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Manassas, VA 20110

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Manassas Virginia Motor Vehicle Accidents Law Blog

Identifying vehicle blind spots

You enjoy an excellent view of all that is around you when riding your motorcycle in Manassas. Sadly, the design of traditional vehicles prohibits drivers from seeing as much. This contributes directly to a common hazard: blind spots. Many of those that we here at The Law Offices of Locklin & Coleman, PLLC have worked with following motorcycle accidents have heard the same thing from the drivers that hit them: "I did not see you." Knowing where vehicle blind spots are may make you more aware of  the mistakes that may lead a driver to hit you. 

The most common blind spots on vehicles are the rear quarter blind spots, which are at rear of both sides of a vehicle. In this particular driving zone, you are past the view afforded to a driver by his or her rearview mirrors, so a simple check of them will not alert him or her of your presence. Only by turning his or her head will he or she see you. 

My neck hurts: Could this be from my car accident?

Vehicle accidents take a terrible toll in Virginia and the rest of the U.S., with several million crashes occurring each year. Along with more than 30,000 fatalities, nearly 2 million more people suffer injuries that range from concussions to whiplash and much worse. You should always seek a qualified doctor’s diagnosis for any pain that you may be experiencing as the result of an accident, but here are some common types of injuries that can occur during a crash.

Injuries to the head and back

Are you concerned about all 3 types of distracted driving?

Some people are so comfortable behind the wheel of their car that they never think about the bad things that could happen.

In addition to mistakes you can personally make, you have to take into consideration the other people on the road. You never know if another driver will do something that causes a crash.

Hours of service regulations for bus drivers

The dangers that drowsy drivers (in particular, drowsy truck drivers) pose to you and others traveling on the roads in and around Manassas has been well-documented. You may also know that such drivers are required to follow certain guidelines regulating exactly how long they can drive and to record those hours for review. Yet you may think that such standards are only imposed on drivers transporting freight. Many of the clients that we here at The Law Offices of Locklin & Coleman, PLLC have worked with have been surprised to learn that commercial vehicle drivers must also adhere to similar regulations. 

You might not group bus drivers and others who transport passengers along with truck drivers due to the unique differences between their jobs. However, while those who transport passengers typically are not required to drive for the same amount of time as semi-truck drivers (or cover the same distances), they too can be subject to fatigue. Because of this, the federal government has also placed hours of service restrictions on them. These regulations (as shared by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) state that one transporting passengers cannot: 

  • Exceed 10 hours of drive time after having spent eight consecutive hours off duty
  • Exceed 15 hours of drive time without having to take a mandatory eight consecutive hours off duty
  • Exceed 60/70 hours of drive time over a period of 7/8 consecutive days

The real dangers of driving drowsy

Most drivers have seen the warning signs hanging over parkways and interstates; in fact, it is hard to avoid them. No matter the state, these signs urge drivers against operating vehicles while drowsy. With all of the warnings aside, is driving tired really as dangerous as, for instance, driving while drunk? Despite the driving habits of countless working Virginians, some experts are afraid so. However, this issue requires a bigger solution than simply getting more rest. 

In today's professional world, it can be tempting to go above and beyond work expectations -- this includes attempts to work longer hours. Unfortunately, as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shares, drowsy driving is a major problem in the United States, as 1 in 25 adult drivers report having dozed off at the wheel in the last 30 days. The problem not only affects a certain demographic, either: commercial drivers who operate large vehicles, drivers who use medications and those with sleep disorders are at a particularly high risk. Each driver requires different sleep needs, but the CDC states that it is crucial to pull over at any sign of tiredness or fatigue.

Making school bus stops safer for everyone

Every driver in the country deals with school bus stops at some point while on the road. While these stops can become a nuisance, they ensure that children can board and disembark from buses safely. Yet despite this crucial regulation, countless drivers in West Virginia ignore bus stops each day. Unfortunately, some innocent children have paid the price. 

Irresponsible drivers may always be an issue on busy roads, but the law is the law. The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (or NASDPTS) outlines the West Virginia bus stop law that, when a school bus stops with its red lights flashing, traffic in both directions must stop at least 20 feet from the vehicle. The law prohibits cars from passing the bus until the red lights have stopped flashing, thus indicating that all children have cleared from the road. One exception to this law is in the case of a median that pedestrians cannot cross; traffic coming toward a school bus in these situations do not have to stop. The regulation overall applies to both private and school properties.

3 tips for teen drivers to learn before hitting the road

Teen drivers are excited to say the least. They're getting more freedom with their ability to drive, and that means they're likely to want to get out and go as soon as they can.

With new freedoms does come some trouble, though. Teens have less experience driving, and that opens them up to mistakes that could lead to serious accidents. That doesn't have to happen, though, if they understand what they can do to stay safe.

Signaling while on your motorcycle

There is nothing quite like taking an exhilarating motorcycle ride in and around Manassas. Yet as a motorcyclist, you know full well that taking such a trip often means putting your safety in the hands of the motorists on the roads around you. Sadly, for some of those that we here at The Law Offices of Locklin & Coleman, PLLC have worked with, such rides have ended in tragedy due to motorists not taking the obligation to share the road seriously. Many of those involved in accidents with motorcyclists claim that it was the motorcyclists' unanticipated actions that caused such collisions, such as darting into their lanes without warning. 

How can you counter such a claim? Yes, your bike most likely has signaling lights, yet is there more you should do to clearly indicate your intentions to others on the road? Virginia law encourages the use of hand signals to make your ride safer. Section 46.2-849 of the Code of Virginia describes the state's approved roadway hand signals to be: 

  • The left arm extended to a horizontal position straight from the shoulder to indicate a left turn
  • The left arm extended upward to indicate a right turn
  • The left arm extended downward to indicate your needing to slow down or stop

How can I avoid driver fatigue?

Drunk drivers are not the only road hazard during the holidays. As families in Virginia and throughout the U.S. make their annual treks “home for the holidays,” driver fatigue is another reason you should exercise caution on America’s highways.

The federal government cites a report on commercial truck drivers, who regularly put in long hours behind the wheel, which finds fatigue is a factor in about 13 percent of the accidents in this group. Tips for drivers like you on extended trips to help reduce fatigue follow here.

Are school buses really safe?

Taxis, trains, Uber rides, school buses... what do all of these have in common? Aside from being modes of transportation, these services require customers to demonstrate a great deal of trust. Whether or not Virginians take this fact into account, thousands use these forms of conveyance each day. For the most part, taxis and buses are a reliable way to get to work and school; however, the comfort of the ride depends on the safety of the system.

USA Today spent time considering this reliability with public transportation -- particularly that of school buses. In response to the tragic 2015 school bus accident in Houston that killed two children, Today speculates on the number of fatal accidents that occur across the board. Drawing data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the article uncovers the statistics that 1,214 school transportation accidents occurred between the years 2004 to 2013. These wrecks included regular trips to and from school, sports events and field trips. However, buses killed more people on the street than inside the vehicles between those years: only 54 of the 327 children killed in school transportation crashes were actually riding the bus. 

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