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Middleton Wisconsin Personal Injury Law Blog

Some fatal two-car crashes may be the result of opioid use

Opioid use factors into quite a few car accidents in Wisconsin as well as in other states. In 2016, the percentage of crash initiators nationwide who tested positive for opioids was 7.1%, a significant rise from the 2% of 1993. Now, a study in JAMA Network Open has analyzed the possible role of opioids in thousands of fatal two-car crashes.

Its conclusion was that crash initiators were almost twice as likely as the other driver to be found with opioids in their systems. Researchers analyzed fatal two-car crashes involving a total of 1,467 drivers who tested positive for opioids, and of these, 918 were crash initiators while 549 were not.

American drivers need to pay attention to drowsiness

In Wisconsin and across the United States, drowsy and distracted drivers cause thousands of fatal car accidents each year. Many Americans do not realize that they should not drive when they feel sleepy, and many drivers do not get enough sleep because they work two or three jobs. Some people suffer from diagnosed sleep disorders or drive while inebriated. Other distracted drivers take medications known to cause sleepiness. In 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a report showing that drowsy drivers caused 72,000 car accidents, 44,000 serious injuries and 800 deaths.

Furthermore, studies indicate that approximately 6,000 car crashes may link to distracted drivers. Common warning signs may help drivers know when to stop driving. Some of these signs include frequently missing freeway exits and drifting into other lanes. Other warning signs to watch for include frequent yawning and blinking of the eyes. Some distracted drivers find it difficult to remember the past few completed miles. Others may hit rumble strips on the sides of roads.

Measuring your quality of life after a spinal cord injury

Following your spinal cord injury, you may have had many hours and days to lie in your hospital bed and wonder what kind of life lay ahead for you. Will you ever walk again? Will you be able to go back to your job? Are the activities you enjoyed most gone from your life forever?

It is easy to fall into a depression after a catastrophic injury that alters your life as you know it. However, many with spinal cord injuries have a great deal to be hopeful for. Medical science continues to make strides in developing new treatments and therapies for victims of such injuries, and this is just one factor in measuring the quality of life for someone with a traumatic spinal injury.

Tips for safe winter driving in Wisconsin

Winter presents a number of challenges for Wisconsin drivers. Roads with sleet, ice or snow diminish the traction between tires and the ground, and stopping distance increases. For this reason, motorists should slow down and keep a distance of at least five or six seconds from the vehicle in front of them. They should apply the brakes sooner when approaching a stop sign or traffic light, but they should not apply them hard.

Accelerating should also be gradual so as to prevent the wheels from uselessly spinning. Starting from a full stop can be especially dangerous, so drivers should avoid coming to a full stop when possible and opt instead to creep up toward traffic lights until they turn green.

Roundabouts may be safer than traditional intersections

Municipalities in Wisconsin and elsewhere have a strong interest in promoting public safety and regularly study ways to improve conditions for their residents. In the regular course of daily business, traffic accidents are the most common source of property damage and injury to individuals. Most efforts to reduce accidents focus on enforcement of traffic laws, adding more traffic lights and stop signs, or lowering speed limits in certain areas. However, replacing traditional intersections with roundabouts may be a way to dramatically improve safety while at the same time providing other benefits.

A roundabout is a circular traffic intersection where the roads cross at ninety-degree angles. Traffic flows circularly in a counterclockwise direction around a center, circular island. There are no stop signs or signals, and drivers enter the roundabout after yielding to any traffic already in the circle. Although many drivers are initially confused by their first few encounters with roundabouts, traffic safety studies have shown a significant reduction in the numbers of accidents and the severity of accidents when they are compared to traditional intersections.

Which states see the most teen drinking and driving

Despite the minimum age for alcohol consumption being 21, there are many teens who drink and drive. In Wisconsin and across the U.S., drunk driving fatalities compose one third of all driving fatalities. Nationwide, an average of 3.4 per 100,000 people die in DUI-related crashes. The numbers will differ from state to state, of course, but one study shows a possible link between DUI fatality rates and the number of high school students who drink and drive.

The study, conducted by researchers at, broke down data from the CDC's High School Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. Based on how many teens reported drinking and driving at least once in the previous month, researchers were able to rank the 15 worst states for teen drinking and driving.

Preventing car crashes with five simple tips

Around 40,000 lives were lost in auto accidents around the country in 2018. Wisconsin motorists should also be aware that every seven seconds in the U.S., someone is injured in a car crash. By following five simple tips, though, they can keep themselves and others from becoming a statistic.

It all begins with the proper vehicle maintenance. An auto expert should periodically check the engine and brakes. Drivers should ensure that the airbag is intact and that there are no electrical issues. The second tip is to avoid driving drunk. motorists are legally drunk they have a BAC of .08 or above, but even a lower BAC can indicate impairment in some cases. Around 10,000 people die in drunk driving crashes every year.

The data doesn't look good for construction workers

If you work in construction, no one needs to tell you that your job is dangerous. You already know that you risk your safety every time you go to a job site. You rely on your employer, your co-workers, your superiors and your own diligence to make sure you go home safely every day.

The problem is that, even when everything goes right, things still go wrong. You may or may not be surprised by what the data says about your chances of suffering serious injuries while on the job.

Drunk driving claims thousands of lives every year

On average during 2017, nearly 30 people nationwide were killed every day in car accidents related to drunk driving. That works out to one drunk-driving traffic fatality every 48 minutes and 10,874 deaths over the course of the year across the country. Alcohol impairs the ability of drivers to safely drive motor vehicles. It is illegal in Wisconsin to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter of blood, but the negative effects of alcohol may be present even at lower levels.

In 2017, 1,837 people died in crashes where the BAC of a driver was between .01 and .07. BAC can be measured either by a blood test or using a Breathalyzer . The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that a BAC as low as .02 is enough to cause a decline in visual abilities or to perform divided attention tasks. At .05, the driver's coordination is reduced, as is his or her ability to track moving objects and respond to emergency situations.

Drowsy driving killing thousands of people each year

All traffic safety experts agree that drowsy driving is a major danger in Wisconsin and across the U.S. However, there is some debate regarding the actual number of injuries and fatalities drowsy driving crashes cause each year.

For example, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are around 100,000 fatigue-related accidents reported to the police each year, resulting in over 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries. However, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that at least 320,000 drowsy driving accidents take place each year, resulting in around 6,400 deaths and at least 109,000 injuries. Meanwhile, the Governors Highway Safety Association reports that approximately 5,000 people were killed in fatigue-related crashes in 2015. There are several reasons for the discrepancy in numbers, including that it is difficult to determine how sleepy a driver was before a crash and not all police departments record drowsy driving accident statistics. However, researchers believe that drowsy driving accidents and deaths are vastly underreported nationwide.

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