DISTRACTED TEEN DRIVING IS ON THE RISE

  • By Peter Bowman
  • 01 Dec, 2016

Apps like Snapchat, Waze, and Pokemon Go are creating a distracted driving crisis among young drivers.

While distracted driving is nothing new, these apps encourage teens to do more than just text or make calls from their phones as they are driving. There are incentives to use them while driving; Snapchat will record the speed of the vehicle on photos, and Waze rewards drivers for reporting traffic jams and accidents.

As a result, highway fatalities have greatly increased, recording the largest annual percentage increase in 50 years. The numbers this year are even worse; in the first half of 2016, highway deaths jumped 10.4%.

So what is being done to prevent this? Near term efforts will involve identifying changes in regulations, laws and standards that could help reduce fatalities. Laws that concern distracted driving need to be tightened and enforced by all states.

Technology that is meant to reduce driver distractions, such as Sync in Ford cars and Apple’s CarPlay is already being used by drivers, however, freeing the driver’s hands doesn’t necessarily mean their head is clear and focused on the road. Even the most elaborate technology setup in a car isn’t risk free.

Drivers, especially teen drivers, would be better served by leaving their phones in their pockets or in the backseat. Wait until you get to your destination to send snaps, texts, and Facebook messages.


By Peter Bowman 01 Dec, 2016

Apps like Snapchat, Waze, and Pokemon Go are creating a distracted driving crisis among young drivers.

While distracted driving is nothing new, these apps encourage teens to do more than just text or make calls from their phones as they are driving. There are incentives to use them while driving; Snapchat will record the speed of the vehicle on photos, and Waze rewards drivers for reporting traffic jams and accidents.

As a result, highway fatalities have greatly increased, recording the largest annual percentage increase in 50 years. The numbers this year are even worse; in the first half of 2016, highway deaths jumped 10.4%.

So what is being done to prevent this? Near term efforts will involve identifying changes in regulations, laws and standards that could help reduce fatalities. Laws that concern distracted driving need to be tightened and enforced by all states.

Technology that is meant to reduce driver distractions, such as Sync in Ford cars and Apple’s CarPlay is already being used by drivers, however, freeing the driver’s hands doesn’t necessarily mean their head is clear and focused on the road. Even the most elaborate technology setup in a car isn’t risk free.

Drivers, especially teen drivers, would be better served by leaving their phones in their pockets or in the backseat. Wait until you get to your destination to send snaps, texts, and Facebook messages.


By Tamara Morrison 07 Jun, 2016
Almost every state in the country has extended the statute of limitations for minors to allow them the opportunity to bring a claim for injuries or damages on their own. See http://www.statuteoflimitations.net/minors.html .

Connecticut, however, has maintained a statute of limitations for minors for most claims of two (2) years from when they realize they are injured to file suit.

Senate Bill 1028 in Connecticut seeks to toll the statutes of limitations for children when they are injured by someone's carelessness. It would toll the limitation period until the child reaches the age of 19 or no more than 8 years from “the date the act or omission complained of.”

Because minors cannot bring suit on their own, this will provide them with a right they deserve.

As this blog has emphasized, injuries to children must be handled with care. They also develop or heal over time. Thus, if a child is injured at birth, the extent of their injury or their recovery may not be realized for several years. This will allow children the time and freedom to heal.

While it is important to talk to an attorney immediately after a claim, hopefully, the Connecticut legislature passes this bill to allow children the time and freedom to heal.
By Tamara Morrison 07 Jun, 2016
Recently, our firm has seen and uptick in clients involved in car accidents while pregnant. Pregnant women and the unborn children in their wombs can suffer more serious injuries in a car collision. These cases present unique challenges, both medically and legally.

In a recent study, the NIH found that pregnant women can suffer injuries, including placental abruption, uterine rupture or laceration, and direct fetal injury. In addition, a review of the relationship between the pregnant driver and automotive restraints and the steering wheel illustrates how injury potential may differ from the non-pregnant occupant.

See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3400205/pdf/aam42_p057.pdf

Further, firm statistics on fetal loss (child death) resulting from automotive trauma are not
available because fetal death certificates do not record recent maternal involvement in crashes as a potential cause of death. In addition, since miscarriage occurs in 10-20% of all pregnancies in the early part of pregnancy, only deaths to fetuses over 20 weeks gestational age are legally defined and recorded. This presents unique legal challenges to hold the responsibility for fetal or child injury on the person causing the collision or injury.

When a pregnant person is involved in a car collision, they should go to the hospital and be seen by an obstetrician, immediately. Also, they should speak to an attorney to ensure all injuries are documented and appropriately claimed. Using an attorney experienced in handling these claims will result in better advocacy for the baby and expectant mother.

By Tamara Morrison 07 Jun, 2016
Young drivers are the most likely to be distracted by phones while driving vehicles. Over 1.3 million accidents were caused by distracted driving.

This report details a sad story of a mom who lost her daughter due to a distracted driving accident and her efforts to raise funds for the Hartford Hospital trauma center.

http://www.courant.com/features/hc-mommy-minute-0119-20150119-story.html
By Tamara Morrison 07 Jun, 2016
Myself, relatives and one of my children has serious food allergies. This made it even more heartbreaking to see this story about a girl, who passed away after being exposed to Peanuts.

See: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/18/6335644/family-of-girl-who-died-from-peanut.html

Natalie Giorgi went into anaphylactic shock July 26 after eating a Rice Krispies Treat during a hula hoop contest on her family’s last night of a four-day vacation at the popular, city-owned Camp Sacramento facility near Lake Tahoe. . . .

The snack contained peanut butter that had been mixed into a marshmallow filling “in such a way as to be visually undetectable” and also “difficult or impossible to determine that the treat contained peanut butter by taste.”

This article raises two issues regarding child injuries. First, is the special care that must be taken with children with allergies. There cannot be enough reminders and information given to those watching children as well as their friends. So many times these incidents are averted by the sharing of the child's allergy.

While it is an unfortunate situation, the parents have brought this lawsuit for money damages due to the loss of their daughter. The camp should have had policies in place to address allergies and preventing the exposure of this child to the allergen (peanuts). Lawsuits, best practices and regulations are ways that we can also protect our children.
By Tamara Morrison 07 Jun, 2016
As the summer ends and fall begins, we no longer have to worry as much about pool accidents. Recently, a child in Missouri almost passed away as a result of "dry drowning."

See: http://www.wfsb.com/story/25851289/toddler-nearly-drowns-hours-after-leaving-pool

This condition occurs when a person aspirates outside of a body of water. This is reminder as to the dangers of swimming, inside or out.
By Tamara Morrison 07 Jun, 2016
In what must have been a stressful time for visitors to our state capitol, a curious child got her head stuck in a railing at state capitol in Hartford.

The story, found here, describes how the 2.5 year old was trying to look down from the third floor of the capitol building. When Vaseline did not work, they had to remove the railings to get her head out. Luckily, she was not injured.

Even under the best supervision, curious children can get themselves in "tight" situations.
By Tamara Morrison 07 Jun, 2016
Recreational Water Illness, caused by the ingestion of bacteria found in pools, lakes and oceans, can result in rash, digestive system issues and infection.

The proper chlorination of water is the primary measure taken to prevent the spread of RWI. A recent CDC study found, however, that one out of every eight (1/8th) of all pool facilities had insufficient chlorine. See http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/rwi/ .

Even with a properly maintained pool, bacteria can live for days. The primary cause of RWI, Crypto, can survive for several days in a properly maintained pool. Parents should warn children about ingesting pool, pond and ocean water. The CDC also recommends washing before you enter the pool and bathroom use every sixty (60) minutes when in the pool.
By Tamara Morrison 07 Jun, 2016
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control produced a report (here) regarding physical injuries associated with the use of pools. Some interesting, but common sense advice from their study:

There were 4,900 injuries, per year, from 2011 through 2013.

390 of these injuries resulted in the death of a child 15 years or younger.

Seventy-five percent (75%) of those children who died or were injured were five years of age or younger.


That means more than 300 children five (5) years old and younger die every year as a result of pool related incidents. Parents, relatives and caretakers of children under six (6) years old must take care to supervise children of this most vulnerable population in and around pools.

Our next post will address the prevention of “Recreational Water Illness.”
By Tamara Morrison 07 Jun, 2016
Here in Connecticut, we just had our first truly hot, summer day. Hot, summer days means hours by the pool or local "splash pad" trying to stay cool. Kids, however, are susceptible to injuries as a result of this water entertainment.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a fantastic website that details several health and safety risks to children found here. The website addresses safety and disease issues that arise in any summer water entertainment. The website contains tips on water safety, proper hygiene and water quality, as well as rather disgusting, but enlightening analysis of the water quality at "splash pads" found here.

While safety is always a concern as we raise a child, the CDC encourages vigilance in the supervision of children near water. Our next two (2) posts will address the risk of physical injury in water and the prevention of "Recreational Water Illness."
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