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Attitudes about texting and driving reveal contradictions

Many West Virginia drivers might have contradictory opinions about distracted driving. While they probably disapprove of others doing it, they may feel confident that they can both use a cell phone and drive successfully. According to a recent study, such contradictions are true of about one-third of all drivers.

A new report by Progressive Insurance revealed that while 90 percent of drivers feel distracted driving should be illegal and many believe it is the main cause of car accidents, about one-third are confident they can text and drive without problems. This attitude was more pronounced in the 18-34 age demographic, where more than 60 percent of the study respondents said they could safely text while driving. Meanwhile, only 6 percent of those in the 55 and older demographic shared this belief. Marked differences can be seen due to gender as well. About 20 percent of men were very confident of safely texting compared with 11 percent of women. However, the majority of both men and women felt that texting while driving should be prohibited.

Common motorcycle accident injuries

Eighty percent of motorcycle accidents in West Virginia and across the U.S. result in injuries, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is because motorcycles provide little protection for riders when they collide with cars and trucks.

One of the most common injuries associated with motorcycle accidents is bone fractures, particularly fractures of the leg, arm, wrist, shoulder and pelvis. Another common injury is road rash, which is a skin abrasion that occurs when a rider falls from his or her bike and slides across the pavement. This injury can range from mild to severe, depending on the amount and depth of skin removed. Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, are also commonly associated with motorcycle accidents. Helmets can significantly reduce the chances of head injuries and death, but many states do not mandate their use.

Slip and fall risks may be greater than is assumed

West Virginia companies may be seriously underestimating the risk of slip and fall injuries at their locations, a study indicates. The author of the study notes that many employers are exposed to significant liability risks and costs due to underestimating the risks of floor safety and failing to address high-risk zones.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that slip and fall accidents are the top cause of injuries on the job in the United States. In 2015, there were nearly 200,000 of these types of incidents, leading to billions in workers' compensation and medical expenses.

Scientists develop substance to repair brain injuries

West Virginia residents may be interested to learn that scientists have developed a gel-like substance that could help heal traumatic brain injuries. The substance, called Brain Glue, was created by researchers at the University of Georgia's Regenerative Bioscience Center.

Brain Glue is a hydrogel that can fill cavities or holes left in the brain by serious injuries. It provides structure for neural stem cells that are transplanted into the brain to repair damaged tissue, creating the environment they need to settle and replicate. The substance is designed to keep the stem cells within the injured area, enhance their integration and decrease the chances of rejection.

Study looks at link between eye movements and TBI

It might be possible to detect brain injuries in West Virginia residents through eye tracking. According to a doctor who has been studying the problem, eye movements may be disrupted in two different ways by a concussion. Either neurological pathways are physiologically disrupted or intracranial pressure becomes elevated. At the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance conference, a doctor presented research regarding the correlation between eye movements and traumatic brain injury.

The doctor and her colleagues developed and patented a technology known as EyeBOX. In 2014, a NASA affiliate organization funded a study of reversible eye-tracking and elevated intracranial pressure since conditions for astronauts produce symptoms similar to that of intracranial pressure and the organization hoped the research would help in detecting this.

Report shows safety features work

A lane departure warning or blind spot warning system in a vehicle could reduce the odds that it is involved in an accident on a West Virginia road. It could also reduce the odds that an individual is hurt in the event of an accident. These were the two main takeaways from a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. According to the IIHS, there would have been 55,000 fewer injuries in 2015 if all vehicles were equipped with a lane departure warning system.

However, only 6 percent of 2017 model year cars came with lane departure warning systems standard. Only 9 percent of such vehicles came with blind spot warning capabilities. This is despite the fact that there were 6 million motor vehicle accidents in the United States in 2015. In 57 percent of vehicles for sale, these features are included as an upgrade to a standard model.

Daytime headlights reduce car accidents

West Virginia drivers may not be aware that they could significantly reduce their chances of a car crash by simply turning on their headlights in the daytime. Several studies have confirmed that the use of daytime headlights increases visibility and cuts down on car accidents. Because of this, some traffic safety advocates are pushing for legislation mandating the use of headlights during daylight hours.

Currently, several countries require the use of daytime headlights and have seen a drop in car crashes as a result. For example, Denmark experienced a 37 percent drop in left turn car accidents after passing daytime headlight legislation, and Canada found that multi-vehicle accidents dipped by 11 percent after passing such laws.

Why accidents happen most closest to home

Most accidents that take place in America occur within 25 miles of a person's home. This is partially because a West Virginia motorist might relax more when driving in familiar surroundings. It is also largely because most driving that a person does is relatively close to home. In many cases, people may go into autopilot when driving in familiar surroundings, which means they are relying more on muscle memory than actual technique.

Drivers can enhance their safety by being alert at all times no matter where they are going. They should also wear their seat belt each time they are behind the wheel. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a common reason drivers don't wear a seat belt is because they aren't traveling far. Although drivers may be familiar with their neighborhood, events may occur that are out of their control.

Fall brings new dangers to drivers

The fall season in West Virginia brings many changes to the environment and daily lives of residents. Fall foliage, kids returning to school and changes in the weather can all combine to make driving a suddenly different experience for those who are used to the summer. Motorists should remember a few things to stay safe on the roads in the fall.

When children go back to school, drivers should be alert for school buses and young pedestrians. In addition, traffic can be slower in the morning and afternoon hours when children are being picked up and dropped off. Drivers are advised to be especially cautious during these times and when driving near schools or school bus stops.

Ornamental wheel spikes on trucks can be dangerous

Those who regularly travel on West Virginia highways may occasionally see spike-like lug nuts attached to semi trucks and other commercial vehicles. While these spike ornaments are usually made from plastic, they can potentially be made of aluminum or another metal. As such, these lug nuts could potentially be a hazard, particularly for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Part of the problem is that these wheel spikes often extend past the edge of the rim on the wheel. They could potentially come into contact with other vehicles, motorcyclists and pedestrians. In some cases, the spike ornaments could also be seen as intimidating or distracting to other drivers. In fact, in a 2012 case involving a Louisiana crash, the plaintiff noted that the semi truck involved had the spike ornaments attached to the front wheels.

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