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Best Truck Accident Lawyers in Lexington

On Dec. 12, two U.S. senators introduced a bill that would require all tractor-trailer trucks to have side and front crash guards. Safety experts say that the proposed legislation would make roads safer in Kentucky and across the country.

Federal statistics show that over 200 Americans are killed in side underride collisions with trucks each year. In this type of accident, a passenger vehicle slides beneath the side of a truck’s trailer. When this occurs, the top of the passenger vehicle can be ripped off, killing the people inside. The National Transportation Safety Board says that side guards would prevent many underride accidents, but the trucking industry has resisted calls to install the safety devices.

To address the issue, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced the Stop Underrides Act of 2017. If the bill passes, it will make side guards mandatory on all trucks. Safety advocates claim that the legislation is necessary because the trucking industry refuses to voluntarily install the safety devices. Meanwhile, those who oppose the bill claim that side guards are too costly and could add too much weight to trucks. Rear guards have been required on tractor-trailers since 1998.

While advancing technology and shrinking demand means fewer and fewer people are working in coal mines, a recent report shows that coal mine deaths nearly doubled last year.

With fewer regulators on the job, often the only incentive that mine operators have to protect their employees is the knowledge that somewhere out there, a trial lawyer will stand up for a miner’s rights, when management neglected the miner.

We have successfully represented a number of miners over the years who have been hurt in both surface mines and underground mines. Even though miners may have limited recourse against their employers due to various workers’ compensation laws, oftentimes a third party may be legally responsible for a miner’s injuries.

Sadly, some nursing home owners are extracting millions of dollars in profits while dramatically cutting spending on the residents in their homes. Laws like the Kentucky Resident’s Rights Act are intended to prevent abuse and neglect of residents, but those laws only have teeth as long as there are lawyers who are willing to demand accountability from these owners in court.

What can you do if you or a loved one is in a long-term care facility? First, know your rights. Second, be vigilant. If something seems out of the ordinary, it probably is. Talk to nursing home management, but if the residents’ needs are not being met, you should talk to a competent attorney with experience holding nursing homes accountable.

What are your rights? The Kentucky Residents Rights Act is found at KRS 216.515 and includes the following residents’ rights:

Takata Corp., the auto parts supplier that set off a massive recall of air bag inflators, is recalling another 3.3 million air bags under a U.S. order. The order also calls for repairs to be scheduled over the next several years. This is important news for drivers in Kentucky and across the U.S. as the supplier identified 15 automakers that purchased its air bags. They include Toyota, Honda, GM, BMW and Tesla.

The initial recall was announced when defective inflators were found to explode after crashes and spray vehicle occupants with metal shards. So far, there have been 13 deaths as well as hundreds of injuries related to the inflators. Takata filed for bankruptcy in June 2017 and will be acquired by Joyson Electronics.

More than 31 million vehicles in the U.S. contain these defective air bag inflators. An independent monitor stated back in November 2017 that only a third of the inflators had been repaired as of September 2017. Takata continues to urge customers to have their inflators replaced. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to recall about 65 million inflators by the end of 2018. It will have them replaced in phases, starting with the riskiest parts first.

Every day in Kentucky, passenger vehicles and large commercial trucks share the roads. The sheer size and weight of large trucks present significant dangers to smaller vehicles. However, drivers can apply strategies that will improve safety.

Drivers need to recognize that tractor-trailers require very long stopping distances. Big rigs can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. These trucks require about 550 feet to come to a stop when traveling at 55 mph. By comparison, a small passenger car only needs 178 feet to stop when moving at 70 mph. For this reason, people should not position themselves immediately in front of trucks. Space is also needed when merging. Drivers should accelerate ahead of an approaching truck to merge.

Maintaining a position next to a truck should be avoided as well. Many blind spots inhibit a trucker’s ability to see other cars, and a crash could happen if the truck needs to change lanes and does not see the car on its left or right. Drivers should pass to the left because the trucker has a better ability to see traffic on the left. Tailgating places drivers in danger of underride accidents, which kill about 200 people annually. To limit this hazard, motorists should maintain safe following distances or pass when possible.

Some Kentucky drivers may have heard about or even received recall notices for faulty Takata airbags. On Dec. 19, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Honda announced that a faulty Takata airbag was responsible for the July 10 death of a driver in a 2004 Honda Civic. The airbag had actually been salvaged from a 2002 Civic.

Takata airbags have been known to injure or kill people when they burst open and spray shrapnel. This accident marks the 20th death worldwide that has been attributed to the product. According to Honda, the owners had not replaced the airbags despite several recall notices.

Honda was Takata’s largest customer, and it has used both Facebook and door-to-door visits to try to inform people and get them to replace the faulty parts. The recall, which has been underway for 15 years, affects more than 40 million vehicles and several different brands. The goal for Dec. 31 is 100 percent replacement, but a report showed that only around half that many replacements have occurred. About two-thirds of Hondas affected have been fixed. For other manufacturers, the rate ranges from 50 percent to as low as 2 percent. The NHTSA has been coordinating the recall for the past two years.

A 2017 study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that the safety benefits provided by the installation of side underride guards on semi trucks are similar to those provided by the installation of rear-mounted guards. Lawmakers have announced they intend to introduce a bill to require tractor-trailers to be equipped with side underride guards in an effort to improve roadway safety in Kentucky and across the country.

American Trucking Association has stated that side guards may improve safety, but it was not certain that a legislative mandate was required. According to the ATA, the installation of side guards may cause trailers to deteriorate more quickly, perhaps creating safety risks due to potential failure of a trailer on the road. The ATA said active safety systems, which prevent motor vehicle accidents from occurring, may make more sense than passive systems like side underride guards.

Research by the IIHS indicates that side underride guards may reduce injury risk in side-trailer accidents by approximately 75 percent. In its report, IIHS claimed that side-trailer crashes resulted in 301 fatalities during the period studied.

As affordable housing grows more remote from metropolitan areas, and as the number of workers increases, a corresponding increase in commuting times can be seen. This is true in Kentucky and throughout the United States. Long commuting times have an especially negative impact on commercial truck drivers as they give drivers less time for rest and put them at risk for health conditions like heart disease.

For example, a study analyzing 4,297 adults from 12 metropolitan Texas counties found that drivers with long commutes tend to be overweight, less physically fit and more likely to have high blood pressure. Lack of sleep also leads to fatigued truckers, which can endanger those they share the road with.

As a result, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has stated that it will conduct a survey to gather data about commercial truckers who commute: how many of these drivers commute to work, how far they travel, what time zones they cross and how they feel at the end of the day. The FMCSA is also inquiring into commuting policies among motor carriers.

It is possible for a truck driver to be taken into custody or charged with drug offenses without an employer finding out about it. In some cases, Kentucky or any other state that issued a commercial license may not be notified of the charge either. One man renewed his CDL 10 days after admitting to police that he used heroin after being found unconscious in his rig.

Roughly two weeks after doing so, he was in an accident after overdosing on heroin. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, over 40 percent of drivers who were killed in truck accidents and could be tested had illegal drugs in their systems. In addition to being addicted to heroin or other illegal drugs, drivers may also become addicted to Oxycontin or Percocet. Those are generally legal drugs that drivers may initially take to help with legitimate health issues.

Drug testing alone may not be enough to keep potentially dangerous drivers off of the road. Currently, drivers are tested before they are hired, after they return to work and whenever there is a reasonable suspicion that a driver may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, communication issues between federal and state agencies may play a role in allowing drivers who have drug or alcohol problems to stay on the road.

Kentucky Volkswagen owners should be aware that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating whether the automaker’s 2015 recall to fix an airbag problem went far enough. The investigation was announced on the federal agency’s website on Nov. 17.

The recall addressed an issue with a steering system electrical component known as the clockspring, which could fail and turn off the vehicle’s horn and driver side airbag. The issue affected more than 400,000 vehicles, including the 2010-2014 CC, 2010-2013 Eos, 2011-2014 Golf, 2011-2014 GTI, 2012-2014 Jetta SportWagen, 2011-2014 Jetta sedan, 2010 Passat sedan and Passat Wagon, 2012-2014 Passat sedan and 2011-2014 Tiguan.

While Volkswagen first learned about the faulty clocksprings in 2011, it did not act until the NHTSA received nine consumer complaints and demanded that the automaker issue a recall. Even though the recall has been completed, the agency said it is still receiving consumer complaints about the problem. Some complaints have come from owners whose vehicles were not included in the recall, and some have come from owners who are still having problems after taking their vehicle in for repair. The agency said it has received 90 complaints so far and will investigate whether another recall should be issued. No crashes or injuries have been linked to the problem.

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