Road Safety Innovations for Cyclists

Bicycle Accident Attorney Tennessee
Photo: Bill Branson (Photographer) [Public Domain Image]

Stillman and Friedland hope you are enjoying the increasingly warm weather. Despite spring showers, the pleasant weather between rainy spells draws many Tennesseans out for outdoor activities, including cycling.

In today’s post, we will take a look at cycling safety statistics and technology options for Davidson County. Our county rates second in recent years for injuries and fatalities, while Shelby County has had on average the highest rate of cyclist injuries and fatalities in Tennessee. In 2015, the latest year for which we have statistics, 86 people were injured while riding in Davidson County; thankfully, there were no fatalities.

Personal Responsibility: As we have discussed previously, each and every rider should equip him- or herself with a properly fitting and safety-tested cycling helmet, reflective gear, and a clear understanding of the rules of the road. We cannot stress enough the importance of awareness and watching out for traffic on the part of cyclists and drivers. Failure to do so is the leading cause of cycling accidents.

State and Local Safety Provisions: The state of Tennessee has designated cycling trails, but as noted on the website, “All roads suggested are regular roads of the state, county and city highway systems and are used by trucks and cars with no special lanes provided for bicycles.” Cyclists and drivers should exercise caution in these mixed-use areas.

Bicycle Safety Attorney Nashville
Nashville Public Works
Luckily for residents of Davidson County, the county is moving forward to mark bicycle lanes. Another bonus for cyclists is the insertion of green “Bike Boxes”, an intersection stopping zone for cyclists. A NIH study shows that bicycle lanes have multiple benefits, including safety, personal fitness and reduced pollution. The study found that using resources for “bike lanes are more cost-effective than the majority of preventive approaches used today.”

While bicycle lanes with separation barriers are preferred by cyclists, lane markings are a great start to improve cycling safety. The greater the number of miles installed, the greater the increase of cyclist ridership and its associated benefits. New York City installed 45.5 miles of bicycle lanes and it is projected that the resulting increase in ridership was over 9%.

An Australian study also advocates creating bicycle lanes to “reduce crash risk for cyclists”. The same study also found that improving safety at intersections with solutions and technologies was a major goal for improving road safety. Davidson County’s Bike Box is an infrastructure solution that aims to promote better traffic awareness for both cyclists and drivers.

Other technologies include adding smart signs that read the road and detect cyclists. These smart signs light up when cyclists are detected, alerting drivers to the presence of cyclists on the road.

Stillman and Friedland wish you a healthy and safe start to spring.

Because we care…

Mobileye: New Technology Increasing Road Safety for You

Mobileye
Image by Mobileye via YouTube

Stillman and Friedland always have an eye out for the latest road safety developments, to help prevent road accidents. This week’s big news is the acquisition by Intel of Israeli firm Mobileye, the latest and largest buyout of Israeli hi-tech by a major American firm. In addition, Intel will be moving its automotive division to Israel to further develop vehicle safety systems and driverless technology.

One current commercially-available Mobileye system is a combination product which is an add-on to your car. Powerhouse research and development have yielded technology which uses both alerts and automatic overrides to improve road safety. This product is an initial step in autonomous navigation; the Mobileye acts as a co-pilot to the driver, pointing out dangers on the road.

Mobileye has been marketed in Israel as a product which helps seniors drive better, especially those with limited focus and poor night vision. However, it has multiple features which help all drivers, especially these days when distracted driving has become a major cause of accidents, injury and fatalities. Mobileye is a great tool to prevent collisions. The dash-mounted unit alerts the driver with both visual and audio warnings when:

• You are too close to the car in front of you
• You have exceeded the speed limit (the system actually reads speed limit signs on the road)
• You have drifted out of your lane without signaling a lane change
• Pedestrians bicycles, or motorcycles are in your path
• Also, your high-beam headlights are dimmed automatically when cars approach in the oncoming lane.

Obviously, the capability of Mobileye to “read the road” is essential to hands-free, self-driving car technology. Another feature is the capability to utilize crowdsourced data, similar to Waze traffic information. Combining camera feeds with real-time road conditions data means the system has both reactive and anticipatory capabilities. The self-driving option will be available as factory-installed feature, and auto manufacturers are already working with Mobileye.

Here is what that looks like on the road as Mobileye’s co-founder and CTO sits in the driver’s seat with his hands off the wheel and his eyes off the road as the car goes down the highway.

It looks a bit scary, but we will get used to it, as more and more of these cars will be in use in the next two-to-three years. In the end, removing the human error from driving can make us all safer, and reduce the rate of accidents. Readers of this blog will appreciate that this technology will reduce potentially lethal car and trucks accidents. In fact, we hope the biggest initial use will be by commercial and trucking firms.

Looking ahead for you, Stillman and Friedland wish you safe journeys, wherever you go—no matter who or what is doing the driving.

What Is The Value of a Truck Accident Case?

Truck Accident Lawyer NashvilleIn our three-part truck accident series, Stillman and Friedland offered key information on avoiding accident and injury by steering clear of trucks and hazardous situations. In this post we will examine how to maximize your financial recovery in the unfortunate event that you or a loved one are involved in a truck accident.

In review, two components are essential in pursuing your case successfully. The first, which we covered in a previous post, is experience. For truck accident cases, only an attorney with depth of experience can get you the best financial settlement. An inexperienced attorney may miss getting important data, and that may mean that you get less compensation than you deserve.

The second is speed of acquiring information. Truck accidents differ from car accidents in that driver data are often available in the form of company records, but often these records must be obtained as soon as possible after the collision, before they become difficult to obtain. Such records include data on vehicle maintenance, driver hours, training, and many more details involving safety.

Why is truck driver data so important? In car crashes, financial recovery is generally based on the amount of medical treatment, pain and suffering, and lost wages. In truck crashes, policy limits are higher, and in addition, if improper company compliance with rules and regulations is found to be a factor in the crash, the value of your case could be even higher.

The level of cooperation and early assistance from trucking companies is usually poor, and you will need help with property damage to your car, and a rental car while your car is not drivable, or being repaired.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck crash, our advice based on years of experience, is to immediately find an attorney deeply familiar with these cases.

Stillman and Friedland are committed to act swiftly and compassionately on your behalf and to maximize the financial recovery that you deserve.

Record Stops as TDOT Enforces “Move Over” Law

How to avoid accidents and reduce injuries; safe driving techniques

Move Over Law Tennessee
Look Out for TDOT Trucks and Emergency Vehicles
Stillman and Friedland know that most of our clients are well aware of the requirement to pull over for speeding emergency vehicles. But did you know that the Move Over Law also requires that you pull over to the side of the road for TDOT HELP trucks and highway maintenance trucks?

Keeping an eye out for trucks is always a good idea, and now it can help you avoid getting a traffic citation. As you can see in TDOT’s latest update, the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) has been stopping drivers who fail to act according to the law:

The Move Over law, which was passed in 2006, was expanded in 2011 to include “utility service equipment to the list of vehicles for which motorists are required to either slow down or move over”. As the video notes, in a single traffic “sting operation” more than 40 Middle Tennessee drivers were handed citations in less than half day. This is more than half the number of citations that were handed out in Davidson county in all of 2014, the last year of available THP per-county violation statistics.

With a lot of new projects in the works to pay for and a hefty fine of up to $500 per citation, this could just be a handy revenue stream for the state. For drivers, it is a sure bet that it pays to keep an eye out for all trucks, and especially for ER and TDOT vehicles, whenever you are on the road!

Stillman and Friedland remind you to comply with all state laws. If everyone does their part, we all stay safer.

Truck Accidents: Top Avoidance Tips [Part 3]

Truck Accidents Nashville In this post Stillman and Friedland give you our top tips for avoiding truck accidents. As we have noted in previous posts, there are two major points to consider when sharing a motorway with large trucks:

• Trucks have large blind spots; this means that every truck driver is operating with much more limited visibility than a car and their large weight and mass add much greater potential to cause damage. Always keep in mind that your position relative to the truck makes you invisible to the truck driver most of the time. The truck has blind spots in all directions, front sides, and rear.

• Trucks cannot stop as quickly as cars. They have a much longer braking distance, which means that even if they see you, they may not be able to stop in time. Add to this the possibility of slower driver response time due to long hours on the road, and chances of braking to avoid a crash drop even more.

Here are two key situations that according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration characterize a high percentage of truck crashes:

• Rear-end collisions
• Lane changes, and exiting roadway

How can you avoid crashes in these situations? Firstly, just as you would speed up or change lanes to avoid a tailgater, you need to change your position to avoid being immediately ahead of a truck. This is even more important when road conditions are challenging. Remember, smaller vehicles are invisible at short range to the truck driver.

Secondly, always be alert to trucks exiting the roadway or changing lanes. Please note that about 20% more accidents occur when truck move to the right. Why? Truckers, like all drivers, have greater visibility on the driver’s side. Even if you are at a distance from the truck changing lanes or exiting, be alert. Multi-car pile-ups happen when cars are following too closely at too great a speed.

We are looking out for you, because we care!

Gary Taubes’ New Book Offers Healing Information

The Case Against Sugar

Gary Taubes The Case Against SugarIn the interest of helping our clients maximize their recovery, Stillman and Friedland strongly suggest that Tennesseans follow Taubes’ conclusions below and reduce and remove sugars from their diet.

Prizewinning science journalist and best-selling author Gary Taubes has a new book out with an important message on sugar. In short, sugar consumption in the U.S. has literally fed the spread of Type II diabetes until it has reached epic proportions. Many of you may be surprised to hear that until the last century, diabetes was a disease which was rare and even absent in whole populations. Today, the occurrence of Type II diabetes is spiraling upwards in Tennessee, which has one of the highest rates in the U.S. at 33.8% in 2015. Disorders related to diabetes and sugar consumption include high blood pressure, heart disease, gout, GERD, Alzheimer’s disease and even cancer. For our personal injury clients, those suffering from Type II diabetes—who are already prone to wound-healing problems—recovery will be an even more challenging process.

Taking sugar out of your diet can improve overall health for you and your family and aid in recovery.

Taubes, who also wrote Why We Get Fat, explains how American scientists discarded valid research confirming the hormonal processes which make carbohydrates, and especially sugar, so particularly fattening. The demonization of saturated fats, and the cheap cost of producing sugar-laden food made for a perfect storm and led to the touting of fat-free, sugar-laden Snackwells and a multitude of other sweetened consumer goods as “healthy”.
The end result of industry products and public health pronouncements is widespread Type II diabetes rates all over America, with Tennessee rated ninth in the U.S. for diabetes sufferers, including many children.

Gary Taubes Interview

For further information, we also recommend reading and viewing:

• Dr. Sarah Hallberg: TED Talk on insulin resistance and overweight
• John Yudkin: Pure, White and Deadly, available as a free online pdf here or in bookstores.
• Robert Lustig: Fat Chance: Fructose 2.0

Better Health Means a Better Recovery.

Because We Care…

Stillman and Friedland Attorneys

Truck Accidents Dangers Continue To Rise [PART 2]

Truck accidents remain a clear and present danger on the roads of Tennessee, and Stillman and Friedland share the concern of many drivers. As we noted in the first part of this series, this is a trend which has continued since 2009.

WATCH:

Truck Accident Attorney Nashville
CNBC Investigations: Collision Course

According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FCMSA) preliminary report released in November of 2016,

“In 2015, 4,311 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes, an 8-percent increase from 2014… the number of large trucks and buses in fatal crashes has increased by 26 percent from its low of3,432 in 2009…”

The FCMSA also reports that Property Damage Only rates have remained constant or decreased by about 1%.

What policies could save more drivers? A major contributing factors to these accidents is the failure of trucking company safety directors to penalize or fire reckless drivers. In response to this problem, the Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) committed to establishing a database of drunk and/or drugged drivers:

“In 2012, Congress directed the Secretary of Transportation to establish a national Clearinghouse containing CMV operators’ violations of FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing program in Section 32402 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). This rule implements that mandate and also responds to earlier recommendations of the National Transportation Safety Board.”

This information was updated just last month, in December of 2016. As anyone can deduce, the mandate has languished without accomplishing its goal for a minimum of four years, although earlier recommendations also pointed to the need for action.

Obviously, since drivers who fail to drive responsibly are the core of the problem, restricting the number of reckless drivers on the road should be the primary goal of the authorities, whether local, state or federal. A key overall objective is reducing overall drunk and drugged driving, as DUI patterns indicate increases in the number of drugged drivers up between 12.5-20% nationwide.

In addition to getting proven bad drivers off the road, increasing safety awareness and identifying risky behavior may help. This includes spotting companies who engage in potentially negligent behavior. Data from the CDC in 2010 indicates that:

• An estimated 14 percent of long-haul truck drivers reported not using a seat belt on every trip.
• Over one-third of long-haul truck drivers had been involved in one or more serious crashes during their driving careers.
• Long-haul truck drivers who reported not wearing seat belts also tended to engage in other unsafe driving behaviors such as speeding and committing moving violations. They were also more likely to work for an employer that did not have a written workplace safety program.

As trucking continues to be an economical means of transporting goods, and the numbers of trucks continue to remain high, these issues remain a priority for Tennesseans. If you are concerned about keeping unsafe truck drivers off the road, urge your governmental representatives to move clearinghouse legislation forward. For now your best protection is to be alert on the road and steer clear of heavy trucks when you are on the road.

Truck Accidents: Experience Is Essential for Your Truck Accident Case

A Stillman and Friedland Note with Concern To the Rising Rate of Truck Accidents in Tennessee

Truck Accident Attorney Nashville
Photo: Claus-Peter Ebner – [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Fatalities linked to truck crashes have been climbing year-by-year according to statistics compiled by the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security. Nationwide, the number of fatal crashes fell steeply from 1997-2009, but recent years have seen a steady increase. Since 2011 and through 2015, Tennessee truck accident fatalities have risen from 97 to 119 per year, an increase of over 22%. During the same period, car traffic fatalities overall have decreased, but truck accident figures show a steady rate of increase. There are currently no statistics available of truck-related injuries in Tennessee, but it is reasonable to assume that rates for death and injuries rise together due to the severity of accidents when trucks are involved.

What this means for Tennesseans is that unless something changes, this truck accident trend will only continue. As we have noted in previous posts, there are tactics you can use to avoid truck collisions, mainly by being aware of the limited visibility truck drivers have, and avoiding blind spots.

However, in the event that you are involved in a truck accident, what are the key steps you need to take? It is important to remember that this is very different from a car accident. There is probably a commercial interest opposing your case in addition to the opposition from the defendant’s insurance company. Truck drivers generally have a trip log that would show how many hours the driver had been on the road on the day of the accident and other pertinent information. But unless you have an attorney who is moving quickly to gather evidence, that evidence may conveniently vanish — leaving you with much less of a case and limiting the amount of damages you can recover.

Expertise in handling truck cases is essential to help you maximize your financial recovery and Stillman and Friedland have an experienced team to handle the legal aspects and track down the documents to prove your case and argue it effectively. On top of that, we pride ourselves on caring for our clients. We make it easy to pursue your claim — we do the maximum for our clients because we understand that this is a difficult time for you.

We understand that although we handle many cases, this is your only case and service and results matter for each of our clients.

Because we care…

Have a Safe and Merry Christmas from Stillman & Friedland

The holiday season is a great time to meet old and new friends! Stillman and Friedland would like to introduce you to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting electrical safety at home and in the workplace. They have great resources for consumers and businesses, and today’s infographic below comes from them.

We wish our clients a safe Christmas and a Happy New Year — because we care.

Holiday Injury Attorney Nashville

Click Here To Download the Above Infographic in PDF Format

Winter Driving Challenge: Ice, Snow and Trucks

Part Two in a series to help you winterize for a safe holiday season.

Truck Accident Attorney Nashville
Photo: Claus-Peter Ebner – [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Stillman and Friedland want to help you stay safe on the roads as road conditions worsen and traffic is heavy with shoppers looking for Christmas gifts. Adding to the mix are the numerous supply trucks delivering goods to stores during this peak retail season. We strongly suggest that you review our post on avoiding truck accidents in full here, but let’s review the main points:

Keep in mind the “arrive alive” principle—first make sure you are driving safely. Never risk an accident just because you are running late or short on time! Slower is safer on snowy and icy roads. Drive at speeds appropriate to road conditions and visibility. Remember that a road that looks clear may have treacherous black ice, especially if a melt is followed by a drop in temperatures; be extremely cautious on underpasses and shaded areas.

TIP: The added weight of an inexpensive 50-lb bag of salt and a shovel kept in your trunk will give you added traction on slippery surfaces (and may come in handy if your parking spot gets “plowed in” and you can’t get out).

Keep a safe stopping distance between yourself and trucks on slippery roads. That actually means 20-25 car lengths away from the truck; we recommend staying out of the same lane on uphill and downhill grades.

Avoid trucks’ blind spots. If you can’t see the driver in the truck’s side mirrors, the driver can’t see you. Basically, the driver has a slim-to-zero chance of seeing you when you are along the back of the truck. Smaller cars are also invisible to the truck driver when in front of and close to the truck.

Never turn in parallel with a truck. Tight maneuvering, unpredictable trailer swing, and operating in the blind spots combine to create accident conditions you want to avoid.


Video Courtesy of USDOT

Once again, we at Stillman and Friedland remind you to stay safe by minimizing the danger of driving with many heavy trucks on the road during this holiday season.