FMCSA Proposes Truck Driver Drug and Alcohol Test Database

Commercial truck drivers are held to a much higher standard when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs when compared to the average motorist. This makes sense, since the stakes are much higher when it comes to commercial semi-truck drivers. Now the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed the establishment of a database that will contain information about driver drug and alcohol tests with the goal of preventing drivers with a substance abuse problem from slipping through the cracks and finding employment in the industry.

The FMCSA recently proposed the establishment of a Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which would function as a database containing information about controlled substance and alcohol test results of commercial truck drivers. All commercial driver license holders would be included in the database.

Under the proposal, commercial motor carriers, employers, medical review officers, substance abuse professionals, as well as third-party agencies would be required to report drug  and alcohol test results to the database.  These persons would also be required to submit information involving alcohol or drug test refusals, negative return-to-duty test results, adulterated and substitute drug test results as well as other kinds of data that relates to driver alcohol and drug use. Additionally, labs that provide commercial motor carriers with drug and alcohol testing services would be required to report information about testing activities and results.

This information would be made available to potential employers around the country, including prospective employers, current employers, and other agencies who would need such information. This would help prevent truck drivers who have positive drug or alcohol test results and have lost their job in one state from obtaining driving jobs in other states. Potential employers would have such information ready at hand, before they make the decision to hire a commercial truck driver.

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print this article Posted By Robert Katz In DUI , Traffic Fatalities , Truck Accidents | 0 Comments Permalink

What Parents Can Do to Prevent Their Teens from Driving Drunk

According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), a teenage motorist driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% is approximately 17 times more likely be involved in an accident. This is a category of motorists that research has shown to be inexperienced, more susceptible to peer pressure, and more likely to engage in risky driving. When alcohol or other intoxicants are added to the mix, the risks of an accident significantly increase.

The CDC believes that reducing the risk of teenage drunk driving accidents should not be dependent on federal, state, and local law enforcement alone, but is also the responsibility of communities, schools and parents. Recently, another new study illustrated just how strong peer pressure can be in influencing teenagers to drink and drive. The study clearly found that when high school seniors had friends in their social circle who drove intoxicated, they were much more likely to do the same. When teenagers have friends who engage in self-destructive behaviors, those same behaviors seem cool to an impressionable young adult.

If you're the parent of a teenage motorist, it’s also important to understand that there is no such thing as social drinking for a teenage motorist. Most teenagers who drink do so to feel buzzed. Therefore, expecting teenagers to go out, drink, and yet remain sober is unrealistic. Binge drinking is far more popular among teenagers than with any other category of motorists, and teenagers are much more likely to drink irresponsibly.

As a parent, you can set down strict rules about underage drinking in your household. Be very careful about providing alcohol to your child or their friends in an effort to appear “cool” or monitor the situation. Such practices only make underage drinking acceptable for your child, not to mention the fact that it could also place you at risk of criminal charges and civil liability because the law forbids adults from providing a minor with alcohol.

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print this article Posted By Robert Katz In DUI , Teen Drivers , Traffic Fatalities | 0 Comments Permalink

Texting While Walking Could Be More Dangerous Than Texting While Driving

Everyone agrees that texting while operating a motor vehicle is hazardous and increases the risk of injury or fatal accident. However, when you compare statistics based on injuries per mile, it is texting while walking that seems to be much more dangerous. 

There has been a growing body of research recently that seems to point to an increased risk of pedestrian injuries when people are texting while walking.   For example, new research by the University of Buffalo specifically focused on injuries per mile caused when a person is texting while walking. According to the research, the consequences of texting while walking include falling down stairs, walking into walls, pillars and other stationary objects, and walking into traffic.

A person who is texting while walking is much less likely to notice a bump on the sidewalk, or obstacle in a driveway. Even though there are more injuries caused every year by texting while driving, injuries caused by texting while walking tend to be more serious. People who were texting while walking were 61% more likely to go off course while walking, and were also likely to overshoot their target by as much as 30%, compared to when they were walking without distractions.

The researchers also found that 10% of pedestrians treated for injuries in emergency rooms every year were involved in a texting-related incident. 

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print this article Posted By Robert Katz In Distracted Driving , Slip and Falls | 0 Comments Permalink

Study Says Alcohol Has Increased Affect on Seniors

Alcohol tends to affect different people in different ways, and younger drivers are typically believed to be at the highest at risk for destructive alcohol- related behaviors, like drunk driving accidents. However, seniors could be just as much at risk of being involved in accidents after they have consumed alcohol. What is even more dangerous about seniors and drinking is that alcohol consumption does not have to be large for it to affect many seniors’ driving abilities. According to research, even small amounts of alcohol can affect an older driver’s driving abilities, increasing his or her risk of being involved in a car accident.

The study was conducted by researchers who analyzed how drinking alcohol affects driving abilities, based on age. Persons in the age group of 25 to 35 were compared with another group which consisted of persons 55 to 70 years old. In both groups, persons consumed alcohol, but not enough for any of them to cross the maximum permissible blood-alcohol level in most states of .08%. In other words, nobody in either of these groups met the criteria for being legally intoxicated. 

However, researchers found to their surprise that even when seniors drank just a few alcoholic beverages, it impacted their ability to drive safely. They monitored the driving abilities of seniors by putting them through a driving simulator, and found that even mild amounts of alcohol intoxication in seniors did affect driving abilities.

The findings of the study are fairly interesting because currently there are no separate maximum legally permissible blood-alcohol levels based on a person's age.  Most states, including Georgia, follow the .08% maximum alcohol limit for all adult drivers , and the person is believed to be legally intoxicated if he or she is driving with this amount of alcohol in his or her system. However, the researchers believe that perhaps it is time, in the light of this new evidence, to reevaluate those old standards. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that a senior who is driving with a blood-alcohol level of .07% may not be legally intoxicated, but may still be at a much higher risk of accidents that than he realizes.

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print this article Posted By Robert Katz In DUI , Elderly , Senior Citizens , Traffic Fatalities | 0 Comments Permalink

GAO Report Finds Fault with Federal Trucking Safety Rating System

Commercial trucking accidents are one of the biggest hazards facing American drivers, and contribute to an average of 4,000 fatalities every year.  Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a system for rating the safety performance of commercial truck companies and bus carriers, a new report finds that the system is inadequate, and delivers incorrect results.

Those are the findings of a new report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO recently completed an audit of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Compliance, Safety, Accountability program.  The Compliance, Safety, Accountability program uses data collected from roadside inspections of trucks and 18- wheelers, as well as data from accident investigations, and uses this information to compare the performance of commercial truck and bus carriers.  Trucks and buses are compared to other carriers of similar size and other characteristics.

The data are then used to increase oversight and scrutiny over the truck and bus carriers that the data finds have the highest number of safety violations. The data are compared with other trucking and bus companies as part of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program’s Safety Measurement System.

On the surface, this seems like a good method to predict accident risks.  After all, a trucking or bus company that has a long history of violations may have a higher risk of being involved in fatal or serious injury accidents.  The Government Accountability Office, however, finds that the current method used to establish such ratings is inadequate and often times inappropriately applied. 

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print this article Posted By Robert Katz In Governmental , Traffic Fatalities , Truck Accidents | 0 Comments Permalink

Alarming Increase in Spinal Cord Injuries across U.S.

According to a new study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, the number of traumatic spinal cord injuries recorded in the United States is on the increase. Another major change that the research showed is that the primary cause of serious spinal cord injuries in the United States is no longer automobile collisions, but slip and fall accidents.

The Johns Hopkins research analyzed a total of 43,137 adults who received treatment in hospital emergency rooms after suffering a spinal cord injury.  These adults were treated for their injuries between 2007 and 2009. The researchers found in their analysis that the incidence of spinal cord injury in the 18-64 age group ranged from 52.3 injuries per million in 2007, to 49.9 million in 2009.

While that constituted a drop in the number of traumatic spinal cord injuries that were recorded in this age category, there was an increase in the number of spinal cord injuries recorded among older citizens. In the 65 and above age group, the number of spinal cord injuries actually increased during the study period. These injuries increased from 79.4 injuries per million adults in 2007, to 87.7 injuries per million adults in 2009.

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print this article Posted By Robert Katz In Auto Accident Claims , Senior Citizens , Slip and Falls , Spinal Cord Injury | 0 Comments Permalink

Alcohol-Related Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents Remain High

There’s plenty of awareness about alcohol-impaired fatalities involving motorists, but not much is known about the fact that alcohol-impaired fatalities involving pedestrians and bicyclists have remained consistently high over the past few years. According to a new report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, it's just as dangerous to walk or ride a bicycle under the influence of alcohol, and it's high time that pedestrians and bicyclists were made aware of these risks.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety report, the proportion of intoxicated pedestrians and bicyclists killed in accidents has changed very little over the past 20 years. Back in 1992, the percentage of pedestrians above the age of 16, who died with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or above, was 39%. In 2011, that number had dropped by two percentage points to 37%.

Among bicyclists, the researchers found that the fatality percentage rate when alcohol was involved was approximately 26% in 1992, and had dropped to 25% in 2011. The statistics seem to indicate that there has been barely any difference in the number of alcohol-impaired pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities over the past 20 years. During the same period of time, there have been substantial declines in the number of motorists killed in alcohol-related car accidents.

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print this article Posted By Robert Katz In Bicycle Injury Claims , Pedestrian accidents | 0 Comments Permalink

NHTSA Survey Finds Speeding Widespread Among Motorists

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently conducted a survey on speeding practices among American drivers. The results indicate a concerning trend. Although many American drivers believe that speeding is a highly dangerous behavior, many of them also admit that they often drive at high speeds to get to their destination on time.

The results of the survey were contained in the National Survey of Speeding Attitudes and Behavior, and found that approximately 4 to 5 drivers believe that driving at safe speeds helps prevent accidents. More than 91% believed that speed limits should be obeyed unconditionally because they are the law. In fact, as many as half of the drivers in the survey admitted that it was very important for transportation agencies to take stronger initiatives to reduce speeding on U.S. roadways. 

However, when it comes to actually putting those beliefs into action, many American motorists seem to fall behind. Many of the motorists surveyed admitted to frequently travelling faster than posted speed limits. More than 25% of the motorists surveyed admitted that speeding was something they often did without thinking about it, and others said that they “enjoyed” the feeling that came with driving at excessive speeds. In addition, approximately 60% of the motorists claimed that driving at excessive speeds or above the speed limit, was not “really dangerous” for a skilled motorist.

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Georgia State Agencies Urge Safe Travel over Holidays

The year's busiest travel season has begun, and a number of Georgia state agencies are joining hands to educate motorists about the need to drive safely during the holidays. The Governor's Office of Highway Safety and the Georgia State Patrol are encouraging motorists to avoid speeding and distractions, and concentrate on getting to their destination safely.

Just before Thanksgiving and New Year's day, we see the heaviest amount of traffic on GA roadways. Not surprisingly, the accident, injury and fatality rate is also very high during these weeks. Every year, the Georgia State Patrol calls attention to the need to reduce speed, eliminate distractions at the wheel, and avoid driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These three factors account for a majority of all traffic accident fatalities that occur during the holiday season.

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print this article Posted By Robert Katz In DUI , Holiday Travel , Texting and Cellphone Use while Driving , Traffic Fatalities | 0 Comments Permalink

Tips for Safe Holiday Gift Shopping for Children

Most retailers across the country are reporting early holiday shopping this year as consumers start buying for family, co-workers, and friends. Many of those gifts will include children's accessories, toys, and other products. This is the right time of the year to remind parents that the toys and products that they choose for their children must be safe from the risk of injuries.

Most injuries related to children's products involve the face and head, including a large number to the eyes and forehead area.  Unfortunately, there are far too many children's toys that come with removable parts and sharp parts that pose a serious eye injury hazard. When you buy toys as gifts this holiday season, avoid toys that come with protruding parts, spikes, or sharp or pointed edges.

Avoid buying guns and shooting toys, or toys that come with parts that fly off. These can actually turn into dangerous projectiles, and can cause injuries not just to the child who is using the toy, but also other children and adults in the environment.

Before you buy the toy, decide whether the toy is appropriate for the child's age. In fact, if you are buying toys with sharp edges, or projectile components, it is best to also consider whether the child has younger siblings. Very often, toys that are safer for an older child find their way into the hands of younger siblings in the house, and cause injuries.

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print this article Posted By Robert Katz In Children , Product Liability | 0 Comments Permalink