September 2011 Archives

September 22, 2011

NTSB Recommends Anti-Cell Phone Proposal to Reduce Risks of Trucking Accidents in Alabama, Nation

Driving alongside a large commercial truck on our highways and interstates can be an intimidating experience. Add a distracted driver to the equation and results can quickly turn deadly.

Distracted big rig drivers are causing more and more car accidents in Alabama and elsewhere. In an attempt to curb this deadly behavior, the (NTSB) that suggested that every state considers creating and enforcing a cell phone ban for commercial vehicle drivers.

The NTSB recommends that this ban includes both cell phones and text messaging devices, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. Cell phone use during emergency situations would be the only exception. A ban like this could significantly reduce the risks of trucking accidents in Alabama.
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This recommendation comes after a hearing that recently took place that involved an Alabama trucker and a fatal accident that killed 11 people and took out several buildings back in March of 2010. The driver of the truck involved in that accident made several phone calls and sent several text messages just seconds before the fatal accident. Phone records reveal that he had made 70 texts and call within the 24-hour period leading up to the incident.

Our Montgomery trucking accident attorneys understand that accidents involving tractor-trailers and other big rigs can oftentimes product fatal consequences. To help prevent a number of these accidents, the NTSB recommends that all 50 states prohibit the use of both hand-held and hands-free devices by these drivers of commercial trucks. The board has turned the recommendation over to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to help pass it as a law since the NTSB does not have the authority to do so.

"It can be especially lethal when the distracted driver is at the wheel of a vehicle that weighs 40 tons and travels at highway speeds," said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman.

Some truckers are defending their right to use cell phones while driving, disregarding the number of studies that have proven the dangers of the action. Recent studies conclude that using a cell phone while driving gives you the same abilities and reaction times as a driver that is legally drunk, or has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08.

One of the best solutions for this problem would be for the Alabama Legislature to enact a ban that would stop the use of cell phones and text messaging devices by all drivers on our roadways. A number of lawmakers have made that rather difficult though, as some have blocked recent bills to ban texting drivers statewide. A ban of cell phone use by drivers has never come close to passage in our state. Alabama is one of the few states left that has not regulated the use of cell phones by adult drivers.

"Distracted driving is becoming increasingly prevalent, exacerbating the danger we encounter daily on our roadways," Hersman says.

In 2009, there were nearly 5,500 people killed on U.S. roadways because of accidents that involved a distracted driver. More than 990 of these deaths were the result of driver using a cell phone, according to distraction.gov.

Continue reading "NTSB Recommends Anti-Cell Phone Proposal to Reduce Risks of Trucking Accidents in Alabama, Nation" »

September 8, 2011

Alabama DOT Gears up for National Teen Driver Safety Week to Reduce Risks of Teen Car Accidents in Montgomery and Elsewhere

The Alabama Department of Transportation will be teaming up with local law officials to help promote the "Ride Like A Friend. Drive Like You Care" (RLAF) safety campaign.

This campaign is to encourage both safe teen driver and safe teen passenger behavior. Law enforcement officials and members of the DOT will be working alongside teachers, student leaders and school administrators to help plan, organize and execute a number of campaign activities at local schools.

This campaign is all in effort to kick off National Teen Driver Safety Week, which takes place from October 16th to the 22nd. The safe driving week is held on the third week of October every year. Its main focus is to promote safe driving habits to teens and to prevent their risks of being involved in a car accident in Alabama.
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Our Montgomery teen car accident attorneys understand how beneficial these types of programs can be. Unfortunately, newly licensed teen drivers are oftentimes unable to understand the dangers, the risks and the consequences of irresponsible behavior while driving or riding in a vehicle. The Ride Like a Friend campaign aims to discuss the importance of well-mannered driver and passenger behavior through a number of school-related activities and campaign materials.

Ride Like a Friend is more than just a saying. It's a concept for teens to learn, understand and practice. This campaign was created to target teens and takes into account a lot of input from local teens. Material for the campaign has been created and designed by safe teen driving experts alongside the advice of teens.

It is important to keep safe driving as a frequent topic of conversation with our teens. According to recently released teen-driving information in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 16-year-old drivers who participate in a Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL) program experience 26 percent fewer car accidents that those who were licensed without a GDL program. The study took teen driving statistics collected from 1986 to 2007, according to CNN Health. The problem with this is that the study also found that there was a more than 10 percent increase in the number of fatal accidents experienced by 18-year-old drivers who had completed a GDL program compared to those who hadn't.

"Right now, we're not getting the net effect across all teens that we're hoping for," says Scott V. Masten, Ph.D., an author of the study.

This is such an interesting finding because while GDL programs are expected to reduce the risks of car accidents by newly-licensed drivers, these reduced risks are supposed to follow the driver long after they've completed the program. Researchers have found that may not be the case. It is important to understand that parents and role models need to continue on with the education and the discussion of safe driving habits all through high school and well into college. Parents should make safe driving habits a frequent topic of conversation in the home.

There is some sort of GDL program in every state and the District of Columbia. Each state's program, including Alabama's Graduated Licensing program, requires that teen drivers abide by a driving curfew and limit the number of passengers in the vehicle at a time, but after that first set of regulations each state varies.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were nearly 150 teens killed because of car accidents in Alabama in 2009.

Parents are urged to continue to push the importance of safe driving habits. Parents are some of the most influential people in the lives of teen drivers and can make a significant impact on a teen's road safety.

Continue reading "Alabama DOT Gears up for National Teen Driver Safety Week to Reduce Risks of Teen Car Accidents in Montgomery and Elsewhere" »


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