Carter Craig, Attorneys at Law

Danville Personal Injury Law Blog

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The dangers of driving while under the influence

Many Virginia residents have been or known someone who has been the victim of an automobile accident connected to driving under the influence. It is not uncommon for the impaired individual who provoked the accident to walk away from the accident with fewer injuries than the victims, whether they are occupants of the other vehicle or pedestrians.

In the past four decades, there has been a reduction in the percentage of traffic fatalities where alcohol use was a factor. However, over the last two years, this trend seems to be changing. It is estimated that in 2016, 28 percent of traffic fatalities, amounting to 10,000 incidents, were linked to alcohol. It is chilling to contemplate the effect that impaired driving has had on so many victims and their families.

Staying safe on winter roads

In Virginia, winter can be a stressful and dangerous time for drivers. Ice and snow are the cause of a majority of car accidents in this time. Ice doesn't allow the tires to get a good grip on the road, making it hard to steer and brake, and black ice can deceive many drivers with its wet appearance.

This is why winterizing vehicles is so essential to staying safe. This doesn't mean simply using snow chains or buying snow tires; it also covers a range of maintenance tasks. Drivers should inspect the lights, wiper blades, heater and defroster. The exhaust should be free of debris. The antifreeze should be half mixed with water to keep it from freezing. Tire pressure should be checked because cold temperatures can deflate tires.

Study reveals Pokémon Go's effect on car crash rates

In its early stages, Pokémon Go had no restrictions to keep people from playing it when they were driving. This frequently made the game a distraction for drivers in Illinois and across the U.S., especially when they needed to visit Pokéstops to obtain in-game items. A recent study, shared online but still awaiting peer review, conducted by two professors at Purdue University shows just how much of an effect the game has had on car crash rates.

The authors studied the car crash reports made in the months preceding and following the July 2016 launch of Pokémon Go, concentrating on Tippecanoe County, Indiana. They then counted the number of accidents that took place at intersections within 100 meters of a Pokéstop. Across the county, 134 more accidents and two more deaths occurred at such intersections in those months following the launch than in the months preceding it. There was a 26.5 percent increase in accidents near Pokéstops with the majority of them attributed to a distracted driver.

Study links ADHD medication to lower car crash risk

A study published in JAMA Psychiatry has researched the crash histories of more than 2.3 million drivers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and its conclusions are something that everyone in Virginia should know about. ADHD is typified by short attention spans and impulsivity, so it may make people more liable to text, talk on the phone or do other distracting things while driving.

The study helped find out how effective ADHD medication is in preventing car crashes. Researchers found that 1.9 million out of the 2.3 million drivers received prescriptions at one point and that between 2005 and 2014, there were 11,224 cases of ADHD patients visiting the emergency room after a car accident. Comparing the months when prescriptions were filled to the months when they weren't, they discovered a lower crash risk in the former. The study estimates that up to 22.1 percent of crashes can be prevented through ADHD medication.

Driving safety on wintry roads in Virginia

As much as people often don't want to think about cold weather and snow, both of those are realities in Virginia. If you are planning on heading out on the roads during the winter months, you need to make sure that you are fully prepared for the journey. It doesn't matter if you are running around the corner to the store or taking a longer trip.

Your safety begins before you leave home. Here are some ways that you can prepare for winter travels:

Holiday season signals a spike in number of traffic fatalities

In 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is once again urging motorists to stay safe on Thanksgiving Day, and drivers in Virginia may want to take note. Thanksgiving may be the nation's deadliest holiday, and the blame may lie mostly on the increased number of traffic accidents occurring at this time of year.

As doctors in the U.S. have recognized for some time, mortality rates are highest from Thanksgiving through the winter months, and available NHTSA data supports this claim. Although nearly 50,000 non-fatal crashes were reported during Thanksgiving 2012, 764 fatal car accidents also occurred. The number of fatal crashes during Christmas that year was slightly lower with 654 deadly incidents reportedly taking place. Statistics indicate that 60 percent of those killed were not wearing seat belts when the accident occurred. At least 40 percent of the fatal collisions involved drunk driving. NHTSA officials believe that many of these fatalities were preventable.

Car accidents can increase due to daylight time change

The annual shifting of the clock from daylight savings time to standard time can be a concern for Virginia drivers and people on the roadways across the United States. Areas with wildlife presence may be particularly at risk of an increase in auto accidents, especially as the hours of darkness extend into previously daylight-filled hours.

The change of time schedules that takes place in the fall tends to align with one of the peak mating seasons for deer and other wildlife. It also comes before bears go into hibernation and are still looking for food as they need to consume more calories before resting for the winter. Just like drivers, animals have fewer daylight hours to complete their daily activities and may have difficulty seeing in the increased darkness.

Night shifts make for drowsy drivers, says study

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital have shown that night shift workers are at a greater risk for drowsy driving than those with regular sleep schedules. Over 9.5 million people work night shifts or rotational shifts in Virginia and across the U.S., which explains why drowsy driving is considered such a public health hazard.

In a study conducted by the researchers, 16 night shift workers were asked to participate in two driving sessions, both on a closed driving track. The first session took place after participants slept the night, and the second after they returned from shift work. On the whole, drivers exhibited more drowsiness and poorer driving performance during the second session.

Driver health and road safety

When people drive or walk around in Virginia, they understand that they are responsible for their own safety while on the road. There are times, however, when it is difficult to protect oneself against an accident caused by another driver's negligence or error.

Truck accidents can be particularly dangerous due to the size of the vehicles. This makes truck driver negligence a crucial issue for everyone to be aware of. While many truckers are careful drivers, many may not realize that their health can affect their judgment and reaction times.

Blind spots and workplace safety

People in Virginia who work in loading dock areas or large fulfillment warehouses are at risk of incurring injury from collisions caused by the lack of sufficient visibility. Workplaces where heavy equipment, like forklifts, are operated near people who are walking at intersections, loading docks or blind spots are not safe. Near misses, which can result in a worker falling or dropping a hazardous product or chemical, can also result in injuries.

The safety measures that are in place in such workplaces do not provide complete safety. For example, forklifts that make warning sounds when they are in reverse can be drowned out by the noises outside and inside the workplace. Workers may also become so used to the sounds of the warning that they no longer pay attention to them.