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Lawton Oklahoma Personal Injury Law Blog

Drowsy driving a serious hazard in ridesharing industry

Ridesharing drivers in Oklahoma and across the U.S. often choose to work themselves to the point that they are sleep-deprived. Sleepiness can reach its peak during the early mornings and late at night, and it endangers both the driver and others on the road. This is the danger that the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has pointed out in a position statement published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Several factors are involved. Ridesharing drivers can be compelled by low fare and salary incentives to risk their safety for more work. Many drivers are independent contractors and are thus never screened for medical conditions that can reduce alertness: for example, obstructive sleep apnea.

Drivers with ADHD may decrease risk of accidents with medication

Results from a new study estimate that 22.1 percent of car accidents in Oklahoma could be avoided if patients with Attention Deficient with Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) took medication. Prior research has indicated that drivers with ADHD have an increased risk of being involved in an accident. People with ADHD may have a more difficult time with driving as the neurodevelopmental condition causes people to be more easily distracted and have a difficult time with attention span.

Researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden conducted the study by looking at hospital records of car accident patients who had filled a prescription for ADHD in the prior months of the accident and compared the records to those of a control group. The researchers found that over 11,000 people with ADHD had been involved in a car accident during the study period. When drivers took medication for their ADHD, however, they decreased the risk of a crash by 38 percent.

Seat belts reduce severity of liver injuries in crashes

Liver injuries are a common and potentially deadly consequence of traffic accidents. However, car crash victims in Oklahoma and elsewhere are less likely to suffer a severe liver injury if they wear a seat belt, according to a recent study.

Researchers from New York University Langone Hospital-Brooklyn analyzed data from the National Trauma Data Bank on car accident patients from 2010 through 2015. The patients were all age 18 or older and were admitted to a hospital or died at or en route to a hospital. Of 51,202 patients with liver injuries, around 15 percent had severe liver injuries, which means the liver was ruptured with uncontrollable bleeding, had deep lacerations or had other types of severe wounds that required emergency surgery. The remaining patients had mild or moderate liver injuries, which means the liver had blood clots, shallow lacerations or other wounds that did not require immediate surgery.

NHTSA and FMCSA study reasons for rise in fatal truck crashes

Truck fleet owners and truck drivers in Oklahoma may want to know about the Large Truck Crash Causation Study that was released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. After analyzing the data behind 120,000 fatal truck crashes that occurred within a 33-month period, researchers found that truckers were to blame for 68,000 of them.

In about 75 percent of the crashes, at least one other vehicle was involved. The NHTSA and the FMCSA broke down the causes of the crashes into four categories. The first is related to decision-making ability. In 30,000 of the 68,000 crashes, truckers were either following other vehicles too closely, speeding or acting based on an incorrect judgment of others' speeds.

Pediatric medical errors often linked to electronic systems

When parents in Oklahoma take their children to the doctor's office or the hospital for treatment, they may be very concerned about the potential for inaccurate or mistaken diagnoses and treatments. When medical mistakes and safety errors affect children, the results can be devastating and long-lasting. According to one study, over half of the safety errors that took place in pediatric treatment were related to the use of electronic health records (EHRs) and medication. The study examined 9,000 patient safety reports gathered at three hospitals over a five-year period.

In some cases, EHRs would not provide alerts if medication was prescribed to an allergic patient. In other cases, the EHR display was confusing, making it difficult to enter information correctly. The most common type of medication error was a dosage error, in which patients received the wrong amount of medicine. These became safety issues when patients were overdosed, leading to side effects or requiring monitoring. Researchers found that around 36 percent of these reports involved difficulties using the EHR due to its design.

ZF shows how external airbags make side crashes safer

Predictive systems on cars can sense an oncoming crash and do several things, such as tightening seatbelts or adjusting suspension, to protect the occupants. Some manufacturers are now focusing on predictive systems that deploy external airbags in the case of a side impact crash. Oklahoma residents should know that the technology is far from being perfected; however, its advantages are already clear.

ZF has developed an external airbag model that can effectively absorb the shock of a side collision by acting as an additional crumple zone. ZF data shows that these airbags can reduce the severity of occupants' injuries by up to 40 percent. The manufacturer also has a strategy for developing the model.

Safety tips for winter driving

There are a lot of wonderful things about the winter, including multiple holidays, festive gatherings and the company of friends and family. However, one of the major downsides of winter is the weather. Snow and ice can make driving stressful and dangerous. Luckily, there are several things Oklahoma drivers can do to ensure they stay safe during the coldest months of the year.

One thing of the best things that drivers can do is take advantage of all the advanced safety technologies now available on new cars and trucks. In fact, the National Safety Council and the University of Iowa have joined together to educate drivers on how to properly use these new technologies. For instance, traction control, which is now standard on all new vehicles, can help drivers maintain control of their vehicle when roadways are covered with snow or ice. It is particularly useful when accelerating from a stop or trying to get up an icy hill.

Motorists who recognize danger can practice safer driving

Thousands of big trucks cross Oklahoma every day. Passenger vehicles sharing space with these roadway giants are at an extreme disadvantage if there is a collision. Fully loaded transport trucks can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds while small cars are just a fraction of that amount. Understanding the physical challenges truckers face when operating a tractor trailer can help motorists make safer decisions during their commutes.

Under ideal conditions of dry pavement, good tires and brakes and an alert driver, a tractor trailer at highway speeds can still take the distance of two football fields to stop. Anything in its path during those 600 feet is in acute danger. Factoring in the possibility of wet roads, worn brakes or a distracted driver can greatly increase the time and distance a big truck requires for a controlled stop. For these reasons, motorists should avoid the temptation to merge into the safety cushion a trucker is leaving between his or her vehicle and the one it follows.

Truckers say federal rest rule actually causes more fatigue

Many commercial truckers in Oklahoma and across the U.S. have complained about a federal rule requiring them to take a 30-minute rest break after driving for eight consecutive hours. The thrust of the argument is that the break creates delays, forces truckers to speed in order to meet deadlines and gives rise to fatigue sooner in the shift.

This is an important concern because some even believe that the inflexibility of federal hours-of-service guidelines is partly to blame for the recent surge in large-truck fatalities. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows a 9 percent increase in 2017 with a total of 4,761 people killed. The number has not been this high in 29 years.

The risks involved in nighttime driving

With the end of Daylight Saving Time, many drivers in Oklahoma find themselves traveling in the nighttime. This brings a certain set of challenges. While people do only a quarter of their driving at night, 50 percent of traffic deaths occur during this period. Drivers should therefore be aware of those challenges and what they can do to mitigate them.

The first challenge is compromised night vision. Drivers should aim their headlights correctly, avoid looking at oncoming lights and slow down. Speeding drivers will have less time to react to dangers even when their high-beam headlights are on.

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