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Car Safety Ratings Include New Criteria for 2017

Published on Dec 20, 2016 at 4:44 pm in General.
Car Safety Ratings Include New Criteria for 2017

This month, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released its annual list of what it has determined to be the safest new car models on the market in the coming year. The organization crafts increasingly-high standards for its annual lists, with the highest-rated cars being deemed either a Top Safety Pick or, higher still, a Top Safety Pick+.

This year, the IIHS list of the safest new cars is shorter than it has been in recent years, due to additions made to the criteria IIHS uses to rank the vehicles. IIHS rates hundreds of models as being “good,” “acceptable,” “marginal,” or “poor” in a range of categories including the car’s performance in various types of front-end crashes, the strength of the car’s roof, the head restraint and seat quality, and the quality and ease-of-use of car seat anchors. Last year, the safety organization added a rating of front crash prevention to its ranking, making it so that only cars with front crash avoidance systems that were rated as “advanced” or better could earn the highest safety designation that IIHS awards. This year, the organization added a rating of headlights to the overall safety rating, assessing headlights on the scale from “good” to “poor” based on qualities like glare production and sufficiency of illumination. In explaining the addition of headlight ratings, IIHS president Adrian Lund stated, “automakers have not focused enough attention on whether or not headlamps are aimed such that they light up the road for the driver ahead of them.” Historically, the IIHS rating of “Top Safety Pick” is sufficiently sought after that manufacturers will improve the suite of safety features available on their vehicles to earn the designation, making it so that these ratings increase the availability of safety features market-wide.

Many new vehicle technologies will help keep you safe in a crash by offering advanced collision protection through side airbags or crumple zones, or will keep a crash from happening by automatically applying the brakes or offering other front-end crash avoidance measures. While these technologies can go a long way in stopping a crash from happening, they’re no replacement for cautious, attentive driving. Drivers who rely too heavily on crash-avoidance systems while behind the wheel can still be held liable for injuries they caused through distracted or otherwise negligent driving.

If you’re hurt in a crash in Mississippi and want help getting the compensation you need to recover, contact the Gulfport personal injury lawyer Corban Gunn for a consultation on your case, at 228.284.68059.

Safe Driving Tips For Seniors

Published on Nov 23, 2016 at 5:16 pm in General.
Safe Driving Tips For Seniors

Driving is a skill that, like others, develops over time. That said, your abilities as a driver are dependent on your physical and mental acuity. As you age, you’ll accrue more time behind the wheel but may experience a decay in your vision or judgment. In fact, senior drivers are a close second to teen drivers as the group most likely to be involved in an accident. Read on to learn about special considerations for driving in your golden years, and ways to ensure you stay safe on the road.

License renewal over age 75

Like a number of states, Mississippi has put certain safeguards in place to ensure that older drivers continue to have the ability to drive safely in order to keep their driver’s license. Once a Mississippi driver is 75 years of age or older, they can no longer renew their driver’s license online or at a kiosk, but instead must renew their license in person. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) will conduct a vision test at the renewal appointment and may require that the driver undergo a written or road test, if they have some indication that the driver may be impaired. The DPS has the right to limit driver’s licenses for older drivers who show signs of impairment, such as by prohibiting them from driving on the freeway, driving at night, or driving during certain times of day such as rush hour.

Signs of diminished ability

There are a number of signs to look out for that can indicate diminished driving skills. Take note if you experience any of the following:

  • An increase in the number of close calls or near-misses you experience
  • Getting lost with more frequency, even in places you’ve been before
  • Finding that a gap in traffic was smaller than you thought
  • Becoming easily distracted behind the wheel
  • Feeling overwhelmed at busy intersections
  • Getting honked at or yelled at more often by other drivers

Evaluate and fortify your skills

There are several ways to evaluate your driving abilities if you’re concerned about your safety on the road. One simple check is the AAA’s self-evaluation checklist, available for free on their website. The brochure provides both a survey of your driving skills, as well as tips on how to improve any weak spots. There are also companies that offer behind-the-wheel driving evaluations. Your physician can also provide an assessment of your sensory and judgment abilities. In order to bolster your driving skills, there are a number of courses you can take, such as the AARP’s Smart Driver course, which can both improve your driving skills and possibly help you get a discount on your car insurance.

If you’ve been hurt in an accident in Mississippi, seek experienced, dedicated, and aggressive representation in a claim for money damages, and contact the Gulfport personal injury attorney Corban Gunn for a consultation, at 228.284.6805.

2016 Continues Disturbing Record-Breaking Trend of Traffic Fatalities

Published on Oct 19, 2016 at 6:14 pm in General.
2016 Continues Disturbing Record-Breaking Trend of Traffic Fatalities

Newly-released data reveals that roadway fatalities are up in 2016 over those occurring during the same period last year. This is an especially troubling fact, considering that 2015 was the first in 50 years where the number of traffic fatalities had increased over the previous year’s numbers.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 35,092 individuals lost their lives in traffic accidents in 2015. This was a 7.2% increase over the number of those who died on the road in 2014. The first six months of 2016 proved even deadlier than the first six of 2015, with an increase of 10.4% over fatality rates from the first half of 2015.

When roadway fatalities are seen to increase, the first explanation experts tend to point to is the strength of the economy. Strengthening economies bring greater employment numbers, more time for road trip vacations, and more money to fund teen drivers getting their own cars. These factors all result in more vehicle miles traveled nationwide. However, the increase in vehicle miles traveled only explains about half of the increase in traffic fatalities and accidents in 2015, as vehicle miles traveled went up by around 3%, while fatality rates went up by around 7%. Likewise, total vehicle miles traveled in the first half of 2016 was estimated at 1.58 trillion, marking a new record in miles traveled and a 3.3% increase over the first half of 2015. This increase alone still does not explain the 10% hike in fatalities this year.

According to the NHTSA, approximately 94% of all accidents are the result of human error. One reason offered for the increase in fatalities is that, with greater expendable income comes an increase in riskier types of driving. The director of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), suggested that the reason for more roadway fatalities “is we’ve had an uptick in the economy, and one of the things we know is that people drive more miles, and the kind of driving people do changes. You go to more parties and there is more risky types of driving. Young people drive more and we know they’re more at risk.”

NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind said of the increase in traffic deaths, “[w]e have an immediate crisis on our hands, and we also have a long-term challenge.” Rosekind has pointed out that a troubling share of fatal accidents result from three preventable factors: drunken driving, distracted driving, and failure to wear a seat belt. Driving while drunk or distracted is not only a threat to the drivers themselves, but is an even greater threat to others on the road and could result in massive personal liability for the reckless driver.

If you or someone you love has been injured by a reckless, drunk, or distracted driver in Mississippi, seek the money damages to which you may be entitled for lost wages, medical costs, or pain and suffering by contacting the dedicated and determined Gulfport personal injury lawyer Corban Gunn for a free consultation, at 228.284.6805.

Safety Officials Conduct Widespread Brake Inspections during Brake Safety Week

Published on Sep 26, 2016 at 11:15 am in General.
Safety Officials Conduct Widespread Brake Inspections during Brake Safety Week

As drivers, our safety is frequently dependent on the function of the brakes of the other vehicles around us. This is especially true when it comes to the function of brakes in large commercial vehicles. Each year in the fall, law enforcement across Canada and the US conduct thorough inspections of the brakes of thousands of commercial vehicles, such as tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, and buses, looking for deficiencies that could cause a serious truck accident.

“Brake Safety Week” is an initiative developed and spearheaded by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), a nonprofit group consisting of representatives from an array of law enforcement and federal regulatory bodies. The CVSA, in concert with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), developed Brake Safety Week as a way to address a troubling trend of poor brake condition among commercial vehicles. While commercial drivers and carrier companies are legally required to inspect the brakes of vehicles heading out onto the road on a daily basis, these inspections don’t always occur, or when they do, they don’t result in all necessary repairs. “[Commercial motor vehicle] brakes are designed to hold up under tough conditions, but they must be routinely inspected and maintained carefully and consistently so they operate and perform properly throughout the vehicle’s life,” the CVSA stated. “Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce braking efficiency and increase the stopping distance of trucks and buses, posing serious risks to driver and public safety.”

Brake safety among large commercial vehicles is critical in order for other drivers to stay safe. Large trucks and other commercial vehicles are magnitudes heavier than the average passenger vehicle—up to 30 times as heavy, in fact. These vehicles require 20 to 40% more distance to come to a complete stop, and where conditions are poor due to precipitation or other road hazards, this distance gets even longer. If the brakes of a large vehicle aren’t functioning properly, they can do enormous damage when colliding with personal cars and trucks. During last year’s Brake Inspection Week, 12% of the over-18,800 vehicles inspected were taken off the road after their brakes failed to pass inspection.

If you’ve been hurt in a Mississippi truck accident, seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries such as reimbursement of medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage by contacting Gulfport truck accident and personal injury lawyer Corban Gunn for a free consultation on your claims, at 228.284.6805.

Study of Accidents Involving Teen Drivers Shows High Rate of Distractions

Published on Aug 29, 2016 at 11:00 am in General.
Study of Accidents Involving Teen Drivers Shows High Rate of Distractions

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 10% of all fatal accidents involving teen drivers, the driver was reported to have been distracted prior to the crash, which is higher than the proportion of distracted driving-related fatalities in any other age group. Still, experts believe that this is a dramatic underestimate of the effects of distracted driving on roadway safety, especially among teens. According to a new study that relied on video recordings of teens prior to an accident rather than eyewitness reports, distracting behavior plays a much larger role in car accidents among teen drivers than previously believed.

The study in question, conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, analyzed video gathered from over 2,200 cars involved in accidents while being driven by teens aged 16-19. The study looked at what the teens were doing prior to the crash, whether or not the car contained passengers, and whether or not the car’s occupants were wearing seatbelts. According to the researchers’ analysis, 58% of those involved in an accident had been engaged in a distracting behavior prior to a crash. Passengers were present in 34% of all crashes, and in 84% of cases, those passengers were between 16 and 19 years old. Distractions caused by interactions with passengers constituted the largest single distraction, with about 15% of all accidents being preceded by a driver attending to their passengers in some way (talking to or interacting with them). Cell phone use was observed prior to a crash in 12% of all accidents, and drivers were seen attending to something inside the car prior to nearly 11% of all accidents.

Researchers observed certain shifts in behavior over the course of the study. While researchers didn’t see an increase in cell phone use, they did observe a shift in how cell phones were used by teen drivers. Specifically, researchers found that teens became more likely to be distracted by looking down at and operating their cell phone rather than speaking on it. Between 2007 and 2015, the average amount of time that drivers spent with their eyes off the road increased, as did the number of rear-end crashes. In fact, the share of accidents where the driver did not show a reaction prior to the crash increased to 25% of all accidents by 2014, increasing from a starting point of 13% in 2008. If you’re a parent of teen drivers, remind them of the risks involved in driving with their friends, and encourage them to keep their phones out of reach while they’re behind the wheel.

If you or your loved one has been injured in a car accident in Mississippi, seek experienced and compassionate legal help in obtaining the monetary damages to which you may be entitled by contacting Biloxi personal injury lawyer Corban Gunn for a consultation, at 228.284.6805.

Jackson County Road Receives Long-Awaited Safety Improvements

Published on Jul 26, 2016 at 6:23 pm in General.
Jackson County Road Receives Long-Awaited Safety Improvements

After receiving complaints from local residents for years, Jackson County authorities have finally announced plans to redesign an intersection in Ocean Springs. The roadway receiving a long-overdue remodel is in the area near the intersection of Old Fort Bayou and Yellow Jacket Road.

The intersection to be reconstructed is in the road leading up to St. Martin High School, as well as nearby middle and elementary schools. The intersection has long been a subject of concern to neighboring residents and parents of St. Martin students, due to the sharp, blind curve leading up to the school. One staffer of local Congressman Steven Palazzo shared, “fifteen years ago, I was a student, actually, at St. Martin High School, and one of my first accidents was right here in front of this intersection.” Local authorities have plans to shift a portion of Old Fort Bayou road 300 feet to the north, so that it connects directly to Yellow Jacket Road, eliminating the sharp bend in the road and paving a straighter path to the three schools. The intersection will also receive a traffic light. St. Martin High School Principal Dina Holland noted, when speaking to transportation and county authority representatives, “as a lifelong resident of St. Martin, I’ve watched this project just sit here on the table and it’s been a passion of mine. From the St. Martin community, St. Martin students, I want to thank you.”

Local and state governments in charge of designing and maintaining roads and highways have a duty to carry out their job safely and competently. This can include repairing damage to the road in the form of potholes or cracked pavement which could cause damage to a car or cause a crash. This duty also includes designing and engineering roads in such a way that they do not facilitate dangerous car accidents, posting necessary signage to indicate curves in the road, and installing traffic signals or stop signs where necessary. When local authorities repeatedly receive complaints about a particular road or intersection being unsafe, and the area is often the site of accidents or close calls, those local authorities may be financially liable to accident victims for their failure to take steps to make that road or intersection safer.

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Mississippi caused by a dangerous or defective road, get help obtaining the compensation you’re owed after a crash by contacting dedicated, trial-ready Biloxi personal injury attorney Corban Gunn for a free consultation on your case, at 228.284.6805.

Keep Your Teen Drivers Safe through Summer’s “100 Deadliest Days”

Published on Jun 20, 2016 at 6:26 pm in General.
Keep Your Teen Drivers Safe through Summer’s “100 Deadliest Days”

As the school year draws to a close and teens have more free time to drive, their risk for being involved in an accident increases markedly. Memorial Day marks the start of the so-called “100 Deadliest Days,” the period of the year when more teens are killed in car accidents than at any other time. According to a recent study, Mississippi has the third-highest teen fatality rate in the nation. Learn more below about the increased risks that teen drivers face over the summer, and steps that parents can take to keep kids safe on the road.

According to research conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, an average of 10 people die each day in a crash involving a teen driver during the 100 days following Memorial day, adding up to a total average of 1,022 each summer. Car accident fatalities among teens between the age of 16 and 19 increase by 16% during these summer months. These accidents are repeatedly linked to certain behaviors: nighttime driving, driving with passengers, and driving distractedly. Putting restrictions on these behaviors can help your son or daughter stay safe on the road.

Remind kids of the dangers of cell phone use

According to research conducted by the AAA Foundation in collaboration with the University of Iowa, dash cam footage collected from thousands of accidents involving teen drivers shows that 12% of accidents were preceded by a teen operating a cell phone in some way. While all drivers are at risk of being tempted to use their phones while in traffic, teens are especially susceptible to the lure. Consider installing an app, such as SafeRide, that blocks texting while a driver is behind the wheel, and make sure your kids know how big of a risk it is to text or use social media while driving.

Keep teens off the road at night

The chances that a teen aged 16 to 17 will be involved in a fatal crash are three times as high at night than they are during the day, and 16% of all fatalities among teens aged 15 to 19 occurred between the hours of 9pm and midnight. In Mississippi, teens who hold an intermediate license may not drive unsupervised between the hours of ten at night and six in the morning (11:30-6:00 on the weekends).

Limit teens’ ability to have passengers in the car

According to AAA’s study of dash cam footage of teen drivers, 15% of crashes were preceded by the teen driver interacting with or attending to the car’s passengers, and 60% were related in some way to distracted driving. Mississippi law does not restrict drivers on an intermediate license regarding how many passengers they can have in their car, so any rule on this topic must be your own. Ensure that your child is focused on the road by barring them from driving with friends, or only doing so when an adult can be in the car as well.

If you or a young driver in your household has been injured in a car accident along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and you believe another driver was responsible for those injuries, seek out experienced legal representation to help you recover the compensation to which you may be entitled by contacting Biloxi personal injury attorney Corban Gunn for a free consultation at 228.284.6805.

Truck Accident in Hancock County

Published on May 5, 2016 at 4:10 pm in General.
Truck Accident in Hancock County

A severe accident on Interstate 10 in Hancock County on Monday, May 3, resulted in the deaths of three individuals and serious injuries to three more. The crash involved at least four but possibly as many as five vehicles, two of which were semi-trucks. Due to the substantial damage sustained by the vehicles involved in the crash, authorities are continuing to try and piece together what happened that caused the wreck.

The accident occurred in the westbound lanes of the 10 interstate near mile marker two, just before the Pearl River Bridge. A portion of the highway in that area was under construction, resulting in the closure of the left lane. At approximately 9 pm Monday evening, the forward-most 18-wheeler slowed down due to the construction, as did the passenger vehicle traveling behind it. Unfortunately, the tractor-trailer behind the car either did not notice the slowing traffic in time, or did not have enough time to stop. The truck rear-ended the car, sending it into the truck in front, and causing three people to be thrown from the vehicle. A fourth vehicle also careened into the car.

The two people riding in the front seat of the car were extracted by the Jaws of Life, but had been killed in the crash. A third victim thrown from the car passed away later on Monday evening, after being transferred to the hospital. Two more victims were transferred to local hospitals in critical condition. Lanes remained closed until 2:30 am on Tuesday while authorities cleared the scene, resulting in some drivers stopped behind the crash for over four hours, waiting to pass. A spokesman from the Mississippi Highway Patrol estimates that a full investigation of the accident will require weeks because of  the condition of the vehicles.

Caution is urged for all drivers in construction zones

Due to the confusion caused by lane closures, debris that can end up spilling out into the road, and bright lights used by night crews, construction zones can be especially prone to causing accidents. While drivers must take responsibility for driving cautiously through areas marked as being under construction, state highway maintenance authorities are likewise obligated to make conditions as safe as possible for passing drivers, and they can be found liable for resulting accidents where the construction work negligently posed a threat to the safety of passing drivers.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with a large truck or tractor-trailer along Mississippi’s gulf coast, ensure that you receive full compensation for your injuries by contacting skilled Biloxi personal injury and truck accident attorney Corban Gunn for a free consultation, at 228.284.6805.

Fall Injuries a Leading Cause of Death on Construction Sites

Published on Apr 25, 2016 at 3:00 pm in General.
Fall Injuries a Leading Cause of Death on Construction Sites

Few American workers are at risk of injury as often as those on construction sites. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that, among all workplace injuries that occur nationwide each year, over 20% occur on construction sites. Among those fatal injuries, nearly 40% were the result of falls. Learn more about some of the most common causes of fall injuries on construction sites, and take caution to ensure that your contractor or site supervisor does not skimp on protections for your safety that could save your life.

Leading causes of job site fall injuries include:

  1. Poorly-Constructed Scaffolding

Scaffolding materials are often provided, and the scaffolding is frequently constructed, by an independent contractor. These materials may be old and worn-down, no longer able to withstand the weight of workers and their tools. The scaffolding also may have been hastily thrown together, with bolts and joints left loose and prone to falling apart.

  1. Faulty Use or Failure to Use Guardrails or Other Hole Protections

Many times, a trench, hole, or shaft is created on a work site, but in their haste to further progress on the job, site supervisors fail to install protections from falls around these hazards. Any open hole or trench on a worksite must be protected either by a net or guardrails, and failure to do so is a violation of federal law—one which has led to many workers losing their lives.

  1. Improper Use of Ladders

OSHA has issued precise rules on the build specifications for ladders to be used on job sites, as well as regulations on the manner in which ladders should and should not be used, and when workers are required to wear additional safety equipment while on a ladder of a particular height. Workers are frequently not issued appropriate training on ladder use, such as ways to ensure that the ladder is on a flat and stable surface. Supervisors may also encourage workers to get the job done faster and not to waste time on proper ladder placement. These safety slights can put workers’ health and well-being in peril.

If you have been injured by a fall or other accident on a work site and need help recovering compensation for your injuries, contact the determined and knowledgeable Biloxi construction accident attorney Corban Gunn for a consultation on your case, at 228.284.6805.

Casino Tour Bus Stalled On Railroad Tracks in Main Street Biloxi

Published on Mar 30, 2016 at 6:02 pm in General.
Casino Tour Bus Stalled On Railroad Tracks in Main Street Biloxi

On Saturday, March 12th, a casino tour bus stalled out on the railroad tracks on Main Street in Biloxi. Thankfully, no injuries occurred in this incident, although it did take some time for police and emergency workers to clear the bus from the tracks.

Casino bus tours are a growing business. Tour operators promise guided tours as part of a vacation package that includes stops at one or more Biloxi casinos. Unfortunately, charter and tour motorcoaches are often plagued with mechanical problems such as worn-out or out-of adjustment brakes. Additionally, drivers are subject to fatigue or falling asleep at the wheel, leading to serious or deadly accidents. On average, more than 1,000 motorcoach accidents occur every year. Dozens of these accidents involve fatalities, and multiple fatalities in a bus accident are not uncommon.

Who is liable to injury victims in a casino bus tour accident? It seems clear that accident victims will seek compensation not only from the negligent driver but also the tour operator which employed the driver and was responsible for maintaining the bus in safe working order. But what about the casinos themselves? After an accident, casinos often try to distance themselves from the tour bus operators, pretending like the tour companies are independent operators. But further investigation may reveal that the casino subsidized the tour. In some cases, casinos may pay a commission to the operator, either on a per passenger basis or even based on how much the passengers gambled during the tour! Many casinos also post tour bus schedules on their website to encourage participation, which seems to imply endorsement of the bus company and the promise of a safe, fun trip.

A seasoned and aggressive injury attorney will thoroughly investigate the accident and seek to include all responsible parties when pursuing claims that arise out of a complicated bus accident. If you have been injured in a casino tour bus accident or other motor vehicle accident or casino injury, call Biloxi attorney Corban Gunn at 228.284.6805 for a free consultation on your potential claims.

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