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.

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