Common sense tells us that using a cell phone or other hand-held device while driving is going to increase your chances of causing or being involved in a personal injury accident. So, in states that have banned the use of such devices personal injury car accidents and collisions should have been reduced. Right? Wrong.
A new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety just released and reported on by the New York Times concludes that these laws have not impacted the total number of personal injury accidents of car crashes at all.
And, of course, there are a few flaws in the study.
First, the study determines the reduction in use of hand-held devices by drivers in these states through not exactly scientific methods. Researches went to street corners and exit ramps and observed people using cell phones or not using cell phones and compared that number to the number they obtained before the bans. Seriously. That’s what they did.
Second, and the researchers concede this point, drivers may have simply switched to hands free devices (ya think). Practically every driver I see is talking on a cell phone, has a visible ear-piece, or they are simply mad and talking to their imaginary passengers or co-pilots.
A better study would have examined personal injury accident statistics and compared when car accidents or trucking accidents took place as well as their total numbers after the ban as compared to before – did those numbers move? Also, it would be nice to know if actual cell phone use has decreased during peak driving times. My guess is that it hasn’t.
The Times article seems to indicated that the researchers may feel that talking on our cell phones while driving isn’t quite as distracting as we thought. This is simply the wrong conclusion and a dangerous one.
Cell phone use while driving causes thousands of needless personal injuries, car accidents, and trucking accidents that involve serious brain injuries and even death every year. I am not naive enough to think that people will stop multitasking while driving.
But what is needed is better technology that allows drivers to keep as much of their attention as possible on driving and stricter laws, and penalties that would encourage the use of this technology. Or at least, that would be a good place to start.
On Tuesday, January 17, 2012, The Wall Street Journal’s Laura Landro reported that seeking second opinions from doctors can lead to drastic changes in diagnoses. It is not unheard of for mistakes to occur during the process of diagnosing an illness. It is possible for the reading of radiology slides and biopsies to be entirely incorrect or just false enough to leave a patient seeking the wrong treatment.
Second opinions have, for example, revealed malignant tumors to be benign; and, in some cases, what was initially thought to be asthma has later been diagnosed as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. To say the least, seeking a second opinion can be an effective safeguard against misdiagnoses.
Misdiagnosis is one of the leading reasons for medical malpractice lawsuits as patients can waste valuable time seeking treatment they do not need, or undergoing surgery which proved to be useless to their condition. Some of the most common misdiagnoses involve:
Salivary gland cancer
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
It is good to remember that doctors are human and, as a consequence, are not perfect. They can occasionally become entrenched in a diagnosis, unintentionally overlooking evidence which would either disprove their diagnosis or indicate a different diagnosis. A fresh set of eyes, as it were, can be vital to getting to the core of your ailment. Remember, you are entitled to take slides, pathology reports, and other information to another doctor for your second opinion.
Of course, we know you can’t always afford to obtain a second opinion for your diagnosis or treatment plan. Sometimes you simply have to accept what your medical professional has told you. This why it is important that your primary care physician is someone whom you trust and respect.
If you decide to seek a second opinion for your diagnosis, here are some questions to ask so you can get the most out of your second opinion:
“Are the test results contestable? Could a second round of testing prove useful?”
“Are you positive that this is the disease I have? Is it possible that there are other explanations for my symptoms?”
“Do you agree with the original diagnosis? If so, are you able to suggest any alterations or modifications to my treatment plan?”
“Have we explored all possible options?”
When it comes to your health you should try to be as informed as possible. The more you know about yourself and your condition, the more you can help your doctors treat you. Read “Top 5 Common Misdiagnoses” and “Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice,” and other articles located in our Medical Malpractice Law Articles section of our website.
For years, Stuart A. Carpey has been an active member of Teens Against Distracted Driving (TADD), a program which aims to educate teens on the dangers of multitasking at the wheel. Now, in addition to these efforts, Stuart is teaming up with End Distracted Driving (EndDD.org) to do even more in the fight against accidents caused by inattention.
EndDD.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the number of auto accidents caused by driver distraction. The organization was founded in 2009 and has been expanding ever since, enlisting skilled speakers to spread the word about their cause. Stuart A. Carpey is now one of those speakers.
If you know of any group, community organization, or school which you feel could benefit from a presentation on the subject of distracted driving, please contact Stuart at [email protected] He speaks on the subject free of charge. His presentations are compelling and important for teens and adults alike.
You may be aware that the largest culprit for this growing danger is the use of cell phones–particularly texting–at the wheel of a car. But there are more ways to become distracted than just using your cell phone. Here are the three major forms of driver distraction:
Visual Distraction — Occurs when you take your eyes off the road.
Manual Distraction — Occurs when you take your hands off the wheel.
Cognitive Distraction — Occurs when you are taking your mind off of driving.
Cell phone use distracts drivers in all three of these ways, which is why it has become the primary focus in anti-distraction campaigns led by organizations like TADD and EndDD. But you should keep in mind that any activity which causes a driver to be visually, manually, or cognitively distracted is a serious danger to everyone on the road. These distractions can include applying makeup, reading a map, changing radio stations, holding a pet while driving, and even eating.
If you feel that distracted driving is an issue which requires attention, ask Stuart A. Carpey to come and speak at your school, office, or other organization. Remember: The best way to fight the spread of accidents caused by distracted driving is through increased awareness.