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Study shows how car crashes can be related to opioid use

The opioid crisis has come to impact the nation's roadways. From 1993 to 2016, the number of drivers who were deemed at fault for a crash and found with opioids in their system went from 2% to 7.1%. Residents of Pennsylvania should know that in fatal two-car accidents, the responsible driver is two times likelier to test positive for opioids than the other driver.

These statistics are based on a recent JAMA Network Open study. Analyzing data from 18,321 fatal two-car crashes that were recorded in the NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, researchers found that 1,467 drivers in all tested positive for opioids. Of these individuals, 918 were at fault for a crash while 549 were not.

Artificial intelligence may help prevent distracted driving

Pennsylvania residents should know that there are three types of distractions they can experience while driving: cognitive, visual and manual distractions. While calling, texting and using in-vehicle technology can raise the risk for a crash, the same goes for activities like eating, changing the radio station and talking with passengers. Distracted driving crashes kill nine people and injure at least 100 every day in the U.S.

There have been efforts to raise awareness of the risk associated with distracted driving, but many people continue to engage in it despite this knowledge. A 2016 study showed that nearly 50% of drivers will call, send or receive a text, look up directions or check social media while behind the wheel. While there are safety features that can alert drivers when they are found to be distracted, these are not always effective. This is where AI comes in.

Indoor zip line accident injures 10-year-old boy

Pennsylvania residents may want to know about a personal injury case that is being pursued in Florida after a 10-year-old boy was injured while on an indoor zip line attraction. The amusement park designed it so that one person at a time rides on the zip line along a track that goes from one area to another. Videos show the boy flying through the air at the end of the track and falling 20 feet to the concrete below.

The boy's family claims that he suffered serious injuries and that this was the result of operator error. A report from the Department of Agriculture has backed this claim up. It turns out that the leg straps were not buckled, leaving the boy in an unsafe position; he had to hold on by his arms until he lost his grip and fell.

5 of the best holiday road trip safety tips

During the holiday season, there may come a time when you pack your bags, load up your family and hit the road. As exciting as a holiday road trip can be, it's every bit as dangerous if you don't know how to protect yourself (and even if you do).

Here are five of the best holiday road trip safety tips you can follow:

  • Prepare your vehicle: From changing the oil to checking your tire pressure, make sure your vehicle is ready for the miles that lie ahead. Neglecting to do so increases the risk of a breakdown, as well as an accident.
  • Follow the rules of the road: For example, you may be running behind schedule, which leads you to consider driving faster than the speed limit. Violating the rules of the road increases the likelyhood of a moving violation, as well as an accident.
  • Get enough sleep before leaving home: Depending on the length of your trip, it may be necessary to bank plenty of sleep before you hit the road. Embarking on a road trip when you're tired and drowsy is extremely dangerous.
  • Avoid distractions: There's a lot going on inside and outside your vehicle, but it's up to you to avoid these distractions at all costs. This can include but is not limited to eating, drinking, texting, talking on the phone, conversing with passengers and checking on children (and maybe even pets) in the back seat.
  • Prepare for emergencies: What will you do if your car breaks down? What will you do if another driver causes an accident? What steps will you take if a passenger becomes ill? When you prepare for everything, you're able to efficiently and effectively deal with anything.

Study shows what distractions teens are most prone to

Oct. 20 to 26, 2019, was designated as Teen Driver Safety Week. Coinciding with this event, researchers from Michigan State University published the results of a study involving teen drivers and the distractions they are prone to. Parents in Pennsylvania will want to take note and warn their teens about the danger of distracted driving.

Between 2011 and 2013, researchers monitored 3,400 teen drivers via cameras and other equipment. This ability to look at what happens not only outside but also inside the vehicle led to highly accurate data. Previous studies, by contrast, have had to rely on police crash reports to determine what was happening prior to an accident.

What companies should know about premises liability

Despite an employer's best safety efforts, a work accident can occur on a job site. Companies in Pennsylvania and throughout the country may reduce the odds of an accident occurring by implementing a safety plan. This plan could include making sure that floors are dry or that ripped carpeting is removed as quickly as possible. Employees and customers should be warned about any hazardous conditions that could exist in a store or a parking garage.

A business could reduce its liability by simply attempting to mitigate a dangerous condition such as poor lighting or a wet floor. Accident victims may be partially or fully responsible for any injuries that they incur while on company property. This may be true if they failed to notice a wet floor sign or were otherwise acting in a careless manner when they were hurt.

More road rage causes more accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that aggressive driving incidents that lead to fatal automobile accidents have increased significantly in New Jersey and across the country. One survey about aggressive driving found that 80 percent of the respondents admitted to being angry on the road, and drivers reported honking, yelling and tailgating on purpose.

Already heightened tempers might be unleashed when getting behind the wheel. One survey found that existing stress from home and work meant that people might already be annoyed at the start of a car ride. This could lead to reckless behavior like speeding, switching lanes too fast and tailgating.

AAA: deaths from red-light running crash reach 10-year high

The year 2017 saw a 10-year high in the number of deaths arising from red-light running crashes. The total came to 939 people, and in most cases, it was not the offending driver who died. Pennsylvania residents, whether they are drivers, pedestrians or bicyclists, will want to know how they can prevent themselves from becoming the victim of a reckless, impatient or distracted driver.

The first step is for residents to avoid distractions themselves. Drivers should not use their phones. If they look down for five seconds, drivers can virtually travel the length of a football field before looking up again. Pedestrians and cyclists should not wear headphones, which will reduce their attention to their surroundings.

How to drive safely in a fall thunder storm

As fall weather moves into the area, you're likely to find yourself on the road when the rain begins to fall. While it may not be as worrisome as snow and ice, it still has the potential to cause an accident.

Here are some of the many steps you can take to protect yourself when driving in a fall rainstorm:

  • Watch for wet leaves: There's nothing more beautiful than the changing of the leaves during the fall season, but as these make their way to the ground you must take extra caution. Driving over wet leaves, especially at a high rate of speed, can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. If you spot wet leaves on the road, slow down and do your best to avoid sudden accelerations or heavy braking.
  • Slow down: The faster you drive in wet weather, the greater chance there is of losing control of your vehicle. For example, if you hit standing water at a high rate of speed, your tires may lose contact with the road.
  • Use your headlights: Forget about the time of the day. If it's raining, you should turn your headlights on. This improves your visibility, while also making it easier for vehicles traveling in the opposite direction to see you.
  • Watch for wildlife: Deer, for example, are more likely to make their way onto the roadway during the fall season. Even if you don't hit a deer, you may have to swerve to avoid a collision, which can cause an accident with another vehicle.
  • Maintain your vehicle: This includes many things, such as regularly checking your tire pressure and changing your windshield wipers as necessary.

Truck drivers may get to work longer hours

Truck drivers in Pennsylvania and throughout the country are allowed to work for 14 hours per day and drive for up to 11 per day. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is looking for ways to give drivers more flexibility as to how they perform their duties. This is in spite of the fact that driver fatigue has been cited as a safety concern by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

If a new rule is passed, drivers would be allowed to spend up to 17 hours a day in their trucks on duty. According to the FMCSA, there were 4,455 fatal crashes involving large trucks in the United States in 2017. That was the highest since 2007. Furthermore, the fatal crash rate per million miles driven in 2017 was the highest since 2007. The NTSB said that fatigue was a factor in the 2014 crash that injured Tracy Morgan.

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