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Long work hours and deadline pressure cause truck driver fatigue

Long stretches of highway in Illinois can wear down any motorist, but commercial truck drivers often fight through their fatigue to meet delivery deadlines. Schedules and company incentives for early deliveries add to the pressure to ignore weariness and keep on trucking. Drowsy driving, however, impairs driving abilities in a manner similar to drinking alcohol. Tired drivers have slower reaction times, difficulty focusing on their surroundings and impaired judgment. A truck driver who completely falls asleep behind the wheel could cause a serious or even fatal crash.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established hours of service regulations meant to limit truck drivers' time behind the wheel so that they can rest. People transporting property cargo cannot exceed 11 hours of driving after a 10-hour break. Truckers sometimes break these rules to meet their deadlines while exposing themselves and others to the risks of drowsy driving.

Can I make a product liability claim after a car accident?

Often when a car accident occurs, the biggest question after injuries are addressed is the question of which party is to blame. Usually the party to blame for the incident is one of the drivers involved in the incident. However, occasionally the blame for an incident can be attributed to a car manufacturer in a situation when there was a defect present in the car, and, as a result, the accident occurred. Filing a claim against a car manufacturer when the car has a defect is done through product liability claims.

If you can prove that the car manufacturer was to blame for your car accident, you may be able to recoup significant damages. However, proving that a certain defect actually caused an injury can be very difficult. It is important to research how the law works in the state of Illinois before filing a claim.

Bloomberg NEF on how driverless cars will change insurance

Some experts have made dire predictions about the auto insurance industry's survival in the age of driverless cars. For example, a 2016 Morgan Stanley report called, "Are Auto Insurers on the Road to Nowhere," estimates that the industry will shrink to about 20 percent of its current size by 2040. However, Illinois residents should be aware of newer research, which does not seem to point to such a sudden decline.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance has issued a report stating that driverless cars will create a gradual shift in the types of insurance products that will be offered. It expects that most drivers will begin by using autonomous features only part of the time, such as when parking or when stuck in traffic; companies could take advantage of this situation by offering policies for both drivers and vehicles.

Report shows growing presence of drugs in fatally injured drivers

The Governors Highway Safety Association recently released a new report concerning drug use and fatal car crashes. Considering that medical marijuana is legalized in Illinois, motorists in the Land of Lincoln may be concerned about local road safety.

The GHSA states that in 2016, 44 percent of drivers who were killed in car crashes and subsequently tested for drugs came up positive. This was up from 2006, when 28 percent tested positive. In 2016, 38 percent of tested fatally injured drivers were found with some form of cannabis in their system, 16 percent with opioids and 4 percent with a combination of the two.

Initiatives aim to improve truck brake safety

When drivers in Illinois take to the roadways, one of the most frightening thoughts that come to mind could be the potential of a collision with an 18-wheeler or semitruck. Due to the size, weight and mass of these vehicles, a crash involving a large truck poses a severe risk to the safety and lives of others on the road. The hazard of a crash involving such a truck is escalated when these vehicles do not receive proper maintenance. For example, negligently maintained truck brakes could mean that the truck fails to stop in slippery conditions or an emergency situation.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is working to promote brake safety in large trucks with several brake enforcement initiatives. These programs aim to ramp up the inspections of large trucks in order to pinpoint safety problems that could be dangerous in case of a trucking accident. In one initiative, the CVSA will organize an unannounced one-day brake safety action, where random inspections of trucks on the roads will be carried out. In another event, the annual Brake Safety Week that will be held from Sept. 16-22 in 2018, inspections will be escalated throughout the week, and poorly maintained trucks in violation of regulations will be pulled off the road.

Making third-party negligence claims after a work injury

If you have been injured in the workplace and need to take unpaid leave from work in order to recover or have had to pay medical bills as a result, you have the right to file a claim for workers' compensation.

Workers' compensation is a type of insurance that intends to help workers financially on the out-of-pocket costs they have to face because of their work-related injury. However, in some cases, workers' compensation claims can lead to third-party negligence claims.

How women are often misdiagnosed

Some women in Illinois might struggle to get a medical diagnosis compared to men. Women have a 50 percent higher chance of not being diagnosed with heart disease, and this is true even after a heart attack. They are more likely to die in the hospital after a heart attack and are 30 percent more likely to have a stroke misdiagnosed. Pain is more likely to be ignored, and autoimmune diseases, which are far more common in women, may take years to diagnose.

There are a number of reasons for this. For many common diseases, women's symptoms are different from men. For example, women may experience a heart attack with symptoms such as indigestion and fatigue. Both they and their doctors are more likely to attribute these symptoms to other causes including stress. They are often not recognized because medical studies are traditionally done with men even for diseases that women predominantly have. Race adds another barrier. For example, black women are more likely to die from pregnancy complications than white women.

Pancreatic cancer treatment offers hope to early-stage patients

Early-stage pancreatic cancer patients in Illinois and worldwide could live longer with the help of a four-drug chemotherapy combo, according to a new study. The combo could become the new standard of care for patients who qualify for surgery.

For the study, which was conducted at France's Cancer Institute of Lorraine, nearly 500 patients with early ductal tumors were treated with either the four-drug combo, called folfirinox, or the current standard chemo drug, called Gemzar. An average of three years later, nearly 40 percent of those who received folfirinox were cancer-free, and nearly two-thirds were still living. In comparison, approximately 20 percent of those who received Gemzar were cancer-free, and nearly 50 percent were still living.

Telehealth shows big potential to reduce medical mistakes

Health care providers in Illinois, especially at emergency rooms, continually face challenges when collecting information from patients about their medications and medical conditions. Ideally, emergency departments have a pharmacist who can interview incoming patients and alert other medical staff members to medication use and potential side effects. To improve access to pharmacists, one hospital experimented with a telemedicine system.

The hospital had been experiencing a medication error rate of about 70 percent in the emergency department. Upon adding a telehealth platform, the hospital could connect incoming patients to video consultations with pharmacists, who could then provide advice about managing medication. This reduced wait times for pharmaceutical consultations since a pharmacist could always be available remotely.

Fatal trucking accidents on the rise

Many people in Illinois and across the country worry about the danger of experiencing a crash or collision when they get behind the wheel and take to the roads. Even drivers who concentrate on safety cannot control the actions and behavior of others on the road, and accidents caused by others' negligent driving can lead to serious injuries and even fatalities. The concern can be particularly significant when it comes to trucking accidents because the size and mass of these vehicles might mean a devastating outcome for passenger car drivers, pedestrians and others.

One report by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration noted that fatal trucking accidents increased by 3 percent in 2016 from the prior year. In 2015, 4,074 large trucks were involved in deadly accidents, but that number increased to 4.212 in 2016. The number of deaths themselves rose by over 220 in the same year. While 722 of the people killed in truck crashes in 2016 were occupants of the large trucks themselves, the remaining 3,595 were passengers in other vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians. Fatal accidents involving large trucks took place in different areas; around 61 percent happened on rural roads while 27 percent happened on interstate highways.