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Pottstown Pennsylvania Personal Injury Blog

Congress takes action to mandate front and side underride guards

Accidents in Pennsylvania and around the country involving passenger vehicles that slide underneath tractor-trailers claim about 300 lives each year. Federal regulations require logistics companies to fit rear underride guards to their large trucks, but no such rule exists for side and front underride guards. Bipartisan bills that would mandate the installation of side and front underride guards were recently introduced in both the Senate and the House, and they are supported by a coalition of road safety groups that say their passage could save dozens or even hundreds of lives each year. The bills also bring the rules dealing with rear underride guards up to date.

Underride accidents are often catastrophic because even the latest and most sophisticated automobile safety technology provides drivers and their passengers with little protection in these situations. Underride crashes also often take place at high speeds. Safety organizations that have voiced support for the proposed regulations include Consumer Reports, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the National Safety Council Road to Zero Coalition, the Truck Safety Coalition, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

AAA reminds drivers about the dangers of fatigue

While the dangers of fatigued driving are well understood, they're often ignored. Virtually all respondents to a recent AAA poll referred to the practice as completely unacceptable. However, almost a third of them also admitted to recently getting behind the wheel while dangerously fatigued. Data like this is especially concerning to road safety when Pennsylvanians move their clocks forward by one hour to mark the beginning of daylight saving time.

While losing one hour of sleep may seem little more than an inconvenience, a study from the American Automobile Association suggests that it could greatly increase crash risks. Researchers from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety say that drivers require at least seven hours of sleep to operate a motor vehicle safely, and they claim that losing just one or two hours of rest can nearly double the chances of being involved in an accident. According to the AAA, motorists who get behind the wheel after sleeping for five hours or less are as dangerous to other road users as drunk drivers.

Common surgical tools left inside of patients

One of the scariest forms of medical malpractice is when the doctors accidentally end up leaving some of the stuff they were working with inside of the patient. Imagine feeling more confident about your body after leaving the hospital without knowing that they have left some of their tools inside you. It could take years before you realize the amount of internal damage this equipment is doing to your body.

One report states that doctors have accidentally left nearly 800 surgical tools inside patients between 2005 to 2013. While it’s heavily varied on what ends up in these victims, having so many accounts does show that certain tools are easier to lose than others. Both doctors and patients should know what items are most likely to be lost in the process in the event of surgical complications.

Surgical skills transcend technical knowledge

When patients in Pennsylvania go into the hospital, they often feel reassured by doctors with a good bedside manner. Those good feelings can be backed up by data, according to experts. Surgery makes use of highly advanced technical skills, but non-technical skills are also an important part of a surgeon's practice. One surgical expert said that in addition to aptitude, ability and ambition, adaptability and humility are important characteristics of a successful surgeon.

Around 45 percent of adverse medical events involve surgery. Of these, 35 to 66 percent take place during the operation itself. Surgical errors can be disastrous, with catastrophic effects for the patient. Therefore, a doctor's ability to recognize a problem or mistake and act to find a solution can be critical to saving a patient's life and health. Cognitive skills are important in surgery because surgeons need to constantly evaluate the current situation in order to determine their next course of action. Training on cognitive skills can help surgeons react to problems and even errors with quick thinking and positive action.

Study finds opioids linked to some fatal 2-car crashes

America's opioid crisis is hitting Pennsylvania's roadways, according to a new study published in JAMA Network Open. The study found that drivers found at fault for causing fatal two-vehicle crashes were almost twice as likely to test positive for prescription painkillers as drivers who did not cause the crash. The study was released in mid-February.

For the study, researchers analyzed car crash data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System to determine the role opioids play in fatal car crashes. They found that 7,535 of 18,321 deadly two-vehicle crashes were caused by drivers who veered from their lane. Of the drivers who were found at fault for the accidents, 918 tested positive for opioids. In contrast, 549 of the drivers who were not found at fault had opioids in their system. The study also found that the percentage of at-fault drivers who tested positive for prescription painkillers jumped from just 2 percent in 1993 to over 7 percent in 2016.

What teens should know about distracted driving

Distracted driving can be a problem for drivers in Pennsylvania and throughout the country regardless of the driver's age. However, statistics show that it is a major problem for teen drivers. Over 58 percent of accidents involving a teen driver occur because he or she was distracted at the time of the crash. According to a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, cellphone use was not the main cause of distracted driving.

Instead, teen drivers were most likely to be distracted by other passengers in their vehicles. The study tracked drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 to get their data. It is important to note that distracted driving involves any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road. Therefore, cellphone use can be a distraction, and this can be true whether the phone is used for talking or any other function.

Study finds factors for misdiagnosis of optical tumors

Optic nerve sheath meningiomas, or ONSM, are a rare type of tumor that develops around the optic nerve. Though they are considered benign, ONSM cause vision problems as the tumor grows and presses on the optic nerve. Optic nerve sheath meningiomas account for one-third of all optic nerve tumors. The tumors can be difficult to treat as they are often initially misdiagnosed until loss of vision has occurred.

A new study by researchers at Emory School of Medicine looked at the reasons that patients with ONSM in Pennsylvania and across the United States are initially misdiagnosed. The researchers found that doctors often don't order the correct tests, fail to interpret magnetic resonance imaging tests properly, give erroneous funduscopic assessments and form a biased diagnosis before further looking at symptoms.

Clothing mistakes in winter lead to pedestrian accidents

While more people may not feel like taking their walks during the winter, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lack of pedestrian fatalities during the coldest months of the year. Drivers often cite the smaller walking areas and slippery roads as two major factors for these crashes around this time.

However, not all pedestrian accidents are the driver’s fault. People who take a walk or jog around their neighborhood around this time also need to adjust themselves for the colder temperatures. But there are more seasonal conditions that Pennsylvania pedestrians need to keep in mind when they go out to get some fresh winter air.

The rise in big-rig crash fatalities

Road Safe America has released its analysis of federal crash data pertaining to deaths caused by big-rig trucks. According to the data, Pennsylvania ranked fifth in states had the highest number of truck crash fatalities in 2017.

The analysis also revealed that there was a rise in big-rig crash fatalities in 44 states between 2009 and 2017. The statistics show that the number of miles that were traveled by heavy commercial trucks dropped slightly even as the number of crashes involving the heavy commercial trucks rose.

Surveys show more drivers using phones to text, email

Pennsylvania drivers might be more likely to engage in more high-risk behavior using their phones than in previous years. Observational studies carried out by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2014 and 2018 found that in 2018, there was a 57 percent higher chance of seeing a driver using a cellphone for email, texting or in some other way besides talking. On the other hand, the number of drivers seen using phones to talk went down.

Distracted driving caused by both cellphones and other actions, including talking to children or even sipping from a drink, can be dangerous. However, it is unclear how many fatal accidents it is responsible for. One difficulty in compiling reliable statistics is that attributing an accident to distracted driving requires accurate self-reporting from the drive or an examination of the driver's cellphone. However, the IIHS estimates that more than 800 fatalities in 2017 were the result of drivers using their phones to text or for some other purpose that was not talking.

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Pottstown, PA 19464

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