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Lawton Oklahoma Personal Injury Law Blog

Study finds safety events largely unresolved

Patients in Oklahoma hospitals may be the victim of a health IT-related patient safety error. However, a majority of those errors are not being addressed according to a study published in the Journal of Patient Safety and Risk Management. The study looked at 1.7 million safety events overall to find those that were related to health IT. Researchers then sorted the health IT events into four groups based on how the problems were resolved.

Of events that were resolved, 55% were resolved by recommending more training. However, training may not necessarily be the best way to prevent future errors from occurring. This is because IT and biomedical departments may not always communicate or work with each other. Hospitals have recognized this and are starting to create ways to integrate the two departments in an effort to improve patient care and outcomes.

Teens see higher risk for crashes after obtaining license

Virginia Tech University and the National Institutes for Health have conducted a study comparing the risk for crashes and near-misses among teens who just obtained their license and teens who were nearing the end of adult supervision as drivers with permits. Oklahoma residents should know that teens licensed for three months or less raised that risk eight times compared to teens who were three months away from obtaining their license.

To arrive at their conclusion, researchers monitored the driving of 90 teens, together with 131 parent participants, from the time they obtained their learner's permit to the end of their first year with a license. In-car cameras and software recording speed and braking were used to gather important data like how quickly drivers accelerated and braked.

As truck crash numbers rise, companies look to safety tech

Truck crashes are on the rise in Oklahoma and across the U.S. The ones who are being most impacted by the trend are not truckers, however, but occupants of passenger vehicles. They make up 72% of deaths in truck crashes, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. In the effort to reduce truck crashes, some trucking companies are turning more to vehicle safety devices.

Maverick Transportation, which is based in the Midwest and controls a fleet of some 1,800 trucks, has installed safety tech like collision avoidance systems, roll stability control, forward-facing cameras and lane departure warning systems. As a result, the company only experienced one reportable accident to the Department of Transportation in 2018 (in other words, one accident that resulted in an injury and/or the truck being towed away).

Certain truck crashes linked to highway and driver fatigue

Oklahoma drivers might want to avoid the Highway 23 bypass in North Dakota. The roadway, coined the New Town Truck Reliever Route, has been the site of at least two deadly truck accidents since it was constructed in 2014.

According to news reports, the $25 million bypass was designed to ease traffic congestion on Main Street in New Town and increase traffic safety in the area. However, in 2017, two tractor-trailer trucks smashed into each other head-on while traveling across the bypass, causing both vehicles to burst into flames and killing both truck drivers. On Oct. 5, 2018, a tractor-trailer collided head-on with a pickup truck near the same mile marker as the previous crash, killing two people.

Memes can cause distracted driving in Oklahoma

Roughly 2,000 adults were asked to take part in a newly released Root Insurance study performed by Wakefield Research. Among all respondents, 99% said that cellphones are a top source of distraction. Of those individuals, 33% said that they used their devices to look at memes while driving. Other common distractions related to smartphone use included participating in group chats and watching streaming videos.

About 40% of survey respondents said that they would not put their phones down even when they saw a police officer. Even though most admitted to using a phone while driving, 89% of respondents said that they would give an Uber or Lyft driver a bad rating for doing the same thing. Additionally, 90% of respondents said that they were better drivers than those who worked for Uber or Lyft.

Self-driving cars could be dangerous

Many Oklahoma motorists are intrigued by the potential presented by self-driving cars. Autonomous vehicle technology could help to eliminate traffic congestion and reduce serious accidents. A number of companies in the tech and auto industries have embraced the potential of the technology, investing millions to develop self-driving cars. While autonomous technologies are being promoted for their potential to increase safety, some worry that they may not be ready for deployment on public roadways.

In May 2016, public attention was drawn to the potential dangers of autonomous technology when a Tesla driver died after a collision with a large truck. The driver was using a technology called Autopilot at the time and relying on the system to stop before hitting the truck. While the system failed to stop in advance, Tesla warns that Autopilot is only meant for assisting an active driver, not for use in a fully autonomous scenario. Systems currently available for use on the road are meant as driver support and safety technologies only.

Incautious removal of hospital garments leads to contamination

In Oklahoma and elsewhere, healthcare workers who treat infectious patients may commit errors in the removal of personal protective garments like gloves and gowns, resulting in their clothes and equipment being contaminated by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This is the conclusion of a study from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Researchers at that center observed 125 healthcare workers, including 83 nurses and 24 doctors, over six months as they treated patients in four adult intensive care units. The patients treated had contact precautions for bacteria like MRSA and Enterococcus. Researchers noted any errors in the donning and doffing of hospital gowns and gloves.

Survey finds Americans love using cellphones while driving

Drivers in Oklahoma and across the United States are having difficulty putting their cellphones down when they get behind the wheel, according to a new survey by The Travelers Companies. The survey, entitled the 2019 Travelers Risk Index, was conducted with the assistance of Hart Research.

For the survey, researchers polled over 2,000 U.S. consumers and executives. They found that almost 80 percent of respondents talked on their cellphones while driving and over 30 percent say they've narrowly avoided a crash because they became distracted behind the wheel. They also found that businesses pressure employees to stay in contact while out of the office and largely fail to discourage the use of cellphones while driving.

Studies find misdiagnoses behind most malpractice claims

Coverys, an insurance carrier specializing in medical professional liability policies, has stated that out of 1,800 closed claims against physicians from 2013 to 2017, 46 percent were related to a diagnosis. Oklahoma patients should know, then, that misdiagnosis is the single most common reason for malpractice claims. In 45 percent of those diagnosis-related cases, the patient died.

The Doctors Company, another malpractice insurer, found that a misdiagnosis led to 38 percent of malpractice claims involving the treatment of child patients. This was based on a review of 1,215 closed claims between 2008 and 2017. Misdiagnoses are largely the result of inadequate medical assessments. Researchers say doctors should give parents and guardians detailed explanations regarding the symptoms so as to prompt immediate care.

Distractions increase chances of highway zone crash 29 times

Drivers in Oklahoma, as elsewhere, can become distracted by their passengers or by their phones. A vehicle going 55 mph will travel the length of a football field in five seconds, and the average text takes five seconds to read, so it is clear that distracted driving is dangerous. A new study has shown that it is especially dangerous in highway work zones: A distracted driver's risk for a collision or near-collision goes up 29 times in these zones.

Researchers at the University of Missouri came to this conclusion after analyzing data from the Transportation Research Board's second Strategic Highway Research Program. This previous study provides naturalistic driving data collected between 2006 and 2015 from more than 3,000 drivers traveling over 50 million miles. Researchers reconstructed driver behavior and the surrounding environment based on this data.

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