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North Georgia Personal Injury Law Blog

Studies find semi-autonomous cars may have distracted drivers

Some people in Georgia may have heard that autonomous vehicles will make roads much safer. While this may be true, there is some evidence that semi-autonomous vehicles might be making roads less safe. Drivers in semi-autonomous vehicles tend to relax and allow themselves to be distracted, and this means that they do not always react in time when their attention is required.

Distraction can be caused by many things, including the use of cell phones or simply wandering attention as a result of boredom. However, it is also a serious danger. Distracted driving was a factor in the deaths of 3,166 people in 2017. Artificial intelligence can help correct steering and braking when human drivers are inattentive or make errors, but they are not fully autonomous systems. They need human drivers to work with them for maximum safety. According to the "Journal of Safety Research," drivers in partly-autonomous vehicles may have a slower reaction time.

Worst 10 cities for car accidents ranked in recent report

In 2019, there were 953,630 car crashes in Georgia and across the U.S. This marks a 6.8% increase from 2018, which saw 892,615 crashes. The transportation nonprofit Go Safe Labs has come out with a list of the 10 cities that saw the most crashes in 2019 as well as a list of 10 "hotspots" where the most accidents arose.

Houston headed the first list with 22,188 motor vehicle accidents occurring there in 2019. After that came Charlotte, North Carolina, with 21,818 accidents followed by Los Angeles with 19,660. Two more cities in Texas, Austin and Dallas, came in fourth and fifth with 16,635 and 14,685 accidents, respectively. The list continued with Raleigh, Oklahoma City, Baton Rouge, Nashville and Phoenix.

Three necessary steps to preventing workplace falls

Falls are behind 15% of all worker deaths in Georgia and across the U.S. In the construction industry, the danger is even greater with falls accounting for one-third of all worker deaths. Even when they don't end in death, falls can cause severe injuries and disabilities. Their effect can be wide-ranging: Employers may notice, for example, a loss of morale and a decline in productivity.

OSHA and three other government agencies have come up with a three-step plan for preventing falls in the workplace. The three steps are: Plan ahead, provide the right fall protection gear and equipment and train employees on their set-up and use.

CVSA's 2020 International Roadcheck to take place in May

Every year in Georgia and across the rest of North America, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance holds a 72-hour inspection blitz called the International Roadcheck. CMV drivers are stopped at random to see if they are in compliance with all driver- and truck-related federal regulations. If they fail the tests, they or their trucks are put out of service.

The 2020 International Roadcheck is set to take place from May 5 to 7. This is a month earlier than normal, but the CVSA explains that in May, the weather in certain jurisdictions is more favorable for the inspection spree. As with previous years, the majority of inspections will be Level I inspections. These 37-point inspections are the most comprehensive possible.

What you need to know about bed sores and nursing homes

The day you helped your loved one move into a Georgia nursing home might have been a day filled with mixed emotions. On one hand, you were likely relieved and glad that your family member was moving into a secure environment where he or she would be safe and well cared for, especially when you are unable to be there. On the other hand, you understand that it's often difficult for elderly people to leave their homes and independence behind.

As time passes, you will no doubt visit your loved one as often as possible. You hopefully will only see positive signs of him or her adjusting well and care providers meeting his or her needs. Sadly, in this state and others, nursing home negligence often causes patients to suffer injuries such as bed sores. This is one of the most preventable types of injuries there is, which is why it warrants immediate investigation if you notice pressure ulcers on your loved one's body.

Federal agency to investigate trucking accidents

Truck accidents can pose a real threat to others on the road in Georgia. Because of the size and weight of these large vehicles, those involved in a crash with a semi-truck are far more likely to suffer serious injuries or even fatalities. Some statistics have indicated that large truck crashes are on the rise, prompting concerns. Now, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced that it is planning its first major study of tractor-trailer collisions in 15 years. The FMCSA study will look at the problems involved in large truck collisions, including the potential influence of mobile devices and distracted driving on trucking accidents.

The FMCSA announced that it is looking into more information on designing and carrying out a large study of all serious truck crashes, particularly those involving injuries, fatalities or towed-away vehicles. The agency announced that it wants to analyze information from the on-board electronics contained in many large trucks that gather information about braking, lane departure and speed of travel. In the FMCSA's last study of large truck crashes in 2003, it found that when the truck was the cause of the crash, most were due to some kind of driver error.

Support wanes as red light cameras prove a double-edged sword

Red light running is behind many auto, bicyclist and pedestrian accidents in Georgia, some of which are fatal. In a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey, 92.9% of drivers said they know that running a red light is wrong, yet 42.7% admitted to doing it at least once in the previous 30 days.

To fight this trend, many communities started installing traffic-enforcement cameras, or red light cameras, at certain intersections. These cameras take photographs of drivers who run red lights and allow police to issue traffic tickets to them. The positive effect of these cameras has been analyzed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

IIDs can be a source of distraction for many drivers

Ignition interlock devices provide an effective way to curb drunk driving. They are so effective that Georgia and 33 other states have a law requiring DUI offenders to install an IID in their vehicle. This device is nothing more than an in-car Breathalyzer, and it prevents a car from starting if the driver fails the test.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supports the IID, saying it can reduce repeat DUI offenses by 70% when installed. States with an IID law see 15% fewer alcohol-related crash fatalities than those that do not. If proposed legislation is passed, IID technology may become mandatory on all new vehicles by 2024. Despite all of the attention that IIDs are getting, though, little notice has been made of the car crashes that involve them.

OSHA refines how agency collects data about amputation injuries

The machinery within manufacturing facilities in Georgia frequently has the potential to injure workers seriously. Inadequate machine guards and poor maintenance heighten the risk that workers could suffer injuries that cause amputations or death. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration takes amputations seriously, and the agency has announced updates to how its inspectors collect data about amputations.

The agency's National Emphasis Program addresses amputations, and the updates will expand methodology that covers amputation reporting and coding for inspection reports after amputations occur. The OSHA database will add appendices to aid inspectors who must follow the updated methodology and North American Industry Classification Codes.

Falls are not just embarrassing; they can cause serious injuries

From a young age, most Georgia residents experience numerous falls. Whether the falls took place while climbing trees as a kid or while going about a daily activity as an adult, falls can cause serious injuries. Unfortunately, older individuals may be more susceptible to such injuries.

While a person's health, age and abilities could affect their chances of a fall, the conditions of an area can also contribute. You may work to maintain a relatively hazard-free home, such as keeping your yard clean from trip hazards and ensuring that steps leading to your porch have a rail. However, owners of public places or even friends at their own homes may not be as conscious about slip-and-fall hazards as they should be.

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