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Covington Law Blog

Advances in automotive technology support traffic safety

Over the years, automobile manufacturers have developed technology that reduces accident risks for motorists in Kentucky. Researchers have credited systems that alert drivers to danger or improve stability for vehicles during bad road conditions with improvements in traffic safety.

Radar sensors and cameras that monitor drivers' blind spots sound an alarm when objects enter the blind spot area. The extra set of technological eyes helps people avoid lane-change accidents if they fail to check their blind spots or simply do not see something.

Distracted truck driver causes fatal Franklin County crash

Many may see the massive semi-trucks traveling on roads in and around Covington and wonder exactly how much skill is required to operate such vehicles. Indeed, truck drivers are well-trained, and hours and hours of experience behind the wheel helps them understand exactly what their vehicles are (and are not) capable of. Yet part of their training (or their experience) should teach them the importance of remaining attentive behind the wheel. Distracted driving can easily cause one to lose control of a standard car, truck or SUV. One can only imagine how dangerous a distracted truck driver can be. 

That question was recently answered in an accident that occurred in Franklin County. A semi-truck traveling on Interstate 64 slammed into two vehicles. The driver of one of the vehicles hit by the semi was killed in the collision (the condition of the other driver was not reported). Investigators later determined that the truck driver was watching a video on his cell phone before causing the accident. He has since been charged with murder, assault and wanton endangerment (to which he pled not guilty). 

Pinpointing when carriers may be liable for truck accidents

One of the first exclamations we here at the Russell & Ireland Law Group PLLC hear from those who have been involved in truck accidents in their disbelief that a trucker would do something as negligent as speed. Said clients are often surprised when it is pointed out that while such a decision may indeed be due to a truck driver’s own impatience, in many others they may feel pressured into doing so. You likely face similar pressure to meet deadlines and cater to customer demands in your own workplace; the obvious difference is that you caving to such pressure might be unlikely to endanger lives.

The companies that employ truck drivers want to please their customers. When one is in the transportation and freight industries, doing so requires meeting scheduled delivery times. Simple business principles imply that customers will work with those companies that can offer the fastest delivery times. Thus, motor carriers may feel pressured to offer the fastest times in order to procure new business.

What teen drivers are doing that puts your life at risk

People may joke about getting off the roads when a teenager gets his or her license, but there is always some truth to jokes. While you can't stay off the roads and can't know which drivers are inexperienced teens, you can continue your safe driving habits, which may keep you from being involved in an accident.

It may help to better understand the mistakes teenage drivers are making as you endeavor to avoid ending up the victim of a young driver. Below are the most often cited behaviors drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 exhibit behind the wheel.

Understanding whiplash and its symptoms

Most people who live in Kentucky have probably heard about whiplash. Sometimes this condition is the subject of jokes, but the reality is that it is far from a joking matter as the pain and physical limitations associated with a whiplash injury can have a bit impact on a person's daily life. 

As indicated by the Mayo Clinic, a motor vehicle accident in which a person is hit from behind is the most common scenario from which whiplash occurs. It is common for some people to recover from a whiplash experience fully, but it is also possible for someone to be left with long-term, chronic pain or other symptoms after experiencing a whiplash event.

Woman's fifth DUI claims three lives

People who live in Kentucky often hear about the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Public education campaigns are often launched during key holiday times like Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve. Additional checkpoints and efforts are commonly held at other times as well. Sadly, there remain some people who refuse to make safe operation of a vehicle the priority it deserves to be.

The Lexington Herald Leader recently ran a report about a fatal accident that happened on a Wednesday night along a stretch of Interstate 75 near the intersecting ramp of Interstate 64. The crash was caused by a drunk driver who had been convicted of driving under the influence offenses four different times between 2003 and 2011. In the crash on I-75, it has been noted that the woman was also driving without a license.

Understanding autonomous vehicles

While most residents in Kentucky may have yet to share the road with a fully autonomous vehicle, they should be aware that such a day will come. However, it is also important to understand that there is not just one type of autonomous car. Vehicle automation actually comes in six different levels. 

As explained by TrueCar, the lowest level is 0 and it involves no automation but level 1 adds in driver assistance features like adaptive cruise control, still requiring the human to be fully in control of the vehicle at all times. Level 2 vehicles are called partially automated as they can operate on their own but a human is required to be in the driver's seat with their hands on the wheel at all times.

Road rage increases your risk for personal injury

Every time you navigate Kentucky roadways, you can expect to share the road with other travelers. While you might be lucky enough to enjoy a road trip or two with little to no traffic jams, it's far more common to encounter other vehicles on the road than to have the highway to yourself. While your own driving skills and habits might be stellar, there's no telling how nearby motorists will act.

Any number of issues can place you in harm's way while driving. One of the problems drivers may encounter on Kentucky highways today is road rage. If a driver is in a rage, he or she isn't likely going to adhere to traffic laws and safety regulations. In fact, he or she might intentionally disobey them in order to use his or her vehicle in an aggressive manner against you. If that happens, you're at great risk for collision and injury.

Consumers unsure about autonomous vehicles

Most people in Kentucky may not have seen many self-driving cars on the roads in their cities but they have likely seen and heard multiple reports about the testing and development of these vehicles. Outside of the Silicon Valley bubble, it is interesting to take a look at just how most Americans are perceiving this advancing technology. Improved safety is touted as a primary reason for the development of autonomous vehicles yet recent research indicates that consumers aren't quite so confident about their safety in them.

Gizmodo reported this spring that consumer confidence in self-driving vehicles had actually dropped from previous research conducted about a year-and-a-half earlier. In late 2017, 63% of people said they were too scared to ride in an autonomous vehicle. By the spring of this year, that percentage rose to 71%. Some high-profile accidents may well have contributed to the shift.

Do property owners owe a duty of care to visitors?

Whenever you enter on to another's property in Covington, your likely expectation is that the property is responsible for your safety while you are there. Of course, you are still expected to exercise sound judgment and avoid any reckless behavior (as such negligence might absolve the property owner of liability even if you are injured while on their land). Yet generally speaking, it may be reasonable to expect that a property owner has prepared their land in such a way that it presents no danger to visitors. 

Is, however, that expectation correct? Under Kentucky law, property owners do indeed owe a duty of care to people who come on to their lands. That duty, however, varies according to the type of visitor that you are. Typically, visitors are grouped into three categories: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. The easiest classification to which a duty is owed is that of a trespasser. In most cases, if you are a person's land without their permission, the only duty they owe to you is to not purposely cause you harm. 

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