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CHP say nozzle from Caltrans truck caused fatal crash

Accident investigators in California say that a fatal crash in San Mateo County on Sept. 16 may have been caused by a water nozzle that had fallen off a truck owned by the California Department of Transportation. An 82-year-old Mountain View man was killed when the nozzle shattered his van's windshield and struck him in the neck. The accident took place on U.S. Highway 101 in East Palo Alto at approximately 1:10 p.m.

Accident investigators from the California Highway Patrol determined that the object recovered at the scene had come from a Caltrans water truck after consulting with the state agency. The truck involved was quickly identified, and reports indicate that it was traveling between jobs when the screw-on nozzle cap became loose and fell off. Officials did not say what may have caused the nozzle to detach, and they did not explain why it was not properly secured by a chain.

Compensation options for construction workers

There are numerous construction projects that take place in California each year. If someone sustains an injury or is killed while on a construction site, there are multiple avenues the injured worker or surviving family members can take to obtain compensation.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 49 construction workers killed on-site in 2014, which accounts for 14.2 percent of the total number of workers who died at the workplace in the state. Data from the Occupation Safety and Health Administration show that in 2014, 899 construction workers nationwide were killed at work, a figure that made up 20 percent of the total number killed among all industries.

Car wreck victims can collect various types of compensation

Californians who travel the state's roadways may find themselves involved in serious car accidents that result in personal injuries or property losses. Experts say that there are multiple forms of compensatory damages potentially available to these victims and their families. An individual's eligibility for each type, however, depends on the kind of accident circumstances they experienced.

One common economic damage category pursued by survivors includes medical expenses, such as hospital bills, ER fees and transportation costs. Victims can recover various kinds of expenses under the umbrella of medical costs, but they need to prove that they were incurred as a result of the accident. Medical damages and disability damages are distinct from each other even though medical testimonies may be used as evidence for both claim types. Some courts command people to pay damages for perceived disabilities in addition to those verified by health care practitioners.

Motor vehicle fatalities rise in 2015

California drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicycle riders and motorcyclists might be interested to learn that in 2015, there were 35,092 traffic accident fatalities around the country. This was a 7.2 percent jump from the previous year and represented the largest percentage increase in 50 years. The rate had been steadily decreasing in recent years, and experts attribute that drop to better use of seat belts, increased safety technology and less drunk driving.

The secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation has urged researchers, data scientists and safety experts to analyze the data to come up with ways to lower the fatality rate. Experts have cited a number of reasons for the increase. One is an improved economy leading to more jobs and lower gas prices meaning that more cars were on the road. In fact, in 2015, vehicle miles traveled had the highest percentage increase over the previous year in more than two decades.

Agencies seek to put speed caps on large vehicles

California drivers may be interested in learning about a proposal from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that would impose a limit on how fast buses, trucks and other large vehicles can travel. In order to accomplish this, all new U.S. vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds would have their speeds electronically capped at 60, 65 or 68 miles per hour.

Before the rule can be put into place, the government agencies must take public comment for 60 days. Once this period of time passes, the final speed limit cap must be determined. According to the agencies, implementing the speed cap would have a minimal cost because most of the trucks in the U.S. already have devices that limit their speed already installed. Additionally, most truck tires are not designed to go faster than 75 miles per hour. Tires that are traveling at faster speeds are at risk for blowing out and causing a serious crash.

California man killed in head-on collision in Sonoma County

A 41-year-old California man lost his life on the morning of Aug. 10 when he drove the wrong way on Alexander Valley Road in a remote part of Sonoma County and struck an oncoming vehicle head-on. The California Highway Patrol say that their investigation into the incident is continuing and alcohol consumption or drug use have not been ruled out as possible contributory factors. The accident took place near Healdsburg at about 10:00 a.m.

According to the CHP, a Kia sedan and a GMC SUV were traveling westbound on Alexander Valley Road at approximately 55 mph when they encountered a Honda sedan that had crossed the center line directly ahead of them shortly after passing Soda Rock Lane. The Indiana man behind the wheel of the SUV was able to avoid a head-on collision, but he was unable to prevent his vehicle from clipping the side of the Honda as it passed. The female driver of the Kia was given even less time to react, and she suffered serious injuries when her sedan struck the Honda.

San Francisco bicyclist deaths spur calls for accelerated safety measures

For about two years now, San Francisco has been committed to a Vision Zero traffic policy, which is aimed at reducing traffic deaths to zero by 2024.

Unfortunately, deadly traffic accidents continue to happen, and Mayor Ed Lee has called for accelerated safety improvements in the wake of recent bicyclist and pedestrian deaths.

What All California Drivers Should Know about Smartphones and Driving

In recent years, distracted driving has annually been linked to more than 420,000 injuries and more than 3,100 deaths in the United States.

Those numbers, along with the undeniable devastation for crash victims and their families, should be enough to cause drivers to put down their phones and focus on the task at hand.

Teens face driving distractions beyond texting

California drivers may be alarmed to hear that teenagers perform a variety of dangerous activities after getting behind the wheels of their vehicles. A recent study published in the Journal of Transportation Safety found that in addition to texting while driving, many teens surveyed said that they engaged in other distractions that surprised researchers, with some even reporting that they did their homework behind the wheel.

Drivers of all ages are more likely to be involved in car accidents when they engage in distractions while driving. While the teenagers surveyed in the study apparently understood the risks of texting while driving, with participants reporting doing so at lower rates than in previous studies, they did not seem to understand the dangers of other actions.

Man killed in head-on crash in California

A head-on accident involving two pickup trucks near Lompoc claimed the life of a 32-year-old Lynwood man and left a 33-year-old Lompoc resident seriously injured, according to the California Highway Patrol. The accident took place on Highway 1.

According to a CHP representative, officers responded to the scene of the car crash around 6:30 a.m. They determined that a pickup truck had crossed the roadway's double yellow lines and struck another pickup truck head-on. Responding police officers did not immediately say why the first vehicle may have crossed into the path of oncoming traffic.

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