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Social Security Disability Blog

Technology will detect if a vehicle is driven by a drunk driver

In Tennessee and across the nation, driving under the influence is one of the most common causes of auto accidents. Advanced technology may reduce the number of collisions, injuries and fatalities due to drunk driving. These advancements might also be useful after there has been a crash to help show that the driver was under the influence.

The auto manufacturer Volvo is creating technology that can determine when a driver is impaired. It is expected to be operational within the next five years. A breath test will not be needed. Instead, the system will use cameras. While cameras are already in use in several types of vehicles for unsafe driving, the ability to detect an impaired driver is new.

Applying for Social Security Disability over 50

Suffering from poor health can hugely affect a person's ability to earn an income. Being involuntarily unemployed can lead to stress due to financial issues. In turn, this stress can contribute to further health complications, and may even cause mental issues such as anxiety and depression.

If you are unable to earn an income because of a disability and you are over the age of 50, you are subject to a different assessment than Social Security Disability (SSD) applicants under the age of 50. This is why it is a good idea to consider filing for SSD even if you have had your application denied in the past.

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and SSD benefits

Tennessee residents who have been diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease could qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. Though the SSA Blue Book does not specifically list Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, the disease is still considered a valid neurological impairment that could be a qualifying factor on a person's disability application.

People with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease have chronic difficulty walking, standing up and using their arms and hands. The impairment could limit a person's ability to work, especially if the person has other limiting factors such as age and lack of transferable job skills. If a person is no longer able to perform any of their past jobs because of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, they may qualify for disability benefits.

AASM survey shows how prominent drowsy driving is

Tennessee residents have no doubt driven once or twice in a drowsy condition. There are cases, though, of drivers being so drowsy that they have trouble keeping their eyes open. In a survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 45% of the 2,003 respondents claimed that this has happened to them.

Drowsy driving is becoming a public health concern as it leads to thousands of car crashes every year, including 6,400 that are fatal, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Drowsy drivers become impaired in their decision-making ability and slower in their reaction times.

Opioids increasingly prevalent in fatal crashes

A study published in JAMA Network Open indicates that opioid use is a factor in many fatal two-vehicle accidents. Drivers in Tennessee should be aware of the risks posed by others on the road, as increased awareness can improve safety. According to the study, drivers who caused accidents in which one or more people were killed were nearly twice as likely to test positive for the presence of opioids as motorists who were deemed not to be at-fault.

The most common mistake cited for accidents, regardless of the presence of opioids, was a driver veering from his or her lane. The researchers involved with the study relied on data gathered and maintained by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which keeps data on all U.S. crashes that result in fatalities. The researchers looked at data from 18,321 two-vehicle crashes that resulted in at least one death. The most prevalent error in that data was failure to keep in lane.

Distracted driving costs the economy $40 billion each year

At least nine road users in Tennessee and the country are killed each day and a further 100 are seriously injured in accidents caused by distracted drivers according to the National Safety Council. Distracted driving crashes also cost the economy about $40 billion each year. Common driver distractions include conversations with passengers, sophisticated automobile entertainment and navigation systems and eating and drinking behind the wheel, but studies suggest that cellphone use is a particularly thorny problem.

When Harvard Medical School researchers asked 1,211 motorists about their driving habits in 2016, six out of 10 of them admitted to using their cellphones while driving on at least one occasion within the previous 30 days. What concerned researchers even more was how the devices were being used. Almost half of the motorists polled said that they regularly used their cellphones to type or read text messages, visit websites or engage in social media exchanges.

Tips to prepare your vehicle and insurance for winter roads

While Tennessee may not be as far north as the states that get the worst winter weather, that doesn't mean that the seasonal change won't affect your safety on the road. More crashes tend to occur in the winter months, which means you'll need to take extra steps to keep yourself safe on the roads when the temperature outside starts dropping.

Although you won't have any control over how other people drive during the colder months, you can take a proactive approach to your own safety by performing seasonal maintenance on your vehicle and reviewing your insurance policies for ideal levels of liability protection.

Time shifts can result in dangerous driving conditions

The first weekend of November means that clocks will be turned back one hour in most parts of the country. While Tennessee residents may enjoy getting an extra hour of sleep, the change may have negative consequences as well. For instance, it could have an impact on a person's internal body clock, which could lead to an increased risk of drowsy driving. According to the National Sleep Foundation, there are 6,400 deaths caused each year by tired drivers.

A survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that most respondents saw tired or drowsy driving as dangerous. However, 27% said that they had driven when fatigue made it difficult to keep their eyes open. Those who study the issue of sleep deprivation say that individuals should go to bed at the same hour that they normally would on the night of the time shift.

How age and education affect disability benefits

Social Security disability can be an important safeguard for people in Tennessee who are no longer able to work due to physical or mental disabilities. However, the application process can be lengthy, especially as many applicants are denied in the first step of the process. There are a number of factors that the Social Security Administration considers when determining if a person is eligible for disability benefits, and many applicants may wonder how their age or level of education affects the likelihood of a positive outcome. Both factors can be part of a disability determination but are rarely decisive factors that shift the balance of a decision.

In most cases, age is primarily considered in a disability claim when the applicant is older, typically above 50 or 55. In these cases, age itself can become a consideration in terms of the person's ability to develop additional job skills and education. This is particularly important for applicants with greater levels of functional limitation. In some cases, educational level is not considered at all in the disability benefits process, especially if the claimant's case adheres to the listing requirements in the SSA's "blue book" used to define eligibility for benefits.

Higher speed limits causing more US traffic deaths

Higher speed limits are causing more people in Tennessee and across the U.S. to die in traffic accidents, according to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In fact, researchers found that rising speed limits have led to the deaths of an extra 37,000 people over the last 25 years.

In 1995, the national 55 mph speed limit was scrapped. Since then, seven states have increased their highway speed limits to 80 mph. Another 41 states have increased their speed limits to 70 mph. For the IIHS study, researchers analyzed traffic death statistics between the years of 1993 and 2017, and they controlled for influential factors like youth, unemployment and seat belt use. They found that 36,760 more people died in highway accidents during that period of time than would have died if the speed limits had remained at 55 mph. For reference, that's slightly less than the total number of Americans who have been killed in motor vehicle accidents each of the last three years.

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