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NTSB presses for regulations to prevent trucking accidents

Pennsylvania truckers may be affected if highway regulators begin to act on the 100 recommendations that have been made by the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB says that although fatal truck accidents rose 17 percent between 2009 and 2013, its recommendations have so far not been implemented.

In January 2015, the NTSB released a list of the recommendations the organization believes are most crucial. It also pointed to new technology that could lead to safer roads including sensors that alert trucks when a driver has changed lines or before they hit a vehicle from behind. They are also calling on more regulation for the industry including limiting driver hours and screening drivers for sleep disorders.

Mother of three killed by drowsy driver while jogging

On Jan. 20, a driver who struck and killed a jogger in Pennsylvania received a sentence of one to seven years in state prison. The 55-year-old man pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide, involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment for the death of the 47-year-old woman. Although the man asked for a reduced sentence, the judge refused, commenting that the man had made a conscious choice to drive while he was feeling drowsy.

The reckless driving accident took place on March 12 while the victim was jogging south on the northbound shoulder of Route 873 in Washington Township. At about 12:30 p.m., the driver struck the woman from behind near Phillips Road. Prior to the accident, witnesses say the man was seen drifting in and out of his lane and driving behind other cars too closely.

Fatal Pennsylvania tractor-trailer crash closes I-95 at rush hour

A 58-year-old man died when his tractor-trailer overturned in a multi-vehicle accident on I-95. The northbound lane south of the Street Road exit in Bensalem needed to be closed for several hours. Rush hour traffic was badly delayed during the wreck's clean up.

Pennsylvania State Police reported that at about 1:15 p.m., the accident began when a Volvo tractor-trailer operated by a 48-year-old man from Oregon hit the back of a Nissan Murano. The crash then involved three more cars. The tractor-trailer swerved left across two lanes and caused another tractor-trailer to veer into a guardrail. The second tractor-trailer then flipped over, and its driver did not survive.

Understanding the process of forceps-assisted deliveries

Couples in Pennsylvania who are expecting a child may not be familiar with what forceps delivery or vacuum-assisted delivery entails. During this process, if the physician decides that waiting for the mother to push the baby out of the birth canal is too risky for either her or her child, forceps delivery might be recommended.

This should be implemented after the mother's cervix is completely dilated and the baby is in the birth canal; the physician may deem that she needs additional assistance in pushing the baby. Forceps are used on the baby's head to help guide it the rest of the way out. However, the tools can only be used if the baby is in proper positioning. If it is not properly positioned or not far enough along in the birth canal, forceps may be unsafe for the baby. Often, a physician may use forceps-assisted delivery in any situation where it may be safer for the mother and baby or if the baby needs to be delivered more quickly than the mother is able to push it out on her own.

Active Marine dies in fiery truck accident in Pennsylvania

Two young Pennsylvania boys ages 5 and 2 lost their father when the driver of an International truck failed to stop at a stop sign at the bottom of a hill in Susquehanna County. The truck struck the vehicle of a 27-year-old Marine staff sergeant already stopped at the sign. The impact forced the Marine's SUV into the tractor trailer in front of him, and a severe fire resulted.

News reports about the truck accident described the fire as "very intense." The vehicle identification number of the Marine's SUV melted. State troopers identified his body based on the presence of his father's hunting rifle inside the burned vehicle.

2 dead, many others injured in 18-vehicle Pennsylvania pileup

A crash involving 18 vehicles on a snowy Pennsylvania road on Jan. 7 left two people dead and about 20 people injured. The accident occurred along Interstate 80 in whiteout conditions.

The two individuals who died had left their vehicles. A 35-year-old man with internal injuries died while searching for his children. The children had been ejected, but were not injured. The other person died after being hit by a vehicle. Authorities report that a third individual died as well, but it was from a heart attack rather than injuries suffered in the accident. Three individuals were seriously injured, and the others had injuries ranging from broken bones to bumps.

Truck driver accused of killing 3 in crash to face trial

On Jan. 5, the driver of a semi-truck who was involved in a Pennsylvania car accident that killed three people was in court for his preliminary hearing. The report stated that the judge sent the case to trial after finding sufficient evidence.

The crash took place on Interstate 78 in May at approximately 1:15 p.m. The authorities alleged that the truck driver failed to slow down for traffic at the 41.5-mile marker in Greenwich Township. The truck driver was reportedly driving in the left lane when he struck a vehicle. That vehicle was pushed into several others before catching fire. The flames subsequently spread to two other vehicles. The truck driver reportedly attempted to back up when he saw the flames, but was unable to because a vehicle was trapped underneath the truck. The crash ultimately involved seven vehicles.

The dangers of distracted driving

Each year, many people are injured or killed in accidents caused by drivers who are distracted by cellphones, eating, navigation systems and talking. Of all of the types of distraction, reading and responding to text messages while driving is especially dangerous and is against the law in Pennsylvania.

Despite the risks of using cellphones while driving, 31 percent of U.S. drivers admitted to texting and driving within 30 days of a survey they took, while 69 percent admitted to talking on their cellphones while they were driving within the previous month. In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in crashes caused by distracted drivers while an additional 421,000 were injured.

Some fear prodigious fracking industry's affect on traffic

According to authorities, the booming fracking industry may be correlated with a spike in truck accidents on Pennsylvania roadways. Since 2011, the accidents involving heavy trucks has more than doubled in the state, reportedly.

Around this time, the state's multiple drilling counties reportedly experienced an explosion of activity on account of fracking production. Authorities say that the consequent demands and pressure within the industry can lead to perilous trucking practices. Reportedly, unmarked cargo is often transported despite dangerous road conditions and inclement weather. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a lot of industrial truck traffic is permitted to travel without displaying identification to the public on account of limited regulations on drilling waste. In the event of an accident, semi-trucks carrying industrial amounts of unidentified cargo may create paralyzing uncertainty for emergency response crews and medical personnel. If the cargo is in fact harmful to people or the environment, the results can be catastrophic, authorities suggest.

Preventing car accident injuries

Pennsylvania drivers can avoid accidents by paying attention to the road, but some crashes may occur anyway. Seat belts are one safety feature in vehicles that are intended to prevent serious injuries when an accident occurs, but being alert and properly restrained could reduce the risk for minor or common preventable injuries.

The feet, knees and legs might suffer lacerations or broken bones during an accident, but there is less risk of damage to these areas when one keeps these body parts together in a natural position. The use of a seat belt also helps by stopping one's body from jostling excessively or being thrown around.

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