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Houston Legal Blog

ADHD medication shown to reduce car accidents

Studies have found that drivers in Texas and around the country who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are more likely to be involved in motor vehicle accidents, but research suggests that people who have been diagnosed with ADHD can greatly educe their chances of crashing by taking their prescribed medications. After studying the cases of more than 2 million ADHD sufferers, Swedish and American researchers concluded that 22 percent of the car accidents they were involved in could have been prevented if the appropriate medication had been prescribed and taken.

The researchers came to this conclusion after comparing the emergency room visits made by the ADHD sufferers they studied with the dates they filled their prescriptions. The results were then checked against a control group made up of men and women who had not been diagnosed with the condition. They found that taking ADHD drugs reduced car accident risks by 38 percent for men and 42 percent for women.

Divorces may be likelier if certain factors are present

A number of marriages end in divorce each year. People in Texas may wonder whether certain factors increase the likelihood that they will divorce, and researchers have found that a number of things can predict divorce.

According to a recent study, couples who have unequal divisions of labor are likelier to have their marriages end in divorce. This is especially true when the husbands are unemployed or only work part time. Researchers found that people who get married after age 32 or in their teens are also much likelier to get divorced.

Removing obstacles to self-driving vehicles

Motorists in Texas should be aware that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considering ways to set aside regulations that limit the use of self-driving vehicles. In a report that it released, the agency said that it especially wants to focus on the self-driving vehicles that have no controls for human drivers. The agency is seeking opinions about what type of research should be conducted before decisions are made on whether to revamp or get rid of the regulations. However, because it can take years for the agency to finish the necessary research and make changes to the rules, Congress is being prompted to take action.

The NHTSA has stated that it intends to submit an official notice soon asking for comments on the obstacles it faces regarding the use of self-driving vehicles. It is expected to publicize the notice no later than November 2017.

The likelihood of divorce

Couples in Texas may already know that making a marriage last can take a lot of effort. However, they should also know about the risk factors of divorce. While these behaviors and characteristics do not mean that a marriage will definitely end, they do increase the chances that a divorce may take place.

According to statistics, individuals who did not complete college are less likely to remain married while the possession of a bachelor's degree is associated with having a strong and long-lasting marriage. A National Health Statistic report that was issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services in 2012 showed that female college graduates had a 78-percent chance that their marriage would last at least 20 years and that male graduates had a 65 percent chance.

Can we modify custody after a divorce?

Question: My husband and I split about 5 years ago. At the time, we agreed to fifty/fifty custody and I thought that was the right decision when the kids were young. My ex, however, is very permissive. It was annoying when the kids were little, but now I am beginning to think it could be genuinely harmful for the kids. Can we change custody and if so, what does that involve?

Answer: You don’t state what kind of decisions your ex is making that you think are harmful, so this answer will be generally about changing custody.

Bendix announces new brake systems for commercial trucks

Trucking companies in Texas and across the U.S. have had their eyes on the new products unveiled by Bendix at the inaugural North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta. The brake manufacturer has created an electronic parking brake called the Intellipark system, which uses interlocks placed in critical areas like the seat belt and cab door to recognize when the driver is leaving the vehicle. If the driver has forgotten to engage the air brakes at that time, the system will do so.

The main benefit of Intellipark is that it will prevent rollaway incidents and possibly many collisions. By replacing traditional push-and-pull switches with a more ergonomic model, the system will also make it easier for drivers to manually engage the brakes.

Lawmakers revive FMCSA sleep apnea rule

Truck drivers in Texas and around the country who may be at high risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea may soon be required to undergo mandatory testing for the condition. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration abandoned plans to introduce a rule mandating sleep apnea testing for at-risk truck drivers when industry groups raised objections and public hearings failed to provide enough evidence to move the proposal forward, but the mantle has since been taken up by Democrats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The lawmakers behind the Senate and House sleep apnea bills say that regulatory intervention is required to protect the public and provide doctors with a single testing protocol. Medical professionals currently have no clear direction in this area, and trade groups representing truck drivers have accused the health care industry of promoting unnecessary, expensive and invasive testing for financial gain. Truck drivers also claimed that the proposed FMCSA rule would violate their constitutional rights.

Helping Texas residents understand distracted driving

In 2013, there were approximately 424,000 accident-related injuries around the country caused by distracted driving. Furthermore, there were 3,154 fatalities caused by distracted driving accidents according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, it is believed that the actual numbers may be higher than reported. Distracted driving comes in three forms, and they may all increase the likelihood of an accident.

Cognitive distraction takes place when a driver is thinking about something other than the road while driving. In some cases, a driver can experience cognitive distraction even while doing something as simple as listening to the radio. Visual distraction occurs when drivers are looking at anything other than the road ahead. For instance, a driver could be glancing at a GPS or putting in a new CD to listen to. Manual distraction occurs when the driver is holding anything other than the steering wheel with both hands.

Managing a difficult spouse in a divorce

Some people in Texas may be going through a divorce with a toxic spouse. As difficult as this may be, there are steps they can take to try to manage the situation more effectively.

Financial paperwork should be gathered as soon as possible. A person who anticipates a high-conflict separation might want to do this before talking to the spouse about the divorce. Tax records, bank statements, information on retirement accounts and more may all be useful if a spouse tries to hide assets. One might also want to run a credit report to get information on accounts that are in both names.

Daytime running lights can prevent serious accidents

Texas law requires drivers to switch on their headlights during the nighttime hours or when visibility is reduced to 1,000 feet or less, but road safety studies conducted in several countries suggest that they would be wise to turn them on every time they get behind the wheel. The number of left-turn accidents plummeted by 37 percent in Denmark after a law was introduced that mandated the use of daytime running lights, and Canadian authorities reported an 11 percent fall in multi-vehicle crashes after legislators in Ottawa passed a similar bill.

Daytime running lights are especially effective at preventing head-on collisions and accidents involving pedestrians and motorcyclists. This is important because these accidents often claim lives or cause debilitating injuries. Studies have found that the added visibility provided by daytime running lights can reduce pedestrian accidents by 12 percent and some types of motorcycle accident by almost a quarter.

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