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Trump administration set to ease trucker hour limits

Truckers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere could soon be able to drive more hours each day, according to media reports. Apparently, the White House is considering a proposal to ease hours-of-service rules that are meant to prevent truck driver fatigue.

According to the Associated Press, trucking industry lobbyists have been pressuring the Trump administration to ease trucker hours-of-service regulations. These rules mandate that truck drivers can drive a maximum of 11 hours in a 14-hour shift. They also require drivers to take a 30-minute rest break before the eight-hour mark of their shift and get at least 10 straight hours of rest before starting their next shift. Drivers who violate these rules can be taken out of service for 24 hours or longer. Since most truck drivers are paid by the mile, the punishment can cause them to lose income.

The most common causes of distracted driving

Even with strict laws in place, distracted driving remains a problem throughout the entire country. There will always be people who fall prey to distractions when driving, which increases the likelihood of causing an accident.

Understanding the top causes of distracted driving will help you avoid trouble while behind the wheel. Here are five causes to protect against:

  • General distraction: This may be nothing more than daydreaming, but it's extremely dangerous when operating a motor vehicle. Your focus must be on the road, not what you're having for dinner, your big meeting at work or your plans for the weekend.
  • Cellphone: It doesn't matter if you're talking, texting or browsing the internet, using your cellphone while driving is a big mistake. Not only does it take your attention away from the road, but you'll also find yourself driving with one (or no) hand.
  • Passengers: When driving with others, it's easy to get caught up in conversation. It's just as easy to horse around. Let your passengers know that you must focus on the road to maintain a high level of safety.
  • Drinking or eating: This is a mistake that many people make, as they enjoy drinking or eating in the car to save time or to simply put a smile on their face. Just the same as using a cellphone, drinking or eating calls for you to take your eyes off the road and at least one hand off the wheel.
  • Adjusting vehicle controls: Your vehicle has many controls, ranging from the radio to the sunroof to your power seat. Adjusting any of these things while your vehicle is in motion is a mistake, as it takes your attention away from the task at hand. It's recommended to pull over safely to execute even these seemingly simple tasks (that most of us tend to do while driving).

Surgeons' bad behavior heightens risk for patient complications

Seven million surgical procedures are performed every year in Pennsylvania and the rest of the U.S. In some cases, patients may develop post-operative complications like pneumonia, infections, sepsis, cardiovascular conditions and stroke. Now, a study published in JAMA Surgery has explored the link between the risk for complications and the behavior of the surgeon.

Now, 70% to 80% of surgeons are never the subject of reports regarding unprofessional behavior. But that leaves a good number who engage in inappropriate behavior. Surgeons may communicate poorly, fail altogether to give their co-workers the proper instructions or be harsh when they offer a suggestion or correction.

5 road trip safety tips to follow this summer

It doesn't matter if you're traveling across Pennsylvania or across the country, a summer road trip can be an enjoyable experience. However, if you're involved in any type of trouble on the road, such as an accident, your good time will come to an end.

There are a variety of tips you can follow to keep yourself safe on a summer road trip. Here are five of the best:

  • Prepare your car: From inflating your tires to the proper PSI to inspecting your windshield wipers, make sure every inch of your car is ready for the trip. Neglecting to do this will increase the risk of an accident or breakdown.
  • Wear your seat belt: You shouldn't think twice about strapping on your seatbelt when you get into a vehicle. Not only should you wear yours at all times, but make sure all passengers are doing the same.
  • Rest up before leaving: If you don't do this, you could find yourself drowsy behind the wheel. Even if you don't fall asleep, drowsy driving itself is extremely dangerous.
  • Avoid distractions: For example, it's tempting to look at a map while driving. If you let anything distract you, no matter what it may be, you're not focusing your full attention on the road.
  • Keep an eye on the weather: When traveling a long distance, there's a good chance that weather conditions will change. For example, it may be sunny when you leave home, but you could soon find yourself in the middle of a rainstorm. When weather conditions change, so should your driving style.

Car accidents pose a threat on the road

Car accidents can lead to severe injuries and lifelong disabilities. Every year, thousands of people throughout Pennsylvania are injured in motor vehicle collisions, most of which could have been prevented by careful driving or following the rules of the road. Indeed, car crash fatalities are the No. 1 cause of death for individuals between the ages of 2 and 34. Some factors that can contribute to crashes include mechanical problems, road issues, wildlife and poor weather.

Still, many other auto accidents are caused by dangerous or negligent actions, including drunk, drowsy and distracted driving. Over 30% of all fatal accidents in 2013 were linked to drivers under the influence. Distracted driving has been a particularly significant concern with the rise in popularity of the smartphone. People often text surf the internet or use social media while they are behind the wheel. In case of a sudden change in road conditions, distracted drivers may have little time to adjust. Thousands of serious car crashes every year are attributed to texting while driving and other forms of distraction.

Speed a factor in most truck crashes

Statistics show that speeding contributes to most truck accidents in Pennsylvania and across the country. For example, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding played a role in 94% of all traffic accidents in 2015. The agency also says that excessive speed was a factor in 26% of all traffic-related deaths in 2017.

To help combat the issue, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is making speed a special focus during its annual Operation Safe Driver Week initiative, which is slated for July 14 to 20. During the event, law enforcement officers across the country will look for truckers and drivers of passenger vehicles who are traveling above the speed limit. They will also target drivers who are texting and driving, distracted, drunk or drugged, disobeying traffic signals, executing improper lane changes, driving recklessly, driving without a seat belt or tailgating. Offenders will receive warnings or traffic citations.

Research a surgeon to give yourself peace of mind

If you come to find that you require surgery to address a medical concern, it's important to learn as much as possible about the many surgeons who can perform the procedure. The information you collect will help you make a confident decision that gives you peace of mind.

In addition to asking your doctor for guidance and feedback, there are other steps you can take to research a surgeon in Pennsylvania before deciding to rely on their expertise. Here's a good place to start:

  • Confirm their credentials and certification: Don't assume that a surgeon has all the credentials and certifications required. Instead, double-check this by contacting the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and American Board of Medical Specialties. It's likely that everything will check out, but you won't know for sure until you dig deeper.
  • Search for professional reprimands: For example, if a licensing board has sanctioned a surgeon in the past, you must learn what happened. This may lead you toward crossing the surgeon off your short list and continuing your search.
  • Read online ratings and reviews: There are plenty of websites devoted to sharing information, ratings and reviews for all types of surgeons and medical professionals. You shouldn't use this information as the sole factor in making a decision, but it's a good place to start. If other patients are unhappy with the service they received, you may want to reconsider that particular surgeon.

Protect yourself when making an insurance claim after a crash

If you're injured in a motor vehicle accident, your immediate attention will turn to your health. This includes everything from receiving treatment at a local hospital in Bensalem to discussing your long-term prognosis with your medical team.

As soon as you're able to do so, contact your insurance agent to file a claim. This will put the wheels in motion, thus moving you closer to receiving compensation for your injuries and getting your car fixed.

Pew: EHR usability issues can harm pediatric patients

Electronic health records are known for their usability issues, which can reduce clinical efficiency and raise the risk for errors, especially those relating to medication. Pennsylvania residents who work in the medical field should know that such issues can have a great impact on pediatric patients. This was the subject of a report from Pew Charitable Trusts.

When pediatric patients are given medication, the dosage must be adjusted based on their weight and age. Yet federal requirements for EHRs do not address the challenges that can arise in a pediatric setting. ONC is currently drafting voluntary rules for EHR use in such settings, and Pew conducted its study to inform the policymaking process. The report gives 12 examples of potential patient safety events.

How to discuss estate planning with your elderly parents

As your parents age, you will have many concerns. From their health to their living situation, it goes without saying that you'll always have something on your mind.

It's important to discuss estate planning with your elderly parents, as this will give everyone involved the peace of mind they deserve. However, this is never an easy conversation to have, as overstepping can cause more harm than good.

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