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The Biden administration is promising increased scrutiny and tougher penalties against nursing homes that fail to meet strict standards  and expose residents to the risk of abuse and neglect.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently stated that the federal administration is increasing its commitment to reducing the rate of violations of nursing homes across the country, through increased scrutiny and tougher enforcement of existing standards.  The Department says that it has created a watch list of more than 80 nursing homes that have performed poorly on parameters of quality and care. The watchlist is just one part of a series of steps that the Department of Health and Human Services is taking to toughen safety standards at nursing homes, thereby ensuring better quality of care for residents.

The steps are part of President Biden’s State of the Union Action Plan for Protecting Seniors by Improving Safety and Quality of the Nation’s Nursing Homes.  The reforms include an overhaul of the Special Focus Facility program.  The Special Focus Facility program already tasks inspectors with increased monitoring of poorly – performing nursing facilities. However, the number of inspections is only likely to increase with the administration’s new plan. The reforms also include an increase in fines or penalties for nursing homes that continue to commit violations. The penalties could even include moves to terminate the facility’s Medicare or Medicaid funding. The reforms also include an increase in the standards that nursing homes will have to meet in order to qualify for continued funding.

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Parents who make use of a smartphone app instead of the traditional pen and paper system to supervise their teen children’s mandatory practice driving hours could be helping the driver avoid car accidents and stay safe on the road.  Due to their limited experience, teen driver’s are more likely to be involved in an auto accident.

A new study focuses on the effectiveness of smartphone apps used to track teenage motorists’ supervised driving hours as part of their mandatory GDL requirements, and compares the effectiveness of these apps with logs using pen and paper.  In Georgia, like in most other states, teenagers must complete several hours of supervised driving before they are eligible to get learners’ permits.  Under  Georgia law, a novice driver who is at least 15 years of age must first obtain an instructional permit that allows him or her to drive under the supervision of a  licensed motorist who is at least 21 years of age.  In many cases, parents act as the driving supervisors for their children.  It is only after this supervised driving phase has been completed that a person can appear for an intermediate license.

Needless to say, these hours of supervised driving are critically important to the teen driver.  Not only do they allow her or him to practice driving safely under the supervision of a parent, but also allow parents to foster the kind of driving behavior that they want their child to practice when they are driving on their own, in order to avoid car accidents.

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From inexperience to distractions from passengers, teen motorists  are faced with a variety of auto accident risks.   However, the two biggest risks facing teen motorists are their tendencies to drive at high speeds and use cell phones while driving.

That information comes from the results of a new study presented recently at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition. The study was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.

The driving behaviors of a total of 155 teenagers were studied as part of the research.  The data was collected in the form of an app that the teenagers used while they were driving.  The  app measured and monitored the presence of dangerous driving behaviors like using a cell phone and driving at high speeds that increased car accident risks.

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The  US Department of Transportation and a number of related federal agencies are rolling out a series of campaigns and measures to help reduce the number of auto accidents injuring and killing pedestrians every year.

The  month of October is being marked as National Pedestrian Safety Awareness Month, and the Department of Transportation is spearheading efforts to raise awareness about the rights of pedestrians and the need to keep them safe. There has never been a better time to bring awareness to the rights of pedestrians than now.   In  2020,  an average of  18 pedestrians were killed  every day in the United States. A total of 6,516 pedestrians were killed in auto accidents that year.

This  is a staggering total by any estimate.  It has led to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg commenting that Americans now live in a time when it is safer to fly than walk.  Other federal transportation officials have also commented on these statistics, saying that it is unacceptable that Americans are unsafe when they walk.

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A new study finds that while many motorists have a high opinion of their driving skills, the reality may be quite different.  The  study finds that many drivers remain unaware of basic safety rules, including road signs, and have a much more elevated opinion of their own driving skills than the reality, thereby increasing their auto accident risks.

The  results of the study were released by insurer Progressive.  The  company focused on 599 motorists, and these motorists were asked questions about their driving skills and knowledge. The results of the study clearly find a gap between drivers’ knowledge of motoring safety including basic  road signs like those related to school safety,  and the reality on the roads.

For  instance, the results of the study finds that an overwhelming majority or 94% of the drivers were able to identify a sign for a lane ending. However, only 65% were able to identify a school crossing sign correctly. This lack of knowledge is extremely dangerous.  Driving  safely and lowering speed limits in school zones  and around school crossing areas is absolutely imperative,  and failure to  identify these signs can increase the risk of car accidents involving child pedestrians.

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People who suffer from cardiovascular disease may be at a higher risk of suffering from slip and fall accidents that expose them to serious personal injury.

According to a new study whose results were published in the journal Circulation:  Cardiovascular Quality Outcomes,  more research is needed to understand the causes of increased fall risks in people suffering from cardiovascular disease.   An earlier study from 2018 found that as many as 60% of people who suffer from cardiovascular disease had a moderate to high risk of suffering a slip and fall accident.

There are several risk factors that might expose a person who suffers from  cardiovascular conditions to have an elevated fall risk.   Hypertension or a spike in blood pressure may cause dizziness or a sudden loss of consciousness which could directly lead to a fall hazard.  A  person recovering from a stroke may continue to suffer from dizziness, while one who suffers from diabetes may suffer from neuropathy in the foot that could affect balance and, therefore, slip and fall accident risks.

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Thousands of Georgia motorists  may be at risk of car accidents caused when they are driving defective or dangerous vehicles that have been included in recalls.

When  the  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announces a recall of a vehicle for potentially dangerous design or manufacturing defects,  automakers and other related parties immediately work to contact customers and let them know about the defect that has led to the recall.  From then on, motorists are given information about bringing these cars in for repairs or replacement of defective parts, if necessary.

However, thousands of these defective, dangerous cars may continue to be sold in the used car market.  This  is a problem because used car sellers are not required by the law to inform customers  about any potentially dangerous defects in the design and manufacture of the cars.  While  automakers have a legal responsibility to inform their customers about a recall,  used car dealers do not have any such obligation to inform buyers about any car accident risks.

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A combination of proven and time-tested strategies like expansion of seatbelt usage and cracking down on intoxicated driving could help save as many as half a million lives in auto accidents across the world every year.

According to a new study, hundreds of thousands of lives are lost across the world every year in car accidents, and many of these lives could be saved if simple strategies are implemented by governments. In a new study that was published recently in the Lancet journal, researchers analyzed car accident statistics around the world and identified the strategies that can be used to prevent these auto accidents and the resultant wrongful deaths. An overwhelming majority of car accident fatalities, according to the study, are linked to  drunk driving,  failure to wear seat belts,  and high speeds.  These are the three most critical factors in auto accidents, no matter which country you are driving in. They are also some of the most preventable factors.

A strong focus on reducing the incidence of drunk driving, for instance, would help save hundreds of thousands of lives in car accidents every year.  Stringent enforcement with tougher penalties for violations can help the government reduce the incidence of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs in this country.  Similarly, enforcement should be at the crux of any campaign that calls on drivers to drive at posted speeds.  It is not as if drivers are not aware of the dangers of drunk driving or driving at high speeds.  Rather, this knowledge is often ignored.  Stronger enforcement of existing rules and penalties for violations can encourage motorists to drive at safe speeds.

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Pedestrian accidents account for a significant percentage of the total number of people killed in motor auto accidents every year.  Technologies like auto emergency braking systems that are specifically designed to help vehicles to avoid striking pedestrians  have been touted as the way forward as companies and  regulators come together to reduce these car accident risks.  However,  a new study suggests many of those systems do not work very well during the night time.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently  rated vehicles based on  the effectiveness of their pedestrian auto emergency braking systems, and found that only a few of the models included in the study performed well in preventing auto accidents that occurred at night or in poorly lit conditions. In  daytime or well-lit conditions, these systems worked very well with 19 out of the 23 models studied performing very well in preventing pedestrian accidents.  However, when it came to night time conditions, the results were markedly different.  Only a few vehicles performed well in night time conditions.

Even more concerning is the finding that vehicles like small size pickups and SUVs are less likely to perform well  in poor visibility conditions.   This is even more disheartening because these are the vehicles that  can cause the  most serious injuries to a pedestrian in an accident.  When a pedestrian is involved in an auto accident with an SUV or a small pickup truck, the risk of serious injury or even death can be significantly  higher.  In fact, the disparity between protection for pedestrians  during  well -lit and unlit conditions is so high that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is considering introducing a night time test for pedestrian automatic emergency braking systems.

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The first three months of 2022 had more devastating news for American motorists with traffic and car accident wrongful deaths during this period of time hitting a 20-year high.  All estimates seem to suggest that far from offering hope for the future, the news on the traffic safety front does not seem to be getting better for motorists in Georgia and around the country.

The new estimates released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirms that there were more than 9,500 auto accident deaths in the first 3 months of this year.  According to the agency estimates, 9,560 people lost their lives in auto accidents across the United States in January, February and March of 2022.  That was a 7% increase from the number of wrongful deaths recorded in the first three months of 2021 when 8,935 people were killed in car accidents.  In still more devastating news for auto safety regulators, those numbers mark the highest number of auto accident deaths on record  since 2002.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also reports that the projected traffic crash death rate increased to 1.27 auto accident deaths per 100 million vehicles travelled . The news was not all grim, however.  At least 19 states and Puerto Rico recorded declines in car accident deaths during the first quarter of this year.

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