Could Changing from Daylight Saving Time Cause You to Get into a Car Accident?

As the end of Daylight Saving Time (DST) rapidly approaches, most Northern Virginia and D.C residents are probably more excited about getting an extra hour of sleep than they are worried about potential dangers caused by the time shift.

But surprising and compelling research suggests that the transition to DST can lead to all sorts of havoc, including accident hazards at work, on the road, and elsewhere. An article on www.lifescience.com summarizes how Daylight Savings can impact our mental acuity and concentration. Certain countries, like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, don’t even acknowledge DST, but the United States and 60-plus other countries do. The tradition of DST harkens back over 230 years ago to 1784, when Benjamin Franklin recommended the process to conserve energy during the winter.

Academic studies of DST’s effects on driving have been ambiguous. Some studies suggest that the time shift causes car accidents, perhaps by changing average sleep habits and altering the circadian rhythms of drivers. Other studies suggest that the effect, if there is one, is negligible. One study published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health in 2000 surveyed car accidents in Finland from the late 1980s through 2006; it found that DST did not cause any extra problems. Another study published the same year in the Journal of Safety Research suggests that DST actually might help prevent car accidents, possibly because the increased morning visibility helps drivers see better.

Other studies in different domains suggest that DST is not all good news.

A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology in 2009 found that DST sparked an increase in workplace injuries of almost 6%. And a study from Sweden published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that heart attacks increased by 5% on average during DST.

If you or someone you love got hurt in automobile accident recently, contact the Washington D.C. car accident attorneys here at Regan, Zambri & Long to schedule a free case consultation.

Changes to our circadian rhythms can lead to crashes. To learn more, read: How Safe Are Drivers the Morning After Taking Sleep Aids?

 

Halloween Safety Guide: How to Keep Your Kids Safe during Trick or Treating

As October 31 rapidly approaches, kids across the D.C. and Northern Virginia region are excitedly picking out costumes and planning their trick or treating routes.

But parents and caregivers should spend time thinking about how to protect young charges from potential dangers. To that end, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has compiled a list of important trick or treating tips, categorized under the acronym “S.A.F.E H.A.L.L.O.W.E.E.N.”

We’re just going to summarize the critical safety concepts as opposed to going through the entire lengthy acronym:

  • Keep any pointy costume accessories (such as knifes and swords) soft and bendable;
  • Use reflective tape to allow drivers to see the kids;
  • Bring a flashlight;
  • Walk (do not run) from house to house, particularly if you need to cross busy streets;
  • Be a smart pedestrian: look both ways before you cross the street, and use sidewalks and crosswalks, if possible.
  • When going from home to home, avoid touching candles or other luminary sources;
  • ravel in groups: responsible adults should accompany young children;
  • Choose costumes wisely; they can cause considerable injuries. Make the sure costumes are comfortable and do not cause trip and fall hazards or allergic reactions.
  • Test make up on a small area of the skin first before applying it in broad swaths to the face or body, so that you don’t set off hives or other major unpleasant reactions.
  • Avoid wearing decorative contact lenses, which can cause eye injuries;
  • Do not take rides from strangers;
  • Avoid dark houses or homes that have hazards on the property, such as open pits or potentially dangerous dogs and other animals.
  • In terms of the treats you collect… use caution! Do not accept unwrapped homemade treats from strangers, and watch for choking hazards.
  • Limit the amount of candy your children consume on Halloween night and subsequently. Even if your children are young, vigorous, and blessed with a healthy metabolism, scientists increasingly believe that sugary treats can cause diverse metabolic diseases, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, kidney failure, stroke and gout. When eaten in moderation by people who can tolerate them, sweets can make for a fun treat. But watch out, particularly if your child is diabetic or has other health issues.

If you have questions regarding a Washington D.C personal injury case, contact the team here at Regan Zambri & Long today for a free consultation.

 

Autumn fires can also pose safety hazards for kids. Learn more: October Is Fire Safety Awareness Month: 8 Key Tips to Protect Your Family


 

"What You Know That Just Ain't So": Is Conventional Wisdom about Certain Products Harming Us?

For individuals trying to live a healthy lifestyle, constantly changing recommendations can be confusing. For those following a low-fat diet high in whole grains, the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) recent study is alarming.

The NIH conducted a study over a year with a group of 150 men and women from various racial backgrounds. One group received instructions to limit the amounts of carbohydrates they consumed, and the other to limit fat consumed. Neither group had to keep track of or limit caloric intake.

After a year, researchers found the group eating a low-carb diet high in fat -- precisely the opposite of the diet recommended by public health authorities enamored of the high carb, low fat food pyramid -- experienced considerable benefits over the low-fat group, including better weight loss, muscle versus fat retention, and improved health indicators.

These results seem to contradict conventional dietary wisdom, which emphasizes fat as more detrimental to health than carbohydrates.

How to Distinguish Truth from Fiction in Product Warnings

With so many sources asserting claims about what is best for us, it can be difficult to make the healthiest and safest choices for you and your family. As an informed consumer, questioning popular opinions about foods or products can be in your best interest.

When considering whether a study or report has relevance for you, ask yourself several questions:

•    Who funded this study? If an industry or special interest group sponsored research, chances are the results reinforce their marketing message.

•    What are my health goals?
While a fad diet or product may claim to help “shed pounds fast,” do its ingredients or required lifestyle help you meet your health objectives?

•    What are the results? If people trying a healthy behavior (such as low-fat diets) have seen few benefits, perhaps it’s time to reconsider. (As respected researchers and journalists like Nina Teicholz and Gary Taubes both reported on at length in their best selling books, The Big Fat Surprise and Good Calories Bad Calories, the popular demonization of dietary fat has never had good experimental support. In fact, in 24 head to head comparisons of low carb and low fat diets, low carb has won every time.)

Have you or a loved one suffered as the result of a misleading health claim on a product or program? Talk with a Washington D.C. personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.
 

What other "things you know that just ain't so" might be putting you and your family at risk? For more eye-opening insights, check out:  Hidden Dangers of Swimming Pools Highlighted Again in Recent Death of Child.

What is Causing Dementia in Former NFL Players?

The investigation continues into how head injuries affect NFL players. One of the most compelling details is the high prevalence of brain diseases in these athletes.

According to recent data, almost one-third of all NFL players will contract dementia or Alzheimer’s disease over their lifetimes. Thousands of athletes currently suing the organization believe the NFL concealed the potential dangers of head trauma, unnecessarily exposing its players to future impairment.

Not only do former NFL players face higher rates of Alzheimer’s and dementia, but they also experience higher-than-normal occurrences of other conditions, such as:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)

With up to 100 percent of NFL players suffering from CTE, parties involved in the lawsuit have begun to suspect that the $675 million the league has set aside to pay settlements may not be enough. Twenty-one thousand former players currently stand eligible to receive compensation.

However, doubts remain as to whether head trauma is the sole or primary cause of degenerative brain illnesses in NFL players. Recent research has revealed diet plays a significant role in the brain’s long-term health, and high-carbohydrate diets may be the culprit in many cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

An increasing number of physicians and dieticians recommend all individuals adopt a diet closer to that of our ancestors:

  • Higher amounts of animal fat
  • Significant lower percentage of calories from carbohydrates
  • Adequate calories from protein

Some research even suggests that the so-called "high fat, low carb" diet, also called a "ketogenic diet," may be able to stop or reverse metabolically related diseases, like dementia. Whether or not the NFL will look into the dietary habits of their current and former players remains to be seen. The organization will likely continue to investigate a number of possible causes for the high number of dementia-related illnesses among its players as it attempts to improve their wellbeing.

If you or a loved one has suffered a long-term brain condition due to a sports-related head injury, get the justice you deserve by contacting a Washington D.C. personal injury attorney today.

Learn more about the legal machinations over NFL concussions: check out NFL and Former Football Players Settle Concussion Lawsuits

October Is Fire Safety Awareness Month: 8 Key Tips to Protect Your Family

As chills spread across D.C., Maryland and Virginia, homeowners across the region are lighting up their chimneys for the first time this season and mulling hot apple cider. Unfortunately, these “first fires of the season” have the potential to spark danger. Debris and other residue caught in unused chimneys can clog up flues, create back drafts, and, under certain unlucky circumstances, cause house fires. October is Fire Safety Awareness Month; to that end, we wanted to share 8 critical tips to protect you, your family, and the community at large:

  •  Teach children good fire safety habits. Protect young children from getting access to matches, candles, stove burners and other source of combustion;
  • Inspect your chimney on a regular basis. Get this work done before you use the chimney for the first time in the fall/winter season;
  • Pay attention to “near accidents.” Potential fires or accidents that you managed to catch and stop in nick of time can teach you a tremendous amount about how to protect your home or business. Often these events presage real disasters;
  • Take advantage of free inspections. You can get a free inspection and also obtain free smoke detectors during October. Contact your local fire department in Washington D.C., Montgomery Country, Prince George’s County, Fairfax, Alexandria, and Falls Church for details about fire department inspection schedules;
  • Check your detectors. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can save your life. Make sure these devices are working properly and that they have fresh batteries;
  • Set up your emergency evacuation kit. Include water, medicines, food rations, warm clothing, a list of phone numbers, and cash you might need in an emergency;
  • Double-check your insurance. Make sure that your homeowner’s insurance coverage is up-to-date;
  • Protect your property. Report any suspicious activity, such as potential arson or vandalism in your neighborhood, to authorities.

If somebody you love suffered an injury in a fire, or you got hurt and you believe that someone's negligence, carelessness or wrongdoing somehow contributed, call the personal injury lawyers at Regan Zambri & Long for a confidential, free consultation.

Here's more insight into how to fireproof (and otherwise protect) your home and family during Halloween: CPSC Reminds Parents How to Prevent Halloween Costume and Decoration-Related Injuries


 

 

National Teen Driver Safety Week: "Parents Are the Key"

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and partner

Picture of Salvatore J. Zambri

Driver inexperience contributes to about 3,000 lost teen lives each year. As a matter of fact, the number #1 threat to a teen's safety is driving or riding in a car with a teen driver.

However, according to NHTSA, a recent survey showed that only 25% of parents have had a serious talk with their teen driver about the key components of driving. NHTSA has produced a Fact Sheet for Teen Driver Safety Week entitled "5 to Drive," rules that address the worst dangers for teen drivers:

  • Alcohol
  • Texting
  • Seat Belts
  • Speeding
  • Extra Passengers

As part of National Teen Driver Safety Week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), developed a website devoted to "Parents Are the Key to Safe Teen Drivers" campaign, which includes a number of resources for parents, pediatricians and communities to keep teen drivers safe on the road. Listed below are some of the useful discussion and educational topics included in the CDC website.

  • Parental Involvement in Teen's Driving
    • Eight Danger Zones
    • Parent-Teen Driving Agreement
    • Graduated Driver Licensing
    • Shared What You've Learned
  • Key Steps for Pediatricians and Safe Teen Driving
    • Educate to Reduce Risk
    • Encourage Use of a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement
    • Remind Parents to Lead by Example
    • Spread the Word
    • Include Information about Safe Teen Driving on Clinic Website
  • Tools for Partners and Communities to Collaborate on Teen Driving Safety
    • Share Campaign Materials
    • Plan and Promote Events to Raise Awareness
    • Integrate CDC Content with Websites
    • Use Media Relations for Promotion

Teens need to learn how to drive. But, even more important, teens need to learn how to drive safely. Parents are the biggest influence on whether their teens learn to drive carefully. The CDC website Parents Are the Key provides useful tools for assisting parents in delivering that message. I routinely give presentations to local schools on the issue of distracted driving, a growing concern among drivers of all ages, but especially teen drivers. Please be careful on the road, and don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to learn more about my presentations concerning distracted driving. You can call me at (202) 822-1899 or email me at szambri@reganfirm.com.

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DOT Reveals Powerful New Tools, Technologies and Ideas to Boost Car Seat Safety

If you're the parent of young children, and you spend a sizable amount of time every day strapping your children into their car seats (and getting them out of their car seats!), you may have already heard about the Department of Transportation’s educational campaign, Child Passenger Safety Week, which took place in mid-September.

During this safety week, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a slate of new technologies and tools, such as a Car Seat Finder tool, which can help parents register their car seats rapidly. Per the NHTSA’s official release “every 34 seconds, a child under the age of 13 is involved in a crash and more than a third of children killed in crashes were not in car seats or wearing seatbelts.”

The Car Seat Finder tool can help parents register their car seats and also stay up to speed on potential recall notifications. Notifications can help prevent injuries and assist parents whose children have been hurt in accidents. Here are some key safety tips from the NHTSA:

•    Use the NHTSA car seat finder tool to make sure that your children are in appropriate seats, based on their weight and age;
•    Make sure a certified child passenger safety technician inspects your car seats on a regular basis;
•    All children younger than 13 should be restrained in the backseat and wear safety restraints;
•    Be a good example and wear your safety belt at all times;
•    Avoid dangerous behaviors like talking on the cellphone while driving or driving while fatigued, angry or under the influence;
•    Read and follow the instructions for car seat installation and maintenance;
•    If you get an alert that a recall has been issued for your car seat, act right away and get it fixed. The manufacturer should fix the problem for free for you;
•    Make sure to take your kids with you every time you leave the car. Obviously, parents can often find themselves sleep deprived and distracted, but if you leave your children in a car, they can get seriously injured or killed from heat stroke or freezing;
•    Tighten the straps on cars seats, so that your children are not too loose in their seats, but don’t pull so tight that you hurt them or make them too uncomfortable.

If you suspect that a damaged or defective car seat played a role in a recent injury accident, our DC car accident law firm can provide a free consultation to help you figure out what you might be able to do to get compensation.
 

Curious to learn more about car safety for kids? Check out: Hot Car Deaths, the Law, and a New Way to Prevent Them

Prom and Homecoming Driving Safety Tips

Homecoming and prom seasons provide opportunities for parents to take some time to educate their children of the potential dangers of school dance nights. Take steps to protect yourself, your kids, and other people on the road. Here are three important driving tips. (Even more tips here, if you're curious):

1.    Set driving rules well before the dance.

Don’t wait until the night before the big dance to have the "safe driving talk" with your teenager. Make the safe driving conversation an ongoing conversation, and don’t be afraid to field tough questions about the process. Go over contingencies. What should your teen do if a friend drinks or does drugs and gets behind the wheel? Whom should she call and when? Go over these contingencies in an honest and safe way, so your teen can feel comfortable reaching out to you.

2.    Consider an “anytime you need a ride, no questions asked” option for your teenager.

A teenager who breaks the rules by drinking, doing drugs, or hanging out with dangerous kids may feel scared or embarrassed by the behavior and compound it by making panicked decisions. For instance, if your teenager knows you will yell at him for drinking, he may avoid calling you for a ride and get into a car with a drunk friend, instead. Many parents have established a “you get a ride any time, no questions asked” policy, so that their kids can get home safely.

Of course, if you do establish this policy, stick to it! Honor your teen's trust, but also protect him or her from dangers.

3.    Consider using a Limo or Taxi service.

Teenagers generally do not like to be shepherded to and from dances by their parents. You might want to take the pressure off of them and you by hiring a limo service or a taxi service on the night of the dance. Perhaps, for instance, you and several others parents can pool your resources to pay for cabs.

If your child was injured after prom or a homecoming dance, or if you need other assistance with a potential personal injury case, the effective and qualified Washington D.C. car accident attorneys here at Regan Zambri & Long would be happy to provide a free and confidential consultation.
 

Get the facts about local driving laws. Check out: Drivers Beware: Virginia and Maryland Enacted New Laws July 1

Puerto Rico Medical Device Manufacturer Faces Largest FDA Recall Ever

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a recall of 233 medical devices in one of the largest one-day recall events in the agency’s history.

The recall, affecting products manufactured by Puerto Rico firm Customed, Inc., received a Class I designation, the organization’s most severe classification. While the vast majority of FDA recalls fall under the Class II category (indicating less deadly consequences), all the affected Customed devices had packaging flaws potentially leading to contamination and infection in patients.

To date, no patients have reported adverse effects from handling or using these items. However, with “several hundred thousand units” currently on the market, locating and eliminating the devices from medical facilities and homes has become a top priority for the FDA.

The Customed recall assumes the dubious distinction not only of being the FDA’s largest on record, but representing 9 times more affected products than its predecessor.

Hurt By a Recalled Product? Here’s What to Do


As the number of product recalls increases, it’s important to take proactive and reactive measures to ensure your and your family’s safety. Even those making an effort to stay apprised of recent recalls may suffer harm from a recently recalled product, or even from one not yet recalled. When this happens, consider taking action such as:

  • Obtaining medical care. Go immediately to an urgent-care or emergency facility to have a doctor evaluate and treat injuries. Be sure to tell the intake worker your injury may be related to a product.
  • Retain documentation. Take pictures of the injury, product, and any other pertinent details, and retain any paperwork related to medical or other expenses you might incur.
  • Contact a defective products attorney. As soon as possible after the injury, reach out to a D.C. personal injury lawyer with experience handling cases involving defective products. Whether the product involved has been recalled or not, you deserve to know whether you are entitled to compensation for your suffering.

Manufacturers have a responsibility to keep their customers safe. When a company breaks your trust, explore all your legal options.

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It's not just medical devices that cause problems. Food products do, too. Check out Chicken Nugget Recall Sheds Light on Food Safety

Labor Day Driving Safety Tips

As the beginning of school approaches, so does Labor Day. This holiday provides a much-needed three-day weekend for many professionals and allows families and friends to gather for one last summer celebration.

Although Labor Day is an enjoyable occasion for millions of Americans, the weekend also presents heightened risks to drivers. According to AAA, about 29.2 million people expect to drive over the holiday weekend; a 4.3% increase over last year’s 28 million.

Increased traffic, aggressive driving, and DUI driving all contribute to higher collision rates. The National Safety Council reports about 400 deaths related to car crashes each Labor Day. However, drivers can take measures to ensure their safety and that of others.

Whether traveling locally, to work, or across several states, follow these safety tips to avoid becoming a Labor Day statistic:

1.    Get adequate rest. The night before driving long distances, make sure each individual who will be driving gets at least 8 hours of sleep.

2.    Take frequent pit stops. Although it may be tempting to drive nonstop for several hours to reach your destination more quickly, resist the urge. Every few hours, pull over to allow everyone in the car to stretch their legs, eat a snack, and find a restroom.

3.    Care for your car. Conduct routine maintenance, such as oil changes and tire rotations, before embarking on a road trip. Ask your mechanic for an inspection to ensure other issues don’t result in costly and inconvenient breakdowns.

4.    Pack an emergency kit. If your car doesn’t yet contain jumper cables, a jack, a spare tire, flares, a first aid kit, food rations, and other emergency essentials, use Labor Day travel as an opportunity to supply it with these items.

5.    Practice defensive driving. Especially when driving in unfamiliar areas, remain aware of the behaviors of other drivers. Keep safe speeds and maintain safe following distances, avoid weaving or swerving vehicles, and have a passenger call the authorities if you witness unsafe conditions.

If a Labor Day car accident has caused injury to you or a loved one, reach out to a D.C. personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.

Do NOT leave your child in a hot car. Find out more about this disturbing practice by reading: Recent Child Car Deaths Highlight Need for Heightened Awareness