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.

Drowsy Driving Dangers During Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is coming up this upcoming Sunday, March 11, 2018. Unfortunately, the hour we will be losing as we “spring forward,” is an unpleasant experience. Many people wake up thinking they have more time because of the lack of light outside, only to remember that DST just occurred and they need to get up immediately, in order to make it to work on time. Beginning our day an hour earlier may be annoying but it can also be dangerous. The sun comes up later in the day, causing the morning commute to be darker and proving drivers with less visibility than they are used to. People may become exhausted as they begin their day an hour early and may get onto the road with heavy eyes and sleep-deprived minds. A tired and dark morning are two factors that can lead to car accidents.

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

According to The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), our society is chronically sleep deprived, and the hour change after DST does not help with that. Both “spring ahead” and “fall back” are equivalent to the jet lag that occurs when traveling to a different time zone, and even an hour can make a massive difference in energy. These changes tinker with our sleep cycle and it may take at least 5 days for our bodies to get accustomed to them. During those 5 days, the road will have inattentive, drowsy drivers with drooping eyes, who will be waking an hour earlier than they are used to, in order to get to work or school on time.

Drowsy driving due to DST afflicts so many people that a Johns Hopkins Hospital and Standford University study from 1999 reported that the Monday after “spring forward” resulted in an average increase in car accidents, jumping from the average of 72.8% rate of a usual Monday to 83.5% the Monday after DST. That is a 10.7% increase on the Monday after spring DST, which is a shocking increase in car accidents in one day every year! 

Along the lines of NEJM's findings, Richard P. Allen, a Johns Hopkins neurologist who oversaw the study, told Vox, "We didn’t expect to see anything, actually. To me it was really amazing that one hour made that difference." According to Vox, "Allen stresses that a one-hour sleep disruption will be more severe for someone who is already sleep-deprived. "A lot of these accidents occur because we don't have residual sleep [reserves] to survive that insult," he says. "When we're running nearly empty on our sleep-wake status, it doesn't take much to push it into a negative area."

Another study by the University of Colorado Boulder also confirmed DST’s role in the rise of motor vehicle accidents, when it reported that in the first six days after DST, there were 302 motor vehicle accident deaths in 2007. The Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) also found a 17% increase in traffic accidents the Monday after losing an hour, because of DST in 2007. These newer statistics means that there has been a 6.3% increase in the number of DST car crashes, since the study conducted by Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1999. These results show the significant difference that losing an hour sleep can make to our driving, before our bodies become accustomed to the time change, and how the percentage of DST car accidents may be increasing over time.

Luckily, the Johns Hopkins and Stanford study also showed that by the end of the week after DST, the number of car accidents settled back to nearly the usual number of car crashes as the Monday before DST occurred. Perhaps this is because drivers have had the 5 days they needed to get adjusted to their new sleep cycles, and therefore were attentive enough to avoid car accidents. 

Drowsy Driving Car Crash Lawyer

People who are especially vulnerable to the changing sleep cycle during DST are those who get 6 or less hours of sleep. They are already sleep deprived and losing an additional hour of sleep due to DST can make a bigger difference in these peoples’ abilities to drive safely. What we can take away from these DST car accident studies according to Vox is that, "even small decreases in our sleep times can stress our bodies. And good sleep increasingly is seen as a subtle yet critical component of our health...To prepare for a rough Monday after the clock change, it's a good idea to get enough sleep in the days leading up to it." It's better to get catch some extra z's than to chug coffee and cause car accidents!


If you or a loved one has been injured in a Michigan car crash, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Our Michigan personal injury lawyers are ready to talk to you about your claims.

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

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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.

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. 

Sleep May Help Heal Traumatic Brain Injuries

It has been reported that one of the leading complaints people dealing with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) have is that they either cannot get enough sleep, or suffer from insomnia, or that they are constantly sleeping or feel sleepy. So, it comes as a bit of a surprise when a study conducted by the University of Montreal's psychology department found evidence that TBIs and patients' recoveries correlate with sleep patterns. Nadia Gosselin, the study's author, claims that the study shows that if hospitals took more time regulating a sleep routine for a patient diagnosed with a TBI, it could go a long way in their recovery process. Gosselin also adds that, "Making sure patients are exposed to sunlight or its equivalent during the day and at night rest in a dark, quiet environment," TBI patients may be able to maintain a sleep cycle.  

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But First, What Is A Traumatic Brain Injury?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "A TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild” (i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to “severe” (i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss after the injury).  Most TBIs that occur each year are mild, commonly called concussions."

Effects TBIs Have On Sleep And Health

Research has proven that when sleep cycles are disrupted, it can have an affect on mood swings, weight, memory, and other consequences. Hence, if someone is losing sleep due to a TBI, other serious health problems can correspondingly occur. Some of the more common diseases include diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Additional problems linked to sleep deprivation are a lower libido, depression, and in extreme cases death. This doesn't include health problems that are usually a direct result of having a brain injury such as visual perception, motor function and problems with reading. spelling, and/or speaking. 

Sleep Routines May Help Heal TBIs

Traumatic Brain Injury Car Crash Lawyer

As Gosselin mentioned, setting up a sleep routine tied to the time of day is a good way to get started on resetting the bodies internal clock. Designating a time to wake up to every day and a time to go to bed every night are the simplest ways to set a routine. And by going to bed at least ten minutes ahead of the scheduled time gives the body time to relax to help get to sleep better. It should be noted that eating and drinking drinking alcohol and/or caffeine at least five hours ahead of bed time will also help a person suffering from sleep problems fall asleep easier. Visual stimulants such watching TV, checking email on the laptop, or playing smart phone games, should also be avoided because they can keep the brain busy and essentially signal it to 'stay awake.'

After about 30 minutes of trying to fall asleep and failing to do so, sleep experts recommend that people don't try to force themselves asleep as this can potentially lead to a restless night. Instead, researchers suggest getting out of bed and doing something boring until they feel sleepy. 

Night time isn't the only time a sleeping pattern should be enforced. There are also a few tips that TBI victims can use to stay on track during the day. Staying active through a workout routine during the day is an essential to good sleep. If the body works and tires out during the day, the brain and body are more likely to be susceptible to falling asleep at night. Again, by limit the amount of visual stimulants TBI survivors are exposed, such as smart phone apps, TV shows, and YouTube videos, is also important during the day. If a nap must be had during the day, they should be limited to no more than 20 to 30 minutes a day. Lastly, those dealing with TBIs should increase the amount of time they are outside, especially on days when the sun is out. 

Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer

A cure has yet to be found for some types of traumatic brain injuries, however, most TBIs can be managed through treatments and medications provided through a licensed medical provider. As for prevention of TBIs, the best way to avoid a traumatic brain injury is to take every precaution from getting a head injury. For example, one of the most common ways people suffer from TBIs is by being involved in a car accident. A study conducted by the CDC in 2013, revealed that "Among all age groups, motor vehicle crashes were the third overall leading cause of TBI-related ED visits, hospitalizations, and deaths (14%). When looking at just TBI-related deaths, motor vehicle crashes were the third leading cause (19%)."

For the most part, car accidents themselves are preventable since many of them occur due to human error. Though it's easier said than done, by following the rules of the road, by properly wearing seat belts, and by not engaging in distracted driving behaviors, the number of car accidents, and thereby the number of car crash traumatic brain injuries, may decrease. 


Traumatic brain injuries are serious conditions that require time and attention to heal, if they can be healed. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a traumatic brain injury due to a motor vehicle collision, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM. We offer free consultations to car accident survivors so that they are not left in the dark on the legal process under Michigan law.