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Johnson City Legal Issues Blog

Combating driver's fatigue

Drivers in Tennessee may have experienced driver's fatigue before, as it is actually a fairly common phenomenon. Unfortunately, it's also a potentially dangerous one, and it isn't addressed as frequently as other dangerous driving behaviors even though it can be just as damaging.

According to WebMD, there are a few things that can be done to combat driver's fatigue when a person feels it coming. One of the first suggestions is to drink something caffeinated. This can include tea, soda, or coffee. However, caffeine does take up to 30 minutes to kick in and its effect may vary from driver to driver. Some sources suggest taking a nap after consuming caffeine to maximize its effects.

Can companies help truckers avoid distractions?

When you are in charge of a fleet of trucks in Tennessee, you may think it is the responsibility of your truck drivers to ensure they are not distracted on the road. However, there are many things you can do to promote safe driving.

Your truckers may be distracted on the road for many reasons. According to Fleet Owner magazine, truck drivers may use their cellphones to send text messages or make phone calls. However, if one of your drivers has not gotten enough sleep or is experiencing conflict at home, he or she can easily be distracted, even when the cellphone is out of sight. Because of this, it is important for you to know how you can emphasize safety so none of your truckers are distracted.

Distracted drivers: Is there one in your midst?

How many times a day do you drive somewhere? If you're similar to the average Tennessee motorist, you may have to get behind the wheel two, three or more times in a single day. Every time you drive, there's a certain amount of risk involved, although you likely expect to arrive safely to your destination if you are cautious and alert at all times, as well as adherent to all traffic regulations.

The problem is you can control your own choices and actions but not those of other drivers nearby. Distracted drivers are major menaces on the roads today. It's a fast-paced, tech-savvy world, and many people multitask and stay "plugged in" wherever they go. Driving is definitely not the time to browse the internet, take a selfie or text a friend. While distractions involving electronic devices often lead to collisions, there are many other distracted behaviors that are equally dangerous.

How can you combat motorcycle unawareness?

As a motorcyclist in Tennessee, you understand the risks associated with riding alongside covered vehicles. Motorcycle unawareness is a huge problem that people like you face every time you get on the road. But are there ways that you can combat this issue?

The National Safety Council reminds drivers that motorcycles are everywhere, and that not paying attention to them or noticing them can be a dangerous and potentially deadly risk and a big factor in motorcycle crashes. Behaviors can be changed on the part of both other drivers and motorcyclists to diminish these chances.

When medical malpractice leads to wrongful death

When Tennessee residents check into a hospital, they believe that the doctors, nurses, lab technicians and other personnel have the education, skill and training necessary to deliver adequate if not superior care. They expect to be treated with compassion, dignity and professionalism. They also expect that they will leave the hospital better than when they arrived. The last thing they expect is that someone will make a mistake that worsens their condition or leads to their death.

Sadly, many health care professionals do not live up to these expectations. The Institute of Medicine estimates that up to 100,000 Americans die each year due to preventable medical errors. Per the American Medical Association, the problem of medical errors has become so acute that it now is the third leading cause of death

Consumers worried about self-driving tech after fatal injury

New technology can be amazing and life-changing, but in some cases, innovation may seem frightening and life-threatening. In recent months, the rapidly progressing technology involving self-correcting and autonomous vehicles has inspired emotions in residents of Tennessee and elsewhere that range from intrigued and excited to doubtful and apprehensive. Many people have questioned the safety of vehicles that can pilot themselves without the assistance of human drivers.

An accident that occurred in early March appeared to highlight the worst fears of those who are suspicious of self-driving technology. Reportedly, an Uber SUV equipped with autonomous technology was driving 40 miles per hour down a road in Tempe, Arizona, when it struck and killed a woman walking her bicycle across the street. The accident is still under investigation, but dashcam video showed that a human driver inside the vehicle did not have his hands on the wheel and was not looking at the road at the time of the crash. Uber officials have privately settled the matter with the woman’s surviving family instead of becoming involved in a lawsuit.

Coping with a loved one's death

Although it is not easy to lose a loved one in Tennessee, it can be even more difficult if someone died unexpectedly in a car crash or because of medical malpractice. It is important for people to know how they can help their families through this difficult time.

After a loved one dies unexpectedly, it is important for people to take time to grieve. According to Mental Health America, people should typically avoid making large changes in their lives. It is usually best if people come to terms with the loss of their loved one before they start a new job or move to a new city. If people lost a spouse suddenly, they should generally grieve before getting remarried.

How do truck rollover wrecks happen?

Large commercial trucks are a common sight on Tennessee's freeways and city streets. While you know that 18-wheelers are important for transporting goods across the country, you may also realize that they can be dangerous for others driving nearby. While any collision with a big truck can be devastating for those in a smaller vehicle, rollover wrecks may be particularly harrowing.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 78 percent of large truck rollovers are due to truck driver error. Therefore, a rolled truck could occur if the driver was speeding, intoxicated or preoccupied by a cellphone or other form of distraction. A trucker's misjudgment might also lead to a rollover that you could be caught in. For example, if the driver swerved sharply between lanes or made a tight or fast turn, the truck could tip.

What incentivizes drivers to stay off their phones?

Even with the creation of Bluetooth, drivers continue to engage in risky driving behaviors using their handheld devices. And it's getting worse.

A recent study by Zendrive recorded data on 100 billion hours of driving. The results showed that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's estimates on distracted drivers were 100 times worse than previously thought. The data revealed that more than half a million drivers are distracted each day.

Protect the Seniors You Love: Know the Signs of Elder Abuse

The rate of senior abuse in America is sobering: 1 in 10 people over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse, a number reflecting at least 5 million elders abused each year. Sadly, only 1 in 14 cases of abuse is brought to the attention of police. 

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