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Greensboro Workers' Compensation And Personal Injury Blog

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.

Pedestrian deaths on the rise in North Carolina and elsewhere

The risk of being involved in a car accident is significant on nearly any road in the United States. And you don’t even need to be in a car to be at risk. Pedestrian accidents continue to be a major problem nationwide, and the problem seems to be getting worse for about half the country.

That’s according to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). The report showed that during the first six months of 2018, pedestrian fatalities rose in 25 states, compared to the same time period a year earlier. That includes North Carolina, where pedestrian accident fatalities increased by 23 percent.

Four steps to take in the aftermath of a car accident

Car accidents are disorienting. Suddenly you're worried over potential injuries, repair costs, insurance, getting to work and more. In this flurry of questions and confusion, it can be challenging to focus on the important steps you need to take.

In the aftermath of a car accident, follow these four steps to ensure you are within your legal rights.

Workplace burns: They can be prevented with good safety programs

Burns have the potential to damage your body so significantly that it can be nearly impossible to heal. Those who suffer from severe burns may be unable to sweat correctly, have no sensation due to nerves being destroyed and may need a lifetime of care.

Fortunately, workplace burns are preventable. There are a number of different types of burns that could occur, but with the right preventative techniques, it's possible to avoid burns completely.

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