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Things that seemed technologically impossible years ago are now every-day commonalities as advances in science, computers, and engineering continue to grow.

No one would have believed that people would all be carrying portable phones and computers around with them, and the thought of driverless cars and trucks was a fantasy until just recently.

But the fantasy has become reality and prototypes of cars controlled by computers are now out on the road. Unfortunately, with every advancement there are sometimes very costly errors.

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If We Understand Why Crashes Happen, We Can Take Steps to Avoid Them

Americans love to drive. Perhaps no invention affected American everyday life in the 20th century more than the automobile.

Although the technology for the automobile existed in the 19th century, it took Henry Ford to make the useful gadget accessible to the American public. Ford used the idea of the assembly line for automobile manufacturing. He paid his workers an unprecedented $5 a day when most laborers were bringing home two, hoping that it would increase their productivity. Furthermore, they might use their higher earnings to purchase a new car.

highway-trucksAnd so the love affair between Americans and their cars began. Even when new mass-transit systems are designed and constructed for travelers and commuters, large numbers of people prefer to drive on their own.

The creation of the interstate highway system not only allowed people to travel long distances in their cars, it permitted the cross-country delivery of goods by large commercial trucks. The blend of cars and trucks on the same roads has created the inevitable problem of collisions between the two, and these collisions often have deadly consequences.

Sharing the Road

The reason car vs. truck collisions are so devastating is simple physics. Passenger cars gained about 414 pounds in 26 years. In 1980, the average weight for passenger cars was 3,041 pounds, but it rose to 3,455 pounds by 2006.

The average weight of an 18-wheel tractor trailer on the road in the U.S. is 80,000 pounds.

When crash investigators examine what causes accidents, they look at the “critical reason” and the “associated factors” – two different things. For example, if a deer ran out in front of your car and you hit it, that would be the critical reason for the crash. However, an associated factor may be that it was raining and that caused you to not see the poor animal.

Some Statistics

For cars and trucks these are the critical reasons for crashes:

Trucks Cars
Non-Performance (sleep, sick) 3% 16%
Recognition (inattention) 35% 30%
Decision (speed, aggressive) 42% 24%
Performance (overcompensate) 7% 19%
Vehicle (brakes, tires, lights) 8% 4%
Environment (roadway, weather) 4% 3%
Unknown 1% 1%
Total 100% 100%

These are some of the associated factors – note that there can be more than one, so the totals exceed 100%:

Factors Trucks Cars
Brake problems 27% 2%
Traffic flow interrupted 25% 25%
Stop required before crash 21% 6%
Unfamiliarity with roadway 19% 10%
Inadequate surveillance 16% 14%
Traveling too fast for conditions 15% 11%
Illegal maneuver 12% 18%
Felt under work pressure 10% 3%
Distraction (Internal or External) 10% 10%
Inattention 9% 9%
Fatigue 7% 15%
False Assumption 6% 3%
Cargo Shift 1% NA
Illegal drugs 0.40%  3%
Alcohol use 0.30% 9%

You don’t have to be a government expert on traffic safety to notice a few interesting things. First of all, it seems that brakes on trucks are a big problem, and/or trucks need to reduce their speed. Also, it seems that alcohol and drug use is not a common cause for crashes among truckers. Passenger vehicle drivers still have some work to do on that issue.

If you drive a passenger vehicle, please pay attention to the fact that lack of rest is a big issue in crashes, as is lack of attention (which includes texting). Make a conscientious decision to eliminate those from being possible while you are driving, and you have significantly increased your chances of having a longer life.

Truckers, maintain your trucks. Try to avoid stress from the pressures of deadlines and competition. It’s understandable that you want to rush, but is it worth your life, or the lives of others?

Accidents involving truck have many special issues associated with them, and the Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has reserved a major part of their practice to this complex arena. If you or someone you know has been involved in a crash involving a truck, we would be happy to sit down and discuss your situation. You may reach Gary or Arleen Lazarus by calling 954-356-0006.

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Working Together Towards a Solution Will Save Lives

Two_Way_StreetWe have posted a lot of data on motorcycle accidents, injuries, and fatalities. The news is never good and it’s getting worse because accidents are becoming more frequent.

We are asking automobile drivers and motorcyclists to take a few moments today and learn 3 things they can be done to make the roads safer for everyone.

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Most people have strong feelings about motorcycles and many rank riding one with skydiving, “There is no way I would ever do that. It’s too dangerous.”

But ask a motorcycle enthusiast, and they wouldn’t even think of traveling by any other means.

Everyone has opinions, but let’s look at the facts and the statistics.

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The dictionary defines the word “visit” as “an act of going or coming to see a person or place socially, as a tourist, or for some other purpose.” Most visits are pleasant experiences, right?

The U.S. Center for Disease Control, which works to keep us healthy also keeps track of injury statistics. They call going to the emergency room a “visit” but there’s not too much pleasant about being treated at the emergency room. Those are visits we can live without.

Florida Personal Injury AttorneySome of the types of injuries and statistics for emergency room visits are surprising, but understanding them might help us and our loved ones avoid visits to the ER. Sometimes injuries are our own fault and sometimes they are due to someone else’s – that’s when a personal injury attorney can help.

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Two important things to think about whenever you travel overseas are (1) local laws and (2) insurance coverage.

Foreign laws are quite different than U.S. laws and anyone traveling abroad would be wise to study them, especially criminal laws. For example, with marijuana regulation lightening up in America, one might think that the rest of the world is going the same way.

That’s not entirely accurate.

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Plans Encourage More Drinking

There’s something about traveling that brings out the desire to drink in certain individuals. Some people sit down in their seat on an airliner and the first thing they look for is the beverage cart. Many commuter trains used to have bar cars, but most have been eliminated. The Metro North line in New York and Connecticut was apparently the last and they ended in 2014.

Cruise lines have taken the concept of travel-drinking to a new high with all-you-can-drink plans for passengers who don’t want to take the chance they might not get enough booze on their voyage. Carnival Cruise Lines offers a plan called CHEERS! and their website says “The cost to purchase CHEERS! prior to your cruise is $49.95 USD per person, per day plus 15% gratuity.”

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Supply Chain Issues Cause Stress and Jeopardize Patient Health

Pharmacy Supply Chain ErrorsWe have discussed the fact that medical errors are now the 3rd leading cause of death, and that pharmacy errors account for a great number of those deaths. Many mistakes regarding prescription medications occur as a result of human error such as putting the wrong pills in the bottle, mislabeling, or incorrect dosages.

A new article in Forbes – A Prescription Drug Bottleneck Put My Husband’s Life in Danger – addresses a growing number of patients dealing with the “supply-chain” side of getting medicine from the pharmaceutical manufacturers to the patient.

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Early Photos and Witness Statements Help to Substantiate Your Case

The immediate reaction after a serious motor vehicle accident is often “oh no, what am I going to do?” There is usually confusion, phone calls to family and friends, and a general feeling of disbelief and bewilderment.

It’s a very good idea to make a mental note – right now – that if the time comes and you are involved in an accident, you must try to do your best to remain calm. Cool heads rule in situations like this and if you want to come away from a bad situation with as little negative results as possible, you’ll want to try to calmly and accurately document everything right from the start.

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Ask Questions and Do Your Research Before you Choose

There is no way to prepare for an accident. You wear seatbelts, drive carefully, and buy insurance, but you’re never really prepared for the unexpected.

If you haven’t been in a car accident, consider yourself lucky. Or overdue.