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Harrisburg Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Cars designed to make drivers unsafe

New research has confirmed the fears of many safety experts regarding new car features. In-vehicle devices intended to entertain or guide drivers are a serious distraction and encourage hazardous behavior. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted an analysis of some of these systems and found that they left drivers distracted for more than 40 seconds for some functions. Previous AAA studies show that a distraction which takes a driver’s eyes off the road for 2 seconds increases the risk of an accident by 100 percent.

An old problem with new facets

Car seat installation key to safety

Car seats are a vital component in keeping children safe. Small children cannot safely wear seat belts and need the protection afforded by car seats and their restraints. Unfortunately, a surprising percentage of car seats are not being used effectively. According to the National Traffic Safety Administration, 59 percent of these seats are installed improperly. As a result, these seats are either ineffective or less effective than they should be at preventing injury in the event of a car accident.

Why the confusion?

Deadliest jobs list includes usual suspects

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its yearly list of the 20 deadliest jobs in the nation. While many of the jobs on the list come as no surprise, there are some that people don’t generally consider dangerous unless they are in the industry. People expect to see police officer and construction worker on the list. They are sometimes surprised to see janitor and garbage collector.

Placement on the list is no guarantee of publicity. More important than public knowledge is whether the list informs lawmakers and safety experts of the need to protect workers in these professions. 

When Will Autonomous Vehicles Be Commonplace?

Tens of thousands of people lose their lives in automobile accidents every year. Most of those deaths are the result of easily preventable mistakes made by drivers. Distracted driving, drunk driving, aggressive driving, drowsy driving and other dangerous behaviors are not likely to go away by themselves. For many, the only possible solution is to turn the driving over to machines.

Whether or not you think self-driving cars are the answer, it is clear that lawmakers are on board with furthering the technology. The U.S. House of Representatives recently approved a measure that should make it easier for car manufacturers to get autonomous vehicles on the road. The measure passed unanimously, indicating significant support for the idea of cars that drive themselves.

Workers put in harm's way

Some jobs force workers to place themselves in vulnerable positions. Some of these jobs, including law enforcement, firefighting and construction, are well known for the hazards faced by workers. Others carry similar, or even greater levels of risk, but are not recognized as dangerous by the public. One such jog is that of trash collection.

Dangerous times, dangerous conditions

Alcohol and a lack of sleep are a dangerous combination

Drunk driving laws are intended to deter people from having too much to drink and getting behind the wheel. DUI laws allow for the prosecution of people who drive while impaired by alcohol. The level of impairment is generally tied to a specific blood alcohol content (BAC) when it comes to who gets prosecuted for DUI. One of the problems with setting a particular level is that it might blind people to the danger of lower levels of alcohol consumption when it comes to avoiding car accidents.

A group of researchers recently tested the impact of alcohol consumption on driving ability at levels lower than .08 BAC. Specifically, the study looked at the impact of alcohol on young men who were suffering from various levels of sleep deprivation. The study suggests that drivers who are short on sleep should be wary about consuming even small amounts of alcohol before driving.

A high-tech solution to drowsy driving

Human error is to blame for the large majority of car accidents. Estimates suggest that roughly 19 out of 20 accidents are caused by mistakes made by one or more drivers. Eliminating those mistakes is the key to reducing deaths and injuries on American roads. One of the underlying factors behind many driver errors is fatigue. One company believes that it has a device capable of reducing the accidents caused by drowsy drivers.

How it works

Picking the safest hospital

Until recently, patients looking for medical care had little reason to choose one hospital over another. Distance was likely the number one factor in deciding where to go for care. The medical field is not well known for sharing information about its safety record or results.

New and better information

Teen Drivers Face Challenges, But Parents Can Help

As a parent with a newly minted - or soon-to-be - teen driver, you may have worries about how your teen will handle the responsibility of operating a vehicle. Will they make a mistake? How will they react in new situations? Will they be as careful as they should be?

In truth, teen drivers may face greater risks than others simply because they are inexperienced. However, the only way to get better is to keep practicing. Fortunately, there are things you can do as a parent to help your child become a safe and successful driver.

What did you say? My job puts my hearing at risk?!

Mining, construction and manufacturing jobs place stress on your body and can lead to injury. However, working in one of these industries puts you at a higher risk for developing a commonly overlooked injury - hearing loss.

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