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Alaska Personal Injury Law Blog

Alaska backs off on huge distracted driving fines

The states get to set their own distracted driving fines, and they have approached it in very different ways. Some states have small fines, like Texas, where it's just $99. South Carolina set it at $25. In Wisconsin, it's just $20.

That's why Alaska made such a huge splash when they set the fine at $10,000. It's a massive amount of money that could completely wreck a person's finances moving forward. That made it appear to be a huge deterrent.

The deadly impact of traumatic brain injuries

When people talk about traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, they often talk about disabilities, personality changes and life-long ramifications. All of these things can be connected to TBIs and they do deserve attention. However, it's very important not to gloss over another key fact about brain injuries: They're often deadly.

How bad is it? According to some statistics, a staggering 30 percent of all deaths from injury have TBIs as a contributing factor. It may not be the only injury, but it's a big piece of the picture. These injuries happen in car accidents, motorcycle crashes, workplace falls and many other ways. The human body can withstand a lot, but the brain is very fragile. Often, a head injury is too much.

The rain is a bigger driving hazard than you realized

Many people claim that they dislike driving in the rain, but they think it's just personal preference. As it turns out, it's actually far more dangerous than a lot of people realize.

For instance, in most parts of the United States, federal statistics demonstrate that there are more deadly crashes in the rain than there are on the ice and snow.

Texting and driving by the numbers

The reason that texting and driving continue to be a problem is that it's all too easy for many people to assume that it's "safe enough." They know that accidents happen, but they assume it won't happen to them. They may even think that the media makes a bigger deal out of the dangers than it should. They think they can text and drive safely, and so they keep doing it until they learn the hard way by getting into an accident.

To put an end to this type of behavior, you need to debunk the myth that texting and driving can be "safe enough." Here are a few key statistics that will help:

  • At the standard 55 miles per hour, looking at the phone for five seconds means you drive across a football field of distance while looking away from the street. That five second gap is the average texting time, meaning you could go even farther in some cases.
  • Some studies have found that texting behind the wheel increases the odds of an accident by 23 times. It's not just slightly risky; it's vastly more dangerous.
  • Teenagers, for all of their confidence, are actually four times more likely to have a near miss or an accident because they got distracted by a cellphone.

Driving an RV is no picnic: These tips can help

Recreational vehicles are very popular, allowing you to bring many of the comforts of home along with you on your next trip. They're great for people who want to see the country but who don't want to stay in one cheap motel after another or struggle to set up a tent in a campground.

However, these vehicles are far larger than the personal cars that most people are used to driving. They're much harder to drive safely, and they come with their own risks. These tips can help you stay safe on Alaska's roads:

  • Get the mirrors properly adjusted before you get on the road. RVs have huge blind spots, and you need those mirrors to work perfectly to tell you what the traffic is doing around you.
  • Practice with the RV before you take it out on the highway. Even driving around an empty parking lot for a while can help you get a feel for it.
  • Slow down. It's better to drive slowly and carefully and stay on the road a bit longer than to try to rush and get into an accident.
  • Know what the RV's limits are. For instance, does the height make it difficult to get under a low bridge? Does the wide turning radius make some turns harder or even impossible?
  • Remember that a heavy vehicle does not perform like a small car. It takes longer to stop, especially in the mountains. It is not as agile, and a sharp movement can cause it to roll.

The emotional impact of a child's brain injury

When a child suffers from a brain injury, the immediate focus is on medical care and healing. However, that does not mean that the child will ever completely heal. They may have to live with the brain injury for the rest of their life.

This forces kids to grow up very quickly. Life changes in ways they can't control, and there's nothing their parents can do to make it better. This isn't like waiting for a broken arm to heal so they can get back on the basketball court or climb back on their bike. They may have to give things up forever.

'It won't happen to me' syndrome and car accidents

Have you ever seen someone doing something dangerous, warned them about it and then had them tell you that the negative outcome wouldn't happen to them? Maybe they like to dash across the road without going to a crosswalk, insisting they won't get hit. Maybe they like to go rock climbing without a rope, claiming they won't fall.

This syndrome is surprisingly common when it comes to risk and injuries. Despite the numbers, people think of these things as someone else's problem. Experts have called this the "it won't happen to me" syndrome.

Can passengers ride in the camper?

You're going on a trip across Alaska, with your camper and your family. Maybe you're bringing some friends along. (Either way, you're going to have a lot of passengers.) Are your passengers allowed to ride in the camper while you travel, or do they all have to be in the vehicle itself?

In Alaska, the answer is very simple: They cannot ride in the camper. That's true whether you have a truck camper, a 5th wheel or a travel trailer.

Head injury signs that children exhibit

If you're a parent, you know just how hard it can be to figure out what is going on with your child when they're not feeling well. They may lack the vocabulary to express it properly, and extremely young children may not yet be able to speak at all.

While this is a problem with simple things like the flu, it's really a serious issue when children suffer more drastic injuries, such as head and brain injuries. These can potentially be fatal, but children likely have no experience with these types of issues and may not be able to tell you just how bad it is. That's why it is so important to know exactly what signs and symptoms to watch out for.

What kinds of automotive defects result in safety recalls?

There's no way to know in advance that you're about to purchase a defective automobile – and you could find yourself in possession of a "lemon," even if you buy an expensive luxury vehicle. Fortunately, in cases where a specific make and model of a car has dangerous problems associated with it, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will mandate a recall that requires the manufacturer to carry out a free replacement or repair.

Here are some examples of dangerous automotive defects that could trigger a mandatory recall:

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