March 19, 2015

Hands-Free Driving Isn't Necessarily Safer Driving

blurry%20road.jpgYour accident risk could still be high even if you are using a headset to have a conversations while driving. This includes the use of a voice-activated system in your car to accomplish functions that you would otherwise have done manually. A growing body of research indicates that voice technologies aren't necessarily safer technology, and won't necessarily help reduce the risk of an accident.

For years now, many of us have known that headsets don’t necessarily reduce accident risks. In spite of that, much of the focus on distracted driving across the country has been legislation that prohibits the use of handheld cell phones and texting devices at the wheel. Those bans are based on the theory that distractions involve visual, manual and cognitive distractions. That means anything that takes your hand away from the steering wheel, your eyes away from the road, and your mind off the task off the task of driving is considered a distraction.

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March 12, 2015

Back Seat Occupants at Greater Risk

seatbelt0101.jpgFor years, sitting in the backseat of a car was considered less risky than sitting in the front seat. However, over the years, front seats have gotten safer as technology for these occupants has improved, while safety technology for backseat occupants has lagged.

From smarter seat-belts to better airbags, occupants of the front seats now have a variety of features that are specifically designed to help reduce their risk of an injury in an accident. However, there has been comparatively little progress made in helping reduce the risk of injuries to backseat occupants. Therefore, the old adage that sitting in the backseat can help keep you safer in an accident, may not hold true.

Crash testing only makes use of front seat dummies. That means that most of the advancements that have been made over the past decade in occupant safety have primarily focused on safety for front seat passengers, traditionally believed to be at a high risk of injuries in an accident.

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March 5, 2015

Bicycle Fatalities Increase Across US

bike%20chain%20076.jpgWhile we are still in the throws of winter's grip, it wont be long before Indiana roads are filled with bicyclists ready to take advantage of a warm spring. With the increased bike traffic comes increased risk for injury and death.

One significant factor in this danger is the increasingly hostile traffic conditions for bicyclists. In 2013, federal authorities recorded an increase in the number of people killed in bicycle accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found an increase of 1.2% in bicycle fatalities in 2013. While 734 bicyclists were killed in 2012, the number jumped to 743 in 2013.

The increase in bicycle fatalities is even more alarming because the number of bicyclists being killed in accidents had previously dropped consistently between 1975 and 2010. However, authorities note an up-tick between 2010 and 2012, with the number of bicycle fatalities climbing by 16% annually.

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February 25, 2015

Hospital Infection Control Increase Patient Lifespan

sanitizer%20073.jpgWhen a senior citizen suffers an infection in a hospital intensive care unit, his risks of dying within the next five years increase significantly.

According to the results of a new study published recently in the American Journal of Infection Control, elderly patients in an intensive care unit who contract an infection during their stay in the hospital were 35% more likely to die within five years of being discharged from the hospital. The research was based an analysis of more than 17,500 senior citizens on Medicare and admitted to hospitals in 2002.

The rates of fatality after being discharged from the hospital increased significantly based on individual infections. For instance, the research found that 75% of all patients who suffered from central line associated bloodstream infections died within five years after being discharged from the hospital, while 77% of patients who contracted ventilator-associated pneumonia died during the same period of time.

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February 19, 2015

Drug Testing Policy Continues in 2015

drug%20trucker.jpgIn 2015, trucking companies in Indiana will continue to conduct random drug testing on 50% of their drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently announced that the industry would have to continue applying the 50% random testing rate for driver drug and alcohol tests in 2015. The agency says that it has decided to maintain the 2014 requirement, based on extensive data from the motor carrier industry, drug and alcohol test surveys, and other investigations.

This is good news for Indiana motorists but disappointing to the trucking industry which had been hoping for a reduction of the random drug testing rate set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The industry had specifically been hoping for a reduction of the staggeringly low rate to a 25% sampling. Currently, a number of other transportation sectors including public transport have a 25% drug testing requirement.

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February 12, 2015

Pediatric Medication Error Statistics: Children Below One at Highest Risk

baby%20rattle.jpgFew are at a higher risk for medication errors than pediatric patients. Few patients are also at much higher risk of injury from such errors, than children. Medication errors involving children are far more common than we know.

One reason for this fact is that the most frequent factors affecting pediatric medication errors are unlike those the error rates involving adults. A recently published study in the journal Pediatrics furnished the following findings. Every year...

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February 5, 2015

Drop in Traffic Fatalities in 2013

scratch%20and%20dent.jpgTraffic accident fatalities across the country dropped in 2013, compared to the previous year. According to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of highway traffic accident fatalities across the country dropped to from 33,782 in 2012 to 32,719 in 2013. That was a decrease of more than 1,000 deaths, much of that driven by a drop in the number of motorcycle fatalities and drunk driving deaths. Although that is encouraging news, the fact that 32,719 lives were lost in accidents is a tragedy. While a significant decrease, the number of deaths are still far too high.

Over the past decade, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported significant declines in traffic accident fatalities, boosted by dramatic drops in the number of people killed in alcohol-related car accidents and motorcycle wrecks. That trend continued this year. In 2013, 10,076 fatalities were linked to driving under the influence of alcohol. That was a drop from 10,336 drunk driving accident fatalities reported in 2012. The most significant progress that was made in 2013 was in the number of motorcycle accident fatalities.

Contrary to the national trend, Indiana experienced a slight increase in traffic accident deaths...

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January 29, 2015

Drop in Medical Errors

downward%20trend.jpgNew statistics signify possible progress in reducing the number of reported hospital errors across the country. According to a recent government report, hospitals are actually making fewer errors than before, and over a three-year period actually saving tens of thousands of lives.

According to statistics for 2013 by the Department Of Health And Human Services, the national hospital error rate dropped by approximately 9% between 2012 and 2013. The statistics were also a continuation of slow but steady progress in reducing hospital errors. The rate in 2013 was 70% lower than the error rate in 2010.

As a result of those fewer errors, the report estimates that there were 800,000 fewer incidents of patient harm in 2013, compared to if the errors had remained at 2010 level. The statistics also indicate that more than 50,000 lives have been saved as a result of the hospital errors.

The report was based on an analysis by the Centers for Medicaid Services. The agency reviewed 18,000 to 30,000 medical records for the years 2011, 2012, and 2013. The chart review revealed some impressive statistics.

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January 22, 2015

Accident Dangers Involving Snow Plow Trucks

Indiana%20Winter.jpg As Indiana's winter continues, Indiana Department of Transportation drivers will be out in full force. Winter isn't over yet and more snow is expected in the coming weeks. Because of the falling snow and icy road conditions, you'll see a number of plows and salt trucks out clearing the roads and doing their job.

Because of their slower speeds, motorists often assume that plows are safer than most heavy equipment. While they do not travel at excessive speeds, snow plows must conduct certain types of driving practices that may endanger other motorists. For instance, a snow plow may travel in the center of the road with large protruding blades that remove the snow. If a driver tries to pass a snow plow they may not account for the width of the blade and its position on the road. Drivers must be extremely cautious when driving near or around a plow.

If a driver finds themselves behind a snow plow, they should maintain as much distance as possible betwee0 their vehicle and the plow. Remember that snow plow operators are highly trained professionals who are working to keep you safe. Their job is to make the road convenient for you to use. A few minutes’ worth of delay is worth the wait. A dry road that is completely free of snow and ice will be much safer for all.

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January 15, 2015

Stay Safe This Winter with These Important Reminders

snowy%20road.jpgIt’s not just motorists who are at a high risk of accidents on the slick road surfaces or darker driving conditions of winter. Pedestrians are at a much higher risk of accidents because of those dangerous factors and several others. Keep these simple safety tips in mind when you drive and walk this winter.

Over the next few weeks, make sure that your car is primed for driving. Stock up with the essentials and keep an emergency kit in your car to help keep you safe if you are stranded during a sudden storm. Monitor your local weather alerts to see if there is any snow predicted for your route and if there is a snow alert, take an alternative route, or cancel the trip.

Make sure that your car is in good working order. Check brake fluids, windshield wipers, and tire pressure. Remember, your car will be under immense stress as you drive over rain or snow-covered roads, or slick and slippery surfaces. Keep the windshield clean. Any scratches or dents on the windscreen could scatter sunlight, creating glare, and impact impairing your ability to drive safely.

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January 8, 2015

Risk Factors for ATV Injuries

ATV%20001.jpgNew research finds that failure to wear helmets and riding ATV's on the roads are two of the factors that increase the risk of accidents and injuries for drivers of all-terrain vehicles. According to the researchers, families continue to buy large vehicles for their children in spite of the fact that these vehicles are much harder to control for their children.

ATV's continue a dangerous mode of transportation for the children of Indiana, in spite of the national spotlight on the lack of safety in these vehicles. Of special concern to Indiana personal injury lawyers is the use of adult-sized ATV's by children. Far too many Indiana parents continue to give their children adult-sized ATV's, wrongly believing that their children have the emotional maturity and the physical strength to control these large vehicles. Unfortunately, many accidents involving catastrophic injuries and fatalities, involve a larger sized vehicle.

Your child could also be at risk of an injury when they are riding as a passenger in on an ATV. There are dangers involved in both carrying passengers or riding as a passenger in these vehicles.

Yet another factor associated with a higher risk of injuries in ATV accidents is the failure to wear safety helmets. A child who is not wearing a helmet could be at a serious risk of head injuries in the event of an accident.

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December 31, 2014

How to Avoid Drunk Drivers

00%20glass.jpgEach holiday season, especially Christmas and New Year's Eve, the number of intoxicated motorists on Indiana streets and highways reach the their highest numbers of the year. New Year's Eve is the most alcohol-heavy day of the year, accounting for more drunk driving accidents than any other.

You might be cautious and may avoid driving under the influence of alcohol, but you will likely share the road with many intoxicated motorists who have not made the effort to curb their intake. What can a driver do to remain safe and out of the way of so many intoxicated motorists?

The first thing to do is to recognize signs of drunk driving. Be alert and watch out for drivers who are driving in the center of the road, straddling the lane marker, or tailgating another vehicle coming almost close to striking the vehicle in front.

Drunk drivers also typically turn with a wide radius and may switch between lanes haphazardly. They make illegal turns and may drive slower than the speed limit. If you find a driver who stops without any reason or brakes erratically, know that you are possibly driving near an impaired driver.

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