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One  of the most devastating consequences of a brain injury after a car accident is the effect on a person’s cognitive abilities. A new study finds that a brain stimulator device can help a person recover these critical abilities after a personal injury.

The findings of the study were published in a recent issue of the Nature Medicine journal. The researchers implanted the stimulators in the brains of persons who had suffered brain injuries as a result of trauma.  The  implants were left on for about 12 hours a day and the participants spent 3 months with the implants.

The research by scientists at Stanford University found that the implantation of the deep brain stimulator helped trigger  electric activity in brain neurons that had been left damaged after trauma. While  the researchers were hoping for a 10% increase in mental processing as a result of the implantation of the device, they  were surprised to find that the improvement was as high as 32% in the patients. What is even more promising is that the device can help with impairments that have occurred as a result of old brain injuries. According to the scientists, the device offers great hope to persons who have suffered injuries that have left them with memory loss and poor thinking skills.

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Sleep experts have always known that night shift workers are at a higher risk of being involved in a car accident.  A new study finds even more conclusive proof that night shift workers are at risk of a number of sleep disorders that can increase their risks of being involved in a car crash.

The study was conducted in the Netherlands where Dutch researchers found that out of all the patients involved in the study, more than 51% suffered from at least one sleep disorder. The researchers focused on more than 37,000 workers who were questioned about their work patterns and sleeping habits.  The researchers screened participants for 6 common sleep disorders including insomnia, hypersomnia or excessive sleeping, sleep apnea and other sleep – related breathing disorders, sleep walking, sleep – related movement disorders and sleep – wake disturbances. They found that 51% or at least one third of the participants suffered from at least one sleep disorder and 13% of all participants suffered from at least two of the sleep disorders for which they were screened.

Among  those who did night shifts, whether regular night shifts or rotational night shifts, 26% reported at least two or more sleep disorders. Consistent and regular night shifts seemed to be the most dangerous for workers with many of these workers reporting lower than optimum hours of sleep.  About 50 percent  of the workers who were on night shifts reported that they often slept for less than 6 hours a day.  The  ideal sleep duration for an adult is 8 hours everyday.

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A coalition of stakeholders is recommending that vehicles come equipped with speed limiters that would help motorists drive at safe speeds and reduce the number of auto accidents caused by speeding.

The Road to Zero Coalition is a group of stakeholders including automakers, regulators, safety experts and other organizations that are committed to not just envisioning, but also bringing about a scenario with minimal car accident wrongful deaths by the year 2050.  Progress towards reducing the number of car accidents has been slow, and has, in fact, reversed over the past few years as fatality numbers have soared across the country.  The  situation became even more dire during  the pandemic as the number of car accident wrongful deaths across the country skyrocketed  during this period of time.  Speeding is being blamed as one of the primary reasons for the increase in car accident deaths not only in Georgia, but across the country.  Experts believe that motorists who became use to speeding on empty roads during the lockdowns have not yet adjusted to larger traffic volumes following the end of the  pandemic and easing of travel restrictions.  This has contributed to a spike in the number of people being killed in car accidents.

These car accident wrongful deaths are very preventable because they are mostly due to human error.  Speeding, for instance, accounts for approximately 30% of all car accident deaths in the country.  Curtailing speeding, therefore, is on top of the priority list for the Road to Zero coalition which recently called for the use of Intelligent Speed Assistance systems on all cars.  These  systems can alert the motorist when he or she is travelling at speeds higher than the posted speed limits. The system makes use of GPS software and other technology in order to identify the posted speed limits on the route and sound audible alerts if the driver  does not apply the brakes.  In some cases, the system can even intervene to reduce speed limits automatically by reducing power to the engine in case the motorist fails to act by applying the brakes.

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First responders attended to multiple victims of car accidents across Georgia over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Across  Georgia and  the country, law enforcement  authorities were reporting record volumes of   traffic.   More  than 55 million Americans are reported to have travelled  over the holiday weekend.  Unfortunately,  as is often the case, large volumes of traffic make for greater numbers of  auto accidents.   In  Georgia, the scene was no better as more than 23 accident fatalities were confirmed over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. This year, the holiday weekend stretched from 6:00 pm on Wednesday to 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

Apart from  the 23 wrongful deaths, numerous other persons are reported to have suffered personal injuries in these car accidents. At least one busy interstate had to be shut down for 7 hours after a car accident involving an  18 -wheeler and an  SUV.  At least five out of the 23 fatalities occurred in a single car accident.

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Follow up care is not just important, but also critical after a senior suffers injuries in a slip and fall accident, and yet, new studies find that far too many seniors receive no such after – fall care, resulting in serious consequences.

The new studies find that  as many as 59% of seniors receive no follow – up care after they have suffered personal injuries in a slip and fall accident.  This  is in spite of the fact that it is  well- established that follow up – care after a fall can help   seniors not just recover quickly, but also learn how to avoid falls in the future. It is also in spite of the fact that slip and fall accidents are a serious health concern for American seniors.  For example,  one in four seniors above the age of 65 is expected to suffer a slip and fall accident, sending 8 million persons to hospital   emergency rooms. Even more worrying is the fact that 27,000 seniors suffer fatal personal injuries in slip and fall accidents, while these accidents also contribute to 800,000 personal injuries every year.  In  spite of all these facts, many seniors do not return to the emergency room for follow – up visits after suffering head trauma in a fall.

The researchers focused on a group of 1,500 seniors who had suffered injuries in slip and fall accidents, and found that many of them had not returned to their primary care physician for a follow up in the weeks after the slip and fall accident.  When  seniors did visit a doctor for a follow-up, they were recommended physical therapy as a way to avoid future falls. Physical  therapy can help improve balance, gait, coordination and address other physical aspects of aging that can increase a senior’s risk of suffering a slip and fall accident.

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A decades-old law that was meant to manage fuel shortages is coming under the spotlight in states like Georgia,  as experts consider ways to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents around the country.

The  so-called “right- on-red” law allows motorists in   Georgia and  several   other states to make a right turn at an intersection even if the light is on red as long as the intersection is clear.  The  law provides American motorists with a unique privilege, and comes as a result of a law that was passed in the 1970s  as the country grappled with fuel shortages. That was when an oil embargo  pushed oil prices to record levels, necessitating  the passing of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975.  Some  other states  had passed similar right to turn laws a few decades earlier.

The  laws continued to remain in place even after the oil embargo ended and fuel prices returned to normal.  It is  a privilege that  American motorists now do not even think twice about, and it is only now in the face of skyrocketing pedestrian accident deaths that experts are asking if it is time to retire a law that is possibly  at least partly responsible for the increasing number of people being killed in  pedestrian accidents, especially at intersections.

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Calls for the United States to mandate automatic braking systems on all motorcycles in order to prevent accidents are growing louder.  This  country remains one of the very few developed nations that do not require this technology on all motorcycles.

The  Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is petitioning the federal government to mandate automated braking systems on all motorcycles in order to prevent accidents.  This  is the second time that the organization petitioned the federal government on this matter.  The first time was more than a decade ago, and since then, according to the organization, more than 27 nations, including Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Brazil,  India and several members of the European Union, have mandated these technologies on all motorcycles.

Automatic braking technologies can help riders maintain control over the motorcycle even when they suddenly brake or brake on wet or slippery surfaces.  They  prevent the kind of motorcycle crashes that are often caused as a result of skidding.  These  are the kind of accidents that often result in the   rider falling off the motorcycle with possibly devastating consequences.  The  lack of ABS on a motorcycle is a significant factor in a large percentage of motorcycle accidents every year.

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Young  drivers below the age of 21 may be at a high risk of driving while fatigued or drowsy, increasing their risks of being involved in a car accident.  Those  findings come from a new study by the National Sleep Foundation.

The  National  Sleep Foundation recently released the results of a new study that specifically focused on the effects of drowsy driving on teenage drivers.  The  findings of the study were released in time to coincide  with  Drowsy Driving Awareness Week in November.

According  to the National Foundation study, drowsy driving is linked to as many as 20% of all fatal car accidents in the United States and another 13% of all car accidents resulting in personal injuries.  As  many as 16% of teenage drivers admit to having operated a motor vehicle while drowsy or sleepy at least once. That makes it at least 1 in 16 drivers or 1.7 million teenagers who have operated a car when they were so sleepy that they could barely keep their eyes  open. As many as 400,000 teenagers admitted to having operated a motor vehicle while drowsy at least once a week.  That makes it a higher percentage of drowsy teenage drivers on our roads compared to drowsy adults.

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There is good news for teen motorists – a category of drivers that is traditionally one of the most at risk groups for car accidents.  The  Governors Highway Safety Association in a recent report announced that there has been a significant drop in the number of  fatal car accidents involving young motorists.

The  Governors Highway Safety Association recently released the findings of a new report titled Young Drivers and Traffic Fatalities:  20 Years of Progress on the Road to Zero.  The   report finds that there was a 38% drop in the number of fatal car accidents involving teenage drivers since 2002.  During the same period of time, there was actually an increase of 8% in the number of fatal car accidents involving older drivers above the age of 21.   There  was also a significant 45% drop in the number of teen car accident wrongful deaths during the same period of time, compared to a spike of 11% in car accident deaths for older drivers above the age of 21.  Traditionally, teenage drivers have had a car accident wrongful death rate that is four times higher than for drivers above the age of 21.

A  number of factors could possibly have impacted this significant drop in fatal car accidents involving teenage drivers.  The  Governors Highway Safety Association makes note of the fact that  teenage drivers are driving at lower volumes than they used to in 2002.   The  organization also believes that this has contributed to just a very small percentage of the staggering drop in fatal teen car accidents.  The  Governors Highway Safety Association believes that much of the drop has to do with the fact that  so many states like Georgia now have solid Graduated Drivers’ Licensing programs in place.  These  programs place significant restrictions on a teenager’s ability to drive independently including restrictions on the ability to drive at night and drive with teenage passengers in the car. However, most of these Graduated Drivers’ Licensing programs apply to drivers below the age of 18, and the report recommends that states extend these programs to drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 in order to reduce those accident risks further.

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Declining  vision is a much more serious car accident risk factor for senior drivers than we may believe.  According  to the results of a new study, it is linked to an 84% higher risk of being involved in car accidents.

Seniors  may suffer from a number of health challenges as they get older that increase their risks of being involved in an auto accident, and one of the most significant of those challenges is declining vision. Being unable to see clearly or the lack of a wide range of vision that allows the driver to see not just ahead but also identify auto accident risks from the sides, can significantly impact the person’s risk of being involved in a dangerous car accident. It is for this reason that most states, including Georgia, have laws in place that require senior drivers  to get their eyesight tested at regular intervals  as a condition for  license renewal.

At a recent conference of the American Academy of Ophthalmology,  researchers presented the results of a study which found that  the current eye testing system that is currently followed in so many states may not be the ideal way to determine senior health and the capacity of older motorists to avoid car accidents.

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