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Thomaston Legal Blog

Ineffective brakes could ground Georgia drivers

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance claims that it placed 1,667 commercial vehicles out of service during a surprise safety blitz earlier this year. Those vehicles were taken off the road for brake safety violations. Overall, that figure represented 16.1% of all trucks that were inspected in the United States during the May 15 event. Another 1,620 vehicles were inspected in Canada with 13.5% being taken out of service for similar violations.

The focus of the event was on violations related to brake hoses and tubing as they are deemed among the most important parts of a brake system. They need to be adequately flexible, be free from damage and not have any leaks to pass an inspection. Furthermore, these parts must be attached properly to not be in violation of CVSA rules. Throughout the first half of 2019, there were 37,737 violations for chafing or kinking of brake hoses or tubing.

When not to replace a child’s car seat after a collision

From your smartphone to your sunglasses, you have a few items you always take with you when you drive. Your most precious cargo, though, is your son or daughter. By always strapping your young passenger into a safety-rated car seat, you help keep your child safe. Following a collision, though, you may have to replace the car seat to ensure your son or daughter does not sustain a serious injury in a subsequent car crash. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends replacing a child’s car seat after a moderate or severe collision. You do not necessarily need a new car seat after a minor crash. How do you know whether a crash is minor, though? If all of the following five criteria are true, you can likely continue to use your child’s existing car seat. 

Rear seat safety not as advanced as that of front seats

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in a study focusing on frontal crashes that injured rear-seat passengers, has found that rear-seat safety is lagging behind front seat safety, though not because of any defect. Rather, front seats have been getting so much attention that rear seats are now deemed the less safe of the two. Residents of Georgia may be wondering what can improve rear-seat safety.

The IIHS mentions several areas where safety is deficient. First, rear seat belts lack force limiters, which use webbing to diminish the force with which the belt tightens against the occupant. Second, rear seats do not come with forward and side curtain airbags. Some automakers are developing forward airbags, though.

Medication errors are top cause of EHR-related malpractice claims

Georgia readers may be interested to learn that over 30% of all patient harm events involving electronic health records in medical malpractice claims are caused by medication errors, according to a recent study. The study was published in the Journal of Patient Safety.

For the study, researchers analyzed 248 EHR-related malpractice claims submitted to the CRICO database between 2012 and 2013. They found that 31% of EHR-related claims involved medication errors, another 31% involved treatment complications and around 28% involved diagnostic mistakes. They also found that nearly 70% of EHR-related cases that led to patient harm took place in ambulatory care settings. Meanwhile, the study found that medicine was the top service area for all claims while surgery, nursing, obstetrics/gynecology and radiology rounded out the top five.

Study: patient complications arise from surgeons' bad behavior

JAMA Surgery has published a study linking reports of unprofessional behavior on the part of surgeons with a higher risk for patient complications. Georgia residents should know that between 70% and 80% of surgeons in the U.S. never receive a complaint about their behavior. Still, that leaves a sizeable group of surgeons who do.

The study involved reports of unprofessional behavior from the co-workers of 202 surgeons. Researchers also looked at 13,653 patients for signs of complications within 30 days after surgery. It turns out that 1,583 patients did experience complications and that they were more likely to experience them with surgeons who had more reports filed against them.

New alcohol detection systems, sensors may prevent drunk driving

The national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving is encouraging vehicle manufacturers to produce and develop technology in all vehicles to prevent drunk drivers from operating the car. The announcement came at a 2019 congressional hearing. Manufacturers had previously said that such technology should be available by 2020.

The new technology, known as the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, has both a breath-based and a touch-based system. If the detection system finds the alcohol content in the driver to be greater than .08, the vehicle will not operate. Vehicle manufacturers said that the new technology is being test-driven in Virginia but is not ready to implement in all vehicles. Volvo announced a separate system that uses sensors and cameras to detect impairment in drivers in order to prevent car accidents.

How long does a divorce take in Georgia?

No one enters a marriage with the expectation that it will end. Many life changes happen that can lead to the breakdown of a marital relationship, such as financial strain, health problems and infidelity. Sometimes, the only approach to these situations is divorce.

Divorce can be a frightening undertaking and comes with numerous questions. If you find yourself considering this option, one thing you may wonder is how long a divorce takes in Georgia. The answer depends on many factors.

Memorial Day to Labor Day: the deadliest days for teen drivers

Teen drivers, being inexperienced, are usually more liable to get in auto accidents here in Georgia. The chances of an accident are even higher during the summer when teens are out on the road more. Ford Motor Company has pointed to the time period between Memorial Day and Labor Day as especially dangerous for teen drivers, and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety calls this the 100 deadliest days for teens.

Fatal car crashes involving teen drivers go up an alarming 15%, on average, in summer. Parents, not only in the summer but at every other time of the year, have a duty to educate their teens about being a safe driver. It all begins with vehicle maintenance. For example, the tires should be properly inflated. Once in the car, teens must buckle up as it is against the law not to do so.

The top three deadliest cars still on the road

Georgia drivers may be interested to learn that there were a reported 34,247 fatal motor vehicles accidents in 2017 that resulted in 37,133 deaths. Even with automakers consistently coming out with new safety features and high-tech crash avoidance systems, car accidents are still the leading cause of accidental death among teenagers. This may be due to certain vehicles being historically more deadly than others. Therefore, those who are looking for used vehicles for younger or newer drivers should choose their new car carefully.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety identified the most dangerous cars with model years between 2013 and 2017 that are common on the roadways today. At the very top of the list, the Mitsubishi Mirage, a subcompact car, had a fatal crash rate of 10.2 vehicles per billion vehicle miles in 2017. At No. 2, the Chevrolet Corvette had a crash rate of 9.8 vehicles per billion miles. Finally, the small Honda Fit had a fatal crash rate of 7.7 vehicles per billion vehicle miles.

Study finds schizophrenia patients often misdiagnosed

The side effects of schizophrenia treatments can be significant for patients in Georgia. Powerful antipsychotic medications can affect people's overall psychological well-being as well as their physical bodies. Some are linked to weight gain while others are related to involuntary physical movements known as tardive dyskinesia. In fact, some of these side effects can be why it is so difficult for many people with schizophrenia to maintain medication regimens. Still, the benefits can outweigh the risks for people struggling with severe mental illness.

One recent study indicates that many people may receive a diagnosis or even treatment for schizophrenia when they do not actually have the disorder. Misdiagnoses of patients sent for further treatment for schizophrenia at one psychiatric clinic was so common in the study that over half the patients instead received a different diagnosis, especially anxiety or another mood disorder. One of the biggest problems, researchers found, was the misdiagnosis of severe mental illness by general practice physicians. In many cases, they made the diagnosis and even prescribed medication without seeking a second opinion from a specialist, such as a psychiatrist.

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