The Effects Of Car Accidents On Pregnant Women

Raw fish, roller coasters, coffee, and hot tubs. What do these seemingly random things have in common?

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I’ll answer that one Mr. Trebek.

What is: things pregnant women should avoid!

Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!!!

Although all of the above things can be harmful to an unborn baby, another great pregnancy risk that almost all pregnant women take, without even thinking twice, is driving a car! Every year, according to SafeRide4Kids, about 300-5,000 unborn babies die in motor vehicle accidents. Also, the leading cause of miscarriages in the first trimester, is due to car accidents. However, telling a pregnant women to stay inside her house for nine months is unrealistic, because pregnant women work, shop, run errands, and travel, just like all other people.

In fact, according to Census Bureau Data, 66% of women worked while they were pregnant from 2006 to 2008, compared to the 1960s when only 44% of women worked at all during their pregnancies. Furthermore, 82% of women continued to work until less than one month before giving birth.

However, a Canadian study, from 2014, revealed that pregnant women are 42% more likely to get into a car accident than non-pregnant women. This is a serious statistic that clearly outlines that driving while pregnant may be unsafe. Why? Well, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatigue and drowsiness can impair a driver’s judgement, as well as slow down their reaction times. Unfortunately, drowsiness and fatigue are two very common symptoms that pregnant women experience. If a person driving a car in front of them brakes suddenly, a fatigued driver  may not react in time to slam on their own brakes, to avoid rear-ending the car in front. While all people who drive or ride in vehicles are susceptible of getting into car crashes any time they are on the road, and thereby risk car accident injuries to themselves, it’s the effects of a car crash on an unborn baby that is the cause for concern here.

Pregnant Car Crash Lawyer

So what can pregnant women do to decrease the likelihood of getting into a car crash due to fatigue and drowsiness? Well, Dr. Donald Redelmeier, who led the Canadian study said, "We aren't recommending pregnant woman delegate their driving to their husbands...Young adult men are even more dangerous behind the wheel. They have even higher crash rates [than pregnant women]... Obey stop signs. Don't speed. Minimize distractions — standard safe driving habits...That seems like such incredibly banal advice to give. I realize that, but every one of our crashes in the study could have been avoided by a small change in driver behaviors."

Redelmeier also notes that his pregnant patients often ask about the risks of flying and roller coasters, but they don’t ever discuss road safety, despite car accidents being a larger threat to their health.

Though car accidents pose dangers to pregnant women and their unborn children, driving a car isn’t the only way pregnant women can get into car accidents. Pedestrian car accidents also pose a threat to pregnant women. The Michigan Law Firm, PC blog recently covered the tragic pedestrian car crash involving Broadway actress Ruthie Ann Miles. Ms. Miles was walking across a crosswalk in Brooklyn New York after leaving a church service, accompanied by her friend and their respective children, when a driver  lost control and hit them. The accident took the lives of Miles’ four-year-old daughter, her friend’s one-year-old son and a nearby male pedestrian. Miles was pregnant at the time of the accident, but fortunately, the baby is reportedly unharmed.


Life is unpredictable and car accidents always happen. Whether they are fatal car accidents or just car crashes that cause a few cuts and bruises, any car crash is even more dangerous to a pregnant woman, and especially to a pregnant woman who may be suffering from fatigue or drowsiness. The Michigan Law Firm, PC understands how devastating car accidents can be. Our attorneys handle legal situations for car accident victims so they can focus on taking care of themselves and their families. For a free legal consultation, call 844.4MI.FIRM.

Daylight Savings Time Linked To Car Accidents

Drowsy Driving Car Crash Lawyer

Depending on the time of year, changing the clocks for Daylight Savings Time (DST) is viewed as either a blessing or a curse. During Autumn, it's wonderful to earn an extra hour of sleep when DST comes around, but when it come time to "Spring forward" is when problems arises. Research shows that it can take people a couple of weeks to adjust to the spring time change - which is essentially the same as subjecting everyone to jet lag. Losing that hour of sleep can lead to drowsy driving and may potentially cause a sleepy driving car accident if drivers fall asleep at the steering wheel. The lack of sleep can also hinder a driver's alertness on the road. These side effects help explain why 40% of pedestrians were killed in 2015, following the end of DST. 

It's also a misconception to think that just because we gain an hour of sleep in the Autumn, that this phase of Daylight Savings Time is without its drawbacks. One factor researchers believe to be behind the increase in traffic deaths during "fall back" time, is the lack of natural light that is available in the morning. Darker roads are more difficult to maneuver, and may increase the chances of a motor vehicle accident.  

“Even though it’s dark, you’re still behaving like it’s light,” says Lawrence University economist David Gerard, addressing sleepy driver behavior following the first weeks after DST.

How To Adjust To Daylight Savings Time

Sleepy Driving Car Crash Attorney Detroit

Experts suggest that people should prepare a few days before Daylight Savings Time by getting in a few extra hours of sleep, especially for those who already only get around 3-4 hours of sleep every night.

"A lot of these accidents occur because we don't have residual sleep [reserves] to survive that insult," Richard P. Allen, a John Hopkins neurologist, said to Vox Media. "When we're running nearly empty on our sleep-wake status, it doesn't take much to push it into a negative area." 

With evidence that supports the link between DST and dangerous drowsy driving accidents on the road, it’s no wonder states such as Arizona and Hawaii have opted out of participating in the time change. Most of Africa and many areas in Asia have also refused to observe the time change. Daylight Savings Time might seem like a harmless hour out of our days, but taking steps to be more awake while driving are vital to help minimize health risks from abnormal sleeping patterns and the car accidents that follow. Since Autumn daylight savings is coming up in three days, on Sunday, November 5th, now might be the time for Michiganders to start catching a few extra zzz's to prepare!


Daylight Savings Time has come a long way from power saving initiatives during WWI, but it can still negatively affect people's health. The disruption to a person's biological rhythm can cause harm to themselves or to someone else in the event of a drowsy driving car accident. If you or somebody you know has been injured by a sleep-deprived driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Drowsy Driving Is Just As Dangerous As Drunk Driving

Sleepy Driving Car Accident Attorney Michigan

Reports have shown that driving on 5 hours of sleep or less is equivalent to driving while intoxicated. The report, according to USA Today, states that drivers who skip a few hours of sleep at night nearly double their chances of crashing. This is an alarming fact when you take into consideration that about 1/3 of American adults get less than 7 hours of sleep every night, the recommended amount for adults aged 18-60, based on statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Probability of Drowsy Driving Car Crashes

Below is the likelihood of a motor vehicle accident occurring depending on how much sleep a driver gets. 

  • 6 hours of sleep = 1.3 times higher chance of a car crash.
  • 5 - 6 hours of sleep = 1.9 times higher chance of a car crash.
  • 4 - 5 hours of sleep = 4.3 times higher chance of a car crash.
  • 4 hours of sleep or less = 11.5 times higher chance of a car crash.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that drowsy driving accounts for 83,000 crashes per year. In 2014, 846 fatalities resulted from a car crash related to sleepy driving. It should be noted that research on the number of drowsy drivers on the road has proved challenging, possibly even causing an underestimate of the prevalence of the issue. Regardless, lack of sleep causes impaired judgment, a slower reaction time, and/or paying less attention to the road. Combining these factors with operating a motor vehicle, just screams a disaster waiting to happen. 

Symptoms of Drowsy Driving:

Car Accident Lawyer Michigan
  • Frequent yawning or blinking.
  • Drifting in and out of the lane.
  • Hitting a rumble strip on the freeway.
  • Missing an exit.
  • Not remembering the last few miles traveled.

The National Sleep Foundation noted that police officers are not trained to identify “drowsiness” and despite just about every state addressing sleepiness or fatigue in crash reports, fatigue testing has been limited and without major developments. The foundation also believes that drowsy driving could play a role in other car crashes and are simply misreported as drunk driving or distracted driving accidents. The following safety tips provided by the National Sleep Foundation maybe able to help prevent a drowsy driving motor vehicle accident from occurring.

Tips to Avoid Drowsy Driving Car Accidents

  • Make it a priority to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
  • Get a good night's sleep before long road trips, as being sleep deprived could endanger everyone in the car.
  • Avoid drinking any alcohol before driving. Consumption of alcohol increases sleepiness and impairment for drivers.
  • If you take medications that list drowsiness as a side effect, use public transportation or get a ride from someone else, if possible. If you drive, avoid peak sleepiness time periods (12 AM - 6 AM and late afternoon).
  • Stay vigilant for signs of drowsiness, such as crossing over roadway lines or hitting a rumble strip, and pull over for a short nap in a safe place if needed. 
Michigan Drowsy Driving Auto Accident Attorney

At the end of the day, having the alert senses needed to drive safely is yet another reason to get enough sleep each night. It is important to remember these safety tips and to monitor one's own behavior for drowsiness, before getting behind a steering wheel. At the very least, who doesn't want an excuse to put on some footie pajamas and snuggle under the covers for a well-rested night?


Motorists should take note of when they are feeling fatigued, and make the right decisions in order to prevent severe injuries or even fatalitities from a car crash. Finding a safe spot to pull out of the way of traffic and removing one's keys from the ignition to take a quick nap is one of way options to make a road trip safer. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a drowsy driving accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Daimler's Autonomous Future Truck

Visitors to The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog may have been keeping up with news on autonomous technology from companies like Ford, Toyota, and Google. A company that we haven't yet mentioned however, is Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz. Daimler is also a member of the autonomous car industry and was one of the first to begin the automated transportation revolution with its development of self-driving trucks. The world of semi-trucks was transformed with the creation of the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck. The truck's design includes automated driving capabilities that will allow drivers to operate the heavy, cargo-bearing vehicle much more easily, efficiently, and comfortably. Diamler-created autonomous technology, called Highway Pilot, has set the Future Truck apart from competitors, allowing it to be the safest semi-truck of its kind. Daimler had previously planned to release the Future Truck in 2025, giving driver-less car onlookers a not-so-far away glimpse into what roads may look like in the near future.
 

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

Mercedes-Benz Highway Pilot Autonomous Technology


The Future Truck uses Highway Pilot software to autonomously control driving. Daimler envisions a workplace similar to a living room for truckers, where they can relax as they control driving with an iPad. Highway Pilot uses sensors to observe areas in front of the vehicle and to take over control in certain situations, such as during sudden stops. Highway Pilot allows the humans to do all the thinking, without incurring any risk, and leaves the driving to the truck itself. 

Another characteristic of the Future Truck is vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Self-driving trucks will be able to pull over for emergency vehicles or slow down with traffic congestion, using data from the inter-vehicle signals. The trucks will be also be able to switch lanes and react to broken down vehicles on the shoulder, even steering and braking through construction zones with the help of its communication features. 

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

Daimler has embraced the opportunity to transform the future of long-distance driving with the development of their Future Truck. Klaus Riff, Deputy Head of Prevention for G Verkehr–Transport Industry Professional Association, confirmed for Daimler that truck drivers face extreme demands everyday, due to factors like sustained attention, tight schedules, and high traffic density. Not only are individual drivers likely to benefit from automated technology, but entire business models will be rearranged. Business Insider mentions how labor costs will be controlled differently and workloads will be streamlined, affecting businesses and consumers with these steps towards more advanced trucks. 

Daimler's Highway Pilot technology was officially tested in October 2015 with the Mercedes-Benz Actros truck, making it the world's first series-production truck to operate autonomously on a motorway. A top German politician, Winfried Kretschmann, and Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Board Member of Daimler AG responsible for Trucks and Buses, rode on the maiden journey of the Mercedes-Benz Actros with the Highway Pilot system, further displaying Daimler's commitment to ease of driving and safety precautions.

Autonomous Truck Regulations

Automated trucks, just like autonomous cars, have not been developed without closely monitored regulations. Four states in the US currently allow the operation of autonomous vehicles on public roads under certain conditions. Those states are Nevada, Florida, California, and Michigan. Europe has been facing more strict restrictions. Vehicle safety tests in the EU have been designed for cars with someone behind the wheel, meaning the Future Truck and other driver-less cars like it, fail these tests. Politico reported last year that there were no plans to review this law, setting Europe back from the US and other countries where autonomous driving has been tested on roads. 

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

Additionally, policies have regulated truck driver workweeks, working to help reduce motor vehicle fatalities that drowsy driving from a combination of lack of sleep and long hours on highway roads may cause. Semi-truck drivers carrying cargo may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 hours off duty, and according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), may only drive 60/70 hours on duty in 7/ 8 consecutive days. With the release of the Future Truck, truck drivers will be able to rest more often and therefore go longer distances in faster times. Human error will be minimized since trucks will be driving themselves. 
 
Daimler’s automated semi-trucks will soon be approaching reality after years of planning, and the world will finally experience a new type of long-distance travel. Planes, trains, and automobiles are all slowly becoming autonomous, and the transportation industry is just on the brink of a revolution. Daimler and Mercedes-Benz have been a step ahead of the pack, and only have to look eight more years ahead to see The Future Truck front and center. 

Source: Daimler


The future of semi-trucks is looking autonomous and automated. In the present time however, while trucks are still being operated by humans, automobile drivers should take caution  when driving near trucks, as their size makes it harder for them to react quickly to vehicles around them. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle accident involving a semi-truck or other large vehicle, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.