Over 11,000 Aircraft May Be Out of Compliance

Over 11,000 Aircraft May Be Out of Compliance

Problematic Plane Inspections

FAA safety inspectors may have improperly approved thousands of aircraft for commercial operation without first reviewing the exemption limitations that could cause them to be prohibited. A whistleblower made a report to the Office of Special Counsel, which requested that the Federal Aviation Administration conduct an investigation. The investigation found that more than 11,000 planes that should have failed their inspections were passed by the inspectors, endangering the public.

According to the whistleblower, the safety inspectors regularly approved planes to fly without reviewing critical safety information about the planes, passing many that should have failed their inspections. Some planes that were passed had rear exit doors that were nearly inaccessible, which could mean that passengers on the plane could be trapped in the case of a crash. Many planes that were passed had expired registrations at the time of their inspections. A number of planes that were no longer registered continued to be operated for flights.


Findings of the FAA

The FAA conducted its investigation and reported its findings to the Office of Special Counsel. It substantiated the report that the planes were passed despite having inaccessible exit doors. According to the FAA, some of the planes had interior doors installed that blocked people’s access to the rear exits. The planes are only permitted to have those interior doors if they have locking mechanisms installed that prevent the doors from becoming closed. However, many of the planes did not have the locking mechanisms installed and were still allowed to fly. The FAA also substantiated the whistleblower’s report that some planes were allowed to continue flying despite having expired registrations in violation of the FAA’s safety regulations.


Corrective Actions

The FAA recommended a number of corrective actions, including the development and implementation of a corrective action plan that includes specific due dates. It also recommended clarifying any exclusions or limitations that are included in the FAA manual to make certain that inspectors look for the locking mechanisms and to fail passenger planes that don’t have them. It also recommended that the registration system is updated and that planes that are expired are not passed.

Truck Driver Shortage Puts Safety at Risk

Truck Driver Shortage Puts Safety at Risk

Truck Driver Shortage

The nationwide truck driver shortage could result in younger truckers behind the wheel of big rigs that cross state lines, raising the risk for truck accidents. Commercial drivers who are between the ages of 18 and 21 are six times likelier to be involved in fatal trucking accidents than older, more experienced drivers. The push to lower the interstate truck driving age comes in response to a stronger economy and the increased demand for truckers across the U.S. The shortage is expected to grow as today’s drivers begin retiring.

There is currently a truck driver shortage across the country because of the improved economy. In 2016, the trucking industry was short by 36,500 drivers, and the number was expected to reach 50,000 by the end of 2017. The shortage is expected to increase to 176,000 by 2026. Retirement is one factor causing the shortage of truckers. According to the American Trucking Association, the average age for truck drivers is just 49. Another reason for the shortage is the improved economy. Consumers have a higher demand for goods, which necessitates more freight. Because unemployment rates are low and truck driving is hard, it is becoming more difficult to attract enough drivers to the industry.


Proposed Law to Decrease Minimum Age

In response to the shortage, Representative Duncan Hunter of California has proposed a law that would decrease the minimum age for over-the-road truck drivers from 21 to 18. Proponents of the law argue that lowering the age would attract more drivers straight out of high school because they wouldn’t have to wait for three years after graduating. They argue that younger drivers are currently allowed to drive short distances within their own states but not to cross state lines. Opponents to the law argue that young drivers between ages 19 and 20 are six times more likely to be involved in fatal truck accidents than are older drivers. They argue that the law would place an unreasonable degree of risk on the public because younger drivers are simply not as safe as older drivers. If the law is passed, more younger drivers may be on highways across the nation. This could increase the danger of trucking accidents to the public at large.

Are Drivers Paying Attention when Autopilot Is in Use?

Are Drivers Paying Attention when Autopilot Is in Use?

Tesla Crashed While on Autopilot

A recent crash in Utah has raised concerns that drivers may be inattentive when they are using autopilot, failing to react and take control when doing so is needed. When the woman crashed into a stopped firetruck while she was traveling at 60 mph in her Tesla with the autopilot system engaged, her hands had not been on the wheel for about 80 seconds. She was ticketed after telling the police that she was looking at her phone just before the collision.

A 28-year-old Utah woman was driving her Tesla Model S on autopilot, which requires driver oversight. She took her hands off of the wheel to look at her cell phone while she was traveling at 60 mph. While she was looking at her phone, her car crashed into a fire truck that had stopped. She only suffered a broken foot in the collision, and Tesla placed blame on her for her accident. The woman reportedly did not have her hands on the wheel for the 80 seconds that led up to the accident. The crash was not the first one involving a Tesla while it was on autopilot. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently investigating collisions of Tesla cars in California and Florida.


Problems Revealed by the Crash

The latest car crash occurred amidst the rush of car manufacturers to add driverless technology to their vehicles. Carmakers tout the technology, claiming that it is much safer than human drivers and should lead to a drop in accidents. One issue that was revealed by this accident is that drivers may become complacent when they are driving on autopilot and fail to pay attention to what is happening on the road around them. In the woman’s case, data from her car revealed that she had taken her hands off of the wheel more than 12 times. The woman only placed her hands back on the wheel for a few seconds when the car prompted her to do so on its heads-up display. Tesla does not have the technology to track when motorists are not paying attention like other carmakers do in their autonomous vehicles.

Jaywalking Accidents: Who’s at Fault?

Jaywalking Accidents: Who’s at Fault?

Jaywalking Laws

Most people think that jaywalking accidents are the fault of the motorist, but under certain situations, the pedestrian may be partially or totally at fault. Liability in jaywalking accidents depends on proof of fault. According to law, jaywalking violates pedestrian traffic laws set by each state. While it’s a low-level offense, most jurisdictions impose fines to violators. Jaywalking laws cover a variety of pedestrian behaviors, and they can vary from state to state. In some cases, jaywalking laws enacted by local jurisdictions are more stringent than state laws.

Jaywalking laws in all states require pedestrians to obey traffic control signs and signals. In general, traffic laws require pedestrians to yield to motorists when they are outside of a crosswalk to avoid the risk of being hit by a car. A personal injury attorney commonly sees serious injuries and fatalities caused by jaywalking accidents. Under Tennessee pedestrian laws, pedestrians have the right of way at all intersections and driveways, but they are required to obey traffic signals when available. In Tennessee, pedestrians have a duty of care for their own safety. They must yield the right of way to all moving motorists on the road. They must look both ways and exercise safe behavior when crossing the road at any point other than in a marked crosswalk or at an intersection. On roadways without sidewalks, pedestrians must walk facing oncoming traffic.


Determining Fault for Jaywalking Accidents

Tennessee traffic laws are enacted to protect both drivers and pedestrians. Drivers must yield to pedestrians crossing the street in crosswalks and school zones. They must come to a complete stop and wait until pedestrians have safely crossed. Drivers are expected to do everything possible to avoid hitting pedestrians, even if they are illegally jaywalking. Pedestrians are also required to obey traffic laws. Pedestrians who ignore traffic signs and signals put drivers and themselves at risk. A Tennessee personal injury attorney often sees pedestrian injuries that range from broken bones to death. When dealing with car accidents, Tennessee is a “fault” state. Generally, motorists have the right of way on the road and pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks. If a pedestrian jaywalks and gets hit by a motorist, the pedestrian may be found at fault for the accident. If the motorist is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he/she will likely be found liable, even if the pedestrian is jaywalking.

Death of Trapped Teen Raises Awareness About Improving Emergency Response Systems

Death of Trapped Teen Raises Awareness About Improving Emergency Response Systems

Police Fail to Find Teen

A tragic incident involving a teen that died after calling 911 while trapped in his van highlights problems with emergency response centers nationwide, including in Tennessee. The center and others like it have been plagued with inadequate staffing, training issues, and outdated technology for years, and the failure to take prompt action could result in catastrophic consequences for injured or ill victims.

According to reports, 16-year-old Kyle Plush was asphyxiated by a seat in his Honda Odyssey when he became trapped while reaching for his tennis equipment. The Ohio teen was scheduled to practice tennis and was parked outside his high school. He reached to retrieve his equipment when the seat flipped over and trapped him. Since his phone was in his pocket, Kyle used voice commands and Siri to call 911. An internal investigation revealed several problems that were highlighted by the Cincinnati City Council. The automated response overrode the teen’s initial comments, he was unable to respond to questions from the dispatcher, and the first call was disconnected. He called a second time and provided vehicle description information, but his comments, and the fact that someone was heard banging and yelling was heard, were not communicated to police. Additionally, information that was available was not adequately utilized to locate Kyle. The teen’s father found him dead inside the van nearly six hours after the initial 911 call. The Cincinnati City Council is now working to improve its emergency response center after admitting that multiple errors were made in response to the boy’s two 911 calls. The city and Honda may both be liable for the accident.


Problems With Emergency Response Systems

Problems with staffing, operations, outdated technology and inadequate training plague emergency response systems throughout the nation. These issues can result in extensive wait times for people to get help, miscommunication, disconnected calls, the inability of responders to locate callers, inappropriate responses to true emergencies, and more. As 911 calls from cellular phones become more common, problems within emergency systems are only getting worse. When every second counts, cities, counties, manufacturers, and others can be held liable for technological errors, negligence in hiring, training and supervising workers, communication problems, and equipment failures.