Archive for August, 2013

Aug 2013

States More Proactive in Fighting Distracted Driving Risks

Recently, the Governors’ Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a comprehensive report called “2013 Distracted Driving: Survey of the States.” The report takes a look at policies and practices to determine how states have progressed since 2010 in fighting dangerous distracted driving behaviors. 

Our Irvine injury lawyers know that California has imposed strict bans on distracted driving, with courts broadly interpreting distracted driving laws to prevent motorists from using their cell phone’s map functions while holding the phone. The GHSA report brought good news in that the tough distracted driving laws are not the only efforts California is making to prevent drivers from driving while distracted. Further, the report also indicated that the majority of states are stepping up their efforts to combat distracted driving.

GHSA Report Shows Efforts to Curb Distracted Driving Behaviors

According to the Governors’ Highway Safety Association, 47 states plus Washington D.C. have imposed bans on various types of distracted driving. Of these bans, 41 ban all motorists from texting and driving. This is a significant increase from the 28 states with distracted driving bans in 2010. While not all states have laws as comprehensive as California’s, the almost-universal limitations on texting mean that motorists are now protected in more places.

The GHSA data also showed not only that more states have distracted driving bans but also that more states are actively enforcing them. This, too, was a significant change as compared with 2010.

While some states primarily enforce their distracted driving laws as part of routine traffic patrols, others have instituted targeted efforts to address distracted driving, such as a Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The report noted that age-specific bans make it more difficult for law enforcement to take action against distracted drivers, but fortunately this is not an issue in California where the anti-texting ban and prohibitions on handheld devices apply to all drivers.

Finally, the GHSA report indicated that states are partnering more now than ever with other entities to reinforce messages about the dangers of distracted driving. California, for example, is one of four states that is working with state affiliates of the National Safety Council to involve employers in the fight against distracted driving.

California, along with Nebraska, Texas and Minnesota, has partnered with NSC affiliates to produce technology use and education policies that employers can make use of to curb distracted driving among employees. The corporate outreach efforts in California could help to make the roads safer.

Overall, the GHSA report indicated that a lot of progress had been made throughout the United States and that more locations are being proactive in stopping distracted drivers. This is great news and hopefully widespread efforts to fight distracted driving and reduce the crash risk will continue.

The GHSA is encouraging ongoing efforts by making the focus of its 2013 annual meeting “Highway Safety and Technology: Safely Navigating the Road Ahead.” The annual conference will be held in late August in Southern California.

If you’ve been injured and need an accident attorney in Irvine, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707 today for your free case evaluation.

Aug 2013

Brain Injury Comes to the Big Screen While New Studies Underscore Dangers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that at least 1.7 million cases of traumatic brain injury occur each year and that TBIs account for 30.5 percent of all deaths caused by injury in the U.S. 

Our Orange County brain injury lawyers know that the consequences of brain injury can be very serious, but often are underestimated, unrecognized or misunderstood. In fact, some insurance companies will even deliberately try to downplay the severity of a brain injury to avoid compensating victims fully for their injuries and the lifelong damage that results from head trauma.

Now, however, the serious consequences of brain injuries are getting more attention thanks to a new HBO documentary. The documentary exploring the lifelong and life-changing harm that is caused by damage to the brain is being aired even as new studies reveal just how grave the impact of a brain injury can be.

HBO Explores the Consequences of a Brain Injury

Recently, Forbes reported that director Lucy Walker had produced a film that critics are describing as “the definitive film on brain injury.” The documentary was produced by HBO and follows a rising snowboarding star named Kevin Pearce who had Olympic potential but instead ended up spending months in a rehab hospital after he suffered a blow to the head while attempting a trick.

The film premieres in theaters this year and highlights the struggles that Pearce faced in learning how to walk and talk again. While Pearce hopes to snowboard again in the future, the documentary also included interviews with his doctor in which the permanence and pervasiveness of his injuries were discussed. His physician said that Pearce’s memory and vision will be permanently affected and that he is at great risk if he ever suffers another blow to the head.

The film also highlights the “insidious” nature of the injury, which is described as affecting everything because “it’s physical and it’s mental and it’s social and it’s practical.”

Even though the pervasive and lasting consequences of a brain injury are already well-known to doctors and to patients like Pearce, studies are routinely being performed that raise ever more concerns about the dangers of TBI. Towards the end of July, for example, Medscape Today published a story about a new study showing a strong association between traumatic brain injury and the subsequent development of an ischemic stroke.

The study showed that there is such a strong association between TBI and ischemic stroke, even adjusting for other factors, that the risk for a TBI patient was just as great as the risk of a patient suffering from hypertension. Hypertension is currently the leading stroke risk factor, so it came as a surprise to researchers that TBI had as strong of an association with stroke as hypertension.

While researchers are not yet ready to confirm that TBI is a stroke risk factor, the data in this study of more than 1,173,353 patients is not good news for victims who are struggling to cope with devastating brain injury. Even if patients are able to relearn basic tasks and to get better, which as the new HBO documentary shows is a clear struggle, they also face lasting health consequences that could affect their future.

If you’ve been injured and need an accident attorney in Irvine, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707 today for your free case evaluation.