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You may have noticed an increase in your family’s auto insurance premium rates recently.  Average insurance payouts around the country are increasing, and distracted driving accidents are partly to blame.

The increasing numbers of people dying in distracted driving-related accidents are causing auto insurers to raise premiums.  The role of distracted driving in our traffic fatality toll cannot be overstated. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported a 14% increase in the number of fatalities last year, for a total of 40,000 across the U.S.  Many experts believe that distracted driving is contributing to this spike.

Since 2011, American families have seen their average insurance premiums increase by as much as 16%, to a total of $906.  Insurers say that they have no other choice but to increase premiums because of the large number of drivers involved in collisions while operating vehicles and using smart phones.

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A large body of evidence supports the fact that your accident risks increase when you are driving in a fatigued condition. But just how sleepy do you have to be to be involved in an accident? According to a new study, your accident risk doubles if you have lost just a single hour of sleep.

A staggering new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety underscores the dangers of drowsy driving. According to the study, missing just an hour or two of sleep doubles your chances of being involved in a car accident the next day. If you drive after getting just 4 to 5 hours of sleep, your accident risk increases by four times. In fact, at that level, you are driving in a state that is comparable to that of a person with a blood-alcohol concentration between .12 and .15. That is higher than the .08 drunk driving limit in place in most states.

There are many studies on driving while tired, but this is the first one that aims to quantify the dangers.

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In the future, drones carrying blood products and medical supplies could prove to be an integral part of emergency and critical care after an accident.

The first few hours after any car or truck wreck are critical for a victim. In fact, in severe accidents, the first hour after the event is extremely crucial, and is often referred to as the “golden hour.” It is during this time that the quality and speed of care delivered to the victim really matters. Delays in receiving emergency medical care during this important time could mean the difference between life and death for injured victims.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that drones can be used effectively to transport large bags of blood products to accident sites and other areas where such critical measures are needed.   The cooler technology used in the study was able to maintain the proper temperature of the products.

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Road safety is always a concern when you suffer from a chronic medical condition. Results have been released from a recent study focused on obtaining a better understanding of the accident risks facing patients with epilepsy.

According to statistics, between 2.5 to 3 million people in the United States currently suffer from epilepsy. Not all types of epilepsy are the same. There are variations in the number of seizures, the frequency of seizures, and the area of the brain from where these attacks emanate. The study focused on understanding how to better protect people with epilepsy, and keep them safe while driving. The researchers found that persons who suffered from longer seizures were more likely to be involved in an accident.

Approximately 70% of people who currently suffer from epilepsy are allowed to drive, provided that they control their seizures using medication. The remaining 25% of patients typically record the frequency and duration of their seizures, and discuss it with their doctors as part of a an ongoing monitoring of their condition.

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There are a number of parties that can be held accountable in any drunk driving accident. But did you know that there are some parties that may not seem directly involved in the accident, but can still be held liable in a civil claim?

One of the most obvious parties that can be held liable in a drunk driving accident claim is the intoxicated driver.  However, victims may also hold liable the commercial establishment that served or sold the alcohol before the accident.  These claims are filed under Georgia’s dram shop statute, which allows commercial drinking establishments such as pubs, restaurants, clubs, or liquor stores, to be held accountable in those cases in which drivers drank alcohol sold by the establishment just before an accident.

If the commercial establishment willfully and knowingly serves or sells alcohol to a person below the age of 21, or to a person who is noticeably intoxicated, the establishment can be held liable in an accident claim involving the customer if he or she then drives and causes an accident.  In addition, the establishment must be aware that the person will be operating a motor vehicle at the time of serving or selling him or her alcohol. This is an important element to proving your claim.

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Improved safety measures associated with catheters are reducing the risk of contamination of central venous lines and fatal blood stream infections in hospitals.

According to a new study, when hospitals improve catheter safety, there is a significant reduction in the number of potentially fatal bloodstream infections, as well as a drop in health care costs. In the United States alone, more than 50,000 bloodstream infections every year are directly linked to the use of central lines or central venous catheters. Approximately 12% of these infections are fatal.The central lines are used in intensive care units to deliver nutrients and drugs directly to the patients’ bloodstreams. However, the risk of contamination during handling and changing of these catheters is very high. Any contamination of the catheter could quickly result in an infection, spreading quickly to a patient’s bloodstream through the central lines and causing complications.

However, since the spotlight on hospital-acquired infections has increased, many hospitals have moved to implement new safety measures that are designed to reduce the risk of catheter contamination. More hospitals have enforced policies that require staff members to use sterile gloves and other protective equipment during the handling of catheters. Some hospitals are also now training staff members in the proper use and management of catheters, and use of other equipment and supplies to prevent infections.

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The horrifying fatal school bus accident in Chattanooga in November that killed five children has highlighted the frailties in the system that make it difficult to track accidents and take steps to effectively prevent similar deadly crashes.

In November, a bus left Woodmore Elementary School with approximately 37 students on board, crashed into a tree, and flipped over. Six children were killed, and several others injured, including six who were injured seriously enough to be rushed to the intensive care unit. The driver of the bus was arrested on charges of vehicle homicide. At least one of the children on the bus was a kindergartner.

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), this year alone, there have been at least 700 accidents involving metro Atlanta school buses, or approximately 2 crashes a day.  However, that data may be incomplete.  Officials admit that the database lacks data on many accidents, and this makes it difficult for officials to track accident rates, pinpoint causes, and take steps to eliminate these accidents. Those steps include retraining school drivers, strengthening training and safety standards, and identifying accident trends in particular areas. Better accident data could also help identify dangerous drivers, who can then be removed from the system.

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The seatbelt still continues to be the most effective life-saving device in modern automobiles, and new research indicates that Americans are now using it at record highs.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently reported that American motorists are buckling up at greater rates than ever before. The Agency reported that as many as 90% of all American motorists now buckle up when they drive. That percentage also includes all front seat passengers.

During 2015, seat belt use helped save as many as 14,000 lives in accidents. Since 1975, NHTSA estimates that more than 345,000 lives have been saved as a result of the use of seatbelts.  However, failure to wear seat belts still kills.  In spite of high seat belt usage rates in 2015, as many as 40% of traffic accident fatalities that year were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.

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Buying toys and gifts for loved ones this season?  Here are some tips to keep in mind, especially if shopping for young children.

Many popular toys come with severe injury risks, specifically the risk of eye injuries.  Injuries involving toys are far too common to ignore. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that in 2014, there were approximately 251,800 injuries related to the use of toys reported to emergency rooms across the United States. That works out to approximately 500 child injuries every single day. Nearly 50% of these injuries involved children below the age of four.  And a significant 44% of those injuries involved injuries to the face and head areas.

The eyes are especially vulnerable to impact from projectiles, or sharp edges on children’s toys. These injuries can be severe, and even have permanent effects on the victim.  One study published recently in the JAMA Ophthalmology journal found that air guns, basketballs and baseballs cause approximately 50% of all sports-related eye injuries.

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It comes as no surprise that many serious motor vehicle accidents are the result of distracted driving.  Yet there continues to be many misconceptions about what pulls drivers’ attention from the roadway.  The National Safety Council says there are several myths about distracted driving that motorists need to be aware of.

Myth Number One:  Ability to multi-task

Many drivers believe that they are capable of effectively multitasking while behind the wheel, but this is simply not true.  The human brain is simply not designed to perform more than one challenging activity at the same time, especially when those activities require some amount of thinking.  When the brain is required to switch between two tasks frequently, it slows down reaction times, and if the person is driving a car, the result could very well be an accident.