Articles Tagged with auto accident

Approximately 100,000 auto accidents reported to police are caused by tired drivers in Washington and the other states every year. Young adult men, shift workers and people with children are the most at risk for driving while drowsy. The National Sleep Foundation conducted a survey in 2005 and found that around 168 million adult drivers drove while they were sleepy, and around 103 million people have fallen asleep while driving.

Fatigued drivers are more prone to attention lapses. Sleep deprivation may also cause behaviors that result in auto accidents such as impatience and faster driving. The National Sleep Foundation conducted a poll and found that people between 18 and 29 years of age were more likely to drive in a fatigued state than older people.

Driver fatigue causes approximately 71,000 auto injuries, 1,550 deaths, and over $12 billion in losses each year. These numbers may be higher since it is difficult to determine sleepiness as a cause of the crashes. Australian researchers have shown that 18 hours without sleep is equal in impairment to a blood alcohol level of 0.05. After 24 hours, the impairment is equivalent to 0.10. A person is considered legally drunk at 0.08. Fatigued driving accidents have caused drivers to go to jail.

Sternum fracture results in death about 25 to 45 percent of the time and is often caused by trauma to the hard plate of bone in the center of the chest that protects the heart and lungs from injury. When the sternum is fractured, rib breakage occurs about 20 percent of the time, and spinal fractures occur in roughly 10 percent of cases. Washington motorcyclists may be at higher risk for such injuries in case of accidents because of the lack of air bags and protective restraints.

People over 50, especially women, seem to be more vulnerable to this type of fracture. When osteoporosis is present, sternum fractures become more common, especially in an automobile or motorcycle accident where trauma to the chest is present. Bruising, damage or punctures of the heart and lungs, injury to abdominal organs, spinal cord injuries and death are all possible outcomes of sternum fracture.

Chest pain, difficulty breathing, crunching or grinding sounds and extensive chest bruising are all possible indications of sternum fractures. The chest may also appear deformed or misshapen because of the buckling of the underlying bone and the cartilage connecting it to the ribcage. Prompt assessment and treatment is important in these cases to prevent other complications such as bone infections, pneumonia, bleeding into the thoracic cavity and in many situations death.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health declares nearly 10 million drivers in 2013 aged 12 and older admitted to driving while impaired by illegal drugs. This figure translates to about 3.8 percent of the population, and in the same year, about 11 percent, or 28.7 million drivers, confessed to driving under the influence of alcohol. While the numbers have dropped over recent years, many drivers test positive for both drugs and alcohol after causing motor vehicle accidents.

The NSDUH survey also showed that the highest risk group for impaired driving is those aged 18 to 25. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2009 showed that 18 percent of the drivers across all age groups who died in motor vehicle accidents that year tested positive for at least one type of drug.

Drugged driving, whether the drugs are prescription medications or illegal substances like marijuana or cocaine, can impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle because reaction times and motor skills are easily affected by these substances. Many prescription drugs, including those used for pain relief and anxiety, come with specific warnings against operating machinery or motor vehicles. Other studies have determined that 4 to 14 percent of drivers who suffered injuries or death in auto accidents tested positive for marijuana use.

In Washington, a fiery accident resulted in Interstate 90 being slowed to a crawl while bystanders helped victims in burning vehicles. Authorities report that the driver of an eastbound green SUV did not properly negotiate a turn in the road and crossed the center median before ending up in the westbound lanes of the highway. This error started a chain-reaction collision, and the highway became littered with four wrecked vehicles, at least two of which caught fire.

One couple who were behind the green SUV were able to use a fire extinguisher to put out the fire and offer comfort and aid to the man inside. Heroic bystanders, according to a Washington State Trooper, yanked out another driver who was pinned in her burning vehicle. The woman received severe auto injuries on her ankles.

Two drivers in serious condition were transported to Harborview Medical Center. A third driver experienced minor injuries. Law enforcement on the scene made it clear that seat belts were a contributing factor in everyone making it out of the damaged vehicles alive.

While driving down the highway, most of us don’t even notice the small and subtle structures running along the road. Some are highway dividers made of concrete with less-solid materials sticking out of the top. Other times, they are small fences running along the shoulder of the highway.

These structures serve a number of purposes. But perhaps their most important functions are to contain out-of-control vehicles and absorb crash impact forces. They may not always stop cars and trucks before they leave or cross the highway, but if constructed correctly, they can turn a fatal crash into a survivable one.

According to a lawsuit set to go trial this month, one of the largest manufacturers of guardrails in the nation may be hiding changes it made to its product that make it less effective and safe than the company claims. The company being sued, Texas-based Trinity Industries Inc, gained federal approval in 2000 for the ET-Plus end terminal, a critical safety component of the guardrails.