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Stamford CT Personal Injury Law Blog

Would a NHTSA leadership change improve auto safety?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the federal agency most directly tasked with ensuring that American travelers remain safe while navigating the nation’s roadways. In recent years, this agency has accomplished a number of important safety goals aimed at making vehicles, roads and motorists safer. Perhaps most notably, the NHTSA made significant efforts to stem the tide of distracted driving behaviors when the agency was led by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

However, the agency has become the subject of harsh criticism and intense scrutiny since shortly after LaHood left his post in 2013. Most recently, Congress, safety organizations and the media have questioned the agency’s effectiveness at responding to certain defect-related safety threats. “How is it,” many have asked, “could the NHTSA not have known about and acted upon the ignition switch defect that has affected many models manufactured by General Motors for a full decade?” This is a reasonable and proper question.

Connecticut readers reminded of Halloween hazards

Many of our Connecticut readers are no doubt getting ready for Halloween this Friday. Whether that means putting the final decorations on the house, or coming up with a trick-or-treating plan for the kids, keep in mind there are real dangers that can also come with the holiday. 

A recent USA Today article focused on these safety hazards, pointing out that these hazards are not just for the kids, as teens and adults are at risk too. 

Domino effect: More states are questioning guardrail safety

In 2005, a major manufacturer of highway guardrails used in states across the country tweaked the design of its product in a manner that reduced the width of a so-called "steel channel" from five inches down to four inches.

As noted by a recent article in The New York times, such changes "are supposed to be disclosed to the Federal Highway Administration."

Trinity Industries failed to take that step, and that omission is now coming back to haunt the company in a big way.

Reportedly, dog bites a growing concern nationally

Connecticut is certainly atop the national rankings in a number of important respects, as evidenced by polls that recurrently feature on myriad topics addressing salutary matters.

Some rankings, conversely, delineate matters that have a decidedly darker focus, and state residents will unquestionably defer with grace and thankfulness to other states that are higher up the poll ladder regarding those subjects.

Like animal attacks, for instance, with dog bites being a special focus.

CDC cites magnitude of pedestrian accident problem nationally

Some of our recent blog posts have stressed safety-related considerations that, while always relevant, seem particularly timely when raised at the advent of the autumn season.

Kids are now back in school -- which means more tots on bicycles, more forays into intersections, more little bodies in close proximity to vehicles and so forth. Days are growing shorter, diminishing motorists’ visibility as darkness progressively marks both mornings and afternoons. As we noted in our immediately preceding post (please see our entry dated October 13), more deer are out on the roads in certain areas. Sudden weather variations can render roadways slick. The list of things to be on the lookout for is long.

With autumn on display, motorists need to focus on the road

There’s that motorist up ahead, driving erratically by alternatively speeding up and slowing down, even crossing the center line occasionally.

Most drivers in Connecticut have likely tailed a motorist like that one or more times. At first blush, indications might reasonably seem to point to excessive alcohol consumption as the catalyst that is both figuratively and literally driving such behavior.

In autumn, though, what often gives rise to such imprudent motoring habits is a driver’s simple fascination with the beautifully transformative scenery that is on evident display as fall moves in to supplant the summer months.

In the aftermath of a DUI accident: Legal help is available

Our immediately preceding blog post supplied some drunk driving-related numbers that likely shock the conscience of conscientious -- that is, dutiful and law-abiding -- motorists.

What those numbers centrally convey is that, while most drivers in Connecticut and nationally routinely strive to be safe while behind the wheel, a minority of motorists do not operate their vehicles with a similar sense of responsibility.

And that is manifestly unfortunate, given the dire outcomes so frequently associated with drunk driving crashes. People are often seriously injured or die in such accidents. The effects in any given case can be catastrophic and extend to virtually every aspect of life.

Drunk driving: a dire problem in Connecticut and nationally

As is sometimes said, “It’s all about the numbers.”

Put another way: Extrapolation can be a heady and illuminating concept.

Consider the following, for example, supplied courtesy of a leading national advocacy group that seeks to curb drunk driving across the country.

The organization MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) states that American drivers hop into passenger vehicles and hit the road for some type of trip -- whether an extended journey or a quick jaunt to a local retail store -- more than 230 billion times each year. That obviously equates to a huge volume on traffic on state and national roadways, including in Connecticut.

Highlighting autumn-related safety concerns, Part 2

On its face, autumn might seem to be the most peaceful and sedate of all seasons, given its transitionary status between the steamy excesses of summer and the overtly sledgehammer-type aspects of winter.

Concerns related with autumn, though (and for any other season, for that matter), are far from confined to the vicissitudes of dramatically changing weather patterns.

Indeed, as noted in an article authored by the National Safety Council, the fall season brings a special set of safety-related concerns and heightened personal injury risks to adults and -- in an even more pronounced manner -- to children.

Autumn focus: spotlight on prominent safety concerns

In states with sharply differentiated seasons, like Connecticut, each weather transition brings its own particular joys and, for some persons, negative aspects.

Winter is, well, winter, with all that November - February (with March and April often tacked on) entails. Nostalgic and stereotypical images of sled rides, snowman building, snowball fights, hot chocolate and holiday magic are an enduring and annually revisited reality for millions of Americans -- as are blizzards, snarled and slippery roads, wind chills that virtually peel off faces and seemingly perpetual darkness.

Spring of course spells renewal and promise, but also arrives unevenly many years, with lingering post-winter shocks to prominently mark it.

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