New Research Tries to Identify Reasons for Distracted Driving

Friday, October 25, 2013
It’s quite clear now that there are different forces at work that seem to prevent people from avoiding distracted driving at the wheel. It's also clear that much of the motoring public is aware of the dangers of distracted driving, and using cell phones at the wheel, but continues to engage in such practices nevertheless.

Several new studies are focusing on these forces, and what is it exactly that seems to prevent people from stopping such destructive practices, even when they're completely aware of the dangers of doing so.

The fact is that many people who use their cell phones while driving are aware that such practices can lead to an accident, but can't seem to be able to help themselves from reaching out for their cell phone.

Studies have indicated that as many as 95% of Americans are aware that using a cell phone while driving can be extremely dangerous, and increases their risk of being involved in an accident. However, an equally large number of Americans admit to using cell phones for texting or having a conversation. That means that many persons are habituated to using cell phones, and don't see anything amiss in reaching out for their cell phone to answer an incoming text message, or receiving a phone call when they're driving.

Obviously, this makes the problem of controlling distracted driving an even bigger challenge. It's not merely a question of simply educating people or making them aware of the dangers of distracted driving, because people already seem to be aware of the risks involved. It's important to understand how strong and ingrained these habits are among people, and how difficult it is going to be to break some of those habits.

Swedish Researchers Develop Bodysuits to Encourage Mobility after Brain Injury

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A group of Swedish researchers has developed a bodysuit that can be worn by persons who suffer from brain injury and other neurological disorders. The specially- designed bodysuit is equipped with a number of electrodes that are sewn into the inner lining of the suit. The electrodes stimulate several of the body's muscles, while the person is wearing the suit.

This is a battery-powered suit, and can be activated via a battery that is placed in a small box at the waistband of the suit. At least 58 electrodes are sewn into the inside of the bodysuit, and when electric current passes through them, they stimulate the body muscles.

According to the researchers, initial tests have found that persons wearing the suits experienced significant improvement in their mobility, and also experienced a significant reduction in pain. It was not just persons who suffered from brain injury who showed significant improvements after wearing the suit. Even persons who had suffered a stroke and suffered from paralysis as a result, showed increase mobility in their spastic limbs. They also had better functioning of their arms and hands after wearing the suits for a few days. In fact, the researchers say that all the patients who wore the suits showed improvement a few weeks after the experience.

The suit is not meant to be worn all the time. Rather, it is meant to be worn for just a few hours three days a week. It is recommended that patients wear the suit just before they have to go out for maximum effectiveness.

It will be a while before the suit is commercially available in the market, because it has not yet been subjected to independent clinical tests.

Children More Distracting Than Mobile Phones

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A new study conducted by Australian researchers has some very unsurprising findings for Los Angeles car accident lawyers. The study by researchers at Monash University Accident Research Center has found that children tend to be a much greater source of distraction for parents while driving, than cell phones.

The study was based on an analysis of the driving practices of 12 families, who took 92 trips in all. The researchers found that parents displayed distracted behaviors in 90 of those trips. The parents were driving with children between one and eight years of age. Some of the more severe distractions were turning around to check up on the children in the back seats, helping children with something, and talking with children. 

Parents have many demands on their attention when they're driving with children, and the number of distractions seems to increase with the number of children in the car. While having a conversation on a cell phone or texting while driving can take away attention from the task of driving, they do not seem to increase stress levels among parents, in the way that driving with children can. When there are multiple children in a car, there are likely to be arguments, scuffles, tantrums and all kinds of other distractions that parents have to deal with while operating the vehicle safely.

Before driving, make sure that you have some items that children may need during the journey like snacks, toys or puzzles, within reach, so that you do not have to frequently reach out for things. If the distractions get too much, pull over somewhere safe. It is also sometimes best to simply turn a deaf ear to all the chaos in the car, and firmly remind your children that you cannot be disturbed while you are driving.

Friends, Family Main Suppliers of Alcohol to Underage Drivers

Thursday, October 10, 2013
Alcohol-related car accidents continue to be a major risk for teenage drivers who are at a high risk for driving under the influence of alcohol. Even though, a driver below the age of 21 is not allowed to possess alcohol, the number of teenage accidents involving driving under the influence of alcohol every year, just confirms that those laws are very often violated. A new survey finds that very often, it is friends and family members, who actually supply in the underage driver with the alcohol.

The survey was conducted by the Centers for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. The survey focused on more than 9000 students, who were in grade 7 to 12. The researchers specifically focused on teenagers who drank alcohol or smokes.

Among the students who admitted to drinking alcohol, 39% admitted that they were given the alcohol by someone else. Approximately 28% confirmed that they gave money to someone to purchase the alcohol for them, while 6% got their alcohol from a liquor store. Obviously, teenagers who drink alcohol are finding many ways of getting around the system.

Among the students who lived in urban or suburban areas, approximately 40% reported that they were given the alcohol by someone else, while in rural areas, the rate was approximately 35%. In rural areas, approximately 33% of the students said that they gave someone else the money to buy the alcohol for them, but while in the urban areas, the rate was approximately 27%.

Not surprisingly, older teens were much more likely to admit that they gave someone the money to buy the alcohol. As many as 32% of older teens admitted doing so.

Other common sources of accessing alcohol for teenagers were grocery stores, gas stations and bars.

Stressful Life Events Increase Risk of Fall Accidents among Seniors

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Older males are much more likely to suffer a fall accident after they've experienced a stressful life situation like the death of a spouse. According to new research which involved 5,000 men above the age of 65 across the United States, a stressful life experience like the death of a spouse or financial problems can increase the risk of a slip and fall accident among senior males.

The men in the study were asked if they had experienced stressful events over the past year. These experiences included serious illness, accident or death of a spouse, death of a close relative, separation from a child, loss of a pet, financial problems, change of residence, or being forced to give up hobbies and interests.

In the year after they were surveyed, approximately 27.7% of the senior males suffered a fall. Another 14.7% of the males suffered multiple fall accidents. In fact, fall accidents were reported by nearly 30% of the males in the study who had suffered at least one stressful event. Approximately 35.5% of the males who had suffered at least two stressful events suffered a fall accident. In the category of males who had suffered at least three or more stressful events, approximately 40% suffered a fall accident in the year after the survey.

Overall, the researchers estimate that a stressful life event was linked with a 41% higher risk of suffering a fall accident. It was also linked to a twofold increased risk of multiple fall accidents in the year after the life event. However, stressful events were not necessarily linked to a higher risk of fractures.

Study Finds High Rates of Binge Drinking among American Teens

Monday, September 23, 2013

As many as one in five American high school seniors binge drinks frequently, and some of them actually have more 15 alcohol beverages in a single session. A new study clearly indicates that binge drinking is widely prevalent in the teen population.

The study, which was published in the Journal of JAMA Pediatrics Journal, finds that approximately 20% of high school seniors reported binge drinking or drinking five or more alcohol beverages in a single session over the past two weeks. Approximately 10.5% admitted having 10 or more drinks during a session, while nearly 6% admitted to having 15 or more alcoholic beverages.

Males, not surprisingly, were much more likely than female teens to report binge drinking, and whites were also much more likely to binge drink compared to blacks. The researchers also found it interesting that students who have college-educated parents, were at a greater risk of drinking excessively. However, having parents with a college background seemed to reduce the risks of drinking extreme binge drinking, or drinking 15 or more alcoholic beverages in a single session.

The researchers analyzed data involving approximately 16,000 high school seniors, including a fairly 50/50 division of males and females. The researchers have concluded that binge drinking is widely prevalent among American teenagers, and that the current strategies that are in place to reduce the rates of excessive drinking among this segment of the population are simply not working enough.

They are calling for the development of more effective strategies to reduce the risk of excessive drinking among teenagers. Excessive drinking is linked to driving under the influence of alcohol and alcohol-related accidents among other consequences.

Research Provides New Clues about Causes of DUI Accidents

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

According to a new study conducted at the University of Missouri, people who otherwise are against driving under the influence of alcohol, find that their attitudes undergo a change once they have drunk a moderate amount of alcohol.
The researchers analyzed 82 adults, and measured their attitudes toward driving under the influence of alcohol, both while sober and after they had consumed some amount of alcohol. They found that there was a staggering difference between attitudes towards intoxicated driving when the subjects were sober, and after they had consumed a certain amount of alcohol.

When sober, these adults were stringently against driving under the influence of alcohol. However, they did not believe that it was such a dangerous practice, once they had consumed a few drinks.

This is a classic example of the manner in which alcohol can impair a person’s judgment. After a certain number of drinks, a person may not be able to make the right kind of judgment calls, and one of the first things to fly out the window after a few drinks, is the person's distaste for driving under the influence of alcohol. As a result, the person may drive or operate a motor vehicle, believing that there is nothing wrong in doing so.

Every year, alcohol kills more people than any other motor vehicle accident factor, excluding speeding. Thousands of people are killed annually, and even more people are severely injured in alcohol-related accidents across the country. Many of those accidents are caused by people, who normally would never have driven while intoxicated, but decided that they would do so, just one time.

In order to stay safe when you're out drinking, make sure that you have a designated driver for the evening that is entrusted with the responsibility of driving you home.

Spinal Injury Increases Heart Attack Stroke Risk

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A spinal injury could increase the risks of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke, substantially for patients. That information comes from a new study that was conducted by Canadian researchers.

According to the research, patients who have a spinal cord injury are much more likely to suffer cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. These persons have an up to 3 times higher risk of suffering cardiac disease, and a four -times higher risk of suffering a stroke. The results of the study were published recently in the journal Neurology.

According to the researchers, the heightened risk among these patients brings their risk of cardiovascular disease on par with patients who already suffer from other possible risk factors, like smoking, diabetes and obesity. The researchers found that the heightened risk of cardiovascular disease among persons of spinal cord injury was very similar to the amplified risk among persons who smoke heavily, are obese or suffer from diabetes.

The data came from an analysis 60,000 people, who participated in the 2010 Canadian Community Health Survey. Out of these, the researchers identified 355 persons who had suffered spinal injury and also suffered a stroke. They also found 356 people who had suffered a spinal cord injury and also reported cardiovascular disease. The researchers believe that having a spinal cord injury can increase the risk factors for cardiovascular disease that include lack of exercise, hypertension and chronic inflammation.

Past research has also found an association between spinal injury and cardiovascular disease. For instance, a report by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center that was released recently found that high blood pressure or hypertension and heart disease are the third-leading cause of mortality among persons who have suffered spinal cord injuries.

Texting Increases Accident Risks for Teen Drivers with ADHD

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Teen motorists, who suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, may have poor driving skills, compared to those teens who do not suffer from ADHD. However, when researchers recently compared driving skills of the two categories of groups, and introduced texting while driving into the equation, they found that teenagers who were texting were actually poorer drivers than teens who suffered from ADHD.

Overall, the results of the study found that teenagers who suffered from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder showed bad driving skills, compared to teenagers with no history of the condition. However, the risks of being involved in an accident increased substantially when texting was added to the mix.

Teen texting is a serious highway safety problem, and teenagers account for the some of the highest volumes of texting in the United States every year.

The researchers also found that medications for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder do not reduce a teen’s risk of being involved in an accident. Persons, who suffer from ADHD, are often prescribed stimulant medication that can help them control their symptoms to some extent. However, most teenagers who suffer from ADHD tend to drive at night or during weekends, when they are less likely to have taken their medication.

Teenagers who suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder had more difficulty staying within their lane while driving, and maintaining constant speeds. They were also much more likely to drift out of their lanes. All of this translated into a much higher risk of making driving errors. As many as 17 % of the teens with ADHD had received at least one traffic ticket, while in the group without any symptoms of ADHD, the rate was just 6%.

At Least 50 People Injured in Los Angeles Charter Bus Accident

Friday, August 23, 2013

At least 50 people are believed to have been injured in a Los Angeles charter bus accident that involved a charter bus that flipped over on Interstate 210, near the interchange with the 605 Freeway in Irwindale.

The bus turned over, and then travelled several lanes before it finally came to a stop. At the time of the accident, the bus is believed to have been on its way to a casino. The bus had been chartered by Da Zhen Travel Agency, and is believed to have been a discount bus operation that was taking tourists to desert casinos. TheAssociated Press reports that these types of bus operations are fairly common on this route, and frequently transport tourists between the San Gabriel Valley and casinos in the Nevada desert. 

In this case, the bus was reported to be headed towards the San Manual Indian Bingo and Casino in San Bernardino.

The impact of the accident was so severe that the bus careened through a chain link fence, and went down an embankment before it finally came to a stop. This was an accident that could have resulted in much more serious injuries, and even fatalities. Fortunately, none of the injuries are believed to be critical, and most of the patients are expected to make a complete recovery. The injuries are being reported as minor to moderate in nature, and include cuts and bruises, fractures, and many blunt force trauma injuries.

At least 52 people on the bus suffered injuries, and most of the injured are reported to be elderly people. In fact, most of the tourists on the bus are believed to have been elderly people between the age of 60 and 80 years. There is no information about whether the passengers on the bus were wearing seat belts.

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