Personal Injury Lawyers

Alabama Traffic Safety – Drivers Must Follow Their Own Advice

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has been sponsoring research since 2006 intended to better understand the culture of traffic safety. These efforts are important because auto accidents remain a top cause of death in America. AAA has released its most recent survey on cultural attitudes towards traffic safety and on how those attitudes impact people’s behavior. The study is called the 2012 Traffic Safety Culture Index.

Our Alabama auto accident attorneys know the findings are somewhat surprising because they reveal that many drivers routinely engage in behaviors behind the wheel that they are fully aware present a danger. Unfortunately, when drivers do risky things, they put themselves in harm’s way and also up the chances of innocent victims becoming involved in a car wreck.

Drivers Knowingly Do Dangerous Things

AAA looked at some of the most dangerous driving behaviors that are contributing factors to auto accidents. The data revealed that:

  • 14 percent of drivers may have driven drunk at least once in their lives, or at least driven when they felt like they were over the limit. 2.1 percent said they may have driven drunk in the month before answering AAA’s survey questions. Yet, almost every single driver who answered the survey said drinking and driving was a serious threat and culturally stigmatized.
  • More than 66 percent of drivers had spoken to someone on a cell phone at least one time while driving in the month before answering the survey. However, almost all drivers viewed this as dangerous with 66.5 percent supporting restrictions on cell use and 48.6 percent expressing their approval of a complete cell-phone ban even if a hands-free device was employed.
  • 26.6 percent of drivers had, in the month before being surveyed, typed an email or typed or read a text message while driving. Yet, almost every single surveyed driver indicated this was a serious threat and most supported laws restricting or banning the behavior.
  • Speeding was viewed as worse in a residential neighborhood than on a highway. 89.1 percent reported a feeling that society disapproved of going 15 MPH over limit on a highway and 72.5 percent perceived disapproval of going 10 MPH over limit in a residential community. Yet 49.3 percent sped on a highway and 46.8 percent sped through a residential neighborhood in the month before answering AAA’s questions.
  • 38.4 percent of drivers disregarded a red light even though a safe stop was possible and drove through the light instead. Yet, almost all agreed this was such a serious threat that the behavior was unacceptable.
  • Around 33 percent of drivers admitted to driving as they struggled not to fall asleep at some point in the month before answering AAA’s survey. 45.9 percent said that at least one time over the course of their life, they had fallen asleep driving. Yet, the majority of drivers also viewed drowsy driving as a serious threat.

Unfortunately, the AAA study shows that drivers know that these driving behaviors are dangerous and bad behaviors that boost the chance of a crash but that this knowledge does not have a substantive effect on changing behavior. Until every driver stops doing things he or she knows are risky, auto accidents are tragically likely to continue being a top cause of U.S. deaths.

If you have been injured in a car accident, contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE.

D.C. Medical Malpractice "Never Events" Happen More Often Than You'd Think

When you hear the term “never event,” you likely think of something that does not occur. This is an accurate definition, and it explains why the term is used to describe medical mistakes that should never, ever happen. For example, a doctor operating on the wrong patient is something that should never happen. A doctor operating on the wrong surgical site should not ever occur. A doctor leaving a sponge or surgical instrument inside of a patient should not ever happen.

Unfortunately, a recent study shows that these “never events” actually aren’t never events at all. Instead, they are far too common and happen thousands of times per year. Our Washington, D.C. personal injury attorneys want to warn everyone seeking any type of medical care about the new study showing the prevalence of never events. We urge patients to review the reputations of their surgeons and hospitals very carefully before undergoing any medical treatment in order to avoid becoming the victim of an unthinkable medical mistake.

New Study Shows “Never Events” Are Common Events

The new study was conducted by Johns Hopkins University using a review of past medical malpractice claims and judgments over the past twenty years. Based on the information available to researchers, estimates were arrived at regarding how often “never events” occur. The never events were defined as operating on the wrong patient or the wrong site or leaving something inside of a patient.

The data revealed that:

  • Around 80,000 never events happened between 1990 and 2010 at hospitals throughout the United States.
  • Never events happen at least 4,000 times annually throughout the U.S. The estimates may be low because sometimes a patient doesn’t find out for weeks, months, years or ever that a surgical instrument has been left inside.
  • Approximately 39 times each week, a surgical towel, surgical tool or other medical device is left inside of a patient who has undergone a surgical procedure.
  • Approximately 20 times each week, a patient wakes up to find that a doctor performed the wrong surgical procedure on him or her.
  • Approximately 20 times every week, a patient undergoes surgery on the incorrect body part.

These figures are shocking and tragic. When a doctor makes a mistake of this type and this severity, patients suffer greatly. In some cases, patients may never recover 100 percent or get back their full health because of what the doctor has done to them. In especially tragic cases, a patient may die as a result of the mistake the physician made. For example, a patient with a surgical instrument left inside could develop an unexplained infection and could be killed as a result before anyone gets to the bottom of what occurred.

When these never events occur, doctors must be held accountable for making a mistake that should never be made. The doctors who make these types of mistakes are very obviously negligent, and patients can thus file medical malpractice claims in order to obtain payment of medical costs and other compensation for their resulting injuries and losses.

If you have been injured by medical malpractice, contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE.

Chicago Traffic Accidents & Drowsy Drivers

When you are driving to work, to run errands or out to see a friend, you have the right to expect the drivers around you to behave in a reasonably cautious way so they don’t hurt you. At a bare minimum, you’d think it would be reasonable to expect that the drivers around you would at least be awake. Unfortunately, a new study shows that a good percentage of them may not be.

Our Chicago accident attorneys believe that drowsy driving is one of the most dangerous behaviors that people engage in behind the wheel today. We urge everyone to pay attention to the new study and to be aware that there may be people on the road who are not only failing to pay attention but who are literally asleep at the wheel.

The Dangers of Drowsy Drivers

Studies have confirmed time and again that people who are too tired do not drive very well. In fact, most experts indicate that a drowsy driver is every bit as impaired by his fatigue as a drunk driver is by the six-pack he drinks before getting into his car. Both a drowsy and a drunk driver are much more likely to get into a crash, and both are making a bad decision that not only endangers themselves but that unfortunately makes the commute riskier for everyone else as well.

Despite this information, many people are driving drowsy. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decided to find out just how many people were falling asleep at the wheel. The CDC conducted a very large study – the largest of its kind – by interviewing 147,000 people in 20 different locations across the US (D.C. plus 19 states).

The CDC found that:

  • Of all drivers surveyed, a total of 4.2 percent had fallen asleep driving in the 30 days before answering the telephone questions.
  • Of all drivers surveyed in Illinois, 2.9 percent had fallen asleep in the prior 30 days.
  • Of all drivers surveyed in Washington, D.C., 2.6 percent had fallen asleep in the prior 30 days.

The CDC also found that there were certain people and certain age groups that were more likely to fall asleep at the wheel. For example, only around 1 percent of those drivers who were retired said they’d dozed as they drove compared to almost 5 percent of drivers in the 18-44 age group. Men were far more likely to be drowsy drivers than women, and people who snored or who got 6 hours of sleep or less were also falling asleep in greater proportions.  Educational attainment, however, did not have an impact on whether a person was likely to be dozing as they drove.

Being Aware of the Dangers of Drowsy Driving

Unfortunately, the study shows that a lot of drowsy people are out there in their cars at any given time. You don’t want to be one of them. You do want to be on the lookout for them so you can avoid them and stay safe.

If you have been injured in a car accident, contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE.