Prescription Medications May Increase Risk of Drowsy Driving Accidents

Most motorists assume that if they have had their full eight hours of sleep and don’t take medications within a certain number of hours before driving, they are at a low risk of falling asleep at the wheel.  However, new data suggests that those taking sleep medications or antidepressants may be at a higher risk of dozing off and being involved in a car accident.

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned of an increased risk of drowsy driving the day after using the popular sleep aid Lunesta.  Lunesta contains eszoplicone which remains in the system several hours after taking the medication.  The agency is especially concerned about the potential for next-day driving impairment with the use of this drug.  It claims that the drug can possibly cause next-day impairment of driving as well as other important functions and, therefore, has recommended that the starting dose of the medication be reduced to 1 mg at bedtime.

The FDA is asking healthcare providers and doctors to follow the new recommendations for the administration of Lunesta for first time prescriptions. 


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print this article Posted By Robert Katz In Medications | 0 Comments Permalink

Tips to Stay Safe in the Summer

The warm summer months are in full swing, and so are the numerous health and safety risks that are prevalent during this time. Both adults and children are exposed to the risks of being injured in auto accidents, dog bites, boating and swimming incidents, barbecue fires and other safety risks during the weeks of summer.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has good advice for Americans to stay injury-free during the warm months of summer.

One of the biggest injury risks in the summer is being involved in a car accident. The months of June, July and August are considered the peak season for motor vehicle collisions, simply because there are more vehicles on the road.  Add to this the fact that too many of these motorists will be in a hurry to arrive at their destination, or will have had some alcohol to drink prior to getting behind the wheel, it’s easy to see the dangers that exist.  

Take into account that there are more drunk drivers and speeding drivers on the road. Try to keep the amount of traveling that you do at night to a minimum, and find less-traveled routes. Always wear your seatbelt, never drink and drive, and stay within the speed limit or a safe speed based on road conditions. If you're going to drink at a summer party, stay the night or have a sober driver take you home. 

Another major risk during summer is food poisoning. Food that has been kept out in warm Atlanta temperatures for just a few hours can begin to accumulate dangerous bacteria.  Make sure that food is kept at the recommended heat while being served, and then refrigerated within an hour of cooling. Take extra precautions with hand safety and raw meat contamination, especially when you’re eating outdoors.  



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print this article Posted By Robert Katz In Burn Injury , Children , Dog Bite Cases and Issues , Holiday Travel , Summer Safety | 0 Comments Permalink

Running Red Lights a Big Cause of Accidents Too

Every year approximately 1,000 people die in accidents that are caused directly by red light violations.  While there is understandably a lot of attention focused on driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding as primary contributors to accidents, much less attention is given to the fact that too many deadly accidents are caused by motorists who fail to stop at red lights.

The National Coalition for Safer Roads recently revealed an analysis of data involving red light violations across the country, which provided very interesting results.  For instance, the study found that most red light violations across the country occur on Fridays, and the time of the day that sees the highest number of light violations is the afternoon. The least number of violations is seen during the late-night hours.  Sunday sees the least number of violations among the days of the week.

Red light violations also seem to spike around major holidays.  Memorial Day weekend ranks number one in the number of red light violations.  A total of 39,021 red light violations were recorded in 2013 during the Memorial Day weekend.  The lowest number of red light violations occurs over the Halloween weekend with 20,902 violations.  In Georgia, however, the maximum number of red light violations occurred over the Christmas holiday with 400 violations recorded in the State in 2013.

The fact is that you are in danger of coming across a red light violator on any day of the year and at any time of the day.  Even “safe” drivers, who may never dream of driving under the influence of alcohol or driving while distracted see no problem running a red light when they are in a hurry. Such behavior is extremely dangerous, because running a red light creates a very real risk of crashing into a car from the side, often causing much more serious injuries. 

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print this article Posted By Robert Katz In Cell phones , Distracted Driving , Holiday Travel , Traffic Fatalities | 0 Comments Permalink

Prevent Swimming Pool Accidents This Summer

Some of the most common accidents that result in premises liability lawsuits are drowning and swimming pool accidents that occur at private homes. Drownings involving pools, hot tubs and spas claim hundreds of lives every year, many of them children. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 3/4 of drowning accidents involve children below the age of five. The CPSC estimates that children between the age of one and five account for 67% of all fatalities in swimming accidents and 64% of all injuries.

This summer, as more families head out for fun in the water the risk of drowning accidents increases. In fact, among children below the age of five, drowning happens to be the single biggest cause of accidental death. Unfortunately, the fact is that many of these accidents occur even in the presence of parents and caregivers at the scene. There was recently a very tragic story in the news about a child who drowned while family and friends were singing happy birthday to another guest.

This summer, make pool safety a priority for your family. Swimming lessons are a great place to start. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children below the age of five take swimming lessons. Besides teaching your children to swim, it's also important to make sure that your pool is safe not only for your children, but also visiting children who may have gathered at your home to have fun this summer.  Installing a fence around your pool, which is required by Georgia law, is one of the best things you can do for safety.   And those fences need to be a minimum of 5 feet tall, have locking gates that swing outward, and have a certain amount of space between rails. 

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print this article Posted By Robert Katz In Children , Premises Liability , Wrongful Death | 0 Comments Permalink

Pedestrian Fatality Study Underscores Georgia's Poor Record

Georgia ranks at the bottom of the heap when it comes to protecting pedestrians from serious or fatal injuries in accidents.

According to a new study, a small group of states accounts for some of the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in the country. The study was conducted by the National Complete Streets Coalition, where researchers analyzed numbers involving more than 47,025 pedestrian fatalities that occurred over a 10 year period. When analysis of the data was complete, some states were found to have an abysmal record in keeping pedestrians safe and preventing accidents.

The study established a Pedestrian Danger Index, which measured the number of fatalities relative to the number of pedestrians on the street, and found that some states had managed to keep fatalities very low.   These included New York and Washington DC.

However, at the other side of the spectrum were the states where pedestrians were at a high risk of being injured or killed in accidents. These states included Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina and Georgia. 

It's interesting how many cities in the south were included in the most dangerous places to walk. According to the study, the metro Orlando region was the most dangerous area for pedestrians with a high rate of fatalities, followed by the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, Jacksonville, Miami, Memphis, Birmingham, Houston, Atlanta, and Phoenix.

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print this article Posted By Robert Katz In Pedestrian accidents | 0 Comments Permalink

Stroke Survivors Often Unaware of Accident Risks

A stroke is one of the most serious medical events a person can experience, and affects more than 800,000 people in the United States every year. There are many long-term consequences of a stroke that can affect a person's cognitive and mental abilities. This includes their ability to safely operate a car, truck or motorcycle

According to the results of a new study, many persons who have survived a stroke begin driving again as quickly as one month after the stroke, without undergoing a driving evaluation or test. Those findings are very alarming, because a stroke can impact a person's abilities to drive safely, even if there are no outward physical signs of the trauma that the body has been through.

For instance, a stroke very often impairs a person's reflexes and coordination. That could affect the way a motorist reacts to an emergency situation while driving. A stroke can also result in slowness, memory problems, and judgment difficulties. All of these can prove catastrophic behind the wheel and on the road, where a person is required to constantly make judgments about speed and distance.

In the study, the researchers analyzed more than 162 persons who had suffered a stroke, and found that approximately 59% of them went back to driving within one month of the stroke. Fewer than 6% of stroke survivors took a driving test before they began operating a motor vehicle again. In fact, according to the researchers, doctors found that many stroke survivors were anxious to begin driving again, perhaps because of the sense of independence it provides.

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print this article Posted By Robert Katz In Auto Accident Claims , Brain Injury | 0 Comments Permalink

Efforts Underway to Reduce Truck Blind Spots and Accidents

One of the biggest concerns for motorcyclists while traveling anywhere near a tractor-trailer or commercial truck is the possibility that the truck driver will not see the motorcycle. The National Transportation Safety Board recently released a report asking the National Highway Safety Administration to target blind spot mitigation in commercial trucks, especially in those cases where blind spots significantly impact motorcyclists and cyclists.

It's not difficult to understand why motorcyclists and cyclists may be so easy to miss for a truck driver. A truck driver has several blind spots that exist behind and around their rig and trailer, and any vehicle that is in one of these blind spots may not be easily visible to the truck driver. Those visibility difficulties become even more pronounced in the case of a motorcycle or bicycle because of the narrow frames of these vehicles.

When a truck driver is not able to identify a motorcycle in his blind spot, he is at risk of colliding with it and causing serious injury or death. While the occupants of a car have some amount of protection in the form of seatbelts, airbags and the frame of the vehicle to protect them from serious injuries in a truck accident, motorcyclists have no such luxury. They are extremely vulnerable to the high risk of injuries in an accident with a commercial truck, and it is these risks that the National Transportation Safety Board wants to target.

The National Transportation Safety Board based its findings on data analysis from five states that used hospital records as well as police reports. The data were analyzed, and the Board found that the fatality rate involving vulnerable road users like pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists was significantly high. In the case of motorcyclists, there was a fatality rate of 119.5 for every 1,000 accidents.

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print this article Posted By Robert Katz In Bicycle Injury Claims , Motorcycles , Pedestrian accidents , Traffic Fatalities , Truck Accidents | 0 Comments Permalink

FMCSA Proposes Truck Driver Drug and Alcohol Test Database

Commercial truck drivers are held to a much higher standard when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs when compared to the average motorist. This makes sense, since the stakes are much higher when it comes to commercial semi-truck drivers. Now the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed the establishment of a database that will contain information about driver drug and alcohol tests with the goal of preventing drivers with a substance abuse problem from slipping through the cracks and finding employment in the industry.

The FMCSA recently proposed the establishment of a Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which would function as a database containing information about controlled substance and alcohol test results of commercial truck drivers. All commercial driver license holders would be included in the database.

Under the proposal, commercial motor carriers, employers, medical review officers, substance abuse professionals, as well as third-party agencies would be required to report drug  and alcohol test results to the database.  These persons would also be required to submit information involving alcohol or drug test refusals, negative return-to-duty test results, adulterated and substitute drug test results as well as other kinds of data that relates to driver alcohol and drug use. Additionally, labs that provide commercial motor carriers with drug and alcohol testing services would be required to report information about testing activities and results.

This information would be made available to potential employers around the country, including prospective employers, current employers, and other agencies who would need such information. This would help prevent truck drivers who have positive drug or alcohol test results and have lost their job in one state from obtaining driving jobs in other states. Potential employers would have such information ready at hand, before they make the decision to hire a commercial truck driver.

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print this article Posted By Robert Katz In DUI , Traffic Fatalities , Truck Accidents | 0 Comments Permalink

What Parents Can Do to Prevent Their Teens from Driving Drunk

According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), a teenage motorist driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% is approximately 17 times more likely be involved in an accident. This is a category of motorists that research has shown to be inexperienced, more susceptible to peer pressure, and more likely to engage in risky driving. When alcohol or other intoxicants are added to the mix, the risks of an accident significantly increase.

The CDC believes that reducing the risk of teenage drunk driving accidents should not be dependent on federal, state, and local law enforcement alone, but is also the responsibility of communities, schools and parents. Recently, another new study illustrated just how strong peer pressure can be in influencing teenagers to drink and drive. The study clearly found that when high school seniors had friends in their social circle who drove intoxicated, they were much more likely to do the same. When teenagers have friends who engage in self-destructive behaviors, those same behaviors seem cool to an impressionable young adult.

If you're the parent of a teenage motorist, it’s also important to understand that there is no such thing as social drinking for a teenage motorist. Most teenagers who drink do so to feel buzzed. Therefore, expecting teenagers to go out, drink, and yet remain sober is unrealistic. Binge drinking is far more popular among teenagers than with any other category of motorists, and teenagers are much more likely to drink irresponsibly.

As a parent, you can set down strict rules about underage drinking in your household. Be very careful about providing alcohol to your child or their friends in an effort to appear “cool” or monitor the situation. Such practices only make underage drinking acceptable for your child, not to mention the fact that it could also place you at risk of criminal charges and civil liability because the law forbids adults from providing a minor with alcohol.

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print this article Posted By Robert Katz In DUI , Teen Drivers , Traffic Fatalities | 0 Comments Permalink

Texting While Walking Could Be More Dangerous Than Texting While Driving

Everyone agrees that texting while operating a motor vehicle is hazardous and increases the risk of injury or fatal accident. However, when you compare statistics based on injuries per mile, it is texting while walking that seems to be much more dangerous. 

There has been a growing body of research recently that seems to point to an increased risk of pedestrian injuries when people are texting while walking.   For example, new research by the University of Buffalo specifically focused on injuries per mile caused when a person is texting while walking. According to the research, the consequences of texting while walking include falling down stairs, walking into walls, pillars and other stationary objects, and walking into traffic.

A person who is texting while walking is much less likely to notice a bump on the sidewalk, or obstacle in a driveway. Even though there are more injuries caused every year by texting while driving, injuries caused by texting while walking tend to be more serious. People who were texting while walking were 61% more likely to go off course while walking, and were also likely to overshoot their target by as much as 30%, compared to when they were walking without distractions.

The researchers also found that 10% of pedestrians treated for injuries in emergency rooms every year were involved in a texting-related incident. 

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print this article Posted By Robert Katz In Distracted Driving , Slip and Falls | 0 Comments Permalink