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Car accident deaths continue to rise despite safety advances

Improving economic conditions and falling fuel prices have led to increased traffic congestion in Connecticut and other U.S. states, and more cars, trucks and SUVs on the nation's roads means more traffic accidents and traffic accident fatalities. Road deaths increased by an alarming 7 percent in 2015 after several years of steady falls, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that 2016 was an even more deadly year for motorists.

The increase in fatal car accidents has perplexed road safety organizations like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Automobile safety systems have become extremely sophisticated, but innovative accident avoidance systems have not been enough to keep traffic accident fatalities in check. The IIHS earlier credited car makers and safety technology when a study revealed that driver deaths had fallen dramatically in just three years, but subsequent research has revealed that these gains have been more than offset by higher traffic levels.

Teenage workers and injuries

Connecticut teenagers may be eager to get a summer job. However, they should know that having one means that they are at risk of incurring workplace injuries.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that in 2015, 13 percent of the labor force, or 19.1 million workers, were individuals under the age of 24. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that there are multiple types of hazards that place younger workers at risk, including poor supervision and safety training and inadequate equipment. NIOSH reported that 403 workers younger than 24 years died in 2015 from injuries sustained on the job. Twenty-four of the fatalities were minors. The rate of workplace injuries sustained by younger workers and treated in the emergency room are thought to be twice as high as the emergency room-treated injuries sustained by workers who were at least 25 years of age.

Changes in workforce affecting workers' compensation regulations

In states like Connecticut, the scope of the workforce is changing. Older Americans are choosing to work as they age, and Latinos represent a higher percentage of the labor pool than ever before. Unconventional workers like these present a unique challenge for workers' compensation regulations.

A career outlook report produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the older population will grow quicker than any other labor pool through 2024. This is most likely due to a reduction in birth rates among younger generations. The BLS report also concluded that Hispanics will make up 19 percent of the workforce by 2020.

Proving Negligence in a Car Accident Case

To recover compensation in a car accident case, a plaintiff must satisfy the required elements of a negligence claim: duty, breach, causation and damages. Specifically, the plaintiff must persuade the jury that the defendant breached his or her duty of care, resulting in injury, by a preponderance of the evidence standard.

Element Two: Breach of Duty

As we discussed in a recent post, every licensed driver has a duty of care to operate his or her vehicle in a responsible manner. That duty includes abiding by traffic laws and paying attention to traffic and road conditions. Thus, the most contested element of a car accident case is usually not whether a duty existed, but whether the defendant driver's actions breached that duty.

5-car crash in Connecticut blamed on intoxicated driver

Emergency response personnel had their hands full in Stamford when two men who had allegedly been drinking all day struck multiple vehicles with the car that they were traveling in. The first crash happened near Broad and Grey Rock Place. The male driver accelerated away from the accident. On East Main Street, the man's vehicle then rear-ended the car of a 53-year-old woman waiting at a red light at the North State Street intersection.

The force of the impact thrust her vehicle into oncoming traffic where it hit another vehicle. The driver who caused this crash left the scene again and rear-ended two more vehicles. After finally stopping, the driver and the passenger attempted to flee on foot. Police captured them close by and put the driver through a field sobriety test. Police said that a subsequent breath or blood test yielded a reading of more than three times the legal limit.

Hazardous toxin and chemical exposure at the workplace

Each day, thousands of people are exposed to occupational toxins and chemicals at their jobs. Connecticut employers and their employees should be aware of these toxins and know how to keep safe around them.

Employers have a legal responsibility to inform their employees about hazardous toxins or chemicals that are present. They can refer their employees to Material Safety Data Sheets, which explain the proper procedures for working with or handling certain substances. The sheets also provide useful information including the names of certain toxic chemicals and the products that contain them, leak and spill procedures, protective equipment, disposal, storage, reactivity, first aid, health effects, toxicity and physical data. Employees can also learn about workplace toxic substances by being aware of warning signs posted in work areas where there is poor ventilation or reading warning labels on toxic product shipping boxes.

Financial tips when considering a divorce

Connecticut couples who are getting a divorce may be concerned about how it will affect their finances. Those who are unfamiliar with the family finances will need to get a handle on expenses. This includes making a budget, which among other things will be important in considering how assets and debts will be divided. People should also gather as many financial documents as possible including bank and investment statements, tax returns and other information on assets and debts.

Other people may be eager to offer well-meaning advice. However, it may be best to stick to advice offered by professionals such as attorneys and certified divorce financial analysts.

Underemployed husbands are more likely to get divorced

In the early 1970s, when women started entering the workforce in greater numbers, there was an increase in divorces throughout Connecticut and the rest of the U.S. This was partly due to the stereotypical roles of women as housekeepers. A recent study demonstrated how that has changed.

Published in the "American Sociological Review," the study examined 46 years' worth of data from 6,300 married couples. The researcher, a Harvard sociology professor, looked at how the couples' employment statuses impacted their relationships over time. While she found an increase in divorces in the 1970s as women entered the workforce, the importance of housekeeping decreased by 1975 as the idea of women working became more accepted.

Carriers may get tougher about sleep apnea

Connecticut residents may be familiar with a condition called sleep apnea. It causes people to start and stop breathing on a regular basis when they sleep. There are many factors that may cause a person to get obstructive sleep apnea such as poor diet and lack of exercise. Complications from surgery or side effects from medication can also lead to the condition in some people.

The main risk for truck drivers is getting into an accident while drowsy. To reduce the risk, truck companies may require their drivers to get tested for sleep apnea even if their drivers don't want to do so. In fact, they may be required to pay for the testing themselves. These may be the effects of a Supreme Court ruling in favor of Crete Carrier in a case where a driver claimed the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Divorce risk not equal for all couples over 50

Spouses in Connecticut who are over 50 might be at a greater risk for divorce than in previous generations. Since 1990, the divorce rate for this age group has doubled. However, there are additional demographic factors that predict the longevity of a marriage.

Statistics report that 12 percent of couples who divorce after 50 have been married more than 40 years. Nearly 35 percent of divorcing couples in this age group have been married more than 30 years. However, first marriages are more likely to last than second or later marriages. Couples who are remarried are nearly three times more likely to get a divorce than those in first marriages. Marriages that have lasted at least 40 years are the least likely to end.

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