Bowling Green Kentucky Legal Blog

Alcohol an ongoing factor in accident deaths

For many people in Kentucky, the thought of getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after having too much to drink is virtually unthinkable. This is with good reason as the facts about the dangers of drinking and driving have been well publicized for many years now. However, it seems that some people have not learned this lesson as they continue to make careless choices that all too often have tragic outcomes.

According to records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the state of Kentucky saw 181 people die in motor vehicle accidents in which alcohol was a factor last year. That represents more than one out of every four people who were killed in crashes during the year. In 2016, drunk driving deaths in the state number 176 and in 2015, 192 people lost their lives at the hands of impaired drivers, up from 171 the previous year.

Here's why it's so important to wear your seat belt

Wearing a seat belt could save your life in a car crash, yet many people still don't follow the law. Kentucky has had mandatory seat belt laws since 2006, making it illegal, the majority of the time, to drive without one.

The reality is that seat belts are very important to your safety in a crash. They make a huge impact on your ability to survive crashes of varied speeds. Here are some quick facts about seat belts to know.

  • In 2015, 35,092 people were killed in traffic accidents. Of them, 48 percent weren't wearing seat belts at the time of the crashes.
  • Seat belts saved an estimated 13,941 people in 2015.
  • Seat belt usage in the United States is approximately 90.1 percent. However, the 9.9 percent of people who don't use them make up around 48 percent of casualties that result from traffic crashes.

Is marijuana legalization increasing car accidents?

While recreational marijuana is not legal in Kentucky, understanding how the legalization of this drug affects other states is helpful. One issue that is coming up concerning states where marijuana is legal for recreational use is an increase in the number of car accidents, according to CNN. Studies and information show states, such as Oregon, Washington and Colorado, have had significant increases in accidents even when neighboring states have not.

The main connection is that when you use marijuana, it has an effect on how fast you can react. You slow down in many ways, including your ability to perceive events around you. This is similar to drunk driving.

How should you report nursing home abuse in Kentucky?

According to the Kentucky Office of Attorney General, there are approximately 23,000 elderly residents living in more than 300 nursing home facilities throughout the state of Kentucky. That number is exponentially greater throughout the entire U.S. Many residents who live in nursing home facilities receive compassionate and quality care, but unfortunately, "many" is not "all."

According to the AG, there are approximately 5 million reported cases of nursing home abuse throughout the U.S. each year. That number only makes up a small percentage of the real number. Experts believe that 84 percent of abuse and neglect cases go unreported.

What are work credits?

When you apply for Social Security benefits, the Social Security Administration basis part of its decision on how many work credits you have. Work credits, according to the SSA, are something you earn based on the number of hours you work. While the conversion of how much you earn to the number of credits changes, currently, you earn one credit for every $1,360 you earn. You can earn up to four credits per year.

When figuring Social Security benefits, the number of credits you have can determine if you qualify for the benefits. How many credits you need depends on the type of benefit you apply for. Most commonly, work credits come into play when talking about disability benefits and retirement benefits.

What is bedsore staging?

Nursing home residents in Kentucky are more likely to develop bedsores, or pressure ulcers, when they spend a great deal of time confined to a wheelchair or a bed. You may know that, if you have an elderly loved one with bedsores, it is important for them to receive proper medical treatment or they may develop a life-threatening infection. However, you may not be familiar with the staging of bedsores and how it affects treatment. 

According to WebMD, when diagnosing bedsores, doctors assign each individual ulcer a stage, usually represented by a number between 1 and 4. The stage identifies the severity of the lesion and indicates what treatment your loved one should receive. The higher the stage number assigned to a pressure ulcer, the more severe it is. Therefore, a stage 4 bedsore is the most severe, while stage 1 indicates only a mild lesion. 

What role might heuristics play in a misdiagnosis?

Even with the advances made in diagnostic medicine in recent years, your doctor in Bowling Green still has to deal with some limitations when it comes to diagnosing your condition. So how, then, are they able to offer up a definitive diagnosis? The ideal scenario is that they use the clinical indicators demonstrated in whatever diagnostic tests you undergo, compare that with your description of the symptoms you are experiencing, and consider what established heuristics call for. Heuristics are those standards that have been developed which help to dictate decision making. In many instances, they help steer your doctor towards the correct course of treatment. 

Yet can a reliance on heuristics be a bad thing? Consider the general standards of the industry you work in. If you were to treat every individual case exactly the same (disregarding the potential for any deviation from the norm), would you be able to provide effective service? The same conundrum holds true for doctors. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has actually identified scenarios where an overreliance on heuristics by health care providers can lead to diagnostic errors. These include: 

  • Allowing past experience to bias their opinions
  • Refusing to move off of an initial diagnostic impression
  • Being influenced by subtle cues or collateral information
  • Relying too much on expert opinion

Seat belt advice for parents with young children

Driving your children to school is not always the best part of the day. Your kids may be grumpy, you might be groggy -- and so is everyone else on the road! But that's not a reason to skimp on seat belt safety. As a parent, your primary responsibility is the safety of your kids -- and in a car, that means always using seat belts the right way.

Here is some excellent advice for any parents who want to keep their kids safe with proper safety belt usage:

Different ways smartphones distract drivers

Distracted driving is incredibly dangerous, and many people know that talking on a phone or trying to send a text message can be very risky while driving. However, with so many technological advancements in recent years, it is crucial to realize some of the other reasons why using a smartphone while driving is such a bad idea. Sadly, a lot of lives have been lost due to this behavior and the victims of these wrecks deserve a voice.

With the increasing popularity of social media and new ways to interact with friends and family members through devices, there are a variety of ways in which drivers can become distracted by their phones. For example, someone may watch a live stream on one of their devices, which could take their eyes and their hands off the road. Or, someone may use their phone to record themselves in real time while they are operating a vehicle, whether they are broadcasting a live stream or chatting with their friends. Music, tv shows and many other forms of entertainment can distract drivers as well.

What is the Hours of Service rule?

If you are like most people who live and drive in Kentucky, you see your fair share of tractor-trailers and other commercial trucks on the road. From time to time, you might even see one of these trucks swerve or make some type of maneuver that makes you wonder if the driver inside is fatigued or otherwise distracted. These are legitimate concerns as they directly relate to your safety when sharing the road with big rigs. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recognizes the need for truckers to be alert when behind the wheel. As such, they have developed what is called the Hours of Service rule. This is a set of regulations that outlines how many hours a trucker can work or drive in a given day or work week. For drivers who work an eight-day work week, they may log a total of 70 hours during that time. Drivers working a seven-day work week may log 60 hours in that time. People in both scenarios must be off duty for a full 34 hours before starting a new work week.

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