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Doylestown Family Law & Personal Injury Blog

Staying focused while driving

Drivers in Philadelphia and other cities across the United States might find that daydreaming is just as dangerous while driving as other activities in the car. Many television shows, movies and announcements have been made to alert drivers to the dangers of texting and talking on the phone while driving. There are very few warnings about daydreaming and simply not paying attention while on the road.

After performing research to look at what causes the most accidents in Philadelphia and other large cities in the country, Erie Insurance discovered that 1 out of 10 drivers who caused accidents was distracted with 61 percent of those drivers daydreaming or thinking about things other than being on the road. While it's important to get drivers to focus on the road, it's human nature for the mind to wander at times.

Staying safe during summer rides

A warm summer day, a stretch of highway, the roar of your bike. There is nothing better than the sense of freedom you get on a motorcycle. However, that freedom comes with some safety concerns.

The State of Pennsylvania takes motorcycle safety seriously and offers many resources to help train people who want to ride. However, training only goes so far. There are hazards specific motorcycles that you should look out for this summer.

Autonomous cars should not drive like humans, professor says

Pennsylvania motorists who are interested in the development of self-driving cars might be aware of the recent fatality that occurred when an Uber vehicle hit a pedestrian in Arizona. The local police said that it appears the accident was not the fault of the vehicle, which was in autonomous driving mode, because any driver would have had difficulty seeing the pedestrian in time to stop. However, an Arizona State professor says expectations for autonomous vehicles differ from those for human drivers. Mistakes by self-driving vehicles that result in injury or death could shut down the industry.

According to the professor, who works on the guaranteed behavior of computers that control physical systems such as autonomous vehicles, the idea of teaching autonomous vehicles to behave like human drivers is flawed. In the video footage from the accident, the pedestrian can be seen stepping into a dark street where there is no pedestrian crossing designation.

Distracted driving can lead to serious crashes

Bucks County drivers may worry about running into a distracted individual when they get behind the wheel, but they often engage in the same behaviors that they know to be dangerous. A study produced by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety as part of an annual Traffic Safety Culture Index shows that many Americans know the dangers of cellphone use while driving yet continue to text and talk behind the wheel. In fact, the number of drivers who report conversing on a handheld mobile phone while driving has shot up 46 percent since 2013 while 88 percent of survey participants expressed concern about rising levels of distracted driveway.

The survey, which aimed to measure attitudes and practices related to roadway safety, involved 2,613 licensed American drivers ages 16 and up. Almost half said that they had recently used a handheld mobile phone while driving, and 45 percent said that they had read a text message or an email. Another 35 percent of respondents admitted to sending emails or texts while driving.

Some crash injuries have delayed symptoms

In the moments following an auto accident, the first concern is the physical well being of everyone involved. Pennsylvania motorists should know that ailments could change in the days and weeks following a crash. Because injuries are often more severe than they initially appear, patience can prove beneficial when assessing accident damages and evaluating insurance settlements.

Ailments not involving the skeletal framework of the human body are called soft tissue injuries. The vast majority of car accident injuries fall under this category. Unfortunately for medical providers and accident victims, soft tissue injuries can be difficult to characterize in regard to severity and prognosis. Initial treatment for soft tissue injuries involves conservative diagnostic and therapy protocols such as rest, massage and medical pain management. Most strains and sprains resolve within about six weeks of conservative treatment, so more aggressive and expensive measures are withheld in hopes of improvement. More sophisticated diagnostic procedures are required to pinpoint ongoing problems such as bulging discs or nerve damage caused by a crash. Doctors often wait until after the six-week mark to authorize tests for these conditions.

Drunk driving can lead to devastating consequences

Drivers in Pennsylvania who come into contact with a drunk driver on the roadways could face lifelong, devastating consequences as a result of a crash. In fact, of all deaths that occur due to traffic accidents, one-third of them are related to driving while under the influence. There are many reasons why drunk driving crashes can be so dangerous, but some people are more vulnerable to fatalities in these accidents than others. For example, people under the age of 24, motorcyclists and individuals with prior DUI convictions are the most likely to lose their lives in a drunk driving crash.

The types of severe injuries that result from a car accident that was caused by a drunk driver can vary. Internal organ damage, severe blood loss and head trauma can be some of the more common and significant types of injuries. Brain and head injuries can be caused by flying debris or hitting the steering wheel, and damage to internal organs can be caused by the blunt-force trauma of the steering column or sharp trauma from glass or metal shards.

Dividing a retirement account and avoiding mistakes

Dividing a 401(k) or a pension plan in a divorce can be costly for couples in Pennsylvania if they do not get a court order known as a qualified domestic relations order. With a QDRO, it is possible to make distributions from this type of retirement plan without having to pay penalties and taxes.

An attorney prepares the QDRO, and it must be approved by the plan's administrator. A couple should also review the document to ensure that it is consistent with the divorce decree. The document should also say whether the distribution will be rolled over into an IRA or directly distributed. If a person does receive a direct distribution, they will have to pay regular income taxes on the amount.

Soft tissue injuries can result from car accidents

For people in Pennsylvania and across the country, soft tissue injuries may be of particular concern in car accidents. These types of injuries involve non-bone body parts, including tendons, ligaments and muscles. Including tears, sprains, strains, soreness and other types of injuries, soft tissue damage can be a common after-effect of a car accident.

The powerful impact caused by a car accident can push the people inside the car to be jolted quickly and moved in different directions, and responses to the accident like sharp braking and bracing to protect oneself from damage can lead to more impact. These kinds of impacts can damage to the soft tissue, resulting in swelling, pain and bleeding.

When you hand over the car keys to your son or daughter

It is a perilous moment when you turn the family car over to your newly licensed son or daughter.

If it helps, take solace in the statistic that brand new drivers actually get in fewer accidents than kids who have been driving for a year. The reason? They're so scared they pay close attention to the road.

State governors have role to play in traffic safety

The chances of people getting in a car crash in Pennsylvania have worsened in recent years. A report published by the National Governors Association has taken on the problem of declining roadway safety. The report highlights the role of governors in addressing the problem.

Deaths in car wrecks had been declining for decades, but the trend appears to be over. In 2016, 37,461 people died on the nation's roads, which represented a 5.6 percent increase in traffic fatalities over the previous year. The report developed with assistance from the Governors Highway Safety Association urged governors to coordinate the safety efforts of state agencies. Increased collaboration among multiple agencies could produce results that reduce accidents and injuries.