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Defensive driving is key when driving near trucks

Texas roads are filled with all types of vehicles. Motorists are used to sharing space with delivery vans, motorcycles, tractors and even horses. However, one category of vehicle poses a significantly larger public safety hazard to passenger cars. The sheer size of large tractor-trailers makes them a danger to everything in their path.

A fully loaded tractor-trailer rig can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds and outweigh a passenger car by nearly 39 tons. Bringing a big truck to a safe stop can require the length of two football fields under ideal conditions. When variables such as slick roads and worn tires are factored into the equation, stopping distance can be much longer. For these reasons, truckers are trained to keep a safety cushion in between their trucks and other vehicles. Unfortunately, motorists often merge into this safety cushion and put themselves at risk in the event of an emergency that requires a quick stop.

Understanding the reasons why disability claims are denied

Whether you suffer from a progressive condition or the sudden onset of a painful disease, you likely tried to work as long as possible so you could support yourself. However, medical bills and lost days at work eventually caused you to make the difficult choice to leave the workforce and apply for Social Security Disability Insurance.

After completing the lengthy application process, you may have been shocked and disappointed to learn the Social Security Administration rejected your claim. You now have many concerns about your future and your ability to continue with your current quality of life. However, you may find it encouraging to know that an initial rejection of your claim for SSDI may not be the end of the story.

CVSA puts nearly 5,000 trucks out of service in inspection spree

The results of the 2018 Brake Safety Week are out, so truckers and their employers in Texas will want to know how it went. Inspectors certified by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance pulled over a total of 35,080 commercial vehicles in the U.S. and Canada to check for compliance with brake safety rules, putting 4,955 or 14.1 percent out of service for violations.

The 2018 Brake Safety Week took place from Sept. 16 to 22 while the previous year saw only a one-day event. Despite the fewer number of trucks that were inspected, the percentage of those put out of service during Brake Safety Day was almost the same: 14 percent. Brakes violations made up 28.4 percent of the out-of-service violations during the CVSA's 2018 International Roadcheck, the most frequently cited violation.

Texas drivers: watch out for fatigued and distracted driving

Driver fatigue and distracted driving are two of the biggest issues that can lead to motor vehicle accidents on the nation's highways. Truck drivers are not the only drivers who may be hit with fatigue and distraction problems, however. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that approximately 100,000 accidents comprised of all types of vehicles occur each year in this country because of fatigue or distracted driving.

Fleet Owner is a website dedicated to the trucking industry. The site recently reported that a safety and risk management company, Dupré Logistics, started focusing on truck driver fatigue in 2001. They assessed driver logbooks and schedules in an effort to learn how to manage the problem. According to the National Safety Council, driver fatigue is responsible for 13 percent of fatal multi-vehicle and big rig accidents, and a full 28 percent of single truck crashes involve fatigue.

Police in Texas charge man hauling cattle with DWI

Police in Texas say that a 21-year-old man was driving a truck loaded with 38 cattle while under the influence of drugs on Oct. 9. The man was taken into custody following a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 84 according to a Littlefield Police Department press release. After being booked, the man was turned over to the custody of the Lamb County Jail. Initial reports do not indicate if the man's bail has been set, but they do reveal that a sample of his blood was drawn for toxicology testing.

LPD officers say that they pulled over the cattle truck after receiving reports that it was being driven erratically. A caller is said to have told emergency operators that the vehicle was crossing the roadway from shoulder to shoulder. Officers claim that they took the man into custody after noticing clear signs of impairment, but the LPD press release does not reveal what those signs may have been. The truck and cattle were towed to a feed lot in Lubbock.

Which type of disability benefits is available to you?

If you cannot work due to a serious illness or grave physical injury, you would be eligible for certain types of benefits through the Social Security Administration. Disabled Texas individuals often have a difficult time securing the benefits they deserve, even with a valid claim. It is beneficial for you to understand as much as possible about these benefits before you apply.

There are two main types of disability benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. The right benefits for you depend on your income and other factors. Before you move forward with an application, you may need to know the right option for you, along with how you can prove your disability.

Drivers often overestimate the safety benefits of technology

A growing number of Texas car buyers are choosing vehicles equipped with advanced systems designed to anticipate and prevent accidents. However, this technology may not be as effective as they believe. This was the conclusion reached by researchers from the American Automobile Association's Foundation for Traffic Safety after they polled 1,200 owners of 2016 and 2017 passenger vehicles equipped with advanced driver assistance systems.

The AAA researchers say they were concerned by how little the motorists responding to their poll knew about the key limitations of advanced safety technology like blind-spot monitoring, emergency braking systems and adaptive cruise control. They say that their findings suggest that American drivers may not yet be ready to adapt to vehicles with even more sophisticated autonomous technology.

Roadcheck inspections find brake, out-of-service violations

Some Texas truck drivers may be aware that in early June, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance held a road safety blitz. The CVSA focused on hours-of-service violations, but fewer than 2 percent of all drivers were taken out of service for this type of violation. "Brake Safety Week" was planned as the focus for a September event.

Of the drivers who were ordered out of service in the June inspections, more than 40 percent had hours-of-service violations. The other top two out-of-service driver violations were false record of duty status and wrong class license. For vehicles, the top out-of-service violations were brake adjustments, tires and wheels, and brake systems.

Distracted driving a generational problem

A study conducted by Volvo and The Harris Poll made some interesting findings regarding distracted driving. Texas drivers should know that the number one distraction for people behind the wheel is mobile devices. The people who admit to using their phones while driving, though, fall unexpectedly into several groups.

Specifically, Gen Xers are tied with Millennials as the most likely to use their phones while driving with 81 percent of those surveyed admitting it. Among members of Generation Z, 71 percent admitted using their phones while driving. Baby boomers were divided into two groups with 64 percent of older boomers and 72 percent of younger boomers admitting to using their phones while driving.

Roundabouts save lives and money

A growing number of road safety advocates are urging officials in Texas and around the country to consider replacing traditional traffic lights and stop signs with roundabouts or traffic circles. Roundabouts slow traffic down rather than stopping it, which prevents high-speed broadside or head-on collisions involving vehicles speeding to avoid red lights. Experts say that in addition to reducing traffic accident fatalities and injuries, roundabouts save taxpayers money by reducing the strain placed on emergency services.

Despite being a common sight in Europe and other parts of the world, roundabouts remain rare in the United States. Research has found that they do not reduce the number of accidents, but they do make crashes far less severe. Common objections raised when roundabouts are proposed include their construction costs and the negative views drivers have of them.

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Mark A. Di Carlo, PLLC
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