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?


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.

Sleepy at Work: Physicians Battle Fatigue While Working 'Round the Clock

The medical industry is beginning to take a look at the physical and mental toll that is taken on by physicians who work long and stressful hours. 

Michigan Medical Malpractice Lawyer

STAT News highlights that long shifts start at the early stages of medical schooling. “During residency, medical school graduates are supervised while they learn to practice in a safe and professional manner. They gain real-world experience with a wide range of diseases, conditions, and procedures. They also learn about the complexities of medicine in outpatient settings, where most care is provided,” the article states. 

Shifts, which last anywhere from 24 to 36 hours in order to follow patient’s illnesses and adjusting treatment over time, can leave physicians exhausted. Since a highly publicized case from 1984, which involved an 18 year old student’s death, was linked to resident work overload, studies have shown that fatigue among health care workers decreases patient safety by increasing the risk of error, injuries, and accidents. 

As seen with the 1984 case, resident fatigue can be extremely harmful to the residents as well. Stat News writes that “Health care workers are more likely to experience accidental needle sticks or cuts when fatigued. A study showed that interns who worked 24-hour shifts were more than twice as likely to be in a car accident on the way home from work than those who worked 12-hour shifts.

Tired Driving Car Crash Lawyer

In response to the growing evidence of safety risks linked to longer shifts, in 2011 the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) established 80 hour per week limits for residents. Interns (first-year) are limited to 16-hour shifts, and residents beyond their first year can work 24 hours straight. 

Since the implementation of the hours limit, there have been clear effects. One early consequence has been an increase in the number of “hand offs” which take place at the end of a shift. A resident must transfer the care of his or her patient to another resident. STAT reports that miscommunication has become a common problem which allows for errors and puts the patient’s health at risk. 

The ACGME is currently reviewing the requirements for residency programs, and The National Patient Safety Foundation is urging the group to continue research on the impact of work hours on “safety, professionalism, joy and meaning in work, and burnout” among interns. Tejal Gandhi, President and CEO of the National Patient Safety Foundation writes that, “Let’s find ways to give residents the clinical experience they need while optimizing safety for both patients and residents, our next generation of the health care workforce.”

Ever dosed off at the wheel? According to the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of adult drivers (about 168 million people) have admitted to falling asleep while feeling extremely drowsy. 1,500 deaths and 71,000 injuries result from the 100,000 fatigued driving police-reported crashes that take place each year. If you are behind the wheel and feeling drowsy, pull over and take a quick nap or call a friend for a ride home. If you or somebody you know has been involved in an accident caused by a tired driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys will identify your needs and get you the help you deserve. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.