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Jackson Personal Injury Blog

Many drivers believe they can drive and text safely

Mississippi drivers may be texting and driving even though they think others doing so is dangerous. Progressive Insurance conducted an online survey in August of about 1,000 people who were not their customers and found that although around 34 percent said they were confident in their ability to text and drive safely, nearly two-thirds said they believed texting and driving was the main cause of traffic accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2015, distracted driving was a factor in motor vehicle accidents that killed 3,477 people and injured 391,000.

There was both a gender and an age divide in how drivers perceived their ability to text and drive safely. About twice as many men thought they were able to do so compared to women. Furthermore, nearly two-thirds of 18-to-35-year-olds reported being very or somewhat confident that they could drive and text safely. Just 6 percent of people 55 and older felt the same way. Among drivers of all ages, more than 80 percent said police should be able to pull over people just for texting and driving.

Daytime running headlights offer substantial safety benefits

Running a vehicle's headlights throughout the day may seem insignificant, but studies prove that a little extra visibility reduces the rate of car accidents. Although only about one-quarter of new vehicles for sale in Mississippi and around the country include daytime running headlights in their standard packages, the data should encourage everyone to make a conscious effort to leave their headlights on at all times.

Multiple studies have shown the benefits of daytime headlight usage. Overall, the practice decreases the chances of wrecks by up to 10 percent. When researchers focus on certain types of crashes, even greater improvements in safety emerge. Motorcycle accidents between vehicles moving toward each other fell by 23 percent when drivers had their headlights on during the day. Pedestrian accidents went down by 12 percent, and accidents involving two vehicles dropped by 5.7 percent.

Truck accidents and ornamental wheel spikes

Mississippi motorists may have seen large trucks with spikes on their hub caps. These spikes are ornamental and make the trucks and their drivers look more aggressive. They also have the potential of causing more accidents if they extend out too far.

Almost 25 percent of pedestrians and 50 percent of bicyclists who are killed in collisions with large trucks first strike the sides of the large vehicles. If there are protruding spikes, there may be increased risks of these side impacts. Protruding tire spikes may also contact other vehicles, causing them to have accidents. Because of the safety concerns, Hawaii has enacted legislation outlawing the use of ornamental tire spikes.

Lesser known signs of nursing home negligence

Nursing home negligence is a daily occurrence in Jackson. Many local nursing homes do not have enough trained staff to accommodate the population. If you must send your parent to live in a nursing facility because you and your family do not have the time or resources to care for her or him, you should take time to carefully review your options. 

Talk to your mother or father before you make any decisions. Do not feel surprised if your parent is not happy or excited about the situation. Loved ones may need time to think about things. Allow them to help in the search for a suitable place. In addition to screening nursing homes, you should learn about the less obvious signs of nursing home neglect

IIHS study lauds benefits of accident avoidance technology

Mississippi car buyers would be wise to equip their new vehicles with accident avoidance systems according to a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Lane departure and blind spot warning systems are particularly effective at preventing sideswipe crashes and front-end collisions, and the nonprofit organization's study suggests that thousands of traffic accident injuries could be avoided each year in the United States if every vehicle was equipped with them.

To gauge the effectiveness of lane departure and blind spot warning systems in real-world driving situations, IIHS researchers studiedapproximately 5,000 crashes that occurred in 2015. They concluded that the technology reduced the number of such accidents by 11 percent, and they also found that injuries were 21 percent lower among the occupants of vehicles equipped with the systems.

Self-driving cars still have a long way to go

At the Toyota Motor manufacturing plant in Mississippi, a self-driving vehicle called OTTO 1500 zips around the facility delivering tires, dodging forklifts, pedestrians, and other vehicles driven by humans. Although this is a major tech development in the Magnolia State, drivers should not expect to be sharing the road with these types of vehicles anytime soon. Autonomous vehicle technology is developing at a very fast pace, but the current predictions about driverless cars crowding American highways over the next few years is probably overly optimistic.

Some industry insiders are predicting that self-driving cars will hit dealership showrooms by 2020. Tesla CEO Elon Musk believes that this will happen even sooner; in fact, he has hinted at being ready to deliver a driverless electric car as soon as regulators allow him to do so. Companies like General Motors, Google and Intel are pouring billions of dollars into the technology. Google has been testing its vehicles for quite some time now.

Help protect your loved one from medication errors

Medication errors are an ongoing concern for nursing home residents. Mistakes can result in dangerous health problems, hospitalization or even death.

If your elderly loved one is living in such a facility, you should be alert to the potential problems and why they happen. You can take an active role in seeing that your loved one can enjoy a nursing home environment without the danger of serious medication issues.

FMCSA withdraws sleep apnea screening criteria

Mississippi truck drivers and their employers should be aware that a rule that would have established requirements for sleep apnea screening was officially withdrawn on Aug. 7. The rule would have given medical examiners, drivers and carriers the criteria needed to refer a driver to an in-lab apnea test as well as protocols for the treatment of the sleep apnea.

It was hinted that this rule was on the chopping block in July, though no official notice was given until Aug. 4. In the withdrawal notice, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration stated that the current protocol on determining eligibility for sleep apnea screening was sufficient. This protocol relies on medical examiners to determine if the driver's sleep apnea could in any way interfere with his or her ability to safely drive a commercial truck or vehicle.

Repeal of nursing home rule could hurt residents

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 20 percent of the United States population will be 65 years or older by 2030. Many may need to spend at least some time in a nursing home. However, Mississippi residents and others may lose a critical protection if the federal government has its way. It intends to get rid of a ban on pre-dispute arbitration.

In essence, a resident in a nursing home or that person's representative agrees to give up their legal rights in a dispute. In some cases, a nursing home may even refuse to admit a patient if family members representing that person refuse to do so. Many people agree to such terms because they or a family member may desperately need a place where they can receive necessary care. A typical nursing home contract gives the nursing home itself control over the arbitration process.

Using technology to fight drowsy driving

When Mississippi drivers take long road trips, staying awake can be a challenge especially if they are not well-rested to begin with. However, drowsy driving is extremely dangerous and is said to cause up to 6,000 fatal traffic accidents every year around the country. While coffee and energy drinks can provide drowsy drivers with temporary relief, others are working to find a more permanent solution.

A company called Creative Mode designed a wearable piece of technology that tracks driver's vitals. It has several sensors that measures heart rate and skin conductivity, both of which change as a person becomes drowsy and starts to fall asleep. During long trips, the driver can put the device on his or her wrist. The wearable takes the baseline measurements and then alerts the driver with a small shock when his or her heart rate and skin conductivity fall below a certain level.

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