drugsTruck drivers traversing the country to deliver goods are important to the economy. This is especially true in countries with poor rail systems. Truck drivers often have long work hours, short deadlines and tight goals that make their job difficult.

There are a number of factors that go into truck drivers taking psychoactive drugs. Most are used to increase willingness to work, reduce sleepiness and increase socialization. There are some side effects that play into taking these drugs. Amphetamines, for example, can cause tachycardia, agitation, hallucinations and vertigo. These symptoms can increase the risk of getting into traffic accidents.

A search was done of 367 separate studies on psychoactive drug use among truckers. Of these, 34 studies were included in the review. Studies were carried out in areas such as the USA, Brazil and Australia, which were large land areas. A total of 70 percent of studies looked only at male drivers. Of the 36 investigations, about 32 looked at self-reporting as a method of getting data and thirteen looked only at blood drawing to define who was involved in illicit drugs. Some used only forensic samples. The drugs consumed in these studies were alcohol, amphetamines, marijuana and cocaine.   In the fifteen studies that involved biological sampling, amphetamines, marijuana and cocaine presented the greatest risk.

Analyses for identifying amphetamines, marijuana and cocaine were the most common. The average frequency of alcohol self-report was 54.3 percent. There were very few admitting alcohol consumption in Pakistan (9.9 percent) and a high number admitting to alcohol consumption in Brazil (91 percent). Among those showing a high alcohol percentage on forensic samples, the US was the highest at 12.5 percent.

Amphetamine use was low in Italy at 0.9 percent and highest in Brazil at 70.0 percent. Forensic samples of amphetamine use were identified as low in Norway (0.2 percent) and high in Thailand at 82.7 percent.   Less commonly, marijuana use averaged 4.7 percent and cocaine use averaged 1.8 percent. Other substances were more rare, such as opioids, phentermine, codeine, benzodiazepines, antihistamines, energy drinks, coffee and others.

Alcohol use was affiliated with truckers of younger age, being Catholic, having sleep disordered breathing, smoking, having high blood pressure and being involved in more accidents. The usage of amphetamines was related to drivers driving the night shift and being a trucker for a longer period of time. Amphetamine users tended to be younger, drive for longer periods of time, had a higher income and also consumed alcohol.

Some truckers used a caffeinated substance and drove more hours throughout the day. In Australia, stimulants were used when the driver had less experience, worked in small and medium-sized companies, low incomes, fatigue and productivity-based earnings.

Factors involved in using psychoactive drugs overall included having less resting time and working more night shifts. The drivers need to resort to other strategies to stay awake on the job. If the job was productivity-based or there were lower incomes, the use of psychoactive drugs increased.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Trucking Injury  Attorney with the primary accident information site on the web, www.AutoAccident.com.

If you or someone you love has been in a trucking accident, call me now at 916-921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call at 800-404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

You can find out more about our office by looking either Yelp or on Avvo, the attorney raring site.


As a California  personal injury attorney, I often read publications and texts nationwide regarding different varieties of injury as well as different ways of dying.

I was struck today reading a brief from the National Safety Council, which broke down causes of fatalities by cause and by state.

Although California’s population is almost 50% larger than that of Texas, Texas’ fatality rate is much higher.

Texas has more fatalities in motor vehicle accidents ,  more deaths by choking, more deaths by drowning, more deaths by fire and more deaths by suffocation than any other state in the union.

Texas also has the most unintentional deaths by firearms, machinery and electrocution (not deliberate electrocution).

So again, why are the stats in Texas so extreme? Anyone?

I’m Ed Smith, a California personal injury lawyer whose web site, www.AutoAccident.com is the leading source of motor vehicle accident information. Read more about our office on

Yelp, Nolo or Avvo (The lawyer rating site). If I can help you or your family in any personal injury or unintentional death case, please call me anytime. In Sacramento, 916-921-6400. Elsewhere






A report released that dog bite claims are on the rise across the states by 5.5 percent since last year and California is ranked the highest according to the Insurance Information Institute. California had the most claims last year at 1,919.

The study reported that in 2013, insurance companies in California paid out over $64 million in claims involving dog bites. California law holds dog owners 100% liable when their dog bites someone.

What is the definition of a dog bite in California?


The meaning of a dog bite can differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In California, the bite does not need to puncture the skin of a victim to make a claim. Absent a statute or ordinance defining dog bite, courts hold the standard meaning of “bite” “to seize with the teeth so that they enter, grip or wound”. The injury can be very minor to serious. If you have suffered from a dog bite of any kind, it is best to talk with an experienced Sacramento dog bite Attorney.

Common injures from dog bites range from bruises, nips and scrapes, to lacerations, puncture wounds, and tears that cause bleeding.

Edward Smith has been helping dog bite victims in Sacramento and throughout California for over 30 years. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, contact my office for free friendly advice at 916-921-6400 or toll free at 1-800-404-5400.  I can also be found on Yelp.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury attorney since 1982. Many people over the years have asked me what a “personal injury” actually is.

Legally, a personal injury lawsuit is a suit filed in a court by someone who has been emotionally or physically injured by the act of another.

Some of the common types of personal injury are injuries arising from auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and trucking accidents.

In addition to injuries involving motor vehicles, personal injuries include injuries from medical negligence (Called  medical malpractice) or injuries because

of the negligence of other professionals such as Legal Malpractice or Accountant Malpractice.

Other common causes of personal injuries are dogbites, drownings, death or injury by defective products or injuries or death from slips or falls.

Intentional acts, such as assaults or trespasses may also be considered personal injury cases.

If you have a gut feeling that some person or entity caused you a serious injury, whether bodily or emotionally, its worth talking it over with a tort or personal injury lawyer.


I’m Ed Smith, helping people with serious injuries in Sacramento and throughout the state of California since 1982. Call me anytime for free, friendly advice. In Sacramento at 916-921-6400 or elsewhere 800-404-5400.

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To find out more about us, look us up on Yelp or Avvo (The Lawyer Rating site).



I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney and this is a continuing series about statistics in auto, motorcycle and trucking accidents.

Clients have often asked me the most dangerous day of the week to be driving.  In 2012, most fatalities happened on Saturdays (18 percent), while Sundays ( 16 percent) and Fridays (15 percent) were close behind. The morning rush hours were the most dangerous time of day, followed by the evening rush hours.

The most dangerous month for accidents was July, closely followed by June and September.


Holiday driving is especially hazardous. The greatest number of motor vehicle deaths occur on Thanksgiving (484) , closely followed by Labor Day (473)  and the the 4th of July  (Independence Day) 472.

The above statistics were from the National Safety Council.

Again, I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury attorney since 1982. If I can help you or someone you love, call me anytime at 916-921-6400 or 800-404-5400. You can find out more about my law firm,  AutoAccident.com here or read about us on Yelp, Nolo or Avvo.

Or join our Facebook Family here.


A study was done looking at two vehicle collisions that included a passenger car and a light truck, defined as a minivan, van, pickup truck or SUV). They looked at the likelihood of having a fatality, a hospitalization, and the hospitalization charges, looking at vehicle type to see if there was any difference between passenger vehicles and light trucks.

They used data from Minnesota’s Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System or CODES between the years 2004 and 2005. They looked specifically for crash data involving a car and a light truck; only police-reported accidents were used. They were curious about defining a model that predicted the rate of hospitalization depending on various variables. They also did a model of the likelihood of a fatality. In all models, they made a distinction between the two types of vehicles and controlled for factors like occupant, vehicle and crash characteristics. There were separate models for drivers and passengers.

In crashes between a car and a light truck, it turned out that the drivers of the light trucks were less likely to end up in the hospital with an odds ratio of 64 percent. They were less likely to be killed, with an odds ratio of 35 percent. Passengers of light trucks fared better as well with a likelihood of being hospitalized at an odds ratio of 66 percent and fatality with an odds ratio of 14 percent. Among those patients that were hospitalized, there were no differences in hospital costs between passenger car drivers and light truck drivers. There was a difference in hospital charges between light truck passengers who had 59 percent of the charges for hospitalized automobile passengers.ER

There have been other studies which showed high rates of fatality costs because of light trucks. The above study was the first that looked at hospital costs associated with light trucks. The current liability systems fail to fully make the drivers of light trucks accountable for the added costs imposed on other drivers, passengers and pedestrians. The article looked at the costs incurred beyond the costs of fatalities and hospitalizations to decide on the amount of corrective policies or taxes, perhaps in future writings.

Another study looked at the fatalities among occupants of the cargo areas of pickup trucks. The study compared fatalities among occupants of the cargo area versus fatalities among those who were in the cab of the vehicle. Information was taken from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) in files from 1987-1996. They were able to collect a group of pickup truck fatalities, regardless of location in the vehicle. In their evaluation, they discovered that 34 percent of fatalities to cargo occupants happened in non-crash events in which the vehicle was not damaged. A total of 55 percent of those fatalities were between the ages of 15-29; about 79 percent were male. The fatality risk ratio compared cargo occupants to front seat occupants was 3.0. The risk was 7.9 times that of restrained occupants in the front seat. The fatality risk ratio was 92 times for fatalities in non-crash events and was 1.7 in situations where the vehicle was deformed in the crash. The fatality risk ratio was 1.8 relating to occupants of the cargo area that was enclosed and 3.5 for occupants in open cargo areas. The conclusion was that passengers located in the cargo area of the pickup truck were at greater risk of death than those who sit restrained in the front seat. People who have camper shells were not really protecting the occupants.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Trucking Accident and Wrongful Death  Attorney with the primary accident information site on the web, autoaccident.com.

If you or someone you love has been in a trucking accident, call me now at 916-921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call at 800-404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

You can find out more about our office by looking either Yelp or Avvo, the attorney-rating site.

Truck driver fatigue  is,  and has been an issue in many  fatal accidents . It is believed to have accounted for approximately ten percent of all fatal car crashes between 2009 and 2011. The safety of commercial drivers deteriorates easily when fatigue is a factor. These drivers have long hours driving trucks and their  work schedules  are irregular. To stay safe, many truck drivers take adequate  off-duty time and frequent short rest breaks while driving.

One study looked at impacts of off-duty time as well as  and short rest breaks on the safety of commercial truck driving. They found that when a driver increased the total rest break time, there were fewer truck-related crashes due to fatigue. In the same way, having more rest breaks helped reduce the number of fatigue-related crashes. Two rest breaks seem adequate in a ten hour trip. More rest breaks don’t seem to add to safety. The duration of the rest break should be about 30 minutes. The rest breaks shouldn’t be too soon after starting the trip because such  breaks would be less effective.

Rest time and scheduled breaks  improve truck driver and road safety.

Another study looked at the effect of fatigue on driving ability among commercial truck drivers. In 1995, the US Department of Transportation indicated that driver fatigue is a problem on the roads and that drivers of trucks affected by fatigue are a serious threat to the safety of the public. The study looked at classifications of fatigue such as physical and mental fatigue. They identified general and local fatigue, such as ocular fatigue, auditory fatigue and muscular fatigue. They classified fatigue according to intensity such as acute, sub-acute, chronic fatigue and weariness.

They looked at two groups according to various factors.

1. Sleep related fatigue—those who had a cumulative sleep deficit, and

2. Task-related fatigue—that which is related to driving time and vehicle use.

It turns out that the major effect of driver fatigue is that the driver becomes progressively diverted from the road and from traffic resulting in poor driving performance. The effects are similar to alcohol intake. They state that there are methods possible that can counteract and prevent fatigue.


I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Trucking Injury  Attorney with the primary accident information site on the web, www.AutoAccident.com.  If you or someone you love has been in a trucking accident, call me now at 916-921-6400.  If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call at 800-404-5400 for free, friendly advice.  You can find out more about our office by looking at either Yelp or on Avvo, the attorney rating site.


The trucking industry has been concerned about obstructive sleep apnea in commercial driver for many decades. With sleep apnea, the trucker gets poor sleep that can affect their ability to drive safely. This leads to an increase in truck accidents, which can be fatal. Combine poor sleep, long driving times and short sleep times and you get accidents. Drivers are required to have a physical every two years to stay certified. Examiners are now encouraged to do a sleep study on these drivers to rule out obstructive sleep apnea. There are also written score tests that can help define who needs a sleep study and who does not.

Commercial driving is a hazardous job, having the third highest rate of fatality among jobs in the US.  The prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea among US commercial truck drivers is estimated to be 17-28 percent. Unfortunately, screening for this disorder is not mandated by US law. The researchers provide the reader with an evidence-based screening tool that can help define who needs further screening. Such screening testing led to an increase in the identification of commercial drivers who could then be treated for the disorder.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Trucking Injury Attorney with the primary accident information site on the web, www.AutoAccident.com. If you or someone you love has been in a trucking accident, call me now at 916-921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call at 800-404-5400 for free, friendly advice.  You can find out more about our office by looking at either Yelp or on Avvo, the attorney rating site.

The Safety of Motorcycle Helmets

Motorcycle helmets aren’t a complete preventative against facial and head trauma. A study was done that looked at helmet type and its relationship to rider protection. The study was a retrospective one looking at patients with traumatic brain injury, facial fractures and facial injuries, along with the type of helmet used.

There were 253 motorcyclists in the study who sustained cranio-maxillofacial injuries. A total of 156 patients were not wearing a helmet, 51 were using an open face helmet and 46 were using full face helmets. Unhelmeted riders had higher scores for facial injury when compared to those that had full face helmets. There was no advantage to wearing an open face helmet. Traumatic brain injuries were much greater in open face helmets when compared to full-face helmets.

It was concluded that open face helmets didn’t offer complete protection against injury to the brain, maxilla and other facial bones. Even full face helmets didn’t prevent the rider from complete injury.

Another study indicated that motorcyclists often die or are seriously injured in traffic accidents. Head injuries are particularly common. It has been implicated that helmets lessen driver vision and increase the risk of neck injuries. The study is aimed at assessing the effects of wearing a helmet when it comes to reducing head and neck injuries and lessening mortality.  The study  looked at motorcycle riders who had a crash and who were  or were not wearing a helmet.

Motorcycle helmets definitely reduced the risks of head injury or death in motorists who crashed. Helmets reduced the risk of death by 42 percent and the risk of head injury by 69 percent. There wasn’t a difference between helmet wearers and non-helmet wearers when it came to facial injuries. Helmets didn’t make a difference in preventing neck injuries.

In still another study, the effectiveness of motorcycle helmets was looked at when it came to severe head trauma.  Helmets definitely gave the rider the advantage but it was not quantifiable.  There were 755 injured motorcyclists in the study. A total of 391 participants had a facial injury and 364 didn’t have a facial injury.

The helmet fixation was felt to have a bigger impact on facial injuries than were helmet types. Motorcyclists that had visor damage were more likely to have facial trauma when compared to those who didn’t have a damaged visor.  Any type of helmet when worn properly and when affixed to the head provides protection to the face.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Motorcycle Injury  Attorney with the primary accident information site on the web, www.AutoAccident.com. If you or someone you love has been in a motorcycle accident, call me now at 916-921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call at 800-404-5400 for free, friendly advice. You can find out more about our office by looking either Yelp or on Avvo, the attorney raring site.

The first study looks at the total count per year of spinal injuries in automobile crashes using data from 1994 to 2011. It looked at the rate of spinal cord injuries and fracture-dislocations of the vertebrae. Data from 1994-2011 was used to determine the rate of spine injuries for drivers and front seat passengers involved in a crash.

There were greater than 5,500 fracture dislocations and slightly more than 100 spinal cord injuries per year from automobile accidents. Most injuries occurred with collisions involving frontal impacts or vehicle rollovers; the least happened in rear accident. The overall rate in all accidents for spinal cord injury was at 0.054 percent and the greatestrate occurred in rollovers at 0.22 percent. For fracture dislocations of the spine, the greatest rate was 1.55 percent while the lowest rate was at 0.065 percent in rear impact accidents. Seat belt use gave an 81 percent effectiveness of reducing spinal cord injuries. The area where most injuries occurred was the C-spine (or cervical spine) which accounted for 66.3 percent of all injuries, while the thoracic spine accounted for 30.5 percent and the lumbar spine accounted for 3.2 percent. Serious head injuries happened 13.3 times more frequently than spinal cord injuries.

Basically, spinal cord injuries were present in one out of every 1,860 drivers and front seat passengers involved in a severe motor vehicle crashes. Seat belts helped reduce the risk of spinal cord injuries. Fracture dislocations happened at a rate 5.3 times as frequently as spinal cord injuries and seat belts prevented these types of interviews as well.http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-cervical-spine-front-image196847

Another study looked at the change in velocity and energy dissipation upon impact on the incidence of spine fractures, spinal cord injury, spinal cord fracture mortality and the other injury patterns in frontal and lateral motor vehicle accidents. There were 214 patients looked at spinal fractures or spinal cord injury who were compared to 938 patients who didn’t have these injuries. All were front seat passengers.

When the change in velocity and energy dissipation increased, injuries were greater. There were more cervical fractures than spinal injuries and more thoracic injuries than lumbar injuries. The incidence of spinal cord injury was highest in cervical spinal fractures at 33 percent, with thoracic spinal fractures having 18 percent spinal injuries and lumbar injuries at 2 percent. A total of 80 percent of all deaths from spinal cord injury occurred in cases of cervical spinal fractures and in 74 percent of all cases also exhibited brain injuries. The thoracic spinal fracture deaths were usually due to a combination of brain injury (45 percent), thoracic injuries (95 percent) and pelvic fractures (50 percent). The airbag or seatbelt protected a person at low changes of velocity but at high changes in velocity, there were times when the air bag or eat belt was responsible for the spinal injury.

The study concluded that better protection is needed for patients driving in higher change in velocity crashes.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney with the primary accident information site on the web, AutoAccident.com. If you or someone you love has been injured in a motor vehicle collision, call me now at 916-921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call at 800-404-5400 for free, friendly advice. You can find out more about our office by looking either Yelp or on Avvo, the attorney raring site.