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Wisconsin Law Blog

Federal regulators to change trucking audit protocols

As we have noted in a number of our posts, a large majority of car and truck accidents are attributable to human error. Sometimes this can be traced to distracted driving or misjudging turns, but sometimes an accident can be based on the failure to properly maintain a vehicle. When it comes to accidents involving semi-trucks, the potential for harm stemming from improper maintenance can be devastating.

Because of this, federal regulators are intent of imposing new rules that would make it easier to shut down trucking companies that do not adhere to safety requirements. According to a recent Wall Street Journal.com report, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) could make determinations that trucking companies are unfit to operate upon truck inspections alone.

Can I still bring a personal injury lawsuit?

Accidents are bound to happen during the winter driving season. It appears that many people across western Wisconsin are resigned to this possibility. Because of this, people tend to drive slower when the driving conditions become challenging, and they take reasonable steps to clear off their vehicles so that ice missiles do not threaten other drivers.

Unfortunately, even through the best intentions, car accidents still occur. For those who are injured and have suffered property damage, they may be curious about when they must bring a lawsuit to recoup money damages to compensate for their medical bills, their pain and suffering and any property damage.

How pedestrians can be safe during the winter

There may be few times where people in New York, Philadelphia or Washington D.C. envy people in Wisconsin, but last weekend may be one of them. The largest mid-Atlantic cities experienced record snowfalls on Saturday and the cleanup is expected to last into this week. In the meantime, travel around these cities has ground to a halt. But for pedestrians, the going could be especially treacherous even after roads are opened because of swaths of ice that can be concealed by a fresh snow pack.

With that, we offer the following safety tips for pedestrians. 

Is heavy snow more dangerous than light snow?

With our region bracing for another round of winter weather, it is expected that drivers will either stay off the road or they will slow down significantly as road conditions become treacherous. But there is an age old question that has vexed drivers and insurers alike.

Which is more dangerous, roads covered with heavy snow or just a light coating?

NHTSA to create rules about cybersecurity in vehicles

During the winter, it is normal for drivers to be careful about driving during winter weather events. In these instances, road conditions will dictate how drivers are supposed to operate their vehicles. However, with more cars becoming dependent on computer systems, there is a growing concern that they can be infiltrated by hackers which can lead to accidents.

Last summer, Wired magazine highlighted a terrifying event where hackers took control of a Jeep Cherokee while the driver was in it, and took it off the road. With this in mind, it was only a matter of time before more vehicles could be hacked and shut down, leaving unwitting drivers subject to being in a crash. 

The dangers of ice missiles during winter

While it may seem like this year’s winter driving season has not been affected by snow, you may be right. Indeed, we have not been pounded by snow in our region, and it might due to this year’s El Nino, but the hazards that come with winter driving still exist. Drivers should be aware of them, and more importantly, how to avoid them.

Avoiding ice missiles is especially important. No, we are not talking about urban warfare, and enemy combatants trying to eliminate you. Instead, we are talking about hazards that can be created by semi trucks. Essentially, ice missiles are pieces of ice and snow that can collect on the top of semi truck trailers. 

How you can stop distracted driving

Distracted driving is a common danger on the road. Drivers are familiar with the risks associated with distracted driving, yet many fail to take steps to prevent distractions behind the wheel.

Did you know that 3,154 people were victims of fatal accidents involving distracted drivers in 2013? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in addition to those killed in crashes, roughly 424,000 people were injured in accidents that same year.

Winter weather is coming, so drivers should be aware

If you feel like winter has been a cakewalk so far, you might be in good company. We did not get a significant amount of snow in our region until Christmas. However, the weather is about to get frightful (even though the Christmas season is in the rear view mirror). With that, drivers in LaCrosse and throughout Western Wisconsin must be vigilant as road conditions deteriorate.

Indeed, we have talked about the danger of black ice in our posts (and we will likely do so again). However, with a major snowstorm imminent, it is prudent to discuss how snow can be dangerous on the road. 

Four injured after pickup collides with garbage truck

Accidents during the holiday season can be especially tragic. This time of year is meant to be spent with family, but getting to loved ones can be dangerous given the weather conditions and the additional number of drivers on the road. Despite the warnings about impaired driving, distracted driving and coping with weather conditions, accidents still happen.

A recent crash out of West Union, Iowa exemplifies this reality. According to recent KCRG.com report, a pickup truck collided with a garbage truck about two miles west of the city. The accident is still under investigation, but it appears that the garbage truck was backing out of a farm’s driveway when the pickup truck collided with it. 

BMW faces fines due to recall failures

BMW is known as the “ultimate driving machine” for its emphasis on performance. While this phrase is commonly associated with thrilling moments while behind the wheel, the German automaker is embroiled in some of the same recall issues that other automakers have dealt with in the past two years.

According to a recent USA Today.com report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has fined the automaker for failing to adequately address recall issues involving is vehicles.