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Distracted driving may be far more common than you think

The use of cellphones, smartphones and other devices seems ubiquitous today. The National Safety Council says that distracted driving related to the use of technological devices is an epidemic. For that reason, the safety advocacy group has declared April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Many people in the Chicago area may be aware that distracted driving occurs - but most people are likely unaware how frequently the problem occurs on our roads.

In late 2016 and early 2017, Zendrive conducted a large-scale study to determine how widespread the problem has become, according to KXLY News. Between December 2016 and February of this year the driving analytics company analyzed 570 million car trips that traveled a combined 3.6 billion miles. The study revealed that distracted driving is not as occasional as you may think.

Can I recover financial damages if my spouse was injured?

If your husband or wife suffered a severe, debilitating or disabling injury, you will probably lose certain marital benefits that you've enjoyed since the onset of your marriage. Some of those benefits are readily apparent, like if your spouse regularly cooked your dinners and performed other household chores. Other benefits may not be apparent, like the loss of society and companionship.

In legal terms, when a spouse is injured - and the non-injured spouse suffers the loss of marital benefits - lawyers refer to it as the loss of consortium. An uninjured spouse can incorporate his or her loss of consortium claims into the injured spouse's personal injury claims in many cases.

Pharmacy Negligence Debate Revived after Chicago Investigative Report Reveals Flaws

In the last post, this blog discussed a Chicago Tribune investigation that uncovered problems with filling prescriptions in pharmacies throughout the Chicagoland area. A reporter sought to have two prescriptions filled at more than 250 area pharmacies. The common medications are known to interact with each other, producing severe muscle breakdown in the human body.

This is no minor issue, as the effect of the harm from the drug interaction could be fatal. Roughly 52 percent of the pharmacies filled the prescriptions without even providing the reporter with any warnings of the potential harm that the combination of the drugs could produce.

Officials, Including Senator Dick Durbin, Speak Up

The story gained national attention -- including calls for reform at the state and national levels to better protect consumers from medication errors, according to the Chicago Tribune. Carmen Catizone, executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, says that each state should pass stronger laws to ensure that pharmacists counsel patients when filling their prescriptions.

Dangerous Drug Combinations are Flying Under the Radar

People who have experience taking medications will vividly remember physicians or pharmacists detailing the precautions that need to be taken with these medications. People receive instructions about which foods to avoid and to avoid drinking alcohol while taking the medications because of the dangerous side effects that can result from certain interactions.

In addition, when people take more than one medication, these medications can interact with each other in dangerous ways. These side effects can have serious impacts on a patient's health. It is the pharmacist's job to avoid these interactions. That is what makes the following information particularly concerning.

Legal liability for medication errors that cause injury or death

We all rely on medical providers to carry out their duty to follow accepted standards of professional care to keep us healthy and safe. Unfortunately, when a doctor, nurse, pharmacist or other medical personnel breaches that duty in the prescribing or administration of a drug, a medication error may cause severe injury or death.

What Chicago and Illinois has done to keep cyclists safe

Statistics maintained by the Illinois Department of Transportation reveal that thousands of cyclists are injured in crashes on an annual basis. The most recent statistics are from 2014, revealing 3,014 crashes resulting in injuries and 27 crashes resulting in deaths.

In response, the State of Illinois and some of its municipalities have taken measures to help keep people on bicycles safe. These steps as well as a greater public awareness of bicycle laws can help prevent tragedies from happening.

Texting while driving is illegal in Illinois and extremely risky

One of the keystones of Illinois traffic-safety laws is the ban on texting while driving that applies to all types of drivers of all ages. Of course, it is logical that texting while your eyes and attention should be on the road and your hands on the wheel is a dangerous activity. Not surprisingly, the statistics paint a grim picture of just how hazardous texting behind the wheel actually can be.

FAA drone regulations are changing with developments in technology

As Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) technology has developed, drones have become more accessible than ever. More and more people are using drones for personal enjoyment and professional use and the laws regarding the operation of unmanned aircraft are changing to reflect this. As of August 29, 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration has put into effect its most up-to-date regulations, specifically regarding "small unmanned aircraft."

The newest rule, part 107, clarifies the use of small unmanned aircraft and defines them as unmanned aircraft that weigh less than 0.55 lbs. The regulations regarding drones are divided between drones flown for personal enjoyment and drones flown for professional uses.

Will speed limiters on trucks improve road safety?

In working to improve road safety, federal agencies are considering if equipping trucks with speed limiters could decrease the severity of crashes and resulting injuries and fatalities. Some trucking organizations and private citizens, however, claim there is a lack of evidence the devices mitigate hazardous incidents and suggest they actually might cause more problems.

In August, the U.S. Department of Transportation released a proposal for a new federal rule that would mandate all large trucks -- those weighing more than 26,000 pounds -- be equipped with speed-limiting devices.

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