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Peoria Personal Injury Law Blog

Hair testing gets further support in trucking industry

Illinois residents might be interested in news about expected changes in the trucking industry. In an effort to find more effective methods for drug testing of drivers, five senators are pressuring the Department of Health and Human Services to issue official guidelines for using hair instead of urine for drug testing. Their concern, the senators explained, is that the lack of guidelines has prevented the Department of Transportation from issuing approval of this drug testing method for the trucking industry.

Hair testing has also received support from within the industry itself as a way to prevent semi truck accidents. The American Trucking Association, for example, issued a statement about its support of the method, citing its clear advantages, which can include identifying employees who might represent a safety risk due to drug use before the accident occurs. In December of 2015, the FAST Act highway bill was passed, which required the Department of Health and Human Services to establish the guidelines for hair testing. The HHS was given one year to do this, but had not complied.

IIHS calls for mandatory truck side-mounted underride guards

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has conducted what it says are the first tests designed to evaluate the safety benefits of side-mounted underride guards. Federal lawmakers are considering regulations that would make the fitting of rear-mounted underride guards to semi-tractor trailers in Illinois and around the country mandatory, but the IIHS says that side-mounted underride guards could also save lives and should be required as well.

The IIHS tests involved propelling sedans into the sides of two standard van trailers. The IIHS testers fitted one of the trailers with a side-mounted underride guard and the other with a glass fiber skirt. Side skirts are fitted to tractor-trailers to reduce wind buffeting and improve fuel economy, but they do little to protect passenger vehicle occupants in an accident.

Car collides into bus in Illinois, killing 4 and injuring 5

Four people lost their lives and five others were injured in a fiery early morning collision on May 7. The fatal wreck involving a sedan and a CTA bus took place in Chicago's West Side in the Garfield Park neighborhood.

According to reports, the wreck happened on Madison Street around 6 a.m. when a speeding white sedan lost control after it smashed into a parked vehicle and then collided head-on into a CTA bus. The sedan then caught fire, trapping all four of its occupants. An eyewitness at the scene unsuccessfully tried to pull one of the individuals from the vehicle.

Device takes aim at distracted driving

The use of handheld electronic devices while behind the wheel is prohibited in Illinois, but police rarely cite motorists for this violation unless they catch them in the act. This is because police officers must generally acquire search warrants before examining cellphones, but this rarely happens except in the case of catastrophic accidents. However, a road safety advocacy group and an Israeli technology company have developed a device that they say allows police officers to check cellphones while protecting the privacy of drivers.

The device, which Distracted Operators Risk Casualties and Cellebrite Mobile Synchronization call the textalyzer, plugs into cellphones and reveals recent activity, but it does not download any data. The entire process takes about the same amount of time as a roadside breath test according to supporters of the technology. The textalyzer was demonstrated to legislators in New York in April, and several states are said to be considering issuing the devices to their law enforcement agencies.

Faulty cardiovascular devices caused fatality and injuries

When your doctor recommends a medical device for heart issues, you want to believe that the device has been well-designed and properly tested. Sometimes, however, manufacturers of these life-critical devices make mistakes. Most times, those issues result in recall and replacement procedures to ensure that patients aren't put at risk.

Once in a while, however, a manufacturer will discover an issue and take steps to cover it up instead of going public and taking responsibility for the problem. It has recently been discovered that St. Jude Medical intentionally tried to avoid responsibility for a faulty device.

The importance of medical evidence in car accident lawsuits

When road users in Illinois and around the country file lawsuits after being involved in motor vehicle accidents, they must establish that they suffered injury, loss or damage in a crash that was caused at least in part by the defendant's negligent actions. Juries take several factors into consideration when determining the appropriate damages to award in these cases, and plaintiffs who keep detailed records of their medical expenses and how long their injuries prevented them from working will generally be better prepared to make these arguments.

Juries will also expect to learn more about the injuries suffered by the plaintiffs in car accident cases and the reasons why the defendant is responsible for causing them. Accident victims are often able to find much of the information needed to answer these questions in police reports. First responders often record their personal observations and opinions in official documents along with important information such as the time and location of accidents, and these reports may also include compelling eyewitness accounts.

Drugs at the center of recalls cause undue harm to patients

The news of drug recalls hitting the market seem to have become a very common occurrence. These defective drugs can sometimes cause  considerable harm to the patients who count on the drugs to help manage medical conditions.

While not all drug recalls are life-threatening, many are. Two recent drug recalls fall into the life-threatening category because these drugs are rescue drugs that can help patients survive temporarily to buy them time to get medical care.

Proving liability after a tailgating accident

When a tailgating crash occurs in Illinois, liability for the accident may ultimately be tied to driver negligence or a moving violation. The initial determination of which driver is at fault, however, may depend on the precise set of circumstances in play at the time that the incident took place. Although fault in a tailgating accident may seem obvious, proving liability in court may not always be easy.

A negligence claim is generally premised on the elements of duty, breach, causation and damages. In order to prevail in court, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care and then breached this duty by tailgating. The plaintiff must also prove that the breach of duty resulted in injury to the plaintiff and that the injuries resulted from the tailgating incident and not from another cause. Finally, the plaintiff must prove the damages that are being claimed.

Federal recall of hoverboard brand follows 2 child deaths

Almost everyone who was growing up in the 1980s and 1990s dreamed of one day cruising around the hoverboards from Back to the Future II. Many companies decided to capitalize on the concept's popularity by manufacturing versions of a similar device. These hoverbaords, which actually have wheels, have been incredibly popular.

Unfortunately, they have also proven to be very dangerous. Many innocent consumers have been severely injured as a result of faulty parts, as manufacturers took shortcuts in their safety testing in hopes of getting products to the market faster and more cheaply.

Deadly accidents with commercial trucks on the rise

Truck drivers face many risks while traveling on Illinois highways, and fatal crashes involving commercial vehicles weighing in excess of 10,000 pounds have increased according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The agency's 2015 report showed that 8 percent more trucks were involved in deadly wrecks compared to the previous year.

For every 100 million miles driven by large trucks, 1.45 fatal accidents occurred in 2015 compared to 1.34 in 2014. Out of approximately 415,000 accidents reported by police, 1 percent resulted in death, and 20 percent of crashes resulted in injuries.

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