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HMN Law Blog

Does smartphone addiction lead to serious injury?

The functionality of a smartphone leads Americans to use them frequently in their daily lives. However, too much reliance on smartphones can create an addiction to these devices. A smartphone addiction is something to be concerned about since it can increase the likelihood of distraction while driving on a California road and cause an auto collision that could result in serious injury to the motorist and other parties.

Psychguides.com explains that smartphone addiction may lead people to use their phones while driving. Some motorists operate under the mistaken belief that they can multitask, but dividing your attention from the road to text on your phone can actually be as hazardous as having too much alcohol in your system as you drive. The result is that the motorist, passengers in the vehicle and other parties on the road are placed in significantly greater danger.

What do you need to know about drowsy driving?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, four percent of Americans admit that they had fallen asleep while driving, at least once,,in the past month. Additional findings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimate that fatigued driving was responsible for 72,000 car accidents, 44,000 injuries and 800 deaths in 2013. These findings, combined with crash data, prove that drowsy driving is a very real problem in California and throughout the United States, a fact that leads many to wonder why drowsy driving occurs and what can be done to stop it.

Drowsy driving refers to the phenomenon of driving while tired. It usually occurs when a driver does not get enough sleep, suffers with a sleep disorder, takes medication, drinks alcohol or performs shift work. Regardless of the reason for drowsy driving, the effects of it are more or less the same across the board. Drowsiness tends to result in the following:

  •       Inattention
  •       Slow reaction time
  •       Impaired judgment 

When are motorcycle crashes most likely to occur?

The spring and summer months bring the best weather of the year for motorcycle riders. Feeling the breeze on the open road only gets better as the temperature rises.

It is during these times that you should be more careful when riding. Summertime can be more dangerous for motorcycle owners than other times of the year.

Overcrowded rest stops are a dangerous hazard

Truck drivers face many unique risks as part of their job, but one prevalent danger is fatigue. Many truckers in California are required to drive long hours and some of them irresponsibly failt to get adequate rest before their shift begins. To help manage this ongoing risk, rest stops were created to provide a safe and convenient solution for truck drivers, and other motorists, who need to rest temporarily on the side of the road. 

What many people fail to recognize is how rest stops can also be dangerous when they become overcrowded, as was demonstrated by a recent, fatal accident in Trenton, Ohio.

In that incident, a well-known restauranteur was killed upon impact when his SUV slammed into the rear of a parked semi-truck. The truck, upon seeing that there were no open parking spots in the lot of the rest stop, parked his truck alongside the on-ramp to the rest stop in an area that was clearly designated as a "no parking" zone. 

What should I know about left lane restrictions?

Many California motorists may not be aware that state law puts some restrictions on driving in the left-hand lane on a multiple lane road or a highway. In fact, as Vox points out, every state restricts the use of the left lane in some fashion, though these laws are not meant to be overly intrusive. In fact, they are intended to keep traffic flowing and prevent traffic jams, as well as cut down on the risk of vehicular accidents.

California law is actually quite lenient when it comes to traveling in the left lane. Eleven states mark the left lane only for people who need to turn or pass up traffic. However, 29 states, including California, only specify that vehicles traveling slower than the speed of normal traffic need to drive in the right lane. Basically, a car that is not keeping pace with nearby vehicles should not be in the left lane.

Truck inspections to prevent collisions

When California drivers hit the road, they know they will likely encounter trucks. Most of the time, commercial motor vehicles need to pass an inspection in order for them to be on the road. If a CMV was not properly inspected, though, people may be more likely to get into a collision.

Just like private vehicles, trucks have to pass an inspection to demonstrate that everything is working properly. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, a truck cannot be on the road if it has failed an inspection. While there are Federal guidelines for these examinations, sometimes States have their own list of requirements. Trucks on California highways typically need to pass the State requirements as well as the Federal ones. Most of the time, a truck needs to undergo inspection once a year.

If a carrier breaches DOT compliance requirements, the result may be written warnings, fines and penalties, suspension of a company's ability to operate and, in some cases, even jail time - depending on the severity of the violations.

How can a concussion cause hearing loss?

You may think the biggest concern when you get a concussion is the chance of a brain injury, but that is not all that could result. According to Everyday Health, there is also the possibility of temporary and permanent hearing loss. You could also have hearing damage that makes it hard to hear, causes tinnitus or leads to other hearing issues that affect your daily life.

The ear is a fairly fragile structure. You have very small bones within your ear that could suffer when you get a concussion. If these bones break or dislocate, it affects your hearing. In addition, when you get a concussion, it could damage the auditory pathway that goes to your brain and enables the signals that allow you to hear. Your eardrum may rupture, which could cause short- or long-term issues. In addition, the cochlear nerve or various parts of the inner ear may suffer damage that is irreversible.

Forcing compliance with HOS rule for truckers

Whether hauling produce, livestock or other consumer goods, numerous tractor-trailers grace the roads and highways of California every single day. While the importance to the economy of long-haul trucking cannot be underestimated, there is a risk for motorists in standard passenger vehicles. Accidents involving these big rigs can be extremely severe due largely to the weight and size of the trucks. 

A few years ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted what it called the Hours of Service rule. This rule set forth limits on the number of hours truckers could drive each day or week. The goal of the Hours of Service rule was to crack down on trucker fatigue, a known risk factor in many truck accidents. More recently, the FMCSA has issued a new mandate to help push compliance with this rule.

Riding a motorcycle while under the influence

When people think of drunk driving, many envision someone operating a truck or a passenger vehicle. However, it is important to keep in mind that those who operate other types of vehicles, such as motorcycles, may also drive drunk. In some parts of the country, there are fewer motorcyclists on the road during the winter months. However, many will soon take to the road once again when spring rolls around. Whether you are a motorcyclist, or you are worried about some of your friends riding a motorcycle while under the influence, it is imperative to be mindful of the dangers associated with riding a motorcycle while drunk.

Sometimes, people enjoy riding in large groups of motorcyclists, and these gatherings may also involve parties and visits to bars where alcohol is consumed. Unfortunately, some people may drink too much, or they may feel pressured to ride their motorcycle even though they are over the legal limit. By doing so, they threaten their own well-being and they place the lives of others at risk as well.

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