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Macon Personal Injury Law Blog

New list shows what recent vehicles are in the most crashes

Recent data from the Highway Loss Data Institute shows that small and mid-size four-door cars are the most prone to accidents and generate personal injury insurance claims. Georgia drivers may be curious to know what the ranking is like; Forbes made a list of 10 vehicles from 2014 to 2016 model years with the highest number of claims.

The Mitsubishi Lancer was the number one offender with a claims frequency of 216, far above the industry average of 100. This was followed by various other compact cars from automakers like Toyota, Nissan, Kia and Chrysler. There were exceptions among the list, such as the large four-door Dodge Charger with a claims frequency of 175 and the station wagon Toyota Corolla iM at 176. This data reinforces the fact that smaller vehicles are not as effective in protecting their occupants as large vehicles.

Slip and falls, and what they mean for small businesses

Under the premises liability laws in Georgia, business owners have the duty to maintain a safe environment for customers and employees. When a breach of this duty of care causes entrants to injure themselves in a slip, trip or fall accident, owners could be held liable. This means paying out for the victim's medical bills, lost wages and other losses. Even if the claim is dropped, owners must spend time and money defending themselves and their brand.

Knowing what this duty of care encompasses is important. Owners must have their property regularly maintained and repair any issue that puts entrants' safety at risk. This can include potholes and cracks in pavement, torn carpeting, insufficient lighting and loose railing on stairs. Owners must also put signs around wet floors and remove any debris that might be a trip hazard.

Without precautions, summer might not be carefree

After the harsh winter, many Georgia residents are likely eager to get out and enjoy the sun. Although this is the season to spend long, fun-filled days outdoors, your summer might not be as carefree as you would wish. You may not be aware that July and August are the two months during which most accidental deaths occur nationwide.

You and your family could be at risk of suffering injuries or worse as the result of the negligence of someone else. You might end up facing mounting medical bills, lost income and other hardships. Would you know where to seek assistance if a loved one is injured or killed?

Studies determining the role distracted driving plays in crashes

According to several studies, including one from AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety, built-in vehicle infotainment systems and smartphones are making the roadways more dangerous for drivers in Georgia and elsewhere. The problem is that these systems and technology take drivers' attention away from the roads, potentially resulting in serious car accidents.

In the AAA study, for example, 64 participants driving five different vehicles were instructed to use the vehicle manufacturer's infotainment system at some point during the drive. At other times, the participants were instructed to use Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. These systems use the vehicles' interface but are run on smartphones. They ultimately found that Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are better at managing drivers' cognitive loads, meaning that drivers are generally still able to pay better attention to driving.

Brake inspection week scheduled for Sept. 16-22

Georgia truck drivers and trucking companies may be interested to learn that annual Brake Safety Week was scheduled for the week of Sept. 16. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance noted that full Level I inspections of vehicles will take place in addition to focused inspections on each vehicle's brakes.

For brake inspections, CVSA said that inspectors planned to focus on brake components, which may include missing or loose parts, hydraulic fluid leaks, mismatched air chamber sizes and worn brake pads, among others. Vehicles that were found to have defective brakes or brake components that were out of adjustment will be taken out of service following the inspection.

New GHSA study notes rise in drugged driving

The Governors Highway Safety Association has released a report on fatal car crash data from 2016, concluding that the percentage of fatally injured drivers found with drugs in their body has risen to 44 percent. This is compared to 26 percent in 2006. Drivers Georgia will want to know more about the report as well as some of the challenges that still face drug testing.

Marijuana was the most common drug, found in 38 percent of the victims. Opioids were found in 16 percent, and 4 percent tested positive for both. While the presence of alcohol in fatally injured drivers went down from 41 percent in 2006 to 39 percent in 2016, the GHSA found that 49 percent of those drivers in 2016 combined their drugs with alcohol. 51 percent of the drivers were also discovered with two or more drugs in their system.

FMCSA observes rise in fatal truck crashes in 2016

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has released a data drill-down report, and its findings should be of interest to drivers in Georgia. The focus of the report was on fatal and non-fatal crashes in 2016 between large trucks and passenger vehicles. It turns out that there was a 3 percent increase in fatal crashes: from 4,094 fatalities in 2015 to 4,317 in 2016. The number of large trucks involved in fatal accidents rose from 4,074 to 4,213.

In 73 percent of these fatal crashes, the critical factor was another vehicle, person, animal or object that encroached upon, or entered, the lane that the truck was in. Among driver-related factors, speeding was number one, followed by distracted or inattentive driving. Alcohol abuse was more prevalent among passenger vehicle drivers: 20 percent of these were found with more than a .08 percent BAC, compared to 2 percent of truckers.

My grandma was the victim of nursing home neglect. What can I do?

No matter how badly you may want to keep an aging loved one at home, doing so is not always realistic. Many elderly Georgia residents require specialized care or equipment that either cannot occur in a home setting or is too expensive for the average person.

The best alternative is to place a family member in the care of a residential facility. This is not an easy decision, and many families agonize over the process, especially when cost is a prohibitive factor. Many must use nursing homes that the insurance company will cover, even if it is not a facility they would have chosen otherwise. This can make discovering your loved one's nursing home neglect even more devastating.

New test could diagnose lung cancer earlier

According to findings from the Circulating Cell-Free Genome Atlas study, or CCGA, it may be possible to use DNA in the blood to detect the early signs of lung cancer. However, researchers caution that testing needs to be done on larger groups of people before such a process could be widely used. If future tests confirm the preliminary findings, Georgia residents and others could be diagnosed after having blood drawn at a doctor's office.

If lung cancer can be found early enough, it may mean that a patient has a greater chance of survival. The research that led to this conclusion was an offshoot of the CCGA in which 1,700 participants provided blood samples that were used to perform blood sequencing assays. It was determined that all three could be used to detect cancer without giving too many false positives.

Drowsy driving just as hazardous as drunk driving

The typical Georgia motorist has probably driven while drowsy at some point in their life. Statistics indicate that 60 percent of U.S. drivers are guilty of driving drowsy at least once, and approximately one-third have actually nodded off while operating a vehicle.

While drowsy driving might not seem like a big deal to some people, the behavior is just as dangerous as driving while drunk. In some cases, it can even be more dangerous. Research shows that staying awake for 18 straight hours can make drivers behave as though they have a blood-alcohol content level of .05, and staying awake for 24 straight hours can make drivers behave like they have a blood-alcohol content level of .10, which is over the legal limit.