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Lake Charles Personal Injury Law Blog

Medication may keep drivers with ADHD from accidents

After consulting health insurance claims from 2005 through 2014, authors of a study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that more than 2.3 million drivers older than 18 have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Residents of Louisiana will want to consider the conclusions and what they might mean for other drivers.

First of all, nearly 84 percent of these drivers received at least one prescription for ADHD medication. By comparing the crash risk on months when prescriptions were filled to crash risk on months when they were not, authors discovered that the latter was higher. This was based on the number of emergency room visits among ADHD drivers. The result was compared to those of a control group, composed of drivers matched for age and sex but without ADHD.

Wildlife accidents more common during daylight standard time

When it's daylight standard time, drivers in Louisiana will want to watch out for wildlife on the road. The shorter days mean less visibility for wildlife, which are most active between dusk and dawn. This period also coincides with autumn, the peak mating season for deer and a time when bears roam for food before hibernation.

Wildlife-related accidents are common in many states. For example, an average of 3,300 wildlife collisions are reported each year to the Colorado Department of Transportation, costing drivers over $3,400 in vehicle damage on average. November, says the Colorado DOT, is always the worst month.

U.S. wants to make rules easier for self-driving cars

On Oct. 27, the federal government announced that it plans to remove regulatory barriers that are slowing the debut of self-driving cars in Louisiana and across the U.S. A formal public notice is expected to be released by the end of November.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a report saying that it wants to do away with "unnecessary" regulations for autonomous vehicles. The agency said it is particularly interested in lifting barriers for self-driving cars that have no controls for human drivers. It also said that it is soliciting comments on the types of research it should conduct to help determine which rules to eliminate or amend.

Poor health means increased crash risk for Louisiana truckers

Researchers from the University of Utah School of Medicine have discovered a link between high crash risk among truckers and the presence of one or more health conditions. Having analyzed the medical and crash histories of approximately commercial truck drivers across the U.S., they found that 34 percent suffered from at least one condition that was previously connected with poor driving performance.

Those with three or more medical conditions had a much greater risk of being in a crash, with a total of 82 drivers in the highest risk group. For every 100 million miles these truckers drove, there was an average of 93 crashes resulting in injuries. Among all drivers, that number was 29.

Human choices cause over 90% of vehicle crashes

Drivers in Louisiana have access to more automotive safety technology than ever before, but fatal traffic accidents have risen for the past two years. Human errors like speeding and failing to wear seat belts appear to be undermining the advantages of automatic emergency brakes, air bags and lane departure warning systems. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded that human choices contributed to the higher death toll in 2015 and 2016. When examining fatal accidents, researchers found that 94 percent of them result from human decisions.

Although safety researchers have credited modern automotive technology with the decrease in deaths between 2007 and 2014, touchscreen systems in new cars now distract drivers. The NHTSA reported that 37,461 people died in 2016, an increase of 5.6 percent from the previous year. Traffic fatalities had already started to rise in 2015 after deaths in 2014 dropped to a historic low. In 2016, the NHTSA identified a 4 percent jump in deadly wrecks caused by speeding drivers. Deaths resulting from people forgetting to use seat belts went up by 4.6 percent.

Legislation to establish sleep apnea rule for truckers

Commercial truckers in Louisiana and the rest of the country may soon be subject to a new rule regarding testing for obstructive sleep apnea. Democratic senators and representatives have filed bills intended to compel the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to resume its work on a rule that will establish new guidelines for the screening and treatment of sleep apnea.

Congressional Democrats want federal trucking regulators to implement a rule that establishes unambiguous criteria that medical examiners can use when referring truck drivers for apnea testing. The FMCSA conducted work on the rule in 2016. Recommendations for the rule from the agency's Medical Advisory Board were considered, and stakeholders in the trucking industry were allowed to voice their opinions during public meetings.

Driving recklessly around trucks can lead to tragedy

Sharing the road with commercial trucks that weigh as much as 40 tons can be unnerving even for the calmest Louisiana motorists, and these anxieties tend to become more severe when weather conditions are poor, traffic is heavy and frustrations are running high. Accidents involving semi-tractor trailers and passenger vehicles are often catastrophic, and car, pickup truck and SUV occupants accounted for 68 percent of the fatalities in such crashes around the country in 2014 according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Heavier vehicles take longer to stop, and many big rig accidents are caused by motorists who fail to understand this. Impatient drivers worried about becoming mired in traffic behind slow-moving trucks sometimes make reckless passing maneuvers or cut between lanes. This is especially dangerous because tractor-trailers can be unpredictable in emergency situations and can even jackknife dangerously. A moment of impatience can have tragic results, and many road users around the country are killed or injured each year in truck crashes caused by frustrated or angry passenger car drivers.

Vehicle size and safety in collisions

Drivers in Louisiana may be interested to know that the size of their vehicles plays a part in the safety of the vehicle in accidents. Generally, bigger vehicles, like SUVs, trucks and large cars, are able to better sustain a crash than smaller cars. This is especially true when there is a collision between a bigger vehicle and smaller car.

When the safety of a vehicle is assessed, the vehicle's weight, size and structural strength and material are factors that are part of the testing criteria. They are all used to determine the crashworthiness of the vehicle, regardless of what type of technological advantage the vehicle may or may not have.

Reducing the risk of a car accident with daytime headlights

Louisiana drivers may be interested to learn that using their headlights during the day can reduce their risks of becoming involved in a car accident. This is because the use of headlights, even during clear, sunny days, makes their vehicle more visible to other drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Multiple studies have shown that headlights reduce the risk of car accidents, though the results do vary. Some studies show that use of headlights at all times can reduce car accidents by up to 10 percent. Further, the types of accidents that often result in more severe injuries and damage were reduced. When the numbers were broken down, using permanent headlights reduced two-vehicle accidents by 5.7 percent, pedestrian accidents by 12 percent and certain motorcycle accidents by 23 percent. The reduction in accidents was attributed directly to increased visibility.

Texting and driving on Louisiana roadways

Motor vehicle accidents involving distracted drivers killed 3,477 road users around the country in 2015 according to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and a recent study from Progressive Insurance reveals that more than nine out of 10 motorists think that texting while driving should be illegal. The automobile insurance provider polled approximately 1,000 American drivers 18 and over about distracted driving and texting while behind the wheel, and they discovered that young men are particularly prone to this kind of dangerous behavior.

While only 6 percent of the drivers aged 55 or older told researchers that they felt confident in their abilities to text while driving, 62 percent of the drivers under the age of 34 who were polled said that they could use their smartphones safely while behind the wheel. The researchers also found that men were close to twice as likely as women to claim that they were able to text safely while driving.