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Wisconsin Personal Injury Law Blog

Safety advocates calling for more protected bike lanes in Wisconsin

Cities around Wisconsin have made great strides over the last few years when it comes to bicycles and bicycle safety. For instance, miles of bike lanes have been added, parking corrals designed especially for bicycles have been erected, and bike share programs have been launched all over the state.

As encouraging as all this progress has been, some advocacy groups, including the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, are now calling on state and local officials to take things one step further by constructing more protected bike lanes.

For those unfamiliar with protected bike lanes, they differ from regular bike lanes in that they are physically separated from traffic by a concrete barrier, meaning bicyclists aren't technically sharing the road with motorists, and are better positioned to avoid bicycle accidents with both vehicles and pedestrians due to having their own space.

How the employment practices of carnivals puts patrons at risk

amusment park.jpgThis past summer we wrote a blog post regarding the safety of amusement park rides.  Here is a follow up to that post as we move into fall amusement activities.

It's hard to believe that this coming Monday will mark the official start of autumn, meaning we are only a few weeks away from cooler temperatures and shorter days. However, even though the season is changing, it doesn't mean that people can't get out to have some much-needed fun.

From hayrides and apple picking to football games and enjoying the fall colors, there are many activities to enjoy. In fact, one of the more favored activities of the fall season is attending local carnivals, where there attendees can enjoy food, music and, of course, rides.

Before boarding the Ferris wheel, miniature rollercoaster or Tilt-a-Whirl, however, it's important for people to understand and appreciate that there are certain dangers associated with these rides.

Experts remind parents to make sure the trip to school is a safe one

school bus 1.jpgAt around 3 p.m. every Monday through Friday, elementary school hallways around Wisconsin are filled with the sounds of conversations, closing lockers and zipping backpacks as students prepare to head home after a long day in the classroom.

Many of these students will hop onto a waiting school bus for a ride home, while many others will go by foot. Whatever the means of transportation, it's extremely important for all parents to make sure that their children exercise the necessary caution as they make their way home.

In today's post, we'll outline a few vital safety tips that can go a long way toward ensuring a happy and healthy school year for students and parents alike.

Study: Gender plays distinct role in accidents involving teen drivers

teenage driver 1.jpgWhile many high school students across Wisconsin and around the nation have more than likely viewed their schedule for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year with some degree of dread, there may be at least one ray of hope for some of these reluctant scholars: driver's education courses.

Interestingly enough, a recent study by researchers at Kansas State University may serve to change the way in which these driver's ed. courses are taught in the near future, particularly when it comes to addressing what it calls the unique car accident risks present among young female and young male drivers.

As part of the study, published in the recent issue of the Journal of Safety Research, the researchers examined data from the Kansas Department of Transportation's crash database covering car accidents involving 16-24 year-old motorists between 2007 and 2011 -- the most recent year for which comprehensive data is available.

Just how dangerous are marijuana-impaired drivers?

traffic.jpgThe chorus of marijuana advocates calling on lawmakers to legalize the drug is rapidly becoming louder and louder across the nation, forcing many state governments to confront an issue they were perhaps hoping to avoid.

This hesitancy on the part of lawmakers more than likely stems from concerns over running afoul of the federal government, whose law enforcement agencies still treat marijuana as an illegal substance, and, of course, the interest in protecting the public health and safety of state residents.

Indeed, one of the primary worries that state lawmakers have concerning marijuana is that its legalization will put far more impaired drivers on the roads, resulting in far more serious and even deadly car accidents.

This, of course, begs the question as to whether these concerns on the part of state lawmakers are valid, or perhaps overblown.

Are the pay practices of trucking companies making roads unsafe?

truck.jpgMuch of the recent conversation regarding truck safety has focused on such important issues as hours-of-service regulations, speed limiters and even the feasibility of in-cabin surveillance systems. Now, yet another issue is being added to this ongoing dialogue about how to reduce truck accidents and it may come as a bit of a surprise to many.

Specifically, both federal agencies and business insiders are now actively exploring the issue of whether the current pay practices in the trucking industry are actually serving to make the roads and highways here in the U.S. unsafe.

The problem, say experts, is that the majority of truckers are paid by the number of miles logged, such that they are not paid for time spent waiting to either load or unload their cargo. This, they theorize, may be causing many truckers to engage in dangerous practices in order to get back out on the road as quickly as possible.

Remember to drive safely this Labor Day weekend

drive safely.jpg

Long recognized as the unofficial end of summer, the Labor Day holiday weekend typically sees a healthy volume of travelers, as people are anxious to squeeze in one more trip before children have to head back to school and the weather starts to become cooler.

This year should prove to be no exception as AAA is projecting that over 34 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from their homes over the weekend. If this turns out to be the case, it would constitute a 1.3 percent increase from last year and the highest number of travelers since 2008.

Closer to home, AAA is projecting that Wisconsin will see roughly 731,000 people traveling for the holiday weekend, a 1.4 percent increase from last year.

While a significant number of these anticipated travelers will be flying, an even larger number will be driving, meaning the risk of car accidents will be significantly higher over the coming days.

WI Supreme Court examines liability for parade train accident - II

accident.jpgLast week, out blog started discussing how a serious train accident in the Milwaukee suburb of Elm Grove was recently at the epicenter of a fascinating decision handed down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in Partenfelder v. Rhode, a case that examined whether a railroad company was liable for injuries sustained during the course of a 2009 Memorial Day Parade.

To recap, the plaintiff and his wife filed a lawsuit against Soo Line Railroad Company, claiming that it was negligent in that it failed to take the necessary precautions despite having notice about the parade.

In response to the lawsuit, Soo Line contended that the lawsuit filed by the plaintiff and his wife was preempted by the Federal Railroad Safety Act, which expressly declares that lawsuits filed in state courts relating to the speed of a train are preempted by the act.

However, an exemption to the FRSA states that lawsuits filed in state courts relating to the failure of a train to either slow down or stop despite the presence of a "specific, individual hazard" are not subject to preemption, meaning they can move forward at the state level.

Can truck driver fatigue be combated via smartphone?

smartphone2.jpgWhile we would perhaps prefer to imagine that crashes involving the massive big rigs with which we share the road are few and far between, the reality is that trucks accidents continue to be a very real problem here in the U.S.

Indeed, statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reveal that 104,000 people suffered serious personal injuries and another 3,921 people lost their lives in truck crashes in 2012 alone.

While there are many causes for truck accidents, one that has come into the national spotlight due to the recent crash involving comedian Tracy Morgan is truck driver fatigue.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, as many as 13 percent of truck accidents can be definitively linked to driver fatigue and another 31 percent of truck accidents identify driver fatigue as a contributing factor.

WI Supreme Court examines liability for parade train accident

Gavel.jpgIn an era where technology is evolving to such a degree that we can now use our phones for almost every imaginable task and self-driving cars are on the cusp of mass production, it seems inconceivable that train accidents resulting in serious personal injuries or fatalities could still occur.

However, the simple truth is that accidents between cars and trains occur somewhat regularly on the hundreds of miles of track crisscrossing the state of Wisconsin.

In fact, a serious train accident in a Milwaukee suburb was recently at the epicenter of a fascinating decision handed down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which examined whether a railroad company was liable for injuries sustained during the course of a parade.

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