Archive for November 9th, 2010

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Drowsy Driving accounts for 17 percent of fatal car accidents

November 9, 2010

Drunk driving and cell phone distractions are obvious triggers for car accidents, but according to new data, driving while drowsy has become almost as dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2009, 730 people died in car accidents due to drowsy drivers. This accounts for over 16.5 percent of all car accident related fatalities last year. A national survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that over 41 percent of all drivers in the U.S. admitted to falling asleep or nodding off at some point while driving.

The NHTSA found that drowsy driving was the third leading cause of car accident related fatalities in 2009. The first two were accidents involving alcohol at 32 percent and cell phone or other technology related distractions following at 31 percent.

Rather than trying to push through when you feel yourself becoming drowsy, take the proper steps to ensure your safety as well as the safety of others. The AAA foundation for Traffic Safety suggests that when you are driving long distances you should stop at least once every two hours, drink plenty of water, and avoid eating heavy meals.

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Carnival Splendor Cruise Ship catches on Fire

November 9, 2010

The Carnival Splendor Cruise ship caught on fire early Monday, leaving over 3,200 passengers stranded on the ship off the coast of Mexico.  By Tuesday, the United States Coast Guard had reached the ship.

U.S.C.G. officer Khris Johns reported on “Today” that the fire was located in the aft engine room.  The fire caused the ship to be without engine power, drifting approximately 80 miles off the coast of Ensenada, Mexico.  The Coast Guard has summoned two large tug boats to respond to the ship.  Once the tug boats arrive, it will take approximately 24 hours for the ship to be towed port in Ensenada.

The Coast Guard has stated that the passengers are not in any “immediate” danger, and no injuries have been reported yet.  The Carnival Splendor was only able to restore toilet service late Monday, and there is still no hot water, air conditioning, hot food or telephone service on board.

The fire on board the Splendor brings the issue of cruise ship safety into the public eye.  Earlier this year the Cruise Ship Safety Bill was signed into law giving added protection to cruise ship passengers.  The bill was voted into law in response to numerous incidents of passengers disappearing while on board a cruise ship, multiple incidences of sexual assaults occurring on board cruise ships, and the many accidents and injuries which occur on today’s large cruise ships.

Cruise ship injury attorney Joseph M. Maus says that accidents such as the Carnival Splendor fire, as well as, injuries and accidents are going to continue to happen just based on the sheer size of todays ships.  The most recent cruise ship to hit the water is Royal Carribean’s Allure of the Seas, the sister ship to the current world’s largest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas.  The Allure of the Seas measures over 1,100 feet long, carries more than 5000 passengers, and stands 16 stories high.

Attorney Maus also says that passengers that become injured on the Carnival Splendor, as well as many other cruise ships, need to be aware of cruise ship ticket limitation which require a claim to be brought in a specific location.  For instance, if you become injured on a Carnival cruise ship, any claim must be brought in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami, FL.  This is true even if the cruise ship originates out of a California port.

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