckless driving.

4) Personal injury laws. Personal injury laws ensure that if a person is injured in a truck accident in Miami Gardens or anywhere in Florida, they can pursue a legal claim against those responsible for the accident. They can seek a claim against the motor carrier, truck driver, and other liable parties in order to seek compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and other costs. If you've been injured in a truck accident, it is often a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney in Miami Gardens or your community for legal advice.

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Posted On: April 18, 2013

Who is Responsible for Truck Accidents in Miami Beach?

Over the past three and a half decades, truck accident fatalities across the country have declined dramatically, but experts say that much still needs to be done to make the roads even safer. According to personal injury attorneys in Miami Beach, one way to reduce the number of truck accidents in Miami Beach and other communities is to pursue those who are responsible or liable for accidents. In many cases, holding liable parties accountable for accidents helps to bring about important safety changes while also securing fair compensation for victims who sustain serious injuries in a collision.

Who is responsible for traffic accidents in Miami Beach and other communities? Traditionally, passenger car drivers have taken the brunt of the blame. According to 2002 research from the AAA, four out of five car crashes involving trucks are caused by passenger car drivers. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that 87% of all head-on crashes involving commercial trucks were caused by passenger car drivers.
According to experts, there are many reasons why car drivers cause so many crashes:

1) Truck drivers must pass driving tests and written tests to get a license. Getting a commercial driver’s license requires much more practical knowledge and testing. In contrast, getting a driver's license for a passenger vehicle is usually a fairly simple process. In fact, teens and new drivers applying for a driver’s license may need less than a dozen hours of in-car training in some states in order to get a license, and in some cases that instruction does not include one-on-one instruction but rather instruction with a group of other learners. Although experts agree that graduated licensing and increased requirements for driver’s licenses for passenger cars can help reduce the number of car accidents in Miami Beach and across Florida, experts also agree that more must be done to ensure that new drivers get plenty of experience and instruction in order to build good driving habits.

2) Truck drivers in many cases drive over 10 000 miles monthly, making them the more experienced drivers on the road. Passenger car drivers may not drive as much, and this lack of experience can lead to traffic accidents in Miami Beach and across Florida. Lack of experience is one reason why teen drivers have higher crash rates than older drivers, for example.

3) Car drivers do not get ongoing driver education. Most motor carriers offer cash incentives to drivers with good safety records and an interest in more training. Drivers with poor safety records have a harder time finding employment. In contrast, many passenger car drivers only get instruction once – when they apply for their driver’s license. In fact, many drivers on the road in Florida got their driver’s license decades ago, and have not received additional or supplementary training even though traffic laws, traffic conditions, and driving conditions have changed substantially in that time period. Experts agree that ongoing training for drivers as well as refresher courses might help prevent traffic accidents.

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Posted On: April 16, 2013

Could Software Innovations Help Prevent Truck Accidents in Homestead and Across the Country?

Traditionally, truck drivers have self-reported distance driven, rest stops taken, and other details. By federal law, truck drivers must log this type of information and make this data available as needed. For years, personal injury attorneys in Homestead and other communities as well as victims of truck accidents have been upset with the system, noting that truck drivers can forget to write down important details – such as when they took a rest stop – or can falsify information in order to hide the fact that they were driving longer than they should have. Technology, according to some experts, could help prevent this common problem and may even be able to help prevent truck accidents in Homestead and across the country.

Software promises to be a more effective way to log distance driven, speed, stops, and other truck driver information. Software, according to experts, would be harder to falsify and would automatically track data so that truck drivers wouldn't have remember to note down this information themselves. In the event of a truck or car accident in Homestead or another community, the software would make this information available in a reliable format, so that victims and personal injury attorneys could review the facts.

Software Innovations

A company known as Telogis has developed software that promises to reduce the number of truck accidents in Homestead and across the country. The software is designed to improve driver training and knowledge of safety practices and also works to track driver behaviors behind the wheel. Developed for commercial truckers, especially in the gas and oil industries, the software tracks safety belt use, acceleration, speed, maintenance needs, gas use, and sudden braking. The information is made available to both the driver and to fleet managers in real time.

The software was developed because truck drivers involved in the gas and oil industry face shift work, long haul drives, and deadline pressure on the job. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), areas with well-developed oil and gas industries have a higher rate of truck accidents. However, experts believe that software such as this could help prevent traffic accidents in Homestead and across the country involving all types of commercial truck drivers, not just tankers involved in gas and oil industries. So far, software such as this has not been widely used, but in coming years experts predict that these types of systems will become standard for many motor carriers. After all, for motor carriers software can help them better track driver behavior and can help them weed out unsafe drivers who could embroil the truck carrier in a legal claim. In the event of an accident, the software can also help truck carriers defend themselves or can help provide hard data that can be used in a claim.

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Posted On: April 12, 2013

Reducing Road Stress Could Help Reduce Instances of Car and Truck Accidents in Coral Gables

According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance, traffic accident injuries and fatalities have dropped over the past few years, largely because unemployment means that fewer people drive to work and there are fewer trucks and shipments on the road. As the economy recovers, there is more road traffic and fewer people using public transport, and that can increase the risk of accidents. In Coral Gables and South Florida, the recovering economy can also mean more tourists and more traffic during certain seasons, which can also increase the risk of collisions.

Added traffic on the roads and less use of public transportation can mean more stress on the roads. At a time when many drivers are driving longer distances in order to take advantage of more job opportunities, especially, driver stress during commutes is a real concern – and can be a cause of car and truck accidents in Coral Gables and other Florida communities. To help protect yourself, make sure that you:

1) Avoid distracted driving. If you suddenly have to drive further to work because of a new job or if you are returning to driving after using public transportation for a while, it may be tempting to find something to do while you drive. However, distracted driving is a key cause of truck and car accidents in Coral Gables and across Florida. When you get behind the wheel of a car, make sure that you can focus fully on the drive.

2) Spread out driving responsibility. If you must drive a lot, consider taking public transport part of the time or carpooling. These options are not only more environmentally friendly and cost conscious, but they can also reduce driver stress, road rage, and the risk of traffic accidents in Coral Gables or your community. When you allow someone else to drive part of the time, you can read a newspaper, focus on your mobile device, or get other tasks done while commuting. Having someone else take care of the driving part of the time also reduces the amount of driver stress you experience and may reduce your risk of a crash.

3) Take care of your health and never drive tired. During the morning commute, especially, fatigue, stress, and illness can be a disastrous combination that can lead to a car collision. When you have to share the road with trucks, especially, you need to stay alert because these larger vehicles take longer to break and stop. If you're tired, unwell, or are not feeling at your best, it is best to take public transport or rely on someone else to drive you to your destination.

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Posted On: April 9, 2013

Recovering From Long Term Injuries: Dealing with the Aftereffects of a Truck Collision in Homestead

Truck accidents in Homestead and other South Florida communities cause devastating injuries each year. In many cases, due to the size and force of a truck, truck collisions are more likely than car collisions in Homestead to result in long-term and permanent injury. Some of the more serious injuries caused by truck accidents include:

1) Brain injuries. Brain injuries can occur if a passenger in a vehicle strikes their head against the dashboard or other hard surface during the collision. Head injuries can also occur if a passenger is strongly shaken during the collision, which can cause the brain to crash up against the hard skull surface, causing bleeding and bruising to the brain. Brain injuries can result in memory loss, speech problems, vision loss, unconsciousness, and other serious injuries. Head injuries in Homestead and other South Florida cities can easily become fatal or can cause permanent injury, leaving the victim unable to work.

2) Spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries after a truck accident can leave someone paralyzed, with greatly reduced mobility, or even with fatal injuries. Spinal cord injuries are extremely expensive to treat, and spinal cord injuries in Homestead and other South Florida cities can cost up to $100,000 in the first year of treatment alone.

3) Burn injuries. Burn injuries can be one of the most difficult injuries to sustain in a traffic accident in Homestead. These injuries can cause muscle damage and mobility issues, and may also leave the victim devastated and unable to return to work. These injuries can also cause extreme pain.

All of these permanent injuries can result in long term financial impact as well as loss of mobility and other skills. The immediate emergency medical care and long-term medical care of these injuries can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions of dollars over a lifetime. Patients may require rehabilitation, surgeries, consultations with specialists, and many other types of treatment. The financial impact can be devastating. In addition, most of these injuries will result in loss of wages or even long-term loss of income. Most patients can take months or years to recover from serious injuries after a truck accident. In some cases, patients are unable to return to their jobs because their mobility issues and injuries affect their ability to do their job. In these cases, patients may be either completely unable to work or may be returning to lower paying jobs at the same time as they are facing increased medical bills.

If you have been seriously injured in a truck or car accident in Homestead or another South Florida community, you will want to:

1) Seek professional help. You will want to seek expert medical help to increase the chances that you will recover as fully as possible from your injuries. You also want to consult with a personal injury attorney in Homestead or your community in order to get professional legal advice to protect your finances and your future.

2) Seek counseling and emotional support. Being in a traffic accident in Homestead can be a devastating experience. Seeking the help of a support group, counselor, or other resources can help you deal with the emotional impact and can help you find the resources you need to heal.

3) Seek compensation. In many cases, the financial impact of a serious accident can last for years. If your accident was caused by someone's negligence, you have the legal right in Florida to seek compensation to help reduce the financial devastation of your accident.

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Posted On: April 4, 2013

Jackknife Truck Accidents in South Miami and Other Florida Cities

Jackknife truck accidents occur when the tractor and the trailer of a commercial truck form an “L” or “V” shape because the two components fall out of sync with each other. These types of truck accidents are often caused by:

1) Bad weather. Bad weather – such as slippery roads – can cause truck drivers to lose control of their car. In many cases, this can cause a car or truck accident in South Miami or another Florida city. The size and force of a commercial truck is much larger than that of a passenger car, so when a truck slips on the roads, the results can be devastating. Commercial trucks may also be more subject to these issues because fully loaded trucks place severe strain on truck tires. Truck tires can wear down more readily than typical tires if a truck is overloaded, and worn-down tires can put a truck more at risk of accidents.

2) Speeding. Another common cause of truck accidents and car accidents in South Miami and other South Florida cities is speeding. With a commercial truck, especially, speeding can be extremely dangerous. Trucks take longer to stop when compared with smaller vehicles, so speeding can make it impossible for a truck driver to react in time in order to prevent a collision. In addition, the size and weight of a truck can easily cause the truck driver to lose control of the vehicle if he or she is speeding. Speeding also places additional pressure on truck tires and brakes, increasing the risk of a tire blowout or brake failure, which can also cause a truck to veer out of control and jackknife.

3) Road problems. Road issues – including significant potholes, roadwork, and incorrect maintenance of roads – can cause a truck to lose control and can result in a devastating truck accident. In cases where road problems contribute to a traffic accident in South Miami or another South Florida community, injured parties do have the right to seek compensation. They can seek compensation against the truck motor carrier, the truck driver, and even the municipality where the accident took place and where the road was not correctly maintained.

Truck accidents in South Miami and across South Florida cause devastating injuries and fatalities each year. Victims who suffer broken bones, soft tissue injuries, spinal cord injuries, and head injuries in South Miami and other communities due to truck accidents may lose wages and work and may face devastating medical costs. In some cases, pursuing a legal claim can help victims recover these costs so that they do not need to pay them out of pocket. Although car insurance can cover some of the costs, many victims find they have trouble recovering compensation for long-term costs and damages without an attorney. An attorney can launch a legal claim, can advise you of your rights, and can even negotiate with insurance carriers for a fairer insurance amount.

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Posted On: April 2, 2013

What Causes Truck Collisions in Miami Springs and Across Florida?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), about 77 000 truck accidents across the country each year are caused by truck driver error. The most common errors, according to the FMCSA, are:

1) Prescription drug use. According to the FMCSA, about 26% of truck accidents are caused by prescription drugs. While truck drivers are subject to strict rules regarding the use of illegal substances and drugs, some drivers do not investigate over-the-counter and prescription medication, which can cause serious side effects such as drowsiness and fatigue. Illegal and legal drugs cause many truck and car accidents in Miami Springs and Florida each year.

2) Speeding. The FMCSA reports that 23% of truck accidents are linked to speeding. FMCSA had strict rules about speeding, including regulation 392.6: "No motor carrier shall…require the operation of any commercial motor vehicle…in such period of time as would necessitate the commercial motor vehicle being operated at speeds greater than those prescribed by the jurisdictions in or through which the commercial motor vehicle is being operated." However, truck drivers sometimes feel pressured to speed in order to meet deadlines or in order to earn a fairer wage.

3) Map reading. This common cause of accidents causes 22% of truck collisions. Truck drivers often must make deliveries to areas they may not be familiar with and this requires them to read a map or use GPS. When truck drivers take their eyes off the road to read a map, car and truck accidents in Miami Springs are likely. Some experts believe that voice-activated GPS devices can help, but other experts warn that the devices can be just as distracting.

4) Use of over-the-counter medications. The FMCSA reports that this contributes to 18% of truck accidents.

5) Fatigued driving. This factor contributes to 13% of truck accidents on a national scale. Truck drivers may be especially prone to fatigued driving because they are on the road for long periods of time, must make deadlines, and often lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle.

6) Not obeying the rules of the road. According to the FMCSA, this contributes to 9% of truck accidents. Violation of traffic rules leads to many traffic accidents in Miami Springs and across the country. While truck drivers are especially trained to obey traffic rules – and while the consequences for breaking the rules are more serious for truck drivers than for the average motorist – truck drivers do sometimes speed, run red lights, or break other rules of the road.

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