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News Article | May 23, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

The Texas Trial Lawyers Association has invited Kevin Haynes, a personal injury lawyer at Zehl & Associates, to speak on sleep apnea and driver fatigue at its Midyear Conference in Austin on Thursday, June 8, 2017. Having successfully handled and obtained record-setting verdicts and settlements in numerous truck and bus accident cases involving fatigue and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), Mr. Haynes hopes to educate and encourage plaintiff’s attorneys to look more closely at sleep apnea and driver fatigue as causal factors in commercial driver cases “It is a latent problem in the professional driving industry. When a professional driver has sleep apnea, they build up a sleep debt. This debt grows and is exacerbated by their typical work schedules and work requirements. Eventually, the commercial driver falls into a perpetual state of fatigue and becomes a risk, not just to themselves, but to everyone else on the road.” Haynes said. Just last year, Ryan Zehl and Mr. Haynes won a $6 million settlement on behalf of five passengers injured in a 2013 rollover crash of a greyhound bus (Cause No. CC-13-05789-C, County Court at Law No. 3 - Dallas County, Texas). By obtaining the first court ordered sleep study of a commercial driver in the state, Mr. Zehl and Mr. Haynes were able to prove that the bus driver had been suffering from moderate to severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea, leading him to fall asleep at the wheel. Sleep deprivation, fatigue, and sleep apnea contribute to far more commercial motor vehicle accidents than realized. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, OSA affects at least 25 million adults in the United States, including more than 20 percent of commercial truck and bus drivers. “Given the prevalence of fatigue, OSA and other sleep disorders, it’s critical that we encourage more analysis and scrutiny of the commercial driver’s medical conditions at the time of any collision where fatigue is a potential contributing cause.” TTLA has been instrumental in educating both attorneys, as well as legislatures and voters, on issues that regularly affect our rights and safety. It’s an honor to help contribute to the organization’s and plaintiff bar’s efforts to further improve safety for the motoring public.” Haynes said. Zehl & Associates is a personal injury law firm that represents clients across the country who were seriously injured or killed in offshore accidents, bus and truck accidents, refinery and plant explosions, and other catastrophic accidents. In the past five years alone, the firm has won over $750 million for its clients, including the largest accident verdicts and settlements in Texas and in their opponent’s corporate histories.


News Article | June 12, 2016
Site: www.techtimes.com

Vehicular accidents remain as one of the leading causes of accidental deaths in the United States, according to a new report by the National Safety Council (NSC). Many of these incidents can be blamed on drivers using their cellphone while behind the steering wheel. Cellphone-related vehicular accidents have prompted authorities to urge drivers not to use their mobile phones while driving but it appears that the threat holds true even for drivers using hands-free devices. Researchers of a new study found that talking on a hands-free phone while driving a car is just as hazardous as holding the device in the hands. For the study, published in the Transportation Research journal, study researcher Graham Hole, from the University of Sussex, and colleagues asked participants to perform video-based hazard-detection tasks. The researchers found that distracted participants, who listened to sentences and decided if these were true of false, were slower than undistracted participants when it comes to responding to hazards. Distracted participants also detected fewer hazards or were unable to see hazards despite being able to focus their eyes on them. The researchers likewise observed that the impairments were worse for those distracted by imagery-inducing statements suggesting that for those who drive while talking, the most dangerous kind of conversations are those that spark visual imagination. The findings suggest that phone conversation entails more use of the visual processing resources of the brain than earlier believed. "Telephone conversations may interfere with driving performance because the two tasks compete for similar processing resources, due to the imagery-evoking aspects of phone use," the researchers wrote in their study. The researchers said that anything that causes drivers to imagine something, which include passengers, may affect their driving performance. Nonetheless, passengers pose lesser risk compared with mobile phone conversations. "Chatty passengers tend to pose less of a risk than mobile phone conversations. They will usually moderate the conversation when road hazards arise," said Hole. "Someone on the other end of a phone is oblivious to the other demands on the driver and so keeps talking." The findings of the study support results of earlier studies on the dangers of using hands-free device in cars. A study conducted by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah found that in-dash systems up mental distraction which increases risk of accidents and that hands-free use of the iPhone's Siri causes high level of mental distraction among drivers. © 2016 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | December 7, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

Even with holiday travel approaching, it's important to get enough sleep before getting behind the wheel: Missing 1 or 2 hours of sleep nearly doubles a person's risk for a car crash, a new report finds. And missing 2 to 3 hours of sleep more than quadruples the risk for a crash, according to the new report, published today (Dec. 6) from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. This is the same crash risk a person faces when driving over the legal limit for alcohol, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). "Our new research shows that a driver who has slept for less than 5 hours has a crash risk comparable to someone driving drunk," David Yang, the executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, said in a statement. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get at least 7 hours of a sleep each night. [5 Things You Must Know About Sleep] In the new report, the researchers found that the more hours of sleep a person missed over a 24-hour period, the more his or her risk for a car crash increased, compared with people who got the recommended 7 hours of sleep. The researchers looked at survey data from the NHTSA, which included information on more than 7,200 drivers involved in more than 4,500 crashes across the U.S. The drivers reported the number of hours of sleep they got during the 24 hours preceding their crashes. Results showed that people who said that they got 6 to 7 hours of sleep that night, or up to 1 hour less than recommended, were 1.3 times more likely to get in a car accident than those who got the full 7 hours. Getting 5 to 6 hours of sleep, or 1 to 2 hours less than recommended, was associated with a 1.9-times increased risk of crash. But getting 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night was associated with a 4.3 times increase in the risk of a crash, and for those who got less than 4 hours of sleep, the risk increased more than 11-fold. Among the drivers surveyed, 97 percent said that they viewed drowsy driving as a completely unacceptable behavior, according to the report. However, nearly one in three drivers admitted that they drove at least once in the past month when they were so tired they could barely keep their eyes open. Having trouble keeping your eyes open is one symptom of drowsy driving, along with drifting from your lane and forgetting the last few miles driven. But more than half of drivers who are involved in drowsy-driving-related crashes experience no symptoms before falling asleep behind the wheel, AAA said. Because of this, AAA recommends that people not rely on their bodies to provide the "warning signs" that they are too tired to drive. Rather, people should prioritize getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night. AAA also recommends that on longer trips, drivers should plan to travel at times when they are normally awake, schedule a break every 2 hours or 100 miles (160 kilometers), avoid heavy foods, travel with an alert passenger and take turns driving, and avoid taking medications that cause drowsiness or other impairment.


News Article | December 6, 2016
Site: www.techtimes.com

Drivers who only sleep four to five hours a day are twice likely to end up in accidents than those who got seven or more hours of sleep, reports a recent study. It is noted that the rate of crash increases with decrease in sleeping hours of the driver. In other words, the diver who has had less than five hours of sleep had four times increased risk of accident much similar to drunk driving. Jake Nelson, director of Traffic Safety Advocacy & Research for AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety noted that it is not advisable to drive a vehicle if the person hasn't got seven hours of sleep in the past 24 hours. Earlier studies have reported that about 20 percent of the accidents in the United States were caused by sleep-deprived drivers. Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that about 35,092 fatalities in road crash were recorded in 2015, which account to 7.2 percent increase in rate when compared to 2014. Nelson also noted that in recent days it is becoming very tough to maintain a balance between work and life, and in most cases people sacrifice sleep to bridge the gap. People who don't get healthy amount of sleep are risking not only their own lives but also others' on the road. The current study by AAA considered NHTSA's National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey that examined 4,571 crashes between July 2005 and December 2007. The accidents included in the study were those that took place between 6 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. Number of hours of sleep the drivers got in the past 24 hours of the day before the accident was recorded. They were also asked if they had any naps longer than half an hour or more that particular day. With both the data, the researchers calculated the total number of hours of sleep the drivers had the whole day. While more drivers involved in the accidents were found to have had seven hours of sleep in the past 24 hours it was less likely that they contributed to the crash. The majority of drivers contributed to the crash were found to have had less than four hours of sleep or so. The chances of crashing increased with decrease in sleeping hours. There is 1.3 times increased risk of accidents when a person had six to seven hours of sleep and 1.9, 4.5 and 11.5 times increased risk were observed when the driver had five to six, four to five and less than four hours of sleep respectively. "You cannot miss sleep and still expect to be able to safely function behind the wheel," said David Yang, executive director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


Tefft B.C.,AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
Accident Analysis and Prevention | Year: 2013

This study estimates the risk of severe injury or death for pedestrians struck by vehicles using data from a study of crashes that occurred in the United States in years 1994-1998 and involved a pedestrian struck by a forward-moving car, light truck, van, or sport utility vehicle. The data were weighted to correct for oversampling of pedestrians who were severely injured or killed. Logistic regression was used to adjust for potential confounding related to pedestrian and vehicle characteristics. Risks were standardized to represent the average risk for a pedestrian struck by a car or light truck in the United States in years 2007-2009. Results show that the average risk of a struck pedestrian sustaining an injury of Abbreviated Injury Scale 4 or greater severity reaches 10% at an impact speed of 17.1 miles per hour (mph), 25% at 24.9 mph, 50% at 33.0 mph, 75% at 40.8 mph, and 90% at 48.1 mph. The average risk of death reaches 10% at an impact speed of 24.1 mph, 25% at 32.5 mph, 50% at 40.6 mph, 75% at 48.0 mph, and 90% at 54.6 mph. Risks varied by age. For example, the average risk of death for a 70-year-old pedestrian struck at any given speed was similar to the average risk of death for a 30-year-old pedestrian struck at a speed 11.8 mph faster. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Tefft B.C.,AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
Accident Analysis and Prevention | Year: 2012

The proportion of motor vehicle crashes that involve a drowsy driver likely is greater than existing crash databases reflect, due to the possibility that some drivers whose pre-crash state of attention was unknown may have been drowsy. This study estimated the proportion of crashes that involved a drowsy driver in a representative sample of 47,597 crashes in the United States from 1999 through 2008 that involved a passenger vehicle that was towed from the scene. Multiple imputation was used to address missing data on driver drowsiness. In the original (non-imputed) data, 3.9% of all crashes, 7.7% of non-fatal crashes that resulted in hospital admission, and 3.6% of fatal crashes involved a driver coded as drowsy; however, the drowsiness status of 45% of drivers was unknown. In the imputed data, an estimated 7.0% of all crashes (95% confidence interval: 4.6%, 9.3%), 13.1% of non-fatal crashes that resulted in hospital admission (95% confidence interval: 8.8%, 17.3%), and 16.5% of fatal crashes (95% confidence interval: 12.5%, 20.6%) involved a drowsy driver. Results suggest that the prevalence of fatal crashes that involve a drowsy driver is over 350% greater than has been reported previously. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

FILE - This Sept. 28, 2010 file photo shows a stop sign camera at the Top Of Topanga overlook in Topanga, Calif. Well over half of drivers in every age group have texted behind the wheel, run a red light or driven faster than the speed limit in the last 30 days, according to a new study released on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon) DETROIT (AP) — Young drivers aren't alone in behaving badly on U.S. roads, a trend that could be contributing to a spike in highway deaths. Well over half of drivers in every age group have texted behind the wheel, run a red light or driven faster than the speed limit in the last 30 days, according to a new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Younger drivers are the worst offenders. Eighty-eight percent of drivers ages 19 to 24 admitted to at least one of those behaviors. But even mature drivers skirted the rules more often researchers expected. For instance, 10 percent of drivers between 60 and 74 have texted or sent email from behind the wheel, while 37 percent of drivers over 75 said they'd driven through a light that had just turned red. "It was a surprise that there were relatively high rates of these behaviors among the drivers we think of as safer," said Lindsay Arnold, a research associate with the AAA Foundation. Arnold said the responses were similar to those in past years, indicating a troubling trend. In 2015, U.S. traffic deaths rose 7 percent to 35,092, the largest single-year increase in five decades. They're expected to rise again in 2016 when that data is finalized. "It points to the need to improve driver behavior if we're going to reverse this alarming trend," Arnold said. Teen driver education campaigns have had some success, foundation spokeswoman Tamra Johnson said. Now the organization is considering the best ways to reach drivers of other ages. The study found broad agreement on some issues. Eighty-seven percent of drivers said they have never driven when they thought they were close to the legal alcohol limit. Ninety-five percent said they had never driven within an hour of using marijuana. Eighty-eight percent of drivers say it's unacceptable to drive without a seat belt, and 82 percent support laws requiring motorcycle riders to wear helmets. But drivers' behavior sometimes contradicted their own instincts. More than three-quarters of drivers say it's unacceptable to text or email while driving, but 31 percent had done so in the last month and 8 percent do so often. Ninety-six percent of drivers say drowsy driving is a serious safety threat, but 29 percent had recently driven when they were so tired they had trouble keeping their eyes open. The study questioned 2,511 licensed drivers aged 16 and over. Among its findings: — The youngest drivers — those ages 16 to 18 — were less likely to engage in speeding, running red lights or texting while driving than drivers in their 20s through 50s. — Eighty-three percent of drivers — and 86.5 percent of drivers 75 or older — said they were more careful than other drivers on the road. — Just over half of drivers feel seriously threatened by drivers talking on cell phones, but 68 percent made a call while driving in the last 30 days. — Drivers ages 40-59 were the most likely to use a hands-free phone in the car. Drivers ages 16-18 and 75 or older were the most likely to hold their phones and talk while driving. — Twenty-three percent of drivers — and 36 percent of those ages 19 to 24 — think it's acceptable to drive 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway. Forty-six percent of drivers say they have driven that fast on a freeway in the last 30 days. — Sixty percent of drivers say people who drive after using illegal drugs are a serious threat, but just 34 percent say the same about people who drive after using prescription drugs.


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.marketwired.com

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwired - February 21, 2017) - In light of a just-released study revealing statistically that young millennial (19-24) drivers engage in the most dangerous activity behind the wheel, attorneys with The Oswalt Law Group of Phoenix are providing Arizonans information about how to stay safer on the roads and highways. In their report, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 88 percent of young millennials took part in at least one instance of risky driving behavior over the previous month. The behaviors included texting while driving, traveling 10-15 miles per hour faster than posted speed limits, running traffic signals and being under the influence of marijuana while driving. However, one Oswalt attorney was quick to point out that risky driving behavior is not exclusive to young millennials. "Before we point fingers, it's important to emphasize that AAA's study found that drivers from all age groups have engaged in at least some risky driving behaviors in the last 30 days," the attorney said. The AAA study comes on the heels of recent news that traffic fatalities jumped by more than 10 percent in 2016. "Data that was used for that story also revealed that the seemingly safe and easy-to-navigate rural roads are actually more dangerous because drivers on them tend to travel at higher speeds and are less likely to use their seatbelt," said the Oswalt attorney. To lessen the chances of drivers being involved in vehicle accidents, The Oswalt Law Group offers these proactive efforts: If you're injured by someone else in a vehicle accident, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. For information about DUI and personal injury laws specific to Arizona, visit oswaltlawyers.com or call (602) 225-2222. About Oswalt Law Group: With offices in Phoenix, Tempe and Peoria, The Oswalt Law Group provides professional criminal representation for those who are charged with all types of offenses, including DUI, homicide, theft, sexual offenses and fraud. The firm is dedicated to providing aggressive and quality representation regardless of the charges made.


News Article | November 10, 2016
Site: www.marketwired.com

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - November 10, 2016) - Now that California voters have approved Proposition 64 to legalize recreational, non-medical, marijuana use in the state, the Automobile Club of Southern California is urging policymakers, law enforcement, and other safety groups, as well as interests that supported and opposed the measure, to quickly move forward with education, law enforcement training, data collection, and research efforts to address impaired driving. "These efforts are immediately needed because AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research shows that legalizing marijuana can have a dramatic impact on impaired driving in a short period," said Kathy Sieck, the Auto Club's senior vice president for public affairs. "The research showed that just one year after Washington state legalized recreational marijuana use, the percentage of drivers in fatal car crashes who had recently used marijuana more than doubled." "Neither proponents nor opponents of Proposition 64 want to see an increase in tragic vehicle crashes," Sieck said. "Now is the time for Californians to work together to quickly launch efforts to improve traffic safety." The Auto Club urges California officials to act quickly, and looks forward to working with agencies, policymakers, and safety groups, to:


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: hosted2.ap.org

Study: Most drivers, not just young, are taking risks (AP) — Young drivers aren't alone in behaving badly on U.S. roads, a trend that could be contributing to a spike in highway deaths. Well over half of drivers in every age group have texted behind the wheel, run a red light or driven faster than the speed limit in the last 30 days, according to a new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Younger drivers are the worst offenders. Eighty-eight percent of drivers ages 19 to 24 admitted to at least one of those behaviors. But even mature drivers skirted the rules more often researchers expected. For instance, 10 percent of drivers between 60 and 74 have texted or sent email from behind the wheel, while 37 percent of drivers over 75 said they'd driven through a light that had just turned red. "It was a surprise that there were relatively high rates of these behaviors among the drivers we think of as safer," said Lindsay Arnold, a research associate with the AAA Foundation. Arnold said the responses were similar to those in past years, indicating a troubling trend. In 2015, U.S. traffic deaths rose 7 percent to 35,092, the largest single-year increase in five decades. They're expected to rise again in 2016 when that data is finalized. "It points to the need to improve driver behavior if we're going to reverse this alarming trend," Arnold said. Teen driver education campaigns have had some success, foundation spokeswoman Tamra Johnson said. Now the organization is considering the best ways to reach drivers of other ages. The study found broad agreement on some issues. Eighty-seven percent of drivers said they have never driven when they thought they were close to the legal alcohol limit. Ninety-five percent said they had never driven within an hour of using marijuana. Eighty-eight percent of drivers say it's unacceptable to drive without a seat belt, and 82 percent support laws requiring motorcycle riders to wear helmets. But drivers' behavior sometimes contradicted their own instincts. More than three-quarters of drivers say it's unacceptable to text or email while driving, but 31 percent had done so in the last month and 8 percent do so often. Ninety-six percent of drivers say drowsy driving is a serious safety threat, but 29 percent had recently driven when they were so tired they had trouble keeping their eyes open. The study questioned 2,511 licensed drivers aged 16 and over. Among its findings: — The youngest drivers — those ages 16 to 18 — were less likely to engage in speeding, running red lights or texting while driving than drivers in their 20s through 50s. — Eighty-three percent of drivers — and 86.5 percent of drivers 75 or older — said they were more careful than other drivers on the road. — Just over half of drivers feel seriously threatened by drivers talking on cell phones, but 68 percent made a call while driving in the last 30 days. — Drivers ages 40-59 were the most likely to use a hands-free phone in the car. Drivers ages 16-18 and 75 or older were the most likely to hold their phones and talk while driving. — Twenty-three percent of drivers — and 36 percent of those ages 19 to 24 — think it's acceptable to drive 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway. Forty-six percent of drivers say they have driven that fast on a freeway in the last 30 days. — Sixty percent of drivers say people who drive after using illegal drugs are a serious threat, but just 34 percent say the same about people who drive after using prescription drugs.

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