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Peoria Personal Injury Law Blog

Thanksgiving, the deadliest U.S. holiday

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the deadliest holiday in the U.S. may be Thanksgiving. In 2012, for example, there were 764 crashes involving fatalities on Thanksgiving, compared to 654 on Christmas. In addition, that year saw 50,000 non-fatal crashes on Thanksgiving. Illinois residents may be wondering what can be done to prevent this surge in mortality rates.

The answer is, for the most part, simple. Safety precautions like wearing a seatbelt, planning ahead, and not rushing are essential first steps. Traffic and road conditions, along with the weather, should always be taken into consideration. Drivers should also check tire pressure and test their windshield wipers before the approach of winter storms.

CNA study reveals common cause of slip and falls

CNA Financial Corporation released a study analyzing the slip-and-fall liability claims that it received between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2016. The authors noted several trends that may make business owners in Illinois and across the U.S. think twice about the safety of their own premises.

The majority of slip and falls occurred because the flooring had inadequate slip resistance. The amount of friction that a floor produces determines the dynamic coefficient of friction level, the minimum threshold of which is 0.42. The study revealed that 50 percent of surveyed sites did not meet this nationwide standard.

3 tips for dealing with memory loss after a crash

A crash is hard enough when you have broken bones or soft injuries, but when it causes brain damage that makes it hard to remember who you are, where you are, what you love to do or even what you did this morning, it's devastating. Memory loss is, unfortunately, a side effect of some types of brain injuries.

For some people, memory loss resolves over time as the brain heals and reroutes information. For others, they're never quite the same. Here are a few tips for dealing with your injury.

Night shift workers at higher risk for drowsy driving

Night shift work disrupts the ordinary sleep-wake cycle, increasing the risk of drowsiness in the daytime. With over 9.5 million people throughout the U.S. working a night or rotational shift, drowsy driving has become a public health hazard in Illinois and around the country.

To show how drowsiness affects driver performance, researchers from a Massachusetts hospital conducted a study with 16 night shift workers. They were asked to participate in two sessions on a closed d track: the first after sleeping for the night, the second after getting off work. An EEG measured drowsiness during micro-sleep episodes and, naturally, gave higher results in the second session.

Unclaimed life insurance lapsed policies under House Bill 302

Todd Strong recently met with Illinois State Treasure Michael Frerichs for a briefing on a program that he has instituted in the Treasurer's Office for unclaimed life insurance lapsed policies under House Bill 302. This a very beneficial program to individual program to individuals who are beneficiaries of lapsed life insurance policies where the insurance carriers have not paid out life insurance proceeds because formal claims were not paid. This sounds unusual. However, this scenario is all too common. Oftentimes, surviving spouses may have been unaware that they were named on multiple insurance policies purchased by their spouse. Other times, surviving spouses may have undergone severe health issues, such as Alzheimer's or other debilitating diseases which disable them from making the appropriate formal request to life insurance companies to pay out life insurance proceeds that they are entitled to under purchased and paid for life insurance policies.

Medical issues could increase risk of a truck crash

Study results released in January 2017 suggest a continued need to investigate the correlation between poor driver health and the increased risk of a trucking crash, and motorists in Illinois and other states may want to take note. Although the research is focused on risk as it pertains to commercial truck operators, results indicate that accidents involving commercial trucks may negatively impact other vehicles and their drivers. According to the senior author of the study, which was conducted by University of Utah School of Medicine researchers, the health status of commercial truckers could ultimately affect the safety of occupants of other vehicles.

Because the job requires them to remain behind the wheel for long periods of time without access to nutritious meals and restful sleep, commercial operators are particularly susceptible to a number of health concerns. Although heart disease, diabetes and lower back pain have been linked to poor driving performance in truckers for some time, the new research suggests that health issues might be even riskier than previously believed.

Traffic deaths increased in 2016

Illinois motorists may be concerned to learn that U.S. car accident fatalities rose in 2016, according to new numbers released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is the second straight year that traffic deaths have increased.

The NHTSA reports that 37,461 people died in 2016, which represents a 5.6 increase over 2015. The top causes of fatal accidents were speeding, failure to wear seat belts and motorcycle crashes. There was a 4 percent increase in speeding-related fatalities and a 4.6 percent jump in deaths of passengers who failed to wear seat belts. Meanwhile, motorcycle fatalities increased 5.1. percent, pedestrian deaths spiked 9 percent and drunk driving deaths jumped 1.7 percent. However, distracted driving deaths declined by 2.2 percent last year.

House and Senate bills seek to revive sleep apnea rule

Accidents caused by fatigued truck drivers injure Illinois road users each year, and road safety advocacy groups have long called for government regulators to establish more rigorous sleep apnea testing to combat the problem. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed a rule change that would mandate testing for drivers in categories likely to develop the condition, but the agency announced in August that the proposal had been withdrawn.

Industry groups opposed the measure because the tests performed to screen for obstructive sleep apnea are expensive, and they also questioned the constitutionality of mandatory testing. However, bills have been submitted in both the House of Representatives and Senate calling on the FMCSA to revive the proposed rule change. The agency says that it abandoned efforts to introduce stricter sleep apnea testing standards when sessions held to discuss the proposal and comments submitted by the public in response to it failed to provide the information needed to move forward.

Drowsy driving: A danger that affects all drivers

You enjoy your morning drive to work, but today is different. You enter the highway as usual, but the vehicle in front of you seems to swerve back and forth every so often. To avoid a collision, you attempt to overtake the driver.

Seconds later, the driver enters your lane and causes a serious accident. Just before it happened, you noticed the driver's eyes weren't open. He'd fallen asleep behind the wheel.

Driving safely close to large trucks

Semi-tractor trailers are a familiar sight in Illinois, and many drivers become tense and nervous when they are in close proximity to them. These fears may be rooted in the knowledge that car and SUV drivers generally fare poorly in collisions with commercial vehicles, and data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveals that almost 70 percent of truck accident fatalities in 2014 were passenger vehicle occupants.

Motorists may be able to overcome their nervousness around tractor-trailers by learning more about the risks involved and following a few simple rules. Large trucks have much larger blind spots than cars and also require far more distance to stop safely. This means that passenger vehicle drivers should allow trucks plenty of space when passing and bear in mind that they will disappear into blind spots known as no-zones as they approach. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, about a third of all collisions involving trucks occur when passenger vehicles enter no-zones.

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