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Normally when you go to a hospital, you believe you will leave better after treatment.  The last thing on your mind is getting hurt in an accident while being treated at a hospital.  However, fall accidents in hospitals are a leading cause of patient injuries in a hospital. Researchers recently analyzed the results of the use of a specially designed fall prevention toolkit among hospital patients, and found that the use of the toolkit significantly helped reduce the risk of fall accidents in the hospital as well as injuries sustained as a result of these accidents.

The study was conducted by researchers who tested a special toolkit that they designed specifically to prevent hospital fall accidents, and included a number of items, including a poster that is designed to be displayed by the side of a patient bed. The toolkit also includes specifically designed prevention plans that can possibly be integrated into electronic health records, and displayed on computer screens.

The researchers tested the usefulness of the toolkit in helping reduce the risk of fall accidents, among 37,000 patients between 2015 and 2016. They found that the implementation of the toolkit directly resulted in a 15% drop in the number of patient falls recorded in these hospitals. It also directly contributed to a 34% reduction in the number of injuries that were sustained in these fall accidents.

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A new report finds that many county-maintained roads in Georgia have been chronically undermaintained and in poor shape, increasing the risk of accidents for motorists travelling on these roads.

That information was published in a recent report by transportation research non-profit group, TRIP. The group recently released a report titled Moving Georgia Forward: Road and Bridge Conditions, Traffic Safety, Travel Trends and Funding Needs in the Atlanta region. The group conducted a survey of a number of counties in the state starting from 2019 and ending in 2020, specifically focusing on the condition of the transportation network of the state. The survey found that as many as 22% of roads in Georgia that are maintained by counties, are in substandard condition.

Not only are these roads in poor condition, but there also does not seem to be any hurry to get these roads fixed any time soon. Funding shortages will only ensure that many of these roads will continue to be deficient well into 2021 and beyond. At the current funding rate, only approximately 12% of the total number of miles of roads that are in need of repair work, including resurfacing, will be fixed in 2020. Overall, only 52% of the total amount of funding that is required to fix the entire network of county-maintained roads, is available for use. Hundreds of thousands of people use these county roads on a regular basis, and when these roads are poorly maintained and unsafe, they pose a serious risk of accidents to motorists.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is kick-starting its annual seat belt enforcement campaign, even as a bill that would require all occupants of a car in Georgia to be buckled in remains pending.

The current bill pending in the Senate would require that all occupants of a vehicle, including any adults in the back seat, remain buckled while the car is in motion.  This bill was introduced in 2019, and has a lot of support from lawmakers who believe that it is important for all occupants in a car to receive equal protection against injuries and the possible risk of death in an accident.  If this bill is ultimately be passed and becomes law, Georgia will join the list of states that now require all motorists and passengers to be buckled in while driving, without exception.

Currently, the law in Georgia requires only front seat passengers to wear seat belts.  The law applies only to minor back seat passengers below the age of 17. Adult passengers in the back seat are exempt from the law.

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As the number of older American increases, so does the number of elderly drivers out on the roadways.  Older drivers above the age of 70 are much safer now on the roads that they used to be. However, several factors, including a slowness to adopt newer auto technologies, could be working against them, and could expose them to the risk of accidents.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently published the results of a study that focused on how accident rates for seniors have actually dropped over the past few years. The study focused on the period between 2009 and 2017, and found that during the first half of the study, the rates of car accidents involving seniors actually dropped.

That may not be all good news, however. The first half of the study period coincided with the Great Recession, and that was the time when there was a drop in the rates of all types of auto accidents. During the latter half of the study, accident rates involving seniors stayed consistent, while accident rates involving middle-aged drivers started increasing again.

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The Governor’s Highway Safety Association marked October as National Pedestrian Safety Month, even as pedestrian safety concerns loom in Atlanta.

Atlanta residents who frequently use Hollowell Parkway, a stretch of state highway that expands from Northside Drive to I-185 have been raising concerns about several pedestrian accidents in the area.  There are no pedestrian crossings on this approximately one-mile stretch of Hollowell Parkway. This means that pedestrians are put to great risk when they have to cross the street. As a result, there have been a number of accidents in the area.

Hollowell Parkway is a very busy highway, that is used very often by trucks. The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition calls this stretch one of the most dangerous roads in Atlanta. According to law enforcement, since 2016 alone, there have been as many as 7 pedestrian accidents on the stretch of road. During the same time, there have been 40 pedestrian injuries occurring on Hollowell Parkway.

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A new report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety blames a combination of lack of infrastructure and inexperience for a large number of e-scooter injuries.

Micro-mobility, or the use of e-scooters and bicycles for work as well as recreational travel, is a massive trend in Georgia and across the United States. The number of people who choose to use e- scooters and bicycles has increased exponentially, and this number is only likely to increase further as the pandemic continues. More numbers of people are likely to avoid mass transit to avoid coming into close contact with large numbers of people, and choose modes of transportation like e-scooters and bicycles that prevent them from the risk of infection.

However, just like bicyclists, e-scooter riders also face the risks of injuries, as they travel. According to the report released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, many scooter riders may remain safe as long as they use bicycle lanes. However, the report states that many scooter riders choose to ride their vehicles on sidewalks. This practice is especially common in those areas where bike lanes are not available.

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The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is joining hands with federal agencies to help keep teen drivers safe as part of National Teen Driver Safety Week. This year, the week will be commemorated between October 18 and 24.

A number of events have been planned to mark the campaign which is specifically focused at reducing the risk of accidents involving teens. These include an event called Rock the Belt to encourage drivers to buckle up while driving. Teen drivers tend to have low rates of seat belt usage while driving, and the Rock the Belt campaign will encourage greater rates of seat belt usage among teen drivers.

The campaign also includes a Rollover Simulator lesson plan which involves a PowerPoint presentation, videos of rollover simulations, data on the consequences associated with rollover accidents as well as the risk factors, that contribute to these deadly accidents including drowsy driving and speeding.

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The federal administration has denied a petition by a business group for extension of the hours of service and electronic logging rules that apply to truck drivers travelling with their pets.

The group, Small Business Transportation Coalition, had submitted a petition to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In the petition, the group requested exemptions for truck drivers from two of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s mandates, including the mandate for electronic logging devices on all trucks as well as the Hours of Service requirements.

According to the petition, drivers travelling with pets should be exempted from the Hours of Service requirements and be permitted to drive for up to 13 hours during their shift. That would be beyond the current truck driving limits imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. According to the petition, truck drivers benefit from travelling with their pet companions, as this helps relieve boredom and loneliness during long journeys. Longer driving hours would actually help these drivers drive slower, because of the various activities like feeding and walking that they would have to perform in connection with the care of their pets. According to the petition, these drivers would, therefore, need more than the normal hours in order to complete their shifts.

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The pandemic has required many to stay at home from work and school, leaving far few vehicles on the roads,  However, contrary to expectations, the number of highway accident deaths in the United States actually increased significantly during the first half of 2020. This was in spite of the lower traffic volumes during the pandemic.

As the Covid-19 pandemic began spreading across the United States, many states including Georgia imposed shelter-in-place orders, discouraging travel, and shutting down businesses. This led to significant drops in traffic volumes from March right through June this year.

That should typically have resulted in lower accident death rates. This, however, has not happened. If anything, the highway fatality rate has actually increased. According to the National Safety Council, there has been a significant 20% increase in the number of highway accident deaths in the first 6 months of 2020, compared to the same period of time in 2019. This increase has occurred even in the face of lower traffic volumes, as a result of the pandemic. The highway accident death rate has increased even though there was a 17% drop in the number of miles travelled by American motorists in the first 6 months of 2020.

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The Covid-19 pandemic has required restaurants, hotels, malls and other commercial establishments that are open in Georgia to adopt certain protocols to maintain safe health standards.  However, sanitization and social distancing protocols at these facilities may actually increase the risks of slip and falls at these establishments.

Businesses are now expected to protect not just employees, but also patrons, including customers and guests.  Facility Executive, a publication that caters to facility maintenance, has advice for businesses that are looking to reopen in the new “normal.”   The new sanitization protocols can lead to the creation of several unsafe slip and fall risk zones around an establishment.  It is important for businesses to identify these potential slip and fall risk zones, and take steps to mitigate the risks of fall accidents in these areas.

At many of these businesses, handwashing protocols will reign supreme. The areas around hand sanitization and washing stations are at special risk. Many of these handwashing counters are situated right at the entrance, which means a greater possibility of spillage of liquids and sanitizers on the floor, comprising a possible fall risk, when people enter the establishment.

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