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Knoxville Motor Vehicle Accidents Law Blog

Can ignition interlock devices save lives?

As you navigate the roadways in Knoxville, it is important to keep in mind that you may be traveling alongside an intoxicated driver. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 267 people were killed in drunk driving car accidents in 2014. This accounted for 27.8 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities in the state that year. In 2013, the state enacted a law that requires all people who are convicted of a DUI to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. Since that time, drunk driving deaths have decreased by 3.6 percent, and people hope that the number of people killed in these catastrophic accidents continues to decrease.

One reason why interlock devices help to reduce the DUI fatality rate is that they help to keep intoxicated drivers from operating vehicles. Before a driver can start the vehicle, he or she must blow a breath sample into a tube that is connected to a dashboard monitor. The machine then evaluates the sample for the presence of alcohol. If the driver has a blood alcohol content level that exceeds the set level, the car won’t start. Not only that, but the device will require motorists to submit random breath samples periodically while they are driving.

Poor tractor trailer maintenance can lead to disaster on the road

Tennessee car owners must keep their vehicles well-maintained in order to ensure that they are working properly on the road. The simplest oversight can lead to a flat tire or worn brakes that could potentially cause a devastating accident. Similarly, it is crucial that tractor trailers are routinely checked and properly cared for so that they don’t pose a threat to other vehicles on the road. According to the Federal Highway Administration, big rigs can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and, in some cases, can span a length of over 56 feet. At Pryor, Priest & Harber, we understand that people can be severely injured if a piece of equipment malfunctions or a safety device fails to work properly.

Trucking companies are required to conduct a detailed inspection of all the tractor trailers in the fleet at least once a year and keep complete documentation as to the condition of each truck, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In addition, truckers must inspect vital truck parts prior to beginning their route. A surprising number of trucking companies and truck drivers, however, fail to perform these essential inspections, and as a result, put the lives of others on the road at risk.

Snapchat’s speed filter endangering lives on the road

In this day and age of social media and smartphone technology, people are able to post status updates and pictures from anywhere. Snapchat has taken the idea of posting to a new level by adding a filter that indicates how fast the user is going while they are taking a picture or a short video. Cellphone use while driving in Tennessee is highly discouraged, as talking and texting on cellphone while behind the wheel is proven to lead to deadly car accidents. In fact, Distraction.gov reported that texting while driving in the state is against the law. Some believe that Snapchat’s feature encourages motorists to speed and may increase reckless driving.

According to The Verge, a man in Georgia now suffers from permanent brain damage and cannot walk without assistance after being involved in a horrific car accident. The 18-year-old girl who hit his car was attempting to take a Snapchat photo using the speed filter to show how fast she was going. Evidence shows that she even posted a picture to Snapchat after the accident occurred to show her followers that she was still alive.

Is touchscreen technology safe for motorcyclists?

Soon, motorists may not be the only ones who are able to follow navigational technology or interact with a voice-activated device while traveling down the road. If you are a motorcyclist in Tennessee or anywhere else across the country, you are now able to enjoy these luxuries. Several motorcycle manufacturers have designed and are implementing touchscreen technology for use in high-quality bikes.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, your chances of getting injured or killed in a traffic accident are significantly higher if you are on a motorcycle. In fact, you are 26 times more likely to get killed in a collision that you would be if you were traveling in a car. This stems from the fact that motorcycles lack certain safety equipment, such as seat belts and airbags, and do not have the protective shell that cars have.

What you should know about hit-and-run accidents

As a Tennessee motorist, you may be well aware of the dangers you face while traveling along state roadways. Not only do you face hazards while you are on the road, but you are at risk of being injured while walking alongside the street as well. A number of motorists who are involved in car, bicycle and pedestrian collisions actually flee from the scene of the accident before aide can arrive. Not only can hit-and-run accidents cause problems when it comes to charging and convicting the person responsible for the collision, but it also means that you could have trouble recovering money from the auto insurance company.

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, one out of every five pedestrian fatalities involve a hit-and-run motorist. This means that once the motorist has hit another vehicle, person or bicyclist, he or she fails to stop and render help to the injured person. In fact, bicycle and pedestrian fatalities across the nation are on the rise, causing great concern to U.S. law enforcement officials.

Drunk driver faces multiple charges after crashing into house

When people are charged and convicted of drinking and driving in Tennessee, there may be a good chance that they are a repeat offender and have been convicted of a DUI before.

Such is the case with a 28-year-old man from Nashville who decided to climb behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking. As a result, the man was charged with vehicular assault, failure to render aid, reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of a fatal crash, open container violations and a DUI. It is unclear how far the man had driven before he hit a utility pole and smashed into the side of a house, killing a woman who was sleeping in her living room.

Motorcycle braking technology reduces risk of accidents

While motor vehicles come equipped with critical safety devices, including airbags, seatbelts, backup sensing systems and head restraints, most motorcycles lack this life-saving protection. As a result, a number of motorcyclists are injured and killed each year in tragic accidents. Studies show, however, that antilock braking systems on motorcycles can help to reduce the risk of accidents and could save peoples’ lives on the road. In fact, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety reported that motorcyclists riding bikes that have ABS technology have a 31 percent reduced risk of being involved in a fatal motorcycle accident than those who are riding bikes that are not equipped with the braking system.

Antilock braking systems sense when wheels are about to lockup and reacts by reducing brake pressure. Once the wheels have regained traction, brake pressure returns to normal. Cars that have this technology can avoid hydroplaning, or going into an avoidable skid. When the wheels of a motorcycle lockup, on the other hand, the results can be catastrophic, according to Consumer Reports. The motorcyclist may lose his or her balance altogether, fall or crash into another vehicle. Antilock braking systems allow bikers to apply the brakes in any situation without the fear of skidding, sliding or falling off of their bikes.

New rule requires truckers to use electronic logging devices

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has set regulations requiring truck drivers to take periodic rests throughout their drive. In addition, truckers are prohibited from driving more than 11 hours in a 24-hour period and 77 hours each week, as stated in the Hours of Service regulations. While all truckers in Tennessee and across the nation are held to this rule, a number of truck drivers fail to keep accurate driving records. As a result, fatigued truck drivers are at higher risk of causing catastrophic accidents, as well as injuring and killing innocent people.

A rule that was recently passed by the U.S. Department of Transportation will require all bus and commercial truckers to use electronic logging devices when recording their driving hours, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. Up until this point, truckers were responsible for keeping their own hours logged in a written book. Hand-written log books made it easy for truckers to manipulate their driving hours in order to spend more time on the road. More driving hours equates to a larger paycheck and helps truckers meet tight delivery deadlines. Yet a number of people are killed each year in truck accidents caused by drowsy truckers.

Types of injuries caused by motorcycle accidents

Although everyone on the road is at risk of becoming injured in an automobile accident, motorcyclists in Tennessee face an even greater danger. Not only do they lack the protective barrier that a motor vehicle provides, but motorcycles do not come equipped with seat belts, air bags or other safety devices. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that wearing a helmet and other protective gear can help to decrease the severity of the damage, bikers may still suffer from a number of injuries.

One of the most common types of motorcycle injuries involves traumatic brain and spinal cord damage. Even when wearing a helmet, a hard jolt to the head can cause the brain tissue to smack into the hard bony interior of the skull, according to the CDC. In addition to causing immediate brain bleeding, bruising and inflammation, brain trauma can lead to long-term cognitive damage that could have lasting effects on a person’s life. If trauma should occur anywhere along the spinal cord, the biker may experience nerve damage or become paralyzed.

Truck driver inexperience cause of big rig accidents

There are many factors that can contribute to a large truck collision in Knoxville, including bad weather, traffic signals, vehicle design, truck maintenance and traffic conditions. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, one contributing factor involves the amount of experience the truck driver has on the road. Large truck operators must be specially trained and licensed to drive big rigs, as these large vehicles operate much differently than other motor vehicles.

Inexperienced and negligent truck drivers can cause major tractor trailer accidents, leading to serious injuries and even death. One study conducted by the FMCSA sought to find the main factors that led to a number of truck accidents over a 33-month period. The results showed that poor driver performance, inexperience and negligence contributed to the 87 percent of the accidents. The specific truck driver behaviors included the following:

  •          Driver was physically impaired with alcohol, distraction or fatigue.
  •          Driver was inexperienced, anxious and/or made poor decisions on how to react to a situation.
  •          Driver was speeding, tailgating or displaying another form of reckless behavior that made it difficult to respond to road conditions.

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Knoxville, TN 37902
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