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Oregon Personal Injury Legal Blog

Study looks at role of opioids in fatal two-car crashes

JAMA Network Open has published the results of a study on fatal two-car crashes and the potential role that opioid use is playing in them. Opioid users in Oregon can probably see how the use of the prescription drug and driving do not go together. Opioids cause drowsiness and impair cognition and motor skills. As for those who take opioids for chronic pain, they may develop a tolerance for them, and so it can be hard to say if the drugs contribute to a crash.

The study focused not on whether opioids are behind certain crashes but, rather, the correlation between opioid use and being at fault for a crash. Researchers, looking at 18,321 fatal two-car crashes in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, discovered that 1,467 drivers in all tested positive for opioids. Of these, 918 were at fault for the crash they were in, and 549 were not.

The various ways in which alcohol disrupts driving capabilities

It is no secret that operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol can be a dangerous decision. As you travel along Oregon roads, you may wish to avoid similar acts of negligence at all costs, as being in full control of your capabilities is a cornerstone of safeguarding your well-being.

Unfortunately, you likely share these roads with a multitude of others, some of whom might not always place the same level of value on safety. Should you encounter a drunk driver as you travel to or from your preferred destinations, you might find it nearly impossible to react in time to steer out of harm's way.

Driving tips to reduce winter accident risks

Car accidents in Oregon and around the country that take place on roadways covered in snow, ice or slush claim over 1,300 lives and injure more than 116,800 road users every year according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, but there are steps drivers can take to greatly reduce their chances of being involved in a winter crash. Motorists should obey speed limits and maintain safe distances at all times, but giving other vehicles ample room and slowing down is especially important when weather conditions are treacherous.

Drivers should also check their local weather forecasts before setting out and allow extra time to complete their journeys when road conditions are expected to be poor. When progress is slow and a late arrival is likely, motorists should resist the urge to make up for lost time if the road opens up. Tire pressures should be checked frequently during the winter months as they fall when temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and safety features like anti-lock braking and traction control systems should be monitored as their frequent activation is a sign that motorists are driving dangerously.

Traffic accident risks go up in fall when clocks go back an hour

The end of daylight saving time ushers in a season for increased risks for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists in Oregon. Shifting clocks back one hour allows people to get an extra hour of sleep on that weekend, but the disturbance to their sleeping and waking cycles raises the possibility of drowsy driving in the following weeks. A report from an insurance organization in the Pacific Northwest identified an increase in collisions during afternoon commutes two weeks following the clock change.

In another study conducted in a major metropolitan area, traffic accidents with pedestrians and bicyclists were the highest in October through December. This study also concluded that people bothered by the clock change tended to be sleepy while behind the wheel. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation plays a role in over 6,400 fatal traffic accidents every year. The foundation also attributed roughly 50,000 debilitating injuries to drowsy driving accidents annually.

Distracted driving poses serious roadway threat

Many Oregon drivers are wary of sharing the road with teens, especially because they may drive with many friends packed in the car and be more prone to the errors of inexperienced drivers. For teen drivers to improve their skills, it is important that they get time behind the wheel to develop as experienced operators. However, there are other concerns about teens' safety while driving, and some of those are brought to attention for Teen Driver Safety Week. Teens and their parents pay higher car insurance premiums because they are more likely to have car accidents, a belief backed up by statistics.

A study was released that highlighted teens' behavior behind the wheel. Teen drivers are more likely than those in any other demographic to operate their cars while distracted. Distracted driving has sparked widespread nationwide concern and law enforcement crackdowns, especially as a growing number of serious motor vehicle collisions have been linked to people texting while driving or otherwise keeping their eyes and minds off of the road. The study examined 3,400 drivers between 2011 and 2013, relying on devices to monitor their behavior and driving activity. This provided a unique basis to study distraction without relying on the self-reported narratives in police accident reports, which are often prone to inaccuracy.

What can you do to prevent concussion?

Compared to other traumatic brain injuries in Oregon, a concussion is often relatively mild. The effects are usually temporary, and the patient typically recovers fully. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, brain bleed and other potentially serious complications may result from a concussion. With repeated concussions, the risk only increases. 

Therefore, it is preferable to do whatever you can to prevent a concussion from happening in the first place. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect you and your family. 

Driver arrested after fleeing the scene of Portland accident

Few people in Salem likely ever anticipate being involved in a car accident. On the contrary, most may believe that their strong driving skills will help them to avoid collisions. There may indeed be some merit to that argument, yet one fact that people cannot overlook is the inability to control the actions of others. Oftentimes all it may take is a single careless decision or reckless action to lead to a chain of events that ends in a devastating accident. Such accidents often leave victims dealing with physical limitations, emotional losses and inordinate expenses, as well as uncertainty as to how they will be able to handle the financial burdens the incidents force them to deal with. 

Liability for such accidents lies with the drivers that cause them, yet how can one know for sure who is at fault? Sometimes a party's actions may indicate guilt. Take the case of an accident that recently occurred in Portland. A two-car crash left two people injured (one of whom had to be transported to a local hospital via helicopter. Witnesses to the accident reported that one of the drivers involved fled from the scene. They were located by authorities a short while later and taken into custody. Officials have yet to release why the driver fled, but they do believe that alcohol may have had a hand in causing the collision. 

What's behind the rise in trucking accidents?

The trucking industry is vital to the nation's economy. Transporting goods and other cargo wouldn't be as easy without truck drivers and the companies that employ them. Despite the importance of these trucks, they can be dangerous, and even deadly, on the road in some instances.

Earlier this year, a report released by the Oregon Department of Transportation showed that 2017 had the highest number of large truck crashes in 10 years. This is concerning because that truck crash rate shows a sharp rise in comparison to the previous year. Full data for 2018 and 2019 aren't yet available. So, what might be the cause for the increase in trucking accidents? More importantly, are there any efforts underway to reduce the rates now?

Breaking down the Glasgow Coma Scale

The greatest concern that you and others may have in the immediate aftermath of a loved one sustaining a traumatic brain injury in Salem may be the perceived uncertainty surrounding their future. Some TBI victims are able to completely recover from their injuries in just a few days; others, however, can be left with serious physical and mental impairments that can affect them for the rest of their lives. For many of those that we here at Swanson Lathen Prestwich PC have worked with in the wake of a TBI, knowing what one's long-term prognosis may be can have a dramatic impact on any civil action taken against those responsible. 

Is there indeed a way for you to know how extensive your loved one's TBI is in those first few days after their injury? While knowing for certain can be difficult, clinicians have developed a method through which an often-reliable estimation can be achieved. It is known as the Glasgow Coma Scale, and it is based on observations made of your loved one by the clinicians who treat them immediately after having sustained a TBI. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the GCS measures responses in the following areas: 

  • Verbal communication
  • Motor skills
  • Eye opening

Contributing factors in tire blow-outs

On the roads in Oregon, there are plenty of dangers that a driver can face. For example, a tire may blow out mid-drive. Though there are many things that can cause this to happen, how a driver should react in the aftermath remains the same.

I Drive Safely states that tires can blow out for numerous reasons. It’s the actions that a driver takes in the immediate aftermath that can allow them to cut down on the chances of crashing. For example, drivers should not stomp on the brakes or quickly swerve to the side of the road.

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