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Study finds opioid use doubles fatal accident risks

According to figures from the Georgia-based Centers for Disease Control, doctors in the United States write more than 200 million opioid prescriptions every year, which equates to more than 66 prescriptions for every 100 Americans. This worries lawmakers and police departments because drugs like fentanyl and oxycodone affect drivers in similar ways to alcohol.

Much of the research into opioid use has focused on the societal costs of the widely available and highly addictive medications, but two researchers from Columbia University recently took a different approach. They wanted to find out if the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the country is having a detrimental effect on road safety, and they found that the number of drivers who die each year while under the influence of the drugs has risen from about 1% in the 1990s to an alarming 7%.

When must you file a Georgia workers’ compensation claim?

When you live in Georgia and suffer an injury on the job, you may have cause to file a workers’ compensation claim relating to your injury. Regardless of whether the injury you suffered was ultimately your fault or someone else’s, you should still be able to move forward with a workers’ compensation claim if the injury occurred while you were at work.

However, you must follow certain guidelines when filing a workers’ compensation claim in the state. One of the most important involves making sure you adhere to all established deadlines. There is, in fact, a statute of limitations in Georgia that dictates exactly how long you have to come forward with a workers’ compensation claim. If you blow that deadline, you will lose your chance at recourse.

Improving electrical safety in the workplace

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has implemented a variety of policies to improve conditions for workers, but regulators realized not enough was being done in the area of electrical safety. A new framework, known as NFPA 70E, provides a new way for workers to ensure electrical safety at the places they work. Implementing this new framework honestly could improve safety in addition to increasing efficiency.

A major cause of electrical accidents at the work site is insufficient communication about what a job requires both in terms of procedures and objectives. NFPA 70E organizes information so that it's easier for workers to digest. By ensuring that workers are prepared for the job, they are less likely to make errors that cause accidents or require expensive repairs.

Rand report calls for more test-driving for autonomous cars

Automakers are rushing to introduce self-driving cars, which is worrying many in Georgia and across the U.S. After all, these cars have caused fatal crashes in the past, including a March 2018 incident where an Uber vehicle in Arizona failed to detect a pedestrian and struck her. A report from the Rand Corporation contends that automakers are neglecting safety by not test-driving their vehicles enough.

Of all the companies that are developing autonomous vehicle technology, Waymo has test-driven its vehicles for the highest number of miles: 10 million miles in the real world and 7 billion miles on virtual roads using simulation technology. However, the report says even this amount is insufficient.

'Textalyzer' bill leads to privacy concerns

Distracted driving is a growing issue on Georgia roads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that 3,450 people died in distraction-related car crashes in 2016. Of these crashes, 14 percent involved cellphones. Distracted driving is also an under-reported phenomenon since many drivers do not admit their negligence to the police.

However, there is a device called the "textalyzer" that may allow police to determine if a driver was using his or her cellphone prior to a crash. It checks for user activity, such as the opening of a Facebook messenger call screen, without accessing or storing personal content. New York proposed a measure allowing its use back in 2017, but this failed. Now, Nevada has proposed a similar measure and has raised several concerns.

Car crash risk increases with daylight saving time

Daylight saving time could increase the risk of getting into a car crash, according to to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. As a result, Georgia motorists should use extra caution when they hit the road.

it is recommended that drivers get at least seven hours of sleep each night for optimum safety. Researchers from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety say that drivers who miss one or two of those recommended sleep hours are almost twice as likely to get into a car accident as those who get the full recommended amount. In fact, drivers who get less than five hours of sleep are just as likely to crash as a drunk driver. Further, a National Sleep Foundation study found that individuals who get less than two hours of sleep in a 24-hour period are "unfit" to drive. According to AAA, almost 30 percent of drivers admit they have engaged in drowsy driving in the last 30 days.

Studies raise questions about opioid impairment and tolerance

Motorists in Georgia and around the country who cause fatal two-car accidents are almost twice as likely to test positive for prescription opioids as the other drivers involved. This was the conclusion reached by researchers after scrutinizing 18,321 crash reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System. However, medical studies suggest that traces of narcotics like oxycodone and hydrocodone in the blood are not necessarily a sign of impairment among chronic pain sufferers who have developed a tolerance for the drugs. The research was published on Feb. 15 in the open access medical journal JAMA Network Open.

The FARS data indicates that deadly two-car accidents are more likely to be caused by drivers under the influence of prescription drugs or alcohol. It also reveals that drivers are most often involved in such crashes after straying out of their lanes. This even goes for those who are not impaired. Worryingly, the rate of accidents caused by drivers with opioid indicators has risen by more than 5 percent to 7.1 percent since 1993.

Common reasons for automobile accidents

It's not uncommon for drivers on Georgia roads to see car accidents. When a collision is severe, multiple parties may investigate the causes. However, it's not always easy to determine the reason for an accident. There are usually a number of factors involved.

Law enforcement agents as well as insurance companies are interested in getting to the bottom of accidents. Police will use this information in determining who, if anyone, should be ticketed or fined for the accident. Insurance companies are interested in identifying the responsible party to determine what they will have to pay and what compensation their clients may be entitled to.

Cranking techniques that may reduce truck driver injuries

Many truck drivers in Georgia routinely crank landing gears and perform similar strenuous tasks. Unfortunately, raising or lowering trailers is also a repetitious and physically stressful process that can lead to painful shoulder injuries. Results from a recent joint study show that strategic positioning may help drivers reduce their risks of sustaining shoulder injuries.

Given the demands of most jobs in the trucking profession, it's not unusual for truck drivers to file workers' compensation claims related to injuries sustained while performing job-related tasks. In order to determine the safest cranking technique, researchers observed a dozen male drivers as they performed cranking-related operations. Specifically, they looked at several muscles that are involved in shoulder movements and measured the drivers' scapular range of motion as they cranked.

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Law Office of Perry Dean Ellis, P.C.
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