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Calhoun Legal Issues Blog

AAA cautions against drowsy driving in daylight saving time

When Georgia residents lose one hour of rest for daylight saving time, drowsiness could seep in. This fatigue could become a major hazard when they get behind the wheel. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety upholds the opinion that everyone should get seven hours of sleep a night. Furthermore, the foundation claims that those who skip one to two hours of rest in a 24-hour period nearly double their chances for a crash.

AAA also states that someone who only sleeps five hours in a 24-hour period will be as impaired on the road as a driver who exceeds the legal limit for alcohol. The safety organization thus recommends that all drivers adjust their sleep schedules prior to daylight saving time. Only adequate sleep can prevent drowsiness.

Sepsis is common and can be deadly

Sepsis is a word that strikes fear into many. However, the specifics of what it is and how often it occurs are a little murkier. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sepsis is caused by an infection. The infection could be in your lungs, skin, urinary tract or somewhere else. If it is not treated properly, your body reacts in an extreme manner, which is sepsis.

Rare diseases aren't all that rare

According to the World Health Organization, there are 400 million people throughout the world who have what are referred to as rare diseases. It is believed that only 500 of the 7,000 known rare conditions can be treated to any degree. A Georgia resident may have a rare condition if he or she is one of less than 200,000 people to have it.

The majority of such patients are children, and a diagnosis is often made when the condition has progressed significantly. This is because a rare disease may initially present as another type of cancer or other health ailment. A survey of 6,000 people with rare conditions found that a quarter were not properly diagnosed for up to 30 years. Patients can help themselves by seeking regular treatment and keeping track of any subtle or major changes to their health.

Some frequent causes of car accidents

Knowing the various causes of auto accidents is important because the cause will determine who should be issued a traffic ticket and who will be liable for injuries sustained by others. Many drivers in Georgia and around the country cause crashes because of simple human error. Driving while distracted, either by using a smartphone or by doing something simple like eating, drinking or talking with a passenger, is one common error. Any kind of multitasking is risky.

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is another frequent cause. Even prescription and over-the-counter medications can impair driving by potentialy slowing reaction time and causing drowsiness. Medical conditions can lead drivers to have a heart attack, seizure or stroke while on the road. Those who feel unwell or who forget their glasses should not drive further.

Drivers now more likely to use phone to text and email

Georgia drivers may now be using cellphones in more risky ways compared to previous years. This is according to observational surveys that compared driver habits in 2014 and 2018. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety researchers say that 2018 drivers were 57 percent more likely to be seen using their cellphones to text than in 2014. However, 2014 motorists were more prone to making calls while behind the wheel.

Most safety organizations agree that using phones while driving can be dangerous, but it can be difficult to determine how many fatal accidents are caused by distracted driving. It generally depends upon self-reporting from drivers or the examination of drivers' phones. However, some research says that the chance of a deadly motor vehicle accident is 66 percent higher when a driver is using a phone. Based on this data, the IIHS has estimated that around 800 traffic fatalities in 2017 may have been the result of using the phone while driving.

Drowsy driving, a widespread issue in ridesharing industry

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued a position statement back in April 2018 that should be of interest to rideshare users in Georgia. According to academy researchers, many rideshare drivers are compelled by low fares and salary incentives to overwork themselves. Moreover, these drivers are independent contractors who are never screened for conditions like obstructive sleep apnea.

Drowsy driving contributes to an average of 328,000 car crashes every year in the U.S., according to AAA estimates. Of these, 109,000 result in injuries and 6,400 in at least one fatality. In its 2017-2018 Most Wanted List, the National Transportation Safety Board placed the reduction of fatigue-related crashes among the top 10 changes that can save lives on the road.

Stress increases likelihood of surgeons making mistakes

Georgia surgical patients should hope their surgeons are feeling stress-free at operation time. According to a recent study, surgeons are much more likely to make medical mistakes during a procedure if they are feeling stressed.

For the study, which was conducted at Columbia University, a Stanford Medical Center surgeon wore a "smart shirt" beneath his scrubs for 25 surgeries, most of which were gastric bypasses. The shirt measured the electrical signals from his heart in order to detect signs of stress. At the same time, researchers documented any errors he made during surgeries and the times that they occurred. The study found that he was up to 66 percent more likely to make an error when he was showing signs of stress.

Unintential injury: a leading cause of death

Unintentional injury is a leading cause of death for Georgians between the ages of 1 and 44. In 2016, 61,749 people died in the U.S. as a result of unintentional injury. This makes it nearly twice as deadly for that age group as cancer and heart disease combined.

Most causes of unintentional injury are preventable. The majority of deaths from accidents involve car crashes or unintentional poisoning. In addition, there were 2,775 deaths in 2016 that occurred as a result of residential fires.

Car crashes now eighth leading cause of death worldwide

U.S. road safety laws are designed to protect Georgia residents and other Americans from traffic-related injuries and deaths. For example, laws on impaired driving and seat belt use have been proven to save lives. Unfortunately, not all countries have such laws, and their citizens are dying as a result.

According to a new report by the World Health Organization, 1.35 million people were killed in traffic accidents worldwide in 2016. That number, which represents an all-time high, makes car crashes the eighth leading cause of death for people of all ages, displacing HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Car accidents are also now the top cause of death for children and adults between the ages of 5 and 29. The overall global traffic death rate has remained steady at 18 deaths per 100,000 people for the last 15 years.

What happens if an uninsured driver crashes into you?

It is an unfortunate consequence of being out on the road and getting in an accident, some drivers just do not play by the rules. One of the more frustrating rule breaking infractions you may encounter is finding out that the other driver does not have insurance after an accident. Currently in Georgia, around 10 percent of drivers out on the road are uninsured.

If you learn after an accident that the other driver does not have insurance, you may be wondering what to do next. Here is what you should know when this happens.

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