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What is the ELD rule?

If you are like most people who live in New Jersey, you have been in a car, pickup truck or sport utility vehicle when a semi-truck or other large commercial vehicle has come up alongside the vehicle you are in. In these situations, you instantly become aware of how much smaller your vehicle is than the adjacent big rig. This can be a somewhat frightening or sobering experience because you realize the danger to people in average passenger vehicles when accidents occur that involve both large trucks and regular vehicles. 

There may be many factors that contribute to large truck accidents. One of these can be fatigue. Truckers often drive many long and lonely hours, making fatigue a very real problem that they face. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has acknowledged this risk and developed what it called the Hours of Service rule a few years ago. The HOS rule sets parameters on the number of hours a trucker can drive in a given day or work week.

Electronic log books can help you after a commercial truck crash

Certain risk factors drastically increase the likelihood of a collision. Exceeding the speed limit, paying attention to something other than the road, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and driving while exhausted are all major risk factors that can increase the potential for a crash.

If you have ever had to drive after an exceptionally long day at work or a very bad night of sleep, you probably understand how exhaustion can make driving much more difficult. It is harder to remain focused when you are tired, and your reaction time can become substantially longer when your brain needs rest. Unfortunately, not everyone can stay off the road when they're tired.

New law expands IID use

People who live in New Jersey and who are concerned about the ongoing risk they and their loved ones face due to drunk drivers will be glad to know that the state is taking action to help them. The efforts to curb drunk driving have been ongoing for many decades. While stronger laws and increased public awareness may have prevented many acts of drunk driving, there continue to be too many people who refuse to pay attention to good sense.

One of the penalties that many people convicted of driving while intoxicated offenses experience is the loss of their driving privileges. This might sound like an effective tool in keeping impaired drivers off the roads and highways, but the reality of the matter is that many of them simply choose to drive without a valid license. Now, a new law that is set to take effect on January 1, 2020 aims to head this off at the pass.

Human errors a major factor in surgical mistakes

If you have ever had or might ever need to have an operation, it is important that you feel confident in the ability of your surgeon and the other surgical staff. Many people in New Jersey and around the nation are in this situation every single day. In most cases, the confidence people put in their medical professionals may be warranted. However, there are times when that confidence is broken due to an unnecessary medical error.

Becker's Hospital Review published a summary of some research that reviewed the factors involved in a set of adverse events associated with surgical procedures. The results were recently published in JAMA Open Network. Out of more than 5,300 surgeries included in the study, adverse events resulted in 188. Of those, human mistakes were found to be factors in 106. That means that more than half of the serious complications or even patient deaths were due to errors by doctors or other members of the surgical teams.

Alcohol continues to claim lives on New Jersey roads

If you live and drive in New Jersey, you may know that a person who is convicted of a driving while intoxicated offense may end up facing some pretty serious consequences. Depending on the specific circumstances, these consequences may include high fines, the loss of driving privileges, the required use of an ignition interlock device and more. However, it seems that even with these penalties in place, there remains a high number of people who continue to drink and drive.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, alcohol was a stated factor in 20% of the states total vehicular fatalities in 2017 alone. One out of five of the 624 people who died in automobile accidents that year did so at the hands of a drunk driver. 

The dangers of eating and drinking while driving

Awareness of the dangers of both drunk driving and cell phone use while driving has increased greatly in recent years, so much so that many in Clinton may be more cognizant of avoiding such practices. Yet there exists another form of dangerous driving behavior that does not get nearly as much exposure: eating and drinking while driving. Indeed, information shared by Exxon Mobil shows that as many as 70 percent of drivers admit to eating while behind the wheel, while 83 percent say that have consumed beverages while driving.

Eating and drinking seem to many to be such natural actions that most might not even view them as being distracting. This is no doubt the reason why so many do it while driving (one might even that automakers encourage it by incorporating cup holders in vehicle designs). Yet both actions require that drivers take their eyes and attention off the road, and at least one of their hands off the steering wheel. Some might argue that even if eating and drinking are distracting, they only require a moment or two of one’s attention. When one is traveling down the road in a vehicle at high speeds, a moment of distraction can easily put one in a dangerous position that can lead to a car accident.

How your employer can reduce the risk of falls at the job site

Construction is an innately difficult and dangerous career to pursue, which is one reason why it pays so well compared to other jobs. You will have to either use your physical strength or dangerous tools to help build or repair structures, some of which may be many stories tall. Even the contractors working on residential properties can find themselves in danger of falling while on the job.

In fact, falls account for roughly 40% of construction accidents, based on an analysis by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of 2017 construction fatalities.

How can heuristics lead to diagnostic errors?

Like many in Clinton, you may wonder how it is that your doctor is able to come up with a definitive diagnosis based off what may seem (to you) to be relatively little information. The answer may both surprise and alarm you. While the unique education and experience that each physician acquires during the course of their career no doubt influences their practice, a good portion of their decision making is driven by heuristics. 

What are heuristics? They are the standard practices of a profession (think of them as "rules of thumb'). Typically, heuristics are developed through practice and by the technology available to practitioners. They become the baselines on which treatment plans are built, as clinicians compare clinical indicators to what the accepted practices are for providing care. In healthcare, you may often hear heuristics referred to as "the standard of care." 

What duty of care do you owe to visitors?

As a homeowner in Clinton, you invite people onto your property all the time. You might also own other private or commercial property on to which people may venture. It is assumed that you have a responsibility to take of those that come on to your property, yet what exactly are those responsibilities, and to whom do you actually owe them? 

The website for The New Jersey Courts shows that the state recognizes three distinct classes of visitors to your property: invitees, licensees and trespassers. Invitees are those that you invite on to your property (e.g. guests in your home, customers or clients in your place of business). Licensees are people whose work may require entrance on to your property (e.g. mail carriers, utility workers). In the case of both invitees and licensees, you must either correct any hazards on your property that could cause them harm, or at least warn them of their presence. This includes hazards that you know about or you should reasonably know about. For example, you may not know that your front steps have iced over, yet if it has been snowing recently, then is expected that you would have checked to see if they had. 

Respondeat superior in truck accident cases

The large semi-trucks and tractor-trailers one sees driving in and around Clinton often cast a menacing shadow, as their potential for causing devastation in a collision with another vehicle can plainly be seen. The expenses that can arise from a truck accident can be enormous; sadly, according to information shared by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 116,000 accident victims in 2017 had to learn this the hard way. When assigning liability for a truck accident, many often wonder if liability lies only with the truck driver who caused the accident, or if it can also be extended to the truck company that employs them. 

Per the Cornell Law School, the legal principle of "respondeat superior" (Latin for "let the master answer") allows people to hold employers responsible for the actions of their employees. Given that insurance may not cover the entirety of a truck accident's expenses, victims should know in what cases liability can be shared between driver and employer. One might assume that as long as a driver is behind the wheel of vehicle used for commercial purposes (and is not an independent contractor, but rather an actual employee), then their employer would also be liable. Yet that is not always the case. 

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