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NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE ACCIDENT VICTIM NARROWLY ESCAPES DEATH

We have previously written that the New Jersey Turnpike is hot spot for serious crashes, including car and truck accidents. Factors like road construction only exacerbate the dangers already present from a high volume of traffic and dangerous drivers.

Yesterday, a commercial driver for a New Jersey company had his van destroyed on the Turnpike in an incident that was apparently caused by a nearby construction crew. Miraculously, he escaped relatively unscathed from a bizarre accident that easily could have been fatal.

The 63-year-old man was driving along the Turnpike in Mercer County at approximately 8 a.m. yesterday morning while a construction crane just off the highway was in the process of lifting a large piece of metal.

Suddenly, the metal beam swung into the line of traffic and smashed into the man’s Econoline van, completely taking off the vehicle’s roof, according to New Jersey State Police.

Amazingly, the man survived the accident. He did suffer injuries, including a broken thumb, cuts on his head that required stitches and cuts on his hand. His vehicle, however, was in much worse shape.

A tow-truck operator who responded to the accident said: “I can’t believe he walked away. I mean the entire passenger side and the roof were peeled off the van completely. It looks like a convertible.”

For now, the man and his family are simply celebrating the fact that he survived. However, attitudes may change as the incident is investigated. If the accident was caused by negligence on the part of the construction company or anyone else, the driver may be able to seek compensation for injuries and vehicle damage.

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Researchers create a formula to detect texting drivers

The dangers of texting while driving are now well known. Studies have shown that the level of impairment and distraction for a driver while texting is similar to that of an intoxicated driver. Reaction times are much too slow and we have seen countless car accidents caused by texting drivers. Regulators have struggled to create laws that act as an effective deterrent, although efforts in some states have had noticeable benefits.

Now, a physicist has found a way to stop the behavior at the source – the phone. Researchers have detected a pattern in finger movements for text messages being typed while driving. People apparently have more erratic typing motions while driving, much like someone stumbling while they walk.

Researchers have created an equation that predicts whether or not a phone user is driving that is 99 percent accurate. The equation would theoretically allow software developers to create an application that locks the phone or shuts it down if a user is driving and texting.

This is an exciting safety innovation and would help act as a deterrent to the dangerous behavior without necessary legal reform in every state. The physicist who developed the equation says that he thought of the idea when contemplating his daughter getting behind the wheel. He said that an application could help prevent accidents and help parents enforce safe driving habits for their teens.

It could also have applications in law enforcement, similar to the use of ignition interlocks for repeat DUI offenders. “Eventually you might see something like this required on the phones of distracted drivers who’ve been involved in accidents,” he said.

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INCOMPLETE EHRS MAY LEAD TO MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIMS

The health care industry is a constantly changing field. New advances in science and technology have saved many lives. In an effort to provide more comprehensive treatment to patients, there has been a push for hospitals and patients to have an electronic health record (EHR) in place. These records would ideally provide all necessary information to medical professionals to enable them to provide better care for patients and reduce the amount of medical malpractice claims for missed medical problems.

Unfortunately, EHRs are not working as planned. A recent report by the Bipartisan Policy Center lists one of the major concerns with EHRs that New Jersey medical professionals need to know. Health care facilities have different types of computer systems, and this makes communication difficult. It may not be possible to transfer complete records back and forth between the different facilities.

This could cause uncertainty for medical professionals about the types of care that a patient has already received, and could also have a very negative impact on a patient in need of medical care. For example, if a patient needs to go to the emergency room, what happens if an incomplete list of medications is listed in the EHR? This could lead to potentially harmful side effects if the wrong drugs are used during treatment.

There may also be another reason why a health care provider may not want to receive a complete EHR. A patient’s record will list all the tests that he or she has already been administered, which would limit the amount of money that the hospital could collect.

The report states that one-third of all doctors are currently using EHRs, which shows a slight increase from 2010 numbers. While the focus seems to be on getting physicians to adopt the records, there is a lack of attention focused on better communication between facilities. Patient safety may be at risk if better data-sharing plans are not put in place.