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Greensboro Workers' Compensation And Personal Injury Blog

July 4 surpasses other holidays in terms of DUI fatalities

The major holidays always lead to more drunk drivers on the road in North Carolina and across the U.S. Many of these drunk drivers get into crashes, and some of these crashes can be fatal. According to data from NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, the most DUI fatalities occur on the Fourth of July with 1,192 people dying on that holiday between 2010 and 2017.

During those same eight years, 1,105 people died in DUI crashes on Memorial Day, making this the second deadliest holiday. The third was Labor Day, followed by New Year's, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The DUI fatality rate for the Fourth of July came to 42.4 people per day. That of Thanksgiving and Christmas were, respectively, 27.9 and 27.7.

How AEB, blind spot alert and other ADAS are saving lives

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems are safety features on new vehicles that are meant to help drivers avoid accidents. New car owners in North Carolina may have already seen the benefits of ADAS for themselves. According to a study from J.D. Power, more than half of new car owners were able to prevent a crash through ADAS in the first 90 days of owning the vehicle.

It turns out that 49% avoided a crash thanks to blind spot alert, while 42% could credit backup cameras and parking sensors with it. Backup cameras can be found in all new vehicles. Lastly, 35% of participants in the study said that the forward collision alert or automatic emergency braking helped them avert a crash.

Worker safety is crucial around loading docks

Loading docks are places where workers will routinely load and unload a variety of heavy or otherwise hazardous materials. Therefore, it is important that measures are taken to ensure their safety at all times. It may be a good idea for companies in North Carolina to make sure that wheel chocks are available whenever items are being offloaded. These devices are designed to ensure that wheels cannot slip or otherwise move while this is happening.

Workers should also be taught lifting best practices to avoid strains or sprains. For instance, an employee should know how to lift with their legs to avoid putting undue pressure on their back. Furthermore, a lift or hand truck should be available to those who are lifting especially heavy objects. Anyone who works in a loading or unloading station should receive forklift training.

Small cars most at risk for fatal crashes

According to data maintained by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were 37,133 motor vehicle accident fatalities in 2017. Drivers in North Carolina should be aware of which vehicles are involved in the most crashes. This information can be helpful when purchasing a car or simply driving down the road. The vehicles that were most likely to be involved in fatal accidents are all sport coupes or small cars. Smaller and lighter cars do not protect occupants as well as larger, heavier vehicles.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has a system for gathering and analyzing fatal crash data that's called the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. According to FARS, the vehicle most likely to be involved in a fatal crash from the model years 2013 to 2017 is the Mitsubishi Mirage. The Chevy Corvette was second while the Honda Fit landed at No. 3. According to the CEO of iSeeCars, subcompacts have a fatal crash rate of 4.5 cars for every billion miles traveled. This is more than double the overall rate for all cars.

Social media, even memes, a major source of driver distraction

An online study by Wakefield Research that involved nearly 2,000 U.S. drivers and has revealed some interesting trends regarding distracted driving. North Carolina residents should know that nearly half responded that distracted driving is a top concern with them. All but 1% recognized the danger of cellphone use behind the wheel, and 89% percent were quick to criticize ride-hailing drivers who text. Yet many respondents themselves drove distracted.

Participants admitted to using their cellphones for an overall average of 13 minutes per day while behind the wheel. Perhaps even more concerning, almost two in five said they would not bother to put down their cellphones if law enforcement was nearby. Nevertheless, 90% considered themselves better motorists than ride-hailing workers for companies like Lyft and Uber.

New NFPA rule aims to create safer workplaces

OSHA safety codes are designed to prevent workplace accidents in North Carolina and throughout the country. These rules normally focus on a specific task per rule, such as the height of an electrical outlet from the floor. But a new rule takes a more comprehensive approach to the workplace.

National Fire Prevention Association Rule 70E focuses on a work zone rather than a single task. The rule was created pursuant to a request from OSHA to help eliminate electrical hazards. It is not a single rule, but a series of rules. It focuses on setting up, implementing and management of a work zone.

Watch your back: How truckers can prevent injuries

Truckers are highly susceptible to back injuries that could end their careers. These injuries can be chronic, life-altering and expensive to treat without compensation. Your employer should be taking steps to protect you from injury, and if they do not, you should know your legal options.

According to North Carolina law, even if you are an independent contractor with a trucking company you must be covered by a form of workers’ compensation insurance. Back injuries are common among people who sit for a majority of their day, including vehicle operators.

Simple steps may reduce electrical accidents at work

Employers in North Carolina should make sure that their electrical systems are working properly. If not, employees could incur catastrophic injuries, some of which could be fatal. A lack of proper grounding or bonding systems could also result in downtime concerns that could put companies at a competitive disadvantage. If the downtime occurs in a 911 call center or other emergency facility, it could put the entire community at risk. To prevent this from happening, it is important to comply with the National Electrical Code.

Ideally, businesses and emergency centers will go above and beyond those requirements. This is because it is not always the best or easiest system to employ. Therefore, it should be seen as a starting point to keep electrical damage to a minimum. It is similar to how meeting OHSA safety requirements should be a starting point as opposed to an end goal. In many cases, upgrades are relatively affordable, and they can save money in the long run as well. For example, some buildings can be made safer simply by changing out existing wires for new ones.

Construction workers: Receive more compensation for job injuries

Perhaps you work road construction. You stop to begin your work on the side of a busy highway. Although clear road signs are displayed to notify drivers to slow down, one distracted driver misses the sign and hits you. You suffer serious injuries and cannot work for a period of time.

Many construction employees know that they can receive significant workers' compensation if they face injuries on the job. If their injuries inhibit their ability to work, their employer must pay for medical expenses and a loss of income. Yet many construction workers do not know that if a third-party individual injured them while working, they may file a second claim against the culprit.

Textalyzer mulled as a weapon against distracted driving

Drivers who text while behind the wheel in North Carolina can be fined $100, but they are assessed no driver's license points and face no auto insurance surcharges. Road safety advocates say that penalties like this do little to deter behavior that is thought to be a major factor in surging traffic accident fatalities. Figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggest that distracted driving accidents claimed 3,450 lives in 2016, but advocacy groups believe that the problem is underreported and the true death toll is actually much higher.

The reason that distraction may be underreported is because the behavior leaves no obvious clues for law enforcement. Lawmakers in Nevada are debating whether a device known as a textalyzer could provide such evidence. The device plugs into a cellphone and reveals whether a driver was swiping or typing when they crashed.

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